Friday, January 20, 2023

Epbot Is Changing: It's Time To PIVOT

Hi, friends! Happy Friday!

You probably noticed I've been doing more video content lately, mostly to stay afloat on social media. It's been a hard adjustment, and I've grumbled the whole way, but it's also kind of exciting to create in a new format and see Epbot numbers actually grow again.

Meanwhile, readership here on the blog continues to dwindle. And hey, I get it, most people don't read blogs anymore. The fact that you're still here is incredible, and your support means everything to me, but the online world has moved on. Unfortunately all I can do from here is continue to lose readers.

Also at stake are my mental health and stress levels, as I juggle what is in essence a second full-time job creating and promoting videos and social media posts, all to push people towards this blog, when most are happy with just the videos and posts! John and I've been running full speed since October, giving it our all, but our all isn't working, and something's gotta give.

So starting today, Epbot the blog is going on the back burner. It will still be here - for all of us - but I don't plan to post here again anytime soon. Instead, I'll be doing three things:

First I'm going to rest, because I can't remember the last time I was bored. I can't remember the last time I felt like I'd done enough to take the night off. I've made my living online for 15 years. Fifteen years! The increasing demand to do more, to be more, to craft an update so compelling the algorithm might show it to even a fraction of you... it's a lot. So I'm going to breathe, be still, reset my brain, and let myself dream big dreams again.

Second, John and I are going to spend more time offline, helping people in real life. Our greatest passion has always been serving others, and we already have a list of projects scheduled to get us started. Over the next few months we'll be painting, organizing, decorating, and offering home repairs around Orlando again, all for free. Y'all. I can't wait to work a job that gives me confidence again, without the second-guessing. I can't wait to measure the value of my day by more than post reach, and feel that bone-deep satisfaction of leaving something better than we found it. I want to make helping others in a tangible way my priority, and give Epbot the extras - not the other way around.

And third, I'll continue posting on social media as usual, plus experimenting with longer videos for YouTube later on. Yep, don't worry, I'm not really going anywhere! I'll still be sharing fun builds, events, and silly life stuff. So if you already follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube, not much will change. In fact you may see me more!

I can't promise much as I figure out what this next chapter looks like, so I understand if this change leaves you sad or disappointed. I love and appreciate every one of you, and your friendship has given me life, joy, and purpose for the last 12 years. For those of you who've supported John and I financially - well first, thank you - and also please know we won't be hurt or offended at all if you step away after this. Truly. It's ok. John and I have game-ified being frugal to the point that it's second nature, and we're fortunate to have enough little irons in the fire - online and off - that we'll be fine. If you do want to keep supporting us, then know your money will go towards our work for others. (Work I hope to share more of!)

Like I said, this site isn't going anywhere: it will still be my home base of archives, templates, FAQs, etc. The Squeegineer give-aways will also continue every month. Community wise, both Fans of Epbot on Facebook and the Epbot Discord are going strong, and are independently run by amazing Epbot volunteers so we have a place to hang out together. Plus who knows, I may post here again! I just know for now, for this season, I'm ready to spend more time offline, get my hands dirty, and find fresh ways to share my joys and passions with you.

This decision has been YEARS in the making, but I don't mind telling you I'm scared spit-less. I don't like change. I'm even more terrified of failure. But I also believe we should make decisions based on hope, not fear, and this decision gives me so much hope.

I can't wait to see what happens next.

See you out there, friends and FoE.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

DIY Hobbit Party Games! The White Oliphaunt, Tiny Tator Challenge, & Mount Doom Ring Toss

John & I made three themed games for our Hobbit party last week, and they were SO FUN I thought I'd give y'all the rundown.

First, the Mount Doom Ring Toss:

Admit it, you'd watch this crossover.

The rings were pretty hard to land, but dang this looked amazing on our back deck:

John carved the mountain from pink foam scraps, then placed it on a table covered with stiff canvas to give it more height. (Build photos here, if you're curious.) He added flame lights inside, piped in "smoke" from our fog machine, and finally aimed a black light at the whole scene from the roof:

Our Rings have invisible script that glows when taken closer to the mountain: