I took PR internships and jobs anywhere that would take me. My resume holds accolades from big agencies, experimental agencies, boutique agencies, and social media agencies. At each position, I kept telling myself, the next agency will be different; smarter, more creative. I won’t cry at night. Alas, no agency has ever made me as happy as I am as a freelance publicist, out on my own.
Looking back, I can identify six big indicators that suggested a freelance, entrepreneurial professional career was a better for fit for me. Do any of these ring true for you?
You have Restless Desk Syndrome
You feel cooped up, restless and unable to foster your creative thoughts at a desk. Walking, sitting at a coffee shop, or working on a park bench brings inspiration and new ideas for clients.
Office hours feel like a grind
As a freelancer, there are days when I pull long hours, but there are also days I only plug-in for a bit. My work hours often mimic traditional office hours, but I can take the afternoon off, and start up again later into the evening, if that is when inspiration strikes. If the days when you work from home feel like a gift from above and you love the freedom and mobility of creating own schedule, not to mention your own systems, methods and workflows, freelance life may be calling your name.
Leadership comes naturally to you
No one, besides you, will go to bat for you and your work when you’re out on your own. If handling criticism, calls from demanding clients and self-assigned goals keep you thriving, freelance work will put you front and center of the good, and the bad. If you find yourself naturally taking on leadership positions within teams, problem-solving and taking the initiative to grow business, chances are you’ll do find as an independent agent.
You’re a Networking Queen
PR is all about who you know! Whether it’s the media or prospective clients, who do you know and do you find yourself naturally introducing people and being the creator of unique partnerships and collaborations?
I get coffee with about 10 new people a week. While meeting with them, I look for opportunities connect them with as many people as I can. I believe in “giver’s gain;” and can point to this approach as the number one reason all of my business comes from referrals.
Hustle Is Your Middle Name
You hustle! You not only work at your current job, but you take on small side clients, consultations, and volunteer when and where you can. From random event gigs on the weekends to managing the Instagram account of your favorite boutique, you strive to put as much into each day as possible. If you are capable of taking care of multiple client needs and “handling it;” in addition to your full-time job, this freelance stuff will be totally manageable. After all, client work is just one of the responsibilities of running your own business.
You’ve got #GirlBoss Aspirations
You are simultaneously empowered and devastated when you read articles about the girl bosses making millions from pursuing their dreams. You know an agency career trajectory will never give you that life and aspire to run the show, not just be the VP.
Freelancing is not for the weak. If you’re determined to be as well-known as Kelly Cutrone or have the confidence of fictional Samantha Jones, the fastest way forward is by building up your own reputation and name, not that of an existing agency. Freelancing has perks, like having the option to work in sweatpants, being able to work from wherever there is an internet connection and having a glass of wine whenever you feel like it. The freedom I feel from building a life on my terms and my timeline is truly why you won’t find me at a desk.
Freelancing has perks, like having the option to work in sweatpants, being able to work from wherever there is an internet connection, not to mention and having a glass of wine whenever you feel like it. But for me, the freedom I feel from building a life on my terms and my timeline is truly why you won’t find me sitting at an agency desk anytime soon.
Sabrina is a Chicago-based publicist. Whether her clients are looking to learn how to be their own publicist or are in need of a PR arm for their company, Sabrina Wottreng Public Relations has products and services for their needs. In her spare time, Sabrina takes classes at The Second City and can be found riding her Ducati Monster.