Working for yourself in public relations isn’t for everyone. On any given day, you are in sales, marketing, and client service, often all at once, wearing many hats as the moment demands. Passing the buck is not an option, and such a career can bring to mind a different kind of workplace. Maybe you see a lemonade stand, with a money jar, handwritten LED signs , and an eager salesperson behind the table saying, “How about a refreshing glass?”
The reality, of course, is quite different. Not every PR situation calls for lemonade. Not every client is driving by your place of business. And, setting a price usually requires a delicate negotiation over budget.
So why would anyone want to work as an independent public relations professional?
Here are my five reasons to consider going solo:
1. Gain flexibility. You can work anytime you want. Clients, of course, are the ultimate measures of value, so be prepared to “flex” your schedule into evenings and weekends. In other words, you can work your 18 hours a day anytime you want.
2. Set your income. You can charge what you want, or at least what the market will bear. Like many independents, I give my clients options. They can work with me on a consulting basis, by retainer, or à la carte. Just be sure to set aside funds to balance the flush and lean months.
3. Creative freedom. You can let your creativity run wild without push back from colleagues who don’t understand your strategy.
4. Pick your team. You get to choose your virtual team of professionals to service your clients. Like other independent PR people, I have my go-to team for graphic design, market research, event management, website development, and marketing programs. They bring domain knowledge and skills I don’t have.
5. Pick your clients. You can build a business to fit your skills and personality – a huge luxury in PR. You pitch the business, you win the business, and you service the business. It’s all you.
In my next post, I will talk about situations when it might be smart to hire an independent public relations professional. There will be times when partnering with an independent will give you bandwidth, expertise, access to talent, and results you can’t get without outside help.