Are you looking to break free of the cubicle? With the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicting that public relations as a field will continue to grow by 18 percent from 2006 to 2016, there are many opportunities to do just that as an independent PR consultant.
The advantages are clear. In a 2006 PRSA study of independent practitioners, ninety-nine percent of PR consultants reported that “being in control of their work life” was important in their decision to go into business for themselves. This was followed by 91 percent who valued having more time to devote to family, 84 percent who said building a substantial client base, and 83 percent who said making a lot of money.
With little or no initial start-up costs or overhead, being a solo PR pro offers a great quality of life. Among my favorite benefits:
- You get to be the boss of you
- No “calling in sick” or a measly 10 days of vacation time
- No dress code
- No commute
- No soul-sucking assignments – you have the power to choose your clients, and can select only projects that interest you
- Focus on what you do best, with no bureaucracy
- Work where you want, when you want
- No trying to look busy when you’re not
- No dread on Sunday evening, knowing that another unsatisfying work week lies ahead
And you need not sacrifice income for this increased quality of life – in fact, just the opposite. The US Department of Labor reports that “full-time, independent contractors earn more than average traditional workers.” In addition, the PRSA Solo Practitioner survey above reveals that the average gross profit for solo PR consultants in 2005 was $112,107.
If you're worried you don't have enough experience, this is probably less of an issue than you think. I started my successful consulting business after just four years of working in traditional agencies. On top of that, I had a brief stint as a low-end PR freelancer after just two years of experience. While your fees will of course vary based on your background, at virtually every step of your career there are opportunities to freelance as an independent public relations professional. You may love it so much you decide to do it forever (as I have), or you may choose to freelance periodically between jobs, or part-time on the side.
Does all this sound too good to be true? I’m no snake oil salesman, and I’m not going to say you can be lazy and still make wheelbarrows of money. We're also going to see some challenges in the coming months due to the current economic climate, but the good news is you can start slow, and with some hard work you can become a full-time success – and be well-positioned for the next boom.
The key to remember is that Solo PR Pros are not born, they’re made. If you’re already an independent, what are your favorite benefits? If not, what has you most eager to break free of the cube? Let us know in the comments!
Photo credit: Jay Dugger