Really useful company

Doug Johnstone hooks up with OWEN O’LEARY, a man who has gone beyond the Edinburgh Fringe PR game to set up on his own.

he idea of setting up your own business is understandably daunting. Making the leap from the security of a regular wage to being responsible for your own livelihood is a big step. but it‘s something that ()wen ()‘l.eary has taken in his stride. ()'I.eary worked for several years in the press department of the lidinburgh Fringe but alter this he set up his own PR company. ()h Really PR. to provide a press and marketing consultancy service to organisations across the arts. So what prompted the decision to go it alone'.’ 'The same reasons as a lot of people. I suppose.’ he

says. "l‘o have the freedom of working for myself

was something that I‘ve always wanted to do since I got out of university. and the opportunity came along. The great thing about working in the Fringe office was that I‘d built up a lot of contacts. I saw that there was room in the market for someone else to do it. and I thought. yeah. that‘s what I want to do.‘ ()‘l.eary made the jump with the assistance of a small grant from Business (iateway. but the transition was a reasonath smooth one. the start-up costs of a PR company being relatively small. and (_)‘l.eary's bulging contacts hook no doubt helping considerably.

‘I guess that‘s one of the things that takes the risk out of setting up on your own knowing the industry so well. If someone wants to set up on their own. in whatever field. it‘s certainly an advantage to know the industry and all the people in it inside out lirst.’ So

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how has it been in the first year of being his own boss'.’ Surely there's been a slight culture shock in moving from a bustling office to working on his own'.’ ‘lt‘s been great. actually.’ he says. ‘()ne of the things important in freelancing is to have discipline. because no one can tell you off for turning up late or whatever. Then again. one of the reasons people set up on their own is to have freedom. so if you want to take a day off you can.’

Having graduated with a commerce degree from l'niversity (‘ollege (‘ork in Ireland. ()‘l.eary was instantly drawn to the world of arts marketing. naturally gravitating towards the lidinburgh Festival. 'You get to work with a lot of people who are driven

and passionate about what they do. which is one of

the attractions of this industry. I’m always looking for the client out there who has something new and interesting that they want people to know about.'

And a final piece of encouragement for anyone thinking about following in ()‘l.eary‘s footsteps? Just go for it. he reckons. 'l)on‘t pay attention to anyone who says you can‘t set up your own business. They‘re the people who probably never will. so even by setting up and going for it. you‘re one better than all them already.‘

I [he I ist gratefully acknowledges the support of Business (Eaten/(1y in funding this page.

Business Gatewa y services are delivered by Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Executive and local Authorities, with the support of associated partner organisations.

Once your business is up and running, employing new people can be a stressful, expensive and time-consuming experience. But you can’t do everything yourself and having the right people on board will make the difference between a struggling business and a successful one.

I Hiring A business is largely defined by its staff. Employing new people is not just a matter of filling a vacancy; think about where you want your business to be heading and take on peOpIe who can help you achieve this.

I Paying Before you advertise a post. you will need to decide on how much you will pay your staff. and how often. Draw up a job description detailing what they are expected to do and how long they will be expected to work. You will also need to decide how much holiday time to offer your staff.

I Training Your staff need to feel comfortable working for you. As well as good working conditions, they will need to be properly trained. If they will be using specialist software or technology. it is worth investing on sending them on a relevant course.

I Co-operating It is important that your staff feel like a team rather than just being co-workers. Take time for team building exercises. as this will enable them to work more efficiently and happily together.

I Climbing As your business grows. it can be useful to promote some of your staff. This takes pressure off you and can also motivate and encourage the team, showing that there are career prospects in working for you.

Business Gateway

Business Gateway offer help and advice to anyone who wants to start their own business. A Business Gateway Grant of £1000 is available to those aged between 18 and 30.

See There is an 18—30 Enterprise Show at the SECC on Sat 8 Oct. Call 0141 248 4999 for more information.