Becoming a PR Consultant – You Can Do It!

jumping across gapIt can be scary to take the leap to independence. Unfortunately, it’s this fear that keeps so many paralyzed and stuck in jobs they don’t like, dreaming of the day they can get up the guts to take the leap. Rest assured: you can do it!

When I resigned from a PR agency to go into business for myself, the company tried to sweeten the deal to keep me on staff. I was offered a $20,000 raise (which was a lot of money in 1995) and a promotion to two positions above the one I held (which would have had me leapfrogging over my boss!). Now, what does that say to you? To me, it told me that I was, in fact, being underpaid and under-appreciated (my previous attempts to get a promotion and a raise were denied). Rather than be tempted by this offer, I was ticked – and more sure than ever that I was doing the right thing.

Many potential Solo PR Pros are in similar situations – building someone else’s business with their sweat. If this is you and you're dissatisfied, get your house in order, and then take the leap!

You may have heard some of the myths and think, “but I’m not a high-flyer, I’m not a risk taker, I’m [insert self-doubting fear here].” Let’s take a look at a couple common misgivings:

“I’m not a high-flyer”
Here’s a secret: there are many, many companies and organizations – often those with the biggest names, and the largest bank accounts – looking for public relations and marketing communications with substance over style.

For many years (before starting this blog), I flew under the radar. I didn’t go to a million networking events, pressing the flesh and dropping names. I still don’t have a prestigious mailing address or even an extensive fancy wardrobe. What’s more, most of my friends in the business – six-figure earners themselves – operate in a similar fashion.

Of course, there’s a place for the networking-intensive PR folk, especially when helping get a startup off the ground.  The good news is, there’s enough work out there for everyone. You can succeed, regardless of your work style.

In my experience, the clients looking for substance over style are the bread and butter of the independent PR profession. Most clients do not care one iota whether you have a swanky office. All they care about is that they receive better service, at a better value, than they would get from a traditional PR agency.

“I’m not a risk taker”

You don’t have to be a risk taker. Yes, it’s an act of faith to go into business for yourself, but here’s the best part: the most frightening period is right before you take the leap. Once you’ve told your boss you’re going, the fear is lifted almost immediately, and the excitement of what you’re about to do kicks in.

You’ve no doubt heard it said that “a bad day fishing is better than a good day working.” I’ve found that a bad day as a Solo PR Pro still beats working for someone else any day of the week!

Are you in that in-between state of wanting independence, but hesitating to take the leap? What's holding you back (anonymous comments are welcome below)? If you’re a practicing indie pro, what advice would you offer to those just about to make the jump?