If I wanted to do the same thing day in and day out, I would have gotten a job on an assembly line. That was my thinking by the time summer rolled around.
By mid June I felt creatively spent after a year of running betterafter50.com on my own. My partner Ronna had decided to travel the world by boat with her husband (which hopefully most of you have enjoyed reading about), and I had taken on the challenge of flying solo on BA50. After a year of building a new team and testing some new strategies, I was burnt out. I realized I wasn’t having as much fun with the creative process.
The business was growing but I was not.
So, by the end of June I decided to go on sabbatical from weekly writing and focus solely on business strategy. This meant taking a step back to understand where we were as a business. My days were freed up from daily deadlines which allowed me to slow down, step back, and observe.
I read this piece from the Depak Chopra center that really hit home: Understanding Vata: Minimize Stress And Feed Your Creativity. In yoga speak, my energy would be best described as Vata so these words spoke to me…(click here to read about Vata).
If you are Vata, this most likely describes you. “If Vata dosha predominates, movement and change are characteristic of your nature. You tend to always be on the go, with an energetic and creative mind. As long as Vata is in balance, you will be lively and enthusiastic…”
We Vatas have lots of energy and are creative types but when out of balance, well, a shift needs to happen. That was what I was facing as I began my summer and so I made the conscious decision to become an observer.
The process gave me a lift and a new perspective on our digital media business, our readers, and the most important platforms that our readers engage on. With a clearer vision of how to continue to grow BA50 and continue to bring a feeling of connection and community through content and engagement, it became clearer as to how best to proceed.
I recommend a sabbatical to everyone who is feeling flat, dull and unengaged. Work is grueling when daily routines feel stale. Being creative is not a given, it requires a spark, constant fuel and the help of others.
Now as I emerge from these past few months, I am re-energized and work feels fresh and exciting. I have 2 fantastic fashion writers, a great social media team, my webmaster who has been with me from day one and a peer network of support. More importantly these changes have been incorporated over the last month and the magic seems to be happening.
After 7 years of publishing over 5,000 articles, it was time to take stock and see what were the most popular topics. Over the summer it became crystal clear what our readers wanted. (Most clicked on articles, most comments, most engagement). As a result the editorial and focus of BA50 has become streamlined into 2 main areas: Fashion & Beauty and Healthy Lifestyle.
We now publish just 2 newsletters each week, Fashion Friday and Healthy Monday. Healthy Monday is a broad topic, embracing what makes us feel good and healthy — from work, to food, to medicine, to mindfulness. Fashion Friday embraces what we wear, and how we take care of our selves and acceptance about our aging.
In addition, fresh content is posted on these topics across all of our social media platforms daily.
Over the summer, I am proud to say BA50 became one of the top influencers in the over 50 women’s media niche and the go to site for women embracing this fantastic time in our lives. We tested content and learned what our readers love and as a result our social media has gone through the roof!
Stepping back, slowing down, observing and testing new ideas with an amazing social media team has re-energized our creativity and moved the business forward in a more focused direction.
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