Hey Fran Hey – How She Creates a More Conscious Life

Wendy: Fran, are you in Portland right now?

Jess: now.

Fran: Portland, Oregon.

Jess: Woo.

Wendy: Okay. Okay. So for those of you who don’t know, friends are a girl and she moved from New York City to Portland, which

is such a big change in every sense of the word.

So how

long has it been now that you’ve been living

there?

Fran: Oh man. About a year and like four months. Four or five? Yeah, a little under a year and a half. I know time

Wendy: Oh my God.

Okay. Tell us how’s it been going? I know in New York City, like sometimes you feel like it’s very insular, like you feel like you’re kind of living in a bubble and you’ve created an entire life. Outside of that. So how have you, you’ve been feeling about the move. I remember like when we last spoke, you had just

moved there and you were like, wow, this is like a big adjustment.

Things were so different over here. So how has it been

going?

Fran: I mean, it’s definitely still an adjustment. I always wonder like, do New Yorkers ever fully adjust anywhere?

But honestly, it’s been, it’s been a great adjustment, a lot of learning, especially with how to be in community because I didn’t

realize New Yorkers were so, It’s a very individual city, right?

You’re just like, go into your apartment, you go to work and get in your Uber, whatever to get a jump on the train. And here it’s like my neighbors wanna have conversation, and when they see me, they’re like a, like the mailman knows my name, and he’s like asking me about my day every time he drops the

Jess: Wow.

Fran: And there’s a part of me that was annoyed by it, like I noticed. And then I was like, why are you so annoyed? Like,

these are people, granted, some of them are nosy, but for the most part, they’re just trying to be like, Hey, you are a part of our community now and we are just trying to get to know you, you know?

And. There was that New York like paranoia that I kinda

Wendy: Yeah.

Fran: with of like, why are you all in my business? Why are you asking so many questions? And it

was just funny

cause I had no idea that I was even that person.

But I’ve never lived in like a suburb, you know? I didn’t grow up in that. And I’ve always lived in buildings, apartment buildings my entire life.

And so living in a house, even having to tend to a backyard and, and, you know, worry about the front yard and the porch. And it is just funny. Like, I feel like I’ve stretched into a whole new version of myself that is, is excited and curious, but also anxious. Like, I gotta be rolling out garbage bins every

Tuesday.

What is this? Like, you know, I had to learn to drive cause ain’t no train, no two train, three blocks away

and there’s no bus, you know, that’s easily accessible, which is sad, but.

It’s also cool for me because as a New Yorker, a lot of us don’t even have our license.

Wendy: Yeah.

Fran: don’t even ever make it a thing to become drivers.

Cause you don’t really

need

to in that type of city. Where transportation is is so crucial. So here I like learned to drive. I got my first car at 40 years old, like,

Wendy: Oh,

Jess: I

Wendy: exciting.

Fran: it’s, it’s really cute. So it’s been an adjustment. But

it’s been great.

I think I’ve expanded in a lot of

ways that I didn’t anticipate in a

lot of ways that I did.

Wendy: I Love that. Do you think you’re gonna stay there?

Fran: I don’t know if it’s a forever thing. I will

say

that just because it feels like this is a

very, like what Fran needs right

now

thing

and I’m feeling it out. Who’s to say? Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but I’m not getting that feeling.

You know, that this is like, oh, I wanna, you know, plant some roots here and maybe buy a house and have companies like, I feel that way, but then I don’t, so I’m just kind of

Wendy: Hmm.

Fran: plant it by ear and seeing, because it’s, you know, it’s not a lot

of, like, speaking of community, there’s not a lot of our community

here.

And there’s a part of me that feels like, oh, that’s exciting cuz it can be something that I.

Like turned into a mission somewhat because even just me living here a year and a half, a lot of people have moved here. And a lot of people, you see more black people just period. Like it’s, there’s I think more of a migration happening to the Pacific Northwest.

And I’m sure a lot of that had to do with quarantine and covid where people were like, I wanna be around nature and this is beautiful out here. So I get the attraction and the calling. So I’m seeing a lot more black people. But you know, it’s challenging being in a city where I don’t even know what our percentage is.

Like 2% I don’t even,

Jess: yeah, it’s pretty low.

Fran: low.

Yeah. So that presents it’s own unique

challenges. So that’s what kind of makes me

wonder if I could stay here long term. Cause I don’t find myself being as social. Out here which I need to be, cause I’m such an introvert and I will stay home for a month.

Like, gladly not leave my house. Not even a problem. But I don’t wanna be that person, you know, like I wanna grow out of a lot of that. So I don’t know that I can do that here.

Jess: yeah. It’s funny you say that cuz. Last time I went to Portland, which I think was 2021, and I was texting you and you, you were not there yet. I don’t think you were about to get there.

Fran: October,

Jess: Yeah, and my hu and I, I did love Portland, but my husband Joseph was like, it’s a no for me. Just because there’s, yeah, because of the lack of black people. And then also it being you being hyper-visible as a black person. Again, you, you’re saying that there’s more black people now, but then there wasn’t, and also just a little bit of awkward vibes, I think.

Because yeah, it, I th I think that the white people in Portland,

they wanna go out of their way to make you not feel uncomfortable. And in doing so, it’s like uncomfortable. Yeah. It’s like we would go eat somewhere and, you know, everyone’s sitting and there’s no seats and everyone’s like

getting up for us. like take my seat, take my seat. And we’re just like,

okay. Like this is awkward.

Fran: That is Portland. Every lawn has that, like Black Lives Matter and it’s written on people’s windows and it’s like, all right now.

Jess: Alright, alright. So yeah, he’s, he’s like, no, but I loved it in the nature and the hiking,

do you find yourself doing a lot of

like hiking or There was farmer’s markets

there.

Yes.

Fran: And that was the biggest thing for me here. You know, honestly, it’s been the saving grace cuz you could throw me in the woods and I’m gonna be fine. And it’s kind of, it’s, it’s kind of, It’s helped me with not having so much of the community and social aspects because for me, nature is social for me.

Like it’s so spiritual and that’s a lot of the connection that I feel like I wasn’t granted access to in New York. I mean, you go to Central Park layout, that’s as much nature, or you have to drive out to the cat skills, you know, two, three hours out to really get that feeling. But here it’s such a blessing.

Like, I’m like, this is wild. Like I have hummingbirds that come to my window every day and I put their nectar out and like a hummingbird feeder and we chill and like 10 minutes away, if I’m not having the best day, I just go drive out to like the waterfalls and the hikes and everything’s right there, five, 10 minutes away.

Beautiful mountains with snow caps. I mean, it’s like unreal.

The land out here is unreal. It looks straight out of like those Mercedes car commercials where they’re like turning the road like the trees. It’s, it’s just stunning and I needed that connection deeply.

Didn’t even, like, I’ve always been crunchy granola girl, but

Jess: but

Fran: this is different.

Like I just feel, the first day that I went to a waterfall out here, I was shocked cuz I just started crying

Jess: Aw.

Wendy: Oh.

Fran: and I didn’t know where that came from.

it was something a lot deeper, you know, in that moment, just that feeling of like, oh my God, like

Wendy: Mm-hmm.

Fran: water, nature, fresh air, just feeling like expansive in that moment.

You know? You don’t realize how guarded and small you have to make yourself in New York just to

Wendy: Mm-hmm.

Fran: But I hear just being able to take that deep, fresh breath, you know, and sitting in the car just eating, like, you know, you make your little charcuterie board when you go hiking and your cheese and your fruit, and I was like, this is it.

This is it. And just the simplicity. I feel like this has brought me back to the basics. You know, like in New York, I felt like I had My climb was different. It was more like, what’s next? What’s the five year plan? What, you know. And here it’s like day by day, like I’m just happy to be in the sun. And the excitement now is like buying a hammock,

you know what I’m saying?

And going for walks and exploring new neighborhoods and it’s just become a lot simpler. And I like that cuz I feel like I was getting farther and farther away from that, you know? And, and I’m still rocking obviously business wise, but my priorities have shifted. I think my value system has shifted since I’ve been out here.

Jess: Hmm. What about friends? How do you, is someone who, Is someone who, you do seem very pop, like a popular girl. How, and You seem to have a lot of friends. How’s that going

in Portland? Or how are you making friends?

Fran: know, I’m lucky cause my partner extroverted as et o he’s a Gemini and he makes friends with anybody. Like he’s just that person, very magnetic. So he’s made a lot of friends that have in turned become, you know, my friends somewhat. I’ve met a couple people that reached out to me, you know, usually like, oh, so-and-so told me you moved out here.

I’d love to take you out to dinner. Hung out with them. But you know what, I’m realizing I’m not the best at maintaining new friends at this age, cuz I’ll kick it with you if I meet you. And I’ll come home and be like, I liked her. She was like, cool. And then won’t text you back or follow it up, you know, or follow it up like, Hey, let’s like cat like go oh, oh, they’ll hit me like y’all, let’s like link again.

I’ll be like, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then don’t do it. And I’m like, what is that? Because it’s like, if I like them, but it’s like I’m so comfortable in the friends that I have that I don’t think I’m maintaining those new, like learning how to create new attachments to new people. I’m finding that I’m not doing the best job at it.

And I’m like, is it a block? Like, cuz my partner would be like, but you said you liked her. Why don’t you go like, hit her and, and go for a hike or something. And I’ll be like, yeah, yeah, you right

Jess: I feel you on that.

Fran: well what is that? Cause it’s like, girl, if you wanna make friends, you have to make the effort too. It’s like

dating like.

Wendy: Yeah.

Fran: It’s

not gonna turn into anything if you don’t pour attention and

energy

and attention into it. So I can’t necessarily complain that I don’t have a social life if I’m also not, you know, trying to create one. So I’m in that weird space of trying to figure that out. Yeah. Cuz I just miss my friends. I’m a Taurus so it’s like, I’m very like comfort, you know?

Like I, I have who I have, I love who I love and I think this is probably gonna be another

thing of living out here of just like, okay, time to like step into new connections and, and

feeling those out. Cause I have met really sweet people.

Jess: it’s like

Fran: no reason to not hang out with them

Jess: Yeah. I’m

sh

Fran: like none.

Jess: I get it.

I’m the same. I’m like, I have my friends. We go back ways and

Fran: It’s like hard to beat that, you know? And you know what, I’m not a chit chat person.

Jess: person.

Fran: And That’s

a lot of what the early days are. Right. Lots of questions and like that, I don’t know, I just, I just be like, Ugh, let’s just talk about aliens

already and

Jess: Get deep.

Fran: Yeah, like, I’m like, ready

Jess: Same.

Fran: Ease

in, you know, ease in.

So lots of

Wendy: Right. It’s a skill. I think especially as you get older, it’s like, ugh. We become so set in our ways. We become so comfortable with like the relationships that we’ve cultivated, that it’s definitely a skill. And like I have found myself being super awkward or, and like I’m, I don’t con generally consider myself.

Self to be that awkward person. But like I do find that now that I’m a bit older, I’m just like a little more hesitant. I feel like I’m like the weird girl in the room. Like in my kickboxing class, I’m like, oh my God, I feel like everyone is just like chit-chatting and I’m like, that awkward. And I, it, it’s just, yeah, it’s just not me.

But that’s what it’s been lately. It’s very

Fran: I completely understand you cuz we’ve all known each other for quite some time. Like I feel like well over a decade at this point, and none of us are socially awkward. We’re like, you put us in the room and we’re cool. It’s like just, but I don’t know. Now we’re in my forties.

I’ve totally turned into that emo girl with the bangs.

It’s just like no new friends.

Jess: right? No new friends. No new friends. No. No new.

Yeah.

Wendy: I feel you

100%. And I know you mentioned that like now that

there’s not as much stimulation and chaos from New York City, you’ve kind of realigned with your interests and also just like you’re seeing things differently

from a creative standpoint with the work that you’re doing. So You mentioned there was a lot of chaos, overstimulation being in New York, and now that you are in a different place, You’ve had some realizations, you’re approaching things differently, so I’m wondering like, how does that look like for you with, you know, your creativity with the work that you’re doing?

Has there been any shift there in the way that you’re approaching

things?

Jess: things?

Fran: Absolutely. Like I think that there was a realization of like, my life was way too centered around work. And you don’t realize that it’s, you know, it’s funny, my best friend and I were on the phone and he was like, how’s, you know, how’s this year feeling for you? And I was like, oh, I’m working so much less.

Right? And he goes, so what does your schedule look like now? When I rattled everything off, it was still so much

shit that he was like, he was like okay.

And it was

that feeling of like, I’m such an

overextending, overworking, workaholic. Or at least that’s what I’ve become, that I don’t even realize that my schedule now is just a normal work schedule.

You know, where in New York, I was so overextended and working in the excess that it just felt normal to me. Like I’d almost gotten comfortable and grown around the discomfort of that lifestyle and was just like, fine with it. And then when I got here, I thought it was gonna be all waterfalls and hikes, but it was actually a big crash mentally, you know, spiritually, emotionally, where

I

just felt.

So it’s almost like when you’re in a loud club and then you leave and your ears are pulsating, your body’s your nervous system is like, what the hell? And you go home, you have to kind of sit still for a second. You know, I. And I think this is what that is metaphorically, you know, and literally it’s just that stillness for a second where I’m like, reorienting, reconfiguring my nervous system is like, woo, Lord, okay, this is what like normal life is.

And

Jess: And

Fran: now I realize like, I wanna make time

to cook and make, and like, play with puzzles, like, you know, go for walks and like learning to drive and getting better at that. And just my life not being so work centered, which is like, we’re, so, we’re d we’re

society’s designed that way, so you kind of feel like you don’t have a choice.

And I’m blessed to have stepped out of that mentality because now like, yeah, I’m still working and I am working a lot, but it’s like I make time for so much more like, Before Monday through Friday was very structured for me. Like you couldn’t even ask me to come, go out half the time cuz it’s like, no, I have my set thing, I can become very rigid.

And now it’s like if I wanna go get ice cream on a Tuesday or sit on a bench somewhere on a Wednesday in the middle of the day, like I, I give myself space to do that. Cause I’m like, the day is whatever you need it to be. Stop making it so rigid, you know? And, and what really was funny to me was one day I was like super stressed out, had to fly to New York for a campaign.

It was like a Wednesday morning. It was super sunny and beautiful out. I’m stressed, raging in this car, headed to the airport and there was this group of girls laughing, sitting on the side of a bench drink eating ice cream. And they just were like having such a blast. And that contrast of like, gosh, look at what I’ve designed my day to feel like, because I wanna be. Of status of note, you know, and it just was like a lot, something about that made me crack that day. Like I need to really figure out what I want my days to feel like. Cuz making it so work centered just had me anxious and stressed and overwhelmed and over stimulated more often than not. And it’s like, is it worth it?

Because I wanna make a certain amount of money and be in a certain place in life. It just,

that’s why I’m like, I had to change my value system cuz what’s the point of making all this money if you’re tired and can’t even enjoy

Jess: Exactly.

Wendy: Yeah, I agree. Was that scary for you? Like, cuz you know, there’s also like the fear of missing out, especially with work stuff where like initially when you’re making that shift you’re like, well damn, maybe like with me

not working as much, like certain opportunities will pass me

or things like that. Was that ever something that

came across

for you?

Jess: for you?

Fran: No, I can’t say I didn’t have any like business fomo because in a weird way, I’ve

always been that. person that

has always kind of been half in, half out as far as. You know, the industry cuz I, I don’t give too much of myself. I give just enough to maintain. So once I pulled back, I just, as far as business, I was, you know what’s weird?

I thought like, oh shoot, if I’m like in Portland, I’m gonna be out the way. I’m not gonna get as much work. But it actually increased because it was like, people were curious about the perspective of my life out here. So I actually in the last year, made more money working less and living out the way than I ever have in all my years working as this brand.

Like, I literally had my most lucrative year

with creating space in my schedule. Which is so weird, right? Cause you think it was gonna be the opposite. And it just goes to show what we think. We have to work so hard to like, reach certain marks and like I hit that. Mark and beyond and was still, you know, on my hammock reading books and chilling back here.

So that was like a big lesson for me too.

Jess: Yeah, that’s a great lesson and I could relate and and I also appreciate you keeping it real and sharing kind of what you have been going through. Cuz I know that, I mean, I can relate and I think so many other people can relate and it, from the outside

looking in, I think sometimes people think, oh yeah, certain people

have it all figured out and we’re all just in this together trying to not fall apart.

So I wanna switch gears and talk about So Shall Media,

Fran: Mm-hmm.

Jess: which we’ve had you on before to talk about that because I feel like. Social media obviously is crazy and you are one of the few people who seems to not let social media rule you and you do it on your own terms.

Yeah, I always use you as like the

gold standard.

Like look at Fran, Fran posts like 10 times a year,

Fran: Not even.

Jess: not even

right.

know. Like three. But it’s like really, I think you post when, when it makes sense. So how have you been feeling with social media lately and just what is your updated outlook?

Fran: I mean, it’s still pretty much the same. I only post when I have something to post. I don’t really feel that like you have to do it daily, but I do suffer for it in the sense that like my peers have far surpassed me as far as their numbers. You know, they are, some of my peers are in the millions on social media, and I, I don’t have those numbers because I don’t keep that consistency.

But I’m okay with that because I also feel like.

Jess: as

Fran: like a trade off. Like you want the numbers or you want more of business in life to be on your terms. And I prefer that. Like I’m okay. I’m more peaceful. I don’t have that pull, like I won’t go on social media for a day or two and I don’t feel like, ah, man, my brand’s gonna tank.

You know? It’s like, it’s fine. And luckily my base, because I’ve been doing that for so long, they get it and they understand and those who get it, get it, they’re still there. They know they might not get a post for a month or two and they’re patient and it’s cool and it works out for me. And to be honest, I’ve actually untethered even more. Cuz I have found that social media heavy as it’s always been, it feels a little darker, like even darker these days and a lot heavier. And a lot of that seems intentional, you know, especially like on Twitter. But I, yeah, I made it a point, like this year I was like, I wanna read more. You know, we were little, we would read a lot.

Like at least I feel like me and my friends, we were always our heads buried in books, whether it was goosebumps or whatever. And I wanted to kind of recreate that feeling. And it started off with me being like, you know, read a page at least like no matter how hard your day has been, read a paragraph but just read every day.

And that turned into couple pages and then chapters. And now I’ve found that instead of reaching to my phone, I’ll reach for my book. And I’m so proud of that. It’s so simple, but it’s makes me happy cuz I feel like that’s part of an untethering that I’ve been wanting to work on for so long. And I’d be so proud of myself or going for walks and not taking my phone.

You know, obviously getting back in touch with my body, being out here. I think during quarantine I definitely had a mind body disconnection

cause I was so in my head just trying to get through the emotions of the past three years that I think my body, I just kind of like let it go to the wayside.

And now been reconnecting with my body in a really cool way. Just stretching before bed long walks, having conversations with my body, like what’s painting, what’s aching, what do you need? You know, how can I comfort you? And, and rebuilding those relationships. So a lot of I r l in real life shit going down, you know, and it’s been really good.

So social media will always be a blessing cuz it’s afforded me so much, you know, like I’m working with N P R right now because of social media. That’s a blessing. That’s like, One of the markers I’d been wanting to hit as a podcast producer. But I’m so thankful that I figured out how to reach those marks without giving more of myself than I wanted to.

And to me that’s like the best blessing

Jess: Yeah,

Wendy: that is

amazing. And yeah, we saw, I mean, we’re always like keeping up to date with all of the amazing things that you’re doing, and I think with the brand partnerships, It can be really hard to find ones that align and that pay the bills that actually compensate well. And so like the ones that you’re doing, I’m like, oh my God, it’s such a perfect fit for you.

Like, it just seems like it really aligns. And so I’m wondering like, what is your process for vetting brands? Making sure that it all makes sense because in our experience doing this

for, you know, over 10 years, it’s like there’s a lot of partnerships that

you sign up for that maybe initially makes.

Sense, and then it’s like a train wreck,

Jess: wreck.

Fran: A lot of those.

Wendy: yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m sure you’ve ha you’ve had those, you know, in the past too, but you’ve done this for so long, so like, do you have a, a certain

thought

process or like approach that you take on just to make sure that it’s the right fit?

Jess: right thing.

Fran: Well, I think honestly speaking, when you’re first coming up, you just gotta take what you get, you know? So it’s definite, like you just happy to be there. So early on, you know, I had to do what I had to do to survive. We live in, in New York, there was rent, you know, and, and you just have to kind of be realistic with your situation.

I think when money started becoming more comfortable, where like I could start saying no, you know, so it was a journey. It was a process that I was afforded.

As the success continued and then I was able to kind of carve out my voice a little more once I was safe, you know? And that’s the reality of it. In the beginning, I wasn’t safe.

I was just trying to like survive. But then when I got into, I shifted into thriving, that’s when I could kind of. You know, buck up a little bit. Like, I’m not taking that,

Wendy: Yeah.

Jess: Yeah,

Fran: you know, I, I can’t do this. And then, you know, that was the blessing of it. So now I’ve carved out my voice so prominently, so strongly

that brands kind of know Fran wouldn’t, probably wouldn’t do this.

You know, they don’t even really hit me like that. And I do tend to get more projects at this point where people are like that for sure she would do this, you know, it’s in, it’s in perfect alignment or at least it’s close enough that we might get a conversation going with her. And a lot of times people will let me j adjust and modify as I see fit, which is really cool too.

So, yeah, initially it was not like that at all, but now it completely is and it’s a blessing cuz it’s almost like you create your compass, right? Like the more people see the road you’re on, then they just. They’re like, okay, okay, this is, this is Fran. This is what Fran’s trying to do, so let’s get her these projects that are following that, that road that she’s kind of paved for herself.

Wendy: Hmm.

Jess: It’s so inspirational for people who Yeah. Who are listening where I think you’re right in the beginning you do have to maybe take more just to survive, but yeah, we got those spells. But just yeah, putting out there what you wanna put out there and getting back what you wanna get back. And it’s very clear and anytime you do something, I think people are excited cuz you don’t do many things.

I’m curious, like, how do you define yourself

professionally? Like, do you call yourself a podcaster or Yeah. What

is, what’s your elevator pitch?

Fran: what’s funny? I I people always, cause I had to

write a bio recently and I was like,

ugh, how awful to have to talk, like, describe yourself cuz how can you, I’m terrible at it. I had to hire my friend to do it and I loved seeing how she described me. Cuz I think sometimes we will play small in a lot of ways.

I don’t know if that’s cultural or just societal. Like, even her using certain language to describe me, I was like, Ooh girl, you know, like, I’m gonna hire you for my pr. And she’s like, friends, you not realize is like, really you, you know, this is the work you’ve done. But I really call myself like a, a digital architect, you know, where it’s not so much.

Anything specific I’ve created, I don’t live with myself. Cuz if I say podcast producer, then that’s all I’ll get. If I say content creator and people think you’re an influencer. So I just say digital architect, where I just continue to carve out spaces based on where I’m at and how I’m feeling and what I feel called to in that moment.

So I feel like that term has probably been the most aligned I felt. Describing myself.

Jess: I love

Wendy: about to hire her like.

Jess: I

need,

Fran: no, I came up with that one,

but

Jess: Okay,

Fran: like.

we gotta put that in there.

Jess: listen.

Wendy: hire you then.

Fran: you know? I was like, is that too gas? We calling myself that. She’s like,

no girl.

That’s

Wendy: That’s dope. Yeah, and it’s so unique. I don’t think I’ve ever

heard that before. That’s

dope.

Jess: love it.

Fran: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you.

Wendy: Ugh. Alright. All right. So, oh, go ahead, Jess.

Jess: I was gonna ask about, okay, what helps you recenter

yourself and also stimulate, stimulate yourself creatively because the work that you do is giving so much. And I feel like, especially me when I was burnt out and I’m still recovering, but it’s definitely better and my creativity is coming back.

But I had no creativity for a long time, literally none. And I’m a creative person, so how do you make sure

to recenter and, and channel that creative energy?

Fran: honestly, that’s why the, the business model I’ve designed for myself, where I only come online if I have something to share, you know, I only work on projects. When I feel like I have something to contribute, that’ll make it great. You know, it’s like that’s part of that design. It’s the ebb and flow of creativity.

I’ve never wanted to feel like a factory, cuz I’m not, I’m, I can’t pump out content every day. I can’t even pump out content that’s gonna be consistently great. Like, that’s just not, I don’t see how that’s possible. Like, so taking, giving myself that space has been a blessing cuz it’s not expected of me.

No one’s expecting Fran to post every week or even every month. But they know when I do come with something, it’s gonna hit a certain way cuz they know that I’ve like taken time away and then have poured into whatever that new project is. And so that’s why it is worked out that way by design, cuz it’s literally structured around my creative moods, you know?

And, and I, and like that’s what’s been so great because, I’m not putting on, and I’m not trying to be that person either. That’s like, oh, I must rest. It’s like, no, I don’t have it. Like

Wendy: Mm-hmm.

Fran: I just don’t have it to give a lot of times, and I can only do what I can if I want the content to have integrity and substance and really feel like me, you know?

And so lots of rest. Lots of rest. I remember, I feel like it was on this show, and maybe when you guys came on on mine that I was talking about like I get nine to 10 hours of sleep at night. I don’t play like my weekends. I have boundaries too. I don’t work on the weekends unless I absolutely have to, where it’s like, you know, sometimes you have to travel for campaigns and stuff, but for the most part, I do not work on the weekends and I don’t work on Fridays.

So, cuz I’m like, Fri, you need those three days. You know, Friday is where my body is like completely shut down so I probably just need to just be still maybe veg out watching Housewives of Potomac or something,

shout out to Dustin. And then like Saturday’s exploration, you know, that’s when I have a little more energy.

I’ve powered up a little bit cuz I rested on Friday and that’s when I wanna be out, you know, hiking or exploring or especially being out here, meeting new people, looking at different neighborhoods and just like hiking all these things. And then Sundays like wind down, you know, in preparation for the new week.

So that’s why I’m like cleaning. Kind of getting my mind around like, what’s a new week gonna feel like? And I feel like those three days are crucial, you know, like super crucial. I hate that we try to fit everything into a Saturday and Sunday. And even Monday I’ve started to slow it down in the sense that it’s more of an adamant day where I’m responding to emails and not necessarily creating off out the gate of the week.

You know, like that’s where I am, kind of getting my mind wrapped around like, what’s, what’s going on now? What do I need? What needs my energy and attention, you know, and, and how to do that. And so really just like designing my week

in a way that will bring the best out of me creatively. So lots of slowing down and it’s become very spacious.

I’m doing a lot less, but what I am doing just feels like it’s more, you know what I mean? Because it has my full mind less multitasking. That’s another thing I have cut that out. I think in this day and age you get rewarded for doing 10 million things, but then those 10 million things don’t get your full mind.

So don’t really hit like you need it to. And I found that doing less is ends up giving a lot more and that works out way better for me.

Jess: How do you not multitask?

Fran: I just, I had to stop. Like whatever I’m working on has my full

mind, you know? So I have less things that I schedule for the day instead of trying to squeeze in everything. It’s like that’s not gonna end up coming out that good. You know how it is, like you’ll be on your reserve tank. Of energy trying to be in a meeting, giving ideas, it don’t make any sense.

Like it’s, they’re just not gonna get the best out of you. So I’ve scheduled a lot less, and like I said, this has been over time, you know, like I’m also, what, 15 years, 14 years in the game at this point. Like at this point in my life, I can create that spaciousness. And cuz I’ve, I’ve, I hate to say that we earned it cause that’s, so, that’s some capitalistic shit.

It’s like, I’ve earned this place.

Jess: I paid my dues.

Fran: paid my, I suffered to get up here, but it’s the truth. That’s just the world we live in, you

know? And it’s almost like you have to suffer to design

that space. And I hate that cuz not everyone gets there. And some people work so hard their entire lives and it’s just, that’s a whole other conversation.

But for me, I, I almost am like my mom, you know, as an immigrant, this is what she came here for, for me to be able to have a more spacious life. So I feel proud to be able to do that for myself.

Jess: Yeah.

Really quick. Other question about that. Do you only do meetings a certain day or time or like how do you divide

output of creative work

versus meetings and all that thing, all that other stuff?

Fran: Yeah, I mean, it depends. I’ll be real. Some people, if I really

like you, like y’all, I’ll mute y’all whenever,

like it’s whatever works for us. But when it’s like a company, you know, I’m more rigid where you ha we have to fit around my ca like capacity.

And before, you know, you’d be like, oh yes, yes. Like whatever works.

But now I’m like, no, I have Monday for you and I have Thursday for you, and let me know what works for you. And just even feeling safe. And knowing that I can’t, I can speak that way, you know? And I can have that rigidity around protecting the space, the spaciousness that I’ve created, because you really do have to protect that, especially as a workaholic.

It bleeds in, it comes back out. You know, it’s a constant, it’s an addiction. I always say it’s like, work is like a glorified addiction just because it’s quote unquote productive and, but it’s still a problem. It’s a problem. I saw myself not eating,

like powering through the day, not eating, not even moving my spine, not getting any oxygen because I have to work.

Like that’s wild.

And didn’t wanna play that game no more. Sometimes you don’t even get water. Your head’s pounding when you go to bed. You’re like, what kind of life is this? Just cuz I had to get this project out.

I mean, what? I just didn’t wanna do that no more. I like it now where my mornings are slower. You know, I’m drinking tea, going for walks, working on what I want to, like I said, it’s, my output is much more solid because I have more space.

Wendy: Yeah, that’s

so inspiring. I just love your approach and yeah, I just think there’s so much burnout, especially in the online space with the work that we’re doing because like you said, it’s like it becomes very performative. It’s not coming from a place of creativity, it’s coming from a place of like keeping up with algorithm algorithms and trends and.

So it, it, like, it kills creativity. Creativity, if anything. So it’s just like so inspiring that you’ve been able to do things your way and that you’re like fulfilled with the work that you’re doing and that it’s meaningful and like I

yeah, it’s just, it’s a lot

to think about for me cuz I’m just like, wow, you know, it’s really something to aspire to.

Fran: Yeah. And it’s crazy cuz even with the spaciousness, like I was telling you earlier, how when I was running down my year with my best friend, like it’s still a lot, you know? And I think we don’t realize how much we do on a daily basis until you really step back. And so, so even with the spaciousness I’m describing, I’m still battling workaholism.

Like, because it’s still a lot of stuff that gets done, even with me cutting down and, and you know, having boundaries and rigidity around certain days. It’s still a lot. We give so much of ourselves, especially as entrepreneurs, it’s never ending. And it, it’s so, we play so many roles and fit so many hats and it’s just like, wow, I have to be this boundary.

If I’m gonna stay sane, like I have no choice because that burnout is awful. And, and by the time December comes around, you know how you just feel so depleted, you can’t even enjoy your holiday cuz you’re just like a zombie, like a shell of a person. Cuz by the time that time of the year comes, you gave so much.

and, and then you get, what, a week off, two weeks off com, and then you write back at it in January. It just don’t make sense. I had to even adjust that with the friend zone. I was like, y’all, we gotta take six weeks off. And they were like, are you crazy? Like, we cannot do that. People stop listening to the show.

There’s so many new podcasts, we can’t play that game. Even our, the CEO was like, okay, but that’s a lot of ad money you’re losing. I was like, I’m okay with that because there’s no way that I’m gonna finish the year in December and then by January 7th just be back with a whole new year of shows. It’s just not sustainable. We record every week for the past seven years.

Jess: It’s a lot

Fran: What human can do that and function? And luckily they understood and now they can’t live without the break. They’re like, woo, our break’s coming up, you know?

Jess: Is it, do you take off December And then half of January or,

Fran: Exactly. So give some breath work for the end of the year, and then come into the year, you know, breathing into what the New Year’s asking of you. Very woo woo. But to me it’s been a blessing. I personally don’t like starting January really busy because I’m still like decompressing from the year. I like it slower so I can like,

you know, gather myself, get, get my footing, like what did I learn from last year?

Kind of like taking all the things that happened. It’s a lot of processing. And I, like you said, Wendy, the, the way that the algorithm and just social media and business models are now, it’s like there’s no room for you to breathe. It’s a choke hold the whole year round. And I just, I was feeling the burn of that, you know, and I was like, if I’m. If I’m gonna keep doing this for more years and have output that I’m proud of, something’s gotta give and it can’t be me. So I had to tinker around with what that looked like until it felt right. And it’s still a work in progress, you know, like I definitely still, even

with the spaciousness, still will have burnout like

Jess: Mm-hmm.

Fran: So yeah, it’s a lot to figure out.

Jess: Yep. Yeah.

it’s very much more, more and more, yeah.

Fran: Mm-hmm.

Yeah,

Wendy: I’m also wondering, like,

in thinking about,

Future and like, you know, like just you have so many great things happening now. Do you think too far into the future or like strategize about like, what that can look like? Like just doing certain things so that other things can happen

for you in terms

of work?

Or do you take it more like day by day? How do you approach that?

Jess: that?

Fran: Day by day.

Wendy: Yeah.

Fran: Because I, it just gives me too much anxiety if I start, because then I start getting in my

head like, well, am I still gonna be podcasting when I’m in my sixties? And then if I’m not podcasting, like am I still gonna be on IG posting target campaigns? Like it, you, I get so anxious because I’m like, am I gonna be after having a career like this?

What does this translate into in your fifties and sixties and seventies? Will I have enough money? What if I live till I’m a hundred? Like I’ll just go ham? Especially with social security, we are not even guaranteed that anymore. It’s like there’s so much worry and concern. You see these banks failing. We literally don’t know what’s gonna happen in the next 10, 20 years.

And so, I don’t wanna do that to myself. So I’m gonna take it day by day and pour into what I need to and just trust that the path is unfolding cuz it has in the past 15 years. It is not, let me down. I never knew what a podcast was. Now look at me, this is like my whole life now. And that’s because I just like trusted each decision and kind of just like surrendered to whatever was, you know, staying open to whatever was, was coming my way.

And that feels better for my nervous system. So

Wendy: Hmm.

Jess: yeah,

Fran: I just take it day by day and do my best and, and have

faith that

that’s gonna unfold. How it means to.

Jess: and we’re also the first generation, and really I think us folks who are 40, are turning 40, well, I don’t know. We’re the first generation of people who

made a business online in

this way, so we really don’t know

Fran: what that looks like.

Jess: that looks like.

And yeah, like are

you.

Fran: a retirement plan of a content creator?

Jess: I know.

Wendy: Right,

Jess: And now there’s like a whole generation of new content creators and, and the mentality of of them is very much like they’re young and they do have more energy and their, their output is just

so much greater. Although they are getting

burnt out at like 22, which

is wild. But

Fran: Also didn’t that’s all they’ve known, you know, like they came into it watching us. we didn’t we didn’t see us, we created us. And so we still had that sort of half and half out where like we grew up

outside, you know, we grew up traveling

to see family. We grew up, but now these young kids, all they know is social media and it’s their life in a way deeper, all consuming way that it really wasn’t for us.

I mean, I was 15 I think when I first got into my first like AOL chat room, remember back in

like,

Jess: Sure. Do

Fran: you know,

Jess: age, sex, location.

Fran: Yeah, I was already 15. I had already been in high

school, you know, and experienced a lot

before that. Even like got integrated and even at 15, it’s not like I had a cell phone that I was like, with apps like social media, it wasn’t a thing.

You just waited till you got home. If nobody was using the phone and you had access to the internet and you know, chatted on AOL for a little bit. It wasn’t so much a part of my life like it is for these kids. So I feel for them cuz I think that output is really all they know and I just hope that they take care of themselves while they navigate this all-consuming digital space.

You know, because look at us, it wasn’t a huge part of our lives, but we still are consumed by it cuz it’s an addiction.

Wendy: Yep.

Fran: So it’s like, ooh. I feel for them. Yeah, it’s, it’s gonna be a learning process I think,

for all of us.

Wendy: Mm. Good Lord. Well, Tell us. So you have this NPR podcast. Tell us about that. Tell us about like other cool things that you’re up to. Like, we’re just so excited living vicariously through you with all of, I’m just

like, oh my God, this is so dope. So tell us about the podcast, what it’s about and anything else that you’re excited about.

Jess: about.

Fran: Yeah, I mean the podcast, I’m super proud of it. It’s called Living For We, and it’s part of this N p

r idea stream collaboration where a p a study was released in Pittsburgh during quarantine, actually, where the mayor at the time of Pittsburgh hired these university researchers to create like a livability index to show like how much better Pittsburgh was, right than like every other city.

Cause apparently Pittsburgh for the past couple years has been like

the best city to live in. You know, when they dropped those lists, like it’s best for education and for like, income and work opportunities and healthcare, and it just ranked very high. But unfortunately for him, while he was trying to get these researchers to do it as a flex, These researchers were also race scholars from the university.

So they were like, there’s two different livability indexes happening here.

This is for the white people. Yes. But you have not taken into account what the black people in your city have been experiencing. And they were afraid that this information was gonna be buried. So she was very slick and, and submitted the livability index to him.

The same day she submitted it to the news, to the Bloomberg News, so that way it could not be buried. She ended up losing her job, death threats, you name it. But she was like, it was worth it cuz I had to let these mayors stop flexing when there’s a large part of their demographic that’s being largely ignored.

And in that, in that index, she ended up being like, you know what? I’m gonna do this for all the cities and.

That were, that had at least a hundred thousand black people living in it, at least, right? At minimum she did it for those cities. And Cleveland came in dead last high. Like infant mortality rate was highest suicide rate was highest arrest rates, murders, I mean, you name it.

It was just horrifying information. And imagine if we had found that out about Pittsburgh and Cleveland was doing even worse. So these researchers from Cleveland called from a company called Enlightened Solutions. They decided to team up and, and interview black women from Cleveland to create data based on their actual experiences and see if it matched up with what the livability index had provided.

And from that, it turned into this project noir is what they called it. And that’s where N P R came in. They were like, We should turn this into a podcast. We should take the livability index information, tie it into the project noir deck and the the interviews with black women in Cleveland. Flesh it out.

Who do we hire? Hey, Fran Hay. She can help us format this in a way that’s palatable to the millennial. Ears, you know, cuz it’s very dense, it’s very heavy. And I got blessed to be hired to figure out how do we turn this into a show that people will feel, you know, but also taken in small doses because it really is a lot for the average person.

And we’ve been formatting it since August actually since July. And the first episode just dropped earlier this month, March 1st. Perfect time for international Women’s Month. It kind of aligns so divinely. And, and that’s what that project is, just giving the black women in Cleveland a voice because it took this white researcher.

them to listen to this when black women and black researchers have been saying this for years. And so it was bittersweet with the white researcher because while she did get the info out there, it was still frustrating that it took for her to say it for all of this to happen, even down to us formatting this podcast.

So it’s frustrating, but at least it’s getting the work done and I’m very proud of it. We had Tamir Rice’s mom, who you know, was a 12 year old that was killed in Cleveland. She was on the podcast. We’ve had Aisha Bell Hardway, who was like a police monitor that was hired after that happened when they were kind of trying to be like, oh, let’s put a black woman, you know, like to kind of save face and just what she had to endure.

The public scrutiny of kind of being in the middle. And just a lot of incredible conversations. We have eight year olds talking about what they experience in their neighborhoods. We have 94 year olds sharing how the landscape has changed since the forties, you know, so really powerful podcasts. It’s based on black women.

So it’s been very hard getting it circulating, which has been a challenge that I didn’t anticipate. I didn’t, I forget, we’re such a small percentage of the world, right? So the average person is not gonna click to find out what’s happening to black women in Cleveland, you know? So, That’s been a challenge, but it’s such beautiful work and I felt really honored that from something that I was like, oh, what’s a podcast that now I’m helping format such important research and data with people from our community who need that, that assist.

You know? And I’m, I, I’m like, look how life works. That’s why I don’t plan ahead because I never would’ve thought I would’ve developed this skillset. I couldn’t have planned for this, cuz it just wasn’t something I would’ve saw. It was, you know, sometimes we can be very limited in what our five year plan is cuz it’s based on who we are right now.

And so I’m thankful to have stayed open cuz this is a dream come true. It’s, it has its challenges, but for the most part I’m like, I think this is probably my best work. to be able to say that 15 years in, it’s like a blessing, you know? But it’s absolutely my best work.

Jess: Wow. Oh my gosh. I can’t, how many episodes is it? Or is it one

episode?

Fran: It’s, it’s gonna be 12 in total, but it’s only two episodes out now. And then the third one comes out next week and it comes out every other week. Yeah,

Jess: love that. Give you time to actually listen.

Fran: a lot. It’s a lot. I’m like with, with some spaciousness.

Jess: we need, yeah, it’s, everything’s just so quick. I’m like, okay, I read. The week is good. I can

Fran: time to digest.

Jess: Yeah,

it sounds great. Well thank you for sharing that. Any other places people can find you? I know people, most people probably know you from the Friend Zone

podcast and then the binge and the Woo

Fran: Yeah, I mean, the Friend Zone podcast, of

course. That’s every week, every Wednesday,

and we’re about to hit our seventh year, which is nuts. Then of course we have our Patreon at the Friend Zone podcast, and that’s where we have additional content where each of the hosts has their own show.

And then we have a show together where we just binge silly stuff just to lighten up the energy, you know? And then also I’ve been working a lot with Target just because they’ve received these annual budgets now that focus on black content creators, and it’s called Black Beyond Measure. It’s like a new initiative that Target created.

And I’ve been able to flex my directing skills, which has been really cool. Cause I, I love being behind the scenes. Like I feel like I shine a lot more.

Jess: more,

Fran: And being more of the like researcher and creative that kind of puts all the puzzle pieces together. I can be in front of the camera and that, that’s cool, but I’d much rather just be kind of behind the scenes and I’ve been stepping into those roles a lot more, obviously with the NPR show and then working on directing these content pieces for other black creatives through the target medium.

And that’s been fun too. Yeah, so a lot more target collabs coming up this year with some dope creatives, obviously the NPR show and friend zone, and then I’ll just be asleep otherwise, and my little hammock in my backyard.

Jess: Girl,

you and me both taking Fridays off. Okay.

Fran: Okay. Needed. Okay.

Jess: needed. Ugh. Oh my gosh. Well, thank you so much. This was honestly amazing and it gave me a lot to think about for my own

life and schedule. I’m gonna be making

some changes. Yeah, this is always great to

catch up.

Fran: Yes. Thank you for having me. It’s, it was nice to be able to share what life has felt like since moving out here. So, and you know, I love y’all. I feel like we’ve been in this together navigating all these changes in this every evolving digital space. Yeah. You know, and, and I think we’ve done great cause it’s, we’re getting older and we still out here surviving, thriving.

Jess: here.

Fran: Thank you. And I wish you guys the best with the Food Heaven brand, cuz y’all are just the coolest, y’all know I’ve always been, president of the fan

club. That’s the

term that I can, you know, I’m the president of the Food Heaven Fan club now.



#Hey #Fran #Hey #Creates #Conscious #Life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *