Photo: A&H Mag
My father taught me a lot of important values in my life of which many were about money and how to not let it control your life. For example, he taught me how to save 50% of all of my earnings (I donât do this, as it is not practical but that is what he taught me when I was 10), the idea to never sweat 5 bucks (my favorite one) in order to keep out of a poor, feeling-sorry-for-yourself mentality (even if you are poor, itâs about trust and not succumbing to fear) and most importantly the one that is at the core of the subject at hand. He told me, âJustin, if you ever want something just ask me. The worst that I can do is say no. But if you never ask, you would never know if I would have said Yes!â
The moral of that story is that one should never be too proud to ask for help in times of need. Because the worst that can happen is you hear the words ânoâ. And how much harm can that bring you? Not much providing your ego doesnât control you.
Now, another entity that I have learned from is Wikipedia and how they provide free information by setting up a platform that allows people to create that information and others to oversee it so that it doesnât get abused. They donât ask for a membership fee, nor do they bombard you with annoying adverts. They simply provide a simple, well-built platform that allows many of us to find immediate answers to the many questions we have. And how many of us use Wikipedia? Probably 99% of you reading this. So when they ask for their yearly donation, I make sure to give them something in return for all that they have provided me. Itâs not much as I am not rich, but it is something to show my gratitude and hope that it helps, even if it is just a little.
This brings us to the title of this post, âDonate to The Shoe Snob.â Itâs easy to say and easy to understand what it is asking, but let me paint you a clear picture of exactly why I am asking you of this.
In February the blog turned 6 years old. The reason that I created the blog was to provide the ultimate source of information for all things shoes. I wanted to give raw, unbiased facts and information about the shoe industry and share all of the secrets that no one else would tell you. And more than that, I wanted to educate on why I felt that shoes are the most important article in your outfit and due to that, why more people should put a bit more effort into them. I didnât want to make money personally from it, nor bombard you with adverts or get paid to write about stuff I didnât care about. I wanted the blog to come from the heart and be as pure as it could be. And so I have worked as hard as I can to keep it like that.
When I first started my shoe line (3 years after starting the blog) one of the questions I got most was, âJustin, you realize that there will be a day when doing the blog and running your company will become too much to handle all by yourself?â I took those words in, knew them to be true and put them in the back of my head in order to not let the idea of the future disturb me from the reality of the present. But I knew that that day would indeed come and when it did, I would be at a crossroads. Most of the people who donât think outside of the box, told me that you will have to give up The Shoe Snob. But that I never agreed with as there is a solution to every problem and many entrepreneurs usually have several ventures going at once and still manage to keep going forward. But I knew that I could not forever do it all myself. And that day of true realization has finally come.
Last year, with all that I dealt with personally and with the growth of the business, I finally saw that I could no longer do it alone as from April 2015 I began having more emails than I could handle (alone) that have subsequently been left un-responded to (emails only for blog questions, business emails I stay on top of but I do have 6 email addresses that I personally manage). And it kept getting worse and worse, not only with emails but also comments on the blog going unanswered. Also, I realized that I never have time to do my long, educational posts, ones that usually took me about 3-4 hours and received the most interest from readers. Instead I have been scraping by doing the same things nearly day in and day out and that is just a picture with some commentary. And as time goes on, the business only asks more and more of me, leaving the blog to suffer. And this bothers me as I always wanted to be there for every reader, answering every question. And now I canât and it makes me feel that I am letting you all down.
But the problem is not that things are bad, it is that while the business is growing (which is great!), it is not growing fast enough for us to hire more people nor put any resources into the blog but just enough to take up all of my time (which I have to prioritize as it pays my survival and that of my son). It is growing in the way that we can expand the business on a product level but that doesnât do anything besides put money right back into the products and buying more of them to not forever be sold out of something.
So the company and myself are at this crucial crossroad of which way to go in order to keep the business ticking along while putting into the blog what the readers deserve which at the same time fulfills my dreams of The Shoe Snob Blog being the worldwide go-to destination for all things shoes. But I canât do that without growing it and having help at it.
And as I never started the blog to make money for myself, which is why I turn down 99.9% of the advertising requests that I get (really only advertising myself and my friends), there isnât a monetization fund that has gone into the blog. I receive about Ł3,000/year from the ones that I do have and that my friends, doesnât get you much in London.
So here I am, hat in hand, asking for a donation (to the business, not me personally) so that I can do one thing: Hire one or maybe (hopefully) two people that can not only help to replace me in some of my duties to the business but also to help me get back on track with growing the blog and making it what I envisioned. And also so that I can stop being pulled in 20 different directions which ultimately makes me less efficient.
I ask that if you have ever enjoyed this blog to the point in which it made you smile, felt like you truly learned something from it or even took inspiration from it, that you please donate a minimum of just Ł5. And if you canât do that, I ask that you please share this post. With over 100,000 unique visitors a month and over a million a year, if only 10% of you give at least Ł5 I could reach my target of Ł50K. And for those that can and want to give more, please do so because it all helps, every last pound.
If we all helped each other in this world, it would be a better place. And I am just a young man with a dream and doing his best to get there. But no one gets to where they want to go without help along the way. I thank you for your time in reading this and thank you even more if you decide to give back to The Shoe Snob Blog.
Justin FitzPatrick, âThe Shoe Snobâ
*Donations are taken via Paypal using their secure website. A Paypal account is not required & all major Credit Cards are accepted.*