A radical business stance: I need to make some money. In order to keep doing what I do best, I need that income to be more or less passive, that is once it's set up, it keeps making me money so that I can concentrate on cranking out content, accumulating knowledge and experimenting. This is my somewhat radical business statement. Radical meaning that it diverges from the norm. It is a work in progress and we'll see what I can and can't achieve, but I'm starting with this basic philosophy and intent.
Why do I want money?: I need money for several things. To live off of to the extent that I don't provide for myself. Cars, gas, car insurance, food that I don't or can't produce etc... My needs are pretty simple. Mostly I need money to pay off my homestead Turkeysong. This is my laboratory in which I am deeply invested emotionally and in long term experimental projects, some of which may not show really relevant results for another decade or so. More projects and experiments are always being started. I need money for infrastructure and could certainly use some to hire labor. I prefer to do as much as possible myself, and to an extent, that is part of the whole experiment that is my life, but I could definitely use a little hired labor to make more experimental projects happen, such as my fruit breeding projects for instance which require breaking new ground, installing irrigation and maintenance.
What I don't need money for: Recreation, entertainment and other frivolities. I don't go on "vacation" or the movies or stuff like that. At least very rarely. I'm too busy having fun working!
Things I would prefer not to do: I am extremely annoyed by the consumer culture and by the constant assault of advertising we are all subjected to, which seems even more with the internet than every before. I think people should buy less and do more for themselves and much of what I do is geared toward fostering that attitude in people. Business should not be "just business" as far as I'm concerned. As a result, I have some things I would prefer NOT to do in my attempts to build a more or less passive income. For instance, I would very much like to NOT use random advertising like google ads on my site, or advertisements on my youtube channel. I'm sure you would rather I didn't too! I may have to, we'll see, but I don't want to. I also do not want to get people to buy as much random stuff as possible, because that is wrong on so many levels.
Compensation for busting my ass: I feel rather awkward about money because it has never been much of a motivation for me. However, I'm finding it rather motivating right now, because of what it can do for me, which is allow me to continue my work here. I work all the time, I just rarely get monetary compensation for it. I've spent most of my life gathering knowledge and skills and sharing them without a lot coming back my way. I've spent untold hours writing blog posts, making videos, doing research, turning information into knowledge and answering peoples emails. Just look at my keyboard. I can't read 7 of the keys, several more are on their way out, and I've already replaced all of the keys once! I need to cash in on all that time and effort invested now if I'm going to keep this up.
Advertising: Random advertising kind of sucks. I have no problem promoting something I can stand behind personally, that thats not how internet advertising currently works. As I understand, the way it works now is that google, or whoever else follows you wherever you go on the net and beyond, puts ads on websites you visit that target you specifically. Or they try to match the content of the ad to the site's content. Sometimes they get it right, and often they don't. Advertising of that nature is also distracting from site content, ruins the atmosphere of the site and is just plain annoying. YouTube ads are a constant annoyance as many of you have no doubt noticed. I've gotten somewhat used to them now, but that fact is almost more concerning. Look, basically, as someone said in the 70's, "the medium is the message". If my self reliance oriented youtube channel is peppered with ads to buy new cars or whatever random stuff pops up, then that's just lame. I want SkillCult to be a place that is not polluted by that presence. But, if I'm not making enough to get by, I will definitely consider using it, or I may have to use it until things get more well underway.
Buy Less!: Possibly the most radical aspect of my planned approach here is that I want to encourage you not to buy things you don't need, especially physical products. Information and digital products are different. I can't think of anything better for you to spend (or even waste!) your money on than my books, digital or print! Digital uses no resources to speak of and once it exists, a physical book can always be picked up by anyone and put to use for their edification. I hope this works. My plan is pretty much as follows. I will be doing product reviews, but they will be somewhat unique in that the purpose will be to give people that might really benefit from buying a thing enough information to make a decision they won't regret, while convincing people who don't need it not to. My hope is that this will actually break down barriers to buying that may exist out of mistrust so that people who can really benefit from say a Japanese pruning saw that I'm all enthused about will feel confident in that decision. Hopefully that will work by building trust in my credibility and earnestness, while simultaneously preventing the unwarranted impulse buys, or misguided purchases. That is closer to how advertising used to be approached, at least ostensibly, until techniques of manipulation were discovered and refined, which we are now continually exposed to. For more on this subject, I recommend watching Century of the Self, which should probably be viewed by everyone in this modern age where we are being constantly manipulated by well honed techniques.
Affiliate Marketing: I like affiliate marketing on the Amazon model. The way this works is that if I send you to amazon, say with a product link to above Japanese pruning saw (which actually is awesome :) I get a commission if you buy it. Not only that, but I get a commission on anything you buy on amazon for the next 24 hours. I think it's about 4 to 8%, depending on various factors. This is kind of a win, win, win for all three parties, provided that people don't buy a bunch of crap that they don't need, which just don't! This method of passive income is fairly low key and could work well for me if I can get enough click throughs. So one way you can keep me from having to do annoying things for money is to use my affiliate links. Even better, book mark this amazon link in your browser bar and use it to shop at Amazon. I always keep a link like this in my browser bar from a blog that I like, just in order to support them. It's free money, so you should do it for someone you want to support, even if it's not me.
My intent: All that said, I would like to make a whole bunch of money. The first 400,000.00 (after taxes!) would probalby pay off the land and various investments that have been made into it, set aside enough to pay property taxes and road association fees for the next 20 to 30 years and provide for a little bit of basic infrastructure that hasn't been put in yet, like a solid water system and fire prevention. I may be able to do all that on less, I'm just guessing at this point, but yeah, basically that is a lot of money. Anything beyond that I can easily put to good use. I have no interest in accumulating money just for the sake of it. For me it's all about getting my message out, growing SkillCult as a business to do that, and making interesting stuff happen here on the land.
My reservations: I have reservations about posting this at all and I have some reservations I'd like to reserve. Can this even work when much of internet revenue is made off of advertising? If I start getting high views on youtube, I may be giving up literally thousands of dollars which at this point I desperately need! That's kind of sobering. Life is not clear cut in black and white. We have to make compromises to achieve what we want and in my case, maybe to continue the work I do and reach as many people as possible. On the other hand, I really do believe that the medium is the message and want to live that as much as possible. We'll see what happens and I reserve the right to do whatever it takes that I feel is an acceptable compromise to make this project happen. If you find my basic intentions resonate with you, you can do the following to help me do it better.
Help my get the biggest audience possible by sharing my stuff. I need the most hugest audience I can get. Share, comment and like the SkillCult facebook page.
Put my Amazon.com link in your browser bar and use it.
Buy my books and even more important, leave reviews after you read them!
I feel confident that you'll agree that the little money I manage to squeeze out of you will be well spent and well in your favor. I hope you agree anyway. I don't think either one of us should have to feel like we are getting the short end of the stick for this relationship to work. So far almost all of my content has been free and the majority of it will continue to be free. Given a reliable income, I would prefer to produce just free content and I think that is where the information age is headed anyway whether we like it or not. Personally, I do like it. This is my step in that direction. I'm just trying to figure out where I fit in this limbo stage. I don't think money is evil. It has it's advantages and I think I can easily turn those advantages to good use, but I also don't think the ends justify the means as a general rule, and I'd like to think that no one needs to be manipulated or be a victim in order for me to make plenty to get by and continue my work. Hopefully if my earnestness, credibility and authenticity come through, this will work. Help prove me right! Thanks for your support.
What do you think? Am I ƒ#%@π& CRAZY? Is this the best idea ever?