Category Archives: Business

Do You Have Financial Advice?

Mark D asked:

What is your best financial advice to pass along to those of us just starting out?

Cover your costs.

No, seriously.

Cover. Your. Costs. When you’re just starting out, make sure you have enough in the bank to get you through the first few months. Think of things like office supplies, payroll, taxes, personal living expenses and on and on and on.

You also need to be sure you pay your bills on time. Vendors won’t work with you anymore if you aren’t paying them in a timely fashion. Never rob Peter to pay Paul. Dinner out can wait. That new pair of shoes can wait – even if you’re barefoot. Pay the invoices when they’re due or you’re going to be sunk before you get started.

What about all of you? What’s your best financial advice for those just starting out?

What's Your Best Financial Advice?

What Type of Hardware Would You Support via Crowdfunding?

Keegan Hall wondered:

What type of tech device/software would you support via crowdfund in a heartbeat if they had a working prototype?

I wouldn’t.

I’ll wait until it’s truly shipping.

I’ve been burned too many times.

Crowdfunded hardware / software / tech has produced more disappointments than it has successes in the eyes of the people who went the extra mile to fund an idea.

Most of my own crowdfunding efforts will more than likely remain in the realm of media-related support. You typically know what you’re getting there (and, sometimes, the impact is immediate).

Is Your Life on the Right Track?

Todd Donna asked:

Do you ever wish you made different decisions in the past from where you are today ? Or are you on the right track ?

Of course, I think we would all make different decisions if we were given a chance to do so.

But what would that do? If we zigged instead of zagging, we may not be in the place(s) we are now – for better or for worse.

I could wish that I did something else, but would I know (truly) if that would have made a difference for the better (overall)? Nobody knows.

I don’t know if I’m on the “right” track, or if I ever would be even if I thought I could have made a better decision at some point in the past.

You have to keep in mind, as well: if you changed even one tiny thing about your past, you wouldn’t be who and where you are right now. Everything would be different. I’m pretty happy with who I am, who I’m with and where our life is at. I wouldn’t actually change a single thing.

What about you? Are you happy with all of the decisions you’ve made in life? Are you on the right track?

Is Your Life on the Right Track?

Has Content Monetization Gone Too Far?

Thady Senior is curious about my thoughts on monetization. Buckle up, buttercups. We may be here a while!

Do you think monetization of content has gone too far? It used to be that everything could be watched for free and advertising revenue covered it. Now it is the case that internet streaming services (Patreon, Netflix, etc.) and satellite / TV services are chargeable. Do you think YouTube will integrate a pay-for-content facility?

First, YouTube already has a PPV option. It’s rarely used because it’s rather inflexible for both would-be supporters and existing producers.

Second, I don’t think monetization can ever truly go “too far.” If someone’s getting a piece of content for free, they have to support (or, in some cases, “suffer through”) whatever needs to happen to make that free transaction worth doing for all parties involved.

“Too far” for one person is not “too far” for another.

I’ve gone into this topic in depth at various points in the past, but advertising has never been a stable form of support for valuable content – and you’re blind to assume otherwise.

Take, for example, the cancellation of one of your favorite TV shows. Why? Because a network decided that few people wanted to see it. Is that content still valuable to you? Hell yes. But you don’t matter. Seriously, you don’t matter in the game of advertising.

Sure, in aggregate, you matter – but I’m not talking about an aggregation of appreciation. I’m referring to your independent appreciation for one piece of content or another.

Why do you care how many other people like something? If you like it, that’s all that matters. You should want to give anything and everything to ensure that it would continue to be done. Right? If not, then you don’t value what you say you value.

Independent content producers will eventually realize that the better number is probably a smaller number. I’d rather have 800 people telling me that I’m worth $5 a month to them than 350,000 people who don’t care whether I live or die (and they treat the content produced in a similar fashion).

What do all of YOU think? Has content monetisation gone too far?

Has Content Monetization Gone Too Far?

How Do You Feel About a $15.00 Minimum Wage?

Patron Christopher Micallef is curious about a proposed huge hike in minimum wage. You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions!

How do you feel about the $15 minimum wage? Do price floors make you sad too?

I spoke about this briefly in a TLDR episode.

I feel that you should get paid a fair wage for fair work, but I’m also very well aware of costs that employers often assume on behalf of their employees.

Who wouldn’t want to be paid more for the work they’re doing?

But that’s not the problem.

Who is going to pay for those employees to get paid more? How are costs going to be offset now that they’ve increased across the board? What potential new hire isn’t going to get the opportunity to work? There aren’t definitive answers to these questions, either.

It’s like people who watch a “free video” on YouTube and assume that it came to them for free simply because they didn’t pay anything to see it.

A $15/hr minimum wage is outstanding for those who deserve it, but it also increases the chances of an employer burning through more revenue due to making a really bad hire (which happens all the time, trust me).

Despite what either side would have you believe, it’s not a black and white issue – and I do believe that, ultimately, employers will suffer more than those who are being employed. Think about it this way: as an employee, your only responsibility is to yourself. As an employer, you have to balance several “special interest groups” and the business-at-large.

There’s a metric buttload of hidden costs for any business, and most employees do not ever find themselves in the position to have to be concerned with them. Hell, most customers don’t know, either (and aren’t necessarily in the position to be aware of hidden costs at all).

When change happens, shit changes across the board. Period.

How Do You Feel About a 15 Minimum Wage?

Can You Have Fun While Working?

Patron JC Ernsd is worried that real work can’t be fun! You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions!

Is it possible to have a serious business and still have fun? I am so driven that working for myself tends to stress me out but I have a low tolerance for stress. Can you have fun at your job and still be successful? Do you have any tips?

Let me ask you this: do you actually really LOVE what you’re doing? You may love working for yourself. You may be pushing yourself to succeed. But do you even enjoy what it is you’re doing day in and day out? If not… there’s the simple answer to your issue.

If you do, and it’s just a matter of overwhelming yourself and stressing out, you need to step back a little. Where can something “give” a little? What can you put off for another day? What is crucial to the success of your business and what are things you just hope to do? Prioritize. Figure out what must be done, make a list and go from there. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a million things that turn out not to truly be important.

Take breaks! Walk away from the work and do something fun – even if only for a half-hour. Stretch. Go for a walk. Play with the dogs or the kids. Build a LEGO set! Whatever it is that relaxes you…. do that!

If you love what you do, you’re always going to have fun doing it… even when it’s stressful. That’s my belief. I’ve had issues in my life with being overwhelmed and questioning myself and what I do – even recently. But I NEVER stopped truly enjoying the things that I do.

Can You Have Fun While Working?

How Do You Get YouTube Subscribers?

SolidSafety asked:

What is the best way to get over 1,000 people to subscribe to your YouTube channel?

There’s no sure-fire quick and easy way to grow your subscriber base. Trust me – I know. The key is to produce content that people will enjoy watching – and that you will enjoy creating. If you’re just doing something by rote because you think it’s the “right” thing to do, people will pick up on that. They will KNOW you aren’t passionate about your topic and they will not be likely to want to watch and subscribe. You have to believe in what you’re doing.

Find what you’re good at – what you’re passionate about – and THEN worry about finding your niche. What perspective can you bring to the table that no one else does? That’s where you need to focus.

Be sure to do things such as use tags and good catchy titles. Use funny thumbnails whenever possible (when you’re able to do them, of course).

NEVER use one of those “sub for sub!” scams. They’re just that – a scam. Do you REALLY want a bunch of fake followers who don’t actually FOLLOW what you’re doing?

How Can a Teen Make Money Without Getting a Job?

Trueb asked an interesting question:

I am looking for a way to raise money without getting a job. My parents do not want me to get a job because they think it would distract me from school, even if I get a summer job. I mainly want to save up money for a car. I know how to use photoshop for basic photo editing as well as some video editing. I couldn’t really find anything when I Google searched it and read articles. It mainly consisted of car washing or other things that I do not think would work.

First of all, it’s going to be difficult for you to make money if your parents won’t allow you to get a job of some type. Have you tried to compromise with them? Perhaps a part-time Summer gig to start off with, to see how you handle things? Lay out your plan to them. Show them how you feel you can handle things and see what they have to say. Failing that, I’m hesitant to point you to links to help. If your parents don’t want you to work, then my telling you where to find work online would be going directly against their wishes.

With that said, ask your Mom and Dad if it would be okay for you to do a project or two at a time, using the skills you mentioned. If they’re cool with it, try using a service like Fivrr. You won’t get rich quick, but it’s a great way to get yourself “out there,” create a client/fan base and get more experience, as well. You can also ask around your own social community – you never know who might need the help of someone who is good with Photoshop!

Another thing to think about: owning a car is expensive. Sure, it costs money to buy the darn thing to start with. You’re trying to cover that. But you have to remember that you’ll have to pay for maintenance, gasoline, insurance and registration. Those things can cost quite a bit of moolah – so how would you plan to pay for all of it? I’m not trying to discourage you – I think it’s great you’re willing to work hard for what you want. I just want to make sure you’re fully prepared!

What about everyone else out there? What do you recommend?

How Can a Teen Make Money Without Getting a Job?

What Items Would You Sell in a Retail Store?

Patron Roman Lubers is curious about retail sales. You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions!

Chris, if you were going to go into the world of retail, which tech gadget would you pick to be your cornerstone or would it be from a different field?

I wouldn’t choose to sell tech at all.

Horribly low profit margins, limited shelf-life, insane competition.

I’d get into collectables, things that don’t lose value after a week of production, something that gains value the longer it’s around, anything that doesn’t make someone feel stupid the moment they pick it up.

Ya know, pretty much the opposite of tech.

What Would You Sell in a Retail Store?

Should YouTube Force Comments for Dislikes?

Matthew Dunn asked me:

Do you think YouTube should force people to write something when they press the dislike button so that you can easily clear out the bullshit from the constructive criticism?

I’m not a fan of the dislike button and can proudly say that I’ve never used it in my life.

Beyond its ambivalence, it’s a negative social gesture – a hate button, if you will.

My biggest problem with the YouTube dislike button is that there is absolutely no accountability involved.

Should YouTube Force Comments for Dislikes?