On the surface, Kristen Poe Hill and Renee E. WarrenÂ appear to be super successful businesswomen who have turned their New York-based event management, media relations, video and technical production firm, Noelle-Elaine Media Inc., into a thriving company. After all, their clients have included A-list celebrities and major companies including Ariel Mutual Funds, Charles Schwab, Disney Channel, HBO, Lâ€™Oreal, Showtime, and Black Enterprise.
But most didnâ€™tÂ realize the behind-the-scenes struggles the two have endured in the 15 years since founding Noelle-Elaine Media.Â The pair have put together a book that uncovers the truth about starting, running, and expanding a business in You Buy the Peanut Butter, I’ll Get the Bread: The Absolutely True Adventures of Best Friends in Business. (Excerpt here)
You Buy the Peanut Butter doesnâ€™t just tell the success story of Hill and Warren. It also serves as a personalized business guide that reveals the professional and personal hardships the two have gone through — from IRS troubles to balancingÂ marriage and career to survivingÂ on peanutÂ butter sandwiches when the company hit lean times.
Because You Buy the Peanut Butter tells the back story, the book connects with almost anyone in business, particularly women. Typically business books either focus on the success of a company or are pure entrepreneurial how-tos. But You Buy the Peanut Butter takes it a step further by offering real-life stories as examples of what to do and what not to do in business.
BlackEnterprise.com: Why did you decide to personalize the book?
Kristen Poe Hill: We wanted to tell the real story. There were times we would be hosting red carpet events while struggling to find clients. Or weâ€™d be on the road rushing to find a bank to deposit money into our corporate account so we could makeÂ payroll. We didn’t just want to show ourselvesÂ [in the book]Â as two strong, successful business women. We wanted to get the point across that if we could go through all the ups and downs and still be able to survive and thrive, then you can too.
Renee E. Warren: Readers will be able to relate to our story as well as learn lessons from our mistakes.
What was the toughest lesson?
Hill: I think it was when we learned we owed a substantial amount of money to the IRS because our accountant had not been paying payroll taxes for a number of years. We found this out when Renee went to buy a house and had a financial check done.
Warren: We had been using the same accountant for years and had become too comfortable with having someone else that care of those matters, even though we had some suspicions. He wouldn’t answer basic questions such as how much money we were bringing in, but we trusted this person. And this came in our 11th year, when we figured we had most of the bugs worked out.