To mark National Freelancer’s Day, Sarah Hall FCIPR, managing director of Sarah Hall Consulting Ltd, and a board member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), has put together five tips for freelancers to thrive in public relations.
1) Write a really good business plan and keep it by the desk. This is critical to achieving your goals. For example, doing this will give you confidence there is a market out there for you and that you are targeting the right prospects in the right way. What’s more, carrying out a competitor audit will help you identify what your USP is and inform the fee structure you put in place.
2) Work out what you want from your business. If it’s a lifestyle business and you want to spend more time with your friends and family, that’s fine - just make sure you structure things accordingly and manage your own and others’ expectations. If your ultimate dream is to grow, make sure you build a talented team around you with the same vision and reward them as you reach key milestones.
3) Get networking. One of the best things you can ever do is to get out and about so people know who you are. You can network successfully on and offline and it’s a great way to raise your profile – just don’t bore people with a hard sell!
4) Never start work without a contract in place or at the very least having clear terms and conditions set down in writing. Being clear on what your payment terms are should help avoid any difficult conversations and issues further down the road.
5) Get a great accountant who you understand and who understands you. They are out there! This will stop you missing any key dates or being landed with a tax bill you weren’t expecting. You’d be surprised how many people get caught out.
The CIPR has also made publicly available ‘Top Tips for Freelancers’, exclusively for readers of The Drum. This guide forms part of the CIPR’s member-only bank of over 80 Skills Guides covering areas from ‘Public Relations Strategy and Planning’ to ‘Crisis and Risk Management’.