I recently shared the inspiring story of Shauna Smith, one of the co-founders of the website leanonus.co. I really want to thank Shauna for sharing her amazing, inspiring story with my readers and for giving me a little insight into why and how leanonus.co got started. Today, it is my honor and esteemed pleasure to present Shauna’s partner, Sonya, who gives us a deeper look at the inspiration behind leanonus.co and how her dream became a reality.
Where shall I begin?
Well, a little more than three years ago, my son got me into online gaming, and I met a lot of different people. Some nice, some not so nice. Anyway, I found it really interesting meeting all ages, from youngsters to grandparents. Then, it hit me how many people just want a listening ear and someone to show an interest in them. I’m not sure how perfectly I fit into the “listening ear’ and “showing an interest in people” category, but I try.
Anyway, even after three years I am still in touch with some of my original friends. Some are lovely, some are crazy and some are completely nuts, but here we are… still laughing, crying, and sometimes just chilling and spending time together. Some I have stuck by and given my heart and soul to (not sure why, but there you go, we are who we are ‘n’ all that!) The same as in the real world, I guess, but then again, we ARE real people, with the same highs and lows in life. The only difference is that we can hide behind our keyboards on a bad hair day in our PJs! 😀
Well, one day I met someone just by chance, and I thought, “Wow, this person is nice.” Then again, being a “hopeful, looking for the best in others” kind of person, I kept telling myself to “get a grip, no one is perfect.” But after many, many hours of chatting, listening to music and watching videos together I got to know my new friend, Daniel. Hmm, now what can I say about Daniel? Well, at first, it hit me how nice he was. Then I realized that there was someone who, despite the ups and downs in life, had a great sense of humor and was kind and smart. Ok, so maybe I am a little biased; no one is perfect, I know that! And I know that there are other nice people out there in the world, but it was great to finally meet someone who treated me the way I want to be treated; shared similar views (despite our different lives, circumstances and experiences); and a friend who is fun, makes me think deeply, is thoughtful and most of all makes me smile!
So, to answer the question “Why am I here?”…I have been inspired, which is something special and rare to find in a friend. I never thought it would happen. Someone who makes me believe in myself and that anything is possible. Therefore, I dedicate this site to my special friendship. It doesn’t happen that often, and sometimes we wait years to find it. My hope is that sharing my thoughts with you will encourage you not to give up. I want you to experience a safe haven here with the opportunity for you to make friends. We all need someone to lean on from time to time, to listen to us, to give us support and show some compassion and kindness when we are having a bad day. We all need something to look forward to, and I hope that you can all find it here at leanonus.co!
My life since the inception
Jason asked me how starting leanonus.co had impacted my life. Well, it has in a few ways but the biggest one has been TIME! This is the first “big” site that I have actually built and run. In the past I have messed around with web pages and done a small share of HTML but nothing like this! I am using Website Tonight, which is great, and have delved into the world of CSS, but it isn’t the easiest and is very time consuming. My life doesn’t run on a schedule, I just get on with what has to be done; I support my husband who has a few disabilities and am homeschooling my son, which we started again last year. (That’s another story, though!) I love it and enjoy having an “easy-going” life, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t busy and sometimes demanding.
As you know, my greatest inspiration came from Daniel, who I met online a few months ago. I had joked/chatted in the past with friends and family about websites and businesses but never had the “oomph” to get anything going. So when I met Daniel, who gave me the inspiration, I jumped on it. For about six weeks or so, Dan and I brainstormed for hours and hours; it was great and so leanonus.co was born! Unfortunately, Daniel has other commitments now, so he hasn’t been able to give the input that I had hoped for. It was a great disappointment, a big blow if I am honest, but I kept going. I can’t say it was easy, and a lot of times I wondered if I could really do this on my own; it was either a success or a disaster waiting to happen!
Is it all worth it?
Anyway, I have to admit that a couple of times I have thought, “Is this really worth all the effort and time? Could I put my time and effort into something more productive? Should I get a life?” Then I would think of all that hard work and what a waste it would be. This has been a learning curve and has definitely been worth the risk! If what we can provide to others helps them, then it is a success. Fortunately, Shauna, who I met three years ago, and have been friends with ever since, has kept me going. She has since joined “the team” officially and has been working tirelessly! So we need to give her a big thanks for keeping our dream going. If it wasn’t for her support, I may have just given up, which is hard to say, really, but…
Working for yourself
One of the hardest things of running the website, I guess, has been the long days and the responsibility. Most of my days for the last four months have been very long; 16 hour days and sometimes longer. I know, I know, not a good idea but I guess I am more determined than I thought, or just plain crazy! 🙂
Even though I know that working for yourself has the downside of the time and putting your heart and soul into it, it didn’t really hit me until I actually did it. Running the finances, website building, PR, making contacts, etc. really isn’t that easy, let alone all the research and preparation involved.
Fortunately, Shauna is a pro at the PR side and helping me with the research etc. To sing her praises again…I got her to sign up to Twitter, which I hadn’t really spent that much time on, and within a short time she had overtaken me! It has been fun and has given me the drive to improve in that area. Making contacts on Twitter has really helped, as well as LinkedIn. Some of the articles I have read have kept me in line and kept things in perspective. I think I’m pretty laid back and fairly easy going, but when things get stressful even the calmest people on the planet can “scream and pull their hair out!” 🙂
So….should we keep this dream going?
YES! It’s hard work, the site is new, and it’s an expensive hobby! But when I see that we are getting new visitors daily, and that they are hanging around, that is satisfaction in itself; a major boost. We have also received some great feedback from a few people saying that they like the idea of what we are trying to achieve and support us. So, once again, I would like to thank all those who do support us and hopefully we can return the favor!