This business stuff is hard work, says Our Lady of Introspection. The Trio of Banality cannot just “lifecast” all the time–there is important Business Development to be done! Here’s our question: NonSociety’s Alexa rank is 55,525. That’s it.
So tell us more about those ad sales packages, huh?
Here is what Our Lady has to say about it all:
Please keep in mind
I’ll tell you, one of the hardest things about what we’re doing here at NonSociety is balancing the back end work (design, web development, production meetings, editing, ad sales, biz dev) with the front end content, which you read here.
Ideally, we could just work on our lifecasts – but we’re a small business, and when we don’t publish, it isn’t that we’re not doing anything – it’s that we’re doing what it takes to keep this site running.
So if I post a lot of photos, many times it’s because I find it a hell of a lot easier to post a photo than a detailed explanation of the ad-sales package we just pitched, or production meeting we’re having, or two hour web development conference call we just finished. Plus, there are certain things we just can’t say on here, no matter how much we’d like to! Many of our deals are confidential, and the hours we spend negotiating them can’t ever be shared. I’m sorry.
We’ve been working on NonSociety version 1.5 for the past six months, sending designs back and forth with our designer Shane (we went through about 15 iterations, no joke), weekly meetings with our incredible web team, testing the site in dev, making changes, and generally trying to come up with solutions for the myriad problems one runs into with any sort of undertaking (the things that you think should be easy are hard & expensive, the things that you think should be hard & expensive are hard & expensive).
We’ve been working on our ad-sales and sponsors for the past four months – everything from putting together the demographics of who reads this site, to going through ten – yes, TEN – different permutations of our ad-sales deck and corresponding presentation to taking dozens of meetings with marketing executives to putting together packages for our sponsors. Magazines with circulations less than ours (if you could call our numbers – over 700,000 unique views/month and almost a million pageviews/month – “circulation”) have entire ad-sales teams doing what we do as their FULL TIME job.
Not to mention that every TMIweekly show we do has to be produced – and we’re not only the hosts, but also the producers. Ask any tv producer for any show how long it takes them to conceptualize, produce, shoot & edit a three minute segment! You’d be shocked (and maybe even appalled) at the time investment. One of my goals for the next few months is put together a “Day in the Life of” video so you can see what the producers I’ve worked with for years at CNN, Fox, MSNBC, Vh1 have to do – you’ll never watch television the same way again. It’s not a surprise that many look frazzled/overworked/exhausted constantly. They work their asses off and get very little credit for what they do. Not to mention, the better the production, the better the on-air talent looks – not the producers! Great. With TMIweekly, we work in conjunction with Next New Networks, but co-production entails a lot of time: we’re responsible for everything from the content to the wardrobe to watching the raw footage and sending in notes to working with our sponsors there (like Degree in December). All this on a budget the size of FoxNews’ weekly hairspray allowance.
Add that on to writing my Time Out column (which requires meetings with my editor, interviews, plus usually a photoshoot, which I produce – and btw, if you don’t think producing photoshoots is any work, please talk with any photographer or art director), the speaking engagements I do, the PR and interviews, the tv segments (I still film them, about twice a week. I have one tomorrow, actually), and the extraneous writing (I’m contracted to write an introduction for a book that was due a week ago, I do various mag pieces, like the Cosmo article last month, which required at least three edits), plus covering at least one major event a month (like CES, or Fashion Week, which I cover for Time Out New York, and which we’ve been planning since last November), and, yes, responding to my 5,312 (that’s the EXACT number in my inbox at this current moment) reader emails … well. It’s a miracle I EVER post on this lifecast.
I don’t know how much you know about the internal workings of magazines, but most publications our size (with the number of readers we have, that is) have staffs of 40-50 or more. Seriously. I knew little of marketing until a year ago. I knew nothing about ad-sales until six months ago. I didn’t know about decks or demographics or sponsorship packages. Like most writers, I was happily ignorant of the whole “how does my publication actually MAKE MONEY off this crap I type late at night” part.
And although I had programmed my own website (in HTML, don’t get overexcited) when I was a freshman in college, this entire year has been a huge crash course in the realities of web development. I remember having absolutely no tolerance for any problems with websites I visited. In fact, when Jakob and I started dating, he would ask me for feedback on Vimeo, and I used to draw up long lists of detailed fixes and then get pissed when they weren’t implemented immediately. Oh, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA (ironic laughter). I was sweetly, but idiotically naive. I could write an entire essay on how my eyes have been opened, but I’ll sum it up like this: designing a navigable website isn’t always as quick ‘n easy as you would like/hope/expect. That’s just the way things are! Nothing to cry about, but you stop being a perfectionist REAL fast. Not to mention, magazines (and other websites) also have huge design teams whose entire job is to think about how the site looks and feels and reads and functions. We just have us.
That, of course, is what startups are all about. The whole, “if you want it done, you gotta do it yourself” mentality isn’t a bad one to adopt, especially if you want to learn, and learn fast. Startups are all about learning on the job, and that’s what Meghan, Mary, Megan and I have done in the last year. Whenever we think back to our very first brainstorming sessions, back in March of last year, we can’t stop laughing, because we clearly had no clue what we were getting ourselves into. Of course! How could we?? Every entrepreneur says that – but they also say what I’m about to say next: I’ve never been more proud of any year of my life, ever. We’ve worked our asses off, and learned a LOT.
And I’m sorry that much of that hasn’t been recorded on this lifecast. Mostly that’s just due to sheer time constraints – I only have so much of it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt totally and utterly overwhelmed in the last year and thought, “WHY CAN’T I JUST SIT HERE AND JUST WRITE, DAMNIT?!?!” But that, alas, is not how one runs a business.
We’re going to try to include more of this part of our lives in the future. Maybe not today, and maybe not next week, but we’ll figure it out.
Until then, thanks for learning alongside of us, and understanding that we’re trying to balance a lot right now. We are incredibly blessed to have you as readers, and don’t think we don’t know it.