Let nobody tell you that going out on your own is easy.
You’re walking away from a well-paid job, with a generous pension and all the usual perks associated with being employed by an established agency. You’re also leaving behind a vibrant team of colleagues and clients, many of whom you would call friends.
Say goodbye to the monthly salary landing in your bank account by direct debit every month. Holiday and sick leave? That’s a laugh.
Saturdays are no longer a visit to a pub, you’ll be finalising retainer contracts, checking your invoice process and preparing for the week ahead. I’ve been working all week with a serious cold, because being off work is not an option, especially during launch week.
On my first day it was pointed out that there was a problem with the phone line. At first I thought, “It’s OK I’ll just call IT.”
Then I remembered there is no IT, it’s just me.
Going out on your own is scary, but if like me, you’re a devil for risk-taking then it can also be a tremendously exhilarating experience.
Yes I’ve gone from a large office of over 70 people, to a much smaller operation with myself and one other team member.
I’ve been bouncing in and around London all week, new business lunches, brunches, meeting with my accountants, lawyers, clients, partners and friends.
The messages of support and congratulations have been overwhelming. At least 800 over Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and text. Inbound connections include jobs, new business leads, offers of advice, support and guidance during this terrifying time.
Over 1,300 people have now visited the Centropy website, not a bad start for our first week in the industry. I’ve also been supported by several other agency owners and MDs in the tech PR sector – you know who you are, and thanks again for being there with kind words of support when I’ve needed them most.
It was also nice to speak to new agency owners and former bosses, the guys who have recently launched in the last two years. These are the mentors that saw me coming up through the ranks, they know my weaknesses and helped me improve and overcome them.
Centropy was designed specifically to challenge the status quo and offer a culture and service unseen in the industry until now. What’s nice about running the show is that you have total control over what this vision looks like.
That’s what challenger brands are for, to keep established agencies on their toes and offer choice and opportunity for a whole new generation of PR professionals. Going softy-softly isn’t our style, it never has been.
Next week I’ll be sitting down with my team to discuss employment perks, office culture, company values, charities and social action projects. We’ll be working hard to offer flexible working opportunities and enabling staff to relish working with us and love the industry.
We have a major new business pitch coming up next week – so the weekend will be spent preparing research, finalising the slides and designing the narrative.
Welcome to the world of independence, uncertainty and opportunity.
I’m loving every minute of it.