Rhys started Journal Communications to offer a point of difference for SMEs and startups from traditional agencies. He’s also a dedicated and versatile self-starter with the ability to work in a variety of functions; from copywriting, events, PR strategy & execution to social media strategy & management, and more.
We asked him a few questions in a bid to get to know this talented freelance PR expert a little more.
Q: Give us a potted history of your professional background – how long in PR, when did you go freelance and why?
A: I’ve been in PR/Communications since early 2014 when I fell into my first role at Target Australia within the Corporate Affairs team. From there I transitioned into agency working at Project PR across a host of health, FMCG and lifestyle clients. I then did a quick stint in another agency, which exposed me to more business-focused clients but wasn’t a great fit… that lead me to start Journal (my freelancing Communications consultancy), just over a year ago!
I went freelance to work honestly within the industry. Many agencies aren’t honest with clients regarding potential results and the true nature of PR from the get-go – they often promise the world to prospective clients to get them over the line, and that’s something I don’t like. PR is a bit of a risk for a business and I think it’s important to be up-front about that.
Q: Tell us about your business, what sort of clients do you mostly work with?
A: At the moment I’m working with another agency (Handle Your Own PR), a not-for-profit (Life Education) and a building developer (Excelon Group). I’ve always worked across a range of industry, but the types of clients I like to sink my teeth into are usually those that are quite technical or data-focused. I love a great story backed up with real data!
Q: What’s your secret human power – what sets you apart from others in freelance PR?
A: I can turn a data set into a story very easily. I recently worked with the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic through Handle Your Own PR, and managed to turn a simple data set into a story that was syndicated across TV, radio and newspapers!
Q: What was it like in those early days, and how did you find others to collaborate with and learn about freelancing from?
A: In the early days it was a bit of a struggle – especially when it’s your first foray into running your own business. You don’t know where to start, there’s lots of things involved and when you have limited capital to get everything started you have to try and do it all yourself. I would spend a lot of time reading about different aspects of business I knew I needed to learn to actually stick out working for myself. I didn’t really collaborate with others as I didn’t know any other freelancers, but joining The Freelance Collective has been a great learning tool – especially the Facebook Group!
Q: What’s been the biggest lesson for you now you’re freelancing?
A: Get up every day and do something beneficial for your career, no matter how small, it could be as simple as approaching one prospective client per day.
Q: What’s life look like outside of work?
A: I’m a true crime fanatic and love listening to podcasts. I’m also renovating a house in Geelong and do some creative writing with a few local authors – I love letting my imagination run wild and seeing the stories it spits out. Other than that you’ll usually find me sitting in a restaurant, eating really, really unhealthy food!
Q: What advice would you give others thinking about a career as a freelance PR?
A: Think about how you work best – if you HAVE to be in a team or around people constantly, than being a freelance PR is probably not for you.
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