In the interests of full disclosure and being perfectly honest, it goes without saying that there is little point in trying to raise a hundred million dollars to do good work if I don’t survive.
No argument that there have been all kinds of idiotic fund raising campaigns, yet many have been absurdly successful. Over three hundred thousand dollars was raised when a woman was insulted on a bus. Rapper B.o.B is part of that entertaining crew that thinks the Earth is flat and he wants to raise 1 million dollars to prove it. A guy wanted to make a potato salad, because he’d never made one before. His goal was a mere $10 but he raised an incredible $61,153! Two popular fund raising sites, GoFundMe and Kickstarter, have both had their share of ridiculous campaigns, from a lady who wanted to send her kids to Disneyland, to funding everything from breast implants to vacations. As selfish and dumb as some of these campaigns were they still raised a lot of money. One of the worst was raising funds to help a homeless man who had given a lady the last of this money to buy gas. It turned out to be a total fraud and GoFundMe promised refunds to the 14,325 who donated.
My campaign has legitimate, urgent needs which must be met for me to be able to go on to do good work. First and foremost I need to avoid dying. For the last two months at least I have been trying everything to get my critical meds for my diabetes, but failed at every turn. I went through days of trying to get them from something called Seguro Popular here in Chapala. After submitting numerous documents the doctor took one look at my required list of meds and said they couldn’t help me with anything! Then I tried something that had worked for me before when I was in Ecuador. I wanted to renew my prescriptions online at Shoppers Drug Mart, my pharmacy back in Belleville, Ontario. No doubt to get another six months of meds the pharmacy would need a renewal from my doctor which was the case back in April when I had returned to Canada to apply for my temporal visa to come back to Mexico. My darling nurse, Claudia, said she would need to see me before she could do the renewals. That was fine then because I was in Belleville. Not so now. I’ve sent her a detailed email explaining my situation and asking for her help.
If it wasn’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all. First the website for Shoppers has been down for weeks now. All I get is “access denied”. At first I thought this might be because my IP address was here in Mexico, but my friend back in Canada got the same error. For at least a month now I have been sending emails to them about their site issue, but no one responds. I also have what’s called a PC Optimum card which entitles you to various discounts. I contacted them as well and, although they at least responded, they were of little help, telling me to contact Shoppers. Some tie ago Loblaws bought Shoppers Drug Mart so I emailed them as well. Same response. Nothing. I haven’t given up yet though and I’m going to try to phone in my renewals. It will then all be up to Claudia if she will do the renewal prescriptions or not. If she refuses, which I must understand, I will have no other choice than to bu my meds here in Mexico. An expensive proposition.
In addition to my diabetic meds I also have some urgently needed dental work. This is not cosmetic in any way. Before I left for Mexico last year I lost a crown I had had for some thirty years. It could not be replaced because the surface was far too thing and had a hole in it as well. They wanted a thousand dollars Canadian to replace it which was totally impossible. Might as well have been a million. Dental costs are a lot lower here in Mexico, with some procedures, like my crown replacement, costing as little as twenty-five percent of what they cost in the US or Canada. When I went to a dentist after I arrived not only did I need the crown replacement but I also needed forty thousand pesos worth of other urgent work. Thanks to my diabetes two other teeth have cracked and broken leaving the nerves exposed and I am in a lot of pain. I can’t avoid getting this work done anymore.
Although those are the most critical needs I do have other issues I need to fund. One is my website business. I have worked long and hard for a year and a half developing my primary website, AjijicToday.com.mx. Before I decided to come to Mexico I needed to find a way to raise some money because my lowly pensions, paid in equally lowly Canadian dollars, would not be enough to live on here in Mexico, despite the lower cost of living. The decision to move here was similar to the reasons I had moved previously to Panama and Ecuador. My pensions are just not enough to live anywhere in Canada. Back in Belleville to rent an apartment would have cost half of my pensions, leaving me little for food or anything else. Even the rent on the room I had in the group home had gone up to $490! Just for a room! I have long lobbied the federal government to increase pensions to at least the poverty level but they don’t care about seniors who have paid thousands in taxes their whole lives. They would rather fund immigrants to the country who have never paid a dime in taxes.
As if my pensions weren’t meager enough soon I will lose a third of my income when the pension called GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement) ends. You lose it once you are out of the country more than six months which I have been. That means earning money to replace it will become even more critical and that involves my website business. I have barely managed to pay for the hosting of my sites but the real issue is not getting paying clients. This was an issue in both Panama and Ecuador before. My Spanish is simply not good enough to call on clients so I need a professional, Spanish speaking, Sales Director. So far I’ve been through seven women who just don’t understand the opportunity this represents. Their problem is they just can’t afford to live on commission, regardless of how generous it is. There’s no limit on how much they can make and they have residual income that they get every year, plus they get an override on sales on other reps in other territories. They could quite easily make ten times the average wage here in their first year. What I need to do is be able to give them a draw on commission and that takes funding.
To design and build a site like mine would cost about a hundred thousand dollars. It has been designed from the ground up, both the format and the one hundred and ninety pages I have now. It’s not a template. I have coded every word of it. I also have twenty other registered domains for every town and village around the lake. My format is totally unique in that every site is local. Yes, there are other websites in this region, but they all have an ulterior motive, usually to sell you Real Estate. My sites are totally objective and designed to promote only the local community with things like a Business Directory, free classifieds, a free forum, a free Events Calendar and a ton of local information.
When I saw how these goals would not be possible without proper funding I developed an investment proposal. Much as I didn’t really want to part with any part of the business I had invested so much time in I was willing to sell up to a forty-nine percent interest for forty-nine thousand dollars. Although my proposal was detailed and clear, the problem was that I am not yet a registered company here in Mexico. I have setup things like PayPal to accept payments which go to my Canadian bank but the structure is still a sole proprietorship and that simply doesn’t work for an investor. The umbrella company for all the sites is called The Mexico Today Group and this needs to be a registered corporation here in Mexico. Because I am living here on a temporal visa I am not allowed to earn any personal income here. Having a corporation solves that issue, but takes money to register properly. It would be great to get enough donations to fund this and not have to give up part of my business.
Beyond these clearly defined needs there is my “wish list”. Some are personal, like I would just love to get a dirt-bike, both to get around, because i spend a fortune with Uber drivers not having a car of my own, plus to join a group of riders who go up in the mountains every Sunday. I spent many years dirt-biking back in BC and love every minute of it. It would be a real thrill to get to bike again here in Mexico. My bikes back in Canada were all Hondas but they are very expensive here. There is a brand, Italica, manufactured here in Mexico and they just celebrated their two millionth bike. I can buy one here in Chapala for about twenty-five thousand pesos. Cheap.
Currently I live in a very small studio apartment in Riberas del Pilar, a short distance from Ajijic. Rents in Ajijic have doubled or even tripled because the demand is so high and the supply so low, so I could not afford to live there. My current apartment is only five thousand pesos a month and it’s fine for me. I would enjoy a little more furniture to make it more livable, but nothing is critical. Things like a patio suite for my terrace would make life more enjoyable. The only reason I would need to move would be if I managed to find that special lady to share my life. My apartment is too small for two people.
Next comes the business. Assuming I find a good Sales Director and she works hard I will not be able to keep up with the demands for advertising for clients. Given my low advertising rates, affordable for anyone, there are probably five thousand businesses that could sign up just in the local area. I promise a forty-eight hour turnaround for ads so I’ll need help. I would like to find an office in the area both so potential clients can come to the office and to hire technical staff, preferably young qualified Mexicans, and give them a nice place to work. I also want to pay them well so they stay. These kind of technical people would make forty or fifty dollars an hour and have all kinds of paid benefits such as medical care. Right now the minimum wage is about to be increased here in Mexico to only about a hundred pesos a day. That’s about six dollars US. How can anyone survive on this? I want to pay my staff at least five dollars US per hour with bonuses based on performance. I would like to pay even my technicians a commission so they feel like they are part of the total team that grows our business, together.
As much as my current site has many features there is always more to add, but these additional features cost money. An example is my Real Estate section. Although I have spent months researching all kinds of what are called plugins for Real Estate all of them have failed to provide what as a former Realtor in Canada, I know is needed. I finally found the right plugin but the free version does not provide what is needed. I need to get their Pro version but it costs almost a hundred dollars. A very worthwhile investment. Now that WordPress is used in more than a quarter of websites worldwide and growing exponentially, there are more than ten thousand of these plugins available so a website can offer everything imaginable. None of the good ones are free though.