You may not care about this, and that’s okay.
While writing this, I’m fully aware that this topic is a HUGE DEAL to me, but probably completely irrelevant to almost everyone that will read it. I understand that the impact of this choice, on me and my family, will NOT be felt by much of anyone else, but I still think it’s something I need to talk about as I launch out on this new journey. If you do read this, just know that I realize the impact is different from the inside and the outside. I don’t expect it to be the same. As someone who is starting to be in front of more and more people in some capacity, it can be really easy to start to think that you matter more than you really do, to those people. I don’t presume to matter as much as the person sitting next to you, but my hope is that someone reading this can identify with it.. and hopefully gain something from it.
Regardless of whether this matters to you or not, I want to THANK YOU. This change is possible, partly because of those of you who watch, read and support I Like To Make Stuff. Please, if you read no further, read this.
“What in the world did I just do???!!”
That’s the thought that has popped into my head every fifteen minutes for the last three weeks, since I told my manager that I was going to leave my job. It’s terrifying.. and exciting.. and terrifying. Let me back up, to give you some perspective.
I didn’t expect this.
I started I Like To Make Stuff a couple of years ago, as a place to post some photos of things I was making, for no particular reason. I guess it was a way to justify, to myself, the time in my shop which was (much needed) time away from my young family. It started with no ambition, no purpose and no future. It was a way for me to use multiple skills that I’d grown over my life, in one place. Oddly enough, it quickly became something that I wanted to do more of. I built myself a project schedule so that I could stay motivated, and not let it slip away. I started hearing from people who had been empowered by seeing me make something and explain it. This made me want to do more and more.
For a very long time, I didn’t turn on ads on my videos, or have many on my site because I didn’t want it to be about money. I also didn’t think people would put up the ads. Eventually, I found that I needed to make at least a little bit of money, to cover the cost of materials. My family will ALWAYS come first, so taking money unnecessarily out of our budget wasn’t an option.
Skip ahead a couple of years, my schedule and purpose and been defined. I have a reason now, and over time, it started to make a little money. This was largely due to the graciousness of others. Donations, and ongoing support of people via Patreon is AMAZING and I can’t say thank you enough to those people (but I will continue to try.) My audience continued to grow and grow, but more importantly, I was beginning to see the effects of my purpose.
As this thing started to grow, I also started to get more feedback. I got (and still get) emails telling me that by watching my videos, they realized that a project wasn’t as hard as they would have thought, and they were going to try it! I got messages from people who’d been depressed, losing relationships, suicidal, dealing with loss.. but had been inspired (by me AND OTHERS) to try to make something. They told me how, for some of them, this had changed everything! Talk about mind blowing… the weight of those messages hits me on a regular basis. I realized that people are out there, often scared to try something new, feeling inadequate or simply not knowing where to start.
Over time, I was able to mold a purpose for I Like To Make Stuff. It’s big and not all of it is stuff that I want to say out loud, but a big part of it is demystifying the process of making stuff. I want people to realize that they’re capable of more than they think, and help build a community that helps each other understand how things work. Sharing knowledge can only help things.
I think we we’re made to make things. I want to help anyone that I can, get started down that path.
So, why quit?
Since I started I Like To Make Stuff, it’s been a side project. It’s grown a lot, but I’ve always managed it around my day job and my family life. For a while now, I’ve been at capacity. My time is completely full, and I literally have no more time to devote to anything. What’s more, while I’ve been working at my day job (a fantastic job with fantastic people, btw) I’ve wanted to be doing ILTMS instead, constantly. I feel really strongly about doing my best at whatever I do, and I didn’t feel that I was giving my full effort to my employer, even though I was getting my work done. When I realized that my heart was elsewhere, I knew it was time for a change. From that point on, I went into a full sprint to build ILTMS to a point where it was CLOSE to being able to support my family. It doesn’t yet, by the way.
Once it grew to max capacity with the attention that I could give it, I knew it needed more and I needed to leave my job.
I LOVE THIS. Seriously, I love making things.. I love making videos.. I love teaching.. I love seeing change happen in people. That’s why it needed more of me (and I needed more of it.)
Well, now I get to work. When talking to people, I often get asked when I sleep, or how I’m able to get things done with a job, a big hobby and four kids. My answer is always this: A ridiculously supportive wife and friends, as well as good time management (and coffee). Now that my current job will be gone from my life, I have that time to divvy up. A LOT of it is going to go to building out ILTMS into it’s next iteration, but not all of it. A lot of it is also going back to my family. They deserve the best and most of me. That is a HUGE part of this change in my life. I want to do more of what I love, and live more with the family that I’ve been blessed with. I love them more than you guys 🙂
I’ve got a LOT of plans for ILTMS, but most importantly, I’m open to those plans falling apart and for things to change. I want to experiment, try new things and be able to shift toward what works. Even if you’ve been around ILTMS for a while, I hope that you’ll be patient as I try new things, in an attempt to make it better as a whole.
There will be a time of adjustment for me, but you can expect more content and better quality. Part of my time will be spent in improvements, learning new skills and techniques to make the videos better.
As far as income, I’ve been building sponsorship relationships as well as other opportunities to try to spread out the need for a big, single source of income. There’s strategy in this, and I’ve been implementing it over the past nine months or so, so hopefully you won’t see a huge change in my content in regards to sponsors, etc. Patreon is still something that I rely on, and will be more and more, over time. The reason for this is two fold. It’s a great way for people, who find value in what I do, to let me know it by way of financial support. It’s also a way for me to identify and communicate with a smaller, core group of people who really believe in what I’m doing.
If you get value out of what I do, and want to support it, Patreon is a fantastic way to do that. Of course, I would never want you to support in that way if you don’t think it’s completely worthwhile, or you have debt, or simply can’t afford another expense.
I’m also continuing to create basic merchandise as a way to generate some income and hopefully spread the community.
Sorry if this has been rambling. My brain has been racing at top speed for a while now trying to process the impact, and potential impact this change will have on me, my family, and hopefully others. Sometimes, it’s hard to spell it all out, so I appreciate you reading. Thank you again, for your support, encouragement, and being a part of making this all possible for me.
Now… to work.