3 must-have qualities to be a successful freelance PR consultant
PR is a field that seems ideal for those who want to freelance.
After all, all you need is a computer and WiFi and you’re in business, right?
While it would seem so, I can tell you after 18 years of being on my own, it takes a little more than some might think.
Over the years since I hung out my shingle, former public relations colleagues considering a move to freelancing have asked me questions about how to set up their businesses.
Which got me thinking about this: What makes some successful at PR consulting while others fail?
Here are some of what I believe to be key characteristics of successful PR freelancers.
Now, we all know that working for yourself has its perks. But it can also have its drawbacks.
You have to be able to avoid outside distractions — or at least overlook them — to focus on client work.
This can be particularly tough if you work at home. But, it can be done. The distractions are at least equal, if not greater, working in an office where people drop by your desk to chat or pull you into yet another meeting.
Develop some strategies that work for you. Set your hours and pledge to honor those.
If you’re not a self-motivated person, you may struggle with freelancing.
You have to be able to get up in the morning and have a plan of what you’re going to accomplish that day. You have to be motivated by creating success for your business.
Some happen to find the idea of avoiding going back to a corporate job VERY motivating! Just think about how much you don’t miss the commute, the meetings, the office politics….
That makes it’s easy to come back to how motivating it is to work for yourself.
3. The ability to thrive on your own
I believe success as a PR freelancer can come down to the ability to thrive on your own.
I remember a former colleague of mine who’d decided to set out on her freelance path. She had all the pieces in place to be successful.
I ran into her about six months after she’d started her business only to hear that she was throwing in the towel. Why? Because she didn’t like working on her own.
While PR freelancers DO interact with others — clients, the media, partners, other freelancers — there’s a lot of time spent working on your own. By yourself. This isn’t for everyone. Some need to bounce ideas off others and aren’t happy in their own little bubble.
If this is you and you still want to freelance, consider getting an office in a co-working space where there are other freelancers and solopreneurs. Or attend sessions where people who work for themselves meet to work in the same space. It’s the next best thing to having actual coworkers.
That’s part one! Stay tuned for part two with four more qualities, coming soon...
You'll find Michelle Messenger Garrett at the intersection of PR, content marketing and social media. As a public relations consultant, content creator, blogger, speaker and award-winning writer, Michelle’s articles and advice have been featured in Entrepreneur, Muck Rack, Ragan’s PR Daily, Meltwater, Spin Sucks, Freelancers Union and others. She was named a Top 100 PR Influencer by Onalytica. Michelle was also recently appointed to the board of Women in PR USA.
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