Friday, November 14, 2008

Experimenting with Paypal

That small number who read this blog on a regular basis will know that there is nothing that I would like better than to research and write on something like a full time basis, doing some other things to add income including lecturing and speaking. Towards this end, I actually spend a lot of time researching and writing each week.

I have been looking at just what is required to do some of the things I want to do.

Over time, I need to fund some new equipment including a new computer, digital camera plus software and a measure of professional support including graphic design. I have quite good personal computing skills, but there is a real art form in developing a nice looking e or printed product. I also need to fund telecoms costs, consumables and travel so that I can get to more places. Then I have to meet my own living costs, along with a share of the family costs.

I do carry Google ad-sense on the blogs, but I want to be a professional writer, not a professional blogger. So I follow my writing interests rather than the path required to maximise traffic and hence click-throughs. Most of all, I want to maintain, improve if possible, the quality of my content.

As a small next step forward, I am experimenting with the use of paypal starting with a small donation button on this site. While donations would obviously be welcome (!), think of it as a subscription, my real objective is to get to understand paypal properly with the aim of selling some of my writings and possibly other things such as speaker services through the various sites.

Now I have no idea as to whether all this might work. I am sure that, like blogging itself, it is certainly going to take me in new directions!


Neil Whitfield mentioned on a comment on this post in his Google Reader series that he would watch this experiment with interest. I can understand this. Neil has a lot of really very good material that, if packaged, might have a value to people beyond simple blog access. If he could do this, then he might generate an income stream independent of his immediate exertion, thus giving him cash to do new things.

Earlier this month in Common Management Problems - get the booklet I tried a related experiment to see if people would be prepared to pay a small fee - $A15 - to get material in a more usable form.

I selected $A15 because it seemed to me that with a few sales it would cover my extra time costs plus processing costs while yielding a small profit margin.

I have no idea as to whether or not this will generate any gains. However, I will keep experimenting and report back on results so that all readers of this blog who are interested can share the lessons.


Anonymous said...

I don't want to discourage you, Jim, but I doubt if the experiment itself will prove particularly lucrative. At the risk of being a bit risque, I think your takings might be depressed for the same reason as I have abandoned my plans to make my living as a gigolo or male prostitute, namely, there are too many people doing it for free!

Jim Belshaw said...

I did laugh, marcellous. You may be right.

Speaking professionally, I have done a fair bit of work linked to the web, the issue of the best way of commercialising content has been around for a while.

One of my problems is that I do not want to follow the rules that do seem to work because of the focus on writing, so I need to test some new models.

If this does not work then I will have to go back to more traditional models because otherwise it becomes impossible to justift the time without independent wealth!