Many solos initially hang out their shingle believing that their knowledge and expertise is all they need to succeed. However, doing the work and running a business are entirely different. You need more than technical expertise as you deal with all of the responsibilities inherent in being a solo PR pro. While volumes of books have been devoted to business success, below are five practical tips that you can put to use immediately.
Develop Habits. Waking up every day and trying to figure out your life is exhausting and counter productive. Routines and habits will help you to successfully run your business and ensure you are using your bandwidth on the things that matter. In fact, it is why many successful business people have a work uniform. It is one less decision to be made. Raffi Keuhnelian is quoted as saying,”Routine is the antithesis of anxiety and stress.” When you have a plan for the routine parts of your business, you are well positioned to happen those unforeseen circumstances.
Be creative. You can find new approaches and solutions to problems by being creative with where you search. It is natural to turn to client industries or other communicators but don’t stop there. In an article on success tips, Charles Gaudet, Founder of PredictableProfits.com advised “Don’t focus solely on your industry as a source of novel ideas. Think outside the box, venture in uncharted territory and expand your intellectual scope. For example, the drive-through concept commonly found in fast food was an idea borrowed from bankers.” Books, magazines, podcasts and even networking events can be great sources to learn different perspectives.
Manage Your Money. Seek the advice of an accountant or financial professional to help you develop and sustain a healthy financial plan. A professional can help you to be realistic about your expenses and overhead, so that you can plan your pricing and workload. This is critical as you not only need to cover the day-to-day but taxes, benefits, savings and retirement. It is much cheaper to hire a professional who can help you stay on track than making a mistake on your own.
Define YOUR Success. It is important to define what success looks like for you. It is so easy to skip this step but if you do not clearly define your goal, you can veer off track chasing someone else’s idea of success. Knowing this will also help you set your own boundaries for the amount and type of work you do.
Ask. “Closed mouth don’t get fed,” is an old saying that offers practical wisdom for modern day solos. If you don’t ask, you will miss out. Conversely, asking can open doors you never thought would open. Don’t allow fear to have you make assumptions about what is possible. Ask that seemingly out of reach client for a meeting. Speak up and ask for a rate increase. Ask to negotiate terms in a contract that are not favorable to you.
What tips would you add to this list? Share in the comments or on social media using #solopr.