All is well here on CivilWarTalk... generally speaking.... I've been watching as everyone has been generally keeping discussions going every day. Each day new members join and keep the discussions and learning going. Good job and thanks for participating! We love your friendly discussions, this is why we made this site! CivilWarTalk has been my passion nearly 20 years now, and the love and support I get from all of you, I could never thank you all enough. What you all have given me though this site has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I can't explain how much I appreciate everyone here, past and present. So I just wanted to start with that... thanks for helping me to make this the best Civil War community to be found anywhere on the internet. Unfortunately, all is not well here at CivilWarTalk headquarters. It's very embarrassing for me. I recently was fired from my job, and I'm on the lookout for a new one. My old job gave me the flexibility to check-in on CivilWarTalk several times throughout the day, my next job may not. As you can guess, money has suddenly become a challenge with our family, and while I don't expect it to impact CivilWarTalk day to day operations anytime soon, it has put some of my plans to do upgrades to the site on hold until things become more stable. Complicating things for me, I've been working for companies who do time & attendance tracking for over 22 years, and I am really good at it, but there just aren't that many companies that sell that type of system. A CAREER CHANGE? I've been considering a career change, or perhaps a pivot to another job that better fits my talents. My search continues... CivilWarTalk has been a hobby for a long time. As a forum, this site has time and again beat the odds by becoming one of the last successful Civil War communities outside of Facebook, and not just survive, but thrive! Can I now beat the odds with CivilWarTalk yet again? One option Ami and I discussed was turning my focus around and working more with CivilWarTalk and taking that on as my my job. That would mean that this site would become one of my focuses, but at the same time I would need to earn enough money every week to pay my bills. Is this really possible? Ami is terrified of this idea, she really wants to make sure the bills get paid and that we don't have to deal with unemployment and being in poverty. I can't blame her for being scared. We have a lot to loose. I'm not sure myself... How can I ask you to just give me more money? You all have already given an wonderful amount to keep CivilWarTalk going, and it's really not fair to ask you to give even more. However, I need to do something to keep my home, and my car, and keep us all fed, warm, and happy. What if I could offer you something? What if I asked you to be my boss? WOULD YOU BE MY BOSS? Would you like me to work for you? What if I created for you some new Civil War related content? How much would you be willing to send me to support me and my family if I made CivilWarTalk one of my jobs? What if I made feature articles for you? Brought you all the latest Civil War news from around the country? Would you watch if I made new and interesting videos about Civil War battlefields and equipment? Would you pay a few dollars to me every month if I did that for you? IF THIS WAS MY DAY JOB: If I had time every day to work on CivilWarTalk, and money wasn't a concern, I could add so much to CivilWarTalk. I would spend a lot more time on Civil War battlefields, doing photography for CivilWarTalk, and coming up with video content for the site. I could do more interviews with people, like my video with artist Gary Casteel from years ago... Or my visit to Grant's Tomb in NYC.... Or I could report on reenactments and live shooting events like those seen in the N-SSA... I filmed and produced each of those videos, and I'd be thrilled to do that every day. Other things I'd like to work on and improve... The Wiki has so much promise, but I haven't been able to give it the love it really deserves. It could one day be one of the best resources on Civil War history, but I'd need to put in hundreds of hours of time to get it updated to where I'd like it to be. Skirmish Notes could be revitalized and relaunched as my blog, tracking all the things I would be doing as far as battlefield visits and N-SSA events I attend... That's really just scratching the surface, I'd like to do so many more things, stuff I have dreamed about doing for CivilWarTalk, but today it's only a dream. WHAT IT WOULD TAKE: I believe we would need to take our current Patron numbers and multiply that by somewhere between 5 and 10. That's a lot! Right now to support CivilWarTalk we have about 40 patrons who support CivilWarTalk every month. The money sent by those patrons pays for all the server fees and licenses I need to keep CivilWarTalk working every month with a bit left over, and we usually save the extra to pay for upgrades to the forum and new features when we can. My old job used to pay me about $2800 each month. So okay, reality check, I'll probably need to get some kind of real job, maybe something part time. But the remaining time I could work on this site and provide new content, good rich content. I'm not going to pretend that CivilWarTalk can replace my old job, but maybe if you help me and and give me a job, I can be happy and provide you with more of the content I know you love, and give my family the stability it needs. TO SUPPORT CIVILWARTALK AND BE MIKE'S BOSS If you haven't already you will need to join CivilWarTalk.com: https://civilwartalk.com/login/ Go here to become a Patron: https://civilwartalk.com/account/upgrades Unfortunately our Patron System only takes Paypal, but if that doesn't work for you, please contact me or use this page: https://civilwartalk.com/pages/Contribute/ THANKS! Even if this idea does not work out, I still want to thank you for supporting me and my family all these years. Your generous Holiday donations, your helpful patron donations, helping my boys go to summer camp by buying popcorn, and all the supporting messages we get, we appreciate and love you all for everything you've done.