I’ve been in the blogging game since 2007 and with the end of the first full decade in the internet era, you’re bound to see lists compiling the best and the worst.
Since I like to join the party in my own way, I decided to revisit the stories that defined my journey from blogger→EIC→broadcaster and now, business owner.
In this special one-off episode, I’m going to list the central themes I’ve learned–sometimes the hard way– in hopes it can serve as a compass to my fellow content creators and entrepreneurs.
Lesson #1: Be Vulnerable
Some of my best work was done through personal, work, and sports heartbreak. Sometimes I think I shared a little too much but looking back over all of it, I’m really proud of this work.
- 9 Stories from my days as a semi-pro hockey WAG
- Why a Broken Engagement is Probably For the Best
- The long, drawn-out process of healing a broken heart
- Almost Taylor-Swift Free Breakup Playlist
- Faking a friendship with someone you’ve never met
- What to do when you make the wrong career change
- Losing My Grandfather, Kentucky Derby, and the Triple Crown winner after he died
AFC Championship Game:
- Former Jaguars Kicker Josh Scobee recaps the Jaguars’ big win over the Steelers. Along with what it means for the city and fans.
- AFC Championship preview and the excitement felt during the broadcast
- Heartbreaking recap of the loss to the Patriots at the hands of the refs
Lesson #2: Try New Things That Scare You
I used to conduct all of my interviews via email because I was a little bit of a chicken shit. Nowadays, I won’t conduct an interview unless it’s via phone or in-person. Check out the evolution of my interview styles with some of my favorites over the years.
Women Working in Sports
- Mackenzie Thirkill: Orlando Magic Sideline Reporter
- Jessica Blaylock: Florida Panthers and Miami Marlins Sideline Reporter
- Alyssa Lang: SEC Network Reporter
- Beth Mowins: The second woman to call play by play in the NFL
- Sara Walsh: NFL and College Football Reporter
- Jen Welter: NFL’s first female coach
- Linda Cohn: One of the longest-tenured ESPN reporters
- Suzy Kolber: Longtime ESPN and NFL reporter
- Gat from Sprots Takes
- Amara Baptist: NBA social media manager
- Donna Orender: Former WNBA Commish and current leader at Generation W
- Jaguars Kicker Josh Lambo
- Jaguars Safety Josh Evans
- Jaguars LB Telvin Smith
- Brandon Linder and Allen Robinson on the same show
- Superbowl Winner Malik Jackson
- Former Reds GM Brad Kullman
- Former Jags Offensive Coordinator Nate Hackett
- Kids answer “What do you want to be when you grow up”
- Jacksonville Icemen GM on reestablishing hockey culture in the south
- Drybar Founder Ali Webb
- Jaguars Equipment Manager Jimmy Luck
- Barstool’s Uncle Chaps
- Cap and Pat from Bold City Brigade
Lesson #3: Fall in Love With Telling Stories
Telling stories that interest you can almost be tougher than telling stories that keep the lights on.
- Navy DV Embark program
- The Myth of the Major Championship in Golf
- Aiming for Change: The Huntatarian Lifestyle
- Step Into Another World at White Oak Conservation
- Cosplaying as my heroes- Lara Croft, Han Solo, Sonya Blade.
- Growing up Jaguar
- The Rise of the Female Fan
Lesson #4: Don’t just have ideas. Execute and Distribute.
I’m incredibly guilty of having ideas that I just run with without thinking them through. Before you know it, I’m elbow-deep in a project that will never work–or worse–I spent so long creating the project that I didn’t leave any energy or enthusiasm to actually sell the damn thing. I didn’t realize this until mid-2019 and have already implemented strategies to help channel that excitement in the future.
- Life Update: What’s Next for GuysGirl?
- Difficulties prepping for my first conference speech
- New Show Alert: Calming Anxiety and Avoiding Fake Authencity
- Facebook caught lying about video views, Star Wars, and Losing a Big Client
- Easy Ways to Get Started with Podcasting
You know when you start digging through old photos and you find some really good ones? And then you start thinking, “I wonder if I can find that ONE photo” before you ransack the house looking for it. That was me with these older articles. So I figured let’s compile a list of the articles I loooooooved to create but didn’t make the show.
- Expedition Jax Hopes to Tag Great White Sharks off Jacksonville’s Coast: On my first day working for Void Magazine, I felt so much pressure along with extreme excitement. My first assignment was to cover an oceanic research company dubbed OSEARCH who were working off Jacksonville’s coast. I think I spent the entire day working on an article that should have taken me a couple of hours, tops. But I still love reading it because it reminds me of the variety of content I was able to cover for Void from the very first day I started with them.
- Is a Magician Considered an Artist? During my first few months as EIC at Void, I wanted to push the limits on perceptions. We had a resident artist on staff (s/o Kingsley Spencer) who was so patient with my lack of artistic depth that during our annual Art Issue brainstorming meeting, I wanted to ask the “What is art” concept as the central theme of the issue. Kingsley debated the choice at first but I feel like this story, along with others like tattoo artists and architects, was the lone instance where I maaaay have taught him a little something new in the perception of the art world.
- Looking Forward: Why Jacksonville needs to Invest in a publically owned ISP: Written way back in 2014, I’m sad to say absolutely nothing has come from this effort. It’s a shame because when I visit other cities, I realize how far Jacksonville still has to go in so many ways. And for a city that is only one of 32 with an NFL team, it’s frankly a travesty that our local government operates as if we’re in the 1950s. Looking directly and intently at you, Lenny Curry.
- The Art of 8 Limbs: Bringing traditional Muay Thai teachings to North Florida– even if Jacksonville’s local government is operating in a vacuum, there are other bright spots in the city such as this story–which was a game-changer for me to research. As a football fan who’s used to the American philosophy of “win at all costs” mentality, it was damn near therapeutic to discover the teachings Giles Willey, owner of Jax Muay Thai, has brought to the area. The central theme? It’s better to lose respectfully than to win with ego.
- Local Comic Book Podcast is Well Worth a Listen: You ever read your old work and cringe? That’s what I did with this article. Not only is the title trash but the body could use A LOT of work. But I still love this article because back in December of 2013 was the first time my (now) boyfriend and I met. He’s the host of The Shortbox Podcast and I remember getting email after email of this guy wanting someone from Void Magazine to come on his show. Podcasts were VERY new back then so I’m glad I eventually caved and wound up meeting who would eventually become the love of my life.
- GuysGirl Fantasy Football League– in what was once a novel idea, the GuysGirl fantasy football league has been going strong for 10+ years. The all-girls league was started around the same time I started taking the blog seriously. Even though I kinda hate the in-season maintenance of playing fantasy football, draft day is still one of my favorite days of the year.
- Shooting an NFL Commercial with Jaguars Owner Shad Khan– While the on the field success of newish team owner Shad Khan hasn’t been the best, there’s no denying he’s a delight to actually speak with. The self-made billionaire has genuinely cared enough to ask in a few different meetings how I’m doing, how my business is doing, etc…And he remembers everything. Seems fitting that he’s a little too loyal to coaches and employees at times when fans think he should be the opposite. But he’s the team boss and all fans can do is voice our frustration. Until then, I’m going to enjoy my incredible day with my bff shooting an NFL commercial where Shad is the star.
- Earning my Ears-My First Disney Press Passes: Anyone who knows me is aware of how much of a Disney fan I am. I attempted to work there during my traveling hockey days (see above WAGs story link for reference) but it wasn’t until I was settled into the GuysGirl side hustle that I applied and eventually earned my first press passes to the happiest place on earth. Since then, I’ve ponied up the cash for an annual pass–making what was once a dream of covering the park for “work” a reality.
- LPGA’s ‘Know Before You Go” video series: You gotta work in this sports blogging industry a while before the big leagues start to notice. And that “pinch yourself” moment came for me when the LPGA reached out with interest in hosting a golf series for newbies to the game. My grandpa would be so proud [heart emoji]
- Watch these kids answer “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Talk about a pinch-yourself day. Two years in a row I was invited to bring a table and talk to some great kids about working in sports. Only instead of a traditional table, I wanted to flip the script and ask these kids the infamous question of careers when you’re grown. Believe me when I say each and every kid gave an answer that made your heart skip a beat.
A sincere thank you to a few people that came along the GuysGirl journey and helped tremendously with coverage:
- Lauren Rogers–my first right-hand woman who helped not only with blogging but with some of our first clients at Brumleve Brands. She had faith in my little business that could
- Ryan Day– for helping to take some of the blog management off my plate. In our hay day, we had close to two dozen writers and he helped manage them all plus the social media for all GuysGirl channels–a void that hasn’t been filled since.
- Adam Stevinson— for providing top-notch gaming articles, baseball and college football coverage that STILL rank well in the SEO search engine land.
- Meg Smitherman— hands down one of the best writers I’ve ever worked with. Her Oilers story is still one of my favorites out of the entire site of more than 3,000 articles.
- And last but not least, Rob Lazlo—who’s passing three years ago changed the trajectory of the entire brand. His writing was so well done and in his prime, he was covering at least 4 stories every week for zero pay. Sometimes I had trouble editing them all to get them published in time! These were the early days of blogging and I had no idea how to monetize back then (just create content and the money will come, they said). But man, I wish he could see the company now and I could finally give him those paid opportunities that only came after his death. RIP Rob–glad the Eagles finally won you a Super Bowl.