In Gone Missing, I mentioned one of my goals was to launch a new business venture–Plain Speaking Communications. As some of you might know, I was a former public relations executive. In 2007, I resigned from my agency job because I no longer wanted to work with clients in the toy industry or with any kid/mom related products or services.
When I launched my marketing communications consultancy, I made several mistakes. The first one was to not have a plan. My belief was that I didn’t need a roadmap to run my business because creativity can’t be chained down. I was lucky that most of my business came through referrals and that led to my second error: I couldn’t be bothered with the time-consuming and expensive networking events. The third error, which I blame as a personality flaw, was arrogance. If it didn’t work out, I could always go back to a high-earning agency job.
Easier said than done.
I managed to get interviews but never made it past the gate-keepers. I was over 40, asking for a lot of money, and I also made it clear to employers that I would only manage the creative aspect of accounts and write. No pitching media (blech). No supervising junior staff. No after work networking events to get more business.
Obviously, that didn’t go over well.
I came to the realization I wasn’t playing the game during the interview process, but I also didn’t want to play the game. I knew that even if I earned more than my last agency job, I’d be miserable because public relation agencies all run under similar business models. If I wanted something different, I would have to make it different. When I figured this out, the recession had hit, I moved to the beach with Greg, and my last client went pfft because he could no longer afford my services. That’s when I made the move to “writer.”
Unfortunately, my timing was off because I entered the industry just when rates plummetted and new media companies were offering “exposure” as compensation. Nonetheless, I eked out a living but the idea of creating my own business to suit me never went away. It was always in the back of my mind, but I had little time to think it through because I was in a constant state of agita when Greg was alive. I was worried about earning enough money to cover my share of the bills; frustrated in the relationship because of his addictions, moodiness, insecurities, and long-term illness. Plus also dealing with both our terrible finances and his bad attitude simply sapped my energy to think of nothing else and focus on the work I had and distract myself with Julius.
It wasn’t until late March of this year–after I received a jargon-filled press release that made no sense–that I revisited the idea of launching my own business. After I read the press release twice, I still had no idea what the agency was publicizing and kvetched to a friend that the majority of the press releases or pitches I received were incomprehensible.
“You should email them and offer your services,” my friend said.
I agreed and then BOOM. The epiphany. New home. New city. New business offering writing and editorial services to individuals and small companies in plain English that everyone can understand.
This time, I won’t ignore the business plan or the networking. As for that arrogance, well, it’s a company of one. As founder, president, bookkeeper, admin assistant, writer, dog walker, and in-house techie, I can’t afford to say I won’t do certain tasks. It is solely up to me to get it all done. Should Plain Speaking become successful, knock on wood, then—maybe—I won’t have to do all the filing and I can hire an assistant.
Where am I now in the process? The domain name has been purchased. Next on the agenda is writing the business plan. I have no intention of becoming a large company, so there’s no need for investors. This plan is my roadmap of where I want the company to be in five years. Once the plan is written then we get to the fun part—designing the website, writing the copy, and finding clients.