You may have noticed my absence in the past couple of weeks. No posts. No Facebook statuses. No email.
I’m apologize if I left you hanging.
What’s been happening behind the scenes is some really deep and scary soul searching.
Atlanta Yoga Scene has been my favorite project I’ve ever done. It is straight up just fun to have an excuse to do and write about yoga, go to events, meet a freaking phenomenal group of Atlanta yogis, learn all the website stuff behind the scenes, start a little community, and see it bloom and grow.
I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I started the project, I just went for it whole hog, starting a website chock full of information I wanted to know myself that I figured other people would want to know too…and I was right! You guys eat this up!
Little did I know how much people would be interested in posting their studios, events, classes, stories, passions and talents. It’s been a whirlwind of learning, discovery and surprises. I feel partly responsible for all the growth because I dreamed up the project, but it’s really the people who also loved it, talked about it, and shared it with their friends who deserve all the credit for what Atlanta Yoga Scene has turned out to be.
But, for this one-woman-band, the popularity has a downside–in that now I can’t keep up.
I am tremendously overwhelmed by maintaining the site in the midst of all of the growth. The number of studios AYS covers has boomed in the past year, and with it, the work involved in keeping up with the site has become completely unsustainable.
As you’ve probably already gathered, I am currently undergoing of a lot of life changes, including my upcoming nuptials, moving, a seriously rigorous time at my “real” job, balancing my love for yoga with my love to push myself in other areas of my life (talking about my new-found love of running here!), keeping an active social life with friends and family and more.
The very first thing I cut back on when I’m stressed is Atlanta Yoga Scene. Since I don’t make money off the site (more on that later), and it’s really not life or death for anyone involved, I feel allowed to take breaks when I need to. Unfortunately, when those breaks take more than a couple of days, I miss working on little things that will eventually pile up to really, really bit things.
You probably don’t realize how much effort goes into coordinating all of this (or maybe you do, which is why nothing like this has been done before in Atlanta!). Between checking email, posting blogs, assembling the newsletter, updating the event calendar, updating the Master Schedule, I spend roughly 10-15 hours a week on the community, not including actually doing yoga.
I’ve always wanted to hire someone to help me out in all of these tasks, but I myself don’t make any money off the site and therefore can’t offer anyone else payment.
On many occasions, I’ve searched for ways to make some money off the site, exclusively to cover class, event, website and newsletter fees and hired help–not even to make any sort of profit. The problem is, I can’t find a good way to do that.
Because we are a small, niche local audience, I can’t charge enough in advertising to make much of a difference. Also, I feel slimy posting things all over the site, especially if I haven’t used a product or don’t know anything about the company other than that they want to pay for Atlanta yogi’s attention. So that hasn’t worked out.
At one point, I asked studio owners if they’d be willing to pay anything to be part of the site (after all, I’m giving them free advertising !) but most everyone responded by saying they’d rather not be part of AYS than pay to maintain their listings. While it hurts to hear that, it’s fair for a lot of reasons. I offered it for free at the outset–who wants to pay for something they get for free? Also, studios have their own websites and social media pages, which in some cases makes AYS redundant. I’d love to think that yoga teachers would find reviews and promotion valuable, but they don’t. Yoga studios and teachers aren’t making mega-bucks either.
So, over the past two weeks, I’ve been balancing my love for fostering this community with reality. I really, really, tremendously love Atlanta Yoga Scene. I look at all the hard work I’ve put into it and all the people who also love the site and I can’t imagine just giving up on it. But if I’m really honest with myself, I simply don’t have the time to keep doing a great job for you, and I most certainly can’t keep dumping hundreds of dollars a month without any hope for making even a tiny portion of it back.
It makes me feel ugly to say all of these things, but these ideas are real and honest.
I can’t yet bring myself to utter the words, “I give up,” but I can’t yet see another way. I’m opening up the comments for any suggestions. I’m all ears. For anything.
I gave you my honest heart, and I’d like to get some honesty back.
Hi everyone! The Atlanta Yoga Scene will be coming back! Leah did an outstanding job with getting the AYS off the ground and the legacy will live on.
There will be some awesome additions to what the AYS will be up to, but it won’t happen with out your support!
Please share the AYS FB page, ‘like’ it, and keep the communication open around all things community!
How can I help?
Reach out: email@example.com
I am moving to Atlanta from Philadelphia in November so I started to google Atlanta Yoga Scene and waalaa there was an actual site with that name. What a relief.
I just read your posting on how its becoming way too much. I can understand that!
There is a site here in Philly that was started up by someone just like you and now we cant live with out it: http://www.Phillyareayoga.com .
Please reach out to her for ideas options and advice. I think its worth the effort.
Also If you need a friend to help out with your site to keep it going even just a little bit I can be that friend. I do not know Atlanta but I do know some yoga (I’m a 200ryt). I wouldn’t offer if I didn’t mean it. It will give me an opportunity to get to know the Atlanta Yoga Scene etc…
See my comment below…
Thanks for your resource in Philly! Keep sharing!
Check out the response I just wrote in regards to the future of AYS! 🙂
Hi Sunnie! The AYS is back in action! Leah Manderson has stepped down and I have taken over the site. Thank you for the feedback. I welcome it and creating new relationships. Feel free to reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading & supporting the AYS. peace. ~isabelle
Hire a sales rep to volunteer, or to start on commission only, to sell ad son your site (companies that are in line with your values and vision for this site). You will be able to make enough money to hire help (including giving the sales rep a salary eventually) and to live off of. You can also earn income to maintain the site by creating a passive income stream for yourself-ecommerce on you website. I hope these suggestions help. You are doing great! Do not be hard on yourself, you have to live life also.
LOL. You will be called… =) The other side of that soul searching you are doing is the freedom to take HUGE leaps of faith and walk on water without fear… well, maybe fear at first… 🙂 These kinds of things that have lives of their own – go with them. You are nothing more than a conduit and the flow will take care of you. – From: someone who’s on the other side of jumping off cliffs and building their wings on the way down.
We all appreciate your hard work and enjoy the site as it’s a great resource and inspiration! That being said, enjoy this time in your life & don’t worry about us. Take care of yourself. The last thing the yogi community wants is to create stress for someone doing such good work! 🙂
“…I don’t make money off the site… ”
You can change that easy: I don’t see any ads! (well 2, but they don’t seem to rotate or anything…)
Ever tried AdSense?
Leah, AYS has been such a wonderful asset to the community, and no, it did not go unnoticed how much time and effort you put into it!! You set the bar very high, producing a quality site with consistently high standards. It would be really nice if you could find a dedicated group of volunteers that can help keep this running to your standards, or morph the project into something more sustainable. Keep us posted about how we might help! In any event, change is inevitable, sooner or later. I hope you feel love here from your readers and support for you to do whatever is best for you… 🙂
nature’s first green is gold,
her hardest hue to hold.
her early leaf’s a flower,
but only so an hour.
then leaf subsides to leaf,
so eden sank in grief,
so dawn goes down to day.
nothing gold can stay.
You’ve created something incredible and that will live on. Do in your heart what makes you happy, what lights your fire, what best serves YOU! And that is the right decision.
Hugs to you! It’s hard to create something and come to hard decisions with it. You’ll know the right path, cause it will FEEL GOOD!
At the end of the day, many of your readers come here because it’s you. 😀
Thanks for everything you have done Leah and don’t look at this as the end…maybe it’s the beginning of something new!! Just breath and embrace what the universe is doing in your life at this very moment and if that means Atlanta Yoga Scene does not fit then that’s okay too. I will miss you and ATS, but I have enjoyed it while it was available. Everything will be okay. Thank you again
Peace n Love
I saw this post on facebook and thought of you..please check it out and let yourself off the hook ;-)Who knows maybe there will be a next time, or maybe not. You are courageous and are living your yoga! I applaude you.
You have permission to: not finish reading books; let it go to voicemail; pursue your own agenda; have some secrets… (SEE BLOG for full list from Danielle LaPorte)
Sending you huge wishes for a wonderful next chapter in your life. I completely understand why you need to move forward… Yoga is such a wonderful gift for all and unfortunately we all do this for the love of it not the money. I just finished a 200 hr teacher training at nirvana yoga simply for the learning and to be a forever student. I could never quit my day job to teach full time or what I really want is to just be a student. Wouldn’t life be great to just practice and get deeper and deeper into practice? Take the knowledge and enjoy your next chapter… You will have many more with your new partner in life. Namaste!
I’m with Lakshmi. I’d love to work on the blog with a small group to keep it going and find ways to make it profitable. Please contact me if there is enough interest to pursue. Best regards and best wishes for the upcoming adventures in your life!!!
How about askIng the yoga studios you promote for a tax reducible donation? What about asking for volunteers to help on more time consuming tasks? I’ve really enjoyed your site thus far and would love to see it continue!
I am thankful we have had the opportunity to connect by way of yoga. The one thing my yoga practice has taught me is to be flexible on and off the mat! With a husband, 5 children a yoga practice and small business I certainly understand where you are. Wherever your life journey leads you, is where you should go. Being true to yourself first allows you to be truthful with others. It is my prayer for you that your yogic journey continues to lead you toward growth & prosperity of your mind, body and soul! Namaste sweet sister!
AYS is an amazing site and a really valuable tool for those of us looking to grow our practice. I would be so sad to see it go. I would also be happy to help you with keeping it here! There are some amazing suggestion above. I am sure that there is someone out there that can point you in a direction to make this work for you and your ‘new team’!!?? Your life is going to go from busy to busier. If you need to let this go – then wonderful, but if there is a way to let it grow with you than let me know how I can help. -Caren
You should feel extremely proud of the community that you helped to bring together through this site and Facebook. I hope you’re able to find someone or someones to take this over. I’d be willing to help somewhat with managing an editorial calendar or something if there are other folks interested in a larger stake of managing. You rock. Can’t wait to hear about the wedding!
Enjoy your life Leah. AYS will continue. It has been a big help for me finding the large yoga community here in Atlanta. I have connected with wonderful teachers and workshops in the area. And as you know, I am a big fan of the yoga joke! Best wishes!
NOOOO!!! But I understand totally. I just moved here (to ATL) and this site has really helped me understand the yoga scene around here. Been a great resource as I have tried to find the right studio. Hopefully someone can take it over or maybe it can turn into some sort of listserv like mentioned above where there are lots of contributors and you could just moderate? I would hate to see this go!
I think someone would be willing to take over. I can certainly help and I’m sure that people who benefitted from the site can think of ways to generate income. There are students that you can talk to who can develop an app to locate classes. Others who could write blog content. I appreciate all your hard work and because of that I would hate to see it end. But please know that it is okay to put yourself first!
Corrie, you seem to have some really great ideas!! I wish I had talked to you a long time ago!
I understand and respect that everyone has limits, and that is beyond fair. I wish we could come up with a creative economic method of maintaining your services- because that is exactly it , a service. I recently moved to Atlanta and have appreciated your site for all of the obvious reasons. Maybe a needed break will provide you with another answer to give you the support you need. Either way thank you for your time and talent to our community.
Thanks Elizabeth for your kind words. I’m also tickled that you see the site as a service–and I wish others did too! Mostly I think people just think this is “just a blog,” sadly.
I appreciate you taking the time to comment on the site 🙂
Sorry to see you go! But would like to thank you for all the work you’ve done! You are awesome!!
Thank you, Leah, for all that you have done with AYS. But you must follow your heart, your path, and your journey in this life. You know what’s right for you and, as long as you honor yourself, you honor everyone. Namaste.
Thanks Sheila 🙂
Maybe I never told you this but AYS is a beautiful website! Love the colors, the clean layout, the classy fonts… everything.
I figured you must be busy with work and planning your nuptials. I can imagine the kind of work that goes into maintaining a site like this one. I do think that AYS serves a specific need and it is doing an important job.
If there is any way that I can assist you with the site, let me know. I’d hate to see you have to shut it down. I am sure there will be others also who can give their time towards this. Between a few of us, we can keep AYS going… 🙂
And we can get some expert advice on how to monetize this site. I know someone who may be able to give us a direction on this.
Expert advice sounds amazing!! Haha. I can’t say I’m much of an expert in the blog monetization world (clearly). Maybe with all of the outpouring of support right now, I can get a small team of people who will help put it all together. 10-15 hours a week is a lot for one person–but it shouldn’t be that hard for 2 or 3 right?
So sorry to hear that you are shutting down the site, but I want you to know that I am tremendously grateful that you started it in the first place. In my opinion, the Atlanta Yoga Community is thriving and blossoming but needed a way to connect with each other. You have provided that, and your genourosity in doing so is incredibly admirable. Your first priority has to be to honor yourself and abide by your inner wisdom. Best of luck to you.
Thanks so much Sheila. I’d like to think that’s exactly what I did–and I’m confident that the community will grow without AYS too *tear*!
I here ya, girl! A passion for something is wonderful and it is definately your passion -AYS -HOWEVER, when you can’t seem to make money doing it or, HOW you make $$ (advertisers) feels uncomfortable and the time it takes to “work” on it can seem so time consuming.
What about taking a break and not closing the site down? Make the yoga studios work at posting their info. themselves? There are ways to do this and maybe you can even ask these studios to ask new customers who referred them -I.E. Referral bonus to you? Even if it is only $20 or so as a referral, a few add up and it does seem like your fans visited studios because of your great website.
Whatever you decide, I wish you luck and so does Palm Beach Athletic Wear & palmbeachathleticwear.com (my client).
I think I’ll definitely leave the site up until the last events on the Event Calendar run their course. That makes the most sense in my mind.
That also might be a good time to re-group and see what’s changed or what else will make the community shine!
Thank you for all you’ve done. Your influence runs
deep and you have encouraged so many in their
practice. Continue following the things that are taking you toward your fullest purpose. 🙂 be blessed! Thank you!
Thanks Jessica 🙂
Perhaps you can find a marketing student that needs internship experince to help out? The Master Schedule is such a wonderful resource. I am shocked that you have been doing it all by yourself!! Its alot of work. Hopefully you can pass it on to someone else or get assisyance with it. It would be such a shame to see it go.
Thanks for your kind words Christina.
I actually have worked with studio owners and asked them to use a special tool to keep the calendar up to date, but they’re often too busy running their own businesses to post stuff for mine!!
That’s the big Catch-22, huh?
Ask if anyone wants to take it over. Maybe someone would.
I’d have a hard time giving it over to someone else! Perhaps it’s selfish, but I’d rather go down with the boat than see it have a new captain and a new direction!
I just started reading your blog so I’m sad to see it go, but I completely understand why. I recently got married and, boy, does it take up a lot of your time and energy. And you should be enjoying this time in your life, not stressing out.
A much less time consuming commitment would be to create an Atlanta Yoga Scene listserv/Google group so people can share their yoga news with one another (e.g. new studio opening, free class this weekend, meet up tomorrow, etc.). All you and/or administrators would have to do is moderate. Just thought I’d throw the idea out there. No pressure.
Good luck to you!
Thanks so much for your understanding and encouragement, Jessica! Maybe you’re right and it’s time for a shape-shift…
I’ve just taken my first yoga class, and so much of the thanks go to this website. You’ve provided a wonderful resource, but your first responsibility is to yourself. I hope there’s some way this site can go on. Even if not, so many thanks.
I’m so touched that this site brought you to your first yoga class! I hope it’s a catalyst for good in your life.
I hope I’ll find a way to work things on the site out soon. 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment, Lauris!
Just responding to let you know I took time to read this. Don’t beat yourself up. I admire people like you who can get a project like this started and follow through. It’s ok to throw in the towel if you want to. Enjoy this time in your life. Who needs the stress and hassles. I appreciate what you’ve done with this. Namaste
Thanks so much for your kind words, Aba!
It’s funny that you get the sense that I’m beating myself up. I’ve been told that I do that since I was in elementary school, and I guess old habits die hard.
Again, thanks 🙂
I’m with Aba, my dear!
Enjoy this time in your life, and don’t be so hard on yourself. (I’m in that club too, btw.) 🙂
It’s okay to recognize when something isn’t working for you, or when it’s causing stress vs. fulfillment. That’s not “giving up;” that’s taking care of yourself! All the best to you! We appreciate you so much.