A few weeks back I threw a BGLH meetup at my storefront — that nobody showed up to. And a few weeks before that I had a meeting at BET that really crashed, flew off the highway and burned in a ditch. Both of these experiences taught me something: I need more people.

Yes I am fabulous, funny, creative and smart. But I’m also a mom who is managing a blog while operating a rapidly growing beauty brand + storefront while raising three kids. I can’t do it all. And if I keep trying I’m going to get nowhere fast.

There’s an article Luvvie Ajayi wrote on Medium a year and a half ago that has really stayed with me. It’s called On Firing Myself and Ending the Empire of One.

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.

The truth is I suck at self-promotion. Most people who read this blog regularly have no clue what I look like. Shoot, a customer came into the store the other day who’s been a BGLH fan for years and had no clue that I run BGLH Marketplace.

So I recently met with a publicist at a restaurant in Bed Stuy. I told her everything — how I got my start in blogging, how I was cyberbullied and subsequently scared for many years out of using my own voice on my blog, how I started BGLH Marketplace and my recent move from Chicago to Brooklyn.

“You’re going to have to be willing to be seen — photoshoots, interviews and speaking events. But aside from that, you leave all the rest to me.” Those magic words were exactly what I needed to hear.

So I’m firing ‘Leila the publicist’ because she’s done a pretty shitty job. And I’m excited to see what comes. It feels like a very grown up thing to do. It feels like the right thing to do.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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13 Comments on "My Failed Meetup + This Article By Luvvie Ajayi Inspired Me to Hire My First Publicist"

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Todra

Go, you! It’s hard to do everything. We start out there because of necessity with our businesses, but I believe we stay there because it becomes second nature. And because we’re super protective of our businesses. But you’re so right. There comes a time…And once we do let go of the reigns, we wonder what the hell took us so long. I look forward to seeing you on EVERYTHING soon. lol

Jewell Singletary

I met you at a meetup in Chicago at Huetiful in 2014-2015. I love that you continue to share you journey! Im originally from NY and have relocated back to the East Coast. I think i was out of town when you had your BK meetup but I’ll definitely be by to check out your new store front. You’re journey has been inspiring and I’ll definitely continue to support!

Carla

Great article of a lesson learned. As an introvert, I really need to team up with others more often. By the way, I would have attended your Meetup – we don’t have much black/natural hair anything going on here (Pacific NW) so I would have showed up with bells! LOL

TWA4now

Wow! So true! I hope you tour VA. I will be at that hair show or storefront!

alison hilaire

Yes!!! Having a team is a really good idea and a real pro move. If it’s just a hobby then doing it alone is fine but when you’re talking business, you need a staff!

Sis@SistahButters

And the truth shall set you FREE! Thank you for this insight, I needed to hear this too. Sometimes it’s best to let others do that job they love while you step out of the way and let that love flow to you.

TWA4now

True…cannot be a one man show…GO FOR IT, GIRL!

Michelle

I would of came if I wasn’t out of state. I have been here since the beginning and I’m so proud of you. Your last few articles have been inspiring. Thank you for sharing the struggle of trying to make a successful life and business for yourself. YOU are inspiring!

Dami

Great job on your blog and the growth of your hair care business. You are a true testament to organic growth that comes from consistency. I started following your blog sometime in 2009, when I was living abroad and made the decision to go natural because of the lack of options available to me. Eight years later I am still natural and it is great to see your blog still very active. All the best in your endeavors, and as a part-time Brooklyn, I will be checking out your store-front very soon.

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