So, you’ve decided to start your own solo PR business. Congratulations! That’s great.
Striking out on your own can be overwhelming as you are faced with a myriad of decisions. You have likely collected volumes of information about starting and running a business, and now you are not sure where to start. Today's post simplifies those starter tasks with five key things that can help you get out of the starting blocks and on the track to running your own solo PR business.
Start Your Solo PR Business with 5 Tools
Public relations professionals know the value of planning. You likely use the RPIE (Research, Planning, Implementation, Evaluation) for everything from work to planning your child's school fundraiser. But, it's also easy to get so overwhelmed with R and P that you become paralyzed and unsure of how to get to implementation.
The list below simplifies the task of beginning of your solo career. There are many other steps that you can take, but they can come later.
1. Set up an online home for your solo PR business
Setting up a unique website for your PR business is an easy way for prospective clients to get acquainted with what you offer. It signals to clients (and you) that you are a legitimate business.
Your website is aa great opportunity to provide crucial clarity on who you are and the specific services you provide. Plus, it’s a great place to showcase work you’ve done and clients you’ve worked with (with their approval, of course). And fortunately, building your own business website can be fairly simple and affordable with tools like Squarespace, Wix and GoDaddy.
Don't worry if you are ready to launch your solo PR business but not quite able to commit to a site. Many solo PR pros have been in business for years without a website. However, you can use LinkedIn to your advantage. Update your LinkedIn profile. Reflect this exciting career milestone in your LinkedIn headline and the employment section—you are the founder and CEO of your PR business, after all! And to take it one step further, publish a post announcing this news to your professional community.
2. Business development plan
You wouldn’t sign up for a marathon without having a training plan, would you? (Hint: The answer is no. You should definitely not do this.) Rather, you would have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how to do so, including a progressive running schedule, how to fuel and hydrate sufficiently and ensuring you fit in ample time for rest and rehabilitation.
You should be similarly prepared when building your own Solo PR business. “If you build it, they will come,” is unfortunately not a strategy that will yield impressive results. You must have a well-thought-out plan that will enable your PR firm to grow and thrive. To start, get clear on what exactly you want your business to look like. In an ideal world…
- How many clients would you want to juggle at one time?
- How many hours a week do you want to work?
- Do you eventually want to hire part-time or full-time employees?
- What’s your target monthly and annual revenue?
Then, figure out how you can attain those goals by answering the following questions:
- How will you learn about and meet potential new clients?
- Once you meet those clients, how will you assess that it’s a good fit?
- How will you convince potential new clients to sign on with you?
- What will your hourly rate be?
- What tools and services can you utilize to increase your efficiency?
This process will take a good amount of time and strategic thinking, but it’ll help set you up for success in the long-term. And remember: Your business development plan isn’t a “set-it-and-forget-it” type of thing. On a monthly basis — at least at the beginning — you should be measuring your progress against your goals and assessing what tactics and approaches are and are not working for you. This is a living, breathing document. Pay regular attention to it and make adjustments as needed.
3. A business bank account
Arguably, one of the toughest things about running your own business is the financial aspect. Unlike when you work for someone else, this all now falls on you. So it’s important you set up a good system from the very start. That includes setting up a business-specific bank account.
It’ll be much easier to manage your business expenses when they’re separate from your personal expenses. Imagine sorting through your statements to try and identify which charges were for your business and which weren’t. That seems tedious. Trust us: Separating personal and business will make tax season a lot less painful — if you have an accountant, they’ll definitely thank you. In addition, having a business bank account can help protect your personal assets.
While we’re talking about money, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how important it is to have some cushion in your savings account before you start your own business. Unfortunately there’s no way to predict when you’ll start bringing in the income you desire, so it’s best to have some backup funds.
4. A standard agreement (or contract) template
You should have an official contract with every single client, no matter how friendly you are with them or how much you trust them. This signed agreement allows you to set clear expectations and protect yourself. In your basic standard agreement, you should include:
- The exact services you’ll provide and what each includes (e.g., three blog posts between 500-1,000 words; two 60-minute meetings per month )
- Your pay rate (including late fees, if applicable)
- How many days a client has to complete payment
- Intellectual property rights
If you’re a Solo PR Pro Premium member, you can check out contract templates and examples here.
5. A client
As you likely already know, starting (and running) your own business is hard. (Solo PR Pro is here for you!)
But it will be a heck of a lot easier — for your wallet, your motivation and gaining business referrals — if you already have at least one project you’re working on. You may have to juggle a client or two on the side of a full-time job for a little, but the overlap will be worth it.
Want to join Solo PR Pro? Solo PR Pro Premium membership only opens for enrollment a few times a year. Membership is currently closed, but you can sign up for the waiting list to be among the first to find out when we reopen.