The End of Phase 1 – Important Information Regarding the Future of Jon Spencer Reviews

The Day is Here Folks!

If you’ve been following me for awhile then you already know that I’ve been talking about this mysterious “first phase”, and how that phase ends officially today:  10/18/19 at 11:00 AM PST. I’m also sure that most of you are wondering just what the heck is going on, how, or if, things will be effected here, and just what all of phase 1 even entailed. Fear not friends, I will answer all of your questions (and likely more) in this update. Please be sure to read this in full so you know everything that’s going on moving forward.

Why These Changes Are Necessary

To put it simply, what I’m doing now isn’t sustainable. Things need to change. When I first started this site up in 2015, my goal was to just talk with folks and share the stuff I liked with the world. I had a steady income, was getting out and doing new things, and was generally in a better position in life. Now, none of these things are really true anymore.

As many of you know by now, I live with my grandmother because I don’t make enough money to do anything else. We have our arrangement, but basically I live here at very little expense. Sweet deal right? Well, I only make $60-70 on any given month, maybe $80 on a really good month. That’s what I live on.

The result of this is that I’m pretty constantly stressed out. My grandmother desperately wants me to find work (and it isn’t like I’m not looking), I can’t do the things I’d like, and I feel awful spending any money on anything non-essential. As a result, I live a very spartan lifestyle.

My hobby collections may say otherwise if you were to visit me, I have a lot of anime, board games, and some other assorted things, but these are all things I’ve gathered over years of effort. More importantly, it was when I could afford such things. So when I tell you I have financial hardship, I really do mean it.

Many of you know this, but I also have a disability. It prevents me from driving, which in turn makes getting work all the more difficult. In a lot of jobs, this is an outright requirement in my area. Even office work. I’ve applied for disability, but it’s been over a year now and I’m in limbo. I may never get it, I just don’t know.

These two factors have been weighing on me for some time now. Back in 2018, I gave myself 1 year to take the site here as seriously as possible, and now that this year is up (it’s been a little over if I’m being exact), I failed. While I have seen some results, the reality is like I’ve said, I need to do something different. What I’m doing now isn’t sustainable, and frankly, is a waste of my time (even if I do enjoy writing here).

I’m taking one final risk, one last chance to make this all work out. I’ve sat down, put together a plan, and today, I’m finally ready to begin implementing it. Rather, I already have begun implementing it. That’s what the end of Phase 1 is all about.

Phase 1 – Complete

You may have noticed some changes over the past few months. If you didn’t, then that’s totally ok. I made them very slowly over a long period as part of my plan. I’d like to go over all of the changes I made with you now:

  1. The most obvious thing is the update to my banner. I made this image myself using professional software. Drawing on the things I liked about the previous banner, which was generously made by a fan, I ended up with something that looks professional and timeless.cropped-new-jsr-twitter-header.png
    You’ll notice that it only says “Jon Spencer” on it, instead of “Jon Spencer Reviews”. There is a good reason for this. I’m rebranding. Don’t worry, I will still be doing reviews, but I’ve always been about covering lots of things, and I don’t want to be stuck to just reviews. This matters because I’ve also moved to creating other content like games.

    This lets me sub-brand everything out under the “Jon Spencer” label with more specific things. For example, for games, I can brand it as “Jon Spencer Creates”. This rebranding process is something that isn’t totally finished, but that is the purpose of this one change. It’s something that will need continuous work.

  2. As a result, I’ve totally overhauled the site’s menu system to better organize things. I’m moving away from the “everything from anime to board games and more!” tagline I had. While descriptive, it did eventually stop describing my primary topics of choice. I’ve really become just an anime guy. While there is nothing wrong with that, and I do still talk about other stuff, I felt like I wasn’t really delivering on that stuff. If you look now at my site, all the same content is there, it’s just organized more broadly when you first see it.

  3. For step three, I completely overhauled my PatreonWhile there are still a few things left to do there, I’m pretty happy with it. Things may change a bit as this sees more use, but for now, I’m really glad to have this outlet for support up and operational again.Continuing off of this, I also setup a Discord for folks to join. I’ll admit I don’t use it much, but I’m making an effort to get more used to having it up when I’m available. This is largely for phase 2, which we are entering after today. Moving forward I’ll be using this space to talk with folks and do fun activities from time-to-time.

    Finally, I now have a central hub for you to easily find all the cool stuff I do. The only thing missing from here is my wallpaper work, but you can find that pretty easily via my other outlets that are listed here. It’s called “Linkkle”, the tool I’m using for this. It’s free and I recommend it. Check out my page here, and follow all my stuff if you aren’t already.

  4. Last up is something many of you may not be expecting. This happened rather quickly, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you missed it. Not long ago I put out a call asking for a donation to buy audio equipment. In less than an hour, my $75 goal was met:Click to view image
    This is what phase 2 is all about. I’m going to be moving towards video and audio based content. I got my Twitch all ready to go againhave been gearing up to setup a YouTube (that isn’t quite ready yet), and that’s where we are going.

    I’ve often stated that a lot of my stuff would do better in a different format, such as video. Now it’s time to put my money where my mouth is. I have editing software, good equipment, and stuff I’m working on now. The only issue is, I need to actually make time to learn this stuff and make it all. It shouldn’t take long, but it is a necessary step. That’s where phase 2 comes in.

Enter Phase 2 – A Quiet Period

Now that I have all the pieces, have laid the groundwork, I’m ready to get fully serious. Starting 10/21/19, I’m buckling down and getting to work on this. I plan on doing the following within an approximate, one month span:

  • Record the following videos:
    • An overview of my game, Into the Woods… that includes a playthrough. This is something that has been requested of me many times, I can deliver on that. This will let me experiment with some different setups using my new equipment and learn the editing software I have.
    • Introduction videos for Patreon/Ko-fi and YouTube. These won’t be fancy, but they do increase the likelihood of engagement. Again, this is a chance for me to learn my software better and experiment with video creation in something fairly low-stakes.
      • The above two things will be then uploaded so I can test how difficult this task is given my poor internet speeds (I get 1.5 MB’s per second, that’s very slow).
    • A video game playthrough series. This is an experiment to test both streaming and offline recording. Also, it allows me to have backlogged content that can be uploaded regularly in video form.
    • Given time, I will do a few other small things, but I don’t want to overdo it here. Just a few simple things to get started.
  • I will also be finishing up my first expansion for Into the Woods… Patrons at the $5 tier (or higher) will receive this for free. Otherwise, there will be a small cost attached to it. The base game is free, but I’ve put a lot of time into the game so I need to charge a little bit. I haven’t settled on a price, as this is not quite finished, but it will be less than $5 (probably in the $1-2 range). I’m just including a copy for folks who buy into supporting me at that tier on Patreon.
  • Finally, I’d like to do a monthly (for now) check-in. This will be in a podcast format. I want to do some other stuff in this area, but this is where I’ll start. You can likely expect to see this in video form as well (just sound only, with a static image).

Where does this leave the site? Well, during this period I’m not got to write much of anything. I’ll still be active on social media, but that’s about it. I’ll likely do a seasonal impressions article around the start of November, but don’t expect anything else. I’m funneling my full efforts into accomplishing the above tasks.

I have a few other obligations during this time so you will still have me in full for the following projects:

  • #AniTwitWatches (I’ll still be running that as usual).
  • The Anime Awards (nominations are due November).
  • Background Support for #theJCS.
  • I owe you all a review for the ABC series. I still need to watch the show, my mom and I are taking our time with K-On! which is why it has been so slow. This should come out by the end of November.

That said, notice how I mention things like streaming in the above. I’ll be trying to do a few of those during this time. This is mostly to test my internet, to see if it is really possible or not. I expect this venture to fail until I can afford better internet, which all of this is in service of. Offline recording will be the backup.

One thing I’ve actually been asked a lot is to show my process for making wallpapers, how I write up my games, and stuff like that. This is something I’d like to do, but I need to see if limited streaming is possible or not first. It all feeds back into the first few stated goals above.

If I somehow manage to accomplish all of this ahead of schedule, I’ve been encouraged to try my hand at writing a light novel of sorts. I have this pretty well fleshed out actually, so if this occurs, I would be writing just chapter 1. I have a professional editor who would look at this for free, and then if we thought it was good enough to continue, all of you would get to see this first chapter for free. Based on response, I’d decide whether to continue or not from there.

This last bit is more of a long-term project that I work on in the background. When I have free time. Please do not expect this within this initial period of time though. I just wanted you all to be aware of this venture I could pursue. If you really want to see this, I need to know. I’m going to primarily focus on whatever gives me the best results from all of this experimentation.

Goals

Of course I have goals for doing all of this. The big one is to get these activities to collectively make $100 after tax. If I can do that, I can upgrade my internet and be more involved when it comes to how, and what kinds of content I can produce. The ultimate big goal is to become financially independent, as well as financially stable.

During this time I could get disability, have a job pop up, etc… I just don’t know. However, I’m not expecting that. I’m putting in everything I’ve got for this next phase though. After phase 2 has ended, I’ll do an evaluation period where I determine if this is something I can continue. That’ll be phase 3, evaluation and adjustments.

I’m giving myself 6 months to hit the $100 goal. If I can’t do it, then that’s it. We’ll be done here folks. If you want me to keep producing content, I need to make money. I can’t strain my family anymore than I am, I can’t just float in limbo anymore. It’s truly now or never. That’s where we are at with things.

Thank You!

Before I go, I just wanted to say thanks to everybody who has supported me all of this time. I greatly appreciate it. Somebody invested in me to try this new content out and I’m going for it! All I can hope for, is that you’ll be along for the ride with me.

16 thoughts on “The End of Phase 1 – Important Information Regarding the Future of Jon Spencer Reviews

  1. Sorry to hear of your continuing woes regarding your work/benefits situation. I too have had my benefits stopped following a biased work capability assessment, which I have appealed, although I did manage to save some money over that time, so I have a buffer before it gets tough again.

    However, I am glad to read you have a plan to move forward and can only wish you all the best and hope it works out for you! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope your situation gets worked out as well. It’s just beyond ridiculous how long it all takes and how often I have to do this stuff. Here’s to us both in that regard.

      Thank you as well, I am looking forward to trying this new approach out and seeing if it will yield better results. Time will tell 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on paving a solid path out of your moratorium.

    My recent phone-interpreting experience has taught me that offices that process disability cases produce some of the most tired-sounding and inefficient people to deal with ever. So don’t be afraid of waiting…even if it’s an extremely long wait.

    Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Moya 🙂 I’m feeling good about this move right now.

      I hear ya, but over a year wait gets a bit much lol. I will though, just hope it gets resolved soon. I still have to go to proper court and such. It’s a process.

      Thanks again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good luck! You’re investing a lot of time and talent, and what’s more, you’re trying to learn from your experiences. Those are great traits!

    Glad to hear you have a lawyer, too. I hope that works out. I have more experience with that kind of thing that I’d like to admit, and I know it’s hard to stay positive.

    It really sounds like you’re in the right track. I hope it works out!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! 🙂 That’s very true, I am putting a lot of energy into this stuff, but I already have been on this site. It’s also true that I’ve been trying to learn and adapt from all of this stuff. That’s why I think making this transition will ultimately be a good move.

      That said, the site isn’t going to just vanish or anything. I want people to know that I plan on keeping it around. At worst, it’ll act as a hub for my stuff. It’s something I do enjoy, I just have different priorities right now that make enjoyment alone, not enough.

      I’ve actually had a disability lawyer for awhile, but this new guy, specifically to get the disability, isn’t the best communicator. Though, it sounds like you know exactly what I mean. It is for sure frustrating having to wait around all day for news.

      Thank you again for the support and encouragement! I sincerely hope it works out as well, and that people will have fun right along with me! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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