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Aug 25 / King Kaufman

Career advice: Think like a freelancer, even if you’re not one

I really liked this advice from P.R. consultant Kellye Crane on Muck Rack Daily: Run your communications career like a freelance consultant.

Now before you run away screaming that you’re not in P.R., listen to what Crane says after noting that Muck Rack caters to both P.R. people and journalists:

Pros in both groups would be wise to keep their options open for the most opportunities. The day may come when you decide to take the leap and become a freelance consultant [or freelance journalist —KK], or you may need to jump to a new job quickly, so the time to start planning is now.

In other words, good freelancers are always selling themselves. And in today’s media job market, even the “traditionally employed,” in Crane’s words, are not that different. “The typical worker stays at a job for less than five years,” she writes. If that’s true, the typical worker is never far from having to crank up the self-selling machinery. And of course some “typical workers” are also freelancers on the side.

So, whatever your situation, it pays to keep that machinery humming. Here’s Crane’s advice on how to do that. Read her piece for details on each:

1. Network, network, network.

2. Seek diverse experiences. The better to develop diverse skills.

3. Be known for excellence. This one sounds a lot like “Always do good work,” doesn’t it?

4. Pursue big name clients and/or high profile assignments.

5. Financial responsibility. This last one is tough if you’re getting typically low journalist’s pay. But Crane’s point is that, to whatever extent you can, be fiscally responsible. Keep yourself out of debt and try to have a little reserve, so that you’re able to take advantage of risky opportunities if they seem worthwhile.