Happy New Year!!!!
2011 marked the launch of Disability Horizons with my long-time friend Martyn. We had nothing in terms of resources to spend and we had to start from scratch.
While we had no financial resources, we had a vision. We also had heaps of willpower and enthusiasm for the concept. This allowed us to make the first version of the site ourselves, which allowed us to launch the very basic pilot edition of Disability Horizons in April 2011.
Based on the success of the pilot edition, in August, the Disability Horizons website underwent a massive facelift and technological upgrade courtesy of a very special group of creative insurgents and social media revolutionaries known as Misfit Inc of New York City. They did an amazing job of improving the website and have continued to be an incredible source of support, wisdom and guidance.
The growing community
The site has a great, and continuously growing, mix of writers sharing their unique views and experiences. The Disability Horizons community is ever growing and social media has allowed us to reach out in ways that were once unimaginable. Beyond the online world, we also held two social meet ups for our readers, one in New York and the other in London. We are currently planning the next meet up in Manchester in February.
For 2012, we want more of the same so that we can deliver on our founding purpose to help empower disabled people to lead the lifestyles they wish.
Expanding the team
While we’ve both thoroughly enjoyed starting the magazine from scratch and learnt so much from all the new people we have met, there have also been some major challenges.
At times, the volume of work required has meant that Martyn and I have had to regularly work late into the night and on weekends in order get things done. As I have another full-time job as a solicitor and Martyn works day and night to get his social enterprise up and running, we have literally been swamped 24/7!
To deal with this, the Disability Horizons team will be expanding with new volunteers joining the team from our reader community. Over the next few weeks, our new volunteers will be assisting with everything from editing new articles to helping organise new meet ups, tasks that will be invaluable to us and the Disability Horizons community.
Making Disability Horizons sustainable
While we were able to start the site without any funding, increasing server capacity and functionality to cope with more visitors to the site has required a continuing personal investment, with the assistance of our credit cards. We desperately want the site to continue and share new content, but at the same time this needs to be a financially sustainable footing.
We don’t want banner ads or ugly logos plastered across our lovely website. We also don’t want our site to be associated with products or services that do not compliment our lifestyle focus and positive vibe.
Therefore, as an alternative, we will be allowing a select handful of sponsors to share sponsored articles that promote products or services that are either empowering or innovative, in return for subsidising some of our operating costs. We want to be as transparent as possible, so a sponsored article will be clearly declared. We want Disability Horizons to be practical and informative, so we will do our utmost to make sure sponsored articles are actually useful as well!
2012 will be an exciting year for this magazine. 2011 was about getting started, but will 2012 will be about making our 21st century view of disability a reality.
Srin and Martyn