Ok, Feasting Fort Collins readers. Grab a glass of wine, your favorite local craft beer or cocktail and pull up a chair for a little keepin’ it real chit chat. Maybe we can call this a family meeting.
So, the other week I was on my 7th Week Break. This is something that I’ve been doing since 2014, something that has changed my life, and quite frankly, something that has helped me change my business. It has been a lifesaver, to say the least.
While I was on this break I was able to relax from the pressures of writing, not eat for reviews, and do a little problem solving. Specifically, what do I do with Feasting Fort Collins??
Since coming back to reviews, long-time readers have been sending me messages that they were glad to see me writing again and that they were looking forward to the thorough reviews that they were used to. That’s awesome. It was a very warm community hug, and getting back to Feasting Fort Collins felt like putting on that old pair of worn-in jeans that just felt so comfortable. You know, the ones you never want to throw out, despite the hole in the butt crack.
And, that’s the kicker. I’ve grown out of this site. It’s why I left to begin with. Over the last few weeks I had been attending some amazing dinners, chatting with restaurant industry friends again, and feeling torn in the process. It’s almost like this site is Hotel California; “You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave.” I would talk to chefs and owners and come home absolutely glowing with happiness, because I really truly do love our local restaurant scene and everyone (well, almost everyone) who has made a culinary dent in our city. It’s exciting! And it’s an industry I know inside and out, thanks to writing Feasting Fort Collins. While I don’t exactly love eating as much anymore, I do love the experiences, the exploring, and sharing all of it with you.
On this 7th Week Break, I also realized that I’m not going to find another writer in Fort Collins who is going to care as much as I do about this site and its impact in our community. And not just on Feasting Fort Collins, either, but also on our other writer-less network sites like Growing Up Fort Collins and Farming Fort Collins. Let’s be real here, writing is not a lucrative career, especially in Fort Collins. And the days of getting paid to specifically write are long gone for startup, grassroots media businesses like us in this town. If you want to get paid to write, you have to have to be skilled in marketing and ad sales too. That’s just the way it is. Subscriptions aren’t an appealing option for readers, so we rely on local businesses for advertising, which in turn pays our writers.
Despite telling potential writers that this is a challenging position, possibly the most frustrating they’d ever take on, some people would say they were all in regardless. Like clockwork, three to four months later they’d quit after reality set in. Then I’d get stuck in this cycle of interviewing and training, which would take time away from my focus on writing. It was a maddening cycle. One that I can’t keep doing.
And so, we’re heading into some changes. Some have been in the works for a whole freakin’ year, and some have been in the process over the last two weeks since my 7th Week Break. It’s like trying to take a cruise ship in a new direction, or climb a crazy mountain like Everest. Progress happens inch by inch, mile by mile until you get to your destination.
Not only am I going to continue with Feasting Fort Collins, but I’ll be taking over Growing Up Fort Collins and Farming Fort Collins too. In fact, I won’t be hiring any new writers for any of our network sites in the foreseeable future. I’m pulling the network back in and picking up the slack from all sides.
With Experience Fort Collins, my focus isn’t going to be specifically just writing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a writer and I have stories that I just have to get out on a page. Now that my ducks are in a row here, you can expect some investigative editorials that are going to be REALLY interesting to read (I promise you that).
But, I also love real conversations with people in this town. So, I’ve started an Experience Fort Collins podcast. In this podcast, I hang out with people contributing to our local community, talking about what they’re doing, what makes Fort Collins a great and not-so-great place to live, and what each person considers a local bucket list experience. The first episode will go up this week featuring some whiskey time with Jamie at Feisty Spirits Distillery.
As marketing is the proven funding source for this business, I’ve expanded our marketing and advertising solutions so that we’re operating as a full service marketing agency (essentially expanding on what I was doing with Four Course Marketing). I know, some people are going to flip out. “BUT HOW CAN WE TRUST YOU AS A SOURCE IF YOU’RE GETTING PAID BY LOCAL BUSINESSES!!!”
To put it bluntly, you’re not paying for independent information. So that’s an entitlement that people don’t really have. If you’re down for paying for subscriptions, then that’s a sustainable option. But, it’s not our reality. That’s a fact of life, so we’re going with what works.
Then, there’s Choose Your Own Fort Collins, which has taken a whole year to get off the ground. But now that our network has rebranded to Experience Fort Collins and now that I’m not hiring any more writers, this is the last task on my to-do list in this business pivot. The adventures that I’ll be taking people on (in person or digitally) are just about ready. And while people aren’t keen on paying for subscriptions, they are cool with paying for expertly curated experiences! So, that’s what I’ll be doing.
So what’s the TL;DR in all of this? Here’s the summary:
- I’m not hiring any more writers
- I’m going to take over all of the sites without writers
- The Scoop Blog Network is now Experience Fort Collins
- I started a podcast to share stories with everyone
- I’m going to be taking people on epic bucket list adventures in this city
This week is Fort Collins Startup Week. It’s also the perfect week to share all of these details with you because not-so-coincidentally, I’m giving a presentation on entrepreneurial endurance. I’ll be sharing how other local business owners can destruct their business efforts to figure out what’s working, what isn’t, and how to execute a business pivot instead of completely giving up. If you haven’t already, you can sign up to hear the details. I’ll be presenting on Tuesday the 28th at the Artery at 1:00pm.
This year is going to be a trip, that’s for sure. And I hope I can help people live a Fort Collins life to the fullest in the process. Cheers to new adventures! We’ll see where this takes us…