The Big Four: What Wealth Looks Like

I’m back! It’s been a while and I’ve missed you dearly but I’ve been pretty busy between homeschooling the little one, starting the business and grad school. But here I stand……uh, sit on the floor writing to you about this new book that I am reading called The Wealthy Freelancer. It’s actually pretty late and if I plan on getting to the gym in the AM I should probably make this quick.

The part of the book I am at, which is not to far from the front cover, is talking about what it means to be successful and defines it as these four criteria:

1. The projects you want

2. The clients you want

3. The income you want

4. The lifestyle you want

Maybe criteria was not the appropriate word to use. These are more goals that you have in mind, the way that you envision yourself doing business and how these would be defined in your model. I’ve decided that I really need to hash these out. Though I could do it in my handy dandy notebook, I have decided to share my brainstorming of what my wealthy freelancing venture would look like with you. Here we go!

Projects: Well, I’m in PR. I want to be creative. What I would really like to work on are marketing events and press releases to announce new products, people and ventures. I love events and feel that there is nothing better than a well executed event but I also love to write. Though it sometimes feels a little bit tedious gathering the information, the story-telling process is amazing. Obviously for the sake of pitching I should keep my head from going too far into the clouds but this perspective keeps me entertained with what I am trying to do.

Clients: I like to be inspired by people and honestly work off of their zeal for their company. If you love what you do, more likely than not, I will too. I want to work with those that are excited about their ventures and have something awesome to offer. Maybe this is full idealism, but I would like to work with people that understand the time and care it takes to create and conduct a full campaign and that there is a reason I should be paid for what I do. I’ve heard horror stories.

Income: I’m going to be a little vague about this one and not use actual figures for the simply sake of privacy, but I would like to be able to support myself with what I make and be able to save enough for retirement and college for my little one. (I mean, we have 11 years until college…..gotta get a move on)

Lifestyle: I want to be able to homeschool my son and take the time with him that he needs, while being able to go on vacation to Disney World once a year. I want to be able to get my work done in a comfortable place, meet clients at nice locations where I can offer to buy them coffee or croissants (preferably chocolate chip ones) and have good laughs and relationships with them. I want to be able to get things for my family and friends, donate time and other things to charities and enjoy the life that I’ve been given. Maybe have an employee or two to help with certain projects. Another thing that I would really like to do is tuck my son into bed every night. I don’t want to be so overtaken by work, projects and deadlines that I can’t do that. I value the time I have with him. He won’t be 6 forever.

Though these are truly the things that I would look for in a wealthy freelancing career, I am not quite sure if I am finished hashing out what it is I want. I was planning on having a goal setting party all by myself on Saturday where I would name the goals and the steps it would take to achieve them so I guess I’ll add this to my festivities. Woo hop weekend fun!

Good night and happy goal setting!

Advertisements

I spent my days in a Starbucks.

There will always be those entrepreneur stories that begin with tales of hours spent in a coffee shop, utilizing the space as if it were they’re own office. Day after day sitting in their corner “cubicle” knowing the names of the employee by heart. I mean, if you’re there all the time, that’s what will happen.

These are the stories of triumph. Overcoming the criticism from those thinking Why don’t you just get a job? and the others that spot the weirdo in the corner day after day.

It was never my intention to make this my narrative but that is the direction I seem to be going. Both of the meetings that I had today ended with propositions. That’s very exciting! But when I look at my work environment, I realize I might need a new locale. There is nothing wrong with my home but being there is simply distracting. It’s a little hard to be a PR rep when I need to be a mom, daughter and sister first.

As much as I would like to begin my relocation tomorrow, I will be going to a conference about marketing to the government with one of the ladies from today. Again, quite exciting.

Maybe I should figure out a more original introduction to my memoir than “I spent my days in a Starbucks” but until I can figure something else out, that’s what it’ll have to be.

Exciting events and fear

I feel like things are falling into place. I have opened an account to save for office space and many other things that I will need, I am planning a few campaigns for the event planning company that I work for, you know stuff to fill my book with, and I have two meetings tomorrow that I hope will turn into clients. Doesn’t it all sound so progressive? I feel like it does anyway but there are times when I think about all that has to be done in order to run a successful business and I am somewhat discouraged. Still, I have business to attend to so there is no time for that.

The first meeting is with a woman I met who has begun making energy bars to sustain herself during her exercises. She’s offered samples to people she has met during her activities and they are a real hit. When we met, she offered me a positon with her assisting in production of her product and also to show her artwork to galleries so that they could exhibit her photography, which is very beautiful by the way. Her talent is nothing short of amazing. I am looking forward to this meeting.

Next, I will be having a phone meeting with a YouTube personality who is looking to establish her brand and market herself appropriately. This one is kind of interesting because when watching her videos and looking at her website, there are so many things that she can do, it’s almost hard to point to one thing and say that is who she is and that is the audience that I will target. Still, it needs to be done. I feel that after she has one personality in the spotlight, she can begin slipping her other talents in little by little.

All of this sounds fine and dandy but like I said before, there are the occasional twinges of fear. My mother and I were talking the other day and I expressed that I like to put my best foot forward at all times and try not to do anything that will embarass myself. For instance, this blog is actually a leap for me. Under normal circumstances, I would not be blogging about an endeavour for fear of public failure but I did it. I started a blog letting anyone who reads it know that I want to open my own public relations firm. Mom told me one simple thing: Do it while you’re afraid.

She’s right. If I never took this first step, I would not still be considering this career path. It’s scary and it’s exciting and I’m all in. Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow but tonight is preparation: researching the energy snack market and trying to nail down a niche.

Fun stuff.

Starting…

Originally posted on PRSay:

So you’re thinking about starting your own PR firm. It’s a little nerve wracking, no doubt, but there’s never been a better time to launch. With the economy rebounding, bonus checks and tax refunds on the way, nothing should hold you back from taking the entrepreneurial plunge.

Of course, there are many considerations to contemplate before quitting your job and taking that plunge. Let’s explore.

It’s A State Of Mind

Optimism, confidence and a small dose of fear are perhaps the most important qualities for anyone starting their own firm. When I started FRAUSE in 1998, it took me a while to acquire these assets, especially confidence. I knew I could make the jump; but things like paying the bills without an income and putting food on the table were worrisome.

As a matter of fact, it took me 10 years between knowing I was ready and actually doing something. What pushed me over the edge was a piece of advice I received from a long-time colleague and friend who said, “Just do it. You won’t believe how many friends you have out there who want to help until you actually commit.”

He was right.

Colleagues, friends and strangers come out of the woodwork when you confidently decide to start your own business. One friend gave me office space for seven months. Another gave me a computer to use until I could pay him for it. Many more spread the word that I was in business. And best of all, the phone started ringing.

Hundreds of “start your own business” books line bookstore shelves. I didn’t read one. The business training I received at Hill & Knowlton and DDB, plus a certain level of intuition, was more than enough to set me on the right track. Here are a few key factors every aspiring PR agency owner should keep in mind:

  • Relationships Are Key. Assuming you have solid professional skills, your contacts and relationships are your most important new business asset. Work them like there is no tomorrow.  Start dialing and emailing for dollars immediately; but not while you are in the employment of others. It is unethical and could be illegal.
  • The 30-60-90 Rule. Generally, it is going to take approximately 30 days to attract your first client(s). Unless you ask for an advance upfront (some clients will pay a month retainer in advance), your first invoice to clients won’t go out for 60 days from your launch date. If all goes well, you will start seeing cash flow in 90 days. And, once cash starts following never let it stop.  In short, you will need at least 90 days of cash and short-term credit staying power. You don’t need long-term credit or capital if you do this right. I started my business on $72 and a Visa card with a $6,000 limit. I have never borrowed a dime to finance the agency.
  • No More Than Two Owners. Years ago I thought I needed partners to make an agency work. While partners may bring business and professional skills, plus some level of anxiety reduction, they cut into your ability to maximize opportunity and freedom. I say go it alone. Or if you must, maintain at least 50 percent equity in your firm.
  • Resist The In-Home Starter Office. Resist the temptation to start your business at home. The PR business is all about personal relationships with clients and employees.
  • Hire A Good Bookkeeper. You have plenty to do in launching your firm without having to worry about aggregating time reports, doing the billing and paying the taxes. Utilize the skills of an expert bookkeeper to help set up your books and pay the bills. You will also want them to create your balance sheet, profit and loss statement and statement of cash flows. Those three reports are a must-have for all business — new or old.
  • Don’t Worry About Size. Based on your business vision, size might matter; but don’t focus on that at the expense of more pressing matters. To maintain a healthy business, you must grow with a sustainable profit of at least 7 percent annually. And you’re ready to hire a new employee when your wage expenses (salary and employment taxes) are about 45 percent of fee income.

Big Rewards Await

There are a myriad of additional details and concerns to consider before you open your doors, but don’t be afraid to take the plunge. Owning and running your own firm can be hugely rewarding; especially in providing you an opportunity to hire, train and work with some of the best and brightest.

You’ll know you have made it when a new client calls and tells you that you just won the business. That’s when reality hits and you have to perform. At that moment, you’re finally in charge.

When I fell in love

It all just seemed so glamourous the way she explained it all. She stood there about 5’8″ in her heels and beautiful black wrap dress, obviously well made as you could see the quality in the barely there stiching. She told the class about her exploits as a publicist for a talent agency called Vanguard and how she balances it all along with being a mother. She almost seemed magical as the words, “Dress like you’re eveyone else’s boss,” came from her mouth. At that moment watching her in my public relations class, I knew what I wanted to do.

She explained that the job was not all glitz and glamour. That you have to fight to earn and keep respect of your peers and media influencers who you want on your side. She told us that your personal life may occasionally take a hit for the sake of your work schedule. That everything she’s gotten, the people she’s met and the things she has, she’s worked for them and it is wholly possible for any of us to do it to.

That was nearly three years ago when I sat in that class room listening to my professor’s good friend and I knew that I would go into public relations.