Publisher’s Letter: Pondering While Making Decisions

Blaine Howerton and his family in front of a Sand Castle in Corpus Christi, Texas (Selfie by Blaine Howerton)
By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

Last week I drove with my sons to Corpus Christi, Texas, in the “Winne,” given to me by a long-time supporter of North Forty News, Helen. The trip was fantastic. We “glamped” on the beach for a total of 3 nights. We “glamped” next to the beach for two others. We stayed in parking spots along the way and back too.

I took the trip because, after a rough start to the winter, we needed it. Of course, as always, it was a working vacation. North Forty News doesn’t have the resources to give me a week off.

Regardless of the working vacation, I had time to think. I usually spend time thinking in my sanctuary, on the mountain property I purchased several years ago through a classified ad in North Forty News. That’s on the side of a mountain. This time, I sat in a camping chair on the beach, contemplating my next chapter with North Forty News.

I asked myself why we have yet to be able to come close to the goal of gaining 1,000 new subscribers to North Forty News by January. It was a multi-month campaign, which ended up netting 53 new subscribers. The gain was good — gain means growth. But we need more growth.

I also asked myself many of the same questions I have been asking myself for nearly six years. How do we boost revenue, produce new income streams, reduce expenses, and gain more support from advertisers and subscribers (our community)?

I didn’t come up with any answers that I hadn’t already thought of or tried, but I did narrow my thoughts to 3 options:

  1. Reach our goal of 1,000 new subscribers right away
  2. Get private funding
  3. Sell North Forty News

Subscribers. If we continue to grow our subscriber base to 1,000 new subscribers, the revenue will be there for us to grow and be strong for several generations. I have asked, and many have answered by committing to subscribe. Some took advantage of our offer to give a subscription at half price to someone else. I will keep asking for more subscribers until I decide what happens with the other two options. If you want to subscribe, go to northfortynews.com/subscribe

Funding. I have tried to get bank loans for North Forty News. I have lent a lot of my own money to North Forty News. The banks don’t like our numbers. And that’s no surprise because I don’t like our numbers either! So, the only other option is private financing. We already pay out interest on a handful of credit accounts. Perhaps we could create a program giving that interest to our private investors. If you are reading this and you are interested, get in touch (bhowerton@northfortynews.com). We can talk about that. You may have $500 or more sitting in an account, gaining little to no interest. We could pay for the use of the money and create a payment plan. We already pay interest on capital, so it would be a private re-finance. But to fund North Forty News the way I need to, there will be a limit to everyone’s comfort with this option. We need at least $100,000 in funding to make a significant difference in North Forty News operations.

Sell. Honestly, because I’m so tired, I’m exploring this. I don’t want to sell North Forty News, but I need to focus on my sanity and living situation. I know there is a local organization or individual out there that might be interested. I mean, I was. It changed my life for the better. For me, this nearly six-year journey has been more rewarding than anything. Our 2023 revenue numbers are gaining steam. Our advertisers are committing to new contracts because they see results from their advertising. And our subscriber base is growing (even though it’s not the growth I’d like to see). North Forty News is stronger than ever; perhaps the right individual or organization can take it there with their connections and resources. If you are interested in at least talking about this, get in touch (bhowerton@northfortynews.com).

Let me be clear. I am not giving up. I am figuring out where to go from here! I have spent nearly six years building North Forty News. This investment of my time and money is not something I’m going to give up on.

As a result of thinking hard during my much-needed trip, I will focus on the three things in the coming weeks, and I will see where it goes. Regardless, I’m confident that North Forty News will be stronger and more prominent in the future. And I’m looking forward to that!

 


Support our efforts with a contribution for coverage in our communities at:

https://northfortynews.com/donate-now

For our current subscribers, driveway delivery of North Forty News is now available within a reasonable distance to state highways and urban areas.

Current subscribers register at:

https://northfortynews.com/driveway-delivery/

New and returning subscribers register at:

https://northfortynews.com/subscribe

Inquire about any of our advertising at: ads@northfortynews.com

 

 

Did you like what you just read?

Show your support for Local Journalism by helping us do more of it. It's a kind and simple gesture that will help us continue to bring stories like this to you.

Click to Donate