2017 was hard! Despite challenges, it was no where near as scary as 2016. We started off optimistic and ready to kick butt. Unfortunately, in June when the rug was pulled from underneath us with the hostel closing, we found ourselves without a home or a plan we could finish implementing. We worked in the hostel with the plan to learn and transition into our own product & services. We met with a couple investors, one who came to negotiations with us for a property which didn’t go through. We worked part-time to pay minor bills and stayed optimistic. Still, we promised 5 things for 2017 and we delivered, learned, and are growing as a result. Check out our updates here:
1) New & More Content – The team attempted this, but found few writers and videographers that could be consistently relied upon without pay. Additionally, I wrote more content, but it personally felt empty after a while. I reflected on this journey and thought back to the times where I grew the most and connected the most and found so much value from being face to face with people and physically doing things that the blog just felt like we were talking into a vacuum of space where no one engaged. We don’t want people to see us online and think, wow, we must be important! That’s easy for anyone to do. We want to impact peoples lives by empowering them with something tangible that helps them live better everyday. This is what we see is helping people. It’s funding what they need in a way that is self-regenerating and sustaining. We stand firm that the end of simply being a social media influencer is coming and if the only value that it generates in the end is simply eyeballs and not real life action/systemic change and conversion, we’re in trouble as a society. Without conversion, we don’t make money. Money is needed to correct the byproduct of systemic damage. There are too many things we have left to be fixed within us and our systems, to move towards a brighter, healthier future for us to become docile. True growth for us were in the moments we learned by doing and our strategy going forward will be reflective of that belief. Besides, we truly had more fun doing the work than writing about it.
2) Events – The roommate meet-up was a dud. My guess is that people enjoy craigslist well enough and the universe is working in enough synchronicity that they find something in time. For 2018, we’re putting events on the back burner and focusing on our next phase.
3) Less Online social, more in person – We totally did this, but with people and not businesses through the hostel. We hope you enjoyed the video interviews that went up. We met some amazing people that taught us every lesson we needed in order to let go of some things and pick up other things. (We took the video interviews down because investors wouldn’t take us seriously on the hostel and kept asking us to do a youtube channel. I earned my MBA to start a business so I could have the fiscal freedom to be the change not to become a celebrity. If celebrity was my goal, I wouldn’t have student debt. :-))
4) In 2016, we earned our Health & Life license and went to work for a supplemental insurer. Unfortunately, we found the plans to be too expensive for our demographic and as such, they weren’t sticking to the plans. As we didn’t have a car, it became extremely expensive for us to acquire and keep customers as it took a lot of work to acquire and keep them. The insurer has great product offerings, especially their Cancer package which I believe everyone should have. If you recall, we decided to explore insurance because if people aren’t going to save money or eat better, may as well make sure they are prepared for the inevitable! –> Living in old age with heart disease and/or diabetes being one of the possible outcomes with the other running out of money when care is needed. However, when interviewing people on the packages, more young people were interested in paying for lifestyle packages that protected them from HIV or AIDS and their shoes being stolen/damaged than having healthcare savings and copays covered for hospital visits. We’d be happy to educate and even possibly underwrite the HIV and shoe packages, but we don’t have the $3 million in net worth it requires to certify ourselves as an insurer. While our dream is to present people with information to move them to be better on their own, statistically, all people don’t respond the same way. So no judgements, only the tools/services you need, right? Either way, this is on the back burner until 2020 or possibly never. I think if I had $3 million, I think where we’re headed next is the truly better investment. (Note to young people: USE CONDOMS, GET TESTED, BE HONEST WITH YOUR PARTNER, NO YOU WON’T WIN THE SUIT)
So what can you expect in 2018?:
1) Adulting Bible – Yep, we’re making a bible on how to Adult. It’s a working title for now.
2) Living my best life. Putting myself first. It’s no longer only about you. Sorry. Love you, but I have to lead by example. Travel, community service, new experiences, and doing what makes me happy for money. I love real estate & finance as much as empowering you, but if you’re not watching me thrive, you don’t believe the importance of it, you fail to see how possible it is. So while we had fun taking time off to learn our market, test our theories/products, try things differently, and heal our wounds; it’s time to get back to taking care of me & taking care of the ones I love. Check out Instagram to stay updated on me & Facebook for Stretch Recipes.
3) Stretch Recipes a non-profit? I never thought I’d type those words in my life, but some things can’t be had without sacrifice. If you know me, you know why I am not giddy about the idea of running a non-profit, but you also know that I weigh the long-term heavily against the price paid. If you know me, you know that whatever that price paid does not come at the greater sacrifice of life and health, the wellbeing of humanity and the planet. We’re exploring this currently and looking for the right fiscal sponsor to make sure that as a nonprofit we will truly accomplish our mission. We’ll keep you posted on final results!