Lately, I’ve been getting the same question a lot from people that I meet….. “How did you get to where you are with TMSM?” Some think it’s an overnight success, but it’s truly not. It’s been years of hard work, lots of hours put in, many ups and downs, etc. I thought it would be fun to give our readers a little bit of TMSM history, and answer some of those questions about our journey.
Back in 2008, Scott and I were at Walt Disney World, standing in line for an attraction. While chatting and waiting, we came up with the idea for a Disney site for fans. Something like Facebook for Disney people, a place for fellow Disney lovers to come and share their stories and make friends. Great idea, but how were we going to do it? It took us over a year to figure that out. We built the first version of The Main Street Mouse late in 2009, and launched our Facebook page in 2010. Originally, the site was built for Disney fun, socializing, sharing pictures, and chatting. It looked like this…..(see below).
Once things got rolling, and people were actually signing up for the site, we started doing nightly chats with members to get to know each other. The chats that summer were fun, and some of our staff now was actually part of that group…… Corey, Mike, Autumn. They were the first members of TMSM. I still remember some of the people who were part of that, and it’s a memory that I cherish, because that was the beginning. So thank you Melody, Kim, Brian, and the rest who were part of our start. Also, in the beginning, we decided that we were going to mail each person who joined, a laminated business card with their name on it and such, as a thank you. We also made buttons and such. It was very time consuming, but we were trying to create a community, and wanted to show our appreciation. We also had a member of the month contest, where we mailed prizes to people. It was crazy how fast things got started!
While we had good intentions with all that we were doing, we got in way over our heads. Keeping up with it all was turning out to be quite a job, in addition to our “real” jobs and daily life. TMSM took on a life of it’s own, and the way it was built wasn’t sustaining the amount of traffic and what we wanted to offer people. After feeling overwhelmed, we pulled TMSM down in 2011. A hiatus was needed to regroup, rebuild, and figure out what exactly people were wanting from us and what we could actually do. While the site was down, we kept the Facebook page going so we didn’t lose touch with our members. At one point, I wasn’t sure if it was ever going to come back. If it wasn’t for the interest and support of our members, it may not have made a comeback. It was the people who believed in us who made us push forward and try it again. Thank you for that!
In 2012, the rebuild was in place, and we were ready to come back even better. This time though, we were going to include a blog. I wasn’t even sure what a blog was truthfully, but once I learned, I was willing to try. I always liked to write, being brought up by a school teacher with an English major, so I figured I’d take the chance of putting my writings out there to see if people would like it. To my surprise, they did. People really took to the new site, the new format, and what we were doing this time. I was shocked. When you try something new, something that comes from ideas within, you never know what can happen, and truthfully, it’s scary. Will people respond? Will we get positive feedback? Do people still believe in what we do? So much self doubt comes with that, but we took the leap regardless. I’m so happy that we did.
The following two years were crazy for our household. Here we were, running a Disney site from Michigan, and it was a success. The Facebook numbers grew daily, our site membership grew pretty big too. So it was time to make a decision. Do we keep running things from Michigan, or do we take a leap of faith and move to Florida to be closer to the one thing that our business was all about? I was scared. Really, really scared. My whole life is in Michigan. My family, my friends, my everything. After a lot of praying and working out the details, as you know, we took the jump, and here we are. It’s not always easy, but nothing that’s worth it usually is. It takes time, work, patience and faith to keep TMSM going everyday. It also takes a group of amazing and loyal people behind us as well. Without our staff and our members, we would never have succeeded, or continue to do what we do each day. I had people tell me it couldn’t be done, I had others try to bring us down, but the support we have gotten was bigger than that, and we thank you.
Since moving to Florida, we have had the privilege to meet in person the very people who have supported us throughout the years, as well as meet some of our members and readers. If you would have told me six years ago that I’d be living in Florida, and having meet ups where over 100 people show up, I wouldn’t have believed it. We don’t get rich from this job, but what we do get is so much more than that. It’s rewarding making people happy, by bringing them the magic of Disney every day. From an idea back in 2008, a Disney family grew, and we’re blessed for that. We have the best members around, people who we consider friends and family.
So there you have it, the history of The Main Street Mouse in a nutshell. We write kindness blogs on Thursday evenings, and this ones for YOU. The kindness and support you’ve shown us over the past few years is more appreciated than you know. There’s a reason why I usually hug people who follow us when I meet them. It’s because I’m so thankful and humbled that you are part of our Disney family each and every day. I don’t take that for granted one bit. So thank you, all of you, for being in this big, beautiful Disney Ohana that we call The Main Street Mouse. Here’s to more years to come! ~M