This is pretty much just going to be an update post on the direction I’ve been contemplating for myself and body of work.
It’s coming up on the four years anniversary since I launched my website and began my advocacy work. Every year, around this time, I contemplate the past year and how I want to advance my missions in the coming year. I used year too many times in that sentence, but screw it I’m leaving it.
The first point is a slight change in the way I deliver my message. The only real critical criticism I’ve ever received on my body of work is my casual swearing. I opted to preserve that tone of speech in the hopes of breaking through to other people like me who are turned off by the sterile nature of a lot of mental health material. I felt that preserving my authentic language of anger and frustration would help others who are of similar mentality to identify and hopefully take action.
I’ve finally decided to change that, except when I’m writing examples of unwellness. I feel it is super important to preserve the tone and feeling of what unwellness cycles can look like, because they can be very brutal.
Simply put, I feel the decision is hurting more than helping. While I, personally, think the idea of bad words is stupid and ridiculous. My opinion isn’t the one that really matters here. Writers and other artists often push the importance of staying true to your own voice of expression. My voice of expression isn’t what’s important to me. What’s important to me is reaching people and ensuring they are receiving quality, actionable information. If that takes a hard approach, that’s what I use. If it takes a soft approach, that’s what I use.
It really doesn’t matter to me either way because my work isn’t really about what I need to express about myself. I don’t NEED to express any of this really. I’m expressing it solely for the benefit of other people. But I’ve come to find that there are several regular or high-functioning people who just see it as a demonstration of undirected anger and instability. I’m not either of those things, but that really doesn’t mean squat if that’s how I’m being perceived.
It would be really stupid for me to hamstring my efforts just because I feel like that particular social standard is idiotic. (So, you were half-right, mom. Half a point to you on this issue.) I mean, it’s not exceptionally hard to make “good” words bite the same way. You just have to know your audience and which buttons to push. But, I feel like I’m never going to push to the next tier of scope unless I do it in a more socially acceptable way.
The next announcement is a change in how I do what I do. I have decided to pursue the angle of establishing a one man limited liability corporation, branding myself as a “Bipolar Coach”, and pushing towards a profitable model that will allow me to turn this passion into my career and discontinue the need for donations. This seems to be the best path for legal, personal, and profit driven reasons.
It’s been challenging trying to find a model that will work for me. I’ve read hundreds of page on Coaching models in the past six months and none of them really fit what I do and want to accomplish. I believe I will be creating some form of priority-based model. I am still clinging very tightly to a promise I made myself when I first started writing my Bipolar Manifesto.
That promise was to ensure that anyone, regardless of economic situation or belief, could have equal access to quality, actionable information to better understand and deal with their mental illness.
This is a contributing reason to why I utilize Amazon for distribution of my ebooks. Amazon allows me to offer them for free, periodically. And it’s the reason I’m heavily considering a priority-driven model.
So, what do I mean by priority? Well, A LOT of people send me emails and leave me blog comments. As anyone that has ever written to me will know, I make it a point to write meaningful answers to each and every one that does. That takes a fair amount of time.
At this point, when I take a day off from it I fall behind. A priority-driven model will simply allow me to slide the people who are willing to pay for my services to the front, rather than just saying “Oh, you can’t pay? Well, bye.” I’ve been regularly told that my service was well worth paying for; so I think this will let me whether or not that is true and still help people of very limited resources.
The other challenge is finding an appropriate price point. I looked at several other life coach-type service providers to see what they did. There is absolutely zero chance that I am going to charge people $50 for an email, $150 for a 30 minute phone consultation, or $400+ dollars for a monthly retainer. My target demographic are not primarily businesses and people with tons of disposable income.
My target demographic are regular people dealing with difficult circumstances; many of whom have very limited resources. I can’t imagine asking for more than a $100 a month retainer for unlimited emails and a Skype conversation.
Frankly, I didn’t even like a majority of the life coaches I looked at. “Unlock your inner potential!” “Attain spiritual peace!” “Heal your mental pains!” With their fake, plastic marketing-friendly smiles. (You can insert some expletives here, from me, if you’d like.) You know, this should really tell you something – doing marketing work has jaded me more than being mentally ill has. What’s up with that?
A further addition that will soon be coming to my website is a t-shirt shop that I intend to populate with funny and inspirational shirts. That will hopefully bring in a few additional dollars on top of services provided and ebook sales.
That provides another unique problem. When you think, “t-shirt from a business” you usually expect it to be branded with that business’s logo and be a marketing vehicle. I can’t do that with my offering because branding “Bipolar” on them could most certainly prevent people from buying them or causing customers uncomfortable conversations that they don’t want to have with relative strangers; or strange relatives, as the case may be.
I will offer a few, I think. And some awareness oriented shirts. But by and large, I can’t see actually branding them in a traditional way being good for my customers and followers.
Anyway. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve actually done a focused fund drive. I believe I will be running a GoFundMe campaign within the next couple of weeks to defray some of the costs associated with the direction I want to take my work. I hope you will consider contributing if it is within your means.
Thank you all for your support and for reading my work. I’m excited for this new direction and hope it will provide me the means, resources, and time to help more people understand, cope with, and overcome mental illness.
I know there are many people out there from a lot of different backgrounds and professions; so if you have any thoughts or suggestions, please feel free to drop me a comment or message.
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