Thoughts on support

Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to read this, even though it’s obviously not a project post. I’ve had some stuff on my mind lately, and wanted to share my thoughts and ask for your feedback, and help. This blog is run, after all, by a person. So, why not get a little personal?

Earlier this year, almost on a whim, I decided to take control of this blog (that has existed since 2003!) and set some rules for myself and create a purpose for it. I don’t need to share the rules with you, but the purpose was two fold.

  1. To give me a reason/excuse to prioritize my desire to make stuff, even though my life is already full and busy.
  2. To produce the content in a way that would both help people and inspire people to take on projects, get their hands dirty, and learn something new.

(There are actually a few other reasons, but those are the core.)

I’ve gotten lots of fantastic feedback over this year about my projects, my writing, my videos and I’ve heard several stories of people being inspired to build something, which makes me SO, SO happy! That’s extremely gratifying..  but honestly #2 is the easy part.

The harder part is #1. My wife and I have four young, wonderful, insane children. I’m a marathoner, musician and have a full time job. My wife runs our home (so basically 3 full time jobs) and  plays roller derby. We’ve got lots of active friendships, we’re active in our church and community. We have a FULL LIFE, both in that we have more than we ever imagined and less time than seems possible.

My wife is also, probably THE MOST SUPPORTIVE person in this universe. If I say that I want to train for a marathon, she says GO FOR IT! (It’s a HUGE time commitment, in case you don’t know).. if I say that I want to build an arcade machine and put it in our living room, she says GO FOR IT! My point is that her support allows me the pockets of time, and the resources to design and build the projects that go on this site. I have no shortage of moral support from her, and you guys.  Somehow, we manage to carve out the time to build things around real life, and for that I’m truly grateful.

The thing that is harder to justify is the cost of the projects, sometimes. A lot of the projects are things that I would build for our home, whether this blog existed or not, but I can only imagine that built in shelves, and closet remodels can only be interesting for so long. That and the fact that I like to make STUFF..ALL KINDS OF STUFF. That means that not every project is going to be practical, or financially worthwhile.

The point I’m getting to (in an admittedly roundabout way) is that this can get expensive. Material cost, tool replacements, camera equipment, and software all cost money. We are however, completely blessed to be able to handle the cost, and let me be very clear here…

  • I WILL CONTINUE THIS SITE EVEN IF I NEVER GET ANY MONEY FROM IT.
  • I WILL ALWAYS GIVE AWAY THE CONTENT AND PLANS FOR FREE.

Here’s another thing about the cost of these projects.  Since I got started, I’ve worked under the assumption that eventually the Youtube, Google and Amazon ads on the site would start to contribute a few dollars each month (but had very low expectations). Well, as it turns out, the return on ads is not what it used to be, at least with the level of readership that I have (and am COMPLETELY THANKFUL FOR).  It’s not just me that sees this either. Content creators, Youtubers, bloggers, are all seeing revenue drop (if it existed for them at all)

To give you an example, when my whiteboard desk got picked up by ApartmentTherapy and LifeHacker, it got almost 20,000 views in a day. That’s a HUGE single day number for me.  The Google ad revenue from that day? $8.00.   A normal days ad revenue? $0.00 – 0.15

Now, don’t get me wrong, $8.00 is a lunch, but that was my BEST day.. and to me, the ads are annoying (for you) which is not worth a free lunch (for me)

Also, I’ve started to think about the impact and purpose for ads. Jack Conte (who’s brilliant and talented) had some really excellent points in his XOXO presentation about the use of ads as a income source.  The main point of it (although I’d encourage you to watch his whole presentation) is that people who sell ads care about how many people click on a video (or article, etc) but they don’t care about how much that person LIKED the content that they clicked on. For Jack, and for me, it’s more important to know how much YOU liked the content that you saw.

So.. where is this all going?

I want to remove the ads… the ads from this site, from my RSS feed, from my Youtube videos.. all of them. If there’s any type of ad/promotion/redirection on my content, I want it to be pointed at something that I believe in, care about and think YOU may find interesting or useful. But I’m getting rid of randomly filled ad spots that don’t do you or I any good. This is my plan, regardless of what happens next.

Along with that move (not because of it), I want to ask you for your support. I don’t want you to give me money if you need it for anything else important, if you can’t afford it, or don’t think it’s 100% worthwhile. I also don’t want you to feel bad for enjoying the content, if you can’t or don’t want to give financial support. This content is free, and it’s supposed to be fun and helpful.

If, however, you WANT to, and CAN help.. here are some ways.

  1. Buy a shirt! I profit a couple of dollars on each shirt, but then you can wear it and tell other people what this site is about!
  2. Donate materials. Got some extra barnwood? Know someone giving away tools? Let me know!
  3. Donate money. Every little bit is helpful.

Then there’s Patreon, which is probably my most preferred method for you to help financially. Here’s the idea.

You essentially become a patron of my work, and commit to pay a certain amount of money for every piece of content that I produce. Of course, you can cancel it at any time, it’s only charged to your account once a month.

For example, if you become a $1 patron, and I produce one video and one blog project post in a month, your card gets charged $2 at the end of that month.

It’s kind of like Kickstarter, but instead of for a single project, it’s to support the continued production of projects. The site was built by Jack Conte and his business partner, and is first and foremost in place to enable people to directly support their favorite content creators (without profits being skimmed by Google, ad networks, etc). Like Kickstarter, I’m able to offer rewards based on the amount that you decide to contribute. I’d love ideas for more interesting rewards so that I could make it worth your while, and worth your money, to support me.

Patreon has a simple video that probably explains it better than I can.

So, please check out my Patreon page and maybe even share it!

patreonShot

To wrap up, I want to say

  • THANK YOU, the support that I already receive is amazing!
  • Projects & plans will always be available for FREE from I Like To Make Stuff.
  • Any type or level of support is GREATLY appreciated!
  • I’ll keep doing this stuff, even if I don’t get a penny from it.
  • YOU ARE AWESOME.

-Bob

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on support

  1. Here’s some advice: Your Amazon links should be affiliate links. (I can’t tell if they already are — there’s a lot of junk in those links.) Then link the daylights out of your posts. Don’t be ashamed to do this. People reading these posts, like myself, are beginners, and we need advice on what stuff to buy. When you use the word “crimper”, link it to a crimper on Amazon that you like. Same with wire, connectors, tools, etc. Otherwise I’m forced to search for it myself, and it’s intimidating. I have no idea what gauge wire to buy! I just bought $55′s worth of stuff on Amazon as a result of one of your posts, and you didn’t get a penny. Make it easier on me to buy stuff, and profit from it.

    Oh, and thank you so much for writing these!

    • Hey Lawrence! Actually, I do! Every time I link to Amazon, it’s an affiliate link.. but you’re right, maybe I should link even more.
      Thanks so much for your ideas! It’s SO encouraging to hear that you’re getting something out of my posts! I’d love to see what you make, so please share! Thanks again, and stay in touch!

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