Managing Your Solo PR Business

As part of this week’s #solopr Twitter chat, pros in PR consulting offered insights on a wide-range of topics, including the following:

1. A community member wanted to discuss @ginidietrich‘s post: It’s Time to Rid PR Firms of the Billable Hour. What do you think of billing by the hour?

2. How do you deal with PAPER? Beyond electronic storage. What about old client, project files?

3. If someone who isn’t a #solopr is approached to do freelance projects, what would you advise?

3a (follow-up question). [What if someone] asks for a finder’s fee or commission to pass along business?

4. What are the top skills you find clients are looking for right now?

Just download the chat transcript in PDF for the full discussion. What do you think — do you have any extra tips to share?

The #solopr chat – held each Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. Eastern – is a weekly ritual for some of the most savvy Solo PR Pros on Twitter. Anyone with a Twitter account is welcome to participate – see Join Us for the #solopr Chat on Twitter to find out how!

  • Man, I'm sorry I missed the discussion. To your questions:

    1. We don't do anything by the hour — everything is fixed fee for a defined scope of work. For me, it's a selling point to clients (who never need to worry if one more phone call will put them over budget) and an overhead-management tool (because I lost 10% of my admin overhead when I stopped tracking time and billing in 15-minute increments).

    2. I don't do well with paper and do everything in my power to store it electronically. About the only paper kept onsite in its native form are contracts.

    3. I am a big, big, BIG believer that you should always have side gigs. Even when it's inconvenient and even if your employer generally frowns on it. So if someone's got a job and is approached to do freelance, my initial advise is: Figure out if there's a good reason not to take it, and go for it if you can't think of one.

    3a. I pay 10% of first-year's labor billings for work that's brought to me signed, sealed and delivered — so I'm not irked by the concept of a finder's fee. Having said that, I've had people ask for them in some pretty ham-fisted and pushy manners, and that always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    4. I find that clients are looking for what they've always been looking for — The Perfect Solution(tm). Now, however, some of them are a bit twitchier because they sense their own jobs are on the line a bit more, or their businesses are operating at tighter margins. Rather than push a lot of new stuff that's a poor fit (a lot of my private-sector clients have *no business* doing significant social-media efforts, so I'm not going to steer them that way), we've taken a risk-sharing approach on a lot of deals. That often looks like: “Here's the basic project fee. Now here's what you've told us would be a measurable, knock-it-out-of-the-park change in your business. We're going to get the basic fee for doing the work. But if we can deliver that knock-it-outta-the-park result, we're also going to get this separate performance fee, listed here.” Clients seem to like that.

  • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughtful input with us – some excellent food for thought here! Really glad to have you taking part in the #solopr community (perhaps someday we’ll even find out what your name is). 🙂

  • The paper issue is becoming harder and harder to deal with, especially with our young associates, they have no use for paper and no ability to sort through it.

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