Solo PR can be rewarding…and damn tough

In September 2011, 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 nearly two years now, so how do I feel? 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. It takes time and patience.
  • 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 a few 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… and so will yours.

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  • LP

    You are on your way Jason. Congratulations. As a veteran I can attest that what you say is true. Be encouraged that you are on the right path to success. Good luck to you. Be proud that you had the courage to step out on faith. For me praying that God will guide me and support me if no one else does has gotten me through my solo journey for the last 20 years as a entrepreneur.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, LP, for your kind words. There are days when I waver, but I always come back to the positives.

  • To be honest, I never thought you would fail at this, and I knew that it would be rough at first but you’d get through it. You have the moxie it takes.

    Keep at it. I’ll see you at the ballpark this summer.

    • @facebook-679606842:disqus You are way too kind. Thanks buddy!

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations Jason! I’ve been on my own for nearly a decade and I continue to grow and learn. There have been good and bad times but I have been steadfast in my belief that this was the best decision I ever made. In a conversation with the fabulous Kathy Caprino she noted that it is imperative that you believe even when the evidence around you doesn’t always agree. Hang tough and know that you are solo but never alone!

    • Thank you, @KarenSwim:disqus! It’s people like yourself who make all solo pros feel like they are never alone.

  • Pat Brink

    I’ve found the hardest part about being on my own is the Boss.

    He wants me to work all kinds of crazy hours,;

    never likes what I first write;

    wants me to find new business while keeping all the clients happy;

    doesn’t pay for medical or dental coverage;

    gives me no vacation or holidays off;

    and then on top of all that he wants me to bill the clients;

    AND if they don’t pay I have top be the collection agency!

    That Boss of mine…a real tyrant…
    Good Luck
    Pat Brink
    Brink PR

    • @7988fa5ed21f5a3c16cd0a214fa49420:disqus HAHA! Sounds like my boss. 🙂 Cheers!

  • Thank you for sharing this. It was both helpful and timely. Congrats for having the courage to live your dream and the internal strength to remain steadfast.

    • Thanks, @twitter-46746431:disqus! I appreciate it.

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  • Katelyn McCoy

    I definitely agree with your blog post… the PR business is tough to get into and being a college student, I have to have determination to go for it and see it through. Thanks!

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  • LaWanda

    Hello, this was a great article. I would like to get in touch with this author to feature this article on my PR radio show. Your feedback is appreciated.

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