AskPat 306 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to episode 306 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Awesome, now let's get to today's question from Giovanni.
Giovanni: Hi Pat. First of all, thank you very much for your shows. You have influenced my business journey more than you may imagine. I blog about meditation and personal growth at LiveandDare.com. That's “dare” as in “daring.” I'm doing a lot of research and putting out high quality information for free on my website, which, by the way, is only three months old. I only publish a post if I feel it's better than anything out there on the same subject. At the moment I have nothing to sell and no ads, but I may monetize in the future with high-end video courses. So my question is: Do you think I should put a donation button on my sidebar? I think of this for three reasons. First is to help cover the cost of keeping and growing the blog. Second is because I feel that in this niche it kind of adds authority to my blog and it puts people in another mindset when consuming my content. They are more in the receiving mindset rather than the consumer mindset. And third, is if I can make a living off reader donations, that would be awesome and I'll never need to sell anything. What would you do in my place? Thank you very much.
Pat Flynn: Giovanni, what's up? Thank you so much for the question today and it's really cool the space that you're in, meditation and personal growth. Meditation is something I've been doing a lot of lately and it's been just life changing for me so I completely understand your want to be in this space, and how much it can absolutely help people which is what you want to do.
And let's talk about this donation button. You gave a lot of great points there. One, you can cover the cost of the site if people donate. Two, it adds authority, is what you said, and the receiving mindset versus the giving or the consuming. And then also the fact that if you were to have enough donations, you would never need to sell in the first place.
Now, straight up, Giovanni, I'm just going to tell you right from the start, don't put a donation button on your site. Internet panhandling is what they call this and I feel like it's copping out. I feel like it's just like, “hey guys, hand me some change.” I think if you were to put a donation button on your sidebar in the way that I think you're thinking about doing it, that it would do you and your audience and your content—your amazing content that you're obviously putting out there—a complete disservice. You do not want to do that because I don't feel like it adds authority to your site at all. Personally, Giovanni, I feel like it takes that away. It almost says, “hey guys, either I don't know enough to give you something that is worth buying but I still want to take some money from you so please, if you can, click on this button and spare anything that you can.” That to me does not scream authority at all, and it's puts the reader in the mindset of, “wow, this person is just trying to make money off me. I'm not even getting anything out of it.” And yes, you are giving them so much already.
And a few of your audience members may be inclined, and I'm sure that a few of them will be, to give you a donation, but to the point that you made at the end which is if you make enough donations you would never need to sell anything, it's a very difficult business model. That is sort of the NPR, PBS model. And if you needed donations enough to cover the costs of the site and to make a living, you'd have to do what those places do. NPR even has advertising. You should have ads at least at this point before you start creating your own courses and selling. Ads are fine. Ads don't detract as long as the ads are relevant and actually add value to what you're doing. They round out your brand. They can do that if you find the right programs and if they are things that are actually helpful.
For example, one thing that I'm immediately thinking of, because I use this myself, is The Muse. I don't know exactly the kind of content you produce on your site in terms of meditation. The Muse, at choosemuse.com, is a device that you put on your head. It reads your brainwaves, and I use this myself every single day. You connect it with an app and it tells you how active or calm your brain is, and it gives you these sessions where you can try and figure out how calm you can get. It's amazing and it gives you. . . seriously, I could talk about this thing for hours but I'm not, so I'm going to stop there, but you guys can all check it out at choosemuse.com if you'd like. But you can be an affiliate for that, and that can help cover some costs. And that is something that completely adds value, especially for somebody like me who is interested in meditation, but just doesn't know if it's working or not. This thing actually tells me if I'm doing it right, and that's absolutely huge.
And it's a win for everybody if you promote things like that. And I'm not just talking about physical items too. These are other people's courses, other programs. Perhaps you become an affiliate or partner for Headspace. There's a lot of things you can do that can add a ton of value that is more than just, “hey guys, click this button and help me out.”
Now, I will say that there is a lot of things you could do and should do that can help you earn some income. I mean, all of smartpassiveincome.com can help you there. But immediately I'm thinking, if you're producing this kind of good content you could put a lot of this content into a package, into an ebook. And this is something I did on GreenExamAcademy.com. I took all this amazing content that I had on the site that was extremely helpful for people. I packaged it nicely into a pdf file and turned it into an ebook that I sold for initially $19.99 and then I later turned that up to $29.95. I actually ended up selling more quantity when I raised the price because of the perceived value. But I never needed to add donation buttons because I packaged everything up and that was something I gave them as a result. So you could construe that is sort of a donation since a lot of the content that was in that book was already on the site, but people pay for convenience. So if you could perhaps turn all of your best articles, and maybe add a few more, you can put that on Amazon and sell that. You could put it on your own site and sell it through a shopping cart like Gumroad.com, which automatically delivers your content to your audience as well. So that's Gumroad.com.
And again, that is what adds authority to your blog. You have a book, not a donation button, but you have a book that provides value. Something, a package, something between the course that you're going to create, something that will allow you to collect email addresses of buyers if you sell it on your own site. If you do this through Amazon, there's some things you could do within the book to get those email addresses, like giving away the audiobook of it, or giving away special free access to something in the first couple chapters of the book. That way you can collect those email addresses because when you sell on Amazon you don't collect the email addresses and that's one of the drawbacks. But, there's a lot of things you could do there, and I feel like that would make it a lot easier to cover the costs.
And the thing is with the donations, you don't know how much people are going to donate. Maybe it's a dollar. If you had a thousand people donating a dollar, that's a thousand dollars, that's great. But that's just a dollar each. If you add a hundred people paying you a hundred dollars, that's $10,000. I'm sure there's a lot of people in your audience who'd be willing to pay you for something like that, and would be more than happy to do that with the kind of stuff you can create, especially when the video course and stuff comes out. So there's a lot of things you could do. I would not put a donation button. I would work on that first thing that you're going to give them and sell, which is your book or this package, or some sort of program that is in between this higher level, what I imagine being a higher priced package later on. You do not want to put a donation button. That is my stance on it and I'm very, very set on that.
And I'd love to know what everybody else thinks. Use the hashtag: #AskPat306 and let me know what you think. Now this just popped in my head, really quick. There are people out there who are successfully collecting donations, not in the “donations” sense like we're talking about here, but more so like, “here's a book, or a product or something, and it's digital, you can download it right now, and you choose the price, you pay what you want.” Now, that is a very interesting strategy that actually was covered in episode 58 of the Smart Passive Income. Again, that’s episode 58 at SmartPassiveIncome.com/Session58. We talked with Anthony Vennare from Hybrid Athlete, which is the company in the fitness industry who kind of turned it on its head and did it this way. And it was very successful because they built that trust with that audience and people will pay you when you tell them that you are giving them something, and if you don't have a set price you can have them pay what you want. And so there's amazing things that can happen with that as well. But again, I just would not. . . I don't feel like your points are valid, Giovanni, as far as the donation button and how people would perceive it. That's my thoughts.
So what are your guys' thoughts, everybody listening? Again, use the hashtag #AskPat306. I would love to know what you feel. Now, Giovanni, thank you so much for the question. This was very intriguing and I absolutely love questions like this. This was very unique, actually. We're going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. Thank you so much. My assistant will get in contact with you in the next couple of weeks to collect your information for that. For those of you listening, if you have a question that you'd like potentially featured on the show, like Giovanni's, head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page. Thanks to the SpeakPipe.com widget which turns all of your questions into mp3 files that Mindy, who's awesome, drops them into this episode and makes it super easy for us. So thank you SpeakPipe.
And as always I like to end with a quote, and today's quote is from Walt Disney. He says, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” Cheers, take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.