I just counted on my fingers, April, May, June, July, August, September. Six. Wow, I’ve been trading as FelixPR for six months. It feels like it should be longer – not in a bad way, but in a reassuring ‘I’ve only been doing this for six months, so everything still is really very new, way.’
I didn’t really know what to expect when I set up on my own last spring. It was a bit of a case of ‘it won’t be the end of the world if it’s all a total disaster, one of life’s experiences’. But I think because I push myself quite hard and (am told) I’m a competitive person, I’m actually not prepared to let my business fail. Touch wood.
I came into this having had experience of developing new business, so set my own personal targets for the number of outreach activities I wanted to achieve each week. I’d read lots of blogs from other freelancers about securing work – basically contact everyone you’ve ever known, anywhere and tell them what you’re doing. And, do the most outreach work when you’re busy as leads tend to take a few months to come to fruition – helping to ease the ‘feast, famine’ phenomenon.
The reality is, it’s all been a little surprising. Opportunities have appeared where I never suspected they would while other, extremely promising conversations have fizzled out into nothing. This is similar to what I experienced working in agency, but it seems when it’s all about you and your own business, the highs and lows are amplified ten fold. Truth is though, I love it.
One of the strangest things I’ve experienced is the freedom to say no…to absolutely amazing business leads. As I told a prospect at the time, the agency person in me says, “Go for it, this would be a fantastic account to have.” But, after consultation with my husband, the freelancer that I am with two small children has to say, “No. I can’t service this account properly with the commitments I have at home.” They were incredibly understanding and I’m pleased to say, respected me for making that decision. Then as it happens, I secured a different client a week later which has turned out to be a company I thoroughly enjoy working with.
And, one of the best things I’ve experienced is generating results for clients. I’ve always got excited about seeing my stories in print – you spend so much time coming up with ideas and putting materials together that ever since I started working in PR, back in 1997, I’ve got a buzz out of seeing the results. Again, when it’s your own business, that feeling of accomplishment seems that much more deserved.
The reason I set up on my own though was to enable flexibility, being able to work at an appropriate level in my specialist field, but on my terms (pending the odd bit of juggling to meet client requests). I work some set days, but I also work evenings if I need to. Clients know if they contact me on certain days of the week I can respond over email but might not be able to have a sensible phone conversation with the hollers of ‘Muummmmyyy!’ in the background. But it works. And as long as all parties involved continue to be happy, then I look forward to a successful future as FelixPR.