ALLYSON CONKLIN // ALLYSON CONKLIN PUBLIC RELATIONS
What does a typical day look like for you?
My typical day starts with a 6 a.m. Pure Barre class. It’s my dedicated “me” time! After class, I rush to get ready for the day and make my way to the office. Once there, I check in with my team. We talk about what’s going on that day, what still needs to be tackled on our to-do lists, and what we’ve read, seen and heard that pertains to our industry. I then dive straight into emails. I like to start the day with a fresh inbox! Throughout the day, my focus will shift between business owner (including business development, client communication, operations, and accounting) and publicist (like strategy & planning, media relations, brand collaborations, and writing). Sprinkle in a few conference calls, managing my email inbox, and mentoring my team, and more often than not, the days tend to fly by! I try to be home in the late afternoon to cook and eat dinner with my husband. After dinner, I wrap up anything that wasn’t completed at the office that day. And after I log off, I am partial to vegging out with a glass of white wine, reality T.V., and a D.I.Y. manicure!
What parts of your work do you love?
I got into PR because of the relationships. And I’ve stayed in PR because of the relationships. The relationships that I have built with clients, brands, and editors over the years are everything to me!
What parts of your work do you dislike?
No matter what you do, there are always going to be some tasks that are tedious, tough, and not completely enjoyable. For me, accounting and monthly reporting will simply never be my favorite things to do! That said, I have recognized that they’ll always be a part of my life, and I’d better just accept it and do my best to get them done (and done well)!
What things do you have to do that you didn’t realize going into starting your company?
That the sky’s the limit! When I launched ACPR in December 2010, I don’t think I would have imagined it being where it is today. In the beginning, it was just me, working out of a home office with a very small number of clients. I wasn’t entirely sure how to operate a business, but I was encouraged from the beginning to dream big. As the business grew and I found myself hiring employees and outgrowing office spaces, I had the foresight to start thinking about the things that I really wanted. I got really serious about what it was going to take to get to the next level, and the next level after that. I’m all about setting goals and though I know I won’t always achieve everything, it will never stop me from reaching. If I believe I can do it, I can.
What are some interesting things people probably don’t know behind the scenes of PR?
PR is not as glamorous of a profession as people think! There’s a lot of hustling and long hours, and having a thick skin is mandatory. Not everyone is always going to like what you’re presenting to them, and rejection or disappointment is just part of the job. PR has so much more business involved than one would imagine. It’s not just about product deliveries, events, and press releases (though we do all these things). There is a strategy, which is always designed to impact exposure and sales, behind everything we do.
What type of calendar do you keep?
I love my Outlook calendar! I use it for so much more than just appointments and meetings. By having deadlines, reminders, and other bits and pieces plugged in and then synced to both my computer and iPhone, I find it that much easier to stay organized and on time/deadline both in the office and on the go.
How do you organize and tackle your to-do list?
I live and breathe by what’s in my notebook! I’m an advocate of writing everything down: goals, notes, and reminders. I find that the literal act of putting pen to paper and writing out a to-do list helps keep me connected to what I’m doing. And as an added bonus, it provides the ultimate satisfaction when I’m able to mark a task as complete!
How do you attack your never-ending email? Do you have a certain strategy you use?
Managing an email inbox can be daunting. It’s easy for me to get distracted with email and then find myself with an untouched to-do list hours later! Because of this, I have five basic rules for managing email:
- If I can attend to the email and respond immediately, I do it.
- If I can’t attend to the email immediately, I flag it and reply later.
- I use a color-coding system to categorize flagged emails in my inbox.
- After I’ve replied to the email, and if it doesn’t warrant anything further, I delete it.
- I never permanently empty my deleted items folder.
I also have a few strict, no-nonsense policies for email.
- Clients and editor emails warrant an immediate response, even if that means a simple acknowledgement that I’ve received their message and will get back to them later.
- Emails are not allowed to sit in my inbox for more than two days without a reply.
Anything that you have found that works for you?
Planned, organized and buttoned up is the most effective way for me to work. Blame it on my type-A personality, but I’m just not a big fan of doing anything on the fly. I like to think through it, plan out what I’ll do, organize it for efficiency, and then get the party started (in a very buttoned up way).
How do you GSD at home?
As is the case with my professional life, notes, reminders and to-do lists carry over into my personal life, too. Groceries, wish lists, reminders, and a social calendar — most everything in my life is planned out and then reinforced in my notebook, on a sticky note, or in my calendar.
Nuggets of advice you’ve been given that have stuck?
- Listen to your gut and remember to trust yourself. Learning to trust myself has been one of the hardest lessons of my life and while I don’t know if it’ll ever come easily to me, I am starting to acknowledge that I need to pay attention and listen.
- Be nice to everyone, as you never know who you’ll cross paths with again in the future. It’s just easier to be nice. And you’ll never regret it!
- Work hard and try your best in everything you do. If you’re going to do something, why not give it your all?
- And always, overdress. In my experience, underdressing is the worst!
Any other information about how you GSD, please share?
For me, a big part of being productive and GSD is staying positive! It’s easy to get wrapped up in negativity, which can lead to being scared and feeling paralyzed, like I’m unable to move forward. Acknowledging that these are natural parts of business and moving past them is huge for me. By keeping a positive outlook on the present moment and the future, I stay on a more solid, focused track.
- Allyson Conklin Public Relations
- MyPay Solutions
- Fast Company
- PR Daily
PROGRAMS & TECHNOLOGY
- Microsoft Office: Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint
- Adobe InDesign
- Adobe PhotoShop
- MacBook Air
- iPhone 4S
- iPad 2
GSD (get shit done): A weekly column featuring busy business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and CEOs and how they get shit done. Meg also writes articles with helpful ways to get shit done. Tell us how you GSD on twitter by tagging #GSD and @megbiram.