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Privateer Life | My Media Conundrum: What’re Your Thoughts?
My current debate in the media world is where should I focus?
Do I go “all in” on video?
Do I double down on this Substack even though written media is slowly reducing AND the fact that Twitter now impeding anything with a Substack link has halved my readership?
Do I create a weekly newsletter, “Privateer Press”, in the style of a diary that keeps people up to date with the privateer world as a whole, as well as my own personal experiences on a more frequent, more intimate basis?
I’ve always been interested by the stories behind cycling. Yes, pedalling fast and winning the Tour de France is cool, but there’s so much more to it. From that guy moving across the world to chase his racing dream to the kid that is fresh out of school and diving head first into living and racing in a foreign country.
My biggest interest though is rather niche, the business side of sport. I’ve always been interested in how it works behind the scenes. How did EF revive themselves from crowdfunding to being mainstream cool? How do Conti riders afford to live? What are the financials behind being a gravel pro? How do ‘influencers’ make it work?
My dream would be to have a media project that runs alongside my race calendar. Something that is not just related to me as an individual, but the whole sport.
Let me break down each part a little:
Without sounding like a narcissist, the calendar I now have the freedom to do is amazing. If there was video content out there about somebody doing what I’m doing then I would be a fan. I’ve had so many “pinch me this can’t be real” moments this year. Video, especially short form, is where I was thinking of going. It’s cheaper than doing YouTube style at least! I enjoy it, but I’m slightly nervous to get in front of camera to do scripted things, but I think this is more nervous of what people would think which shouldn’t bother me.
Time: film, script write, edit.
Money (editor and videographer around races)
I’ve had an idea of a newsletter for a while. It would start with a paragraph or two about my week, and then go into detail about the things I’m tackling that week in privateer life, the power data behind training sessions, as well as interesting things I’ve seen in the world of cycling. The idea is to make it a mini diary of sorts giving a closer look to the travelling circus. It could also include mini interviews from the gravel world. I wouldn’t want it to be the “Joe Laverick Newsletter”, but more “Privateer Press” giving an inside look into the privateer world from my own angle.
Limited. Time to write each week around an hour.
Substack (with Podcast?)
I enjoy writing on Substack a lot. It gives me full creative freedom and allows me to write things that I think are interesting. This often means other people are interested as I’m a cycling fan and I try to write things that I want to read. I try to write things that haven’t been covered before and give a different type of insight. I
’m annoyed that Twitter has stopped Substack integration as that’s massively impacted my read numbers. There is potential behind Substack, but is written media (especially individual blogging) yesterday’s news?
The dream would be for my Substack to be able to write the feature that I want to. As an example, I’ve always wanting to do a deep dive into the Red Hook Crit Series in an article titled “The Rise and Fall of Red Hook Criterium: Cycling’s Golden Ticket to Mainstream?”. I’d go into the financials, interview people around the event and take a look as to why it fell away.
The absolute dream is to have a connected podcast where I interview people in the industry and then write a piece of the back of that podcast. Interviewing the top guys in gravel about how they make it work financially. Interview people like JV about the behind-the-scenes of running a team. Interview that eighteen year old kid who has moved to Europe to chase the dream. To be able to have the podcast side and then do a written piece would be so much fun.
Money, both in equipment, editing and time I’d lose having to drop freelance work
I know from my Spotlight Profiling that I did with my partner, Pullwood Consulting that a strength of mine is “Trusting your instincts and taking risks”, I also know from the profile that I’m “forcefully optimistic” and that I can over play some of my strengths. This whole dream idea of mine is a mini media business. Trying to start that alongside racing, as well as working freelance isn’t possible, something would eventually give.
My freelancing is what allows me to live, but I don’t necessarily enjoy every bit of it. The short term goal is to be in a financial position that I don’t have to rely on freelance work to live from month to month and can therefore put some more time into this whole media idea.
I’m confident that putting time into this would mean it’d grow both in presence and financial opportunity. But, currently I can’t afford financially to give it that time. See the catch-22?
Anyway, that was a long piece which I didn’t even plan to be an article. I was originally going to make this a few paragraphs on LinkedIn, then it grew and grew and became a diary entry of some sort. I sometimes write stuff like this then debate whether I’m going to hit publish as it accidentally became more personal than intended. Then I often just think “fuck it” and press publish anyway.
This is the whole point behind “Project TAG”. It’s not just doing racing on my own terms, it’s the opportunity that it could give me to plan post cycling and create something bigger out of it all than me just riding a bike.
Project TAG, proudly partnering (both for my athletic and influencing ability) with…