Teresa Bigelow's company, Spiral5, is a startup that takes a special focus on people who want to get started in a freelance PR career.
"We’re essentially an all freelance boutique PR firm that also serves as a career incubator," Bigelow tells Doug Simon. "Starter publicists is the term we came up with. It's essentially like a junior publicist or an apprentice. And the idea is that we are identifying high potential PR talent from across the country, in some cases, the world, but mostly in the US."
Those starter publicists come from a range of backgrounds—from those who are brand new to the field or just out of college to those who come from marketing or social media backgrounds who are looking to launch a freelance PR career.
Bigelow was inspired to start Spiral 5 by her own PR career path. "I got my start at a PR agency, entry level like a lot of people do," she says, but "one of the main things I learned was that I'm much better suited as a freelancer."
The question then was learning the ropes about how to succeed as a freelancer. "I realized, okay, so I know how to do PR, but setting my rates, invoicing, client relations, this was all a new paradigm for me. And so I started just interacting with other publicists who worked independently, asking to buy an hour of their time, seeing if they could kind of help me walk through some of these steps."
For those wanting to go the freelance route, Bigelow has several pointers. "Start thinking about the types of clients you'd like to work with and your network." To make that network work for you, she says, you have to put yourself out there: "Become the person in your network that people know does PR." She also stresses "being patient with yourself and adaptability, appreciation. There's a lot of characteristics and a lot of character building in general around adaptability and flexibility that I think are super valuable."
Finally, she touts the appeal of freelancing for those who "are looking at a lifestyle, a work life balance that feels a little bit more in their control and therefore they're not really looking to go back into the 9 to 5 corporate world." Companies who want to take advantage of that talent pool "might need to consider a less conventional employment package for them, including part time contract work."
Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]