September 13 Ocean Amp – Your Daily Dose Of Ocean
Actually, what is the difference between White Spot Pirates and UNTIE THE LINES? I already tried to explain how the two of them are related on my website, but I hope to make it a bit more clear with this blog post. My far future goal for White Spot Pirates is that it will turn into more than just being the platform presenting the documentary UNTIE THE LINES. White Spot Pirates is about people chasing their dreams. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone, to question what you really want in life and what might be keeping you from doing it and who you can overcome those obsticals in your way.
On White Spot Pirates I hope to share stories of people who have made their dreams come true or who are still in the process of making them happen. The prupose is to inspire others with these stories and to share what we feel when we go for our dreams: all those hopes and fears, excitements and frustrations.
Today I would like to introduce Anja Medau to you, Founder of Oceanamp.org. She is making the start of the “White Spot Pirate Of The Month” series. Thank you, Anja, for taking the time to answer my questions!
Anja, please tell us about the White Spot that you are currently chasing.
My “White Spot” right now is “OceanAmp“. My dream about a global Ocean information platform that includes a global Ocean-Radio station.
I am fascinated by oceans and their power. The way it calms us – I think everyone has his or her personal story connected to Oceans. It is such a big force of nature and it calls up the Ocean inside us.
After a vacation to Portugal some years ago finding out about the terrible effects of mass tourism to beaches and oceans I wanted to do something. Change something. Act. After some research I discovered, that there are many, many for me at that point unknown foundations, that do great things about our oceans. With OceanAmp on Facebook I started a little project to collect as much information as possible about their work, our oceans and their health. But I did not just want to collect them, I wanted to amplify news and actions about our Oceans. The good and the bad ones, the joyful and the sad ones. That’s what the “AMP” stands for.
Since I am a radio-journalist soon I did not only want to spread other peoples news and stories. I wanted to create them myself- on the medium I love- radio. But that is a big challenge.
What makes this dream so special for you?
Good question. It is so special for me, as I have been looking for a long time to get more meaningfulness into my journalistic life. At some point I was so frustrated about it and about the rules or limits that you have to face in that industry that I wanted to get out of it completely. So I became a Yoga Teacher and Somatic Movement Therapist. Hard to make a living as well.
Now I am back in media and Oceanamp is my absolute dream to journalistically work on issues about the oceans, that can be fun, but also meaningful and able to create change instead of only entertainment.
How long were you thinking about this project before you actually decided to go after this White Spot? Can you describe the moment of taking this decision? What was the final trigger to do so?
I had been looking for ways to get more meaningful ways in my journalistic career for already a long time. To finally do the step and just make this virtual idea real was just last year. I thought and still think it is a great and important and missing thing in the world that can create a lot of change and awareness. There is various platforms doing so- working in journalistic ecopreneurship in the states- but as far as I know none in Germany. And I did not want to miss the chance to at least try and do it.
The exact moment I decided to do it was a moment when nothing worked anymore in my life. All was on hold. I had no existing, steady client to pay my bills, I had applied for hundreds of steady jobs for more than a year – just denials. I had applied for a visa in South Africa to work there- denial. I started working in a cafe of a friend of mine to pay my rent and learn as much about the café business to be able to start my plan B and open up a café at some point.
My life was a mess. So I thought: I need to do something. It is time for plan B. Either a café or this idea that has been in my head for so long. And this idea if it works out can lead me to my own independent online magazine and radio, creating my own future without having to apply and apply and knock on other peoples doors, who do not open. I decided to start opening my own door! And just JUMPED! There was nothing to loose anyway.
Did you have to overcome any obstacles / fears to pursue this dream of yours? If so, can you name one or two of the hardest ones? How did you manage to overcome them and where did you take the mental strength from to keep going when times got rough?
For realizing my project, I needed money. So I started talking to some friends in the startup industry, a startup incubator and other channels that financially support newborn webprojects. But all those venture capitalists and commercial financers were just thinking in Dollars, in consuming, in when to exit the project with how much money. Profit, profit, profit. For me that all seemed not fitting. Plus: I am not selling any products- I am providing and amplifying content. Meaningful content. So at that point the only solution was to start my dreamproject all independently by myself.
That was in September 2014.
Since then I am putting my time, money and soul into this project OceanAmp and OceanRadio. It is an own website now, I am starting to collect more authors from all over the world, I am producing OceanRadio all by myself as often as I can – AND: big- success- I managed to get my first content exchange partner- TheTerramar Project from New York!!
So little by little with all my 1-Woman Show power I am making little baby success steps to hopefully get closer to my dream and build a real global, Multimedia- Ocean Information platform.
But with this project times are just starting to get rough. The project is taking on momentum- but that means I need to put even more time and energy into it. And I am coming to a limit, as I have to do a more or less 4 day job as a radio presenter at the same time to make a living.
I need to struchure my days and times, when I can work on Oceanamp and when I cannot. When I need time to get energy back. I had to realize that I cannot work 7 days a week every day. It burns me out. It takes all my motivation from it.
I need to find partners to start a real company. I need to find financial partners that fit my goals, so at some point I do not need to work in different other jobs to make my living. So that is the obstacles that are in front of me. And I am right now starting to work on how to overcome them… structure, partners, patience, finding joy while you go…. Any other suggestions…?
What has changed in your life since you took this new route?
Since I started doing this project I have almost no more time. As I had too much time before now I am in an absolute lack of time. Time management and finding ways to still enjoy my days are Prio 1 on my list every day right now. That is the most significant thing that has changed so far. Starting your own business WHILE you are working elsewhere to make a living is not an easy thing. So finding ways to finance Oceanamp and give me more time to work on it is one of the most important next steps I need to take.
Does discovering your White Spot feel the way you expected it to or is it different and if so, in what way?
Well, OceanAmp is one of some “White Spots” I have had in my life so far. Becoming a Yoga Teacher has been one too. Becoming a Model, TV and radio presenter has been one in the first place. But: If you reach this goal or dream you thought you were having- often it is quite different in reality than this vision or fantasy you had about it. With whatever you do you will be facing obstacles, tasks you hate, people you do not want to work with but still have to, restrictions, and so on…. And so it will be the case with this project too. And yes, it will be shown in the future, how many of these obstacles I can survive, how hard the wind will be blowing against me … but so far I am confident I will get through it!
Did you already have the qualifications you needed to put your dream into reality or did you have to learn completely new skills? If the latter, what was your approach to develop them?
I still have to learn a lot of new skills in term of an Online Business.
There is lots of stuff I have to face that I actually HATE. Really. I am a radio person. I know my stuff . But doing an online magazine and starting it all on my own takes a lot of new knowledge: How does a blog work, how do all social media channels work you need to build, where can you find technical support, how does SEO work, how does content marketing work, where do you find authors, what legal things do you have to follow and which legal contracts do you have to follow, How do you edit fotos and so on and so on.
What strategy will I have since I have to do it all alone right now and my days only have 24hours. Right now my strategy is to do and learn things that I can, but get people and pay people to teach me other things or coach me, that I am not able to do yet. I also pay people who do things that I am not willing to learn. For example design a professional website for me. There is just things in my opinion I rather pay for than loosing my last nerv and in the end creating a platform that does not meet my requirements or standards in looks and/ or functionality.
What did you learn from your project? Are there any regrets?
I often ask myself when I cannot sleep at night as I am thinking of all the things that have to be done for that project: “why are you doing this to yourself”? “Why did you start all this”?
What I learn is that I have to take things step by step. Allow myself to have a process. I am used to know what I am doing and be very productive. Here I do not know much about so many things. And I can only do it as good as I can as much as I can. Hate that. Cause it gives me the feeling of always not meeting my goal. But big goals are too big to be completed in a day or a week or 6 weeks or 6 months. Big dreams take time. And I have to remind myself of that every day and every sleepless night again and again.
Is there anything that you need help with to fully conquer your White Spot?
Yes. I need partners. A technical partner and a marketing/ business development partner who comes out of the publishing sector. Urgently on the search for them.
Would you like to share anything else with the other White Spot Pirates here?
Ha! I LOVE to share everything! But I would love to do that in person. In the meantime- I’ll share this little motivational saying by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 1st female President of Liberia, and peace nobel award winner:
If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough!
Thank you, Anja, for sharing your experiences with us and for inspiring us with your story! And I wish you all the best for your OceanAMP project. Maybe this post will help you to find a suitable business partner, who knows. So if anyone is out there who can help, please contact Anja.