Thankfully, luckily, amazingly, it’s a Happy Anniversary

One year ago today was one of the scariest days of my life — and also one of the best.

I remember my heart practically pounding out of my chest that morning as I got ready to launch my Patreon page and let everyone know about the crazy idea to try and cover NASCAR for my own site. If you want to see how nervous I was in the time leading up to the launch, you can read this letter I wrote to myself early last year.

The scary part about this day in 2017 wasn’t whether I’d end up getting enough money to cover 31 races last year (I still can’t believe that happened!); it was wondering whether I’d get enough to eat and pay rent.

 

From the post linked above, here are a couple excerpts that are fun to look back on now:

It might seem surprising/crazy/borderline insane to leave a great job voluntarily, but that’s what I did. Ultimately, it came down to this: USA Today needs a NASCAR writer in Charlotte, but I might not live in Charlotte for much longer.

My wife, Sarah, is trying to become a Child Life Specialist (someone who works in a children’s hospital and helps sick kids and their families). She’s currently doing an internship in New Mexico, and she’ll be able to look for jobs after she’s finished in May. It’s a no-brainer for me to support her career and I need to have the flexibility to relocate, because who knows where we’ll end up?

Well, Sarah did become a Child Life Specialist! And it did require that we relocate — all the way to Portland! Moving to Oregon definitely wasn’t on my radar, I can promise you that.

Here’s another excerpt:

There’s no magic job waiting for me. As Carl Edwards said in his retirement news conference: “There’s no life raft I’m jumping onto — I’m just jumping.”

I’ll be honest: This is the scariest thing I’ve ever done — I gave up a solid income, health insurance, travel budget, etc. — but it’s also the most exciting. I’m totally comfortable with the decision and it would be an absolute dream to make a living while remaining independent.

I don’t know if this will work, but I guess we’ll all find out at the same time!

The nervous part was always going to be the waiting and wondering whether it would work. I didn’t know what the response would be; it was impossible to predict.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long after the launch.

If you look above, that first tweet was sent at 11:01. Well, the first pledge — a $2 per month pledge from a guy named Mark Holthaus — came across at 11:03. Two minutes! That seemed like a good sign.

Hey, at least I’ll have $2 a month, I thought.

But Mark was far from the only person to jump on board right away. A total of 283 patrons pledged on the FIRST DAY my Patreon page existed. That’s absolutely insane! I have just over 1,000 current patrons now, so to have that many sign up on Day 1? It was overwhelming and honestly pretty emotional, because I knew then that everything was going to be OK.

By the way, there are 133 people who are still patrons from that very first day. They stuck it out all year long and are still showing their support. I can’t even describe how much things like that mean to me.

In the year since this whole thing started, I’ve constantly been reminded about how amazing people can be. I feel unbelievably lucky to have such a remarkable group of supporters who also serve as my “bosses” — it’s an affectionate term, but it’s also appropriate because I really do work for them.

Honestly, I’ve already been the recipient of more generosity and kindness than anyone deserves in a lifetime, so I don’t know when all this luck will run out. I know it won’t be forever, so I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

But since enough people have stuck around and continued to sign up, Year 2 starts today. And I’m more fired up and excited than ever.

If you are interested in becoming one of my bosses, here is where you can find more information.

10 Replies to “Thankfully, luckily, amazingly, it’s a Happy Anniversary”

  1. Congrats on the success you have had chasing your dream bro. This is what makes America great!

    We may not agree on much, but I appreciate your being able to do what you do they way YOU want to do it and from WHERE you want to do it…

    I will keep praying for your continued success. Both for you and your wife!

  2. I’m not a patreon, (wish I could), but I am definitely a follower. So proud of what you’ve been able to accomplish. Keep up the FAN_tastic work Jeff. 🙃

  3. Congrats Jeff – I am so glad you took a leaf of faith. I know I like it. Enjoy the Long Beach race as I am a fan of Indy too.

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