Seven months into my new life as an independent public relations practitioner, and I am still learning every day. But even a slow learner like me can see that these eight things make all the difference in the world. I’m not saying that I do all of them, but at least I know I should. See how many you’re doing in your business.
1. Take charge – You always said you could do it better. Well, now’s your chance to prove it, my friend. That means you have to step up to the plate. No hanging back. Make the calls you need to make. Put together the proposals you know can land the jobs. Do the work you were born to do! Don’t wait to be asked, don’t hesitate to deliver, don’t waste time wondering about what could have been. No excuses. Just do it!
2. Be passionate – Have you ever known any successful business people who aren’t passionate? Not 100% totally committed to their product, brand or company? ‘Nuff said. Sure, passion alone doesn’t move mountains, but it helps. Clients like people who get excited about their work. It’s contagious, so go out there and spread some passion.
3. Manage thyself – You don’t have to be a CPA, but you do need to keep track of your expenses and your income. Set up a business checking account. Keep a spreadsheet and record those trips, lunches and events you attend. Yeah, it’s busy work, but you gotta do it. But more importantly, you’ve got to manage your time. Time is sneaky. Just when you least expect it, time will sucker-punch you. It will sap your day, leaving you with a dead battery and no AAA in sight. Don’t waste time, ever. Get stuff done early in the day. Make a schedule, and stick to it.
4. Market every day – This is the key: You’ve got to sell yourself everyday. It doesn’t come naturally, at first. But then, if you make it part of your daily routine, you start to surprise yourself by how good you are at it. PR people, you can do this! You’ve got the talent, you know how to communicate. Now just start directing it at future clients.
5. Think big – No more silos because it’s just you. Any barriers now are the ones inside your head. Show people you are capable of thinking outside the box. Show the marketing director you know the market. Show the CEO you know her industry. Show the small business owner you’ve got ideas to revitalize his business. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to dream big—for your business and yourself. You’ve got imagination and determination, now go use it.
6. Stop doubting yourself – Get over your fears, and wipe away the self-doubt. Believe in yourself, man. Surround yourself with supporters; don’t let the naysayers get you down. Listen to motivational CDs if it helps. Read books. Talk to people who’ve been there. Savor the small victories; then move on, setting new targets.
7. Don’t go it alone – You really can’t do it by yourself. And if you tried, you’d go crazy. Join groups and network. Accept the advice and help of others. Stay in touch with what’s happening in your profession, but always reach beyond your circle to make new connections.
8. Be flexible – Lot’s of peaks and valleys in this business, so roll with it! Clients take time to develop. Learn to gently prod, to follow up, to remind them that you exist. At the same time, learn to use your downtime wisely. Do some marketing. Update your website. Heck, write a blog post!