June marks my sixth month as the owner of a communications and PR shop. I worked with a few clients in a freelance capacity before launching my own company in January, but prior to that I had the safety net of a salaried job.
This business owner thing has been a ride. Here are few thoughts on starting a communications shop:
The cliché about suffering revenue loss when you start a new biz is a load of crap.
If you're leaving a high-paying gig to “go out on your own,” don’t begin by assuming you need to make less cash for some indeterminate period of time. It’s a loser’s mentality.
The inherent fiscal concerns in the early stages of running a communications shop can lead to problematic clients.
I’ve had two problematic clients in five months. I took them on, because I needed cash. Both were probably more trouble than the cash was worth. It’s important to think through whom you sign, even in the face of financial pressure.
No client is signed until they sign.
I wish I got paid for the amount of times people told me they were going to sign with me.
Most people are shocked by the cost of PR.
I am not that expensive, but I’ve seen prospects experience "sticker shock" after they received a quote. People who don’t want to pay a real (and fair) price are probably going to be a pain in the ass.
As appealing as focusing on a specific niche sounds, it is hard.
This is especially true when you have a new business and want to mitigate the risk that arises from having only a few clients on the roster.
Good help is hard to find.
You might know this one already, but it matters more when your life depends on it.
Referrals are gold.
The challenge is asking for them. Receiving one, meanwhile, is like striking gold..
The clients want press. They tend to think they know how to get it.
You already knew this, but it’s more troublesome when the PR shop belongs to you.
I will never be an employee again.
This is simply too much fun. Plus, I was never a very good employee, so this is better for everyone.
Any of you business owners out there have insights to add?
Jackson Wightman is a PR Daily contributing editor in Montreal. The company he launched in January is Proper Propaganda.