Matt T Wrote:Sell adspace on your site for extra revenue?
Money's actually not the issue right now. In fact, money is great. The problems I have are actually the opposite problems of going broke: 1) I'm not making as much money as I should be, based on my traffic; and 2) now that I have money, a loyal base of customers and fans, a site with a lot of potential, what do I do with all of it? It's a very good, yet highly stressful place to be right now.
Getting back to what Tim said about having a foundation... the past four years I spent mostly building up a pick up business. I did that pretty decently, something hundreds of people have tried and failed to do. So I'm happy about that. But I've turned that into a foundation to create something much larger and much different. But there are still some major question-marks that need to be addressed, mostly revolving around the brand and future direction of the site.
1. How much of the brand should still be attached to me personally... and how much of it should be attached to a philosophy and vision? Or both? The loyalty and activity from the PP days came because people resonated with my experience and my writing. Diluting that loyalty with other writers has had various effects, both positive and negative. On the one hand it's brought in more publicity, more readers, and more varied content. On the other hand, it seems loyalty and enthusiasm has dropped off. Sales and activity have flat-lined. As Tim said, there's no clear vision of the site for people to grapple on to right now and become emotionally invested in.
2. I *DON'T* want to just become an AskMen knock-off. In a perfect world, I'd like to be the Apple to AskMen's Microsoft. I'm convinced there's a very wide opening somewhere out there for a smart, sophisticated, somewhat counter-cultural men's website that isn't full of the same old crap about how to tie and tie and how to buy the right wine and oh yeah, here are 7 quick tips to get a six-pack. And it has something to do with emotional awareness and expression, transcending classical masculinity, becoming assertive, and living independently and fearlessly... but for some reason I can't seem to put it together coherently into a business-model or even a single website.
3. The two things that differentiated me in the pick up industry and led to my success were 1) the blunt honesty and 2) the quality of the written content. Both of which I think are missing in a lot more areas than just pick up -- but in self-development in general, in lifestyle design, etc. I like what The Good Men Project does in terms of sharing honest experiences and analysis, but I think they get too lost in the gender riff-raff and ultimately don't have a very unified goal other than "Hey, men don't (always) suck." AskMen is obviously gigantic, but their content for the most part blows. Even someone like Tim Ferriss is really tapping into something more than just internet business, but taking control of your life in a new and dynamic way.
This is all public brainstorming. Feel free to comment... agree with me or tell me I'm completely off base. We've got a start of something really good here, and you guys are part of it, so I'm all ears to hearing any ideas or visions you may have of where the site could go, what it could be, etc.
Reader survey going up tomorrow morning as well.