Just because you’re a solo PR pro doesn’t mean you’re in this alone. There’s a whole community of like minded people you can lean on.
5 solo PR pros share how they structure their work day
This month, we asked our panel of solo PR pros to share how they plan and structure their work day/week.
1. Michael Ares, MDA Corporate Marketing, LLC
I’ve been an early riser since my days as an NCAA gymnast at UC Berkeley – out of bed daily by 5:30 a.m. in order to make early morning workouts and then 8 a.m. classes.
That healthy habit came in handy in the first phase of my career as an investor relations professional for newly public technology companies in Silicon Valley during the 80s and early 90s. Financial markets open trading at 6:30 a.m. west coast time, meaning I’d have to be at the office by 6 a.m. at the latest every workday to launch breaking news, post and respond to earnings reports and field security analyst inquiries.
Fast forward to today, and I am still an early riser here in Atlanta, although what I do with that morning time is drastically different. After a brisk walk, I spend the first hour of my workday at 6 a.m. reviewing all the news alerts I have set up for my clients and their industry competitors and fielding urgent emails before devoting the rest of the morning to writing and other client work. I typically go to the gym around noon and then spend a couple of hours during the early afternoon writing, editing and catching up with clients and colleagues. I try not to schedule any calls or meetings after 3 p.m. if I can help it.
Bottom line? I try to get my work done early in the day so that if something comes up that I hadn’t planned for, I have a relatively flexible workload in the afternoon and can adjust accordingly. And if nothing unexpected comes up by mid-afternoon, I can be reached by phone on the golf course feeding balls into the lake and deep into the woods — laptop at the ready in case of a true emergency.
2. Janet Falk, Falk Communications and Research
Manage your day and week with a calendar app. There are several that help contacts expedite booking appointments with you; they display time slots when you are available and viewers select a preferred day and time.
Here’s how I could control those slots. I write or pitch media in the mornings, so I am only available beginning at noon daily. I put the scheduling link in my email signature and, as appropriate, I cite it in email correspondence.
I can manually override the morning schedule to arrange a call or book an afternoon medical appointment and be unavailable to others at that time.
Two lessons here: First, my writing mornings are protected and, second, I see an increase in meetings with prospective clients and networking contacts.
3. Anne Isenhower, Anne Isenhower Communications
I try to hit the gym first thing every morning after caffeine and breakfast. I still subscribe to one print newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and read it every morning. I think it helps me see patterns in the media overall, which is useful to me since most of my work is in media relations.
I use Monday morning, or sometimes Sunday evening if things are especially busy, to plan out my week. Media relations is unpredictable a lot of the time, which I love, so I try to have some structure in place before the week starts.
I typically spend most mornings pitching media, early afternoon pitching West Coast media and mid-afternoon for account planning and media outreach planning. I often share news or tips with the Solo PR Pro community, or ask for the group’s ideas around media targets.
After mid-afternoons, I still keep an eye on email, but that’s time I use to pick up my son and hang out with him. If I work in the evenings, it would be only for a volunteer project.
4. Michelle Kane, VoiceMatters, LLC
My work primarily falls in the integrated marketing zone so my days include strategy, writing, creative campaigns, social media and working with vendors to get it all done. I also work on PR projects throughout the year, try to audition for voiceover work, and am honored to co-host the That Solo Life podcast with Karen Swim.
I keep Monday-Friday business hours to align with my clients’ work days but I still enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working as a solo PR pro. I definitely avoid scheduling meetings on Mondays or Fridays because *shudder* Mondays. Fridays.
Nothing starts without coffee. A typical day has me skimming email for fires and checking the news before triaging the project list and digging in. Every day is different, which I love. Some days are quiet and focused, while other days are buzzy with emails and texts and “can you get this out today?” I love the variety of working as a solo.
5. Jessica Lawlor, Jessica Lawlor & Company
Most mornings I wake up and spend a few minutes on my phone before getting out of bed. I check social media and complete my Wordle and turn on a podcast while I get myself ready for the day. I usually enjoy breakfast while reading a book — I love starting my day with these little things that bring me joy before jumping into work.
I sit down at my desk with a cup of coffee and check email. Then I jump into any pressing client tasks. I typically reserve my mornings for writing, editing and “deep work.”
I break around 11 a.m. for a workout — I either use my Peloton bike, go for a run or complete a strength workout. Quick shower and then it's time for lunch.
My afternoons are for calls and meetings. I write a lot of case studies and blog posts for clients, so I usually have a handful of interviews with customers or subject matter experts.
One interesting change I've made over the past few months in terms of my schedule? I don't typically “work” on Mondays — meaning I don't schedule meetings and don't set deadlines for the first day of the work week. Instead, I like to use Mondays as an admin day both for my personal life (laundry, grocery shopping, etc.) and my business (planning for the week, organizing my to-do list, etc.). This change has been so wonderful! I ease my way into the week and fully enjoy my weekends.
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