Seasoned PR professionals share how they reset, upgraded and grew their careers

There comes a times when work seems such a drag, you feel low on energy and begin to feel why you are in your current job. But options can seem equally scary, known devil and all that.

PRmoment India interviewed a range of seasoned communicators who are forging a new career path, giving up cushy brand side jobs to become PR entrepreneurs or adding entirely new lines of business to their PR firm.

The one thing that has emerged is the much derided PR skills are actually life skills that helped them reset and grow. Read on to find out how.

C-suite expert

Pradeep Wadhwa
Don't let your ego get the better of you and stop learning says Pradeep Wadhwa

Pradeep Wadhwa, co-founder and principal at Kritical Edge Consulting, says, "The comfort of a handsome pay check and the stamp of great brands always deterred me from venturing on my own. However, the clincher was when I found the niche that I realised that I can make a difference in, which is C-Suite communications, internal communications, B2B marketing and Social/Digital media (which is more or less intertwined with the first three).

Pro new career tip

Wadhwa advises that, "Sometimes, when the going is rough in a job, ones tends to think of starting on one’s own. However, unless one is convinced that this is their calling, it is not advisable to take the plunge. If you are quite sure it is for you, then go for it sooner than later. I think I waited a bit too long!"

Setting yourself apart

Wadhwa says he has learned to set himself apart by clearly defining his services. Among them, are "Clients (such as start-ups looking for marketing solutions) who would demand high quality services but would also want low upfront investment. These clients will need to be serviced through pre-packaged offerings which are akin to the SAAS model in software. However, given the shift to digital platforms, this shift is easily possible."

Art therapy as a second venture with PR 

PR is like a hidden ace that is useful in any business venture, says Rattan

Tarunjeet Rattan, managing partner Nucleus PR and co-founder ARTickles decided to turn her doodling habit into a full fledged venture. She says, "I would unconsciously doodle at networking meetings on coasters while talking to people, till they just started walking up to me with empty coasters and depositing it in front of me with a comment , ‘You might need this to talk to us !’  I looked at it as a stress buster but my two co-founders – Shweta Shetty and Shruthi Muniyapla saw this as a potential business.

If you are looking to add another venture to your existing PR one Rattan advises, "Look at how much time and energy you are willing to dedicate to the next venture. Based on that decide if you want to do it alone or take on co-founders."

Don't stress, keep calm and start your own firm! 

Volunteer for a project outside your comfort zone, says Chetan

Chetan Mahajan, founder and CEO, The Mavericks, shares how to assess the right time to branch out on your own saying, "The day you stop enjoying what you are doing you need to pause and reinvent yourself. The longer you wait the tougher it gets. Remember your current relationships are because of who you are today and when you start your new journey very few of these will continue to see relevance and value in you. And the ones who do is your true worth, build on it by identifying and investing in these relationships."

Working independently has also helped Mahajan identify where he and the PR profession need to be a few years down the line, "We need to evolve faster than ever before while retaining our core of earning stories for our clients rather than buying them."

Turning negativity into beast mode work opportunities  

If you work for new age firms, stay in touch with global trends, advises Dutt

Moushumi Dutt, communication consultant, shares candidly why she sought a new career path, " In my case it was that one decision made by the new CEO of the organisation where I had worked for 9 yrs and 10 months. Now I had to move out. So after a career spanning across corporate roles, the search for similar roles was becoming an exercise in futility and ending in frustration. I went through many an unprofessional and unpleasant experiences, in hind sight, I am glad it happened this way, because it was these negative reactions that forced me to look at the positives within me and literally unleashed the beast inside me. The time had come for me to take charge and move on. And this is why and how, i ended up setting out on my own and come on board as a consultant."

For those who also want to test the tough waters of an independent consultant, Dutt says, "Study the gaps that you observe and try plugging those with your skills. Reach out to new people and build new connects, think big and let no one stop you from that. I must have written to at least 30 LinkedIn messages to CEO's and a good number of them responded, met and we got working too."

When love is a venture 

Shalini Singh, founder & Galvanise PR, managed to turn her experience in finding a partner in her personal life. 

  •  What made you chose your current growth path?
Shalini believes PR gives you enough exposure to work in any venture

"I was cherishing my journey (and still am) with Galvanise PR and never thought of branching out of the communications industry.

But fate had something else in store for me, having met my partner in my early 40s and experiencing self-growth and companionship's I started having conversations with my single friends on finding a partner and was intrigued due to my sense of familiarity , challenges they experienced while looking for one. 

Driven by my curiosity I dug deeper and undertook a survey of singles globally. The insights from this survey revealed that the issue is more common than believed to be. Here in was a problem and solving it excited me for multiple reasons, and hence the seeds of were sowed leading to its launch in 2019."

Mixing old skills with new 

Raghavendra Rao, CEO, Bernay IMC shares very candidly what led him to start his own venture post 40.

Raghavendra drives his venture by using his traditional skills with new ones

He says, "Large companies had a highly bureaucratic structure and one had to be politically right and it also had traces of feudalistic approach which I wasn’t in agreement with. Big agencies too were looking at new age ideas and tools which wasn’t there as age was catching."

What Rao then realised is that in the digital rush, the core traditional PR skills are being forgotten. 

Which is when he hit upon combing the two by, " Working with younger colleagues. While I learn from them on new age ideas and pass my conventional PR learnings it truly works. I continue my love for reading to pick up fresh learning which I implement."

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