Solo PR can be rewarding and tough

“Honesty… it’s such a lonely word.”– Billy Joel

In September, I embarked on my solo public relations pro journey. Although, it wasn’t necessarily on my terms, I always dreamed of being my own boss. When the opportunity did arise, I was excited and eager to take on the solo PR world. It’s been four months now, so how do I feel now? It’s hard to put into one or two words.

The thing about being a solo PR pro is that you get to work in your own environment. Maybe that is a home office or a local Starbucks. Either way, that could be considered a huge win. You also get to work with clients you enjoy and they respect your insight and guidance. But, it’s not all unicorns and rainbows.

I want to be honest with you… being a solo PR pro is a ton of sweat and incredibly hard work. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll be on the yellow brick road to Oz 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.

Here are five things I’ve learned the last four months of being a solo pro.

  • You aren’t alone. I’ve taken advice from many solo PR pros. I’ve asked questions about what to expect and how to handle my own business. This helped me in more ways than I can count.
  • Clients aren’t going to fall into your lap. Maybe you have two or three “smaller” clients to start. That is great. But, if you think your name will just get business, you are wrong. I learned that some old-fashioned door-to-door visits work wonders.
  • Don’t be afraid to hear “NO!”- How many times have I been hung up on or told a business isn’t interested. More than a few. 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.
  • Be prepared for an adjustment period. I can’t stress this enough because I’m still adjusting to being my own “boss.” If you think you can just jump into being on your own, you can’t. Understanding the financial side of your business is as much work as pitching yourself to a potential client.
  • 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 wrong. I’m invigorated by running my own business, BUT there’s been plenty of frustration and bumps in just four months. If you just go halfway, you are halfway to failing.

This post isn’t about discouraging you from going out on your own. I wanted to be straightforward, since there were so many that were honest with me about my solo PR journey. 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.

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Posted on January 13, 2012, in Hot Topic, Public Relations and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I can relate extremely well to everything you’re saying. I’m also a solo PR professional for 6 months now. I chose to branch off and create my own firm and it certainly is a lot of hard work. Admist all the long hours, I try and remember to appreciate the fact I’m doing what I love and setting my own schedule. This is the type of work I’m not opposed to working evenings and weekends for!

    • Hi Stephanie!

      I’m glad you added that last sentence. I never thought I’d enjoy the working evenings and weekends part, but I’ve really come to find it quite satisfying. It’s hard work, but at the end of the day, very rewarding!

  2. You make good points, Jason, and I think your honestly will be appreciated. I think the most important thing is that being “on your own” is not the unicorns/rainbow panacea, as you pointed out. There’s probably a bit of a parallel in some ways between your solo journey and being a stay at home parent – someone’s gotta apply some structure and have a plan – the day is not going to transform itself into a productive, discovery-filled one without a plan!

  3. I love that you’re sharing your personal experience here, Jason! Like starting any new business, the early days as a solo PR pro can be a challenging learning process. As you note, we don’t sit around eating bon bons — to be successful you must be willing to work hard.

    I’m a big proponent of looking before you leap, though (like you) many folks have the decision made for them. Kudos to you for taking the opportunity that was in front of you and making the most of it!

    • Hi Kellye,

      Thanks for your kind words. I would have liked to be able to plan everything out, but since I could not, I ran with what I had given. It’s been working out well so far, and I don’t plan to stop! Thanks as well for providing a great site where solo pros can learn from daily.

  4. Thank you! Great post Jason! I have spent my fair share of nights up working until 1 in the morning — you really really have to WANT IT so you can keep going. It’s so not easy. However, the being your own boss things pretty much rocks.

  5. So many great pointers about solo PR! Thanks Jason. 🙂

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