According to a recent survey*, 64% of clients are reducing their PR budget and 77% of agencies are reducing their retainers. Because of this, thousands of PR/communications professionals have been furloughed and/or let go in the last three months. If you are one of these, know that you are not alone.
You may be approached by clients independent of your agency or former brand, asking you to work for them as a PR consultant. You may jump at the opportunity or feel hesitation at the thought of starting on your own—maybe both. Whatever your level of enthusiasm, there are likely lots of emotions and thoughts circulating in your mind about moving to a freelance or consultant model for your work.
I’m here to tell you, it’s not as overwhelming as you think. You’ve been laid off or furloughed, and you’re scared. I know, I was there too (read more about the times my own work was scarce here). I had many of the same apprehensions, feelings, and thoughts when I shifted from an agency to a full-time consultant. Here, I bust some of the most common myths of going it alone.
MYTH 1: This will take all of my time. Yes, running your own business takes a lot of time, especially when ramping things up in the beginning (think: website or portfolio, cold-contacting, etc.). But, as the business owner, you also have the ability to set your own boundaries and hours and those can be anything you want. Want to always have a certain time blocked to attend a gym class or your kid’s school event? Block it. Now is the time to create the lifestyle you always wanted.
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MYTH 2: I won’t get any clients. This is a valid fear, but it is widely untrue. The truth is, most clients do not want to pay the high price of agencies. You are now in a sweet spot where you have agency and brand experience but without the overhead, making working with you even more appealing. As you settle into your new role, you will likely need to start turning clients and projects down.
MYTH 3: I’m not good enough to be on my own. Actually, you are. One thing I realized when I left the agency was that I had a lot more skills than I thought I did and being a consultant allowed me to flex those muscles. When it is your own client that you pitched, brought in, and strategized with, you will likely have a different level of ownership and will to win than you ever will with somebody else’s client. If you don’t feel that you have the skill, trust me you will learn it.
MYTH 4: I can’t do this alone. We live in the gig economy world now. There are so many resources and communities for PR/communications professionals—from Facebook groups to Slack channels to membership sites. And, they are one of the most welcoming communities you will ever find since everyone is in the same boat. You are far from alone. I’ve felt more support from my colleagues as a freelancer, than I ever did within agency or brand walls. I’m excited to share some of my top resources.
For more help on moving to a consultant model, consider joining the waitlist for my new LinkedIn Learning course called “How to Build Your Own PR Practice.” To be added to the waitlist and receive news when the course is launched, please click here.