Greater than 8 minutes, my friend!
It’s hard to believe it, but today marks one year since The Open Mic opened its doors to the public (after 3 months of development and beta-testing).
Looking back I can certainly say that this has been the most challenging year of my life.
Throughout this entire year I felt like life has been testing my limits, trying to find my breaking point.
My grandmother and my uncle died in the beginning of this year, my father had a heart attack this spring, my parents are being forced to sell their apartment, and of course the nightmare with my cat Mindy.
All of those horrible things were so sudden and devastating that I really started to think that this was some kind of ultimate challenge to test my will and faith.
And to make things even more challenging all of that happened while I was building this big beautiful thing called The Open Mic, the inspiring community for freelance translators and interpreters.
Finding a balance between my translation work, my family and The Open Mic wasn’t easy.
Sometimes I was stressed out.
Sometimes I was exhausted.
Sometimes I felt uninspired. Felt like I was wasting my time. Felt like nobody needs it.
But I pulled myself through the doubt and stress.
I shook it off and continued this journey.
A journey that has been nothing but amazing.
I think that what we’ve built here so far is truly inspiring.
And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every single person who has contributed in any way.
I’d like to thank all our authors for publishing their stories on The Open Mic every single week. You’re brilliant. All of you.
Thank you so much for supporting my strive for knowledge-sharing and sharing your knowledge so generously. You’re the true stars of the translation community.
I’d like to thank all the readers and all the registered members.
Thank you for reading, sharing, commenting. Thank you for spreading the word about The Open Mic.
I would also like to thank everyone who was kind and supportive. Your kind words really inspire me and help me push forward.
It has been an incredible year for The Open Mic with some major milestones.
Like that time when we won Proz Community Choice Award!
Or when wonderful Kozue Macmichael sent me a framed picture with origami stars that symbolize the first 1,000 people who have joined The Open Mic.
This picture proudly hangs next to my desk and I look at it every single day.
And of course there were many other countless moments that made me feel proud and happy.
When someone published their first story on The Open Mic.
When someone found their mentor on The Open Mic.
When someone was inspired by the example that our authors set and it helped them through the tough times.
And maybe The Open Mic is not the most popular website on the web, but I believe it has a very special place in the hearts of the wonderful people of the translation community.
Together we’ve managed to build something truly special and I’d like to congratulate all of us.
We should really be proud of what we have achieved so far and each and every single Open Mic member deserves a pat on a back.
Or my signature virtual high-fives!
So, big THANK YOU to everyone who helped me and made The Open Mic possible.
About Crowdfunding and Important Questions
At the bottom of this page you’ll find a donation form where you’ll be able to send us money to support the future development of The Open Mic.
But before we go there I’d like to talk about something important.
I’ve been thinking a lot about The Open Mic, its future and its role in the translation industry and I’d like to share some of my thoughts.
What is The Open Mic?
Is it a community? Is it a charity? Is it a business? Is it a one man’s hobby?
For quite some time now I’ve been struggling to give a definite answer to this question.
And giving an answer to this question is very important because it will help make everything clear. For me AND for You.
So, here goes…
The Open Mic is a community-driven business.
The end goal is to build a fully functioning global community for professional translators and people who’re looking for professional translators.
This includes developing tools that will empower translators and clients and help them work together more efficiently.
The community aspect means that we’re listening to the needs of our community and tailor our development process to their needs.
It also means that we’re committed to promoting the image of our profession and continuous professional development which is reflected in our core functionality: blogging, networking and knowledge-sharing.
And with the help of our crowdfunding campaign I hope we’ll be able to shape the future development of The Open Mic and give it an extra boost.
If The Open Mic is a business, who are the customers?
A business cannot exist without customers.
They can influence the development of products or services.
They provide feedback and, of course, they help the business generate revenue.
At this point translators and interpreters are our customers.
We’re building everything for them and for their benefit. Every single feature is based on the feedback that we receive from them.
You can even track the development progress on our dedicated Trello page (every single idea and planned feature is shared publicly).
However, in the future our customer base may change (more on that in the next paragraph).
What’s The Open Mic’s business model?
Or in other words “How will The Open Mic make money?”
Having a clear business model is absolutely essential for any business venture.
Without it everything turns into chaos very quickly.
It has to be defined early on, but it should be noted that it can always evolve.
Since we’re launching a crowdfunding campaign, the funds donated by the people of this community will be our primary source of income.
The raised funds will help us develop new features, as well as pay for hosting and other expenses, which you can view here.
What about other sources of income?
We’re hoping that The Open Mic will continue to grow exponentially and will attract people and businesses looking for professional translators.
Even though by default clients are free to browse through our impressive directory and contact translators directly (soon enough clients will even have dedicated profiles on The Open Mic which will make communication even easier), we’re thinking of offering paid project management services to busy clients.
This can be particularly useful for companies and individuals who don’t have enough time for finding translators.
By offering our project-management services we might generate additional revenue for The Open Mic and help connect busy customers with reliable professional translators.
We’re also open to the idea of sponsorships and sponsored online events (like virtual conferences) which might generate additional revenue.
Why crowdfunding and what are the goals of the campaign?
I believe in the power of community. And I have faith in people.
I think a crowdfunding campaign can help us bring the community together and give The Open Mic a great boost.
Having the support of the community will help us be more creative and courageous. It can open new opportunities for this platform and for the people who use The Open Mic.
Our goal is to raise $80,000 that will help cover on-going expenses and the cost of hiring experienced developers and developing additional features that will make The Open Mic even better.
It’s a large amount of money, but if every registered member and avid reader of The Open Mic donated $24, we would’ve met our funding goal in less than 1 hour.
There are several milestones, associated with our funding goal:
- $20,000 – we will build a public forum, polls and improve sorting of stories;
- $40,000 – we will build a platform for CPD where our members will be able to create, edit, and publish their free/paid online courses;
- $60,000 – we will build an intuitive project management platform, accounting tools and client communication software for freelance translators;
- $80,000 – we will build a mobile app for our members so you could read our stories on the go;
…and many other features, tools and improvements based on your feedback.
These calculations are based on the quotes of various developers that I have contacted over the year.
It should be noted that since The Open Mic is not a charitable organization we will have to pay 25-30% of the raised sum in taxes and various fees.
The milestones above are the reflections of our aspirations for The Open Mic.
This is what I hope The Open Mic will become with the support of our community.
I have a lot of ideas that I’d like to implement and I think they can make a good impact both on the translation community and our industry.
Crowdfunding can be challenging because it requires a certain level of accountability.
I’m ready to embrace transparency and accountability and I’m open to any suggestions from our donors how to make everything even more transparent.
Right now we have a dedicated page for our crowdfunding campaign.
This page will show the amount of money raised in real time.
All donors will receive monthly reports via email about our spendings and the progress of development (think of this as investor update of sorts).
And, of course, all donors will always have first access to all new features and tools (if it’s possible by design).
As far as my share goes, I figured that the most appropriate and fair solution would be if I move to a position of a developer/manager with a fixed hourly rate of 30 USD paid at the end of the month based on the provided time sheet.
This will help me be more productive and use my time more efficiently.
I’ve started using this incredible tool called Toggl and it’s incredible for time-tracking and productivity.
It also helps me record everything I do on The Open Mic and generate useful reports with detailed breakdowns showing how I spend my time.
Here’s an example report for the past 2 weeks.
I hope you’ll find this fair and I’m open to any suggestions how to make it even better/more transparent.
You know, it’s incredibly scary to launch a crowdfunding campaign, but I have faith that it’s the right way to go.
I hope that over the past year I’ve done enough to earn your trust and respect.
I really hope that translation community will stand by The Open Mic and that we will create something beautiful and game-changing together.
Once again I’d like to thank everyone one who will support The Open Mic financially or even if you can’t donate anything at the moment you can still help us by spreading the word about this crowdfunding campaign.
Thanks for all the inspiration and kindness!
Oh, I’ve also prepared a few bonuses for all donors and I hope you’ll like them (hint: they will be particularly useful for those interested and building their own website and using WordPress).
Help Us Make The Open Mic Better
P.S.: All donations are processed securely at PayPal’s website. You can choose to pay with your PayPal balance or credit card.