Feb. 5, 2024: Why I Scrapped My Launch
Portfolio career reflections, market shifts, hot links
Illustration by Kevin Sterjo
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Why I Scrapped My Own Launch
Not getting through. Credit: Bhavin Misra, ca. 2017
I scrapped my big consulting promotion for the year. Just gave up, right in the middle of it, which I've never done before. It's a big ol’ failure... and it honestly feels great, like a sip of ice water. Today I wanted to share with you why I did that.
For context, I wrapped up most of my client book in December 2023. I've been trying a bunch of offer formats that work while also holding a 9-to-5. After two years of trying to balance a full-time media editor job with a full-time consulting business, I still haven't figured it out, and I'm not sure I ever will.
I've been surgical with my time and attention and hiring more VA help. But there's another factor: My post-injury body just needs a lot more rest, both physically and mentally. I know burnout is nigh when I’m too tired to respond to friends, reply back to subscribers, or follow up on leads.
(I hesitate to use the word “depressed” here because someone I love struggles with depression. I see its impacts firsthand. It feels flippant to casually say “I feel depressed” as I have not been diagnosed with depression. I was diagnosed with moderate generalized anxiety last year and take a prescribed medication for that.)
Burnout aside, taking a day job in the spring of 2022 was the right move for me. It has provided stability and structure, and has allowed me to explore more long-game marketing strategies for my personal brand like SEO and strategic relationships. I don’t have to go rustle up 3 new clients every month to land in the black like I did when I was self-employed full-time.
I have more creative space. Also, I've never had the appetite for risk that entrepreneurship sometimes requires. Last year I wrote that I don't identify as an entrepreneur, but rather a creative with an entrepreneurial skill set. That still rings true.
Amidst all this friction, though, my career as a writer has evolved.
📚 My book aspirations, which I’ve had for years, are beginning to take shape.
- I'm passionate about this idea of entrepreneurship as a vehicle for personal finance and lifestyle design, along with why minority communities like queer people are more likely to (and should) embrace these approaches. This is how I stumbled into self-employment, personally.
- For the first time, I feel capable of doing the level and rigor of research that a traditionally published book on this topic would require.
📱 Vertical video on social media is interesting to me, not for likes or follows, but for the challenge of being able to tell (and SHOW) a story in under 60 seconds, and reach younger audiences. I'm TikToking now, it's kinda fun -- never thought I'd say that.
I’m exploring how to broaden my personal brand in a way that is less linear to my business and expertise, but still relevant. This is something I haven’t done before, and, well, it’s hard! But I’m getting closer.
In online business culture, we’re taught that our personal brand has to be hyper-linear to our business model. I’ve been following that advice since 2016, and deviating from it feels incorrect, like bad business acumen. But I trust my gut. My sense is that it’s time for a personal brand pivot — if nothing else, for my own energy and motivation — and that the time to do so is now. This means less launching, more getting back to subscribers, more audience growth efforts, and deeper writing efforts.
And isn’t this how entrepreneurship actually works? The only constant is change. Two years ago everyone was saying “You have to HIRE to scale!” and now all those people are downsizing. Markets change all the time, and we do too. Pivoting often doesn't mean you're unfocused.
Keep your own fire burning bright. It's one of the most important ingredients to playing the long game well.
What do you think? Let me know in a comment at the bottom of this post.
New Blogs and Bylines
How to Fund Your Fabulous Life (Out Magazine)
For queer people, opulence is activism. And there’s a way to live large without breaking the bank.
Legislation that went into effect this year makes student loan payments eligible for a 401(k) match if your company participates.
The AP stylebook is how many editors and media publications edit written work. Here are its most important takeaways.
Hot Links Roundup
via Foundry on Pixabay
🔗 A famous piece of advice to journalists is not to write “dog bites man” stories because it's a common occurrence. This makes it ironic that a dog biting a man is near the core of the recent Los Angeles Times layoffs, which axed over 100 journalists. (Columbia Journalism Review)
🔗 A study from University of Minnesota Law School found that when law students could use GPT-4, speed of work improved. Quality improved too, but only for the lowest-skilled participants. The students also enjoyed the work more. (University of Minnesota)
🔗 TikTok and UMG are fighting over artist rights. Failure to renew a contract caused thousands of artists' songs, including Taylor Swift's discography, to disappear from the platform overnight, disrupting many TikTok creators' tried-and-true content playbooks. (Rolling Stone)
Odds and Ends
🔗 Elon Musk's Neuralink trial didn't offer a publicly available protocol and hasn't registered on ClinicalTrials.gov, a lack of transparency that has scientists concerned and has generally been underreported in the media. (Nature)
🔗 Speaking of burnout, did you know there’s a scientifically developed assessment for it? The MBI has been around since the 1970s. (The Harvard Business Review)
🔗 Threads crossed 130 million users, Mark Zuckerberg mentioned as part of a slam-dunk earnings call recapping Meta Platforms' “year of efficiency.” The stock price jumped 20% in response. (TechCrunch)
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Cheering you on,