Five days ago, I decided to try to give blogging a try for the first time in almost a year. I asked for help in reaching a fundraising goal–paying pending bills to my blog’s hosting company, Bluehost, the essential add-on to my website in Jetpack, and Dlvr.it, which provides updates to my Twitter account and TMR Facebook page.
You guys and gals delivered in a big way, with most of the donations being surprisingly big ($20-50) and coming from a lot of people who’ve never donated to the TMR cause before.
I am SUPER GRATEFUL to each and every one of you for your support. We’re at the fundraising goal ($420) plus about $50 after all of five frickin’ days’ worth of fundraising.
SO: We’re a little under a week into TMR, Chapter 3, and there are questions ahead. Some of the following = ideas about ideas, but I’ve tried to put some thought into all of this instead of just throwing shit at a wall and seeing what sticks.
- I hate to make this the first one, but here it is: somehow, this blog has to sustain itself financially. I seem to be able to raise funds for individual projects, but it’s been damn, damn hard to get Patreon going on a sustainable rate. My big-ass ultimate goal is to try, by hook and crook, to earn $750 a month, without having to resort to posting ads or posting content behind a paywall. That would require somewhere north of 100 people agreeing to sign up on Patreon or send monthly Paypal donations at $5 to $10. That’s going to be hard as the audience of TMR has shrank due to all the damn medical complications my mom’s illnesses caused over the past couple of years, but I believe it can be done.
- I also want to mention this: $750 a month is approximately the earnings of somebody getting paid minimum wage for 20 hours a week. I’d be doing double that at the very least, but I believe that I should also put every single dollar over $750 back into the blog. I already pay for subscriptions to The Athletic, ESPN, the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News and Soundcloud out of pocket, and the more $ I have to reinvest in the blog, the more I would be able to do “giveaways,” try to redesign the interface (more on that below), etc.
- Obviously, that means creating more content, and I have to lean on you for this one. I understand that you’re going to want a little more opinion pieces and original content out of this blog (facilitating discussion through linking stuff is great and all, but it only provides so much value), and everybody and their cousin’s uncle’s monkey has a podcast these days.
- I know a fair amount about writing columns, but I don’t know a flying flurk about making a podcast, so if you’re interested in becoming George’s Podcast Guru (GPG), you are welcome to contact me. I’ll be doing some research in the meantime regarding podcasting. There are already some really good Red Wings-related podcasts out there, and I want to add more voices to the mix instead of competing with the big guns. My ideas involve not only doing opinion and guest interviews, but also employing YOU as co-hosts, assuming that you’re interested in doing that kind of thing.
- In general, regarding what kinds of original content you’d like to see (yes, I am considering hiring a prospect person to do the daily prospect stats, and yes, I have an idea about bringing in a second writer to just do opinion stuff, but it’s frickin’ early), what kinds of things you could do with less of (ex. those damn game previews, which seem to go over like lead balloons)…
- As well as what you think might be worth buying in terms of some TMR-branded merch or maybe a new web design that I could buy from the WordPress theme store. I don’t have a shit-ton of money to spend, but there are ways to get some branded merchandise out there, and I would like you to check out the themes available so that I don’t have to hire a web designer.
- All of that being said, the whole concept of starting this blog has revolved around building a community of fans who feel that they are receiving a value-added product, and that means that, essentially speaking, I want to work for you. I need you to weigh in regarding these ideas and anything else you could think of to make TMR better, whether that’s via the comments section, via Twitter, Facebook, email (see: firstname.lastname@example.org) or Patreon (where a $10 pledge level = you become part of the TMR Board of Directors), carrier pigeon…
- And, yes, I have to make a living of some sort (I don’t expect to make a lot of money right away; this whole website is rebuilding itself for the third time, and rebuilding takes time), so I’m going to continue to ask y’all to donate via Patreon, Paypal, Giftly and whatever else you feel is a good way to send $ my way. If you are a project-centric giver, don’t worry, I need to replace this 8-year-old laptop, so I will be starting a project to raise $ for that soon, but that’s coming.
- That’s where I’m at this morning. Please comment if you can–your opinions and ideas are going to shape the future of this blog, and we’re at a place where your ideas can significantly influence where we go from here. I just need to hear from you.