On February 1st, 2020, at the New Hampshire Liberty Forum, the Executive Director of the Free State Project, Rachel Goldsmith, announced that she was stepping down to focus on her family. Then, she revealed me as her successor.
After my first month in office, I published my first blog post as the new Executive Director.
Below is a version of the transcript of my talk, which I gave at Liberty Forum to a live audience.
“That’s a big next step!”
When I think about making a big decision in life, it often reminds me of the first time I went sky diving.
On that day, about 20 years ago, that incredibly tiny plane fit the pilot, the cameraman, me, and the tandem jump instructor with little room to spare. When the plane left the ground, the door was still open, and I was completely calm. I was all smiles and enjoying the ride.
As we approached our target height, the camera man shut the door and the instructor connected the two of us and locked us safely together. Still, I was totally unnerved.
Then, the cameraman re-opened the door and climbed out into the wing. That’s when the fear hit. The instructor moved towards the door, which meant that I also was moving towards the door, whether I was ready to go or not! When we got to the edge, my feet touched the step – the only step! I remember thinking, “that’s a big next step!”
A 60-second emotional rollercoaster
The moment had come. There was certainly no turning back now. The instructor counted, “3, 2, 1”, and with that, the pilot was flying solo.
I’ll admit, as we tumbled through the air for a few seconds, I was completely terrified. Suddenly, the instructor skillfully and quickly straightened us out, and we were staring at the camera guy.
From that point on, the rush of excitement took over and I couldn’t have been happier. After about a minute, we pulled the parachute, which violently jolted our bodies. What followed was a peaceful and slow glide, then a safe landing in an open field.
Feel the fear
That’s pretty much how I felt six days ago when I returned to the United States after three years, two months, and 22 days of solo traveling.
That sky diving analogy could be used for so many experiences, couldn’t it? With the biggest decisions in life, that first, big step can often be kind of scary. But just as frequently, excitement and happiness follow those scary moments.
For a lot of us, I imagine the entire process of moving to New Hampshire was a bit scary at times. If I’m being honest, I’ll tell you that my second move has been a bit tougher than the first.
Yet, here I am. And here we are, inviting thousands of people like us to follow our lead, feel the fear, dangle their feet out the door, and take that leap of faith.
What made me end my travels?
So, why did I that leap of faith and move to New Hampshire for a second time?
Without a doubt, I did not miss my springtime allergic reactions, the runny noses in the winter, or the frequent ‘partly sunny’ weather. Do you know what I did miss, though? I missed you.
After solo traveling through Europe, Southeast Asia, and Iran, and after meeting thousands of people, I’m convinced that there’s no place else on earth like New Hampshire. I haven’t seen the entire world, but I’ve seen enough. I’ve come to this conclusion: this movement, you people, this is something special. Something historic. What we have here cannot be matched anywhere else in the world!
In truth, I’m not the only one in this room who has the ability to be anywhere, am I? Despite some of you having those spring-time allergies, the runny noses, and having experienced the ‘partly sunny’ weather, you have chosen to be here, haven’t you? We all share the ability of mobility. Yet, here we are. And for good reason, too. In fact, there may be as many as 101 reasons, according to some video I saw on Youtube.
My life is better
Consequently, there are many factors that brought us together today. For me, I’ve found that my life is better when I’m working for a freer tomorrow, and I love being a part of a community who shares that value.
Because of this, when I think about where I want to live on this planet, the best place for me is New Hampshire. As a result, there’s no place else I’d rather be than right here, right now, with you.
If you agree, then let’s get to work!
5+ of my goals for 2020
Let’s continue and expand the efforts that have brought the Free State Project this far. I have a long list of goals that I fully intend to accomplish. I’ll share five of them with you now. But only with your help, can all of the following things be achieved this year:
- First and foremost, harness the power of inbound traffic to the website to add at least 3,000 more people to our newsletter, our signer numbers, and our in-New Hampshire numbers. My goal here is to double the in-NH numbers from last year.
- Write inspirational scripts, then develop and publish short, effective, promotional videos.
- Continue the Household Name effort. So far, we’ve raised over $17,000 for that marketing effort, which has been promoting the Free State Project for the last year.
- Maximize the free Google AdWords grants at the full $10k/month.
- Lastly, the Free State Project has a very real need for funding. Of course, I will make fundraising efforts, but I need your urgent attention with this issue, also. Financially, this charity has survived for nearly 19 years largely due to the incredibly generous contributions of a small handful of core donors. This year, we will increase that core. If you want to encourage us to keep going, the Free State Project needs all supporters to commit to the following two actions:
- Make your maximum financial contribution.
- Encourage others to follow your lead and make their own maximum contributions.
All of the people in this room can contribute. If a large, one-time financial contribution doesn’t work for you, please commit to an automatic, monthly gift, even if it’s only $5-$10/month.
Get your phones out
This is the part where I’m supposed to ask you to write a check. But for those of you who didn’t bring your checkbook, let me remind you, it’s 2020. Most of you have the technology to make this happen right now.
You see, I used to be the phone guy. I know the statistics. Most of the people in this room have a smartphone. In your possession, right now, you have the ability to contribute. Before I continue with my talk, I’m going to do what most speakers would never do: I’m going to ask you to get out your phone. Right now, visit FSP.org/Give or FSP.org/HouseholdName. Don’t worry, I’ll give you those addresses to you again. Even if you don’t plan on giving, please, humor me and get your phone out.
Remember, FSP.org/Give is for people who want to give to the general fund. While, FSP.org/HouseholdName is for people who want to give specifically to the marketing budget. Don’t wait. Make your contribution now. One last time, I’ll give you those addresses: FSP.org/Give or FSP.org/HouseholdName. [Editor’s note: Audience members used their phones to give $2,150 in just a few minutes.]
Most importantly, if you or somebody you know are considering a large, significant financial contribution, please contact me or any of the Free State Project board members or staff. We’d be glad to sit down with you and give you an individualized donor presentation.
By the way, to help raise more funds, keep your eyes on our social media and our newsletter. Because this year, we will re-launch the Free State Project online store with brand new merchandise.
Who do you want to be?
There are people who make things happen. And then there are people that talk about people who make things happen. Which one would you rather be? I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Exciting things are coming in 2020 and I’m excited to build on years of success and get new and great things done!
Vince has led or directly contributed to every major marketing effort from the Free State Project since 2010. His vision and energy make big projects more realistic. For more on Vince, check out his personal blog, which is primarily about his travels.