When I started The Geek Initiative nearly four years ago, I wanted to take a negative experience and turn it into something I needed: a space for and about women in geek culture. Since then, I’ve met so many new friends, contributors, readers, and supporters: the very people who have helped build and maintain this community.

We have hosted panels at conventions; we have covered events as press; we have been asked for input as geek culture experts. We’re really damn mighty, and I’m extremely proud of us.

Press all the buttons; that's how you make a website, obviously. Source: Giphy

Press all the buttons; that’s how you make a website, obviously. Source: Giphy

Once upon a time, I pressed some buttons in a semi-reckless manner and made this thing. Here’s a look at what’s next.

Our New Milestone: Profit

The Geek Initiative finally hit a new milestone. After years of concerted effort (and a little help from the SEO knowledge I picked up in the marketing industry along the way), we got a sweet new theme and put a lot of work into tweaking this site – all while fastidiously producing content. That’s resulted for profit in the way of native advertising.

I have stringent guidelines when it comes to that – I’m not going to include paid placements for products less than okay, and any articles provided need to be relevant to our site. I want to maintain the quality we’ve established here.

TGI now costs nearly $1,000 per year to maintain. Publishing one native advertising-related post per month will allow us to reach that goal, minus what is held back for taxes.

How’d We Do It?

In addition to straightening up the website on the back end – a work still in progress – I increased my personal brand in the marketing world and married my personal brand to my professional one. That means that The Geek Initiative has come with me every step of the way. I’m proud of our site, and I often link back to it when I produce guest blogs on other sites.

My posting here hasn’t been as consistent – and that’s why.

Learning how to manage growing goals, multiple projects, changes in my career, and life in general hasn’t been easy. Sometimes it always feels like I’m running to catch up…

Late Deanna Troi

Sometimes it feels like I’m always running late. Source: Giphy

But I’m getting the hang of it now.

But There’s Help, Right?

YES. The Geek Initiative is a supportive community. In the last year, we’ve had some editors and contributors come and go – and we’re welcoming some old friends back into the fold. We’ll have more announcements on that in the coming month when we re-do our staff pages.

What’s That Mean for Writers?

This means we don’t need to stress as much about raising money or crowdfunding. We still need to have some put away in case of emergency (like the time we were hacked). It also means I can focus on procuring funds so we can pay our writers regularly once again.

If you’re interested in an editorial role, I could use help with social media management (we use the CoSchedule platform), content partnerships and outreach, and community management. We’ve got a network of Facebook groups and a group just for contributors. Many editors choose to take on these roles for a year or so as learning experiences, benefiting from my fourteen years of experience in digital publishing and marketing. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, reach out!

We can't kick ass without you! Please help. Source: Giphy

We can’t kick ass without you! Please help. Source: Giphy

Priority given to active writers.

What’s That Mean for Readers?

You’ve probably noticed the tip jar over on the side of the site here. I’m a creative. I believe in paying creatives. I want to pay our writers. We don’t have a complicated subscription model, but we are producing more illustrious content in the future (see below). While I’m working on that and further developing our business model, I need you to help our writers get paid. The best way you can do that is with a contribution. And if you like something in particular, please reach out to me and let me know you appreciate that particular writer. This will greatly increase their chances of getting paid opportunities in the future.

And if you don’t have the funds right now, I understand. But please continue to like and share our posts to help us grow! Invite your friends to do the same.

We appreciate your help immensely.

Looking Ahead: Publishing and Events

Since I began TGI, I had hoped for it to evolve into something that truly pertains to my first love: the publishing industry. I’m proud to announce that TGI will publish its first book in 2017. If you’re a geek interested in marketing, you’ll love what we have in store.

You want more of this? Source: Giphy

I don’t want to stop there, though. Once book number one is truly in production, our team will start work on an anthology with fresh content from our team created exclusively for an ebook.

And since we don’t have a need to crowdfund the site now that it’s supported by advertising, we’re going to transition our crowdfunding efforts to funding each book so that every book contributor gets paid.

We’re also looking at events. With the help of other members from The Geek Initiative community and the encouragement of Double Exposure, the international LARP community, and my local LARP community, I’ve started writing and running LARPs with the help of the TGI family! We had a successful run of “She’s Got a Gun,” a feminist LARP with various survival scenario selections. TGI will publish this game for sale soon. Local geek and LARPer Michele Mountain is helping me put the final touches on the document following our alpha test, beta test, and two very successful runs at Dreamation.

She's Got a Gun: Available Soon!

She’s Got a Gun: Available Soon!

That’s not all we’re doing with LARP.

Here in Philadelphia, players have expressed a desire to try a Nordic-style LARP without the price tag of expensive (but treasured and loved) blockbuster LARPs. So we’re looking at a series of one-day, $80-$100 high production value events in the Philadelphia area.

Along with this, we’ll continue to have a panel AND LARP presence at conventions throughout the U.S.

The Business Hurdle

To make that happen, I need to finalize The Geek Initiative’s status as an LLC and run it as it deserves to be run: like a compassionate, profitable business. I’m working with Michele to make sure this happens soon – because once it does, we can plan all the LARPs!

Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite authors. He emphasizes the journey to one’s Personal Legend: a lifetime goal; an epic quest. Personal Legends can be difficult to achieve because failure is scary. It’s also a big unknown: even if you do succeed, what happens on the other side of success now that you’ve accomplished the goal?

Time to do something unexpected. Source: Giphy

Time to do something unexpected. Source: Giphy

I guess it’s time to find out. Thanks for sticking with me on the journey.