The future of That’s Not My Age
As a self-employed journalist and the editor of That’s Not My Age, I know I’m privileged to do a job that I love. One that has allowed me to work from home throughout the pandemic. Having said that, the unfurling economic crisis and prospect of a depression has been playing on my mind, a lot, over the last few months. As we went into lockdown my Sunday Telegraph column was put on hold, fortunately as a freelancer I have been able to claim via the government’s Self-Assessment Income Support Scheme (though this is less than the money I would’ve earned with my Telegraph column), for which I am incredibly grateful. The good news is that I’ve received positive feedback from the editorial team and been assured that the column will be back when the newspaper has a redesign in June. It will be renamed Ageless Style, have a broader remit and be moved to the Saturday edition of the newspaper. Everything crossed.
The publishing industry has been in a precarious state for years – and, as with retail, the pandemic has accelerated the closure of struggling businesses (most recently the UK and Australian arms of BuzzFeed). The unpredictable nature of freelance journalism is one of the main reasons I decided to do my own thing and create That’s Not My Age, in the first place. Rather than relying on sporadic commissions and paltry rates, this was a way to become independent, generate my own income and er, break even. No one ever said online journalism was a lucrative profession…
As discussed previously in a feature on the business of blogging, running this site is my job and I need to earn a living and cover the day-to-day costs. And running a website does cost money: paying for the domain, maintenance, security, the software to send out email newsletters, photographers, equipment (more HERE). My fantastic part-time assistant Helen is still employed one day a week (though she often puts in extra hours), she’s in charge of all the behind-the scenes stuff that keeps That’s Not My Age running smoothly and allows me the freedom to focus on feature writing. And I continue to pay her a monthly salary. To fund all this I use affiliate links and the occasional sponsored post. But mostly affiliate links. When a gallery of products is included at the end of a style feature on That’s Not My Age, it’s not random shit, the items have been carefully chosen from a large selection of over 5000 brands by myself and Helen. And for this I receive a small payment from RewardStyle, if a reader makes a purchase. More unpredictability.
Not wanting to put all my eggs into one basket, I’ve been on the lookout for an additional way to fund the site and provide stability. One solution is the introduction of a system whereby followers pay a monthly subscription to access exclusive content. Not only does this mean That’s Not My Age can continue to operate but it is in keeping with my ethos on sustainability (I will be less reliant on selling product to survive). Patreon is a platform that supports creators, including writers and journalists (you can read more about it HERE) by encouraging followers to pay a small amount to read unique content. To start with, I would like to suggest a subscription of £4 per month for two exclusive features and a Q&A, plus first access and invites to future events and gatherings. Though I completely understand if your own financial situation means that you’re unable to contribute right now; please show support by telling all your friends, family and furloughed colleagues about That’s Not My Age and by sharing the love online. I’ve also added another membership category of £1 per month to support That’s Not My Age and receive exclusive invites, potential discounts and offers (this does not include access to features and the Q&A). These are early thoughts and can be reviewed.
Every single subscription is valuable for the future of this site and the money will go straight towards creating more fabulous content. That’s Not My Age will continue as per usual but I will be running ‘paid for’ content through Patreon (accessed via this site); together with affiliate links on certain posts. This is something I need to do in order to keep the site going, pay my mortgage and not go bankrupt. Membership features will be similar to the longer posts you read here – style advice, beauty tips and interviews with amazing women – and will be identified by a black triangle with ‘subscriber’ written on it, positioned on the top left hand corner of the main photograph. This is my Patreon page, there’s one feature on there already to give you an idea.
That’s Not My Age is 12 years old this summer, and I am proud to have created this wonderful online space for like-minded women – along with two style books and a ‘slow’ podcast (hopefully returning soon!) Fashion often gets a bad rep but my aim has always been one of empowering women by offering expert advice, positive suggestions and engaging interviews. And I love the community spirit in the comments box, that you take the time to write brilliant, thoughtful observations and generously share information is what makes That’s Not My Age special. But in order to continue the conversation, I need to ensure that I can shore up my business and earn a living wage, whatever happens. Using the Patreon membership system is one way of doing this. I think it makes sense, though as always I’m keen to hear your thoughts on the matter…
Thank you so much for your loyalty, generosity and kindness. Stay safe. And please stay tuned.
Subscribe to Patreon HERE.