End of Story Squad

Story Squad to close Dec. 10

The following is text from an email that was sent to the Story Squad community this morning.

Dear faithful Story Squad members and friends,

I am not usually at a loss for words. But today, I find myself struggling to gather words that adequately express the mix of intense heartache, unexpected relief and even sheer excitement I feel concerning what I am about to share with you all.

I might as well just spit it out: Story Squad will officially shut its doors Dec. 10, 2021.

I know this letter is lengthy, but I wanted you all to know where my heart is. If you want to skip the explanation of why I’m closing, head down to the bottom to the section header “So, what comes next with Story Squad?” There is some important information there that you’ll want to read if you intend to access any templates or Story Squad files from here on out.

The heartache.

I started Story Squad with a big dream: To make digital scrapbooking “a thing” — a popular thing — something people would fall in love with and start doing in large numbers, a kind of new-age revival of the paper scrapbooking phase of the 1990s.

It was admittedly a cheesy dream — but a genuine one.

I love this hobby for many reasons, but most of all for the positive emotions it instills in me. Creating a digital scrapbook layout or viewing ones I have created in the past makes me smile every. single. time. This hobby reminds me that my life is full of blessings and warm memories, even in those times when I don’t necessarily feel it. No other hobby has ever brought me as much joy.

I truly wish more people could know the love, pride and (paradoxically) humility that come naturally with this hobby.

So I developed a way to break down the barriers that keep people from enjoying it. I created Story Squad to give people all of the solutions they would need for the most common problems: Lack of time, lack of design skills and a lack of knowledge of Photoshop.

I spent a year developing the website, creating a digital course to teach people how to use Photoshop, and creating additional tools and resources to help anyone who wanted to create pages but didn’t know where or how to start.

I will be honest. I loved it. And I’m pretty proud of it!

But the reality of starting a business that serves a very niche audience turned out to be a lot more difficult than I anticipated.

Don’t get me wrong; I knew it would be hard. And I’m not one to shy away from hard challenges. I actually kind of thrive on them!

I did my research, taking countless hours’ worth of structured online courses on digital marketing, launching an online course and running an online business. I listened to hundreds of hours of podcast episodes from well-known digital marketers and companies running online memberships. And I saved six months’ worth of expenses, so I could run my business, advertise it and still provide my family with a small income.

But the heartache started to become clear at the very beginning.

The smaller the niche, it became clear, the harder (and slower…and more expensive) it is to attract and capture the audience you need in order to create a profitable, thriving online business. And because I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars a month in advertising (I’ll spare you the detailed explanation about the small advertising ROI for niche markets that are difficult to filter), I needed the majority of the growth to be organic.

I’ll also spare you the details of other hardships (like ridiculous expenses for a slew of software necessities), but friends, I’ll be honest; it comes down to this: I can’t afford to wait for Story Squad to grow.

I still believe wholeheartedly in Story Squad’s goal and product, and I hope that some day, I might be able to return to it. But it’s clear that it would take at least another year, likely more, to grow Story Squad into the thriving community I dream of it being. I simply can’t wait that long.

So, after weeks of contemplating, I have decided the best option is to close Story Squad.

This is where we cue the sappy, sad music.

Man, I wish this didn’t have to be. But, alas, it’s where I am. And although it was a difficult decision, I know in my heart it’s the right one.

The unexpected relief.

Once I came to terms with the idea of stopping Story Squad (which didn’t fully come until the past few days, honestly), I will admit that I felt a sense of relief. Not because it’s over, but because, with an end in sight, I will be able to fully focus on what comes next.

For me, that’s a job search.

The sheer excitement.

After nearly 15 years of running my own communications business, CorComm Creative, I am ready for a new challenge. I am very proud of CorComm and the successes I have seen over the past 15 years. I am even proud of the low points, not because they’re fun, but because they pushed me out of my comfort zone and built me into the professional I am today.

That said, with the closing of Story Squad, I have an opportunity to start fresh. And I have to admit that I’m excited about this! As I have been applying for jobs, I have been enjoying daydreaming about the opportunities, and I look forward to planting my feet in new territory, with fresh challenges, a fresh set of coworkers and a fresh future ahead of me.

So, what comes next with Story Squad?

As of today, Story Squad is closed for new members.

However, the course, Digital Scrapbooking 101, is available for a reduced price of just $10 when you use the code BYESTORYSQUAD at checkout.

Be sure to purchase the course before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Friday, Dec. 10, in order to gain access. I will be discontinuing the online access to the membership and course videos as of Dec. 10, but if you sign up by that date, I will email you links (links that will be accessible after Dec. 10) to download and watch all of the course lessons offline at your convenience.

The templates — the power behind Story Squad — will continue to be delivered to member inboxes until Dec. 10. That means, including this week’s templates, you will receive 12 pages’ worth of templates before Story Squad closes for good. This date ensures that every member receives the full number of templates for which you have paid. No members have been or will be charged from Nov. 12 forward.

For the one of you who paid for a year up front, I will be providing a refund for the unused eight months. Watch your email!

The templates that I have created to date will likely eventually move to Etsy for purchase. I might or might not add new templates in the future. I will send an email if I decide to open an Etsy shoppe.

Members, templates will continue to be available in the member portal until Dec. 10. By that date, I will email you links to download the last four weeks of templates, as well as the course lessons, from Dropbox, in case you need to access them after Dec. 10. If you wish to watch or download any of the bonus materials, you will need to do that before I discontinue the membership software (by end of day Dec. 10).

Finally, the blog will continue for at least two more weeks. We are in the middle of a four-week series, which will pick up again next week. After the series finishes, I might or might not continue to blog, but if I do, it will be on an ad hoc basis, rather than at the current weekly rate.

THANK YOU!

I have loved the Story Squad community, no matter how small we might be, since our official launch just four short months ago. Thank you for coming along with me on this adventure — whether you have been an active participant or have just been watching along the periphery. Each of you has been important to me.

I hope that those of you who joined the Story Squad membership or took Digital Scrapbooking 101 will continue to love preserving your favorite photos and memories for years on end. Ultimately, I hope the albums and pages you create will bring you immeasurable joy as you enjoy them for years to come.

Wishing you all my best,

Corie

Corie Farnsley
Story Squad Founder and Owner

PS I will be maintaining my email address for the foreseeable future, so if you want or need to reach me for any reason, please reach out at storysquad@corcommcreative.com.

 

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

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