When I started my own media consultancy 14 years ago there was one thing which stood me in very good stead: I knew that whatever ‘skills’ or ‘expertise’ I had, none of that mattered if no one knew who I was. I knew from day one I had to finally step into my own spotlight after a career of putting others into the spotlight.
I’d learned this more than a decade earlier when I suddenly and unexpectedly became the business editor on my local paper. Previously I’d been crime reporter and one day I came to work and was told, from that day, I’d be running the business pages. Gutted didn’t even cover it. I’d gone from attending the police station daily, going to court, regular front page crime leads to writing business stories. For me, at the time, it was like going from the most exciting job in the room to chewing on an old bone.
But I discovered that people who worked in business were amazing, interesting, challenging and colourful, often having no clue at all how interesting they are. When I attended an event as business editor, I became a celebrity in the room, they were cosying up to me to find out how to make me write about them. I started to tell them. I was sowing the seeds of my own business even then.
You have to ignore the doubters and the naysayers, stay in your lane and do the PR work. Believe me the negative voices never, ever go away. You have to trust yourself.
Later I went off into television but after making 100s of TV programmes and becoming a series producer, I lost my job, along with many others. It was then that I decided to start my own media consultancy, using that inbuilt journalistic knowledge and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. From day one of my business, I had to start talking about myself to the point where it made me want to vomit. You have to ignore the doubters and the naysayers, stay in your lane and do the PR work. Believe me the negative voices never, ever go away. You have to trust yourself. Never ever assume that anyone knows who you are. PR is a never-ending process to bring in business and keep your pipeline full.
Here are a few of the myths you’ll hear as an expert in business:
*Build It And They Will Come – no, they bloody won’t. Unless you are the only person in the world offering your product or service, customers or clients don’t just turn up.
*It’s About The Business & Not The Person – no, people buy from people. It’s that simple. For most business owners, especially consultants, the only USP you have is ‘you’. There are loads of people who can do what I do, there’s only one ‘me’ and that’s the greatest strength I have.
*You Must Not Sell – yes, you bloody can, you have to. What matters is ‘how’ you sell. You have to show people the till at the right time, learn how to do it ethically and mindfully as you want your customers to come back. Selling is a professional skill, get trained.
*You Need Exposure So Work Without a Deal – offering your expertise for free will hardly ever benefit your business growth. Being visible is never free of effort and often not free of investment. The media can help with this – however it’s not free, it’s a business deal with effort on both sides.
At the age of 55, I was named the UK’s Top PR Adviser of the Year 2021 (Enterprise Nation) and I never thought I’d win anything in the world of PR and I’m going to damn well make the most of it. I’m the least corporate person you will ever meet. I’m the most down-to-earth old hack you’ll ever talk to yet I’m also very good at what I do. I’m honest and clear and I don’t care if you want to learn from me – or perhaps you want me to do PR. For you, I’ll always tell you the truth.