I find that Empaths often feel inspired to help others, which is why we have such great support available both here and in our facebook group.
To answer your question: I started this web site in 2007 from the same sentiment. But back then, when you googled "empath community", nothing showed up.
Also, since I had tentatively started writing about my "real life" experiences as an Empath (as opposed to the web site about science fiction characters), I was more visible online and people often contacted me to get help.
Being a single mom with 2 jobs, I realized quickly that even though I REALLY wanted to, there was not enough hours in the day to take care of my son, my jobs and hundreds of Empath queries.
One days it occurred to me that it would be awesome to connect the more novice Empaths (those with side effects or untamed skills - what I refer to as an Impaired Empath ) to the more experiences ones (i.e Balanced Empaths).
At the time, I was struggling financially so I used a free platform to create the Empath Community.
For the next 6 months, it was mostly me talking to myself lol. I posted forum threads on cool things I found, on my bourgeoning Empath Survival Program, etc.
Then as the site climbed in the google results (keep in mind it had to "jump" over all the science fiction sites in order to become "relevant"), it started getting busier.
By the time we reached 10 000 users, my "free time" was consumed by all the "moderating" that comes from owning a web site. I had to start deleting old accounts to avoid paying a hefty monthly fee, put out flame thread where members argued, filter out spammers (always hard), approve new users, keep the site from tipping over from too many users, make sure the email notifications didn't go into spam folders, investigate and fix technical problems, respond to questions about how the site worked, etc.
Since I'm a software engineer, I'm also technically oriented. I knew "how" to do all these things but it was a lot of efforts.
Then in 2011, the free platform I was using got sold and they started charging $25/month for hosting. By that time, I had a LOT of users and moving to a different platform was going to be both expensive and time consuming. I looked into several alternative but none of them were maintenance free and I just didn't have the time to apply patches, deploy new versions and test everything, which is inevitable in free platform like joomla or drupal.
So I paid the monthly fees. Which increased over time to reach $49/month. Over the next 6 years, I tried to raise money to pay these hosting fees with fund raising activities, a Paypal donate button, a gift shop, advertisers, click through ads and a more that I forgot by now. I received some AMAZINGLY generous donations that covered a total of about 2 years of hosting. All the money I received went straight to pay hosting fees. But I had to pay taxes on those donations, so I got only part of the total amount...
I did not (and never will) want to charge a fee for users of the Empath Community.
For most of its life, I paid for the hosting myself.
In 2017, the platform I had been using told "small users" like me that they were not going to support us anymore. I was crushed, honestly. I lived in denial about it for a long time lol. But eventually, I started to look for another platform which I eventually found (jamroom). The hosting fee was similar and they were willing to help me migrate 10 years of users and forum posts with an installation fee.
I had to spend hundreds of hours in css, html, forms, installing modules, etc. But here we are, 12 years later and the Empath Community is still standing.
In 2017, another author (more known than me) started to use the very same terms that had placed me at the top of the Google results: "Empath Community" and :"Empath Survival Program". Following this, I lost about 90% of my online visibility and the number of Empath who found their way here dropped drastically...
All that to say: it takes a lot time, energy and often money to sustain a web site. It can almost be very hard on the heart to have these ups and downs.
That said, you can create a free web site with Facebook. You can also decide how much energy you want to spend on this endeavor before you get on the boat
I think the more resources we have out there for Empaths, the better.
But I would also like to suggest that by being right here (or any other existing Empath web site), you are using your PRECIOUS energy helping someone, a real person who has a burning question right now, instead of spending it building web pages and fighting spammer.
No matter what you choose to do, THANK YOU for your contribution to our Empath world.
In love (seriously, I do love you all)
updated by @eliselebeau: 09/06/19 10:15:51AM