It’s not that it’s bad advice. If you are someone who is seeking to make money online, many of these methods will probably get you there. There’s lots of talk about transparency and permission marketing and affiliate programs and building products and such…some of it very good. Lord knows, I’ve taken my share of online courses, joined dozens of email lists and purchased piles of books through affiliate links on websites.
I don’t mind supporting these folks because I think the ratio of value to cash favors me, and I like them and want to see them succeed. If my purchase is helping to line their pockets so they can produce more value-laden content for me to consume, I’m happy to do it. But what I don’t want (and I’m betting you don’t either) is to be sold every day.
When someone writes a daily blog and includes at least one affiliate link in every single post, I start to lose a little trust. It cheapens the relationship between me (the reader), and the blogger in question. It’s great to make money, but do you really have to always be closing? I don’t think so. Not for me, anyway.
I’ve come to the point now where DudeCraft needs to start producing a little bit of revenue, so I’ve been exploring the many ways to do that and choosing the ones that will be the least intrusive but also, the most effective. I’ve written recently about the elimination of the blinky, non-specific ad providers I had previously partnered with in favor of choosing sponsors for the blog, and that has worked out really well so far. In searching for sponsors that I like, I’ve met some incredible people with incredible stories who also happen to produce goods or services that I can really believe in. The cash is not exactly rolling in, but I feel great about the relationships that I’m building with my sponsors and the value I’m offering my readers. Plus, I can sleep at night.
The Weird Way That I Decide What’s Right for Dude Craft
Some of you know that I’m an old movie nut and that To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite films of all time. I often find myself thinking about Atticus Finch when I’m in the midst of decision-making that involves the blog or life in general. I think about the scene where he let’s the farmer pay for his services in produce instead of cash, or the scene where he explains to Scout what empathy is and why it’s important, or the scene where he calmly cleans his glasses off after being spit on by Bob Ewell. It may seem silly, but there are plenty of times that the blogosphere mirrors these very situations, and when it does, Atticus is a great comfort to me.
The money question is where I lean on Atticus the most. I am constantly being approached by folks who would like to give me money in exchange for different pieces of my corner of the internet and I am constantly leaving that money on the table because, if I took it, I know that Atticus would be disappointed. So would Juror #8 (Henry Fonda in Twelve Angry Men). So would Jeff Smith (Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington). It sounds ludicrous to take your business cues from movie characters, but it works for me. It lets me avoid feeling slimy. It reminds me that people are the most important and valuable component in what I do and that money should always be secondary. Consequently, I make a lot less money than I could, but more importantly…much more importantly, I keep my readers’ trust and my integrity intact.
"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
- Atticus Finch
- Atticus Finch