It was a pivotal moment because, despite her obvious and well-justified excitement, her boss was decidedly less thrilled. In fact, he forbade her to go to the event, or to speak during a special pre-Inauguration show on NPR.
“It killed me,” she admits. “I had to stay behind and do all the work because my assistant got to go. I went home, and I was very emotional, and I told my husband. He was like, ‘This is ridiculous; you have to leave.’ That was the first time he had ever said that.”
The decision to leave her day job wasn’t made lightheartedly. Yursik and her husband had saved enough money to cover current bills and rent a UHAUL to move from South Florida to Chicago – and in with his parents. It’s a move that proves that the road to internet stardom may not have been smooth, but it was paved with determination and commitment.
“Having somebody in your life who believes in your dreams and is willing to sacrifice to build them with you is the most incredible asset that anybody can have,” says Yursik of her husband.
That support gave Yursik the strength she needed to keep pushing and building Afrobella. And she had plenty of time to do it since none of the Chicago-area publications where she applied for jobs made an offer. Their loss turned out to be the gain of several outlets interested in hiring Yursik as a freelancer, including AOL Black Voices and Voque Italia’s Vogue Black.
Today, Afrobella is growing strong with 350,000 page views and 85,000 unique visitors each month. And on the financial front, Yursik says that she is now making the kind of money that she had always hoped to. But despite being hugely popular, she admits that she probably wouldn’t be as eager to start her blog in 2012.
“If someone came to me now and said that I should write a blog, I would be daunted by the landscape because I think that there’s oversaturation, especially in certain segments of the blogosphere and the black blogosphere,” she explains.
That’s important advice for wannabe scribes with get-rich-quick dreams and fantasies of millions of visitors. Success is certainly possible, but not without a plan, dedication and, most importantly, a niche, warns Yursik.
“People read blogs because they want your insight and opinion and personal perspective,” she adds. “And that’s why blogs will always have a space. So if you have something to say and it’s different and intelligent, then yes, you should start a blog. And it’s not too late for you.”