by Laura Weisskopf Bleill
Pardon me if I’m a little emotional today, as we celebrate, honor and reflect on a little something that happened 10 years ago.
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the day chambanamoms.com went live. Thanks to the internet never forgetting a thing, the website looked something like this:
Few people were watching back then.
We were “just” two moms with a plan, and a goal: to make a difference in the Champaign-Urbana community by sharing information and resources for families.
We called it our “big big project.” Instead of nine months gestation, it took just six months for this baby to pop out of our brains and grace the interwebs.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy’s 2018 Frequently Asked Questions, roughly 80% of small businesses survive the first year. Only about half of small businesses survive past the five-year mark, ranging from 45.4% to 51% depending on the year the business was started.
Beyond that, only about one in three small businesses get to the 10-year mark.
We defied the odds. Why?
As I sit behind my computer and type this note with (predictable) tears streaming down my face, understand that this isn’t about us.
This is about a community that embraced a vision, and took ownership of it.
We’ve learned so much on this journey. While it seems silly and trite to limit it only to 10, I hope you don’t mind if I share 10 things we have learned about the greater Champaign-Urbana metro community in 10 years of Chambanamoms.com.
1. This community has a huge heart. It will rally behind its own and is fiercely protective of them.
2. This is a place where dreams are not seen as folly, but as goals that hard work can achieve, and where it’s OK to ask for help.
3. Welcoming newcomers is something that isn’t forced or unnatural – it’s part of every fiber of our beings.
4. People here are astoundingly generous (and not just with money). They don’t know any other way.
5. Inclusion is not just a buzzword here, but a core value.
6. There is truly something for everyone, and if there’s a gap – not only will someone find it, they will address it.
7. It is possible to have civil, respectful, supportive discourse on social media. You folks prove that day in and day out on our Facebook page and otherwise.
8.We still argue about stuff and it’s OK. Like the definition of who is a “townie.”
9. Women run this place. (Although this column is dated, it’s still true.) It’s unique and something worth boasting about.
10. We celebrate each other’s successes, authentically and genuinely.
So when’s the party
We plan to celebrate the 10th anniversary of chambanamoms.com not just one day or one week, but all year long.
Be on the look out for events to mark the birthday, for grownups and families alike. We will also have some special giveaways. In addition, we will work alongside our community partners and friends so that we give back to others. All of that will be rolling out in the days and weeks ahead, so stay tuned.
There are so many people to thank, we might get yanked off this stage. Here’s just a few. Thank you to:
- Our committed business partners, some of who have been with us from the very beginning.
- Those who have advocated for us, promoted us, linked to us.
- All of our past employees, writers, and content contributors (including everyone who submits events!).
- An incredible team of seven dedicated professionals and current writing team who make the magic happen behind the scenes, every day.
But most of all, we have to thank each and every one of you.
We wouldn’t be sitting here, 10 years later, without all the warmth and grace and kindness and support our readers have provided us throughout this past decade.
Rest assured, this is no goodbye. There is still so much to do. There’s always news to break and stories to write, and new partnerships to build. We hope to continue to be insanely useful to you all.
Let’s keep it going and growing for the next 10 years.
Laura Weisskopf Bleill has been the Mom-in-Chief of chambanamoms.com for 10 years. The team recently expanded the “family” with the addition of chambanaseniors.com. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.