Polina Pompliano, author, entrepreneur, mum

My interview this week is an enormous 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. In case you are an everyday reader right here, you’d’ve seen many hyperlinks to her work in my publication.

Polina’s newsletter profiles the world’s most attention-grabbing and profitable individuals, 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 stuffed with actionable takeaways.

She stop her job at Fortune journal in 2020 to write down her publication The Profile full time, not understanding the world was going to be hit by a world pandemic.

Regardless of that, right now she has 10’s of hundreds of subscribers, and 1000’s of paid subscribers, and is making extra money than she ever has in conventional media. She additionally simply launched a guide 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 individuals she is doing it for! Her contentment, ardour and pleasure in her work seeps via each sentence she writes. I typically 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 price your time. I’ve highlighted bits that stand out for me probably the most.)

Q. Inform us a bit of bit about your self (work, household and private pursuits/hobbies)

I typically have bother describing what precisely it’s that I do as a result of there are such a lot of aspects to my identification 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 get pleasure from doing yoga, studying, and going to bookstores.

Q. What impressed you to start out The Profile? Did you ever plan on doing it full time if you began it?

I started The Profile as a dialog starter. As somebody who has at all times liked studying longform profiles of attention-grabbing individuals, I additionally actually liked the method of discussing them with household and associates. So I began sending a weekly e-mail through which I curated seven to eight profiles that I discovered attention-grabbing.

By no means in my wildest desires did I ever assume that this tiny publication that’s grown solely via phrase of mouth can be one thing I stop my job at FORTUNE journal to work on full-time. The lesson I realized from this expertise is that probably the most attention-grabbing enterprises may be born out of a real ardour slightly than a calculated marketing strategy.

Q. When do you know it was the fitting time to stop your job and pursue The Profile full time? Did you ever fear about it failing?

To be fairly sincere, I apprehensive about failing each single day. However a couple of issues occurred that contributed to my choice in March 2020 to depart 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 aspect. I then occurred to return throughout this text, 100 True Fans by Li Jin. It made the purpose that as the fervour financial system grew, increasingly individuals had been monetizing what they liked. So it planted a seed in my head and I requested myself the query, “Might 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 maths on what number of paying members I would wish to match my wage at FORTUNE. Primarily based on my publication’s progress, I assumed I might attain that quantity in six months. So the danger didn’t look as scary and unrealistic as I first imagined.

Lastly, I learn this commencement speech by Anna Quindlen that lit a hearth inside me that I can’t even describe. She stated, “I’m not nuts. I’m glad. I’m profitable alone phrases. As a result of in case your success is just not by yourself phrases, if it seems to be 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: In case you win the rat race, you’re nonetheless a rat.”

I spotted that I might by no means be glad so long as I measured success as cash, standing, and titles. The Profile gave me a chance to start out 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 total life: Independence. There is no such thing as a higher feeling than the liberty to resolve 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 you can be entrepreneurial in any business — even in the event you begin small. In any case, all massive issues began small.

As a mother, I’ve had the independence to proceed operating my enterprise whereas spending time with my little one. 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? If that’s the case, how?

Sure, however in a weird manner! My daughter was born in November 2021, and I had been occupied with writing a guide for years however by no means obtained 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 previous, I obtained 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 guide, we’d love to talk 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 submit made me nauseous. To not point out the truth that I didn’t even know what I might write a whole guide 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 became a guide proposal, after which a pattern chapter, till I had a completed manuscript.

In these early months of changing into a mother, the infant 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 guide 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 guide and The Profile within the “edges of time” — typically present in between diaper adjustments, 20-minute naps, and video games of peek-a-boo.

And I need 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 type of workaholic who thinks it’s potential “to do all of it.” That’s in no way the case. Writing is how I specific myself, so even when this wasn’t what I did for a residing, I’d nonetheless be doing it in some capability whereas caring for my child.

The important thing for me has been about being reasonable about what I’ve power for and what offers me power. Fortunately, these two issues had been watching my daughter develop and engaged on my publication and guide.

Q. What are your ideas on the way forward for the creator financial system and the potential it has for mums trying to create on-line as a way to make an revenue?

There’s completely no ceiling. As I’ve talked with my mother associates, one factor retains developing: “I’m in dire want of an mental dialog.” As lots of your readers know properly, these new child days are very monotonous and … quiet (properly, minus the screaming). It’s really easy to turn out to be lonely and even plunge right into a melancholy as a result of your total world has been re-configured.

The recommendation I at all times give is: Don’t take into consideration the cash first. Take into consideration what you genuinely get pleasure from 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, nevertheless it constructed consistency and it helped me turn out to be an professional 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 individuals, or making salads *(significantly, one in all the top PAID newsletters on Substack is about salads), you can also make it work. You simply want to start out as a result of consistency plus time equals belief. And constructing belief along with your reader or buyer is what is going to in the future mean you can 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 guide – 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 properly.

Right here’s an instance of what a day seemed like throughout 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, you then gained’t have any exterior accountability.

Once I first began The Profile, it was horrible. However I obtained suggestions alongside the best way and made it higher with a number of incremental adjustments over time. You’ll by no means launch one thing in its most good type. It’s merely not possible with out suggestions from different individuals.

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 individuals. If it’s singing, file a pattern and publish it to YouTube. It sounds terrifying, however the concern is what makes you extra resilient and fulfilled.

We wish 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 continually reminding myself that so long as we’ve a ferocious degree of affection for our youngsters, that’s all that issues ultimately.

Perfection is futile — issues will go flawed, we’ll make errors, and typically we’ll say issues we don’t imply. It’s the unconditional love, care, kindness, and help which can be instrumental in shaping our youngsters into fantastic, accountable adults. Nothing extra, nothing much less.

Q. What’s your final purpose as a working mum?

My final purpose is to lift my daughter to establish her personal “hidden genius” and depart 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 need to be. I would like her to know that you simply don’t have to permit the world to cut back your total being to at least one singular identification.

Q. The place do you get your motivation?

Actually, from fellow people. I meet or examine individuals on a regular basis whose tales encourage me past perception. Whether or not it’s Olympian Sara Mardinientrepreneur Tope Awotona, or author Robert Hoge, it’s the experiences of people that have needed to overcome large hardship to defy the chances and achieve their desires. I’m impressed by individuals whose life journeys aren’t linear. In actual fact, 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 exploit the Pocket app to save lots of articles that I need to learn later. It’s superb as a result of it additionally works offline, so you’ll be able to learn them even if 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 assist you?

Yoga! Once 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. The very best parenting recommendation you’ve got

Every thing — the nice, the unhealthy, and the painful — is fleeting. While you’re within the thick of it, it’s human nature to assume that the difficult moments will final ceaselessly.

One Profile reader jogged my memory that life is only a collection of phases. “A child waking up each two hours is non permanent,” she writes. “A child who will solely eat chips is non permanent. A mood tantrum — non permanent.”

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 will make the glad man unhappy, and the unhappy man glad. The counselor, perplexed, requested a jeweler within the bazaar for recommendation. The jeweler inscribed on a hoop: ‘This too shall cross.’ Name it apparent, nevertheless it’s taken me my total life to half-master this axiom.

Q. Favorite software that makes your life simpler

When my daughter was a new child, I used the Huckleberry app that lets you 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 wish to gamble, but when there may be one factor I’m prepared to wager on, it’s myself.” — Beyoncé

Q. Neatest thing you will have learn or watched these days

I not too long ago found “The Battle of Artwork” by Steven Pressfield, and it’s an incredible guide. In case you’re feeling caught in any artistic endeavor, this can be a must-read.

Q. Lastly, in the event you might invite 3 individuals from these profiled in your publication to dinner, who would they be and why?

Wow, what a query. I might invite nation music legend Dolly Parton, chef Grant Achatz, and astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz. These are three folks that have seemingly nothing in frequent, however that will be probably the most fascinating dialog of all: What would three individuals from three completely totally different industries speak about?

This query is so nice as a result of it makes you notice that you simply don’t have to attend to ask these individuals to dinner in the future. You can begin now by inviting three of your folks who’ve completely totally different pursuits to dinner. What is going to they speak about 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 anybody who may discover it helpful.


When you have any questions for Polina, depart a remark or reply to this e-mail and I’ll be certain that she will get it.

Depart a remark

You’ll be able to observe Polina’s publication right here, The Profile

You’ll be able to pre-order her upcoming guide The Hidden Genius, here.

Have a terrific weekend,