What is the Furoku Membership? I consider it an evolution process, just like you and me. The original story of why I started is here, but as I’d hoped, it’s been continually shifting and transforming organically and I’m confident that one day it will burst forth from its cocoon like a brilliant Morpho butterfly.
Furoku is a Japanese word that means “bonus gift” and I swiped the concept from the monthly Japanese comic books I used to read as a kid. Every month I would tear off the cellophane wrapper to get to the little extra gifts that came in the form of stationery, pencils, mini comics, style guides, etc. I devoured those ginormous comic books but, oh, the surprise furoku was what made the whole experience worthwhile.
Since 2012 and over the course of several years, I went from a very ill, six-figure-earning corporate workaholic to a healthy, five-figure-earning published author/illustrator infinitely happier with my life. My days are far from perfect, but I’ve come a long, long way since 2012. I’ve determined that I’m at my best when I’m using my hands and brain to create things I find beautiful. Inexplicably, I have a deep-rooted belief that I can make a go — aka some sort of living — at doing the things I love, namely: writing, illustrating, sewing, taking the occasional photo and connecting with people.
I’ve made a tremendous number of lifestyle changes to get from point A to B — some are rooted in common sense, some are odd and ridiculous, and some are possibly radical and counterintuitive. I’ve shared some of these lifestyle modifications here on my blog and in my second book, but there’s a plethora more that I’ve never gone into and would love to share in greater detail. The changes I’ve made have improved everything in my life and nothing would make me happier than to provide a way to improve other people’s lives. I’m no expert and what worked for me may not necessarily work for you, of course, but I’m a good learner and observer and have long suspected that I might have the proclivity to help nudge others to identify their own unique strengths. This membership is my way of testing that theory.
There are several other aspects of the Furoku Membership.
1. It helps me run this blog and keeps it ad-free. I will continue to blog until the day I die because I love it so, but alas, it costs moolah and requires a lot of time to maintain this tiny operation.
2. Every month, I send a digital gift aka Furoku in which I:
- Regale you with entertaining or informative essays (I hope) about my many, many failures and lessons learned. I’ve sussed out that next to learning from my own foibles, I glean the most from reading about other people’s errors, and for stories about endless mistakes, I’m your girl.
- Update you with the nitty gritty, behind the scenes info about my various projects including book publishing and proposal development. My two book deals may not give me quite the clout that this man has, who cited the survey that revealed 81% of Americans want to write a book. Still, I have a unique perspective and it will be in real-time. Note: the NY Times article linked above is rather negative, and I hold the firm belief that if you feel like you have a book in you, by all means, you are meant to write it.
- Provide sweet discounts to cool online shops (including my own upcoming shop!!). Most of them are sewing related since my readership tends to skew that way.
- Include a digital download with my illustrations
- Include a sewing pattern or two
- Feature an interview with people who are farther ahead than I am at rocking this living-the-dream thing
Or some combination thereof.
3. It is a trust-filled and friendly arena for experimentation and creative outlets for everyone involved. This is the part that’s still under construction and needs some more evolving.
I’m working on getting better at sales and marketing, and despite my under-the-radar promotional attempts since I launched the membership in March of 2015, people from around the globe have signed up and it’s become a small yet mighty force of goodness. This is what I’ve discovered about the members:
– They are kind
– They are patient
– They are warm and encouraging
– They are interested in becoming better versions of themselves, to pursue creative expression on their own terms
– They are funny and smart
– They love to read
– They are generous and willing to part with $10 per month
Because yes indeed, my unpredictable monthly offerings cost ten buckaroos. I thought long and hard about this amount and rationalized that though it’s not an astronomical amount, it’s definitely a commitment.
I need to emphasize something. This membership is utterly, completely and absolutely optional. Feeling forced to sign up is not allowed and no need to feel guilty about canceling if you’ve already signed up. Not every Furoku is going to float your boat and that’s okay. Does it mean that you’re not kind, patient, warm, encouraging, funny or smart just because you’re not a member? No. Does it mean that you aren’t interested in becoming a better version of yourself or that you don’t love to read? No no no. You know all that obviously, but I learned the hard way that something weird happens when money gets involved.
Speaking of money, I don’t expect this membership to be my only source of income. It was an idea that popped into my head intuitively as a way to provide value using skills that come naturally to me. I pay attention to my gut instinct, and it’s almost always spot on. My gut instinct is telling me that the right amount of money will eventually come through a variety of sources — I live simply with my husband and daughter and have no desire to build an empire.
The Furoku membership is a good thing with good people. It will continue to morph and become lovelier. I’m in it for the long haul.
What about you? Curious to see if it’s for you? Sign up below!
(at some point, I will provide a more elegant sign-up form but technology is not one of my strengths so this will have to do for now)