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What have I been up to… well… partnering with my bestie for the expanded and awesome-r Women’s Personal Finance .org!
TLDR: Go to the link above to track our progress and join the email list!
My life, it is so cyclical. It feels like I have nothing going on and then a tidal wave of things.
Right about the time I decided to put some more effort into this blog and instituted some changes (like the guest posts)… another project idea started bubbling.
I’m great friends with Angela who writes and runs TreadLightlyRetireEarly.com. She’s my internet bestie. The person with whom I have formed the strongest offline relationship. She also founded what has turned into a giant community on Facebook, the Women’s Personal Finance group.
So, of course, I hear all about what she’s got going on.
Some Women’s Personal Finance History
Angela started the Women’s Personal Finance Facebook group in 2017. Since then, it has blossomed to almost 25,000 members. Amazing!
Check out this post at TreadLightlyRetireEarly that’s much more focused on the community. Angela puts things into words much better. This is still more or less a personal blog, so I wanted to highlight some behind-the-scenes action and what’s been going on for me.
As is typical for my friend, she’s doing these things because she loves them and she loves community. But… people kept asking how they could support her and the moderators on the group.
I kept telling Angela it was time to do a fundraiser. Her moderators do a lot of work to keep that group going and make it great. People want to thank them. LET THEM!
So, I set up an account at Ko-Fi for her and got the ball rolling.
Support Pointed Toward a Need for Something Bigger
A surprising amount of donations came in. What a great thank you at Christmas time for those volunteer moderators.
The excitement that members had over the group and the strong community that has been built got me and Angela talking about how much more we could offer and what the needs of the group might be.
An Idea for a Membership-Based Community Sprang Up
What if we could build another level to this community that she had started. What if we could work to pay women for their services. What could we produce if we listen to the needs of the community and reach out to our network to help develop the things they are looking for?
How much tighter knit could the community be if we level-ed up and moved off solely existing on Facebook? What if we could grow big enough to offer in-person events and networking?
Reminder: Don’t Get Too Comfortable
There was an inciting event. Facebook turned off commenting on a post on the Women’s Personal Finance Facebook group on January 6th, 2021. First time ever that had happened.
We decided, this robust community that was built was not as safe as it felt. We decided it was time to make it happen and develop what we’d been talking about for a few months. We had to establish an alternative to existing solely on Facebook.
Ready, Set (Or Not), LAUNCH!
So, we’re making it happen. We launched the landing page and sent our first emails two weeks ago. Based on the excitement people have shared, we’re working really hard to get it fully launched as soon as possible.
We’re a funny pair. I’m extremely cautious and a perfectionist. So much so that I have a hard time getting things done. Because on top of that, I’m stubbornly DIY. I want to do it all and understand it myself.
Angela is keener on having a vision and executing it on the run. She’s also much more likely to pay the expert and make it happen than attempt to be the expert herself.
Between the two of us, I think we will provide a very balanced approach to helping this community grow. Angela described us as Chris Farley and David Spade in Tommy Boy in meme form yesterday. I’m David Spade in this operation. A bit terrified at times but trying to ride the wave.
Three Years to Overnight Success
You know when you hear those “overnight success stories.” Based on the initial reaction and support of the community, it feels like this is leaning into that territory.
In truth, it’s hardly that. Both Angela and I have been blogging for 3+ years and heavily invested ourselves in the personal finance community. Especially, the women in the personal finance community.
It still feels like this is happening overnight though, because reader, I do feel a bit over my head here. I am used to being beholden only to myself. I do things on my timeline (or not).
Something I have realized is that I shy away from opportunities that could really lead to success. I’m more afraid of failure than I realize.
I also am having to wrap my head around the idea of being comfortable offering paid memberships. I’m still uncomfortable with it… and ultimately it is because I don’t feel I’m valuable enough to be paid for what I’m doing here. So, I’m trying to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I’m trying to let others inform me what the values are instead of trying to assign value myself.
One thing I have learned… being extremely frugal… cheap even, makes it very difficult to determine the value of things.
As we have been discussing our ideas with friends and potential members, they keep telling us we are selling ourselves short. We are doing our very best to take that all in. We want to be the best we can be, and that means seeing ourselves the way those who value us do!
Bigger Than Me
I have built a community in my life as a pharmacist. But something about this feels more important. Bigger than me. Probably part of why I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed. I can help facilitate this thing, but, this isn’t about me. This is about elevating various voices, finding the experts, and serving the needs of a community.
Despite a pandemic last year, I have had a lot to feel grateful for. Perhaps, in a way, this new project is part of how I can begin to feel like I’m giving back to a community that has done so much for me and given me a ton of support along my way.
It’s amazing to me that this comes in the same month that I launched as a co-founder of a new pharmacists professional organization. And at the same time, I’ve been investing in learning how to take my blogging to the next level. Oh yeah, and my leave of absence from work is set to be up soon.
I hope I can keep it all going and I don’t let anyone down!
I’m glad to have the best cheerleader ever to call my partner in this new project. She gives me grace, builds me up, and helps me realize my potentials- in ways that make sense for my life. Plus, we’ve got the power of community behind this.
We are so excited to see where this can go and what we can offer!