Finding a Path with Heart

by Crystal on February 23, 2009

It’s no secret that my dream is to have my income shift away from working in a day job and towards being able to spend my time doing what I love: being here, online, and sharing with you.istock_000008287624xsmall

It’s also no secret that I hate ads.  I think we all do.  Used to be, you’d go to the movies and pay to watch the movie.  Now you pay to have ads inflicted on you first – and you never know how many will show so you can’t just turn up late to skip them.  They invented Pay TV, I thought, so that we’d have a choice to watch television that we sponsored ourselves so there wouldn’t be ads. Now I’m told there’s ads there as well.  You catch a bus, there’s posters everywhere.  The train stations have ginormous screens blasting them at you in full-on sound and colour.  Even the internet, sad to say, has become the domain of advertisers more than publishers.  I can understand why – it costs to set up a website, and not everyone has a job that gives them enough to cover those costs, but I’m still sad to see it happen.

I dream of the day when cinemas offer ad free sessions for those that value their time (and the experience of getting away from ads for a while) more than their money.  Unfortunately, it looks like even the movies are turning into scripted excuses to squash in yet more ads, so even if some smart operator started doing that, you STILL wouldn’t have an ad-free night’s entertainment.  I’d still like to see it, but I’m not holding my breath.

Facing the choice

Most of the ‘make money blogging’ information out there tells me that I’d have to overcome this dislike in order to turn my blog into a source of income.  Well, I faced that choice last weekend.  Up front, I had to decide whether I wanted to accept money coming in (I do) from ads (I don’t), or to stick with the principles I believe in and keep this an ad-free space.

I chose to leave the offer on the table.

Fortunately, I can believe that there is another way to make my living here, online, without having to sell space to people who want to get their ads into your face.  Steve Pavlina has demonstrated that – his blog has supported him for years (although he did originally have ads on it) but he didn’t even have a product until last year!  Having read his book “Personal Development for Smart People” (although I’m still working through the exercises in the second half) I knew that the choice I made boiled down to one thing: I had to ask myself if the path I was looking at was one “with heart”.  Turns out, advertising got a very clear internal “no”.  I decided that the only kind of advertising I was willing to put up here, would be offers that shared the benefits with you.  I thought this would mean I’d be running nothing until I got significantly bigger and had negotiating power, but turns out I was wrong.

Another Option emerges

Interestingly, it wasn’t long after I decided not to put in my application for the ad campaign on offer that I came across a whole different realm of advertising that does give benefits back directly to you as well as me.  Most of the offers I’ve seen are ones where you get chances in a competition, or have to take up 3 offers of several to get a $50 gift voucher, that kind of thing.  There’s also a lot of ones for those mobile phone game subscriptions – I intend to steer clear of those since I know so many people who’ve sent off their ‘enter me to win a laptop/ipod/$5000 cash’ and been surprised that they’re now being charged $5 a message and the messages are coming thick and fast.

Anyway, whether I choose to use the kind of ‘incentivised offers’ that are already available or whether I negotiate for deals and offers on your behalf, I’ve set the ground rules and boundaries I want to maintain in trying to turn this site into a resource that benefits both of us.  Ads are out, unless they offer YOU a direct benefit as well as me.

Brainstorming and getting creative

Now the search is on to brainstorm even more creative ways to build CrystalsQuest to the point where I can go full-time on it (and give up these 3am starts for something a bit later!?!)

Have you come across any ad-free ways to support yourself online?  I’m not talking get-rich-quick schemes, but if you can think of anything else that I could use to ethically make a living, please post it below or use my contact form to reach me directly.

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