This is the dumbest, or smartest thing I have ever done. Probably the former. Please watch the video below, and then visit www.jimforlife.com to participate. Then read below for my thoughts on why I’m doing this.
Why Would You Give Away Your Stuff For A Buck, Jim?
You have to be able to try new things and take chances if you want to find success on the Web. As I’ve always said, if you want to be remarkable, you have to DO something remarkable. The Jim For Life project is a concept I came up with about six months ago. I was sitting around thinking about how I could find ways to reach more people outside of my circle of fans/friends/customers.
You see, we all have a certain number of true fans that we reach. Those people will always buy your stuff and that’s great, but, the key to growing is to find the people outside of that circle. So how do you reach those people? You either advertise to them, or create content they need, or do something viral, or spend years and years building new connections.
Or, you develop a stronger insider circle of people (true fans) and let them help spread the word about you, for you.
A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.
A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.
We’re all content creators of some kind. We all have fans of some kind. We need those fans to help us drive awareness about us to their circles, and so on, over and over.
Back to the question you all have: Why give away your stuff for a buck?
It’s not about making a buck off of someone. Even if 1,000 people pledged to the project, I’d only make $1,000 a year. That’s not significant money for me or for you probably. This isn’t about making money monthly. This is about building fans and reach. In fact, the only reason I’m doing a crowdfunding part of this is to generate awareness for it. Again, it’s not about making money. Why does everything have to be about “monetizing?” It doesn’t. Sometimes you just gotta do what you need to do to help people.
Here’s the scenario I imagine might happen if this works. I end up giving away a copy of my next book to a few thousand people before I sell it. Those few thousand people read the book, leave me a review (which is invaluable), like the book, and then hopefully share the book with their circles. Again, more invaluable stuff you can’t pay for.
Yes, those few thousand people may have bought my book for $2.99 each. And yes, I would have made a few thousand dollars if I sold it direct.
But look at the bigger picture. So I sell it for $2.99 instead of a buck a year. I make a few thousand in sales, but then what? My sales stop. Why? Because I’ve limited out of my low hanging fruit zone. I’ve reached as far as I can. I need more fans. How do you get fans? By letting them consume your content and having it wow them and help them or entertain them.
Perhaps instead, it’s worth it to me to forgo making a few thousand up front from my true fans who would have bought anyway, and instead rely on them to help me reach the people I could never get to before?
Is that crazy? I don’t think so. We shall see. Will fans prevail? I think so. Do I have faith? I do.
Could this entire idea fail? Yes. Then guess what? It’s time to get up and try again. I believe in this project however. I believe that I can help people by giving them what they need for dirt cheap, and they can help me reach new audiences. A win/win for both of us. I believe that even if only 10 people sign up, it will be beneficial to us all.
Please stop by the Jim For Life project and let me know what you think in the comments. You can also share the project on Twitter or Facebook here and get an extra something-something when you do. Thanks for considering it.
Or, just tell me I’m nuts in the comments. The video is pretty neat though, eh?