Setting up a Shingle

I’ve written before about the hit that marketing, advetising, and public relations takes during a recession. I serve on the Board for PRSA-MD, and half of the Board members have gotten laid off this year. This statistic is also high for our members. With a plethora of talented advertising, marketing, and public relations professionals glutting the workforce, hitting up against a limited number of available jobs, particularly for senior-level professionals, it’s no wonder that more and more advertising, marketing, and public relations mavens are deciding to set up shop on their own.

Some advice:

Find your niche. Have you dealt with alot of restaurants? Maybe a larger percentage of your past work has been with automotive? Do you have alot of experience planning large events? Small events? Whatever it is, find your niche, and market it. Just like any large company, you need to differentiate yourself from all the other sole practitioners out there.

Professionalism. Answer voicemails and e-mails promptly. Put together a slick Web site. Have business cards made up. From day one, put your best foot forward – after all, in this industry, more than any other (other than the straight beauty industry), impressions have a huge impact.

Hit up your contacts. Hey, it can’t hurt, and it may even help. Get the word out that you’re providing your considerable knowledge and experience under your own name. You never know who knows who, or who has heard of what opportunity.

Network. Join a professional group, join a local networking group, attend career educational events. Come armed with business cards.

Elevator speech. Have your standard ‘elevator speech’ – a one or two sentence description of what your company does, and why you do it better than anyone else – down pat.

Essentially, start out with how you want to finish. Take the time to put together a business plan – it will guide all your decisions.

Good luck!

1 thought on “Setting up a Shingle

  1. Great advice – especially the networking. I personally found that the key to our current success. And there’s another reason to network – when you hang out a shingle you’re generally pretty alone. Your network can provide a sounding board, a comfort zone and way to get out.

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