So it’s the time of year when many new college graduates are looking for jobs…. Some will seek full-time employment in their respective fields while others will make do with whatever they can get. I vividly recall graduating college in June 1995 and having no clue what to do for a living. I also remember how thrilled my mother was when I told her I would deliver pizza while I “figured it out.” Delivering pizza lasted little over one year (and I loved it), and then I went to a MBA program in Israel—which I dropped out of after less than a week. I ended up working in politics in Israel, loved it, and stumbled upon a PR job. Then, at the age of 25 I returned to the States for my first PR agency job.
Much like Today’s generation of blogging, micro-blogging, facebooking, spacing out on MySpace, digging in on Digg and mainly – relying entirely on information one gets on Google and Wiki means people don’t like going the slow way – Entrepreneurship allows people to do it how they see fit. I realize today how competitive the job market is for everyone, and particularly for those seeking to enter the very difficult field of Public Relations. There are also those who will try to embark on a different path: the path of self employment. And for many, it’s a great option. I know it was very compelling to me less than 8 years ago, and I do not regret a minute of it since.
I am an entrepreneur; but not just any entrepreneur—rather one who chose a PR career through self-employment. PR is fast. PR entrepreneurship is WILD fast. And when you run fast you naturally focus on reaching your goal, which for me was and has been growth and success. You don’t see each and every stone that may trip you. And boy do they!
Growing quickly, I made many mistakes, said things I wish I hadn’t said, did things I wish I hadn’t done, but it has been my choice to ‘hit the ground running’ in PR and do amazing work for our clients through the years, which we have been blessed to do. At the age of 35, with a daughter at home, I am blessed to better understand my business and the world around me far more so than I did when we started. We are very proud to have been named the fastest-growing PR agency in the US 3 years in a row, and on the INC 500 list of fastest growing companies in the US. Just this year, I was named a semi-finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. That’s been gratifying.
In recent weeks, I have held a series of meetings and meals with other PR agency owners to better understand the role of PR in business, and 5WPR’s role in the greater scheme of the PR world. This way of life has brought both rewards and obligations, commitments and prices to pay. Those happen, too, when you choose to run your own business.
Some personal reflections (offered twitter-friendly and in 140-character max – Follow me @Rtorossian5wpr)
1. With email and the Internet the world moves very very fast. Know the values and consequences of that.
2. Focus on what you want to achieve and not on possible obstacles. It is guaranteed that whatever you focus on will materialize faster
3. Care about your staff and your clients. Treat people as you’d treat your own family.
4. Run tactically but think strategically. Just running won’t get you far. You’ll hit the wall. Strategically you’ll find a way around it. But don’t over plan without doing.
5. KNOW you will make mistakes on the way and don’t be afraid to make them.
6. Put past mistakes behind you, and just try and grow from them.
7. Do what makes you happy. YOU. Not your environment, social circle, or external surroundings. You will never regret doing it your own way
8. Stop to reflect on daily, weekly, monthly and periodically actions of yours. Sometimes even a 1 day trip can allow clarity.
9. Be a good listener. Take advice and don’t feel you’re too smart to apply it to your business
10.When someone criticizes ask yourself does this person care about me (or my business), and if they do then listen. If not, then don’t.
Ronn Torossian is president and CEO of 5WPR, one of the 20 largest independent PR firms in the U.S. Named to the “40 Under 40? by PR Week & Advertising Age, Torossian was a semi-finalist for the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and his PR agency works with a roster of iconic brands. He may be reached via email at Rtorossian@5wpr.com and followed on twitter @rtorossian5wpr