I’m in two minds as I write this. Perhaps more than two. Three parts excited, seven parts anxious perhaps? One thing is certain – that would make for a terrible cocktail…
I’m writing today because after almost two years of working 24/7 on building an ethical model for women’s media, The Flock is changing direction. Thankfully, flocks are well known for being good at such things, so there’s no reason to panic. Right?
The brutally honest truth is that The Flock, in its current model, is no longer sustainable. The cost of living crisis is hitting. Subscriber numbers have been falling over the last two months. People tell me they love what we’re doing and the awards we’ve won speak for themselves – but the simple fact is, not enough of those people are paying for what we do to fund the running of what has become a much bigger operation than ever envisaged.
For almost two years now, I’ve posted a minimum of six stories a week on the website and on social media, written newsletters on Mailchimp, run a subscription service on Stripe, and paid more than 50 freelancers. Each of those tasks has generated a lot of admin and a lot of cost, and I’ve been managing it all by myself. Now, with my small pot of start-up funding long since emptied, I’m in a position where I can’t meet those costs.
I also can’t afford to pay myself. And as much as I’d like that not to matter, it does. I can’t work seven days a week for free, no matter how much I believe in the mission.
So, that’s the bad news. But the good news is, I’m not one for giving up without a fight.
While the numbers no longer quite add up for running a daily website in the current climate, The Flock’s thousands of readers are testament to the need for a kinder, more honest approach to women’s media – one with less gloss, more grit. That’s why, from next week, the site will move to Substack, where I’ll be continuing to muse on the good, the bad, and the downright inexplicable truths of modern womanhood in a world on fire.
Making this shift is scary – change always is. But the joy of this particular pivot is that now, things can get much more personal as we build a genuine community. From menopause to (second) marriage, career panic to parenting, over the last few years I’ve become a master of taking life’s lemons and making something moreish, and it’s these experiences I plan to share with you now, in addition to the news-led opinion columns that have set social aflame over the last few years.
I’ll be writing to all of our subscribers about an issue on my mind at least once a week and this new platform allows us to get much closer than the website ever could. Even better, if you’re already a paying subscriber, you’ll retain full access to our archive and your membership will continue – only now, instead of having to navigate between social media, Mailchimp and the paywalled website, everything from commentary to conversation will arrive directly to your inbox.
I started The Flock because I believe good writing can be a force for good. For connection. For education. For equality. I still believe that is something worth paying for. But in trying to build an ethical media model that paid dozens of freelancers each month I forgot about one crucial piece of the puzzle – myself.
I became so busy juggling tech updates, edits and social media platforms that I didn’t give myself space to enjoy the ride, let alone to write as often and as freely as I wanted to. Now, by going back to the original mission – honest writing that sparks conversation about the world around us – I hope to change that, and get to know you much better in the process.
And that is where your support comes in. Paying subscribers will get access to a veritable feast of exclusive content, debate and discussion – specifically, there’ll be more audio, more interviews, weekly community conversations, exclusive guest writer posts and lots more besides. We’re becoming a Flock in the truest sense of the word, and I’m incredibly excited about the possibilities…
So, in summary, The Flock is dead – long live The Flock. Let’s start over, shall we?
Are you ready for the next part of the journey? Come join us on Substack