Six things I wish I'd been told before starting my own PR agency

My agency had its first anniversary last month. These are some of the things I wish I had known before setting up.

David Fraser lists six things he wished he had known before setting up his own agency
David Fraser lists six things he wished he had known before setting up his own agency

That I would have to learn the Arsenal fixtures

We set up our agency in Holloway Road (Islington if you’re posh) and it turns out it’s a lovely area, except for one thing…we are about 100 yards away from the Emirates Stadium (home of Arsenal) which means that this QPR fan needs to know when Arsenal are playing – because on match day, you can’t get anywhere quickly, roads get closed off, station access is limited and if you want a seat in the pub or a table in a restaurant, forget it.

That I’d need to get good at DIY (or at least good at covering up my DIY mistakes)

If you’re at an established agency, there may be a ‘man/woman’ or even a maintenance department who are on hand to put up your desk, fix your chair, build that cabinet or drill in those hooks. Alas, when in start-up mode, your only option is to grab a Black & Decker and just get it done. (ha ha, joke for our landlord, I know the terms of our lease prevent fixed holes in the wall so I definitely haven’t done any drilling.)

Stuff that happens in the world will have a deep impact on you

Brexit happened when we were two months in and at a point where two thirds of our client income was from Europe. I must admit it came as shock and rocked my confidence about the future and what that may hold. It still does to an extent. But what you gonna do?

All that stuff you took for granted as an employee is now your problem

Tea bags run out? Battery in the clock gone? Newspapers need throwing out (note: papers are a cute retro thing, think printed ipads)?...You can’t just send an email into the ether and hope it gets done anymore…

A lot of the stuff you have to do is boring. And you have do it. Repeatedly.

Everyone tells you that starting your own business will be the most exhilarating, exciting and empowering time of your life. And it’s true. And I love the actual 'doing PR' bit as much as ever. But everyone keeps it very quiet about the long list of mind-numbing, tedious, yawn-inducing, non-core-but-very-important tasks that you have to do to keep the show on the road. Supplier contracts, talking to the bank, understanding the difference between toner and ink cartridges…all stuff that needs to be done, none of it that you have to pretend to enjoy.

People are very kind

Many people have been helpful in offering something to us as part of a business relationship or quid pro quo and that’s great. But the number of people who have been genuinely kind – offering help or advice without wanting something back in return – has completely floored and touched me...I am very conscious to try my best and pay it forward, so if anyone out there needs anything from me (Arsenal fixture list?), give me a shout!

David Fraser is founder and MD of Ready10

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