This article on sustainability is going to be difficult to write and it is against the wishes of a couple of team members. However, I feel that I need to be transparent and follow my heart by being open. I don’t like talking about financial things, not only is it a little boring but it tends to put people on edge. I hope that you will accept my bluntness in writing this.
My personal position
With the relaunch of Awakening website 4.0 it was key to include monetization and move towards sustainability. Until this relaunch we have had almost no way of becoming a sustainable project. Each month our audience grows a little more, and the maintenance becomes a little more difficult to keep up with. Inevitably with this comes addition costs. Awakening needs to start paying for itself rather than taking all the money that earn from my day job.
Now here is the real difficult part, talking about my own situation. A lot of you may have noticed that we've not been on social media much since July, we've not written any articles and updates have been taking longer and longer. This is all due to my being totally burned out. Since the birth of Awakening I have invested tens of thousands of dollars and it's now simply become too much for me. Away from Awakening I am a designer and all of my income after rent and food goes to pay for the website maintenance. At the start of 2017, I spent the first three months homeless. Andy was kind enough to give me his couch. Since then I have been living back at my fathers house trying to get my feet back under me. Incidentally, my father nags me to stop Awakening for financial reasons - to be fair he admits he doesn't understand what Awakening is doing. I believe in Awakening, I believe in why we do this and I am clinging on by my fingers. I am at a stage in my life where I seriously need to consider if I should continue. I need to start saving, thinking about and preparing for having my own family. So features that provide a platform for sustainability is more important than ever. It's not about making money for me, it's about not losing money. I can make money with my day job.
As you can see, monetization of some sort is key. None of the team members here want to make a living from the website, we just need it to be sustainable. Hopefully this sentiment is reflected in the low prices for our membership packages. We need for it to not cost us any more than time itself. We have other Awakening goals and ambitions that we feel we could make a living from, but they have all be shelved because everything we have goes into the website. The sad bottom line is that if we can't make the website sustainable this year, I will have to walk away.
This is the truth that I was urged not to tell you. However, I love Awakening and I know that many of you really appreciate it and might actually be a little upset if we just disappeared without some kind of warning. We are going to work harder than we ever have done over the next few months to try and turn things around, you have my word.
Everything we did before the launch is still free
Finally, I wanted to briefly talk about what form the monetization comes in on 4.0. It was important for us to show respect to our audience, many of whom we speak to regularly via email. We had to make sure that all the things we had been praised for in the passed remained free; the care and attention, the updates, the server space. Anything we introduced as additional features would be taking a step towards sustainability. We've obviously tried to come up with some neat new features, but essentially strived to make sure we don't piss off our base.
If you read this whole article, thank you for baring with me!
If you want to find out more detail about any of these reasons please choose a link below.