An Inverse Thinker, Serial Entrepreneur Melissa Archer

  • Photos by:
    Tia Dawn Photography
  • Published on:
    March 23, 2020
  • Reading time by:
    7 minutes

About me

My name is Melissa Archer, I was born and raised in Duncan, Oklahoma USA. I moved to Oklahoma City 8 years ago. I have founded consulting firms as well as a private paralegal vocational licensed college in a previous career. Supporting women’s tuition as I founded and taught paralegal course work that leads them to careers in the legal field. Some of the students were able to regain custody of their children and by their first homes as well as leave the welfare system. I am very proud of that accomplishment as I moved on, I was profiled in two west law college textbooks in a chapter called Business Organizations. 

Later moving into a fundraising career in higher education led to other things relating to public relations. I was able to write creative proposals for country singers to seek funding and budget sheets for their managers to move forward with studio and CD publications. This led me to my love for helping people with public relations. I was not afraid to make the call to top managers in Nashville, Tennessee or in Austin, Texas. My relationships grew to friendships and the referrals came, along with backstage passes to concerts.

I was raised in a small family where we were at home doing things for ourselves and with a younger sister with rare and fatal heart disease, I was always in a position of leadership from the get-go. I helped take care of the family and any extras wanted had to be earned through mowing the neighbor’s yards, selling my artwork (created by shredding crayons and melting onto wax paper) this lead to my door knocking skills to make the sale! I would knock on all my neighborhood doors, show my work of art as pieces for sale. I earned money to go to places, buy my favorite books and snow cones for my brother and sister.

Later, I hand wrote a book. I really wanted to publish it. I was only 13 years old! I found one of my mother’s Harlequin Romance books and I found the address inside and having no clue it was a publishing company in New York city for romance novels, I packed up my story and sent it on. I received a letter from the Harlequin Romance Publishing company! They told me how they loved the fact I trusted them with my handwritten book and if only they published children’s manuscripts, they would take it on.

They encouraged me to keep writing and to send something again someday. My life took other courses and I didn’t become a romance writer. I guess the learning part of this is not to be afraid to try and push as hard as you can. I was a small-town teenager doing a lot on my own and I wrote a book and sent it to New York City! My entrepreneurship and the ability to find a way began long ago, long before I was old enough to truly understand the leader growing inside of me

An inverse thinker

Melissa Archer is an inverse thinker with a background in fundraising, public relations, oil & gas industry, public speaking, and marketing. Archer likes to create content and use her copywriting skills to edit and create. People often tell her that she is very relational and easy to talk to, an asset, as we all grow in emotional intelligence leadership.

Melissa Archer earned her Masters of Human Relations in Strategic Planning and Organizational Development from the University of Oklahoma and later served as their Director of Development for the College of Architecture.

In addition, Archer founded a private vocational paralegal college, a business consulting company and a legal company that earned recognition in international publications such as West’s Paralegal Today. Archer has presented at regional conferences for the Council of Advancement Support of Education, American Institute of Architects, and local organizations.

Melissa Archer’s 20 years in the field provides a great deal of diversity which benefits clients as they develop a holistic plan for growing businesses.

What does your work entail?

Public Relations, Marketing, Creative brand strategies. Helping promote someone or a company by using social media channels and earned media. I call myself a corporate liaison, which to me, means relatable to almost every industry in some manner. 

How would you describe your leadership style and what has made it so effective?

I would describe my leadership style as emotional intelligence. I understand people are just people, not a title. I do not think of myself as better or above any type of work whether it fits my job skill or not. I understand life happens to people; marriage, children, divorce, death and growth and all those things come with each person you work with or hire on your team. Learning how to relate to all people leads to success. People are loyal if they feel you care.

What do you like about what you do?

I love being creative. I love the challenge of coming up with new ideas or creating strategies to overcome obstacles for myself and others. 

How do you turn storms into accomplishments?

The best way is to always remember where there is a WILL there is a WAY. You may have to regroup, meet the client in person by yourself and really listen. Lien in and really hear and feel what their ideas are then re-created. Sometimes the client isn’t sure what they want, and it is up to you to build the picture and you can only do this by really listening to their need than asking the right questions. Remembering when building their campaign, it is their brand, their story and sometimes reminding them why they hired you. 

What is most rewarding?

Watching the client smile when you get it right. When they say, Yes, yes that’s it, that’s what I have been trying to say but just couldn’t figure out how to do it! 

What is special about your approach to PR?

I am very relational. I have been told my personality is warm. I have also been teased about my strong southern accent. I get my accent from my mother, now deceased. She was a country girl through and through but also an entrepreneur and growing up with her voice and on my grandparent’s ranch, my language, which I used to think of as a blemish on my professional career became a bright light, causing clients to feel at home with me, comfortable and really opening up to me. A light that glows within my heart and I am no longer ashamed of my southern accent. 

How did you get started?

I wanted to pick my career. I landed in great jobs working in higher education working as a director in fundraising. However, once I took a 4-year break coming back wasn’t so easy. I decided to pick my career. I looked at everything learned over the years. I have a legal background, a fundraising background, and a public relations background. I knew how to run a company, but did it have to be brick and mortar or could it just be me?  Within my first two months of opening, I landed two full-time contracts.

Share some tips from your experience:

You don’t need a website to start. I made a mistake by building a website based on too many specialties, later I found my favorites and my website was overwhelming, so I took it down. If you have social media and you are new, build upon that first. I thought having a website made me real. I thought having a brick and mortar would bring more clients. Well after spending a lot on both, I found neither to be what landed my business contracts. It was meeting people, getting referrals and constantly being on social media and staying connected. Especially Linkedin and Instagram. There is a technique in the madness of it all- you must learn the timing of the most viewed posts and be very consistent with your timing and messaging. 

Where do you get inspiration from daily?

My drive to succeed comes from within me. Something deeply seeded as a child. I know to succeed you cannot give up. No matter how many times you get knocked down and told no if you do not give up the next answer could be the yes that takes you to the top. My sister, Carmen died as a young adult. She would have done anything to live just one more day. My inspiration is the will to live what she couldn’t live out and not take it for granted. 

What is the most challenging about the work you do?

Clients need to trust you and believe in you. When you first start people want to know what you can do for them?  It is like a person applying for a job, sometimes they cannot get a job because they do not have the experience listed on the job description or know the right people.  In public relations, you must really shine so people can see you will be able to make them shine. You must work hard and not be afraid to ask for work and not be afraid of being told no. Public relations is also marketing. I have heard someone tell me once they are two totally different things, but to me, they are not. You build campaigns, your brand, you are marketing and being creative you want your client’s vision or their product to sell- that is marketing. You also help manage brand awareness and crisis. Public relations careers have grown into many diverse projects and skillsets. 

What else would you like people to know about your job or career?

I am not industry-specific. Give me the project, or a company and a problem and I can go to work on it. It is about creativity, business sense, and how to maintain relationships. 

How PR is different today than it was a few years ago?

Public relations used to be to manage an image or a person, now they are marketers and public speakers as well. Public relations used to be hard copy magazines, billboards and now they are all of the above with sprinkles of social media and podcasts too. Social media has expanded the many things public relations professionals can do to get their clients good positive attention or crisis intervention. 

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