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podcast gummed up a different way

 
master steward
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At some point the podcasts got all gummed up. Granted, Adrien jumped in and fixed all that. But at some point there were just so many technical difficulties and hassle and headaches ... there was a powerful urge of "fuck this shit".

Then we did the thing where we sold some of the podcasts. Most podcasts get downloaded about 4000 times in the first week. So when i sold it, I thought "maybe 1000 or 2000 would buy - and that will pay for help." As of today, 61 people have paid.

I have had some people send me money via paypal and say "thanks for the podcasts, they feed my soul!" - which is cool.

I have to admit that I am feeling a bit off. I feel like I want to make the podcasts just for the people that pay a little something. And I'm exploring that space.

But more importantly, I feel like the podcasts have turned into a massive pain in the ass. I'm just not feeling as jazzed about doing them. First there is the stuff I mentioned in podcast 008. Then there is the stuff about selling to 61 instead of thousands. Then there is the ongoing thing of lining somebody up for a podcast and then they cancel, and all the wonky crazy that goes on around getting things arranged and whatnot.

And there is more, more, more. Adrien has fixed most things, and is currently fixing a bunch of other stuff. And now I realize that the thing gumming up the podcasts now is me.

Don't get me wrong, I have ideas for a hundred more podcasts. I really want to do more chapter-by-chapter book reviews, and DVD/movie reviews. And interviews with awesome people. And at the same time, I put it off. My audience is 61 people. And 4000 freeloaders.

Neil Bertrando and I want to do a chapter-by-chapter review of "Botany in a Day". I think it will be kick ass. We could start today. Neil pings me once in a while about it and I keep putting him off. If we recorded the first chapter today, I bet Adrien would take care of everything and it would be up tomorrow.

I'm trying to think about what is holding me up. Why don't I call Neil this minute and say "how about one hour from now?"

I got nothing. I don't know why. I just don't feel like it.

I have the DVD "Hands on Agronomy". Helen has set up three appointments to review it with me and has cancelled three times. I suppose if my heart was in it I could come up with something to get her here. I suppose I might even shell out a hundred bucks to come up with some sort of strategy to bait her. And there it is. For the 226 podcasts, I have shelled out thousands of dollars to get them to exist.

So rather than exploring why I don't do it and how to fix it, I tried thinking of a path of where I would do it and be glad to do it.

Well, if some big outfit said "We're gonna professionally manage all this technical stuff, and do all sorts of marketing and promotion, and pay you way too much money to make it! We require at least two a month, but if you put out one a day we will roll with that too. No restrictions on content and you have full veto power." then that would work. So this sorta shocked me: I would do this for money? On further thinking, it isn't the money as much as it is money is the metric.

I thought about it some more and came up with: part of it is Adrien doing what he is doing; part of it would be the podcasts 008 stuff (other people promoting each podcast) and part of it would be the getting paid - which is a way to show that the podcasts have value and is appareciated THIS MUCH.

I think podcast 225 is an excellent podcast. How much did it get promoted by people other than me? 3 shares at facebook. I posted it to reddit and it got 31 upvotes and 11 downvotes. No other reddit posts. Anything else? I doubt it.

I remember a joke from a long time ago:

A man offers a woman a million dollars to have sex with him. She knows he has the money and says "okay." And then he offers her ten dollars instead and she says "what kind of woman do you think I am?" "We already know what kind of woman you are, now we are haggling over the price."



So then I try to think about what might be an in-between point where I will get back to making podcasts. To sort of haggle with myself.

Adrien has been pushing for improving cash flow so that the funds can be used for stuff. Maybe getting promotion for the podcasts and other things. Damn smart. So with cash flow tied to the podcasts, I get the fiscal validation, plus those funds can be used by Adrien to get proper promotion for each new podcast.

So, Adrien is trying all sorts of things to start opening monetization routes with the podcasts. There is potential there.

But what about future podcasts? What about this thing where I just don't feel like making a podcast? Yesterday, I started those threads where somebody could toss some money into the ring for a podcast or video. That did feel like that would work. Then it isn't just me being the driving force. Somebody else is putting something into it also.

You know what would be really awesome: if some outfit like peaceful valley farm supply said "Here's $5000 - we wanna sponsor the next 25 podcasts. And if we like what you say about us, we'll make a link on our home page and throw a mention out in our mailings." Money and promotion.

Even if I got $100 for one podcast, I could find a way to use that $100 to somehow pay for promotion of that same podcast.

When I first started the podcasts, I was told that dozens of people were going to voluntarily take over my boring promotion tasks. And two or three did for a bit, but then it stopped. Traffic to the empire dropped like a rock because I was making podcasts instead of the boring promotion chores.

226 podcasts. 224 are free. I've shelled out about $6000 to get them out there. Plus a huge gob of time. With the new scubbly stuff, I've pulled in about $500 so far from them. Maybe once all of Adrien's work starts to pay off, that will take a lot of the sting out. I've given a lot of free stuff to a lot of people. More than all other permaculture people combined.

61 people bought podcast 218 with Art Ludwig. After the expenses, my income is $114.72. Lame. so seriously lame. So asking 4000 people to chip in a couple of bucks each isn't gonna work.

You know what would be awesome: Somebody says "Here is $2000. Do that Botany in a Day series with Neil and mention my biz (or my name) at the beginning of each podcast." I could give Neil half. That would be super cool.

Then, making more podcasts would be clearly smart. Whereas right now, making more podcasts seems like a dumb idea.

Maybe I should put all podcasts on hold until the already existing podcasts get downloaded twice as much. Or until the income streams exceed the costs. Or until I earn at least $10 an hour rather than some negative amount. Until then, I could just think: yes, I have made a large contribution to the greater good and now I am done with that.



tl;dr: the podcasts have stopped because I don't feel like making them right now.



 
steward
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Paul, it is OK to take a break if you see that the podcasts are not working the way you would like. I think that maybe you are getting a lot of things on your plate and not all of them are pie?

You have also just purchased a piece of land , Correct?
Seems to me, (and I look upon you as the King of permaculture, so I am not worthy, and am replying from my unworthy vantage point,) that were I in your shoes, I would be wanting to chuck a lot of things that I have been giving away for free and start focusing on my land.

As I have already said in other threads here, and by e-mail, I think you have created a fantastic empire worth more than I could ever repay. It is so big that I can hardly keep up, you must be hard pressed to keep it from being work rather than fun. I would hate for you to burn out and have that empire loose the good vibe that you give it.

So please step back, take a deep breath, gather together those whom you trust and who care for you and ask them if they think that you may be stressing yourself out because you are trying to please so many people. You are a good man Paul with a huge heart. You cannot let those folks who will not send you a dollar or two for the thousands of dollars of stuff you give for free, get you down.

Life is walking through one door after another. Maybe the podcast door needs to be closed , but not locked, so you will have time and joy enough to open another?
With the greatest respect , concern, and kind thoughts, Miles
 
pollinator
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Now that's as good a bit of the blues in text as I ever seen. Not Welsh are you?

Thoughts: Don't know if you're asking, but what the hey... A tale of woe is certainly worth _some_ response.

1) "Micro" payments for almost all podcasts or similar work. The idea's not new, but implementations has been a hassle cuz there were not net protocols which worked well (read dirt simple, easy and secure). That might be changing now. Adrien may already be on it? Pick a number. $.25 $.50 $1 more? Don't know where the supply curve crosses the demand curve here but it might be in some useable region. If 500 (keep it way down conservative) people think a 'cast is worth $.50 I bet the clouds might not hang so low. Shucks $2 would make like a nova!

2) Retain basic core free stuff because that's how dealers bring in new customers.

3) Make the price/availability date dependent: Free on first release for xxx time, then payment required; that's how some radio shows and newspapers seem to do it. Has the advantage that the truly interested but poverty stricken can make the time to get your 'casts. Which may be something you would find important. Or make one free day a month, each cast max dl of, say, 100, "while supplies last"? Or again: NOT Free on first release, free after 1 year; or 1/2 price after 6 months, down to some nominal fee forever so each 'cast would potentially keep earning _something_ always.

4) Heavy customers get "Permie Points" redeemable in some way or another.

5) Now or later on: Value added editing for CD or DVD compilations. On top of the basic value of a no-computer-required medium: selecting and editing the material for main points, brevity, arranging related material together and in good chronological order; hard media could also allow images and video but beware - simple audio works extremely well for most people's life style so added visuals might not work like you plan (ref Ira Glass trying out video). However it is the age of "multimedia" and a way to possibly "add value". Don't know what the ROI looks like for that stuff, but most "prints" I see seem to run $12-$20ea; less for boxed sets.

And then there's PR which I suspect you've been flogging, but perhaps not in the more traditional channels. A core interest often can express in many different areas. Maybe it'd be worth feeling out local radio, even print media? Very different media but they both put you in contact with people. Radio talk show hosts often seem to have a small selected group of "sidekicks" which they call upon fairly often; sometimes the sidekick becomes the partner, ref Travis Smiley. There may be program hosts or editors which would find you good for their shows or columns; could lead anywhere.

Note: Most of the above aim at a grass roots market, not a middle or high market. The individual transactions are very small but they are less subject to instant fluctuation; they are spread over thousands of customers not a dozen or even a hundred. It's not the only way but it's what looks most reliable and "sustainable" to me.

Lotsa work, a slog, and all that. But this may be your ART and it's good to hang in there with one's art. Which brings to mind a Resource. <g> Ever heard of the little book ""Fear and Making Art" (or something like that - google will probably find it). I'll see if I can find it again and edit the right title in here.

Hope T-day was good and all survived in adequate health.

Rufus

 
steward
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Thanks for the ideas Rufus.

The plan was to stick with Scubbly for now, but I was also exploring the route of amazon and iTunes.

The annoying thing with iTunes is that unless you meet certain requirements, you need to get your files processed by an Apple-approved aggregator. Might not be so bad, places like Cd Baby will make it available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Music, and much more. They charge $9.95 per single and $49 per album (still trying to figure out how many files) to put it up on all those sites. They take a 9% cut on the sales and pay an average of 60 cents per song downloaded, $6.50 per full-album downloaded. So let say that we sell one podcast 20 times, we are making a small $2.05, but if it is distributed across so many sites, maybe we will sell 200 of them and that is a $110.05 for one podcast. Not huge, but helps pay the expenses for making the podcast and it is still fairly affordable.

Another avenue for the new podcast is to have sponsors pay an amount to have Paul endorse them and mention their name at the beginning of the podcast.

The last avenue is to have a membership program to access the podcasts (and much more) and once in a while a podcast would be made available for free to everybody.
 
pollinator
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If you continue I suggest sponsors and membership program. Members could get deals at the sponsors.
 
Rufus Laggren
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Adrien

It sounds like (at least for now) you'd like to reduce inhouse distribution and fulfillment work load as much as possible (hence CD-Baby). That's can certainly make sense: People need to spend time on what actually matters to them and/or where they have some effective skill and knowledge to leverage. Internet media is still in so much flux that there are no clearly established systems and methods to "cookbook" from. Roll-your-own can be more like a slog through loose sand.

But it sounds like Paul may be exploring and searching for a product as well as a market. That's a steep challenge - the best kind! <g>

So I'll mention that feared and loathed but most powerful and essential thing, The Business Plan.

The entrepreneurs course I took years ago started and ended with the Plan: Define your own goals including 1) what you want to accomplish (relates to product); 2) what you and your associates bring to the table and what part in the process you want to play yourself; 3) who your "customers" are (define your market). Iterate until you're able to answer the cocktail party Q "What do you do?" in two or three short sentences leaving the listener w/a clear idea of what benefit they can receive from your business. Basically know yourself and your enterprise deeply and clearly and know your customers. Put it down on paper with many details and as complete as possible. W/out a good business plan neither you nor anybody else will be able to understand your concepts and be able to decide to buy in. You won't know what important milestones are, when to take action, how to know what you've accomplished so far, whether you're going up or down. The best laid plans go cattiwompus immediately but they don't go down the drain - they are (among other things) your map and framework when you're in the thick of it.

The Business Plan is a most frightening thing to most entrepreneurs and justifiably so. It's usually a whole lot of work and learning (often frustrating and possibly embarrassing). It can be different for different people but the basic idea remains: Define yourself, commit yourself. Others will read it and it will help them and you yourself grasp your endeavor. It's daunting but everybody I ever talked to or heard from agreed on the serious, even critical, need for a business plan right from the start.

And look, there's a Whole New Year coming up soon... What possibilities, vistas, raw material! <g>

Rufus
 
paul wheaton
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It is a multi-faceted issue.

1 part of "why go further into the hole with this project"

1 part of "itunes will show only 40 podcasts, so for each new podcast that goes out, one gets bumped off"

1 part of "maybe I have said enough"

And probably a bunch more parts of things I cannot massage into the english language.



It's just time for some change. A sponsor would be good. Or somebody with a big mailing list. Something to make up for the lack of promotion going on.

After all, I am powerfully compelled to infect new brains with permaculture. And it seems like the podcasts are not infecting new brains - they are just re-infecting the same old brains. Or, if a new brain shows up, well, it has 226 podcasts to get through - and once through those, the brain is as infected as it is going to get.



Business plan: I have mountains of experience in this space. Remember, I have a rich history as a corporate whore, and as an entrepreneur. A business plan is required if you are going to get a loan. I'm not going to do that. A business plan can be an approach, but I prefer something far more agile.



I think there are lots of different things that can happen to get this back on rails. And Adrien is exploring a lot of those. But really, a sponsor would be a big help. Or even something similar to "the colbert bump".


 
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Paul,

You may make more in a day of "consulting" than you will ever make with Podcasts. With 11,722 registered users you need to start building your postal mailing list. With the 4,000 downloads, you need to capture e-mail addresses. With 61 podcast purchases your next step there would be determining what they want to buy next. Your numbers are not bad -- and podcasting can lead to direct clients if done right.

Podcasts may come easier if you offered paid one-on-one consultations designed to provide the 6 perhaps serious enough to want specific questions answered about their land. For a fee, they would provide digital photographs, maps, and complete a survey for your practical insight about how to get started. You would record the session, excerpt it like you do with your excellent interviews -- and use it as a launch point for more content.

It sounds like you've established a target rate of $10/hour -- which working full time is a little over the poverty line for a family of three according to the 2012 Federal Poverty Guidelines for the 48 continuous sates and the District of Columbia. You won't be podcasting 100% of the time, and since you have staff, you'll need to earn enough to cover their rate -- say $6/hour which is little over poverty line for an individual.

Frankly, you'd make more working at McDonald. I don't see you being part of the solution working at McDonalds, so might I suggest you earn at least what the average small farmer may earn which is estimated at $53,000 (average of several studies.) That would be $1,060 a week with 2 weeks off for winter. At 40 hours a week then you'll need $26.50 an hour.

Even if you podcast every hour of a work week, then maintained your land, you'll still not get 40 hours of podcasting each week. This means your actual number needs to be adjusted up to account for this. But if your staff is going to be paid, pay the government their share, and cover overhead, then you might need to five times that adjusted number.

Many of the folks looking for a free lunch aren't going to understand anything I've noted above and may be offended by the following statement ...

There are hundreds of schemes you can use to make money, but look first at what is the best use of your time and resources. Some of the schemes I've seen referenced require huge amounts of inputs with limited upside. At the risk of sounding like a capitalist bastard, to further your plans and maximize your benefit to all in this community, you need to make as much money as possible while doing maximum good.

As for selling information, there are models to do that profitably. A membership model is good. For myself, I'm too busy working for clients or around the house to spend much time with Podcasts as they are published. But I'd listen to them on a trip off the iPod/Mp3, or sit down for a DVD on a rainy day if very instructional. Anything that is going to save me time will be worth the investment.

Right now I'm at the point of saturation as far as new ideas are concerned. After purchasing 8-10 books, a few DVD's, and past experience I'm more busy doing than trying to learn how to do more. To increase your earnings you'll need to focus on people who still in the "hope and dream" part of the spectrum -- perhaps regular subscribers of "The New Pioneer" or "Mother Earth News" but live in high density cities.

For examples of people who have already done really well in "Better living" topics, read the book "What a Way to Live and Make a Living" by Lyman Wood. His "Have More" plan opened the door for other offers, so don't stop with what you see on the surface. This book will open your eyes what Geoff Lawton is doing with his new approach with his upcoming program.

You may not enjoy podcasting right now -- because it is huge pain, I have hundreds of hours of podcasts recorded with only a handful published for clients. However, I have transcribed a few minutes from a podcast for a newsletter, another excerpt for lead generation, and a few recordings together for a product. Think of today's podcast as tomorrows book chapter -- like planting a fruit tree, you labor dig the hole today for the fruit in years.

Meanwhile, you ought not be doing anything that earns less than a rate you can live and it can't be $10/hour.

Sincerely,

Justin

P. s. While I'm on a bit of a rant, I don't understand how an audience can expect someone to keep doing good without earning a fair wage. Even Mother Teresa couldn't do her works without raising more than $50 million dollars for various projects. While she may not have directly received a salary, I'm pretty sure she didn't pay for travel out of her own pocket.
 
paul wheaton
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A few assumptions need to be corrected:

1) I don't really want to be a consultant. Most permaculture folks dream of consulting, but I'm not one of them.

2) I think if you build a mailing list by saying "you cannot have this thing unless you sign up for the mailing list" you get a low quality list.

3) $10 per hour: I used to earn hundreds of dollars per hour. If I was after money, I would go back to software engineering. I do permaculture stuff because I have to change the world. Podcasts has become a money/time pit and is doing very little to meeting the change-the-world stuff. Adrien is getting paid more than me and that is 100% awesome. He is getting a lot of stuff done. And he is focused on projects that will earn his keep.


I can see the podcasts getting revived in several ways. A big sponsor would be one way. A big media bump would be another. Somebody shelling out $100 for one podcast. Or $200 for a podcast where I interview somebody interesting. Or $5000 to try to entice a mega celebrity. Or if 1000 people bought the art ludwig podcast. Or if the podcasts had a stronger growth path. If we had volunteers putting in 20 hours a week to promoting new podcasts (which was what I thought was going to happen when I recorded podcast 001) then I can see doing more. But for every person willing to do that sort of work, there are 50 people that want to talk about the work and not actually do the work.


 
Adrien Lapointe
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Somebody wants to do a Kickstarter for the next Podcast? Whoever contributes the most gets to pick the subject!
 
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You can't evangelize from YOUR pulpit. You can only preach and instruct to those already here. To evangelize you need to go to NEW places to get in front of different people.

You need to be a guest on more podcasts. You pulled a lot of people (well, at least me) from your interviews on TheSurvivalPodcast. I had watched most of your youtubes but never joined the forums until I heard the extended interviews.

Now, keeping things growing here organically is a pre-req for the virtual travelling roadshow to work. You can't just go out and sell what you DID for very long (although some people seem to be able to).

It is really hard to sell information to commune culture or to millenials who think everything should be free or found on google. The trick is finding the right mediums that dovetail ideals/philosophies but not existing customer bases with people that understand the value of intellectual property.
 
paul wheaton
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I would like to get a list of podcasts where I should make an appearance. Maybe Adrien can set it up.
 
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Just an idea. Maybe the business model needs to be flipped on its head. The people you interview generally have something to sell, so use the 6000 listeners as the reason the one being interviewed should pay you. Hawk their products during the interview. The bet is enough sales would be generated to justify the fee. This would also encourage a growing listener base instead of dropping all the way down to 61...
 
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Sorry to see the podcast is being such a drain for you Paul. I'd love to support you financially to keep going on podcasting, and I've purchased the art ludwig podcasts. I like the idea of a kickstarter, but I think it'd be better to have a kickstarter for a whole set of podcasts and have the topics chosen. It's something I'd definitely support. I wouldn't mind also if it went paid-only, no free podcasts.

If it doesn't work out, then you have to do what's best for you Paul.

-Kirk
 
Rufus Laggren
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> membership...

Sounds like something that could be part of the mix.

My experience w/this site as follows: I might well be interested in a membership, but that is the result of a year or so of reading threads and getting to know individuals and generally the kind of people here. Most like I would not have been interested in membership during the first 6 months to a year because it takes some time to learn an environment and determine a fit and the actual depth of any value discovered.

A second point. I did not come here through either 'casts or youtube and I still have listened to only 5, maybe 6 'casts and have never looked up any of Paul's work on youtube. [Correction: I think the "Chicken Lady" is on youtube.] Nothing against either, I just spend my time other ways. When a video is ref'd in a thread I'm researching I view it about 25% of the time based on apparent content. More often than that I follow links posted in threads through 2,3 often 4 branching levels when I'm pursuing info. For me the forums and text contain denser info while at the same time exposing unique individuals whom I occasionally respond to in a thread. Can't say how others relate to the inet but I don't usually "browse" - I mostly dig.

My progression to an interest in membership is as follows: I have in the last 24 years (started w/Compuserve) encountered about 7 forums that I returned to regularly on a "non-business" basis. That's out of hundreds, some of which I spent months going through for information, only to quit cold when the need (whatever it was) ended. In each "good" case I was looking for specific content when I found the forum; since it had that content and more I investigated more; in my researches the "civilized" and knowledgeable discourse between differing types of people became apparent; finally the tenor of the environment showed itself to be attractive in one way or another. All the "good" forums had a definite structure with rules which were enforced rigorously by one person. All had a very diverse group of participants. All had diverse topics under discussion. All supported some quite serious disagreements but almost never animosity.

So I guess what that amounts to in my case is that value of the "Empire" lies in the active exchange of indepth knowledge and (mostly related) personal experiences, not in any particular products.

FWIW

Rufus
 
paul wheaton
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Compuserve .... I saw you mention compuserve and thought "what happens if I google my old compuserve ID?"

http://www.bbsdocumentary.com/library/PROGRAMS/GRAPHICS/ANSI/banana.txt

And look, there's my first ever internet email address: 72707.207@compuserve.com

 
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I have been thinking of the genres of podcasts that may mesh, but I don't know any specific examples. Things like homeschoolers, resilient communities, localvores, becoming debt-free, homesteaders/back-to-the landers--there are pockets in all those communities that want food production and land management (even on a postage stamp back yard scale).

 
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What about taking a different approach... like doing a regularly scheduled weekly live broadcast? Venues such as blogtalkradio.com or livestream.com or even talkshoe.com are all setup for this, and you can have an email sent to remind your listeners every week. A weekly VIDEO broadcast would open all sorts of new opportunities! But just a talk-radio type show would be a real game changer too. This method could build an ever-increasing listener base. The "motivation" issue would be solved - "The show MUST go on!". If it's live, you HAVE to show up and do it, on a schedule, etc. If the show is good, high quality, relevant, and engaging, then you have monetary potential. Advertisers/sponsors take notice, and get serious interest. You could schedule guests, and they would have to make a serious commitment, and when they don't show up to a LIVE show, THEY LOOK REAL STUPID, so they would tend to show up if they say they will. The scheduling of an event tends to make every aspect of it much more serious and "official". And you can do a "call in Q&A" type format where "your people" can actually talk to you live, and people feel important and involved in your show when they can participate, so your listeners take it much more serious too. Don't try to take money from the masses, take it from the sponsors who will be glad to throw money at you when you can demonstrate 10,000+ active listeners live every week, plus thousands more listeners who download the show later.

And then there is the matter of language. Don't shoot the messenger, but I'm just saying that the masses who you want to reach have an ingrained mentality that says "serious people don't need to swear to make their point". If you want to be a rebel hippy that "does his own thing" and just talk vulgar and say whatever you feel like, then don't expect the money to participate - expect freeloaders who enjoy crass-talking attitude. The sponsors with the money will have "business ethics" that cringe heavily in regards to profanity. It just works that way. It seems a small enough "compromise" that will in no way affect your message. I'm just saying.... it's worth considering, and it won't hurt. Nobody will quit listening because they did NOT hear "the f word". Some people enjoy that language style, but they won't go away if you "clean it up". Lots and lots and lots of people do not enjoy hearing profanity, and will quietly label it as "unprofessional" and not take you serious at all - and then the money goes away quietly and without a farewell note.


Perhaps chapter-by-chapter book review type podcasts could be done on the side when you have time, and then linked through permies.com somehow, so that traffic will be driven through the site to get to those type of podcasts. Then you can demonstrate traffic levels to the book publisher people and authors, and perhaps even monetize that section of the site by way of google ads or sponsored banners, etc. And the book review podcasts could be attached tightly to a forum topic, so that the book publisher can see comments and discussion resulting from your review, and it keeps their book constantly being publicized as each new forum post is made, and each new reader shows up to read the thread. That would make publishers happy, and the sponsors and advertisers on that section of the site would start to pay off too. Sort of a "commercialized" section of permies, because you ARE discussing commercial material - i.e. a published book.

Just some thoughts. Don't hate me for mentioning the language thing...

 
Rufus Laggren
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> compuserve address

Damn, Paul, They give you a keyboard to keep you quiet after your baby formula?! <G> Admitting to an original compuserve address is seriously revealing info.

> talkshow

That sounds like a truly excellent possibility to grab or twist around a little. You talk like a producer, Edward - you had to say this before somewhere by any chance?

> language...

Ditto, although to tell the truth I didn't notice it much - guess that might reflect on my own level... As an example: I think you all know gardenweb.com. If you don't, check it out - it's the gold standard of domestic self improvement gossip. I personally think the guy who runs it (ran it? don't know who owns it now) is a nazi and a hypocritical one at that but maybe that's just me - I got invited gone from the site about 10 years ago for referring to what went down the toilet as shit (I was answering a plumbing Q - I'm a plumber) and I had a few words with the owner while he hid behind "our corporate policy" BS. BUT: Unquestionably he has been proven to know his audience because it's the go-to-site for any domestic stuff and a lot else and it's FULL of "Nice People". Now in the wrong circumstances Nice People can give you white-bread indigestion followed immediately by death-through-boredom; but if you sample their posts, I think you will find that there is a LOT of first person information there. As a WAG, say about 60% of the posts are relevant 1st person info and of those about 60% vary from fully intelligently informed to professionally expert. When mining for info, that's a damn good value. IOW, even though the gardenweb format ensures and enforces a nicey-nicey white picket fence party the actual info content and apparent smarts is quite good. Running a lady's tea party might not be your cuppa (and I can sympathize), but it won't per se degrade content unrecognizably.

A thought: Might make it easier to have an "old hand" interview host on tap or, better, there with you the first few times. Good to have some moves ready to keep control of the show. Even Terry Gross has had a few bad moments and Rose Aguillar nearly lost it a couple years ago talking with a fundamentalist fellow she had invited on - and _he_ was the one being reasonable!

Rufus

 
paul wheaton
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> Admitting to an original compuserve address is seriously revealing info.

I shocked myself that I still remembered it.


 
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Lots of cool ideas and support here. I just wanted to chime in to say that I also think quiet times, uncreative times, can be times to re-fuel. And I think that's okay--maybe even necessary.

As an example, one of my favorite bloggers wrote about needing to take a break from schedules, and the courage to BE DISLIKED. She received such an outpouring of understanding and support that she wrote a thank you the next day (today).

In her thank you post, Shauna mentions that her income might go down from not posting as frequently, or on a schedule, or by attempting to feed it all with social media (her blog is monetized, though in a very relevant, helpful way) though she said she is comfortable with that risk.

Your empire is structured differently from a typical blog, and social media is changing so quickly, that the monetizing models are beyond my ken a bit. I simply think that doing what you love and following your passion will continue to work. Plus, as your empire morphs to reach more people and bring in more income, I imagine that it will result in even more or better ways to lay those bricks to make the world a better place.

Thank you, Paul.
 
paul wheaton
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I have two more podcasts that I have recorded.

A - jocelyn and I experience a dinner where people were lined up to pay hundreds of dollars per person to eat weeds and other wild foods. I think this helps set the tone of how much one can get for food.

B - Helen Atthowe and I review a DVD about soil science and we get into a lot of the nitty gritty of NPK, pH, cation exchange capacity, and how the albrecht method compares to others.

To date, 65 people have purchased both of the art ludwig podcasts. They paid me $5.00 and have probably consumed all of my podcasts. I want to shower these people with gifts. Like podcasts.

At the same time, I think about sharing these podcasts with others. I think about people just download, listen, and then go on with their daily life. Apparently they enjoy listening to 200 hours of podcasts, but find it is not worth $5. I feel like I have given these people a mountain of gifts.

I think to myself: if I release a podcast and it grows the empire, that's of great use. But it kinda seems like that usually doesn't happen. Three people will "like" it on facebook and maybe two will share it.

So I'm feeling around in my innards for how I want to proceed. I'll think of something.


 
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I can't wait to hear those new podcasts, and I'd be happy to pay for them like the Art Ludwig ones. If you do decide to make the podcasts pay only, it might be worth doing one free podcast announcing it or maybe just a short podcast explaining your new approach or decision. Whatever you decide, I'm sure will be the right thing. Jocelyn raises some good points, and I'd like to follow suit and say thank you Paul!

-Kirk
 
paul wheaton
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I sent the raw files for the two new podcasts to adrien. I have made a variety of phone calls and sent a bunch of emails, and scheduled appointments for new podcasts.

Adrien has overhauled podcasts 001 to 040 to be of higher quality and with a 15 second intro. Now podcasts 001 to 040 are no longer free. the only way to get them is by shelling out the $4.50. Adrien also updated all of the podcast pages at richsoil and all of the podcast pages at permies.



 
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Hi Paul. I just registered so I could reply to this thread. I want you to continue to make podcasts, and want you to be compensated for it so you keep doing it.

This is just an idea, and is worth exactly what you paid for it Please excuse me if I sound like I'm telling you what to do, I'm not, it's simply easier to speak in my consultant tone than a bunch of "meh and then maybe you could do this, if you wanted to, pretty please."

Your target customer (me): New to permaculture. Overwhelmed with the amount of information out there. Has maybe read one permaculture book, has started to see the world in a permaculture way, has grand designs on permafying every square inch of soil he can get his hands on... someday. Has no idea what to actually do, or where to start. Experience growing stuff - a little. I have had two 4x4 square foot gardens for two years and met with mixed success. Maybe I already subscribed to your main podcast, and am a little lost because there are 200+ episodes and the 10 that popped up on my little phone screen were a little over my head but looked like good things to learn about... someday.

Podcasting solution, provided by you:
A path forward! Get me to do something! I want to, I just don't know what, and have analysis-paralysis because I don't want to make a mistake and build/plant something and then realize I should have done it over there, not where it is. Solve my problem, and I will pay you.

Some taglines for the product, or sample episodes/topics
"Getting started in Permaculture: 10 small projects you can do in a weekend"
"Stop thinking and do something: Here's where to start"
"Put these plants together!"
"Start here!"
"That lonely tree in your front yard? Here's what to plan around it for a little permaculture oasis"
"Hide the ugly green box the utility company puts in your yard"
"Grow stuff in that dead patch in your lawn - here's what to grow and how"
"That shady spot in the corner of your house where nothing grows? Do this with it!"
"Plant this stuff around your ugly air conditioner"

Make a series of podcasts that I can listen to at my own pace, forever. Either in a zip file, or by emailed link delivered once every few days for a new episode, or however you can make it work. You can easily make a login page too, that has pictures, plans, and checklists. But the podcast is what gets me excited to actually do something and drives me to your other content.

Give the first episode away in exchange for an email opt-in. The first (free) episode is a giant preview and sales pitch for them to buy the remaining 10-20-whatever episode package. It should run down what I'll learn, and more importantly, what you'll help me accomplish. It will also address my fears of screwing up by saying "here's where and how you should do it, and how you'll build around it later, how it will fit into your whole plan that may or may not be formulated yet."

Anyways, that is a product that I would buy. For how much? Ten dollars? For sure. Twenty? You'd need to really market and convince me that you're worth listening to. I would concentrate on keeping the price point low so it can be a risk-free impulse buy, and if you want more money, develop subsequent courses at a higher price point. Or bundle multiple low cost courses for a savings (three courses for only $25!). The first is just to get them hooked and weed out the people that will never be willing to open their wallets.

Another benefit: You only have to make the plan, and the intro, and maybe a few episodes now. Then, when somebody buys it, you'll HAVE to complete the course! You can say "Oh wow, Nancy Knickerbocker paid me money for my course! I can't let Nancy down! She trusted me! I have to give her more great content for her $10." Podcast motivation. Then email Nancy, and ask her to join your forum and review your course and offer feedback to make it better in later episodes. Then, when the course is done, you can concentrate on marketing what you've already produced, and start building ideas for your second course (maybe a higher price point, now that they trust you and recognize the value you provide). The first course can be a funnel into your future podcast empire.

If you can sell 1,000 of them per year, that's 10 grand. That should be easy with your community, word of mouth, and appearances on other podcasts (ie TSP) that you can use to plug your product. That's also 1k people that now trust you, paid you, saw value, and will pay you more if you give them more value. Plus, once it's set up, there's really no further cost and you can sell it for years.

Anyways, I'd buy that. I hope you build it

-Tim
 
paul wheaton
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Ahhhhhh ....

I feel so much better now.

A few days ago I fished out a scubbly report that gives me the email address of everybody that bought something. 94 email addresses.

I sent the 94 people the two podcasts. And they can comment here:

https://permies.com/t/19839/podcast/Podcast-Gourmet-Restaurant-Experience
https://permies.com/t/19840/podcast/Podcast-Review-Hands-Agronomy

 
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Paul,

Thanks for the early access to the two new podcasts...can't wait to get listening to them.

When you talk smack about "freeloaders", I feel like you are not respecting the time your audience has invested in you, and this concerns me. These thousands of people are collectively investing HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of hours listening to you and your guests, and they keep coming back for more. That gift of attention isn't free for the listener, and dismissing 99% of your audience because they haven't made a direct payment to you (you could also read that as "because you haven't sufficiently monetized their attention) might alienate listeners.

It makes me think about the differences between your podcast and Jack's. Jack has monetized his podcast in at least three seperate, recurring ways (member support brigade, rotating sponsorship program, TSP gear shop), and seems to be doing quite well with it. However, he spends LOTS of time working on customer support, sponsorship, getting deals and free stuff for his members, etc.

Jack would never call his audience "freeloaders", he has repeatedly said on his show that he values people's attention and that they shouldn't join the MSB unless they feel they get value from it. He has also made sure that the MSB has a Value Proposition- you can get so much value out of its discounts that you end up saving money by paying your membership. He has talked about this as a "permaculture approach to business", creating an abundance of attention through the free podcast and harvesting the membership revenues. Would you complain about an acorn because it was eaten by a hog instead of developing into an oak?

I respect your work enormously, and am one of the "happy few" with money on the table here, so I wanted to share my thoughts and let you know that as the percentage of content you produce shifts toward discussing your gripes with the podcast, my interest wanes accordingly. I'm looking forward to more podcasts like the Ludwig ones!
 
paul wheaton
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Jack is cool. And I am not Jack.

I am wired differently from most others. And there is something that has gone wonky in my innards.

The important thing is that podcast 229 and 230 were not for sale. At this moment, they are a gift to a select few. And somehow, this makes me feel better.

It makes things a different flavor of odd. Not sure what's going to happen in the next few weeks, but I do know that I currently feel better.

 
Kirk Marschel
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paul wheaton wrote:Jack is cool. And I am not Jack.

I am wired differently from most others. And there is something that has gone wonky in my innards.

The important thing is that podcast 229 and 230 were not for sale. At this moment, they are a gift to a select few. And somehow, this makes me feel better.

It makes things a different flavor of odd. Not sure what's going to happen in the next few weeks, but I do know that I currently feel better.



You're right, you're not Jack. But thank you, Paul Wheaton, for the two podcasts I received. I cherish them and I'm also glad that you are feeling better. Just one other thought I had, was that you could possibly sell on scubbly packs of your podcasts of book reviews. Such as Sepp Holzer's Permaculture review podcasts. This might be another way to pull in some more revenue thru scubbly. Thanks again Paul, I'm going to have to listen to the Agronomy podcasts like you said, over and over until it's in my head.

All the best,
Kirk
 
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How would I buy the Art Ludwig podcasts if I wanted to?
 
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Hi Luke-

At the top of the Podcasts page at permies.com, there is this link:

Help support the empire and get all of the podcasts in bundles: http://www.scubbly.com/store/permaculture/

Click on it, and you'll see the list of podcasts for sale, including the Art Ludwig ones.

Enjoy 'em, I did!
Mariamne
 
paul wheaton
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Kirk, we are one step ahead of you on that. Maybe even two steps. Adrien is exploring several avenues.

Mariamne, thanks for helping Luke. This is one of my favorite things: when I see people helping others on my behalf. This simple act has done me a LOT to mend my funk in this space.
 
paul wheaton
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I want to paint a picture of something that popped into my head.

Let us suppose there is a guy named Bob (and I want you to pretend that you are Bob). And Bob decides to help others. So Bob puts in a hundred hours of hard work and 3000 people receive from Bob's effort. And 20 people say "thanks Bob." And 20 people say "you need to be better at this Bob." And Bob says "hey 3000 people, how about if we work together and we can reach 30 million people?" and five people respond and say "yeah!" but nobody does.

This is not my story, but I am trying to convey what my innards feel like. Felt like.

Keep in mind there are dozens of people that help me in all sorts of ways. But I am trying to comes up with a short thing I can say to try to convey what is going on.

Now I have a new thing: 94 people tossed in a few bucks to feed the empire within a certain time window. I like these people. I want to give them a thousand dollars of candy for the few bucks they tossed into the pile.

And now another interesting thing happened. Several people threw more money in to the pile. Anywhere from $65 to $250. It is as if they are saying "I don't know how to do what you do, but maybe you can take this money and hire people to help get things done. I wanna throw my shoulder into the work, but I don't know how. But I do have money - which might smell a bit like pseudo-shoulder."

And Adrien is getting lots of stuff done. And exploring lots of monetization channels. And people have mailed me wacky little gifts. And I see people helping other people on these forums in an effort to lighten the load. And the new permies.com staff. And the coderanch staff that have worked hard to put out a LOT of new and really cool changes in a few days. And the web host that has worked hard to fight off spammers and solve behind-the-scenes technical issues. And the people that run into me at grocery stores and restaurants and ask to shake my hand and say thanks.

So I feel .... better. Much better. I've recorded a few more podcasts.




 
Adrien Lapointe
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I am currently working to get the next podcast out, hopefully before I go to bed tonight (late-ish EST)

There will be a slight change to the usual format: an intro to the podcast. The people who bought 001-040 will have noticed that there is a short ad at the beginning of the podcast. From now on, that will be the case for all new podcast.

Right now the sponsor is Pantry Paratus. If you know of anybody who would want to be a sponsor of the podcast, please have them contact me (my first name at richsoil.com).
 
Miles Flansburg
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Glad you are feeling better Paul, and Adrien you ROCK !!

The sponsor has some good books I am going to have to buy.. http://pantryparatus.com/educational-materials/cookbooks-gardening.html
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Podcast 229 is now up here
 
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Paul, I'm so glad you're feeling better. It's funny how happy it makes me to read that you "like" me for putting in some money a while back. Humans are funny, story telling primates.

Please let the "candy" be virtual--I'm trying to lose the 4 pounds I gained over Christmas!

(I am still hoping to get the Weekend Homesteader book in the mail someday, but no worries--I work most weekends.)
 
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While I myself have not listened to any podcast as of yet.
I am so glad that you feel motivated to do some more podcast.

It seems that you want to do 3 things.
1) Proof that you are reaching millions of new "non-paying" customer. This could be facebook like, pinterest, tweeter, linkbacks etc.
2) Proof that you are reaching current customers that have alot to learn.
3) Encourage others to advertise.

You are encouraging others to advertise by providing them a financial boast 50% referral fee .
You are asking current members to show that they are really invested in learning and doing by investing a whooping 10cent per podcast.
You could give current member who advertise (facebook like/retweeet/ sign up new clients to permies/etc), some apple recognition. Free visit to "X". etc

Maybe the 4,000 free downloaders are all offline advertisers.
They play the podcast in the background at home or in the car for others to hear about. To convince the wife/husband.
To drill it into the next generation head vs spongebob/rap music.
They could just be freeloaders who just like your awesome voice. LOL
 
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Is there a permies Facebook page? If not then maybe it should be set up (by a volunteer, a steward or you).

Your articles were some of the first permaculture things I ever read, but I've only just gotten started on the podcasts - they are not as widely advertised by people outside the permaculture community.

I think that your original idea of giving stuff away for free, is the best way to spread the permaculture word ever - and you have an audience now. Few people can say they have a website with the traffic you have, or a podcast with the audience you have. I know people with smaller websites and podcasts making money on that - you should be able to do that too.

I can't help but think though that giving stuff away for free and then calling them freeloaders for not paying is counter productive (fortunately most of them won't read this thread). You have chosen to go down this path of giving you immense knowledge away for free, and you can choose not to do it anymore today if you want. But don't blame people for actually listening to your stuff

Like I said I know people who make money on smaller web-sites. They have amazon links to the books they review, the sell recipes to go with a master class on sock knitting, they sell water kefir of kombucha scones next to their recipes for kefir and kombucha tea, or have advertisers. I think it is beautiful that anyone can advertise their PDCs for free in here - but you could off more visibility to people and give them access to you banners in here (most of them refer to you own sites right now?). And the same goes for the podcasts. And yes some of them could be on a subscription basis , some could be viewed as advertising a book (some publishers will pay you for a review), and some could be free (and viewed as advertising your stuff).

I myself don't have a lot of money right now - just cancelled my subscription to Life Learning and Natural Living magazines, but I'd love to help you set up a Facebook page and maybe a Pinterest page too. Edit: Didn't see that the podcasts were only $3-5 - I think that is very reasonable, and even within my pricerange.
 
paul wheaton
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Is there a permies Facebook page?



I think so. I think the main one is a fan page: www.facebook.com/PaulWheatonFans



they are not as widely advertised



There is a way to advertise?


I can't help but think though that giving stuff away for free and then calling them freeloaders for not paying is counter productive



I think the story is a bit richer than that.

It all starts with a collection of people said that if I made podcasts, they would do X. I did my part. They didn't do their part.

Then it moves on to how much money I spend to get the podcasts out there. I didn't start this with the idea that it would cost me anything. But it ended up costing thousands. Then there is the fact that the time for the podcasts means that other stuff didn't get done.

So this is not so simple.

We recorded a huge podcast a few days ago. Part 1 should be up in a few days. In that podcast we talk about talk about the value of the podcasts.




 
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A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
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