On Firing Myself and Ending the Empire of One
Last year, I went on a vacation to Kenya with my friends. 7 days of gallivanting with my girls, but I still managed to throw some work in the mix. I had a meetup with the Bloggers’ Association of Kenya one of the days and it was incredible. It was a sold-out event where I got to meet and talk to 100 of my longtime readers in Nairobi.
The other piece of work I had to do was to write a recap for Scandal for Vulture. I told my editor that I would make it happen come hell or high water (heh). At 5am Kenya time, as everyone else slept, I was watching a feed of Scandal, as it aired live in the United States. I needed to make my deadline.
At 8am as my crew woke up to get ready to go to the elephant orphanage, I told them they might have to go without me. My recaps take an average of 3 hours to write (after I finish watching the show). They’re one of the most thorough ones on these interwebs, which is why they get much praise.
My friends decided to wait for me, even though the elephant orphanage closes at like noon. I got my work done and turned in by 9:30am. After getting dressed and commuting, we got there at 11am. I still hadn’t slept BUT ELEPHANTS!
When people see whatever form of success I have now, they marvel at how it is all happening at once but I always tell them I’m a 12 year overnight success. That’s what my TEDx talk was about. As I run my pop culture blog (Awesomely Luvvie), a tech/business blog (Awesomely Techie) and a national nonprofit (The Red Pump Project), I also run myself into the ground.
One of the things that has gotten me to this point has been my consistency and my grind. I have pushed through and delivered time and time again on work, especially on my main blog. But now? I’m clear that I can’t do that anymore. I can’t put life on pause to meet certain deadlines anymore. I’m pulling my OG card and firing myself from the expectation of always being on call. I have paid my dues and now I am building a team of folks around me to help manage it all. This empire of ONE is done.
I quit my Vulture recaps in August because I was writing them AND the ones on my site and I could not keep up with churning out 2 in a night. I chose to let the Vulture one go. It was not easy walking away from a gig with a website that is under NYMag’s dope umbrella but I did what was best for me. My Scandal recaps on my site are now published sometimes 3 days late because of my travel schedule. And you know what? People still read them. The world doesn’t end.
My other responsibilities as a digital strategist, speaker and brand ambassador are also getting handled by other people. I have an awesome assistant (shoutout to Alyssa) who is helping me manage things and email overload. I have an agent to help me deal with speaking inquiries (hey, Dave!). I’m even training someone to help me manage my tech blog, because that one doesn’t need my voice to run.
I’ve been blogging for 13 years, and have been working for myself full-time for 6 years. Spending all this time being a team of one has taught me a lot, made sure I can juggle 7 balls at once AND has been my proof that I CAN do this. But there can no longer be just me. I need to sleep more. The “sleep when I die” mantra is not cute. No, I need to sleep NOW.
FIRE YOURSELF. Outsource some of your life. Because you know what won’t be cute on a tombstone? “Her grind was impeccable and she did it all by herself.” We have no one to prove anything to. Especially for those of us who have established ourselves for over a decade. What other receipts do we need to show? We are usually Type A, perfectionist types who do not know how to let go of reins.
It is time. Let them go. Build your team. Find your helpers. Get some more sleep.