5 years of This Needs Hot Sauce
I wasn't trapped but I sure was stuck
One thing about working for yourself is that you never get a promotion or a performance review or a company wide email or slack saying you did a good job. You can change your title or your bio, or your rates, but you’re still on your own, kid. Since I have a nontraditional career that involves a lot of solo work, I make an extra effort to mark milestones and share them with you all, and I treasure the many kind responses I get to this newsletter (I take screenshots and save them in a folder for rainy days).
October 29th is a huge day in the This Needs Hot Sauce universe because it’s the day I sent out the first ever issue back in 2017. This newsletter is five years old and I’ve been writing it for longer than I attended college, longer than I’ve been dating Dale (I met him about six months later) and far longer than I’ve had any other job.
If you want to celebrate this milestone with me, I have a few ideas! Join us in Brooklyn on November 15th at Philomena’s for a celebration (and a preview of this year’s gift guide). Please RSVP here so we have a head count! If you can’t make it, I always appreciate you sharing TNHS with a friend or, if you’re so moved, upgrading to a paid subscription so you can get access to the full archives, tons of recipes, essays, and personalized recommendations and support this newsletter for the next five years and beyond.
On a call recently, a fellow newsletter writer asked me how I built my audience. I had to tell him there was no secret (I share more tactical advice here). I’ve had a few days of big growth for this newsletter tied to mentions in other newsletters, but mostly it’s been very slow and steady. I see newsletters that started way after I did get book deals or generate salary level revenue and I’m not there yet. That’s okay, we all have our own timelines. But I am still so proud of myself. When I sent out the first issue, I had never been paid to write outside of college and I worked full time in a different field. I did not have a business plan (I still don’t, tbh) or a monetization strategy. What I did have was a somewhat desperate desire to change my life and a lifelong passion for food.
I want to share a bit of my life from 2017 with you and on Monday, I’ll share a few highlights from the past five years and a big announcement. Anniversaries like this don’t come around often, so forgive me for dragging it out.
In October 2017, I was 24 years old living with Julia in East Williamsburg. I was working in development at a nonprofit with very high turnover. It was my first full time office job and I hated it. I worked near Penn Station in a cubicle under fluorescent lights and I felt like an alien to my coworkers. I decorated my cubicle with colorful postcards because it was so grey and people would walk by and say things like, “how cute!”