Free Freelance Career Advice


 Mitch Delaplane



For those of you contemplating a freelance public relations career, listen up.  There’s a common misconception that working for yourself involves the comforts of sleeping-in, not bathing and doing away with all the deadlines and pressures of agency life.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, after two weeks of sleeping-in, avoiding showers and “real work” you’ll find yourself freaking out about your finances and the threat of lice.  In reality, you have to work twice as hard.  You no longer have access to new business development, media relations, crisis and other such specialized teams that the big agencies have (not to mention health coverage, holiday parties and free cake down the hall).


Now, if you’re still interested in entering the freelance rodeo here’s some free, non-billable advice before you ride:


1)      Utilize Social Networking and Stay Connected


I cannot stress the importance of keeping in touch with everybody you know and have known in life enough.  The more people know what you can bring to the table, the better (including your non-agency contacts).  You never know where a lead could come from.  I’ve had friends of friends email me with work after speaking with them before a Cubs game.


2)      Meet With Other Freelancers


I meet with other freelancers about once a month to discuss current client work.  Not only does this force you to put pants on, it keeps you connected to the PR world and can often lead to additional work.  Make the most of these freelancer meetings and discuss what’s working, what isn’t, share contacts, etc.  If you don’t know any freelancers, ask agency HR desks for contacts, Google them or listen for us pitching media at coffee houses across the city (pay attention for words like, “release,” “world’s largest,” “survey,” “per our conversation,” “what about next week,” and “you don’t know how bad I need this national hit, for THE LOVE OF GOD, RUN THIS STORY!”).


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