Most Patreon videos are there so you can introduce yourself and talk about what you make. I chose not to do that. Instead, I talked about why I was doing a campaign. Which involves a lot of complaining about Google.
There’s a certain taboo against talking about money. To an extent, I understand that. It’s crass to brag about how much you make, and since pay grades are all over the place, one person’s “Boo Hoo I only make $Butts” is going to be pretty offensive to someone who makes $Butts/2.
But Krellen has made a pretty good case that these rules don’t always make sense. Certainly there’s room for talking openly about money when you’re asking people for some. I know I’m far more likely to give to charities with a lot of transparency and reluctant to give to ones that act like a drop box. So let’s talk about what I do and what I’m hoping for.
I want to stress that none of this is an attempt to pressure you to give. I would much rather you read without giving than feel guilted into leaving. I do this because I like to make content and you’re here because you like the content, but neither one of us is under any particular obligation. Having said that, we’re going to talk money using real numbers so if you’re not comfortable with that then you’ll probably want to skip the rest of this.
The Google ads used to net me between $200 and $300 a month, with them bringing in more around Christmas and less in the summer. So if the Patreon can get to $300 a month, then this will all break evenThe amount shown on the Patreon page is the gross, before transaction fees are considered..
I don’t feel like I can directly reveal how much I make from The Escapist. I need to keep that number confidential out of respect for them. But as a way of trying to be open about this while also protecting their privacy, I will say that between my writing for the Escapist and some other part-time freelance work that I do (stuff that’s private and also boring and not worth discussing) I bring in between $750 and $1,500The freelance stuff is pretty spotty, and I don’t always have an idea for a column. So both incomes are variable..
So I probably make slightly better than minimum wage. My wife works and we manage to pay the bills without needing to sell our children on eBay. Note that while people normally associate “minimum wage” with “low, pathetic income”, context is important. I don’t have to maintain a car, drive to work, pay for parking, pay to eat lunch, pay for Starbucks, or keep a steady rotation of dress clothing. I can live far from the sexy tech jobs, in places where rent is low-ish. That stuff adds up. So if you compare me to Kevin Who Runs the Photocopier, I’m actually better off even if we bring in the same number of dollars in an hour of workParticularly since Kevin gets in trouble for playing videogames, whereas it’s a required part of my routine. Poor Kevin..
Yes, I could make much, much more if I gave up this site and just took a programming job. But by working on this website instead of a tech company I get to live close to my extended family, I get to spend lots of time with my immediate family, I get to do lots of cool creative stuff, and the work is very low-stress. It also means one less guy burning gas, taking up parking space, and clogging the highways. I do this because I love it and I’d rather have the quality of life than the money.
Anyway. Going by the numbers above, if this campaign went way beyond expectations and hit $1,500 I could think about giving up on The Escapist and the freelance stuff and making this site a full-time job. (The freelance stuff would be the first to go. Bo-ring!) I could make more content. But is that worth it? I have no idea. Would people rather have more articles here than a weekly column over there? Would it be wise to cut myself off from the new readership that The Escapist sends my way? I honestly don’t know.
I’m really nervous about messing with things. We’ve got a good thing going here, and I’m always shy of shaking things up in a way that might break that. If it hadn’t been for my fight with Google I probably would have put off this Patreon campaign forever. Too many new readers would drown out the community we have. Too few and we’d slowly dry up. Too little content and people stop checking backYou’d be surprised how many people don’t use RSS. And even when they do, people are always looking for low-yield sites to cull from their daily info-foraging.. Too much and they feel overwhelmed and skim. (Yes this happens.) I feel like I’ve accidentally discovered a magic formula for doing fun, creative work at home and I’m scared of doing anything that would disturb that.
So. Patreon. Give if you want to give. Don’t if you don’t. Please share and enjoy the site either way.
EDIT: Okay. Whatever happens, the Escapist column isn’t going anywhere. I’m really glad people like that so much.
 The amount shown on the Patreon page is the gross, before transaction fees are considered.
 The freelance stuff is pretty spotty, and I don’t always have an idea for a column. So both incomes are variable.
 Particularly since Kevin gets in trouble for playing videogames, whereas it’s a required part of my routine. Poor Kevin.
 You’d be surprised how many people don’t use RSS. And even when they do, people are always looking for low-yield sites to cull from their daily info-foraging.
Even allegedly smart people can make life-changing blunders that seem very, very obvious in retrospect.
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