This past few days I’ve been thinking about how far Zenratstudios has come, and how it’s strength has directly correlated to my levels of awareness, spiritual growth, and mental paradigms. I’m very excited about where we’re headed, what changes will be made, and what this company will look like in our end-game, perhaps even things I cannot foresee.
I’d like to share my journey since my company is directly a product of that journey and as such in these founding moments our fates are currently tied.
Major business advancements
- The Decision to Break Zenratstudios down into subdivisions
- The addition and acquisition of “Karmic Rivers” one of our spiritual subdivisions (as opposed to our Writing & Game Development divisions which target a different type of audience)
- Shifting and Developing Services over Products as a way to raise funds to produce better more quality products
- Developed better and more efficient fundraising plans and non-obtrusive advertisement goals
- Narrowed our Market/Target Group
- Found my identity, voice and authenticity
- Reassessed whether blockchains will be good for us and -when- to implement them in our timeline
- How to get the different subdivisions to work together as a whole
- Found a way to offer services for all income groups on a sliding scale
- Developed some clearer strategies based on experimentation with ideas, concepts and more
- Exploring a pay what you can model/ hybrid and also a model for our hiring process (how to limit costs while in the initial low funds stage of our company but also benefit the people we bring in, got some nice strategies to share!)
- I viewed myself as an asset and as such focused on skill-building: building wordpress themes, learning and using languages like PHP, React.js, typescript, SASS and more.
- And more.
Major Spiritual advancements
- I undid all that I am not, and uncovered all that I am
- I integrated my knowledge into my heart as wisdom in a process of emptying the cup
- I healed many of the old wounds within my heart and found my peace
- I transmuted my relationships from something painful to something enjoyable
- I fully embraced my values and message
- I came down off my mountain, no longer seeing myself as separately aware of the world, but each of us as all on this earth in this chaos together, trying to do the best that we can with the tools that we have available to us; living out our own karmic debts and so forth.
- And more
The switch from Products to Services
It’s not really a switch but a strategic decision. One way to bootstrap our company in order to build better projects is to offer our services to the community, building community and helping people. We can then grow our finances that way and reinvest both in the community and in creating and hiring the people required to help get more of the products out there. Services are easier to offer because I have the knowledge here to share and can easier distribute information, whereas it takes a longer time and a team of people to get quality tested products out to people. And because we don’t have just one single product but many to offer.
Pay What you Can Hybrid Revenue Model
I’ve been researching revenue models, ways to raise money for this company while also giving back to the community. One method of maximizing profits to increase the revenue so we can give back is a pay what you can hybrid model. It’s hybrid because I’m not entirely sure if every product we produce will be available under this model; for example offering a Pay what you can hybrid model for our workshops is something I wanted to do for our sliding scale fee; but then I wasn’t entirely sure if that would be appropriate.
For Products like Games and Novels books and games will be available under a Pay What You can Hybrid Model, and if you can’t pay we’ll offer options to view advertisments and affiliate services that you might want to pay for at some point. These advertisements would be quality advertisements that consist of non-profits and helpful services or start-up companies and entrepreneurs, small indie developers who have paid anywhere from $5 – $10 to place their ads with us. We may even offer a donation option, whereby you can donate to the author and a portion to a cause you believe in. So maybe viewing an advertisement of your choice, looking at an affiliate link, or signing up to something (if you want) would be an option. A portion of that revenue will then go to the author. We would offer the book or download for anywhere from $1 – $15.00 with a custom option. $0.00 would not be an option; but the option to look through some books would be an option. The reason for this is to make sure the people who buy our advertisement slots know that we are encouraging people to look through their projects. You could also opt to pay it forward instead and we can reward you or give you some bonus or a gift that you can take or pass on. We want to emphasize the time and costs it took to create the work and to support our families while also understanding other people’s needs and positions in life. We also want to emphasize that what they give directly goes back into our work and allows us to give more back.
For Workshops there is a different model. I’ve considered offering the workshop on a sliding scale fee, or on a similar hybrid revenue model as the above. Workshops are tricky because they involve direct interaction with people and a time commitment. The price range for this would be $50 – $250 and may possibly have a minimum allowance of $26. Though in time I’d like to offer free workshops, in the beginning not yet.
Pay what you contribute Hiring Model
I was trying to think of a way to Outsource and gain quality service. There is more to write on this but essentially a model being worked on is ‘pay per post’, that is we’ll be hiring qualified individuals to log on and reply to people but it’s not economically to offer $5.00 per post with many students for a month. The current model that I will be testing is posts are 0.10 – 0.20 cents but the value goes up based on the quality and length of the post and based on whether the student found it to be valuable. Think of it as something similar to steemit, but for our forum. Only people who submit a resume and are accepted wil have the option to get paid to post in this capacity. This way people are brought in, encouraged to write, but instead of paying them upfront before they contribute they are guaranteed to get paid money that correlates directly to their input and time, while also giving them experience. We may even have an option for students to ‘tip’ employees if they found their input particularly helpful. More to come.
Workshops as service
I’ve decided that I have the knowledge, tools, and resources available to build a workshop in these initial 3 areas:
- Web & Game Development
- Spiritual Growth, Problem-solving & More
- Bonus: Stocks & Trade, Cryptocurency & ways to make money online (but that’s a workshop for another day)
I am currently building a site based off of Moodle. I chose Moodle as opposed to building my own site from scratch because I don’t have the time or resources to create all of my products, and these are people who are focused on building this site. Maybe one day I will make a modified, improved and gamified version of Moodle or maybe that is my next project but for now just getting it set up.
This will require a learning curve so I’ll probably be focused on getting that set up in between my other stuff.
Community based Advertisements
I’m working on a new type of advertisement model inspired by the Million dollar homepage as a fundraising tool, the current dependency of using advertisements to fund a site without people have to pay, while at the same time giving users a choice about how they view their advertisements and when. I realize that we all actually enjoy looking for services and products that meet our needs, but there is a time and place. When we’re on Amazon and we’re looking at a book, it’s appropriate to see recommended books we might also like based on our view of that particular book. But when we watch a movie or go on Facebook we’re bombarded with advertisements while we’re in the middle of reading articles and the like. That’s not the appropriate time and is somewhat intrusive.
I had a project called Project Graveyard and Project Heart, one was geared towards non-profits and the other was geared towards people burying their pain on a site, but now I actually think that I may have a system for displaying ads and recommendations and I’m truly excited about getting started on that. One thing at a time however. Many things to cross off my todo list and this is one of them.
Building a React.JS Text-Based Game Engine
One of my current projects is building an open-source text-based game engine for Zenratstudios needs. This is a project, and the more money I can raise via services the more I can get started back on game projects and the like.
Astrology & Spiritual Counseling as Service
It’s not really a secret that Zenratstudios is a company that is open to all beliefs and religions. I identify as an omnist agnostic and more recently began coining the term: Omnididact. It’s a play on the term autodidact (self-taught learning). I have always loved to learn, always loved to ask questions and want to know.
Aspiring Not for-profit organization
Long-term goals right now are to get incorporated and to become an official non profit organization, to raise funds and to build a pay-it-forward community that attracts those who hear the calling to help make the world a better place but don’t know where to start. I want to build an online community and social network that requires no sign-up and yet is connected. Pokemon Go interests me, but we need to do something similar but different and without an app. I’m still working on some underlying models.
Blockchain as long-term future plan, but not starting off
I currently have to redesign the zenratstudios.org wordpress template as well as the initial website. Fix broken links, and to make clear that Blockchain is a long-term goal. It’s not something we can do overnight. Developing on the blockchain is something we would like to do, but after the hack of Ethereum and the DAO and noticing some of the challenges that come with this technology and looking into Second Life and various ways we’re decided that we do want to use Blockchain, but whether we will create an altcoin or personal asset through it, what blockchain or sidechain we’ll use for our community to reward groups or if we’ll use bitcoin remains to be seen. What we want is to develop something that has freedom of movement, is beneficial to our communities and people, while being unable to be obstructed or shut down easily by government censorship. We also want to be responsible, emphasizing compassion and community service to our fellow brothers and sisters and more. To truly be a global citizen and company is possible with the blockchain. In this way I truly see blockchain as a way to do that. But I also envision that there will be many legal challenges and obstructions on privacy and so on that we’re not yet ready to face without the right fundraising and tools. We want to grow into blockchain and build steadily. Growing slowly and working our way up and adding features can help us control growth and handle problems as they arise one at a time, as well as build a steady legal system to protect our “Guardians of Life” as I now dub them. So there’s work to do on the main site.
As a company my goals for Zenratstudios are vast. I envision Zenratsudios as having a pay it forward system built into it, designed to directly contribute to the community and to offer low-cost and free education opportunities, obliterate homelessness, support other companines, non-profits and entrepreneurs, and to have fun doing it through games and storytelling. I see many companies doing things like this too and long-term I hope to team-up with and support their cause.
Zenratstudios is designed to pay minimum taxes legally, out of a core belief that the government has mismanaged the money and that we as a society can do better. We directly redistribute the funds of our company back directly into the community while promoting non-profits in what will be part of our Guardians of Life. We have two types of audiences: Our services are designed for Entrepreneurs, these are people who have a calling but feel spiritually or emotionally blocked in some way, need support and guidance. The types of Entrepreneur’s I have a lot of interest in are self-publishing Authors, Indie Game Developers and people who want to heal in someway, spiritual leaders, counselors, psychologists, mentors. My workshops are being designed for these 3 types of audiences.
The second audience I have are the people I create products for. These are just everyday joes who want to play games for the experience or fun of it, but don’t want to be leaders in their society.
There is one more audience to mention, a third audience I haven’t been able to touch and is part of a long-term plan that involves the blockchain. I’ve got this dream that using blockchain technology we could even create an ecosystem that encourages people to make a living doing what they love so that all people have the opportunity to live well. Imagine if companies that made all the wealth they made directly put that into society around them. Imagine if individuals tooking control of their life and their destiny, not waiting for presidents to save them. Imagine if we could help people who are mentally ill, who want to get better, if we could bring services to our communities and fund our neighborhoods. Imagine if people could get paid to do what they love….imagine if we could get to the root of our problems as a society and build a better world.
It’s a long journey a far stretch and one step at a time we are going to make it happen.
Other Things to Add
I spent some time this past month learning and getting comfortable building wordpress sites and themes from scratch using foundation Zurb and Materialize css and Sass. I installed wordpress locally using wamp and began building my site. My weakness is getting footers to stay down and custom navigation menus, but structuring a page isn’t too hard and there are plugins available from people who are great at footers and navigations to make up for my weakness. Still my strengths are putting together websites and elements that I like and building something custom fit to me. PHP programming is new to me but I found it easy to pick up. I am going to be working on a PHP based template that prints to pdf for some of my forms to use as tools in my workshops (to bring all my knowledge together).
I also have a few mindmaps using Xmind that may come in handy for visualizing data, so there’s that. I use node.js + httpserver when working with react.js and phaser and so I’m feeling pretty excited with the skillset I’m learning. I would call myself predominately a front-end developer who builds wordpress themes and creates web apps, who has some back-end knowledge though I am gaining those back-end skills increasingly as I go along and as the need requires. Working locally and building templates and plugins has required using some back-end languages and that has been enjoyable. I find programming is as complex or as simple as you need it to be.
But more on that to come.
I’m not yet ready to market and advertise because still getting everything cleaned up and narrowed down; but I’ve found my voice, my gifts and skills, and we’re getting to a good place.
Spiritual growth is a lifelong process and my success in life and work is directly dependent on my spiritual growth and success as an individual. When I started Zenratstudios back at the end of November, and launched the website around December – January, I was in a lot of emotional pain and turmoil and going through a major spiritual shift. I’ve gone through at least 3 spiritual paradigm shifts since that time, and more recently was this past August by which the result was a sense of peace and understanding that I have only had glimpses of before.
Understandings about myself, the world around me, and my role in life, our role. It was as though I had spent my life asking questions and had finally reached a new chapter of my life by which I didn’t need to ask anymore questions; It was time to simply empty my cup, of all my beliefs, and judgments of people, to empty and just be with people, to be one with them, to view the world as my people, to accept myself too flaws and all – I reached a magnificent and down to earth place. Even my delusions fell away, and my pain became directly transmuted into fuel for bridges and my work. I’m no longer effected by my pain in the same way because I understand it now.
And that’s all I can really say right now about that journey, mostly it’s the result of that journey and how that will manifest into my work and how it manifests currently with the people around me and my family; it just feels better, and that’s a place that I like.
There is more to mention and to write with this business but every minute I spend writing here I spend away from developing and creating the services that we all need in our lives; that will pave the way to the growth of Zenratstudios.