I love PR Daily and the breezy articles they post each day, but I was a bit taken aback by Arik Hanson’s post, The Challenges of Working as a Solo PR Consultant. It bothered me because one, if you’re just starting out and read this, you get a very dismal view of solopreneurship, and two, it’s full of mind viruses.
Working solo is what you make of it. Herewith, my view of the BENEFITS of working as a solo consultant.
It’s as glamorous as you make it
Yes, it’s true, that when you work out of your home, you’re not working out of some fancy corporate office (read: cube) surrounded by rolling grass, mirrored windows, a cafeteria, vending machines and all that stuff.
But, that doesn’t mean your workplace has to be . . . well, tacky. If you’re just starting out, or even if you’ve been solo awhile, create the office of your dreams. I’ve been in business 15 years and last month completely redid my office from the ground up. I love coming to work each day!
Two, get dressed each day. Staying in your pajamas is just plain lazy. Make a habit to get up, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, meditate and THEN start your day. I used to check email as soon as the alarm went off — which is how the pajama habit gets started — but I broke myself of that habit. How? I stopped using my iPhone as an alarm clock and bought the beautiful clock pictured for my nightstand instead. My phone charges overnight in the living room.
I also advise taking a page from the late Zig Ziglar. As soon as the “opportunity clock” goes off, jump out of bed, clap your hands and say, “Today is going to be a wonderful day because of all the opportunity headed my way.” You simply can’t stay in your pajamas after that — and you head off to the shower smiling and upbeat.
Build your own credibility
Sure, DH Communications, Inc. isn’t up there with Apple and Nabisco, but I have made a name for myself. You build credibility by speaking, writing articles for other publications, such as the Content Marketing Institute, posting case studies to your website and specializing in a niche (such as business-to-business marketing).
The hours, my friends, are FABULOUS
I read somewhere that you should create your ideal day that revolves around how you’d like to work. I did that — and then after reading, Be Excellent at Anything by Tony Schwartz, I created my ideal week. My energy level is pretty high Mondays and Tuesdays. By Wednesday, I’m tired. So I work until about 2:30 and then I go do a double workout at the gym, make a leisurely dinner, etc. Doing this allows me to recharge and roar through Thursday and Friday. By Friday afternoon I’m beat again. My ideal week includes eight hours of sleep each night and four gym workouts. I have lots of downtime.
Vacations are pretty good too
I’m not sure where this whole idea comes from that once you go out on your own, you can’t take vacations. You need vacations to recharge. Each time I take a vacation (and I generally take off two+ weeks each year plus long weekends), I usually come back to new gigs waiting for me. Plus I feel better. And, I’m brimming with ideas.
You can create your own virtual team
Working solo doesn’t mean working alone. I’m quite fortunate in that I’ve built a wonderful virtual team in the last few years.
Arik didn’t cover this point in his post, but the other meme I hear constantly is that when you work solo, you go for days without seeing another living soul except your cat or dog. Again, this is simply not true — if you create opportunities to get out and meet people. The things I’ve done over the years, and still do, to ensure I have a social life include:
- Asking business colleagues and friends out to lunch or dinner.
- Going to the gym (exercise will make you think better anyway).
- Calling another solo consultant friend spur of the moment and meeting for cocktails.
- Inviting people over for dinner.
- Saying “yes” anytime anyone invites me out.
- Attending chamber of commerce networking functions.
- Getting involved with industry associations (helps build credibility too).
Being a solo consultant and working out of your house is what you make of it. If you see yourself as a pj-wearing non-entity with zero credibility, that’s what you’ll become. Or, you can see yourself as the CEO of your one person company and conduct yourself accordingly.
What other benefits do you see in working solo? Post your responses below.