Public Relations should definitely be a two way street

This semester, I have been working with an up and coming businesswomen in town. For the most part, she has been very easy to work with until now.

I am coming to realize that P R is not easy work, but it can be almost impossible when you are working with individuals who feel that it is all give and no take.

Let me give an example. The young woman I work with is a beautician. She  had a very hard time getting to where she is now and has had a lot of people take advantage of her throughout her career. When I offered my services to her (free of charge), she welcomed the idea and was very excited to work with me.

For months I prepared, while she gathered the necessary materials for her press packets. I worked tirelessly promoting and advertising via press releases, emails and word of mouth.

I did not anticipate any problems. I was naive in this situation because I completely ignored the fact that I was doing all this work for FREE and didn’t ask for anything in return. This my friends, is a mistake I will never make again. I assumed (worst thing I could have done) that in return for doing all of this marvelous pro-bon PR, she would do my hair for free or at least a discounted rate. We never officially discussed it, but there were comments made such as ” I will hook you up” and “Don’t worry…I got you.”

So, last week we had a meeting/hair appointment during which I viewed her portfolio and did other WORK, while she did my hair. I had the intention of paying her on my own…but I did not anticipate her becoming the demanding stylist who rudely demands money before you even open your purse. I was not expecting to be treated like considering how much free work I had done over the months…I was offended and felt very taken advantage of.

The price she charged me was more than I would have paid at a high-end salon and all she did was trim my ends in her kitchen!

Foolishness, thy name is Chelsea! I learned that as a professional, you must have everything regarding reciprocity outlined before beginning the work. Never assume that just because you helping someone, they will have the same philosophy. This situation happened because she has no real idea how much work public relations is.  For those of you in PR, make sure your clients understand that it is a time-consuming job!

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