The Top 5 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Communications Business

⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten

Owning a business is one of the most challenging journeys I’ve embarked on during my almost 30 years on this earth. But, it’s also one of the most rewarding. I started my company, Hourglass Omnimedia, at the ripe old age of 26, and since that winter day in 2015, it has been the most beautiful black hole I’ve fallen into.

Imagine when you bring your baby home for the first time. She’s young and doesn’t know about the world yet. But, you feed her, change her diaper and watch her grow. That’s kind of what it’s like to start a company. (And, trust me, I know childcare is WAY different and in some ways more intense. This is a mere relatable analogy. ;) )

I’m a third generation+ business owner, and although I followed examples laid out in front of me, I also diligently carved my own path. After all, I stepped into the Delta Quadrant with my communications business. My dad and the generations before him were contractors. Because of growing up around home building, power tools and very frequent trips to Lowe’s, I do know more than the average female about such things.

But, a communications business? Nah, not really. I mean, I thought I knew. I’ve been involved in the creative side since I was 14 and writing for my high school newspaper. I know Associated Press Style, Adobe Creative Cloud software and techniques, how to use the RPIE process of public relations, etc. Owning a business, however, has been a learning curve. Yes, some things just come naturally, like being organized. Other things have been at the opposite end of the spectrum, like doing what feels right for the business instead of focusing on how other unrelated target audiences envision the business goals. 

I wrote and released my first eBook, The Top 5 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Communications Business, because I wanted to help others make sense of some behind-the-scenes business endeavors before taking the leap. Or if you have already started your business, you can use this eBook and workbook, too, of course. All of us are lifelong learners (or should be), so my hope is that you can learn from these tips as well.

Here is a preview of the five things you should know before starting your own communications business:

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Have a clear business plan.

Figure out your pricing structure. This can be a loaded item on your agenda. In many ways, you will have to learn from trials and errors of experience. This step involves market research as well. Basic things to keep in mind are: Do you want to charge per hour? Do you want to charge per project? What does your relationship cultivation cost (i.e. relationships with the media when someone wants a press release sent out)?

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Pay attention to time management, finances, and other business inner workings.

Work on a schedule that suits you and your lifestyle. Break your work week into pockets of blocked time. I use color coated blocks on my Google Calendar for work appointments, writing sessions, family events and more. Try to stick to the plan but don’t stress out if something else comes up. Life and PR happen!

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Get comfortable with branding yourself.

Focus on your client and not what others think. At the beginning of my business, I didn’t have clarity. I knew I wanted to do PR and help people. I had a plan, but it wasn't as streamlined. It was hit or miss, and at the time, Iistened to people who gave bad advice. Be true to yourself and your target audiences, and if something doesn’t feel right that someone tells you, you don’t have to take their advice. Be authentic to your company and to yourself. Talk about anything and you and your clients want!

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Choose a niche or two and become an expert.

Pick one to three specialties and perfect those. My company has several facets, but the main niches are writing, public relations and photography within the storytelling umbrella. Without these three things, the company would be on autopilot and wouldn’t stay true to the management function of public relations. Don’t just be a technician. Be your company’s thought leader.

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Employ writing tips.

Create a mission and vision statement, or as I like to call them, the Prime Directive. What is the main idea of your business? What do you want to achieve with it? What do you offer?

Here’s our current mission statement/Prime Directive:

Hourglass Omnimedia cultivates the timely and refined communications fairytale you never knew you always wanted through writing, public relations, mentorship/coaching and more.
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And here’s a workbook sample to help you get started!

Q: What are my niches? Is there a niche not on my current list that I want to cultivate?

A: Whatever you want it to be!

My hope is that this eBook will help you sort out your thoughts and aid you as you start or recalibrate your company. I’ve used these tips and others have found success with them, too. Download the full eBook to learn more. Best of luck to you on your journey!

I would love to hear from you! Hourglass Omnimedia helps you shape your concise and specific communications goals and aspirations. We would love to help you! Contact us below to learn more about what we offer and if you'd like to chat after going through the workbook.

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Copyright © MMXVIII Hourglass Omnimedia, LLC

Kaylin R. Staten is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer. She owns Hourglass Omnimedia, a consulting company based in Huntington, WV. 

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