Tips, Tricks, and #PRFreelancing Hot Takes
Are you thinking of trying out freelancing as a PR pro?
Last Monday, we hosted our biweekly #PRChat to find out what exactly it’s like to be a PR freelancer today.
We wanted to know the good and the bad that PR consulting offers its pros.
And who better to learn from than a PR freelancer herself? We had the pleasure of welcoming special guest Michelle Garrett, a PR consultant and Twitter chat veteran, to bring us into her world of experience.
Check out some highlights from what we learned…
Do you prefer the agency life or the freelance life?
We asked the pros, ‘Would you rather work in house, at an agency, or independently as a freelancer?
“Well, I’ve been on my own for a LONG time now – if that answers the question!” Michelle Garrett said. “But my agency experience, and my in-house experience, too, was really important in helping me find success as a solo PR pro.”
Tom Basgil, lead generation and social media consultant for B2B brands, had a similar take on the subject...
“I've done social media in-house, at agencies (including a PR agency), and on my own,” said Basgil. “Every gig brought its own joys and challenges, but I prefer the flexibility of #freelancing… even when that means I'm the only one responsible for my successes (and failures).”
Basgil and Garrett’s stances aligned with the majority of the feedback from other pros. They seem to agree that working somewhere, like a PR agency, can be a tremendous learning experience. Especially when first entering the workforce. While freelancing and being your own boss has its perks, agency work is a great way to boost your skill set, they said.
Read what Lacey Trejo, a PR consultant of nine years, had to say about the value agency experience can bring:
How is freelancing different from working in-house or for an agency?
Rod Cartwright, founder of Rod Cartwright Consulting, did a great job summarizing some of the biggest differences between freelancing and working in-house...
The freedom of freelancing is huge. Freedom of time and freedom of choice.
Sarolta Ács, a PR account manager and media relations expert, weighs in by sharing the biggest difference she has found:
“I can choose the client I want to work with as a freelancer,” she said. “At an agency, you are mainly put on an account and you have only moderate freedom to choose.”
What are the challenges of freelancing in PR? The opportunities?
Our pros shared that one of the biggest challenges lies in the confusion many clients have between different services offered.
For example, many people don’t quite understand the difference between marketing, sales and PR, said Ács. This can lead to long email threads and much time wasted trying to explain the services she’s offering, as they compare to others.
Darryl Sparey, MD of performance-driven and comms consultancy Hard Numbers, makes a great point about this issue. For many people, understanding the PR industry is still a work in progress:
A second major challenge freelance pros face includes managing the ups and downs, Michelle Garrett said. To prepare for the unexpected, she recommends working as much as you can while work is available during the ‘ups’ so that you have money aside for the ‘downs.’
Today’s post-pandemic conditions have brought on a huge ‘up’ for many freelancers. We discussed how there is a trend of companies hiring freelancers to meet their business goals in a time of transition:
What is your best advice for PR pros looking to go freelance?
Connections, connections, connections! They really are everything...
And never let the hard times shut you down.
“I found that the greatest achievements come right after the greatest disappointments,” Propel CEO Zach Cutler said. “The high always comes after the low. Sunrise is right after the darkest part of the night. Same in business, same in life.”
There’s so much to be excited about as a freelancer in 2021. We hope the pros were able to leave you with some guidance while navigating your freelance path!
If this #PRChat recap left you wanting more (of course it did), we’ve got you covered. Hop on Twitter for the next one on July 5 at 1 p.m. EST / 6 p.m. BST where we’ll discuss advice for agency owners on mergers and acquisitions with comms experts Andrew Bloch and James Herring. You won’t want to miss this!
To learn more about Propel, book a demo with our team below.