Fear and Crowdsourcing

“Imaginary obstacles are insurmountable. Real ones aren’t. But you can’t tell the difference when you have no real information. Fear can create even more imaginary obstacles than ignorance can. That’s why the smallest step away from speculation and into reality can be an amazing relief.
The Reality Solution means: Do it before you’re ready.”
– Barbara Sher


I’ve hit a roadblock. This has been a long process and I knew it would happen eventually. I always expect things to deviate from The Plan, so I’m adapting and adjusting.


It’s not a real roadblock. The roadblock is my fear. Fear of failure and rejection. Normal fears for most people in any challenging situation.


When I started brainstorming last year, I was full of energy and ideas on how to raise funds for tuition. My momentum has slowed down and my timeline has been pushed back, mostly due to my indecision on what to offer as perks for my crowdsourcing campaign. The video is finally done and I’m excited to share it, but first, I have to decide on perks.
3rd interview re-shoot
I’ve got my hand on the trigger but I’m afraid to pull. Am I aiming at the right target? I’m afraid of picking the wrong perks. I’m afraid that no one will want them. I know my friends will support me no matter what, but what about strangers? Will I be able to connect with them? Will they like what I have to offer? Will they be content with me just sharing my journey through my blog and videos?


I’m afraid if I write to martial arts action stars, they’ll ignore me (no surprise there). I’m afraid if I write to martial arts, athletics, and health companies, they’ll ignore me. I’m afraid if I write to inspiring women in leadership positions, they’ll ignore me. (I’m going to do all those things anyway) I’m afraid I won’t be able to earn enough to pay for 5 years of tuition fees plus health insurance and other costs.


I’m also taking it day by day. I don’t need all the funds right now and I plan to create work opportunities whenever I can. In a new-age-y kind of way, my positive thoughts and energies have been bouncing back to me. I have self-motivated students who can’t get enough of class :)


A lot of things have been going very well:


  • Andy Kwok made an awesome video and I can’t wait to show it (even though I am also shy and embarrassed). I can’t thank you enough.


  • My 2 bake sales were successful. I have another one planned for CSA’s (Chinese School Andover) last day. I may also have another one at YMAA Andover.


  • Several of my CSA students have really enjoyed my classes and progressed relatively quickly. I had a request for private lessons and I will also teach a small group in July. The CSA kung fu program has expanded and I’m happy to hand the reins over to other teachers next fall. On a grander scale, this is good news for the future because the thing I fear most as a teacher is a lack of interest in learning martial arts.


  • I’ve had an enormous amount of support from friends and I feel very wealthy. They keep asking me when my video and campaign will be launched. They send me ideas and links to keep me motivated.


For anyone unfamiliar with crowdsourcing, you can take your project to the internet and share your story with strangers. If they like it, they can support you in various amounts and receive perks in return. People who support the projects are not doing it just for the perks. They want to see the project succeed and they want to help in any way they can. Projects can range from music, films, art, education, sports, health, etc…


Please help!


Now, I want to crowdsource our blog readers for ideas on perks. Ideas I’m leaning towards:


  • Thank You note on a photo postcard
  • Shoutout on blog or video blog
  • Chinese jewelry
  • Baked goods
  • Sequence tips (Send me a video of yourself and I will review it and offer tips and suggestions for improvement)
  • YMAA DVDs (some autographed by Dr. Yang)
  • Online Group or Private Lessons & Chat
  • In person Lessons (for locals)
  • T-shirts designed by me
  • A piece of my belt made into a keychain
  • Invitation to train at the Retreat Center

Please please please comment with ideas you have or preferences for perks I listed above. Thank you!

2 thoughts on “Fear and Crowdsourcing

  1. Those are all awesome ideas, Michelle. You should definitely reach out to all of the people you mentioned, as well. Even if they can't do a ton to help you, signal-boosting from famous/semi-famous people can be super helpful.- access to a private training blog, or backer only videos.- have you talked to the Kiesels/Ben Warner about a limited offer of one free lesson at Yang's in Andover, or Boston? this will help everyone, as it will also drive new potential students to the studios.- a "pen pal" tier (this may be too time-consuming, but could also be really cool for people who will be looking to you as a role-model).- also, make an event for your crowdfunding campaign on Facebook and ask people to join the event, then ask all your friends to signal boost, even if they can't afford to invest. :D You're going to do great!

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