By: Annie Scranton Founder and CEO of Pace Public Relations
In my first career, I was a television news producer, having worked at major networks such as Fox News, HLN, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN and ABC. Ever since I was old enough to remember what I wanted to “do” with my life, it involved working in television.
However, when I turned 27, five years into my TV career, some of the luster started to fade. News was such a grind with crazy hours and crazy stress, but beyond that, I just felt like it wasn’t creative enough for me anymore. I felt pigeonholed into my one specific title (Booker) and felt like I could, and should, be doing more in my career.
As fate would have it, I got laid off from “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” a CNBC program, when it got canceled from the network. A cushy payout from NBC Universal and the prompting of another publicist is what led me to make the transition into Public Relations (three years later).
Owning my own PR firm now was a great move for my professionally. Repping the kinds of clients I do allows me to still stay connected to the TV News world (I often book my clients on the networks I used to work for), but it also allows me to expand my daily work to other mediums, meaning print, web and radio. I’m able to think outside of the box more and ultimately, of course, call the shots – something I had never experienced in my first career, but realized (quickly) that I enjoyed very much.
Three years in and we’re a million dollar company, something I am so proud of. That success would not have been possible had I not stayed connected with former producer colleagues who I worked with over the years. Relationships are everything – in my line of work, and in most. Without easy access to the producers at big shows – I wouldn’t have a business anymore, no matter how many high-paying clients I could get to sign.
The similarities are many between owning my own PR firm and working as a TV News producer – long hours, high demands and a lot of pressure. But that’s where it ends. Since technically all I need to run my business is a computer and the Internet, I can work from anywhere (although we do have an office in midtown Manhattan). Working from the beach in the summer is a real treat, as is technically being allowed to leave work or go in whenever I want.
Even though I was technically “on” all the time in TV, now I understand the real meaning of being connected 24/7. I have to make myself available to clients- and of course reporter’s demands if they are on deadline. That means that whether it’s 6am or 10pm – I need to be connected. Additionally, now my office is three people. Working in TV I would see hundreds of people daily and have many office interactions. I miss that, for sure. But ultimately, being an entrepreneur is what I love and I would recommend it to anyone in the world who is thinking about taking the plunge.
Just make sure you have the demand; the ability to get the clients; and the discipline to work really, really hard. The payoff, both financially and personally, will be worth it.
As printed in The Startup Voice. Original version can be found here: http://www.thestartupvoice.com/2014/01/leveraging-your-clients-to-build-a-business/