I am Brendan Barca and I started the STL blog two years ago in the midst of a quarter life career crisis. At the time, I was burning out from my corporate sales job and desperately searching for meaning elsewhere. I realized back then that my passions and values no longer matched my career path. It was a terrifying realization.
I started STL because I felt there must be other people out there just like me - people who were straddling the line between the life that they have and the life that they want. My goal was to form a community of like minded people that could create and share content to support each other's personal growth. We would get through these life transitions together.
STL has had a great start and an enthusiastic community has developed around the blog and the email newsletter, Fired Up Friday. I have created nearly 100 posts and produced more than 60 newsletters with the help of my contributors. STL has become my certified "side hustle" and I know two things now:
1) I want STL to go on for a long time. The experiment is over and it's clear to me now that there's an appetite for STL's content. Each week I get positive feedback from my newsletter and posts which I'm so grateful for. I want to keep bringing you this and so much more.
2) I need to make STL self-sustaining for this to work. Over the past two years I have been funding STL by myself, but I realize now that this is not sustainable. My "side hustle savings" I used to start the blog are dwindling and I'd like to keep paying down my student loans. If STL is going to go on for a long time, it's going to have to support itself.
After doing a lot of thinking, I believe the best way to do this, while keeping the integrity of the blog, is to accept financial support from loyal readers who wish to see STL continue.
Starting now STL will be open to receiving donations in two ways. First, you can do a "one-time" donation by clicking on the "Donate" button in the Support STL tab on the site. The second, and preferred, method is to become a Patreon supporter right through this site!
The way Patreon works is a reader can donate whatever they want per month and the donation is recurring each month after that. So anything, from $3/month up, is hugely helpful to the cause.
What I'll Use the Money For
My initial goal is $500/ month. That money will be enough to keep STL going, indefinitely. Here are Straddle The Line's costs:
- Email Provider. I use ConvertKit for my weekly newsletter, Fired up Friday, and to email posts out to the subscription list. This fee grows as the email list grows.
- Hosting. I use BlueHost to host all of my web content including articles, videos, and pictures. This host also do maintenance on the backend that is way above my head.
- Website development. It's a website, so there are always glitches coming out of nowhere and occasionally, I add a new site feature. I have no programming skills, so I rely on Wordpress and occasionally hire help off Fiverr.
- Advertising/ Pinterest & Facebook posting. As of now I have halted all proactive advertising until I can afford to turn the switch back on again. In the past I have done paid advertising on Pinterest and Facebook. I would like to reactivate this side of the blog to help it grow.
I'd also love to do even more if it becomes possible, which is where the stretch goal of $1000/ month comes in:
The stretch goal will allow me to take STL to the next level, enabling me to do things like:
- Site Enhancements: Right now I have no means to improve the user experience on my site or with my weekly emails without hiring freelancers. Here are a few things I'd like to accomplish if I get my donations stretch goal:
- Redo the website. Hire professional help to create a user friendly/ uncluttered website interface.
- Upload all Fired Up Fridays to site. Hire a Virtual Assistant to organize all Fired Up Fridays onto my website and make the content searchable.
- Produce quality STL videos. Right now my production value is quite low and I'd like to hire help to create inspiring videos for you all.
- Career Coaching Course. I want to create high quality coaching courses for you and would use the extra money to make these a reality.
- Possible Podcast? I have been dreaming to one day start a podcast to bring STL content in a new and exciting format. This could be a beginning to that.
The stretch goal would be an amazing accomplishment, but simply being supported by the STL community makes me extremely grateful, no matter what else happens.
Again, thanks for being part of the STL family and your continued support!