It could be the turning of yet another season, or maybe it’s because my entire world has changed this year. Maybe it’s just this summer bug I’m fighting, but lately I’ve found myself especially reflective. And since it’s officially Get Out The Bonzai month, I figured it was the perfect time to share some of my thoughts. Afterall, I’ve always said that my role here is just to facilitate discussion. My goal is to create community and a safe space for growth. And the way to accomplish that is to be as honest and forthright as possible, yes?
It’s sometimes difficult to balance this blog, which is my passion, with other aspects of my life – namely earning income. It goes without saying that my family comes first, and mothering/partnering will be my number one priority. If only this blog could always be number two!
In the past I’ve been open about my ambition to monetize BA. It’s not my driving purpose here (of course), but I sure wouldn’t shy away from it. Every dollar required to live my life is time taken away from this space. If BA could do a bit to earn its keep, that would change a lot. And becoming a mommy has made my time more precious than ever. Sometimes I find myself asking a very difficult question: is blogging like this really sustainable for me?
I firmly believe in NPR (National Public Radio), PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service), and CSAs (community supported agrigulture), which is why I’ve been operating under a model I call USB – User Supported Blogging. That means that I’ve eschewed advertising dollars and instead relied on contributions from my readers (via my wishlist and the tip jar → ). I am so incredibly grateful for every gift I’ve received, but the undeniable truth is that donations won’t really bridge that financial gap.
Right now I work for my $crilla and I blog for love, and those two investments become competing factions in the ”War On Sayward’s Time”. And since family always come first, and since the sad truth is I do *need* to make money, in the end it’s the blog that suffers.
My ultimate dream is to someday marry my income obligations to that which brings me true joy. In other words, I’d love Bonzai Aphrodite to become lucrative, so that I could channel all of my extra energy right here. I have such Big Dreams and Grand Plans (yes capitals!) for this project, if only I could devote the time!
I’m not trying to get rich. I don’t make much money right now and I don’t need that much to maintain my lifestyle. But, well, a girl’s gotta eat. (And this girl’s gotta eat organic!) Life costs money, and I do need some.
So here’s where I would love some input. I’m decidedly disinterested in hosting advertisements, but I have been considering ‘sponsorship’. Essentially, featuring a company whose product and ethics I can completely get behind.
Do you see a distinction between advertisers and sponsors? Do you think allowing sponsorship would compromise the integrity of the site? (Or conversely, would you appreciate being exposed to responsible, green businesses?)
I’ve also considered other avenues of income via BA, such as selling quality merchandise like tees and totes. (Which, personally, I think could be so fun!) How would you feel if I offered BA-inspired garments and goodies? Would you be interested in buying them, or do you feel like our relationship would change if I were “selling something”?
My integrity is more important to me than anything. I always want you to trust that I’m operating above board and in honor of the principles I advocate. So I put it to you, my readers, my community, my ‘shareholders’ – what do you think?