Hey Freelance PR Consultant: How’s it Going?

10 Jun

I ran into a some of my old clients at the coffee shop today.  Like many others who haven’t seen me in some time, they asked me “How’s it going?” A loaded question — when you’re running your own business, you want to answer that question with what can be an elusive combination of confidence, competence and openness to new opportunities.

It also struck me that there’s no reason why the blog can’t answer the “how’s it going” question for me once in awhile.  And so, with your indulgence, a bit about me today.  Here’s how it’s going:

I started Kadet Communications in September 2007.  Since then, I’ve engaged with a diverse set of clients:  a systems integrator, a private school, a large technology company, a local restaurant run by a ‘star chef’, an industry association, and an Internet startup.

When I started out, most of my business came from contracting back with my old employer.  That business has been completely replaced.  Looking ahead, I’d love to add one or two good client relationships to the mix.

Projects have included:

  • Designing and executing a research-based brand re-positioning program to help a company better describe itself in marketing and sales.  Based on the new positioning, rewrote advertising and marketing copy, and developed a new navigation strategy for their website re-design.
  • Coaching an organization in how to overcome negative internal  perceptions, creating strategies, messages and vehicles for presenting positive stories about the organization’s future; and placed a positive story in the local daily newspaper.
  • Writing new brand guidelines to express an established company’s new, more focused marketing strategies.
  • During a time when public opinion has begun to align against them, counseling an industry association on communications strategy and set up meetings with media opinion leaders.
  • Playing a key role in a start-up venture’s efforts to define a new brand, describe a complex business model and develop a successful communications and marketing strategy.

My work has, amazingly, been just the type of work I wanted when I went on my own:  Helping clients with complex stories to tell those stories better. Delivering them solid, workable, creative and effective communications, branding and social media strategies.  And doing more storytelling — both for clients and here on this blog.

I’ve benefited from the kind referrals of friends, family and colleagues.  I’m having fun, meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends and colleagues.  What more can you ask for out of work?

Comments, referrals, questions and advice are most welcome!

Advertisements

5 Responses to “Hey Freelance PR Consultant: How’s it Going?”

  1. Lisa Jensen June 11, 2008 at 10:57 am #

    I am the catering sales manager for the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln Nebraska.
    I would be very interested to have you come to our city and hotel for any trainings, meetings, or events you may have.
    Please contact me at 402-473-2017

    Thank you and have a great day!

  2. Melissa Paulik July 1, 2008 at 8:04 pm #

    Ken,

    I love this post. I recently (yesterday, in fact) left the company that I was working for. I’m looking at a really cool opportunity within another organization. But, if I don’t get that role, I have been seriously considering going independent. It’s about five years before I had planned to, but I love to fix problems so it’s a natural progression at some point.

    I was thinking about a combination of my blog as well as LinkedIn’s “what are you working on now” and Twitter to announce the change to my extended network in one shot. I’m still trying to word an interim post that doesn’t make me sound indecisive so I may just wait until I’ve made the decision.

    Of course, your readers now have the inside scoop!

    All the best!

    Melissa

  3. Ken Kadet July 2, 2008 at 10:28 am #

    Thanks, Melissa. I like to say that going independent is alternately challenging, daunting and exhilarating. I like the idea of using your social networks to make your announcement … while my former agency is pretty permissive about blogging now, they really hadn’t opened it up much before I left.

    Telling folks briefly that you’re in the midst of a momentous career decision is OK by me … at least it’s honest!

  4. Rebecca August 1, 2008 at 7:11 am #

    Ken,

    I am starting out on my own. It’s so scary. I’m still working my day job until I’m ready to step out full time. I have done a little bit of PR at my current job, but that was safe. I know what to do there. I’m almost worried I won’t know what to do when it’s all up to me. For instance, I have a client through my independent venture who wants me to promote his book. I am meeting with him soon, but I almost feel like I don’t know how to do this.

    How do you overcome this fear? And is there any place that you recommend I can keep learning?

  5. Ken Kadet August 1, 2008 at 9:12 am #

    Rebecca,

    It is scary, but it can be fun. The first question I’d ask you is this: what gave you that confidence that you were ready to go independent, even a little bit? How did you know? Was it the trust of your current colleagues? The faith of your client that you can promote his book? Remember that.

    For my part, I worked at big PR agencies for nearly 16 years before going out on my own. But I remember about 2 years into my career talking to one of my supervisors about how to handle a media situation for our client. After talking a bit, he said, “Ken, you have good instincts. Trust that and you’ll be fine.”

    Instincts are no replacement for the good sense of judgment that comes with experience, but that endorsement kept me going at those times when I’d face the client all by my lonesome and they’d ask me the questions I’d been turning to my supervisors to answer.

    As for where to learn, there’s no one place. Agencies, frankly, are a great training ground, as long as you find one that still has the time and profit margin to support professional development.

    Otherwise, it depends on what you want to learn. I keep up on the latest through news and blogs, go to the occasional seminar and webinar, and try to keep up with other independents who aren’t afraid to call each other for free advice once in awhile.

    Best of luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: