Alyssa is an solopreneur who, in the spare bedroom of her apartment, publishes a popular blog. We sat down with her to see how she does it, and to see what advice she has for our readers.
Welcome, Alyssa, and thank you for donating some of your time. I know you’re a very busy solopreneur, and I know that our readers appreciate sharing some of your insights with us.
Don’t mention it. I’m a fan of the blog, and I’m happy to help. Also, it’s flattering to be seen as someone with wisdom to impart. Maybe because I’m fairly isolated in the work that I do, I don’t see its reach sometimes.
How do you deal with isolation? Is it something that comes naturally to you, or is it a struggle?
I’d say it’s both. I wake up between 4:30 and 5 a.m. and hit the ground running. My coffee maker is set on a timer, so I’m checking my emails on my phone in bed. Then the coffee smells so good, I get up and pour the first cup and head right to my home office. I start working, and before I know it, I have a reminder going off to let me know that it’s time to take a break for yoga. By lunch I’m starving, and I don’t even want to get away from the desk. I don’t know if it’s the passion for my work or what, but I hardly notice that I’m isolated until I finish for the day and look around and realize I’m still in my yoga leggings, I haven’t showered, and it’s time to go meet friends for drinks.
So, do you remove the isolation when you’re finished working for the day?
Oh definitely. I mean, I’m a girl in her early 30s. I still live for happy hour with my nearest and dearest.
What does your work process look like?
Well, first of all, my office is literally just the second bedroom in my apartment. It was a guest bedroom before, but eventually I got rid of the bedroom furniture and put in a stand up desk, an array of cork boards, a landline, filing cabinets, and things like that.
You like to stand up when you work?
Absolutely. I have a little loveseat in there for when I need to sit, but I found that standing up when I work makes me feel really energized. It keeps my momentum going.
What sort of tools do you use to follow the news that you report on?
Well, I have one computer monitor that’s just Tweetdeck. I pick up a lot of gossip from Twitter. I even kind of monitor it through the evening once I get back from dinner. So basically, if news breaks between four and six p.m., I might be slow on it. The rest of the time… I’m on it.
How did you get the idea to launch this business?
It started as a side project– most of my jobs since college have always left me feeling a little unfulfilled. I had a thought one night that my dream job would be to work as a news producer for CBS or CNN, so I thought about what a career trajectory towards that goal would look like. There was no way I wanted to go back to school and start all over again. Then I thought, “What if I create something that would be cool enough to help me land a job where I could gain on-the-job experience?” And that’s what my blog started out as. It’s a little portfolio piece that ended up becoming my actual full-time job.
Are you still pursuing the news producer career idea?
I actually don’t know. Maybe I could be a media mogul instead.
Any parting words for our readers?
Don’t give up! I know that sounds trite, but I’ve hit a few rough patches while doing this blog where I felt like giving up. I didn’t, though, and I’ve been rewarded for staying with it.