Are you thinking about going freelance or becoming a Comms Consultant?
If so, this guest post will help you.
This is the course I wish existed eight years ago when I was working in-house and thinking about becoming a Comms Consultant. It would have saved me six months of research and given me a structure to follow.
As a result of studying the course, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about your next career move.
An outcome of the course could be you decide being a Comms Consultant isn’t for you, which is totally ok! It will help you think through your options and make the right decisions.
It uses my COMMS model to guide you through what you need to know:
Topics I teach on this course include: How to know if you’re ready to be a Consultant/freelancer, what would you offer, who would you work with, which company format would you choose, what would you charge, your values, what would you do day-to-day, where would you work, how would you get work, what you’d need to think about for your brand and much more.
As with all my All Things IC Online Masterclasses, it’s packed with bespoke workbooks, text lessons, videos, quizzes and surveys.
It is your course, done your way. You have 12 months’ access to the content from the date you enrol, which means you’re able to study at your own pace. Your investment is £600 for the course or £800 for the VIP option, which allows us to work together as you’ll submit assignments to me for personalised feedback.
Earn while you learn
Thank you to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) members who are completing my Online Masterclasses at the moment and contacted me this week. They applied to have their hard work recognised via the CIPR CPD system and have successfully logged 20 CPD points. If you are investing in your professional development and are a member, you can be recognised for your hard work in this way too.
Ben is here to tell us how he found studying the How to be a Comms Consultant – Exploration Online Masterclass and how it helped him prepare to launch his own business.
Here’s our conversation…
Ben, you’ve just launched your consultancy, what stage were you at when you started the Exploration Masterclass?
I’d already decided that I would be going solo and setting up my own communications business. Having spent 15 years in the PR & marketing space, working my way up the career ladder, I knew that it was only a matter of time before I eventually branched out on my own.
At the time I began the Masterclass, I had a firm idea of the type of clients that I wanted to work with and the service I could offer to them, but I also had a lot of questions about how best to begin the journey.
What is your new business, and what clients are you looking to work with?
I launched Second Mountain Communications at the beginning of August 2020: a boutique comms consultancy aimed at helping ethical and purpose-driven businesses reach new heights.
Through proactive PR, compelling content and sound strategy, there’s meaning behind everything that we do. We’re looking to only work with a select client base of companies of firms and leaders who put purpose above profit; demonstrating a commitment to meaningful values is more important than ever before as we all come to terms with the impact that Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, on society.
We want to be part of a positive movement that makes a difference in the world.
Was there anything that surprised you about the Masterclass?
I was pleasantly surprised by just how accessible the Masterclass was. Given how broad the topic is that it covers, I was expecting it to be much more daunting and onerous.
Yet the way that the Online Masterclass is delivered – broken down into bite-sized sections, and coupled with Rachel’s very friendly style – made it a really enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
What benefits would you say the course has that can help other Comms professionals?
If you find yourself in a similar experience to me – wanting to break free from working under someone else’s direction and carve your own path, but unsure where to start – then I’d highly recommend it.
The course covers everything you need to know to launch as a comms consultant, from brand development and messaging, through to fees, ways of working and legal considerations.
It provides you with the bigger picture and signposts towards areas where you may wish to personally explore further at a later date.
There are lots of decisions to be made when launching a business. How did the Masterclass help you with your decision making?
Working through the Masterclass content helped me to realise that a) I was absolutely making the right decision and b) I can do this.
It gave me a framework to identify my strengths and the confidence to realise that starting out solo isn’t as terrifying as it sounds; when broken down into smaller chunks, it’s actually pretty easy.
The Masterclass was especially helpful when it came to helping me to develop my niche in the marketplace: helping good firms and business leaders do good, by sharing their values and accomplishments with the right audiences.
When do you think is the right time for people to complete the Masterclass? You were on the verge of launching; would it be beneficial to do it earlier?
I’d say that varies from person to person; for me, it came along at just the right time when personal circumstances meant that I was pretty certain about the right next step for me. Yet the Masterclass may also be invaluable earlier in the decision-making process; it could be used to help someone to decide that, actually, the safety net provided by an in-house career is actually the preferred career path for them.
How long did the course take to complete?
It took me around two weeks – but that’s because I took my time with it and actively chose not to rush it. I’d typically work through one to two sections at a time, taking plenty of notes in the workbooks provided by Rachel and spending time reflecting on and considering the content. It’s a process.
What are the benefits of learning online?
It allows you to learn at the time, and in the environment, that suits you best. It also gives you the freedom to work through content at a speed that allows you to fully absorb and engage with the material.
Do you have any top tips for making the most of the online learning experience?
Create a learning routine that is a good fit for you; for me, I learn best mid-to-late afternoon, warmed by a nice cup of redbush tea and with chilled music in the background.
I like to have a big notebook by my side and jot down lots of notes as I go. Setting aside 1-2 hours at a time for learning, free from any other distractions, meant that I was able to really focus on the course and get a lot from it.
What was it like to launch a business during lockdown?
Very exciting, actually. I’m lucky to have built up a really strong and supportive network of talented and knowledgeable people around me over the course of my comms career, and was able to speak in confidence with some trusted contacts about the idea and my proposition ahead of launching; their support and insight was invaluable.
I was also blown away by the encouragement and kind words that I received when the business officially launched; it’s really resonated with many.
Lockdown, obviously, hasn’t been without its challenges. Yet it has also provided the rare opportunity to hit the pause button and reflect on what truly matters in life – something I’ve never really had the time to do over the past 15 years.
I have absolutely no doubt that this is the right decision, for both myself and my family, and I’m excited about what the future holds.
Thank you Ben, congratulations on launching your own business, I’m excited to see how it develops and wish you the best of luck.
Further reading via the All Things IC blog
Learn with All Things IC online via my new Masterclasses
My new Online Masterclass are part of my business dream. I’ve been researching them for two years and I’ve loved hearing from the first cohort of Comms professionals who have already completed their training.
I’ve designed the courses with you in mind. Comms professionals from the US, UK and Norway have already signed up and either completed their Masterclass or made a great start.
VIP options are available for all Masterclasses, which is where you submit assignment/s to me for personalised feedback so you and I can work together during your course.
The beauty of the courses is you have 12 months to access the content from the date you enrol. It’s your course at your pace, so you may decide to study intensively, which will take you one-two days.
Or you can study at your own pace, choosing a chapter a week/month, it’s entirely up to you.
There are three options to choose from:
- How to be a Comms Consultant – Exploration. This is for aspiring Comms Consultants and is an In-depth level Masterclass. Your investment is the launch price of £600 or £800 for the VIP option.
- How to be an internal communicator. This is for you if you’re new to the wonderful world of internal comms, need a refresher or to learn quickly. Your investment for this In-depth level Masterclass is the launch price of £600 or £800 for the VIP option.
- Introduction to internal communication channels. This is an Introductory level course and your investment is the launch price of £199 or £399 for the VIP option.
I’m developing a free Online Masterclass at the moment to help you review 2020 and plan for 2021. I’ll keep you posted.
Listen to the story behind the Online Masterclasses
Thank you to Debbie Aurelius of Peppermint Fish for inviting me to be a guest on the Be a Bigger Fish podcast alongside one of my beta testers, Erica Goodwin @EricaMGoodwin.
We examined the benefits of online courses, why I decided to create them, what IC professionals can gain from studying in this way and much more. Plus Erica shared her experience of completing the How to be an internal communicator Online Masterclass.
Thank you for stopping by and to Ben for sharing his story.
I hope you have a great weekend,
First published on the All Things IC blog 28 August 2020.