Since transparency is very important to us, and since the Connection Revolution is not only a world-changing movement but also a business (here’s why), we wanted to talk openly about the business side of things, and what part it played in the change from the Freak Revolution to the Connection Revolution.
The Profit Pie
Here’s the breakdown of how much profit we made (net, not gross) in January through September of 2010.
- Affiliate is money we made from promoting other people’s products using affiliate links.
- UE is the ongoing profit from our first book, The Usual Error, both the tree book and the audiobook.
- 52WtA is 52 Weeks to Awesome.
- Coaching is coaching.
- WCWW is the World-Changing Writing Workshop.
- (This pie doesn’t include Engaging eCourses, but if it did, it’d be a slice roughly half the size of 52WtA.)
As you can see, the World-Changing Writing Workshop completely dwarfed all our other income streams. It was a no-brainer to make it an annual event.
The Helping Pie
But of course, making money isn’t our #1 priority, changing the world is. What would the pie look like if it showed how much our various projects have helped people and made the world a better place?
It’s much harder to measure, but from the feedback we’ve gotten from people saying we’ve changed their lives or helped them in some way, I think it would look something like this:
It’s more colorful, because we included our free projects as well:
- Blogging is our blog plus guest posts we’ve written.
- Manifesto is our manifesto, newly rewritten as The Connection Manifesto.
What I read from the helping pie is “Keep up the good work! Keep up the good profitable work and keep up the good free work, too!”
…except for two areas: coaching and affiliate promotions. Those two are tiny slices in both the helping pie and the profit pie, so we decided to make some changes.
Kyeli talked about the coaching changes yesterday, so today I’ll talk about the affiliate change.
Our new policy on promoting other people’s stuff
From here on out, we’ll be very selective about promoting other people’s products and services — about one per quarter tops, limited to things that we not only think are awesome, but have actually used and loved.
For our readers, this will mean a whole lot fewer blurbs of the form
“Our friend Jane has an awesome new product launching this week, check it out! (affiliate link)”
Instead, if we’re going to say anything, we’ll say
“Our friend Jane is amazing, and here’s why. (direct link)”
We’ll tell you who we think is awesome and worth your time, not what we think is awesome and worth your time (and money).
In my experience, most social media recommendations of products are really recommendations of people anyway, so let’s all be honest about it.
For our friends who would like to us to help them promote their awesome stuff, this means one of two things.
Option 1: You can tell us about your thing well in advance so we can consider buying it, using it, and giving it one of our rare review spots.
Option 2: You can just be awesome, provide useful free stuff that we’ll happily link to, tell us about it, then tell people about your paid products (in a non-annoying way) on your own site. That’s a win/win/win for us, for you, and for our readers.
In keeping with our new policy, we’ve decluttered our sidebar. We’ve removed the ads for other people’s products, and put our own products in our beautiful new store. Hardly anyone ever clicked on them, and the new design communicates our values more clearly.
That’s important, because so many people are mistrustful of businesses. They feel that all businesses only care about making money, consequences be damned. I admit, when starting out on my entrepreneurial journey, I was hard pressed to find successful entrepreneurs whose goals and ethics I could wholeheartedly support.
If you can’t find a good role model, become your own role model.
Dabbling in Metabusiness
We’ve always been adamant that we wouldn’t sell anything related to business until we’d been decently successful in business. It just seems too circular, like those make money online scams that claim to teach you how to make a million dollars, and the answer is “trick a bunch of people into thinking that you can teach them how to make a million dollars.” Blech.
Since the World-Changing Writing Workshop, we have become decently successful in business, so we’ve got two small-business-related projects in the works: one about collaboration, called Business Buddies, and a big one called Profitable Idealism. But don’t worry, we’re not going to become yet another site focused on entrepreneurship. Our focus has been and will continue to be on changing the world through connection.
Entrepreneurship is one way to do that, but it’s not the only way, and it won’t become our only way.
We are the knights who say “niche!”
One of the reasons we decided on the Freak Revolution in the first place was the prevailing business advice that you’ve got to have a niche.
There are probably plenty of people who will say we’re crazy for switching from a tasty niche like “freak” to an inchoately vague niche like “connection”.
We’ll see. (:
A daring rescue at the last minute!
Our lovely Web Elf, Rachael E.C. Acklin, came down with a nasty case of the flu right before launch. Despite impossible odds, she managed to finish this beautiful new website before the day of unveiling, while somehow managing to take good care of herself in the process.
Yay, Rachael! *hugs*
When we peeked at the initial results of our “Who are you?” survey a few hours after we sent it out, there were only 16% freaks. Later, it went up to 44%, but I feel like the 16% happened for a reason, because we needed that wake-up call to really think about what revolution we’re leading.
Which of these labels do you identify with OR wish to identify with?
|some gender other than male or female||8%|
|exhausted from ticking all these tickyboxes||33%|
What do you get if you take the top 8 most frequently ticked tickyboxes and mush them into a single person? You get a female spiritual weird awesome nonconformist writer geek revolutionary. Wow.
Also, 74% spiritual and only 6% religious? Yeah, you’re in the right place. (:
That brings us to our shift to include more spirituality in everything we do.
We rewrote our manifesto to rephrase “the Infinite” to “Spirit” or “the Divine”. We originally wrote “the Infinite” because we were trying to use a term that wouldn’t offend anyone. We were afraid.
We’re still afraid, but we’re opening up anyway.
We’re not sure exactly how we’ll make spirituality a part of our business yet (other than its notable presence in the upper-right of our website) but we’ll listen to our hearts.
I know they will lead us true.