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To get into freelance PR, you will ideally want to get several years of experience working at a public relations agency or in the public relations division of a business before you break out on your own. In addition, you should develop a sound business plan, preferably with the assistance of a business or accounting professional. Networking is also crucial: as a freelancer, you will need to be continually seeking new clients, so be prepared to tap both your personal and professional networks on a regular basis so that you can grow your business. You’ll also need those contacts for when you need to target your PR efforts.
If you are considering a freelance PR career and are currently working, make sure that you maintain a strong, positive relationship with your boss and colleagues. It is not unusual for employers to become clients of former employees who go freelance, so you certainly won't want to risk losing such a potentially valuable client through substandard job performance or an inconsiderate departure. Additionally, your former employer may also be an excellent source of referrals for your business.
You should also pay attention to the practical, logistical aspects of starting your own freelance business, particularly in the area of finances. Ideally, you should have a significant nest egg stowed away so that you can support yourself while you build your business. Meeting with a financial planner or accountant who specializes in advising freelancers can be a sound investment in your business as well as your own financial health. Consult with an attorney in the development of a contract or agreement that you can use with clients so as to protect your legal interests.
Make sure that your friends, family members and industry colleagues are aware that you have now providing freelance PR services. Getting personal referrals can be the most cost-effective way of building your business. In addition, if any of these people are in the media or work for businesses that can be potential targets for PR campaigns, you'll be in a better position to serve your clients by having these connections.
Maintain your skills and knowledge as a freelance PR person by attending industry events and completing ongoing training and educational programs. These programs are available through local community colleges and universities, adult education programs as well as industry workshops and conventions. By keeping your skills up to date and soliciting feedback from colleagues and educators, you can improve the results that you get for your clients resulting in additional referrals and long-term business relationships.
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