So we’re two weeks in, and 48% of the way towards our total. It’s that funny part of the campaign where the momentum has slowed from the initial surge of something new and fun and exciting. And it’s not yet urgent and blink-now-and-you’ll-miss-it. We’re on track – just about – and are working hard on getting people to commit to some of the bigger rewards on offer. They are, of course, always the ones that take longer; a bit more persuading.
I had the strange sensation last week of being away for a conference, in Oslo. Away from team HQ, and the constant, frantic activity that always accompanies a crowdfunder; the flexibility you need; the agility to do something new, shake things up a bit, respond to the backers – or the people who have said they will, but haven’t backed you yet. The constant pressing and talking and doing that we’ve committed to for 30 days of our autumn this year.
But it also gave me a bit of distance. Some context to think about the project and reflect on it, away from our studio in Liverpool, where Andrew and I have been talking about it solidly for at least nine months, and probably thinking about it for a whole lot longer. Was it the right thing to do? Was it relevant? Was there a wider audience for it? Were the themes we’d agonised over and researched good general themes that resonated for a variety of people? And, I had lots of interesting conversations throughout the week about many of the themes we’ve included – collaboration, fear, wellbeing, reflection and purpose. Some of them were prompted by conversations about the book; some of them came up completely naturally.
Which all bodes well for our plans for it – for the workshops and programmes that we’re putting together at the moment around its themes, alongside Liverpool John Moores University and its Health Innovation Exchange. We’ll be collaborating with them to create some test workshops with their students, and our local creative community in Liverpool and beyond.
And working with students and young people on this is exactly where we want to be. Like Ethos, our plan is to make it accessible and inclusive.
I’ve been running businesses now since I was 27. 15 years of my adult life soon, and longer than I was ever an employee. When I was starting out, people would give you advice on cashflow and writing business plans. But they didn’t ever really talk about what goes wrong – or, really, what goes right. Truth be told, you don’t really have much control over your cashflow when you’re starting out. You just need to try and ride it out, any way you can.
And there was never really a sense of being part of something wider. Sure, there would ALWAYS be a networking event to go to, where my shy, 20-something self would flutter around the edge, drinking cheap red wine (cheap red is ALWAYS better than cheap white), and – if I was lucky – spend the evening chatting to people I already knew.
But networking was always approached from the angle of selling to people; making contacts, following up leads and earning yourself money. Seeing what you could get from them. Certainly nobody ever talked about collaborating, or side projects or even wellbeing and work-life balance.
It was a fairly binary view – businesses should grow; you’d then employ lots of people, and carry on expanding. Or else you’d failed. There were no nuances; no questioning of why you were doing things; how to grow in other ways; other benefits of business and ideas and ventures.
And that’s what we want to get to with Spring. A way of connecting what matters to you, in your work life, or home life, or hobbies and side-projects. Somewhere where you an reflect, think and plan. Something that’s reassuring and – we hope too – inspiring. Everyone has a different version of success and happiness. And we hope Spring reflects yours.
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So, if you’ve already supported us, we’re hugely grateful for the vote of confidence and your interest. Thank you. We’d really love it if you shared it with other people you think might be keen, or who would see the benefits. If you haven’t, we hope you might. Or share it with someone you think who will. We can’t do this without you.