Q. I’ve recently decided to leave journalism and pursue more generic media work. I had been freelancing all the while during my time as a TV reporter, but when I left a few months back, I created my own website and company to have a more definitive, professional way for clients to see my work and to see what it would be like to run my own business … but I also applied for full-time jobs.
However, during the interview when they asked about what I had been doing since I left TV, I mentioned my company. Later when they asked about my skills and my ability to work independently, I used my company as proof. When I left the interview room to go do a written exam, one of the panelists told me that they were looking at my website and loving it.
A. Well, I guess you have your answer. Employers are increasingly interested in people with entrepreneurial skills. However, and this was probably the source of your hesitation, they may be hesitant about people who use those skills outside the newsroom.
Entrepreneurs, by nature, get into arrangements with other people, they have outside commitments and they don’t want to dump their businesses just because something else comes along. They often want to have more than one thing going on at a time.
You can avoid some conflicts if you have small, lightweight businesses that are in areas that do not conflict with the kind of journalism you’re still interested in and that can be easily sold, transferred or put into suspended animation. A freelancing practice can work well, especially if you have clients who do not compete with the prospective employer. In some cases, an active freelance relationship can lead to a job.
If you can’t avoid conflicts of interest between the business and journalism, or you can’t adequately do both the business and the job, you will be forced to choose.
Coming Monday: Professors and editors should walk in one another’s shoes.
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