Did that headline catch your attention? Good. If there is one thing that I appreciate in friends, colleagues, and experts, is honesty. Don’t sugar coat anything; tell me how hard something is going to be so I’m prepared.
This isn’t meant to scare you if you are looking to become a solo public relations professional. It is meant as an honest post to show that being your own boss can be great, but can also be very rough.
Being a solo PR pro is a ton of sweat and incredibly hard work. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll have clients knocking down your door when you are solo. Just like working for an agency, you need to focus and put in long hours at times. At the end of the day, you’ll be wiped.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be. While I’m being honest, there are strategies get you on the road to success in your solo career. Organization and balance are two of the more important things to have as a professional, solo or otherwise. You may have one, but not the other. It doesn’t happen in a day or month. It takes time. Since I became a solo PR pro, I’ve learned that balance is integral to your home and work success. Here is how I’m doing it.
1. Create a comfortable work environment. We’ve all seen that Facebook post or Twitter pic of a messy desk. There’s no way you can be productive with your desk cluttered with papers, yesterday’s snack and the over abundance of photos of your dog. Take a moment to set up a desk that will allow productivity and inspiration. You want to feel as good as possible to work. I have my inbox, inspirational quotes and a notepad on mine.
2. Start your week out by setting goals. At the beginning of each week, put your clients and the tasks you have for each. Then, look at the tasks that are “must do’s.” This will not only help keep you focused, but on point as well. No more of the “I have nothing to do!”
3. Work is work, home is home. You do need that separation, especially when you are a solo pro. While I enjoy working on some projects after the kids go to bed, your mind needs to reboot. Don’t push the brain too much. Set a time to shut it down for the day and make a note where you need to pick up. You aren’t a robot, so take a break.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. I’ve taken advice from many solo PR pros and asked questions about what to expect and how to handle my own business. This helped me in more ways than I can count. Don’t be afraid to hear “NO!” You’ll get hung up on or told a business isn’t interested. It’s not because you aren’t good at what you do. It is all about timing (and money). Sometimes it’s just not a fit. Lastly, You have to want it… badly. If you don’t like your job and think that being on your own will solve everything, you are going about it all wrong. Running my own business and the challenges that go along with it invigorates me. BUT, there’s been plenty of frustration and bumps. If you just go halfway, you are halfway to failing.
Ultimately, your chances at success are greater if you know the truth. I’m still learning… and don’t want to stop doing so. My current and future clients will be better for it. So will you.
Jason Mollica (@JasMollica) is the president of JRMComm, a public relations and social media marketing consultancy. He combines knowledge of the broadcast news industry, traditional public relations expertise and today’s new and innovative social media tools. Mollica operates his own blog and has guest blogged on several others, including the respected Ad Age-ranked PR Breakfast Club, Ragan.com and PRSSA’s Progressions.