When I launched Beck & Call PR in November 2013 I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what I would encounter, how to go about it and what challenges I would face. All I did know was that after 14 years working in the PR departments of various organisations I wanted to take the skills I had gained and use them to help SME’s that may be didn’t need full time PR support or couldn’t justify a full-time salary but had great businesses that people needed to hear about.
So with some trepidation, a supportive husband and a handful of contacts from networking Beck and Call PR came to life. Whilst I was fine with the setting up of bank accounts, registering with the HMRC etc there were a few things that I wish I had known.
Patience really is a virtue
When it comes to work some clients are really organised and will know in advance that they want help with PR for a project giving you time to plan and execute the work in good time. Others decide just days before that they want help and it is all systems go and then there are those who get in touch, you discuss, put together your proposal, pitch if needs be only to discover that they either a. Are never going to give you a yes or no answer b. The vanish completely or c. Return saying they want to work with you six months later but the whole planning, pitching process needs to start all over again as the project has changed.
Sometimes you’ll feel rich and at others poor
I’m really hopeful that this will be a new business problem rather than an on-going one, cash flow. Some months it seems like you’ve cracked it, your income for the month is great then the following month projects come to an end, work you’re waiting to start isn’t quite ready and your finances dip.
The same goes for work itself….
Feast or Famine
There have been periods where clients have been few and far between especially at the start, followed by periods where I am working all the hours I can to get projects completed. What I would say is enjoy it, all of it. When it’s a famine use the time to do more work on your own business, look for new clients and get out networking. When it is a feast enjoy it to, you’re doing something you love and getting paid for it.
Some people won’t take your advice
I’d experienced this whilst working in companies but for some reason didn’t expect it when I was self employed, but alas it is so. Some clients will employ you for your expertise and then choose not to take your advice. The way I deal with this is to ensure that I explain why I think something won’t work, offer alternatives but ultimately it comes down to what the client wants which unfortunately doesn’t always mean they get as good a result as they could have done.
The work/life balance is worth it.
When I decided to work for myself I had all the usual worries about finances and finding clients but one of my main motivators was I wanted a greater work-life balance. I was tired of having to travel miles each week, sick of having spent years in various office environments and having to wrangle to get time off to go to the doctors or dentist. Having to cancel things with friends at the last minute because of work and the lack of flexibility.
Working for myself is hard, my brain is always on the go thinking about how I can improve things, get more work, manage workload but the plus side is I have time to go to the gym everyday, if the only appointment I can get for the dentist is at 11:45am then so be it. If I want to go and have lunch with a friend and it looks like it will be a three hour lunch that’s fine or if I want to take my niece for her last swimming lesson I can.
Self-employment has given me a greater freedom than I could ever have imagined. I have to be more organised, if I want to take half a day to do something fun I know that I am going to have to still get the same amount of work done in less time but that’s my choice.
I would say to anybody thinking of embarking on self-employment go for it. The hours can be long, the team spirit non-existent (I work at home, alone) and the money not always great but it’s most definitely worth it.
To find out more about Beck and Call Public Relations visit my website Beck & Call PR