As reported several times via this blog, my experience as an incipient PR entrepreneur has confirmed the cliché that being an owner is a ride.
The ride does not have to be a painful journey, however. To that end, perhaps this A to Z guide will help aspiring, budding and/or established PR business owners.
A is for advice. When you run a Communications shop lots of people ask for it. Fewer are willing to pay for it. Strangest is that often those who do cough up the cash refuse to heed it.
B is for billable. If you want to eat, pay the mortgage and not end up in a cardboard box, you need to make sure this word frequently comes before the word “hours.”
C is for control. When you launch your PR business, you quickly realize you’ve got both more and less control over your existence. It is a peculiar dichotomy that occurs concomitantly.
D is for driven. If you want to succeed at running a Comms shop you better be.
E is for expectations. They can be a real bitch if not managed.
F is for friends. On those days when your revenue projections induce heart palpitations you’ll need a few.
G is for good help. If you find it, don’t take it for granted, pay it well and frequently ask it how you can help with personal/professional growth.
H is for heaven or hell. Kinda like gaining and losing control over one’s own existence, owning a Communications business can be both simultaneously.
I is for I. They say there is no I in team. When the shop is yours, there’s definitely an I in there somewhere. Anyone who tells you differently is full of “shit” (which you cannot spell without an ‘i’).
J is for journalist. My feelings about these folks – both positive and negative – have become more pronounced since opening my business.
K is for Kamouraska Vodka. It’s nice after a stressful day in the entrepreneurial trenches.
L is for life. It’s very short, so if you’re thinking of trying your hand at PR entrepreneurship you probably should get going.
M is for money. As the owner of a young Comms biz, it’s on your mind all the time.
N is for no. Saying “no” is a skill you need to develop (in any realm of life). It is quite important for entrepreneurs.
P is for payday. Paying your staff fairly, on time, and without fail is non-negotiable.
Q is for questions. When you launch your PR venture you need to ask other, more established entrepreneurs a lot of these. They don’t all have to be PR pros.
R is for rolodex. Even though no one my age actually owns one of these archaic objects, I’m constantly told that this is why clients pay me. I’ll take it.
S is for shifty. If you run the biz, you can get away with being shifty for awhile. Eventually though, taxmen, clients, competitors and others catch on. Being shifty is not a sustainable policy.
T is for taxes. Per the preceding entry and Wesley Snipes, you want to make sure you set aside enough money to pay these. Especially if you live in a Soviet Socialist Republic like I do.
U is for unbearable. If a client is so painful that they merit this moniker, you should fire them. They’re not worth it.
V is for victory. My experience is that victory tastes sweeter when you’re an owner. It also comes in different forms then when you’re an employee.
W is for wheedling. A lot of clients think you don’t have to wheedle or cajole the media into covering their incredibly obvious amazingness. Ownership has made me see that there’s a correlation between the amount of wheedling required to score coverage and the sticker shock resulting from an invoice.
X is for Xanadu. When you own a Comms biz and things are going less than well, you might wish to escape to this faraway place.
Y is for you. It’s about you. But it’s also not. Your ability to find the balance will determine the degree of success or failure.
Z is for zzzzzz’s. When you own a Comms biz, you can lose them pretty easily. Problem is, they’re important – so exercise, eat right and you’ll keep more of them.
Anything to add?