Polina Pompliano, author, entrepreneur, mum
My interview this week is a giant deal for me. It’s with mum, author and founding father of The Profile Polina Pompliano, who I’ve been following for some time now. If you’re an everyday reader right here, you’ll’ve seen many hyperlinks to her work in my publication.
Polina’s newsletter profiles the world’s most attention-grabbing and profitable folks, and attracts classes from them that we will study from. The way in which she writes them is exclusive as a result of every profile is so well-researched, written with precision, and filled with actionable takeaways.
She give up her job at Fortune journal in 2020 to write down her publication The Profile full time, not realizing the world was going to be hit by a world pandemic.
Regardless of that, at the moment she has 10’s of hundreds of subscribers, and 1000’s of paid subscribers, and is making more cash than she ever has in conventional media. She additionally simply launched a e book that she wrote within the ‘edges of time’, while operating her publication and having a toddler in tow.
Polina is an exemplary instance of a mum who has been daring sufficient to design her life doing what she loves, and getting paid to do it, by the folks she is doing it for! Her contentment, ardour and pleasure in her work seeps via each sentence she writes. I usually re-read her writing as a lot of it resonates with me.
I’m so thrilled and honoured to share her interview with you. There are such a lot of golden nuggets right here, I’ll allow you to get straight into it.
(It’s a protracted interview, however I promise each phrase is value your time. I’ve highlighted bits that stand out for me essentially the most.)
Q. Inform us slightly bit about your self (work, household and private pursuits/hobbies)
I usually have bother describing what precisely it’s that I do as a result of there are such a lot of sides to my id that I don’t know which one’s my main one. I’m a mother of a 14-month-old, a author, and an entrepreneur. I additionally actually take pleasure in doing yoga, studying, and going to bookstores.
Q. What impressed you to begin The Profile? Did you ever plan on doing it full time whenever you began it?
I started The Profile as a dialog starter. As somebody who has all the time cherished studying longform profiles of attention-grabbing folks, I additionally actually cherished the method of discussing them with household and mates. So I began sending a weekly e-mail by which I curated seven to eight profiles that I discovered attention-grabbing.
By no means in my wildest goals did I ever assume that this tiny publication that’s grown solely via phrase of mouth could be one thing I give up my job at FORTUNE journal to work on full-time. The lesson I discovered from this expertise is that essentially the most attention-grabbing enterprises will be born out of a real ardour quite than a calculated marketing strategy.
Q. When do you know it was the appropriate time to give up your job and pursue The Profile full time? Did you ever fear about it failing?
To be fairly sincere, I anxious about failing each single day. However a number of issues occurred that contributed to my resolution in March 2020 to go away my job at FORTUNE and pursue The Profile full-time.
First, The Profile was a free publication, and I had been writing it for 3 years. It was rising fairly quickly for one thing that I simply did on the facet. I then occurred to come back throughout this text, 100 True Fans by Li Jin. It made the purpose that as the eagerness economic system grew, increasingly more folks had been monetizing what they cherished. So it planted a seed in my head and I requested myself the query, “May I realistically monetize The Profile? Would a few of my ‘true followers’ actually pay me to curate this for them every week?”
Second, I began doing the mathematics on what number of paying members I would want to match my wage at FORTUNE. Based mostly on my publication’s progress, I assumed I might attain that quantity in six months. So the chance didn’t look as scary and unrealistic as I first imagined.
Lastly, I learn this commencement speech by Anna Quindlen that lit a fireplace inside me that I can’t even describe. She stated, “I’m not nuts. I’m pleased. I’m profitable alone phrases. As a result of in case your success just isn’t by yourself phrases, if it seems good to the world however doesn’t really feel good in your coronary heart, it’s not success in any respect. Bear in mind the phrases of Lily Tomlin: If you happen to win the rat race, you’re nonetheless a rat.”
I noticed that I’d by no means be pleased so long as I measured success as cash, standing, and titles. The Profile gave me a possibility to begin over, construct a reputation for myself, and run a enterprise precisely how I wished to.
Q. How has working for your self modified your life, each as an expert and a mum?
It’s given me one thing I now realized I’ve craved my whole life: Independence. There is no such thing as a higher feeling than the liberty to determine what you’re employed on, the way you spend your time, and who you do enterprise with.
That is one thing that I would like my daughter to study from an early age. I would like her to see that you may be entrepreneurial in any business — even should you begin small. In spite of everything, all large issues began small.
As a mother, I’ve had the independence to proceed operating my enterprise whereas spending time with my youngster. I wouldn’t commerce a single second of being there for each single second throughout her first yr of life.
Q. Did your skilled ambitions change after changing into a mum? In that case, how?
Sure, however in a weird method! My daughter was born in November 2021, and I had been occupied with writing a e book for years however by no means acquired round to it. When she got here alongside, all the things modified. I had no time but I wished to do extra.
When she was three months outdated, I acquired a message from Harriman Home editor Christopher Parker. He reached out on Twitter with a easy, “In case your ideas ever flip to writing a e book, we’d love to speak with you.”
At first, I dismissed it. There was no time. I had a child that refused to sleep. The very considered writing one thing longer than a publication put up made me nauseous. To not point out the truth that I didn’t even know what I’d write a whole e book about.
However I couldn’t cease occupied with it, and from there, I did it little by little. It began with a brainstorm, then it was a e book proposal, after which a pattern chapter, till I had a completed manuscript.
In these early months of changing into a mother, the newborn wants you for all the things to the purpose the place you don’t even really feel like your physique belongs to you anymore. However having one thing you do solely for your self did miracles for my psychological well being. (And naturally, I devoted the e book to my daughter, so she higher be good to me sooner or later!)
Q. How has engaged on The Profile modified because you turned a mum?
We didn’t have any assist with my daughter, in order that meant it was simply me and my husband. I wrote the e book and The Profile within the “edges of time” — usually present in between diaper adjustments, 20-minute naps, and video games of peek-a-boo.
And I wish to be clear: This isn’t for everybody. I do know somebody is studying this proper now shaking their head considering that I’m some kind of workaholic who thinks it’s attainable “to do all of it.” That’s under no circumstances the case. Writing is how I specific myself, so even when this wasn’t what I did for a dwelling, I’d nonetheless be doing it in some capability whereas caring for my child.
The important thing for me has been about being real looking about what I’ve vitality for and what provides me vitality. Fortunately, these two issues had been watching my daughter develop and engaged on my publication and e book.
Q. What are your ideas on the way forward for the creator economic system and the potential it has for mums trying to create on-line as a way to make an earnings?
There’s completely no ceiling. As I’ve talked with my mother mates, one factor retains arising: “I’m in dire want of an mental dialog.” As a lot of your readers know effectively, these new child days are very monotonous and … quiet (effectively, minus the screaming). It’s really easy to turn out to be lonely and even plunge right into a despair as a result of your whole world has been re-configured.
The recommendation I all the time give is: Don’t take into consideration the cash first. Take into consideration what you genuinely take pleasure in doing that you’d do even when there was no financial incentive. After which begin doing it. I labored on The Profile for three years earlier than I ever made a single penny off of it, however it constructed consistency and it helped me turn out to be an skilled at this tremendous area of interest factor, which is “share profiles of individuals I discover attention-grabbing.”
So whether or not it’s knitting, reviewing eating places, interviewing folks, or making salads *(severely, considered one of the top PAID newsletters on Substack is about salads), you may make it work. You simply want to begin as a result of consistency plus time equals belief. And constructing belief along with your reader or buyer is what is going to someday will let you flip your ardour right into a enterprise.
Q. You run a profitable publication as a full time job, are the mum of a toddler, and have simply written a e book – how do you handle your time?
As you’ll be able to think about, a toddler’s life is fairly regimented, which suggests mine is as effectively.
Right here’s an instance of what a day regarded like in the course of the book-writing course of when she was taking a number of naps:
Q. What’s your recommendation to mums trying to do extra each professionally and personally?
Do it in public. What I imply by that’s that I do know whoever is studying this has a private ardour they’ve wished to probe for a while. However except you do it in public in some capability, then you definitely received’t have any exterior accountability.
After I first began The Profile, it was horrible. However I acquired suggestions alongside the best way and made it higher with a number of incremental adjustments through the years. You’ll by no means launch one thing in its most good kind. It’s merely unattainable with out suggestions from different folks.
So when you establish your ardour, begin doing it in public. If it’s a publication, begin publishing each week even when it solely goes out to 10 folks. If it’s singing, report a pattern and publish it to YouTube. It sounds terrifying, however the concern is what makes you extra resilient and fulfilled.
We would like our kids to develop up being competent and assured, so why not begin by modeling it ourselves?
Q. Do you undergo from mother guilt? How do you cope with it?
I’ve positively had my justifiable share of anxious moments of, “Wait, am I doing this proper,” however I’m continuously reminding myself that so long as we have now a ferocious degree of affection for our children, that’s all that issues ultimately.
Perfection is futile — issues will go incorrect, we’ll make errors, and generally we’ll say issues we don’t imply. It’s the unconditional love, care, kindness, and help which can be instrumental in shaping our children into great, accountable adults. Nothing extra, nothing much less.
Q. What’s your final aim as a working mum?
My final aim is to boost my daughter to establish her personal “hidden genius” and go away the world a greater place than she discovered it. I hope that I generally is a good function mannequin for her in that girls aren’t confined to at least one function.
You generally is a mother and an astronaut. You generally is a mother and an creator. You generally is a mother and regardless of the hell you wish to be. I would like her to know that you simply don’t have to permit the world to scale back your whole being to at least one singular id.
Q. The place do you get your motivation?
Actually, from fellow people. I meet or examine folks on a regular basis whose tales encourage me past perception. Whether or not it’s Olympian Sara Mardini, entrepreneur Tope Awotona, or author Robert Hoge, it’s the experiences of people that have needed to overcome super hardship to defy the percentages and achieve their goals. I’m impressed by folks whose life journeys aren’t linear. In reality, I’m most amazed on the ones with the winding paths that result in some very lovely locations.
Q. What’s your greatest productiveness hack?
I take advantage of the Pocket app to save lots of articles that I wish to learn later. It’s superb as a result of it additionally works offline, so you’ll be able to learn them even whenever you don’t have service on a airplane or on the subway.
Q. What do you do in your ‘me-time’ and the way does it allow you to?
Yoga! After I’m on that yoga mat, it’s the one place I affiliate with complete serenity. I’ve discovered that bodily motion actually helps me decompress when the work that I do requires me to make use of my mind all day lengthy.
Q. One of the best parenting recommendation you’ve got
The whole lot — the nice, the unhealthy, and the painful — is fleeting. Once you’re within the thick of it, it’s human nature to assume that the difficult moments will final without end.
One Profile reader jogged my memory that life is only a sequence of phases. “A child waking up each two hours is short-term,” she writes. “A child who will solely eat chips is short-term. A mood tantrum — short-term.”
I bear in mind studying an version of this fantastic newsletter, which defined that our perception that issues will final is the foundation of our unhappiness. It says:
There is a Jewish folktale about King Solomon asking a counselor for an adage that might make the pleased man unhappy, and the unhappy man pleased. The counselor, perplexed, requested a jeweler within the bazaar for recommendation. The jeweler inscribed on a hoop: ‘This too shall cross.’ Name it apparent, however it’s taken me my whole life to half-master this axiom.
Q. Favorite instrument that makes your life simpler
When my daughter was a new child, I used the Huckleberry app that permits you to observe sleep, feedings, and all types of different issues. That was most likely the app I used most frequently for months on finish.
Q. Favorite quote
“I don’t prefer to gamble, but when there’s one factor I’m keen to wager on, it’s myself.” — Beyoncé
Q. Smartest thing you have got learn or watched these days
I not too long ago found “The Warfare of Artwork” by Steven Pressfield, and it’s an incredible e book. If you happen to’re feeling caught in any artistic endeavor, it is a must-read.
Q. Lastly, should you might invite 3 folks from these profiled in your publication to dinner, who would they be and why?
Wow, what a query. I’d invite nation music legend Dolly Parton, chef Grant Achatz, and astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz. These are three those who have seemingly nothing in widespread, however that might be essentially the most fascinating dialog of all: What would three folks from three completely completely different industries discuss?
This query is so nice as a result of it makes you notice that you simply don’t have to attend to ask these folks to dinner someday. You can begin now by inviting three of your mates who’ve completely completely different pursuits to dinner. What is going to they discuss and what new concepts might come out of it?
I hope you discovered that as attention-grabbing, inspiring and helpful as I did. Do share if you realize anybody who may discover it helpful.
If in case you have any questions for Polina, go away a remark or reply to this e-mail and I’ll ensure she will get it.
You possibly can observe Polina’s publication right here, The Profile
You possibly can pre-order her upcoming e book The Hidden Genius, here.
Have an excellent weekend,