June marks my sixth month as the owner of a Comms shop. I worked with clients for a few years before I officially launched Proper Propaganda in January, but had the safety net of a salaried job to fall back on.
This business owner thing has been a ride.
Here are few thoughts on starting a Comms shop.
- The cliche about having to suffer revenue loss when you start a new biz is a load of crap. If your leaving a high paying gig to “go out on your own” don’t begin by assuming you need to make less cash for some indeterminant period of time. It’s a loser’s mentality.
- The inherent fiscal concerns in the early stages of running a Comms shop can lead to problematic clients. I have had two problematic clients in five months. Both were taken because I needed cash. Both probably ended up as more trouble than the cash was worth. It’s important to think through who you sign, even in the face of financial pressure.
- No client is signed until they sign. Simple enough, right? I wish I got paid for the amount of times people told me they were going to sign with me. You too, right?
- Most people are shocked by what PR costs. I am not that expensive, but as an owner the sticker shock I’ve seen from prospects after they get a quote has been “shocking” in its own way. People who don’t want to pay a real (and fair) price are probably going to be a pain in the ass.
- As appealing as focusing on a specific niche sounds, it is hard. This is especially true when you have a new business and want to do everything you can to mitigate the risk that is life with only a few clients on the roster.
- Good help is (effing) hard to find. You knew that, it just seems to matter more when you’re life depends on it.
- Referrals are gold. The problem is asking for them and getting them is kinda like panning for gold.
- The clients want press. They tend to think they know how to get it. You already knew this, but it’s more troublesome when the PR shop belongs to you.
- I will never be an employee again. This is simply too much fun! I was never a very good employee anyway, so this is better for everyone.
That’s it for me. Any of you business owners out there have insights to add?