I launched the Get It Scrapped! website (named after my book with Memory Makers and after the series of online classes I was teaching) last April so that I could do more writing and teaching about scrapbooking. I've got a mildly technical background so I've been able to do all of the web work myself (with a lot of help from online forums and tech support). Things ramped up slowly but nicely last spring and fall and then got busy this January. .
We have almost 1500 members in the forums, where, just since January, we've offered 22 new online classes with 12 teachers: * Be Real/Lighten Up/Get With The Times: Sense & Sensibility Symposium with me, Sharyn Tormanen, Janet Ohlson *Embellishments Beautifully Handmade, In Loving Memory, Cards: Beautifully Handmade with Tania Willis *Product Pizzazz 101, Product Pizzazz 102, Scraproom with a View with Doris Sander * Beginning & Intermediate Photo Editing with Lynn Weber * Mad Digital Skillz, More Mad Digital Skills, Still More Mad Digital Skillz with Pattie Knox * Amp It Up/Art Journaling 102, "Masterful" Art Journaling with Dina Wakley * Ooodles of Doodles with Michelle Houghton * Mother May I with Tami Taylor * Scrapbooking Everyday Life with me * Through the Lens with Katrina Kennedy * Spring Garlands & Banners, Circle of Moms with Trish Turay.
In April we had our birthday celebration. In May, Mother May I was our first benefit class with all proceeds going to the Scleroderma Foundation. Chat room capacity was expanded to support 50 concurrent users & we're offering at least 3 to 4 chats/month (In July: July 2 "Everyday Life Scrapbooking" with Debbie Hodge; July 7 "Roundtable Chat on Patriotic Pages" with Lynn Weber; July 9 "Cards" chat with Tania Willis; July 15 "Inspiration Station" with Paula Gilarde; July 23 "Events Scrapbooking with Debbie Hodge). We outgrew our free phpbb forum software right around the site's 1-year birthday and migrated to an Invision Power Board forum & gallery. Advertising grows monthly, and we're now advertising with Scrapscene, Ali Edwards, Emily Falconbridge, Write.Click.Scrapbook., A Matter of Memories, Scrapbook.com/Scrapbooks.com/Scrapjazz, and Skip to My Lou.
Regular challenges & tutorials come from Paula Gilarde (Hybrid Corner), Tami Taylor (Get Challenged), Jane Howden (Get Teased), and the whole teaching team (Get Sketches).
The work of maintaining a website and running this business offers flexibility and yet demands constancy. Every morning, 7 days/week, I get up and answer emails, offer customer support, register people for classes---and, quite often, I draft a mailing. (It takes me a minimum of 2 hours to write one short mailing with images). I can't drink much or stay out late if I go out, because I've got to come home and answer emails before going to sleep--I even come home early from outings so that I can make it to chats. Often when I'd like to scrapbook, I need to answer emails or write.
Current biggies on the to-do list. Figuring out a better way to do direct payments to teachers and avoid paypal fees. Figure out an economical way to get reliable backup service (while I have unlimited disk space at hostgator for $12.95/month . . . the going rate to back up our current 50gb of data is $250/month --- go FIGURE! . . . have actually spent time talking to folks at Vault and Barracuda about this odd situation . . . to get affordable backup I need to figure out how to do a little ssh shell command work . . . and I'm ready to do that BUT hostgator has suspended shell access temporarily. Today's big triumph was getting parachat chat room service to start using my forum database so that users can use the same login for forums & chatroom! A couple of weeks ago, I checked off "get new forum smileleys installed" from my to-do list. We still have occasional glitches when users who haven't been to the forum in a few months enter for their first time with the new system, and I'm working on figuring that out.
Much of my time is spent editing and laying out every single lesson our teachers present (this will be changing in September when Jane begins taking on more of that work). It usually takes about 2 days to launch a new class (that's to create a webpage, class badge & images for ads, press release writing, payment interface, welcome info, forums, gallery albums, automated response, and first mailing).
So the up side: 1)this website has become a community that I get to visit with daily --- a group of people interested in what I'm interested in-- telling their stories on the page, recording their life in photos and words. and I get to see what their lives are, which is definitely a life-affirming experience. i'm meeting and getting to know women I would never meet otherwise. I'm getting a look at how differently and yet how similarly we all live; 2) i get to see something new made --- it's always a wonderful feeling to work with the notes and images a teacher has put together and see them translated into an event that many people attend and respond to and create as a result of, 3) i get to think and produce and meet people. i get to see that my sons and husband are interested in what i'm doing and are proud of what i do (even though i'm not always as present in their lives as they might like).
the downside: i'm longing to scrapbook and to write and think about storytelling and what it means in my life and the lives of others, of how we choose the stories to tell, of how we choose to tell those stories. that I miss. when i'm home -- i'm always weaving get it scrapped work in and around housework and family play. my goal during this 2nd year with get it scrapped is to make it possible to be able to scrapbook and write and take whole days off.