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.

Kicking off a better year for my media work, probably

I’m claiming that January presented clear signs that I’m reversing the decline of revenue that I’d been suffering, thanks to depression and arsehattery — something that I’ve become very aware of in recent months.

If you don’t like these personal reflections that I write from time to time, then stop reading now. Read this instead.

I started this planning process at the end of 2012, because I’d noticed that until then I hadn’t actually been planning my media work, let alone taking the next step of having some kind of strategy.

I’d just plodded along doing much the same thing every week. If an income stream died, I did no real work to replace it. When new work was offered, I generally took it on unless the idea was clearly daft.

You can see what happened in my newly-updated “media objects” chart, which counts how many things I did for each masthead, regardless of complexity or income.

Chart of media objects produced by Stilgherrian since 2011

Continue reading “Kicking off a better year for my media work, probably”

Weekly Wrap 190: Wattle you know, some productivity!

Australia Day in the eucalypt forest: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 20 to Sunday 26 January 2014 saw the return of something approaching productivity, as well as a stabilisation of the chaos. Excellent.

I’ve also started to get a clearer idea of where I want to take my media work in 2014, but more about that another time.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday one of the police sergeants at Katoomba gave me two packets of blue jelly beans. This is not a euphemism. They were part of the community outreach they were doing at the Katoomba Village shops. They were yummy.

There was nothing more substantial, surprisingly. But the coming week has some, and I’m looking forward to it.

The Week Ahead

I’ve finally caught up with these posts, so it’s now worth writing about my plans again. I wonder how long this will last?

As I write this on a holiday Monday afternoon, I’m still in the Blue Mountains. However I plan to be in Sydney overnight on Tuesday and Thursday, in both cases because there’s a good chance that certain business-social events in the evening could run a bit late. Or a bit messy. Or both. I’ll be in Sydney Tuesday through to Friday.

As always, the plan could change at short notice, so either pay attention to my Twitter stream or look at the calendar.

Tuesday will primarily be about mapping out the next few weeks — something that needs re-doing after the unproductive weeks disrupted my previous version of the plan. I won’t jinx it now by proposing when I do what, however. Let’s just watch it unfold.

[Update 28 January 2014, 1055 AEDT: Deleted references to being in Sydney on Tuesday. Plans changed.]

[Update 29 January 2014, 1610 AEDT: Changed references to when I’d be in Sydney again. Because plans changed again.]

[Photo: Australia Day in the eucalypt forest, being a lovely rendition of a wattle of some description on a quiet, drizzly day. Now bad for a photo taken on a bashed-up smartphone.]

Visiting Newcastle for DiG Festival

DiG Festival logo: click for official websiteThis coming Wednesday I’m catching the Shitkansen north from Sydney to Newcastle for the inaugural DiG Festival and Conference: digital plus interactive plus green technology.

I won’t repeat the event’s own website. You can read that for yourself. The key days are this coming Thursday 3 and Friday 4 October 2013.

But I will say that apart from the conference program itself, I’m interested in catching a few glimpses of the city. It’s been three years since I visited Newcastle to speak at the National Young Writers Festival, and four years since I looked around properly and wrote my Letter from Newcastle. So of nothing else, there’ll be an observational essay about that.

There’s a strong-looking conference thread about the future of online payments — could the fact that Commonwealth Bank is a major sponsor have something to do with that? — and I’ll be writing about that for Technology Spectator. It’ll be a nice follow-up to my recent piece about Westpac’s $2 billion invisible bank. And I’m sure I’ll be writing about other things for other outlets.

If you’re in Newcastle at the time, don’t forget to say hi. I plan to stick around until Saturday afternoon.

Weekly Wrap 171: Writing to a realistic schedule

Screenshot of email, reading: "Hi mate, There will be drinks. Cheers."“They say, it’s all in content. I say, it’s all in the pitch,” said the PR operative — who shall remain nameless — who sent me the email you may see in the screenshot.

“Hi mate, There will be drinks. Cheers,” was all they needed to add to the generic invitation to grab my attention — though in my defence, the invitation was to an event that was well within my realms of interest, and I probably would’ve gone anyway.

I’m more than happy to attend relevant events even when there aren’t drinks. I also go to events that I’m not necessarily personally interested in, but which I know I’ll be able to turn into saleable media objects.

But it was that little personal touch that caused me to spend that extra moment to read the whole thing and agree, yes, this was something I wanted to go to.

That personal touch wasn’t really about a shared like of alcohol, though the unnamed PR operative and I agree that when we meet for drinks we’re just two people sharing a drink and confidences stay confidential.

It’s more that they knew my work, and knew that I’d get value out of this event — and because they do this sparingly, it stands out from the dozens and dozens of of PR emails I receive every day.

So here’s my week Monday 9 to Sunday 15 September 2013. I may or may not explain why this post is so late tomorrow.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

We’re already well into it, obviously. But to catch up quickly, the Tokyo trip was scratched and instead I’m now in Sydney Wednesday through Friday. On Wednesday I’ve got errands, a lunchtime briefing by IBM and then a meeting over at Randwick, and the rest is still being mapped out.

I’ll pick up the Twitter feed tomorrow.