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.