This is a guest post by Alison Kenney, a Boston-based independent PR practitioner with over 15 years of experience in the field.
More and more PR pros are going solo these days. Often the economy is tipping their hand — striking out on their own after a lay-off or finally calling it quits themselves as a result of a "now or never" attitude. I′ve been a solo PR practitioner for the past 8 years and have these tips to share from what′s worked for me:
There′s a difference between freelancing and consulting. Freelancing is essentially working for someone else — sub-contracting with another agency or an employer. Consulting is when you interface with a client directly and run the project or program. With either role you are self-employed, must fill out a 1099 tax form, and typically concede receiving any benefits. Consultants tend to earn more than freelancers and take on a more strategic role. Solo practitioners can do either (and both!) but it helps to know the terminology so you′re on the same page as prospective employers.
Don′t burn bridges.
Focus. Working on your own is liberating, but all the "unstructured" time can also distract you from accomplishing your goals. If you end up freelancing or consulting for work/life balance reasons, e.g. having more time for children, be sure to set specific goals. Be clear about what your client goals are versus what you want to accomplish with your new flexible schedule. Having an office space, hiring childcare and setting work hours will increase your odds of meeting these goals.
Understand your source(s) of business. Ð¿Ð¾Ð´Ð±Ð¾Ñ€ÐºÐ° ÑÑ€Ð¾Ñ‚Ð¸Ñ‡ÐµÑÐºÐ¸Ñ… Ð¿Ñ€Ð¸ÐºÐ¾Ð»Ð¾Ð² The Reader Ð¿Ð¾Ñ€Ð½Ð¾ Ñ‚Ñ€ÑƒÑÐ¸ÐºÐ¸ PR is different from some other service businesses. Clients don′t typically look in the phone book or follow up on a coupon to find someone who can build and promote their company brand. They are guided by referrals from trusted sources and to get those referrals you will most likely have to develop and care for your network.
Alison Kenney is an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston′s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.