I’m hesitant to post this but its something I’ve been pondering for a while now and I’d appreciate your thoughts and ideas.
You see I love writing on this blog – it is the blog I’m most proud of and that I put most time into. I get more feedback and interaction with readers here via comments, IM and email than any other blog in my stable. However for the time I put in its the least rewarding financially. Ads for blogging services pay next to nothing and my readership is not really big enough to attract any big private sponsorships. I’d be lucky if this site pays for my morning coffee most days (and I go to a cheap cafe).
Now before anyone worries that I’m about to either can this blog, or start charging people to read it, or that I’m going to ask for donation – please don’t worry – this is a free blog and I intend to keep it that way. In actual fact I don’t write this blog for the money but because I’m genuinely passionate about blogging as a medium, want to connect with and help others who are also and because I enjoy writing on these topics.
So what am I hesitant about? Let me cut to the chase.
Looking at my email inbox and the logs of my IM client for the past 3 days I’ve just counted up 20 requests from readers to ‘take a look’ at their blogs or to ‘offer advice’ on everything from SEO, to Adsense optimization, to design, to overall vision etc.
I enjoy these requests, I love to help others (otherwise I wouldn’t make my contact details public) but it is now starting to get to the point where I could dedicate a few hours each day to the task which whilst an enjoyable task is one which takes me away from my other business. I do try to accommodate all requests, but as the readership of this blog rises (as it steadily is) I can see that the day is coming where I’m either going to have to say no to such requests or find a way to either make it pay for my time or decrease the time needed to do it.
So here is what I’m asking you my blogging buddies – what do I do?
I’ve asked a few of you already in one on one chats and some of your (and my) ideas include:
- Charge a consultancy/coaching fee per 10 minute block (or some other amount of time).
- Open a free discussion forums where bloggers workshop their ideas together rather than relying upon me to give advice.
- Run a short course in ProBlogging (which people pay for) that takes people through the basics
- Write an Ebook on the topic and sell it (offer an hour consulting with each book)
- Do case studies on the blog which the recipient of the case study pays for the time of but everyone else learns from
- Do consulting in return for non financial reimbursement including links to my blogs from those that I help or even by them placing adsense ads with my publisher code on their blog for an agreed time frame.
- Try to put a figure on what the increases in earnings are for the blog in question and take an agreed cut of these profits (10-20%) for an agreed time (six months).
- Charge people by them writing one article for one of your blogs per ten minutes of time that you give them (ie if you consult for an hour they owe you 6 posts on one of your blogs).
I’m not sure on any of these options. There are things about some that I like but disadvantages of each one.
My main desire is to keep this blog at ProBlogger free and running as it is – but I’m finding that many of your want more individual attention. I actually think my archives are full of the answers to most of the questions that people ask me – but I guess to sift through them all takes time and its quicker just to come straight to me.
The other issue to consider is that many readers of this blog can’t afford to really pay much at all for my time because they are just starting out and often have either no blog or a blog with tiny readership that could take a substantial amount of time to build into something that is profitable. On the other hand others are already earning decent money from their blogs. Is it fair to charge both the same for my time? For example, a few days ago I helped two people within an hour of each other. Today I found out that my advice helped one of them increase their daily earnings from $1 to $1.30 and the other one increased their earnings by $40 per day. I spent the same time on both of them but obviously one is in a better position to pay than the other simply because their blog has been going longer and has a larger economy of scale.
I hope that this post doesn’t put people off making contact with me – I love the interactions that I have and learn a lot from you too – I’m just thinking out loud about how to make our interactions as mutually beneficial as possible.
I’d appreciate your thoughts – please share your ideas on what business model (if any) you can see me moving towards here at ProBlogger. Would you be willing to pay for some of the above services (or others) – if so how much is reasonable – if not how else might I structure things so we all come out of this better off as bloggers? Please be honest – I won’t be offended by your ideas, feedback and thoughts and value your time and energy.