“Congratulations, we all liked the pitch and are appointing you as our PR agency.”
Like many PR guys, these are words I’ve heard numerous times before.
When you get news like this what usually follows is a team celebration, a round of exaggerated but enjoyable congratulatory emails and then a well-deserved visit to the pub. You leave the terms, conditions and detail to the operations team and the number crunchers.
Yet when you are self-employed something strange happens.
The conversation unexpectedly continues; “Now we need company registration details to list you as a supplier and a proper contract in place to protect both sides, can you also send us an upfront invoice asap.”
Contract? Invoice? Supplier listings! These are not my responsibility surely, let’s just hand them over to the admin junkies. I’m just the PR guy, after all.
Again, just like the absent IT support in my last post, this one sits firmly with the founder.
You set aside several hours to get the contract right, one typo or error and you could find yourself in a legal pickle or even lose out on revenues.
You check, double check, triple check and still you find an error, whether that’s a stray comma or a bullet point that’s irritatingly out of synch with the rest.
It’s getting late, it’s 10.27pm but that feels like an early finish. Your eyes are tired, you’re entering a zone where you can so easily make mistakes, which is career suicide when you’re in start-up mode.
The revenues are coming in but, when do you make the next hire? On paper, you’re loaded, in reality the pipeline dips in the New Year. You have nightmares about running out of money, or living off your credit card for the next six months.
It’s time to get the new business pipeline firmed up, so the Centropy branded cupcakes are being dispatched to all warm leads and supporters. They’re very expensive, but clients love them and you’re bound to get a positive response.
I’m on the train into London for meet and greets, networking events and early stage creds meetings. You don’t have the infrastructure, awards and usual brand recognition to support you so every conversation and interaction counts.
Q1 is all about making noise, nailing down client contracts and building a pipeline that can take your agency forward.
Succeed or fail, it’s down to you, and you alone.