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@Marc_Meyer1 Hey friend, since your comment appears at the top as the most recent, I wanted to record what we discussed via Twitter: you absolutely can take a vacation! I unplug completely for a minimum of one week every year (and have for my 18 years as an indie), usually 2-3 weeks a year, all while working with Fortune 500 clients. You just need to build a network of supportive colleagues, which fortunately isn't difficult to do.
1 month, 1 week ago on 5 reasons why the solo consultant lifestyle isn't all it's cracked up to be
@arikhanson It's funny, when I worked in a traditional office, I was always trying to power through my work so I could get home. I'm a very social person, but I typically skipped water cooler chit chat and group lunches. For those reading this post, if this is you... you'd make a great indie! :-)
1 month, 2 weeks ago on 5 reasons why the solo consultant lifestyle isn't all it's cracked up to be
I'm not sure who made people think being an independent consultant is easy and glamorous -- maybe the same people who think PR is, too? J There's no such thing as a free lunch, and being an indie consultant is no exception. As the Solo PR blog/community founder, I'm admittedly a little more bullish on being indie than some, but there are some antidotes to a few of the downsides you describe...
For credibility (or cache, as Shonali notes), dropping the names of your clients goes a long way to help with that, but you're right that certain people will judge (says more about them than us, IMO). Vacations can be arranged if you have a trusted fellow indie to back you up (I usually unplug completely for at least one week each year), and it's possible to arrange your commitments so you can take that two week trip to Hawaii -- just not very often. And I personally love being a slob. J
I founded Solo PR specifically to help with the teamwork aspect, and many who aren't solo don't realize just how supportive we are of each other. However, there are some people who truly need lots of human contact and miss it greatly when it's not there. Those people are typically not cut out for this career path.
Overall, no disagreement -- you've nailed the primary pitfalls. But those of us who've been at it a long time (18 years for me!) have found ways to work around them, and the joys of working for clients you love on your own terms -- and usually for much more money than you'd make at a traditional job -- more than outweigh any downsides.
You had me until the end when you said "takes a shower." :-) Fun post!
3 months, 2 weeks ago on So, God made a PR pro
A lot of folks have always known PR is about more than media relations but, as you note in the comments below, a lot of folks does not equal everyone (and everyone in PR needs to get on board toute suite!). I don't think change is just scary- it also can be hard. Continually evolving and learning takes an investment of time, which some people don't want to give. Good for you for giving this well-worded prodding!
4 months ago on The Future of PR: Beyond Media Relations
Thanks for sharing, Gini! One thing I find interesting is that you closed most of the business when you had a chance to slow down and focus on that aspect of the biz dev. It shows how both networking hustle and focused follow-up are both necessary (the latter is too easy to put off for many folks). The fullest pipeline in the world does nothing unless you can ink the deal - congrats to you for capitalizing on all your hard work!
5 months, 3 weeks ago on How to Get Big Things Done
Hi Arik- you know what? Over the past 24 hours, I'm on my way to changing my position on this issue. Yesterday, I felt that as long as people were expressing their opinions respectfully and with reasoned arguments, it's not a bad thing (and perhaps even a healthy part of democracy).
But today, not only am I shocked by some of the discourse on Facebook in particular, but I have a very personal example of how our political comments can be offensive in ways we don't intend. Allow me to share:
In response to my FB post this morning about the vitriol, a former work colleague messaged to tell me that I've offended her in the past (so she felt I was being hypocritical). This is because after North Carolina voted in favor of the anti-gay marriage amendment earlier this year, my FB stream was full of people expressing "everyone in NC is an idiot"- type sentiment, so I posted something in support of the "good people" of NC who voted against it.
It was more political than I usually am, and in my mind I was expressing a more moderate view (to not paint everyone in the state with the same broad brush). However, my friend read this to mean that those who voted for it were "bad people" (and in her memory, that's what I said: "you proclaimed that those of us who prevailed were the bad people of NC"). I understand that what I said was snarky, and now I can see how this was the implication.
So, here I've shared in a more public way a bit about my politics, but I think it's a good example of what you're talking about. What I've decided is this: social media makes it necessary to boil the complexities of our positions down to a sentence or two, which makes things more divisive than they need to be.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on Should PR folks be sharing their political viewpoints on Facebook?
@commammo @ScottSchablow You're both right, of course. Good reminder that common sense and legal ramifications are not one and the same!
6 months, 3 weeks ago on AT&T Loses Case; News Release Held Under Paid Advertising Laws
I'm going to be the devil's advocate here, and say that - while I get where everyone is coming from re: the historical event - I also understand Mr. Yeager's point. They could have referenced the breaking of the sound barrier without using his name. I believe the company was, in fact, trying to affiliate their new technology with the impressive reputation of Chuck Yeager (without compensating him for doing so).
As a silly example, I could say "X years ago, Gini Dietrich founded the Spin Sucks blog (sorry, I don't know exactly how long it's been!). Today, Kellye Crane is [insert something relatively unrelated]." I don't think anyone would find that kosher.
Regardless of where we stand on this particular issue, it's an important update/reminder - thanks for keeping us in the know, Gini.
@AmandaOleson This is the second strong recommendation for Woobox I've seen this week. Good to know - thanks!
7 months ago on What's the best app for linking your Pinterest page to your Facebook page?
Great roundup, Arik! I've been poking around the recommendations feature, trying to figure out if it impacts search results (i.e., will a person with more recs for a particular skill rank higher when that skill is searched for?). I don't see that it's necessarily the case now, but I'd assume that's where it's going. Did you come across anything on this in your research?
7 months, 1 week ago on How do LinkedIn's new enhancements grade out for brands/users?
Wow- what a cool thing this is! I don't know Allen as well as I'd like, but she's one of those people who's always freely sharing her smartness online, making you want to know her more. Congrats to Gini on an exciting hire, and look forward to hearing more from Allen on the AD team!
8 months, 3 weeks ago on #FollowFriday: Allen Mireles
@ginidietrich We weren't talking about Chick-fil-A on the #solopr chat, but since @cloudspark mentioned it, I thought I'd share that I've learned a couple things (which relate to this post) over the past week, too: 1. You can't have a completely non-partisan discussion online about anything related to politics (even if the issue seems PR-only to you); 2. Even if 90-95% of the discussion is non-partisan, people will focus on the parts that are; and 3. If you raise an issue, *everyone* who is offended - on both sides - will blame you. Lessons learned!
9 months, 2 weeks ago on Blogging Mistakes Equal Lessons Learned
Love that you always share with us the bumps along the way -- congrats on this new chapter!
12 months ago on Arment Dietrich Creates Partnership with Thornley Fallis
Fun post. Best part is, as I read it, you're moving to Atlanta - smart move! You forgot to mention all the fabulous people here. :-)
(Disclaimer: for anyone reading this comment who didn't carefully read the post above, he didn't actually say that.)
1 year, 1 month ago on 8 realizations while unplugging for a week
Love that you pulled back the covers here, Jay! I find it especially interesting that you've defined what you want from the blog first, and then you look at the audience. Having a laser focus on one's audience is critical, but taking a step back to ensure you're doing it in a way that gets you where you want to go is what determines success. I can do a better job of the latter, so thanks for the guidance!
1 year, 1 month ago on Redesigning Your Blog to Drive Reader Behavior
Once a solo PR pro, always part of our community! You're a shining example of how we're all the architects of our own careers -- each person's path will be different. Can't wait to see what comes next in your next chapter!
1 year, 1 month ago on Change: It’s A-Comin’
Thanks for sharing some of the tools available to accomplish each of your points, @kamichat (a couple are new to me)! I got on the data bandwagon a couple years ago when Katie Paine told me the top PR university programs are requiring statistics. As @allenmireles notes, it's part of our required skillset now, and it's time the veterans (ahem) in our field hop on the bandwagon -- it's actually a great opportunity!
1 year, 1 month ago on Big Data: Five Essential Skills for Public Relations to Master
Great points about how entrepreneurs can be scrappy and forego what larger companies feel are necessities. I'd add one more item to the optional list: employees. Especially initially, using a network of highly qualified subcontractors can give a lot of flexibility to a growing business (and it makes adding team members a little less scary!). From solo PR pros to virtual assistants, independent contractors are available for almost any need -- I've run my virtual PR agency for 16 years this way.
1 year, 2 months ago on Making the Leap from Executive to Entrepreneur
Shonali "Selective sharing" - so true. BTW- shared this post with my husband -- even non-PR pros can learn from the information you've laid out here so well. Thanks!
1 year, 3 months ago on 7 PR Lessons Komen for the Cure Didn’t Know It Was Giving You