Want to help elephant improve, free? Give us stability so we can invest in quality editorial. Subscribe free to our Daily Wake Up Call: a photo or quote each morning. Give yourself a gap in the inbox of our mind. Share with a loved one: the more, the merrier: our partner Namaste plants a tree with every email sent.
Merry Christmas! From this heathen.
Click here for “Why I say Merry Christmas to All!”
CEO’s Year-end Report to the Board: (You).
We don’t have a board. We’re independent. We had a few tentative offers to sell out, and I (barely) refused them—indie media is a dying breed, and I cherish it.
Left, Right, Above, Below: Some Photo Highlights of the year: a profile in the Denver Post focusing on elephant as a reader-supported new media success story. Waylon’s appearance at SXSW with Where is My Guru, hosts; Seane Corn, Vikram Gandhi. The resumption of our fun, informative Walk the Talk Show. The assembling of an inspired, caring, independent staff; and teams of apprentices from all over the world. Lindsey, Kate, Bri, Lynn, Bry, Bob, others…what’d I miss? ~ ed.
We were a print magazine for six years, growing & making good money toward the end, with a staff and an office and all that. We then jumped online when we failed to find a way to grow in an eco-responsible manner. Many of you have heard the story before.
This was our first year online when we made money. I’m reporting to you, because we don’t have a board, so you are in effect our board. While we became fully sustainable, this year, and are able to pay a strong, fun, caring staff, we’ve struggled where it counts most. In the past, we’ve grown 300% a year in online traffic, according to Google Analytics. This year, because of Facebook’s monetization changes, we couldn’t keep up with the big boys, so while we succeeded in growing overall we lost readership via our main Facebook Page, formerly 60% of our traffic.
So we were forced to get more accessible and fun, which I like, but at the expense of quality, nerdy editorial, the kind that our readers tend to ignore, but rightly complain about when they find it missing. And despite our increased accessibility (a good thing), and despite paying for a passionate, skilled, caring staff, we’re struggling to come out at 1,000,000 readers this month.
Photo: from Waylon’s 38th, Redford’s 5th, and elephant’s 10th, a benefit for New Era Colorado hosted by Congressman Jared Polis.
Too many times, this year, there were articles of juvenile spirituality by yoga newbies who sounded as if they’d gotten drunk surfing Rumi quotes on Pinterest. Too many times, this year, I blogged fun videos that I love (while connecting them to our mission, “the mindful life”) instead of doing an original interview, which takes energy. After 10 years, I’m exhausted. Too many times recently, we’ve blogged up sexual posts without enough of a point to them. I’m fine with sex—so are you—in fact, I’m a fan. But everything we touch we have to bring back to waking up, to compassion, to mindfulness, to some sense of humor about ourselves. What are we offering? What’s the point of all this? It better not just be noise. God knows there’s easier ways to make a right livelihood than new media, and god knows the world doesn’t need more blahblahblah.
Waylon and one of his dearest elephriends, Seane Corn, at Tadasana, which was a total bust for us.
So, I’m disappointed. That said, we’re learning and adjusting. I’m reading mindful business books, trying to refind my entrepreneurial inspiration now that I’m no longer fired up merely by “making it big.” We’re going to be paying writers for quality and for sharing their posts, this year. We’re going to be featuring our quality posts up top on our home page, not just our Popular posts. For those writers who are consistent, even if they’re not Popular, we’re going to feature them in a new section on our front page. We’re training a new team of apprentices from all over the world to learn social and new media and journalism ethics. At a million readers a month, making decent money (though not 1/40th, I’ve calculated, as our less advertising-choosey peers—yes, we have a lot of ads, but they’re “mindful,” “indie” ads for the most part—not alcohol and auto ads).
Waylon & longtime elephant believer, leader and friend Lindsey Block at Wanderlust Festival, where Waylon led meditation and gave a talk about…I forget. Do we have the video?
So all this is to say: Dear Board, we took care of business this year. We now have a passionate team. We have rich history, and a well-known brand. This year will be about quality. About growing to 10 million, and beginning to reach beyond the choir. Help us to do so. Invite a friend to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter, with free articles (no paygate). Or write an article. Share a photo, or a video, or a poem. We may not have the kind of money that the many corporate “spiritual” or “yoga” or “green” brands do…but we have you. Because our readers are our writers, and I, the founder, am only giving my years to this in hopes that, together, we can be of benefit, and have some fun doing so.
Waylon Lewis, editor-in-chief, host
Click here to follow @waylonlewis of elephant on instagram.
Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis
We’ve reached 1.3 million readers/month (Google Analytics)
Subscribe to elephant here. Or, keep reading 2 free articles a day, every day, enough for 90% of our readers.
All article links in this newsletter are free to non-subscribers. Want to support indie media? Share this newsletter with a loved one.
hot on elephant
Elephant Journal’s Holiday Gift Guide 636 shares A letter to the Anger that refuses to Leave Me. 654 shares Waylon’s favorite Ethical Gifts. 13 shares Learn Social Media, Writing, Editing & Journalism Ethics with elephantjournal.com. 9 shares Dear Pretty Young Woman Flirting with my Husband. 4,451 shares The Astrology of 2017: Letting Go & Shining your Light. 2,051 shares The Real Reason so many Long-term Relationships Fail Sexually. 1,148 share Why a Year of No Dating was the Best Thing I ever did for Myself. 8,589 shares I’m a Woman Sex Educator who Doesn’t Believe in Foreplay—Here’s Why. 962 shares These Tweets (and Retweets) actually Happened. 1,393 share