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A Day in the Life: Nancy E. Hassel, Founder and President, Long Island Pet Professionals, LLC

Let’s see—while most days some tasks are the same as they usually are for public relations professionals, my day-to-day tasks can be completely different than I planned on doing the day before. So that is exciting because you never know what great things the day will bring. Getting started early in the morning always makes for a much more productive day, and working from home made that much easier for nearly four years. Now that I am in my own office outside of the home, it can be challenging to maintain the structured schedule you need to have while working from home—and I find myself doing more work from home early in the morning before heading in to the office. So having your own office is not all it’s cracked up to be! (Hopefully by the time this is in print, I will be once again working from home!)

6:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.: Get up, and let the dog out or take him for a walk. Get the coffee brewing: This is important for any brain function! Turn the computer on and get my day started. First, I usually tackle social media and e-mails, and see what’s going on in the world. Twitter is very useful from 6:00 a.m.–8:00 a.m., because a lot of people seem to be on it at that time of day. I’ll tweet about my networking events, my client’s events or if they were in any press, and thank the publication that wrote about them or had them on TV. And, of course, retweeting what others are talking about helps keep an open dialogue. I’ll be on FB [Facebook] in the morning for a bit too, but feel the later evening hours are more productive for FB. But I try not to be on Twitter for more than 10 minutes in the morning, and that usually works. I also try to tackle a ton of e-mail in the early morning, as it’s quiet—people are not going to call at 6 a.m. (well, most people won’t—but it has happened if they see you on social media and suddenly your phone is ringing, which can scare the you-know-what out of you that early, and it can be annoying!). I also contact press quite early in the morning when I have something to send out. So I may finalize a release, alert, or pitch the day before, but wait to send to press at the crack of dawn, because this way it’s right in front of them when they get to their offices.

9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Get ready to leave the house and head to the office! Read the daily paper, check online for press hits for my clients (or for myself, if it is an event I am promoting for my networking group). Celebrate any hits by posting them online, congratulating them, etc. And, of course, thanking the writer too with an e-mail and via social media. Write press releases, articles, answer phone calls, follow up with press. Touch base with my clients. Send an e-mail to my members of Long Island Pet Professionals (this is not every day, but at least once a week), answer more incoming e-mails, and possibly blog or write an article for a local magazine or newspaper, depending on deadlines. (Let the dog out again, or walk him or give him something to do like chew on a bone or Kong—this might seem silly but it’s important to keep him busy too! Ahh, the life of a pet professional!)

12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.: I do try to take a lunch break, even if it is just watching the news or going for a walk or meeting a friend for lunch or coffee. You need to take time to let your brain rest and put the phone locked away in your pocket and don’t look at it! So I do this for probably 45 minutes, for a lunch/walk/meeting brain rest break! Or some days I listen in to call-in conferences through other entrepreneurial groups and make a point to learn something new about growing my business, and helping my LIPP members and clients.

2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.: The afternoon can range from: going to a meeting at a client’s location; writing; answering e-mails; answering phone calls, be it a client calling with a question or problem, or coaching them for a TV appearance or prepping them for an interview by a reporter; speaking to a member (or two) of LIPP; or press calling to verify info or find out if they can speak to a client for a story they are writing. Often, afternoons are also set aside to prepare for a networking event later that night or other events that I may be hosting. Preparation is important and I want things to be presented in a professional manner, so that can be time consuming.

If I have my assistant in the office, much of the task-heavy work is delegated to her, and that is a big help. But since she is still in school on a part-time basis, I don’t always have that luxury. With growth come more hires!

After 5:00 p.m.: Evenings can range from no work (what, a night off?!!), to hosting a networking event for 50 people, to attending a client event and helping press get everything they need for their coverage of the event.

Every day is different, and many days can be challenging as an entrepreneur, but embracing those challenges and getting great results in the end for your clients and yourself is rewarding. And being willing to learn every day helps you become a well-rounded PR pro.