|our crazy crew at Lincoln Park Zoo|
Last week was a mostly "off" week for us; we had family staying with us as part of their vacation, which meant we were on a kind of stay-cation. Cleaning before they arrived, and then socializing and having fun while they were here. Not much got done on the bar-work front. We were going to try to take a trip out to Mount Carroll so the family could check out the bar AND see Raven's Grin, but with so much other driving, it just didn't happen.
We continue to plug along on the business plan. I am thinking that I will probably share rough draft sections here as we get them hammered out, looking for feedback and questions and the like. I have several sections pretty well fleshed out already so those blog posts will probably start coming in the near future. I look forward to everyone's feedback.
Our biggest news: we created and launched a website to raise funds for the bar! We're calling it The $250,000 Project. We had been talking about using an indie crowdfunding website like Kickstarter, but upon further consideration we decided to make our own site and try to raise all the money ourselves. With Kickstarter or the like, we'd probably ask for donations of around $10,000 and then use that to beg for further money (from banks, investors, friends, relatives, etc). With those sites, if we didn't reach our arbitrary goal by our arbitrary deadline, we wouldn't get ANY money. If we DID reach our goal and get the money, we'd still have to beg for more money. Rather than keep asking and asking and asking, we figured we'd just let the world know what we need and keep working until we get it.
We're trying to raise $250,000 (hence the clever name), and we're willing to do it in pretty much any legal way possible. Donations, merchandise sales, eBay sales, micro loans, advertising, and more. Aside from completing the business plan, raising funds is our second most important step, so we're working on those two things simultaneously.
It would be really helpful if all of you did the following:
1) Check out The $250,000 Project website. See if there's any way you can help. Let us know if you have any feedback on the site itself.
2) 'Like' The $250,000 Project on Facebook. Daily updates and eBay listings will be posted there.
3) Spread the word about us to your family and friends in any way possible! This is probably the most helpful thing anyone can do for us. The more people that know about us and lend a hand, the quicker we will achieve our dream.
The biggest problem I have with the site right now? I have paypal donation buttons on there that just won't work. I am by no means a code monkey (I used iWeb to make the site, it's very WYSIWYG and that's about the only way I could pull off something like that), so I have asked my very good friend Kate to take a look and see if she can help me fix whatever mess I made there. Hopefully we'll have this resolved soon. And if you have any web building needs, check out her site! MissHTML. She's awesome.
I've started listing some of our things on eBay. I'm working hard on decluttering the house, getting rid of the extraneous items we have lying around (and we have a LOT). I doubt we have 250,000 saleable items in the house, but hey, if we DO and each one sells for $1, we'll make our goal through eBay alone. Any little bit we get this way will help. I'll be maintaining lists of everything we have for sale here as more gets posted, but if you're interested in seeing what we've got for now, here's a listing of our eBay sales.
Moving forward, I am going to try to post every day about what I've worked on as it relates to the bar. The background work can be very slow and tedious and I don't always have much to say here about it... sometimes not acknowledging what I HAVE done feels like we aren't really moving forward at all when in fact, we are. It just all takes time. (For instance, the business plan is taking hours to hammer out... building the website for The $250,000 Project has taken quite a few hours as well!)
I think that's it for our current updates. Let me know if you have any questions or advice. Thanks everyone!