4 lessons learned this year as a solopreneur publicist

As they say, hindsight is 20/20; after we complete projects, analyze data and report results, we’re able to learn what did and did not work, how, why, etc. Rather than seeing negative results as mistakes, it’s important to find takeaways to turn them into lessons.

As someone who wears MANY hats in business, I’m responsible for so many different areas of business – from the work itself to handling taxes, hiring interns, and more. This was an important year for me, and a lot of that has to do with the evolving that’s occured as the result of lessons learned.

Here are a few things I’ve learned in work and in life so far in 2018:

1. GO FOR THE UPGRADE

When distributing news via newslines or newswires, it is worth the upgrade for the industry tags. Don’t cut corners when it comes to your campaign! While I saw significant visibility and press features come out of my distributed content earlier in the year, I came to realize the hefty price tag on specific industry targets would have been worth it to drive even better results. Speaking of upping investments, another thing I’ve learned this year is in regards to social media promotion. If you’re not willing to get at least $50 invested in a boosted post, you’re just not going to see results you’ll be satisfied with – and neither will your clients. While it’s a very affordable advertising tactic in the grand scheme of things, it’s imperative to be wise in putting your dollars into strategic campaigns that drive real results. Money talks.

2. DEVELOP AN INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

Finding quality interns is hard, but not impossible. Rather than relying on just social media or job forums, reaching out directly to colleges can be highly effective. Solidify your interns before school is in session and then fine tune availability when they have their workload situated. I found it super helpful this summer to have a “lesson plan” and syllabus for my intern to keep things productive and on track. A few of the “lessons” I created I even repurposed into blog posts and information for my Facebook group, Perry Rose Media Insiders. Tracking your intern’s accomplishments in correlation to a syllabus also comes in handy when you’re evaluating your intern at both the midpoint and end of the internship.

IF YOU’RE NOT WILLING TO GET AT LEAST $50 INVESTED IN A BOOSTED POST, YOU’RE JUST NOT GOING TO SEE RESULTS YOU’LL BE SATISFIED WITH – AND NEITHER WILL YOUR CLIENTS.

3. SELF COMES FIRST

A serious lesson I learned in this year was in my work-life balance – or lack of. Even though I had a pretty tough year this year personally, I honestly felt confident that I had my routine down. Sure I didn’t get enough sleep some nights, or hit the espresso hard some mornings. But I came to a point mid-July where my body had had enough. I physically shut down. And that’s when my eyes opened up – it was time to not only prioritize my work – it was time to prioritize myself. While it’s still a work in progress, I’m making an effort to manage the life part of work-life balance. My biggest struggle: shutting off completely when I’m not working.

4.TAXES, YES TAXES

Not the most favored area of business, but no doubt important – not having your taxes set up can cause you major headaches – and take away from your productivity time. Whether you’re paying your taxes quarterly, bi-annually or just at tax time, it’s so important to keep track of your expenses throughout the year. When it came time to filing taxes this year, I was missing quite a few miles and expenses that I could claim that would make a MAJOR difference in my return. Thanks to my fantastic tax rep, I got approved for an extension. I notated all the expenses I could find, which took days – but it was worth it. To keep things much simpler this year, I’ve purchased the QuickBooks app (though there are many platforms you can use) and now track my purchases far more regularly. Next year, I’ll be much better prepared and won’t waste nearly as much time getting things in order. (ed note: We love Bench for this purpose!)

Well, there you have it – four straightforward but super important lessons I’ve taken away from my work and life in 2018. It can be hard to run a boutique PR agency, and there’s little time to stop and deal with preventable mishaps. I hope these lessons help you steer clear of time consuming and frustrating moments.