Anne-Laure is an entrepreneur, neuroscience student and former Google employee who founded Ness Labs, a company providing content and tools to help people be productive without sacrificing their mental health. Its products include Teeny Breaks, a Chrome extension that reminds you to take mindful breaks, and Maker Mind, a weekly newsletter about mindful productivity.
She is widely known for achieving the seemingly incompatible goals of producing frequent yet high-quality content.
She launched the Maker Mind newsletter in the summer of 2019 and has grown it to 10,000 subscribers and $5k in monthly revenue from sponsorships, memberships, and workshops.
Here are my takeaways from her journey so far:
1. Consistency is key – Science has shown that quantity yields quality: the more you create the more creative you become. This means to be good, you need to first be comfortable being average. She publicly committed to writing one article daily, and she sticks to this schedule even when she doesn’t feel confident in her writing. This frees her to ignore her inner critic. She reads her writing through *just once *before hitting publish.
2. Play the numbers – Even with the benefit of hindsight, Anne-Laure can’t pinpoint why some of her articles go viral and others don’t. But she has noticed the Pareto rule holds true: 20% of her articles drive 80% of the traffic. If there’s no pattern or way to predict success, then *quantity is the main variable she controls. “By writing every day, I just increase the odds that something is going to be popular.” She shares her work consistently across multiple channels: Hacker News, Indie Hackers, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack, and Telegram. During her first month of writing, four of her articles hit the front page of Hacker News. That means the other twenty-six didn’t.
3. Build your process into a habit – A process is necessary for consistency but it must fit with your lifestyle. Anne-Laure built a process that works for her: she sets aside a block of time each morning to write. She puts everything in her calendar, including breaks, exercise, time to think, reading time, time with friends. At the start of each week she ensures she is prioritising her key goals. She says no, or maybe later, to anything which doesn’t relate to these goals.
4. Write about something that matters to you – Above all else, if you have meaning behind your work, you are far more likely to weather inevitable rough patches and down days. Anne-Laure believes in helping people to live happier, healthier lives, and focuses her work around this goal. “While each article is just that—an article—every time I hit publish, this simple action is deeply aligned with my overarching goal.”