[2 minute read]
The hustle and bustle of agency life can tire even the strongest among us. In a recent study provided by Mavenlink, 63% of employees said they'd leave their current positions for steady contract or freelance work. The freelance life allows professionals to make their own schedules, choose their own clients and devote their time to projects that truly interest them.
We spoke with Paris Tyler on her recent transition to the freelance consulting life and she shared her ups, downs and advice for anyone also interested in taking that leap.
Who are you and where are you from?
I'm a PR consultant based in NYC but from Columbus, Ohio by way of Chicago.
What has your experience been working in the media industry?
I have more than 10 years experience spanning both consumer and B2B PR in addition to social media, working at various agencies such as Edelman, Weber Shandwick and DKC across brands such as McDonald's, got milk?, Kellogg's and Intel Security. I also worked briefly in-house at Combs Enterprises managing PR programs across Sean "Diddy" Combs' portfolio of brands before my move into consulting.
How did you transition from working in a corporate public relations space to becoming a consultant?
After parting ways with an agency last year, I decided to step out on faith and make the leap into entrepreneurship. I had known for a while I wanted to be an independent consultant and realized in that moment that it was the perfect time to begin my journey.
Can you explain what a consultant is and what prompted you to do it full time?
I provide clients with my PR and communications expertise and services that may not have financial resources to have someone on staff in-house or retain a larger agency. For this type of work, I believe full-time is best given the need to really be available to your clients and media during normal business hours (e.g. 9am-6pm) during a work week.
What has been most rewarding about this new career path?
I absolutely love the freedom I have with being an independent consultant. I have full ownership of direction on strategy and tactics with my clients to help them essentially increase their reach and visibility to help grow their businesses. And to see the rewards whether through media coverage, hearing spikes in web traffic or customer conversions makes it even more rewarding and fulfilling.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you've faced when creating your brand and establishing yourself for this freelance/consultant lifestyle?
With any business, there are moments of "dry" seasons where the opportunities may not be as great or consistent. This can just be dependent on budgets or even lack of marketing oneself. With that I am learning the shifts I need to make in marketing myself while also planning for those unexpected periods of when business may not always be as consistent. That means that as much time you're spending working on your client work, make sure you're also dedicating time to your own business – searching for new businesses that you may want to work with and creating content that your clients or prospective clients may be of interest to them.
[bctt tweet=”With any business, there are moments of dry seasons.” url=”http:/bit.ly/2gQBOPw”]
I would say the other obstacle is standing strong in the face of "no." There will be moments when not every prospect wants to work with you, or someone that verbally committed has decided to change their mind. Those moments will come and while disappointing, it helps you continue to clearly define your brand and the competitive advantage you have over others in your field.
What advice would you give others who are interested in doing what you do?
I would encourage those individuals to make time to network and really build relationships. As cliché as it may sound, your network really does matter. With PR, it really is about the relationships you have with media. Attend media panels or workshops to learn what they're covering or looking for with their outlets. Try to grab coffee and check in when possible. But as an entrepreneur, networking really does provide you with an avenue to build and connect with like-minded individuals who are on a similar path as you. It's during those events, workshops or conferences where you find people who may have a solution for the problem you're facing and are able to be a resource to further help your business or even your clients.