For more than nine years, I’ve run this project from the heart. I launched my first website in May 2005, after months of planning and years of wishing for a resource that fit my needs. No one else was talking frankly (or irreverently) about what life with chronic illness is like, especially for younger women—and I finally decided to create the resource I had always wished for.

The Internet got bigger, so I got bigger

It didn’t take long for the project to grow much larger than I anticipated, and soon we were revamping the site, creating a newsletter, launching a forum and more. The advent of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest meant I needed to add the ChronicBabe presence to those platforms—where so many of you spend time every day.

But something was missing.

You write me the most painful emails and tell me your most personal stories. Dozens a day, sometimes. And some of you write to me over and over, and say howdy often, and ask me how you can get more support. And while I love all this work, I wanted to do something more personal. I feel a deep connection with so many of you and I believe my life’s work is to teach other people how to persevere in the face of illness.

jenni's got a secretThe Secret Club was born

Over a weekend, I banged out the idea for the Secret Club. Once I understood my mission (to provide more opportunities for you to learn and grow, to go deeper into challenging issues, and to empower you to craft a more fulfilling life) the rest was easy. On top of weekly emails with personal stories, resources and pretty pictures, I added a monthly teleseminar, a big PDF chock full of exercises and stories, a super-private Facebook group, and some fun snail mail. BOOM. Instant rock-solid community of kick-ass babes, helping each other. My dream come true!

The opportunity to work closely with you is amazing. I hear your stories, I can answer your questions directly, and I get to watch as you make friends with other women like you. I love how women in their 20s are helping women in their 60s, and vice versa. And I love how I learn so much from YOU—talk about a bonus!

Plus: Mama’s gotta eat.

Here’s the thing: Since its inception, ChronicBabe has been a labor of love. I’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars (think of how many more shoes I could have had!) hiring graphic designers, web designer/developers, interns, assistants, videographers, photographers and more to create hundreds and hundreds of resources. I’ve poured hundreds of hours of my life into the project. And I’ve done all of it with immense joy.

And: For the project to continue to grow—for it to continue to exist, actually—I need to turn a profit. As an unmarried, self-employed lady with multiple chronic illnesses, my expenses are HIGH and my pockets are shallow. So the Secret Club offers me the chance to do the work I most want to do and help pay the bills.

Is the Secret Club right for you?

If you feel ready to take the next step—to take positive daily action toward living life as a ChronicBabe—then sugar, this is definitely for you. If you crave accountability and structure, then I can offer that, too. And if you like a balance of mediums (group conversation, recorded teachings, snail mail, email and more) then I’ve got you covered.

It’s $25 a month, which I know is a lot of money for some of you. I think it’s one of the best things you can get for the price, but I’m biased. My Secret Club members tell me they love the value; some who were initially skeptical have actually told me I should charge more. But I won’t, because I want to keep it as affordable as possible.

Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere

Despite what some folks have said on my Facebook wall and other places, I’m not pulling all of ChronicBabe behind a paywall. What’s out there on the Interwebs is free, and always will be. I’ll continue to create lots of free resources for you as long as I can. And: One way you can support my work in doing that is to become part of the Secret Club. Because the more time I’m able to focus on ChronicBabe, the more awesome it’s gonna get. And I know you like awesome.

So don’t worry: If you choose not to join the Secret Club, you’re not going to be excluded from anything. There will always be a place for you in the ChronicBabe community.

How else can I serve you?

As always, I welcome your input. Some in our community recently said they have a hard time absorbing video content, so I’ve started adding rough transcripts to each post. Folks tell me they love hearing personal stories (wow, I figured after nine years y’all would be sick of me!) so I’ve started posting much more personal experiences. I do what I can, babe, to offer you the kind of support and guidance that I wished for when I was first diagnosed. If there’s anything I can do better, don’t be shy.

jenni-sigXO! – Jenni