How Peter Shankman Built a Business by E-mailing His Friends

Peter Shankman and his favorite activity.

Peter Shankman and his favorite activity.

Peter Shankman is a revered figure in the public relations industry. He made his mark founding and selling Help a Reporter Out (HARO), a website that connects journalists with sources. HARO started out as an e-mail list connecting Peter’s friends. Running a story about the growing cupcake trend and want to talk to a baker? Peter knows a guy. Doing a story about extreme sports but don’t know any sky-divers? Chances are, Peter does. 

Peter would get up before work and sit with his cat and a cup of coffee, and send e-mails. At first, Peter connected people for free. Eventually he started selling text ads on three e-mails per day. When the company was acquired two years later, it was making over $1 million per year. He sold it to his biggest advertiser. “I think they got sick of paying me for ads”, Peter says. 

Now Peter manages several businesses and investments in addition to his career as a writer and speaker. He is also a very outspoken about ADD/ADHD and managing his own. He lays down a lot of wisdom about work, life, and managing the two of them in this episode. 

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