I love ProfNet. The media queries come to my in-box. I reply to those that are a fit for my commentary. And media results flow. This time, my own name and company name got the ink in the Washington Post and well beyond, thanks to a story by a reporter for the Associated Press.
The media query was seeking people to comment on the adjustments to be made when managing kids and pets, while running a business from home. Here is how I replied:
I started my boutique PR and DIY publicity training and tools company in February of 2001 during one of the toughest recessions on record in the USA. Because of the recession, the PR firm I worked for eliminated my position. At the time, we were working with a lot of high tech companies that failed when the dot.com bubble burst. Undaunted, I put out my shingle in pursuit of clients in the “comfort and joy” space, including Fran Bigelow of Fran's Chocolates Ltd., Olympic Hot Tub Company, Affirmagy, and Seattle Chocolate Company. When folks aren't buying high technology, they are most certainly comforting themselves with premium chocolates hot tubs, affirmation blankets, and the like. Business is still going strong, almost nine years later, as we face a recession even more daunting than the last one. There have been powerful lessons learned along the way.
* You have to build a “dream team” of players that includes someone to support your information technology (IT) needs, a webmaster to manage website issues that require expertise you don't have, a lawyer to set up your business properly, a bookkeeper to keep track of the money, and a CPA to make sure you are doing the right things consistently.
* Working alone can be isolating. It's important to join a professional networking organization or trade group so you can connect with other like-minded professionals, access quality referrals to clients and service providers, and have your pulse on the marketplace so you can invite the right opportunities to serve and contribute. It's also important to apply discipline and focus to your goals every day because your success or failure rests squarely on your own shoulders.
* If you've worked in a corporate office for any length of time, you have to get used to the fact that there isn't anyone waiting to take your calls for help. You have to learn to do a whole lot of things on a DIY basis, and that can be daunting at times. Be patient with yourself, stay with it, and be sure to keep your eye on the revenue generating ball at all times.
* Never tell a client you have childcare issues to contend with. Rather, offer several windows of availability to meet by phone or in person, without offering detailed explanations about why. Clients want their work done in a winning way on the timetable that suits their needs. As long as you meet their needs in a timely manner with quality leading the way, you and your clients will be well served.
* If the dog barks, simply laugh and say that having your golden retriever by your side is one of the benefits of working independently.
* The buck starts and stops with you. That means you have to evaluate every expenditure carefully, being mindful that earning return on that investment is a priority as a result of the impact you create in the marketplace with whatever it is you are bringing to market.
Most businesses fail within five years, Michael Gerber – author of the E-Myth Revisited — has written. Most people “Escape from Cubicle Nation” — with credit to Pam Slim — with hopes that they can specialize on their genius. What many soon find is that running the business is equally as important as exercising the genius. One without the other isn't good enough. Almost nine years later, I am still running a profitable, home-based business that serves clients in my own backyard … and beyond. I've learned to work on and in my business, and there are still new lessons to learn every day. If I can be of more help to the story you have brewing, it would be my pleasure. You can learn more about me and my company at authenticvisibility.com.
My telephone number appeared in the signature line of my email. A day or two later, the reporter called me. We had a nice chat, and some of my comments earned a place in her story.
For this business owner who would very much like to welcome awareness about Authentic Visibility among publicity-seeking business owners well beyond my own Bellevue, WA backyard, this is a very good thing.
Study the pitch above to see how it addressed the needs of the query at hand, and then start responding to HARO, PR Leads, or ProfNet queries following a similar recipe. The next thing you know it, your comments will traveling beyond your own backyard through the power of free publicity. People will check your website to learn more about you, and wonderful new opportunities will be yours to make the most of.