DanceLand Featured Image by Michael Zittel from Pexels
2019 was the year I finally figured out how to keep DanceLand going as a side gig while holding down a full-time job and periodic paying work on the side. Some people have two jobs, I have two side gigs. 2020? That’s the year I’ll figure out how to make DanceLand the full-time job or finally put this dream to rest. As they say, therein lies a tale.
The DanceLand Backstory
I could go back to graduating from Ohio State in 2000 with a PhD in Cultural Studies and a focus on dance research. That’s a sad story in many respects but my failed job search led me to the world of web publishing and the discovery of entrepreneurship. And for that I’m grateful. It also led to a decade of independent writing and web publishing, much of it about the music industry, and a successful though modest sale of my music industry web properties.
In April 2011 I launched All World Dance, the precursor to DanceLand. It’s now in archival mode and the current design is a hastily tweaked theme to replace the original theme which is no longer updated or secure. It was a very cool looking site and I posted and wrote about dance videos off and on till I shut it down in February 2014.
At the time my paying job was a writing gig with a music industry website. I did way more than I had to for that job and was keeping up with so much music industry news on a daily basis that I decided to focus all my energy in that direction. Nevertheless I decided to launch the first version of DanceLand in May 2014. To be honest, I deeply understand the dance world but always felt like a bit of an outsider as a music writer.
Launching and Relaunching DanceLand
With DanceLand I moved from a focus on dance videos to a broader view of dance news. However, maintaining a decent volume of original work, even short blog posts, was difficult. I shut DanceLand down and then tried again with a focus on reprinting dance press releases. At the time I included releases about upcoming shows as one sees on Broadway World. But news about upcoming shows has a short shelf life and so I took another break.
There were other factors but, suffice it to say, it’s hard to do a whole bunch of stuff at once sometimes! Nevertheless, in April 2019 I launched the current version of DanceLand with a focus on dance business news and dance videos later adding dance education.
Most of the content is driven by press releases and related announcements which allows me to produce a flow of posts regardless of my other responsibilities. But I also add numerous photos and videos to bring the news to life and give visitors actual dance to enjoy.
DanceLand is not a media juggernaut and won’t reach its full potential till original content becomes a much larger piece of the mix. But it has allowed me to introduce myself to the dance community as a web publisher and to begin conversations with dance professionals about their needs. These conversations are leading me to some unique possibilities for monetizing DanceLand that are not focused on pageviews and advertising.
DanceLand In 2020
I am heading into the New Year with plans for further discussions with dance professionals in anticipation of the launch of new services that will allow DanceLand to become a real business. I am also pursuing funding possibilities though such possibilities remain limited as a sole non-technical founder operating a website with no revenue.
2020 is the year DanceLand becomes a real business or I move on to other dreams. To those who have responded positively, your kind words mean more than you’ll probably ever know.
Thank you and have an awesome New Year!
By Clyde F. Smith – DanceLand Founder