It’s time to turn around the Revenue Ship, and fast

I knew the first three months of 2015 had been bad for business — or at least my little patch of business — but I hadn’t realised it was this bad. Turns out it was my second-worst quarter in more than four years! Drastic action and ruthless decisions are required.

Yes, this is another of my occasional thinking-aloud reflections on my personal circumstances. If you don’t like this sort of thing, then stop reading now. Read this instead.

Still with me? Lovely.

Yesterday I updated my “media objects” chart, which counts how many things I’ve created for each media outlet, regardless of relative complexity or what income was generated. It serves as a handy proxy for revenue — because certain revenue figures are confidential.

Media objects produced monthly, 2011-2015: click to embiggen

It’s a depressing image. At best, Q1 of 2015 was no worse than Q1 of the previous year, but overall it’s still a picture of decline. Literally depressing, in fact, because I’ve left in a couple of health-related markers that I was using to analyse something else.

Back at the end of 2012, I’d tried to inject a little more strategy into the way I ran the business side of making media. This and other charts were some of the tools I created, last updated in February 2014. It’s fair to say that I haven’t really developed any kind of strategy out of the information in those charts, and this new chart illustrates the results from doing that nothing. Go me.

This chart doesn’t reflect certain positives, however. There’s now crowdsourced funding for The 9pm Edict podcast. I also do some minor work for the University of Technology Sydney, and I consult on some other media projects too. There’s also fragmentary revenue from the legacy clients of my IT business.

But I do need to raise my income levels back to something more like they were a few years ago. The next step is to do something about it. And that has been the nature of my ponderings across this Easter long weekend.

So I’ve decided to drop Blogjune

Despite my early enthusiasm for Blogjune, saying I’d join various others in writing a blog post ever day this month, I’ve decided to give it a miss.

While I do want to be writing more of the essays I used to write, I’ve got plenty to be getting on with — including The 9pm Edict podcast, figuring out what to do with Corrupted Nerds, and of course generating more paying work.

Once I’d fallen a couple of days behind, the “commitment” to this arbitrary project was really only causing stress, without generating much in the way of benefits. So I’m quite happy to have dropped it.

The five Blogjune posts I did write are all tagged blogjune.

Blogjune, yes, but why? [blogjune01]

Buddha Brian on a log: click to embiggenI’ve never been much of a joiner. I don’t play nice with other children. Well, more them with me, the vicious little bastards. But I’ve joined Constance Wiebrands’s Blogjune project this year anyway. I suspect it was a stupid decision.

“What the fuck did you sign up to that for,” screams my alleged professional side.

“You’ve got leads for paying work you could follow up. But no, you’re pissing away time on things like 5at5. You did an episode of Corrupted Nerds this week, which doesn’t have any income yet, when you’d already been paid to do another episode of The 9pm Edict in May and you only just managed to sneak that in before midnight last night. What’s wrong with you?”

Continue reading “Blogjune, yes, but why? [blogjune01]”

“Tip Stilgherrian” page operational, with few glitches

Stripe logoNow that I’ve run two successful crowdfunding campaigns through Pozible, I’m starting to set up systems to accept direct payments for my various projects. The first, a page to accept one-off donations was mostly straightforward.

I chose to use Stripe as the card payment service because I already had a Stripe account for my second Pozible project, The 9pm Resurrection.

While Stripe is still in beta in Australia, Pozible already uses it to handle recurring subscription payments, and I’d already received an invitation into the beta program. I figured it made sense to keep all my payments in one place.

Plus I’ll eventually be using Memberful to process subscriptions, and that also uses Stripe.

To integrate Stripe into this WordPress site, I used the free plugin WP Stripe from Human Made Limited. This provided me with one payment form per website, which is all I needed for this task. I also installed the WP Stripe Email Receipts plugin by Philip Newcomer.

All that went smoothly. I installed the plugins, activated them, entered my Stripe account keys and a template for the email receipts — and they just worked.

The only difficulties came with configuring Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) on the web server, and that was down to a bug I encountered in the WHM/cPanel hosting management software while I was installing the SSL certificate. That’s nothing to do with Stripe or WordPress or the plugins, of course, just my dodgy web server.

I’ll document that bug over the fold. Meanwhile, why not try out the system and give me a tip? Was that too blatant?

Continue reading ““Tip Stilgherrian” page operational, with few glitches”