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Blogger: Colleen Thayer, APR, CPRC, Central West Coast Chapter

For anyone thinking about going out on their own, or for those who have already done it, Soloprenuers: Building Your Own Business with Karen Swim (Words for Hire), Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC (Hart & Associates), and Jay Morgan, APR, CPRC (Authentic Reputations, LLC) was the session for you.

What a great opportunity to hear from these professionals, Jay who is newer as a solopreneur, Lanette, who has been practicing solo for nearly 10 years, and Karen who is a seasoned pro! While they are at varying stages of their solopreneurships, they share a passion for their work.

It can be done and one size doesn’t fit all

The panel shared many great insight, tips and tools:

  • Each solopreneur has focused their conversation/business model on reputation and being boutique-type agencies with strong customer service.
  • Create a PR plan for yourself, to specifically articulate and understand what you do and what you want to do – and always keep your brand in the forefront.
  • Think like a business, not like an employee.
  • Learn to trust your subcontractors. In planning for client’s needs, build subcontractor relationships and, in some cases, be prepared to be a subcontractor yourself.
  • Start with smaller projects and don’t spend too much time on tactical elements.
  • Partnering can work if that is in your best interest and if you are comfortable with that type of arrangement. Karen calls it “solo plus”
Ups and downs

Losing clients is scary and disheartening and these pros addressed that too. Mourn the loss, that’s normal, always be professional, and hey, if you still have the contact information from the former client pass the information on to someone who may inquire. It shows your professionalism. And you may work with that client again one day.

Finally, these solopreneurs recommend a “monthly budget” (not calling it a retainer anymore) and noted the hardest part is tracking time but it can be done. Freshbooks is one method.

For more information and other resources, visit:

avatar for Jay Morgan-Schleuning, APR, CPRC

Jay Morgan-Schleuning, APR, CPRC

Owner, Authentic Reputations, LLC
Jay Morgan-Schleuning is the owner of Authentic Reputations, LLC, a Tallahassee-based boutique communications consultancy, specializing in strategic communications, public relations, marketing, branding and reputation management for associations and nonprofit organizations.He is also the communications director at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tallahassee, which includes a popular downtown café and bookstore. Jay also serves as the president of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Capital Chapter. The Capital Chapter, with more than 130 members, is the largest chapter in the state. Prior to becoming a consultant, Jay directed strategic communications programs at the American Heart Association, VISIT FLORIDA, Florida Chamber of Commerce and The Arc of Florida. He also spent ten years as a television reporter at stations in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and Wisconsin.

avatar for Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC

Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC

Principal/Owner, Hart & Associates
Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC, is one of two representatives for the Florida Public Relations Association on the Universal Accreditation Board. She has more than 24 years of experience in various aspects of corporate communications, public relations, marketing and journalism.She is the principal consultant and founder of Hart & Associates LLC, providing corporate communications/PR expertise and business management to private corporations and government agencies. Previously, Hart worked for 19 years as a global communications strategist with Bank of America, one of the world’s leading financial services companies. Hart is an award winning and recognized speaker. She delivers big picture thinking combined with actionable tips you can use right away to make a difference in your organization.

avatar for Karen Swim

Karen Swim

Strategic Public Relations and Marketing Consultant, Words for Hire
Karen Swim is an accredited public relations professional who has run her own virtual agency for more than a decade, and she brings to her PR work an unusually rich background in sales, human resources, business and marketing, having started her career in HR in the banking industry and going on to lead top performing sales teams at Glaxo SmithKline andQuest Diagnostics. Karen’s extensive experience as a consultant includes engagements providing high-level strategic counsel and content to B2B, technology, healthcare, nonprofit and lifestyle companies. She also ran a career marketing division of her company for seven years, where she coached independents and corporate professionals and helped them achieve their career goals.
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