In January, I launched Belle Communications, a public relations, social media and marketing company that works with specialty food brands and start-ups. I spent the past year re-evaluating what I wanted to do after leaving the hectic agency world for a marketing job with a state association.
I had already spent a lot of time investing in my social media and professional networks, and gathering a potential client base. It all just clicked.
After I gave my notice I was looking at profiles on LinkedIn and seeing people with 15 or 20 years of experience who didn't have their own businesses. I had been in the industry for six years, and I remember thinking 'What am I doing?' I had a few people tell me I should wait until I had more experience.
But I think you have to follow your gut. I've definitely learned a lot in the past four months about negotiation, writing contracts and making sure that you get a deposit for work. My current clients include a vegan, gluten-free dessert company, a gluten-free cereal company and a tech start up. I'm providing PR and securing media placements, helping with their social media strategies and writing content for their websites and newsletters. The upside: I'm already exceeding the income I was making at my agency job.
It's not uncommon to receive a few negative reviews, but what's the best way to handle it? Don't call commenters punks, for starters.