Where Life Your Way Went Wrong…And What I’m Doing About It

Where Life Your Way Went Wrong..And What I'm Doing About It

Happy New Year! As we kick off 2014, I’m sharing my heart and announcing some exciting changes to the site.

But first, the back story…

There once was a girl who set out on an adventure with the boy next door-turned-husband and moved far away from everything and everyone she held dear. She sent regular email updates back to her family and friends, and — as the birth of their first child grew near — her email updates grew more frequent, until one day a friend suggested she started a blog.

There once was a girl who stumbled across her first professional blog (Money Saving Mom, if you must know) and discovered that a world of opportunities lay at her fingertips, quite literally.

There once was a girl who loved to experiment and try new things. She was an entrepreneur at heart. In a world dominated by artists and writers who couldn’t not write and create, it was the business side of things that got her blood pumping.

There once was a girl who took a step back to evaluate things and realized the site she’d birthed no longer looked as she had imagined.

***

This isn’t popular to admit, but I blog for money. I’m an entrepreneur, not a writer. Which isn’t to say that I don’t blog for my readers, because I do! I love providing tips and tricks, sharing my heart and offering encouragement. But writing? That part I don’t especially enjoy; it just happens to be the medium that works for sharing those ideas and stories with you.

It probably makes sense, then, that I blog because it puts food on the table for my family and not because it’s a creative outlet for me.

As the primary breadwinner in our family, I’m so very privileged to have a job I love and to get to do it from home with my girls, new baby and husband all around me.

But — there’s always a but, you see — I can’t do it just for fun; it has to actually pay the bills to justify the time I spend on it.

***

Where Life Your Way Went Wrong..And What I'm Doing About It

Earlier this year I announced a change. I’d been itching for change for a while, to be honest. After years of experimenting and trying new things and discovering my passions and skills — and the things that aren’t a good fit too! — I am ready to settle down and focus on my core businesses.

So I announced the change and we scaled back the site, letting some contributors go, reducing the number of posts and leaving more time for me to share my heart and thoughts and talents rather than just managing the site from afar.

But despite those changes, the itch was still there. The itch for something cleaner, simpler. Our house has been called cold and stark, but the truth is we love the white walls, the empty surfaces, the space to breathe and dream and just be. And yet somehow my online home had become cluttered and messy.

I tried cleaning things up a little at a time, but it just seemed to get messier. There were still bills to pay, but the sponsored posts started to feel suffocating. And the design — oh, the design. I have definitely outgrown it, no doubt.

***

As usually happens when I dare to take a break from the blog, my maternity leave brought about the perspective I needed to step back and see things as they really are and to dream a new dream.

And then one fall day, Tsh announced a drastic change at her blog — a whole new name after years as Simple Mom.

In that moment, something clicked, and I realized what we needed was “all new”, not just some slick “new and improved” label on something that was more old than new. And I began dreaming and scheming and playing around until I settled on a new design.

Where Life Your Way Went Wrong..And What I'm Doing About It

It’s not quite ready for the unveiling — I do have a 2-month-old, after all — but I can tell you that this brand new site incorporates everything I’ve been feeling for the last year:

  • It’s clean and simple, with a focus on the content that brings you here each day.
  • The printables are easy to navigate so that you can quickly discover the one you’re looking for (or the one you didn’t even realize you wanted!).
  • The navigation is much simpler and easier to use, and we’ll no longer have channels, just plain ol’ categories like in the good ol’ days.

The name is actually the one thing that isn’t changing. We’ll still be Life Your Way, and now the site will be hosted at LifeYourWay.net instead of our current channels at YourWay.net.

***

Where Life Your Way Went Wrong..And What I'm Doing About It

It’s not just the design that’s changing, though.

No, we have a whole new focus. We’ll still be covering the same topics, but from a new perspective — a slower, more focused perspective. We’ll be scaling the editorial calendar back even more, and I’m going to do my best not to worry about the calendar quite as much so that I have the freedom to publish an unexpected post when I want to, without feeling like I need to follow the schedule. {This is very hard for my type-A, INTJ self.}

I’ll be releasing more great products in 2014 as well, and I think putting the focus back on products will give me some breathing room so I can be even more selective with sponsored posts

Because I love to provide free, helpful content for readers, the challenge has been figuring out how to earn an income while still doing that. And that’s where things went wrong, I think. The type of site that Life Your Way set out to be — a magazine-style site featuring the voices of dozens of contributors — wasn’t the type of site that attracted the advertiser relationships I really wanted, and so I was left with corporate ads and sponsored posts instead.

To be clear, I have turned down dozens and dozens of sponsored post opportunities over the years simply because they’re not a good fit for my personal values or the site as a whole, but obviously I could have been more selective.

***

So my goal in 2014 is to put the focus back where it belongs: on the content. Instead of courting advertisers and sponsored posts, I’ll simply be focused on sharing tips & tricks, lessons and stories from my own life.

I’ll also share the products and services I love, whether the post is sponsored or not.

Of course, there will still be ads on the site and there will still be sponsored posts, because those do pay the bills, but I think the tone of the site will change as we bring that back into balance.

My other plan for 2014 is to provide more digital products — ebooks and courses and, of course, printables.

Oh, yeah…and I’ll be moving Easy Homemade back to Life Your Way because managing two blogs is just too much, and I think it’s a better fit as part of the main site with my new focus

***
Where Life Your Way Went Wrong..And What I'm Doing About It

To be honest, this is all a bit scary. After all, what we’ve been doing has been working and has, literally, been putting food on the table. But it feels right.

I could use some hand-holding, though. It would be such an encouragement to me if you could drop by and leave a comment now and then on the new site (especially since we lost ALL of our comments in the transition!).

As always, our digital products will be priced so that they’re packed full of value, making the decision to purchase a no-brainer. But even if you’re not interested in paying for products, I hope you’ll consider sharing them with your friends and family since sharing with others is actually a huge way to support the site!

And you can, of course, subscribe to stay connected with all that’s happening. In fact, we now have a new newsletter option. The weekly newsletter will simply be a summary of the posts each week (because I’ve found that trying to create the newsletter each week on top of blog content is also pretty draining for me!), but we’ll have a third newsletter option for those of you who just want to hear about special announcements like new series, product releases and what’s going on behind the scenes. {And if you’re subscribed to the daily or weekly newsletter, you’ll automatically receive those announcements as well.} Head here to subscribe.

I say it often, and I’m afraid that makes it feel cliche rather than true, but — sincerely! — thank you all for reading. I couldn’t do any of what I do without our regular readers and occasional visitors, and I really do appreciate each of you!

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