My experience as an incipient PR entrepreneur has confirmed the cliché that being an owner is a ride. However, the ride doesn’t have to be a painful. To that end, perhaps this A to Z guide will help aspiring, budding and/or established PR business owners.
A is for advice.
When you run a communications shop, lots of people ask for it. Fewer are willing to pay for it. Strangest is that often those who do cough up the cash refuse to heed it.
B is for billable.
If you want to eat and pay the mortgage, you need to make sure this word frequently comes before the word “hours.”
C is for control.
When you launch your PR business, you quickly realize you’ve got both more and less control over your existence. It is a peculiar dichotomy that occurs concomitantly.
D is for driven.
If you want to succeed at running a communications shop you better be driven.
E is for expectations.
You’ve got to manage them, otherwise they'll get the best of you.
F is for friends.
On those days when your revenue projections induce heart palpitations, you’ll need a few.
G is for good help.
If you find it, don’t take it for granted, pay it well, and frequently ask it how you can help with personal/professional growth.
H is for heaven or hell.
Kind of like gaining and losing control over one’s own existence, owning a communications business can be both simultaneously.
I is for I.
They say there is no I in team. When the shop is yours, there’s definitely an I in there somewhere. Anyone who tells you differently is full of it.
J is for journalist.
My feelings about these folks—both positive and negative—have become more pronounced since opening my business.
K is for Kamouraska Vodka.
It’s nice after a stressful day in the entrepreneurial trenches.
L is for life.
It’s very short, so if you’re thinking of trying your hand at PR entrepreneurship you probably should get going.
M is for money.
As the owner of a young communications business, it’s on your mind all the time.
N is for no. Saying “no” is a skill you need to develop
(in any realm of life). It is quite important for entrepreneurs.
P is for payday.
Paying your staff fairly, on time, and without fail is non-negotiable.
Q is for questions.
When you launch your PR venture, you need to ask other, more established entrepreneurs a lot of these. They don’t all have to be PR pros.
R is for rolodex.
Even though no one my age actually owns one of these archaic objects, I’m constantly told that this is why clients pay me. I’ll take it.
S is for shifty.
If you run the business, you can get away with being shifty for awhile. Eventually though, taxmen, clients, competitors, and others catch on. Being shifty is not a sustainable policy.
T is for taxes.
Per the preceding entry (and Wesley Snipes
), you want to make sure you set aside enough money to pay these.
U is for unbearable.
If a client is so painful that they merits this moniker, you should fire them. They’re not worth it.
V is for victory.
My experience is that victory tastes sweeter when you’re an owner. It also comes in different forms then when you’re an employee.
W is for wheedling.
A lot of clients think you don’t have to wheedle or cajole the media into covering their incredibly obvious amazingness. Ownership has made me see that there’s a correlation between the amount of wheedling required to score coverage and the sticker shock resulting from an invoice.
X is for Xanadu.
When you own a communications biz and things are going less than well, you might wish to escape to this faraway place.
Y is for you.
It’s about you. But it’s also not. Your ability to find the balance will determine the degree of success or failure.
Z is for ZZZZZZZZZs.
When you own a communications shop, you can lose them pretty easily. Problem is, they’re important; so exercise and eat right, and you’ll keep more of them.
Anything to add?
A version of this story first appeared on the author's blog Proper Propaganda.