A new home – a safe place – online communities



This morning I woke with a level of clarity and drive that has reached a new point in my life. It is about the need for change in the world and the rebalancing of a situation that is out of control and we all know it.

 The dichotomy of what I am going to say will reveal itself, and it is the fact that I am using the online world to share a message about the dangers of the online world, the antidote to this however, is that you all make me feel safe inside this community and I know that we as the ‘community leaders’ safeguard all of you.

 In 1998, you may know that I massively evangelized the online world through a new concept of an online business community called Ecademy. It was an extension of my values as a mother and a family builder and the values reflected all the passion and beauty of a family that loved, cared for, tolerated and expressed itself. This family never wanted to hate, hurt, humiliate. It nurtured, guided and celebrated, laughed and cried together.

 When we closed the door on Ecademy in 2012, we closed the door on a family. That part of it hurt more than the financial burden that then fell on Thomas and I. The deep pain came from the loss of the home.

 Roll on 5 years and I have been in the wilderness, homeless and watching through windows of other ‘homes’. Facebook and LinkedIN. I squatted in these places and in the end I settled inside Facebook, created my own room in there, effectively married to Gail Thomas and together, we built The Business Cafe Global Group here on Facebook.

I don’t have a large home anymore, I can’t manage the whole culture of this vast mansion or town called Facebook. I can’t keep everyone safe, however, in our little room I can. In the tiny corner of Facebook, you are loved, cared for and safe.

Through you all, I rebuilt my confidence as a home-maker on the Internet. You entered our small room and unknowingly you healed wounds from my past, the Trolls that stabbed me so many times, the unwanted guests that we had to remove from our home. I began to believe and know that I still had the energy and the drive to build a home again. This home however, would not be virtual, it would be real. A place where we could actually hug, smile directly in a face and welcome you. The Business Cafe.

Our Business Plans in place, the foundations built, the awareness of the costs to build the home, the amazing partner in my life, Gail Thomas, The brands who also believe in this new home that help us pay for the free skills, the people around the country who want to build a home in their town recorded and stored as ‘Franchisees’.

Mid November and we open up the Crowdfund and gave everyone who can see what we can see the opportunity to own a brick. Become a shareholder, build this with us. Each person who buys a brick sits deeply in the foundations of this special movement. The chance to bring the friendship of the good Internet to the offline world, town by town. The chance to leverage but not be dependent on the online world for our need for closeness, our need for skills and our need for clients and suppliers.

The past 3 weeks have been utterly amazing, the goodwill, the sense of belief and relief from those who can see what is needed now.

Now, this is the part where my clarity and drive has become so strong, and I want to share something that happened to me last Thursday that placed me in hospital but is actually a gift to me.

The background to this is that while building this business and having a deadline to support a community of people, I have subconsciously taken myself back 6 years to the moment when I was trying to save the Ecademy community from losing their home. Madly rushing from bank to bank, investor to investor to raise money. That’s is okay, however, the part that is not okay is the return of an evil man from my life that has trolled me and made my life hell once more. A shocking realization that I had forgotten existed.

I parked all of his anger, Gail and my family have been an amazing support and the strength I have to build a new type of home from all my past experiences cannot let this man back into my life, I am immune to him now. However, subconscious workings of the brain cannot be defeated.

On Thursday, I had a shock.

I was happily back in a place I haven’t been for years. Delivering a workshop for Daniel Priestly and his KPI program on how to Build your Profile. Truly excited to be asked to do this again, it felt I was relevant again. The materials I used were created by me, the addition of a Spotify Playlist to use while people contemplated exercises I gave them.

All the delegates in the room were new to me, strangers that I hoped to impact. Care for and support on their journey into the world of social media. I was once again evangelizing its goodness. I had healed my experience of the Trolls, 6 years on, I was aware that they are now illegal and can be removed.

I introduced myself and set an exercise for them to do. I sat down and when I stood up again, all the faces had changed in the room. Each face was a face from my past. 40 people, all with different faces. The confusion of this was beyond my mental understanding, I put it down to excitement, a hot room, and I carried on. It happened again, again and again, 5 reincarnations of people from my past. I could feel the energy of the room, person by person and I could continue, I was not going to stop. However, 3 times I went to the Ladies and tried to be sick. I was hallucinating and it was terrifying.

 3 hours and 30 minutes past, I completed the workbooks and their journey with me, they left and many hugged me and thanked me. When the last person left the room I sat down and cried. The shock of the afternoon had left me shaking and terrified of the experience. I asked my Host if I had been strange and they reassured me that all went very well. I now know this is true, feedback was 9.8 out of 10.

 I took a taxi to Waterloo and called my son and asked him to take me to A&E as soon as he collected me from the train. I was sure I had an illness. 4 hours later, bloods taken, heart checked, brain checked I was home. Nothing was wrong.

Friday, I had to cancel calls I planned. I rested at home, very shaken and confused.

Trying to make sense of this experience was so overwhelming, but I now have, and this is why I have to share it and why my strength, clarity and vision of the Business Cafe is unfaltering and it will happen.

On Sunday I made my weekly visit to my Church, I have made some amazing friends there. This time I was chosen to be interviewed by the Lay Preacher at the front, asked what I do. I shared the dream I have about bringing businesses together in towns across the world, where they are supported, where kindness is the culture and where we give skills for free to help them become stronger.

I chose to sit back down in another part of the Church afterwards and reflect. When the service came to an end, a wonderful man who I have shared a coffee with in the past came and sat down with me. He saw my tears and I explained what had happened. This man is ex Military. His eyes welled up and he told me that he too had experienced hallucinations and something very similar, as a result of when he had been ambushed. He gave me the label and the sanity I was seeking. He held my hand and told me I had PTSD. A past trauma repeating, the hallucinations where flashbacks, triggered by the circumstances of 4 things repeating, building a community, raising money, trolls and delivering a workshop. The trauma is the pain of the Troll and the fight to support a community of amazing people.

This is a serious matter, I now know I can deal with it and this is a strength and a gift. I had not truly dealt with the ‘ambush’ of Trolls when it happened, and now I will 

Across the world how many have been hurt and damaged by the dark side of the Internet. How many people does it take to stand up and say, ‘enough’.

We live in beautiful times, with beautiful people who want to do good. How many of us are needed to build a better home? Somewhere where we are safe, loved, know we matter and are respected for the brave people whom work and strive for ourselves to feed our families and contribute to the lives of others.

You, me, your friends, across the world, we need to drown the evil, goodness alone cannot do this. We need another way. We need a different home, one where we can step into the Internet with the resilience and self belief and the skills that ensure we are not a victim of its power, rather, we are in control and the amazing aspects of the Internet build us, not weaken us.

I know this is a long message, I want to share it, you know me as honest and raw and real. I am okay, I don’t need sympathy, in fact, please don’t offer it,

I have a new breath in me, I am fantastically excited. What I want you to do with this is share it if you believe in it, and feel it needs to be heard, keep believing in what we are doing and trust that however we do this, The Business Cafe will happen.

Thank you my friends.


This is a copy of my post in our Facebook Group where we are real, raw and caring. Search The Business Cafe Global on Facebook or click HERE 


Thank you to our sponsors who are enabling us to deliver free digital skills
within The Business Cafe

Please follow and like us:
Visit Us
Follow Me
Join Us

Post Author: Penny