Announcement If this was my Day Job....

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MattL

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 20, 2015
Messages
3,127
Location
SF Bay Area
All is well here on CivilWarTalk... generally speaking....

I've been watching as everyone has been generally keeping discussions going every day. Each day new members join and keep the discussions and learning going. Good job and thanks for participating! We love your friendly discussions, this is why we made this site!

CivilWarTalk has been my passion nearly 20 years now, and the love and support I get from all of you, I could never thank you all enough. What you all have given me though this site has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I can't explain how much I appreciate everyone here, past and present.

So I just wanted to start with that... thanks for helping me to make this the best Civil War community to be found anywhere on the internet.​

Unfortunately, all is not well here at CivilWarTalk headquarters. It's very embarrassing for me. I recently was fired from my job, and I'm on the lookout for a new one. My old job gave me the flexibility to check-in on CivilWarTalk several times throughout the day, my next job may not.

As you can guess, money has suddenly become a challenge with our family, and while I don't expect it to impact CivilWarTalk day to day operations anytime soon, it has put some of my plans to do upgrades to the site on hold until things become more stable.

Complicating things for me, I've been working for companies who do time & attendance tracking for over 22 years, and I am really good at it, but there just aren't that many companies that sell that type of system.

A CAREER CHANGE?

I've been considering a career change, or perhaps a pivot to another job that better fits my talents. My search continues...

CivilWarTalk has been a hobby for a long time. As a forum, this site has time and again beat the odds by becoming one of the last successful Civil War communities outside of Facebook, and not just survive, but thrive! Can I now beat the odds with CivilWarTalk yet again?

One option Ami and I discussed was turning my focus around and working more with CivilWarTalk and taking that on as my my job. That would mean that this site would become one of my focuses, but at the same time I would need to earn enough money every week to pay my bills. Is this really possible?

Ami is terrified of this idea, she really wants to make sure the bills get paid and that we don't have to deal with unemployment and being in poverty. I can't blame her for being scared. We have a lot to loose.

I'm not sure myself... How can I ask you to just give me more money? You all have already given an wonderful amount to keep CivilWarTalk going, and it's really not fair to ask you to give even more.

However, I need to do something to keep my home, and my car, and keep us all fed, warm, and happy.

What if I could offer you something? What if I asked you to be my boss?

WOULD YOU BE MY BOSS?

Would you like me to work for you? What if I created for you some new Civil War related content? How much would you be willing to send me to support me and my family if I made CivilWarTalk one of my jobs?

What if I made feature articles for you? Brought you all the latest Civil War news from around the country? Would you watch if I made new and interesting videos about Civil War battlefields and equipment?

Would you pay a few dollars to me every month if I did that for you?

IF THIS WAS MY DAY JOB:

If I had time every day to work on CivilWarTalk, and money wasn't a concern, I could add so much to CivilWarTalk.

I would spend a lot more time on Civil War battlefields, doing photography for CivilWarTalk, and coming up with video content for the site.

I could do more interviews with people, like my video with artist Gary Casteel from years ago...


Or my visit to Grant's Tomb in NYC....


Or I could report on reenactments and live shooting events like those seen in the N-SSA...


I filmed and produced each of those videos, and I'd be thrilled to do that every day. Other things I'd like to work on and improve...

The Wiki has so much promise, but I haven't been able to give it the love it really deserves. It could one day be one of the best resources on Civil War history, but I'd need to put in hundreds of hours of time to get it updated to where I'd like it to be.

Skirmish Notes could be revitalized and relaunched as my blog, tracking all the things I would be doing as far as battlefield visits and N-SSA events I attend...

That's really just scratching the surface, I'd like to do so many more things, stuff I have dreamed about doing for CivilWarTalk, but today it's only a dream.

WHAT IT WOULD TAKE:

I believe we would need to take our current Patron numbers and multiply that by somewhere between 5 and 10. That's a lot!

Right now to support CivilWarTalk we have about 40 patrons who support CivilWarTalk every month. The money sent by those patrons pays for all the server fees and licenses I need to keep CivilWarTalk working every month with a bit left over, and we usually save the extra to pay for upgrades to the forum and new features when we can.

My old job used to pay me about $2800 each month. So okay, reality check, I'll probably need to get some kind of real job, maybe something part time. But the remaining time I could work on this site and provide new content, good rich content.

I'm not going to pretend that CivilWarTalk can replace my old job, but maybe if you help me and and give me a job, I can be happy and provide you with more of the content I know you love, and give my family the stability it needs.

TO SUPPORT CIVILWARTALK AND BE MIKE'S BOSS

If you haven't already you will need to join CivilWarTalk.com: https://civilwartalk.com/login/

Go here to become a Patron: https://civilwartalk.com/account/upgrades

Unfortunately our Patron System only takes Paypal, but if that doesn't work for you, please contact me or use this page: https://civilwartalk.com/pages/Contribute/

THANKS!


Even if this idea does not work out, I still want to thank you for supporting me and my family all these years. Your generous Holiday donations, your helpful patron donations, helping my boys go to summer camp by buying popcorn, and all the supporting messages we get, we appreciate and love you all for everything you've done.
So sorry to hear about your job.

Thank you for all the work you put into this place. I'll admit I haven't been a patron until now despite getting a lot of value out of it (I've had some oddities with my paypal account, so have avoided using it but just used my wife's).

It might seem like an odd suggestion but for some reason I can't help think of Twitch and/or youtube. A lot of people basically have become self-supporting playing games and doing other digital activities on there. It has a lot of built in tools and systems to help facilitate that. I'm not sure if it's the perfect fit but seems to be people who've been able to achieve something similar. I think the key is expanding the audience so you can get a little from a lot a lot easier and more diversified than a smaller audience, though I know it's also a hard thing to pull off. Though it might not be quite what you were looking at maybe even consider going to Twitch and streaming historical games and interactive content there. Again not sure if that's even your bag but maybe something to consider.
 
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luinrina

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
2,060
Location
Germany
I've been a member for just over two months now and I enjoy checking in daily and learn more about the Civil War with every post I read. This site is a treasure trove of information and full of very knowledgable and helpful people. Studying history has never been more fun. :smile: Many thanks to you, Mike and Ami, for creating such a great platform!

I just put in a small subscription for now and will update probably in January once I receive my pay rise.

I wish you all the best for your job search and/or endeavors in regard to CWT, Mike. Like Stonewall Jackson put it so aptly: You can be whatever you resolve to be. :smile:
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,984
Location
Central Pennsylvania
I don't know why you'd be embarrassed, for some reason money as a topic affects us that way but companies can be whifty. Who hasn't been affected at some point? Seems to me you're on the right track with self employment, whatever that looks like utilizing this crazy effective format you and Ami have built. Self employment is scary, yes, but once it begins rolling, what's terrific is knowing you're dependent on yourself, no one can throw you into this situation again.

We've seen 16 year olds become millionaires because they hit on something that tickled viewers , in this world called the internet. It's not a fluke, kids know how to tap in and it's fascinating to watch. With this already established, respected and giant resource, there's an amazing starting point. Easy for me to say, with zero knowledge how it's done- just seems to me the hardest work is already here. Must be a whiz kid somewhere who could point the way.

Hope you and Ami know how much this is valued by members although that doesn't pay the bills. Still has to be said, along with all the thanks.
 

GS

Retired User
Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Messages
2,530
Mike and Ami, thank you for all that you do! I'm relatively new here, approaching two years, but the Forum is a source of intellectual stimulation daily. I gain from it as I do with watching PBS, or reading a good book, only on this site we connect our hearts and minds with people. I will be looking at the best way for me to support.
 
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byron ed

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
2,778
Location
Midwest
Museums hire people such as yourself. I was with a Fortune 500 for 25 years and they pressured older workers to leave. I took the "early out" option and moved on into two paid museum positions. Not all museums require a degree in the field, and other museums allow for you to get such degrees or certification as you work.

There are Museum professional organizations in different parts of the country, but see this for a Midwest area example: https://www.midwestmuseums.org/jobs/

Relative pay scales at non-profits aren't that great, but at the same time one can develop related income opportunities to supplement, such as 1st-person historical presenter, trader of historical artifacts, maker of reproduction artifacts, or manager of a CW site online. In other words, contacts and creds come with a museum job.
 
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luinrina

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
2,060
Location
Germany
Maybe you could offer guided tours over battlefields in your area, like the licenced battlefield guides in Gettysburg. If I see that correctly, you're living not that far from Antietam, South Mountain, Winchester and Harpers Ferry (to name a few). Can't say how well covered Antietam is by the NPS and its rangers (haven't been there yet) and whether the local NPS would even allow an "LBG" for that particular battlefield, but the other locations IIRC don't have rangers for tours. I know that I would love a guide who can explain terrain features and their effects on battlefield tactics when I visit the area next summer. :smile: Some might rather tackle battlefield explorations on their own, others might welcome a guide to help them visualize the battles.
 
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Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
5,543
Location
Eastern NC
So very sorry to hear the bad news about losing your job, Mike.

If you have at least a bachelor's degree you might consider substitute teaching. The pay isn't the best but it's rewarding. School districts are in great need of subs.
Or go ahead and get your teaching certificate. You would be a great history teacher or maybe any other subject as well. Good luck.
 

Mike Serpa

Major
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Messages
8,619
I was injured in 1980 and bounced around from job to job for twenty-five years. I went through two workers comp rehabs. During those twenty-five years I missed more than four years of work because of the injury. I have not worked in past thirteen years and I am on disability. I know how it feels to be fired, Mike. I can offer my sympathy, prayers and good wishes. Your beautiful family is all the incentive you need to find gainful employment. I wish my pocketbook would afford me the chance to support this website. I've met many wonderful people and learned a lot.
 

IrishBrigade

Private
Joined
Jun 3, 2010
Messages
164
Location
Mullingar, Ireland
Have you considered affiliate status with internet sites that would benefit from the traffic generated here? Amazon for example, every time someone buys a book about the civil war you get some money from it if that sale was generated from this site. Same with hotel booking websites, lots of people will be visiting battlefield sites and will need hotels/car rentals/flights etc. The cost is the same to the person booking, it's just that you would get a small commission. Lots of vloggers use this as a method of generating extra passive income. For example a lot of them list off their cameras and editing software via Amazon links and if someone buys they get a cut. I'm not sure how much of a cut but every dollar counts when you've no income.

Youtube videos are also a good idea, there's comparatively few good Civil war guide videos, the how to get there, what to do when you're there etc. This is time consuming and expensive as it will involve a lot of travel but is an option. I'll also consider becoming a patron, this is a great resource, the Facebook groups are ok but as an interactive medium this is much better. If complimented with Youtube it could only get better.
 
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rbasin

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,535
Location
Tampa, Fl
The first and most important thing is a steady income. That would mean more traffic to the site, which is how that steady income exists. I mean a lot more traffic. So that's where to start.

For this site, has there been talk in the past of an app? Something simple at first, say just for the forums, for example. Then start expanding out from there.
 

byron ed

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
2,778
Location
Midwest
The first and most important thing is a steady income. That would mean more traffic to the site, which is how that steady income exists. I mean a lot more traffic. So that's where to start. For this site, has there been talk in the past of an app? Something simple at first, say just for the forums, for example. Then start expanding out from there.
Not exactly. Let's not be playing at this. Amateur advice is ok for conversation but this is a real person considering alternatives. Steady income is not a characteristic of things marketed on the web. Particularly in the case of a small niche market that will never be more than a small niche market.

True enough, if more traffic ("hits") can be effected it would likely increase the number of paid subscriptions by a percent; but the cost to develop and make available a viable app isn't negligible. Folks have to want it on their phone or pad, which means that to start with it would have to be a free app with perceived and ongoing value, perhaps with accessory features like "this day in CW history" or "today's CW general" but more original and unique. And it's not a "set and forget" proposition. It has to be maintained and fed. Time is money, and you'd have to consider this an unfunded tactic to start with.

Still, it's totally doable with enough determination. And an unsteady income is ok -- it is an income after all -- but perhaps just not to be relied on in the real world where one's expenses are weekly and monthly. You could try a "Go Fund Me" (a link from this site) but more reliable advice is to monetize this or an independent site as a sideline while holding down a history-related job. It's called leveraging your assets.
 
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Mrs. V

First Sergeant
Joined
May 5, 2017
Messages
1,656
I am sorry to hear of your misfortune. I take it you can’t get unemployment? *sigh* friend of mine went through that. I can only think of doing youtube videos and monetizing it. I like the idea of doing some substitute work, either as a para-pro or as a teacher. In my district subs for teachers make 80 bucks a day. Para’s make 10/hour. And I can tell you they are always looking for competant people.

I’ll see what I can do, after I pay a few bills.
 
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rbasin

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,535
Location
Tampa, Fl
It can absolutely be a steady income.
Not exactly. Let's not be playing at this. Amateur advice is ok for conversation but this is a real person considering alternatives. Steady income is not a characteristic of things marketed on the web. Particularly in the case of a small niche market that will never be more than a small niche market.

True enough, if more traffic ("hits") can be effected it would likely increase the number of paid subscriptions by a percent; but the cost to develop and make available a viable app isn't negligible. Folks have to want it on their phone or pad, which means that to start with it would have to be a free app with perceived and ongoing value, perhaps with accessory features like "this day in CW history" or "today's CW general" but more original and unique. And it's not a "set and forget" proposition. It has to be maintained and fed. Time is money, and you'd have to consider this an unfunded tactic to start with.

Still, it's totally doable with enough determination. And an unsteady income is ok -- it is an income after all -- but perhaps just not to be relied on in the real world where one's expenses are weekly and monthly. You could try a "Go Fund Me" (a link from this site) but more reliable advice is to monetize this or an independent site as a sideline while holding down a history-related job. It's called leveraging your assets.
I gave no advice, one way or the other. I did not say anything about this site being a source of steady income. I simply stated a fact.
 

byron ed

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
2,778
Location
Midwest
It can absolutely be a steady income.
But not likely. Providing a forum is not a contracted business. It's more like an ice cream truck, where customers buy on impulse or as convenient. Even if you manage to monetize the forum beyond the donation stage, it's still a pay-as-you-go model. Only in your wildest dreams could you impose a yearly contracted monthly fee.

Higher traffic notwithstanding, internet clients come and go with the wind. They can disconnect at any time, and in a nitch market there's limited turnover, a small pool of replacements from which to draw. Your income chart would not be a ramp but rather a roller coaster.

So while the enterprise might at fiscal year's see an improvement over the prior year, in no way can that be construed as an "absolutely steady" income. Why are you playing with this? -- it's not helping.
 

CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
Owner & Webmaster
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Messages
142,450
Location
Martinsburg, WV
Lot's of good ideas from everyone, and yes I totally understand the risks I'm taking.

At any rate I need to do something, and while I'm spending a few hours every morning working on finding a full time job, in the afternoons I'm going to be working on CWT, and I've already got a good list to keep me busy. Hopefully I can create some quality content that will generate some additional income down the line!

My current list includes the following weekly content....

Civil War Recipe Video
Civil War Podcast/Interview
Civil War Week in Review Video

Other items may also be added, but I need to see how this stuff works out first....
 
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gem

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 26, 2012
Messages
2,769
charge everyone a small monthly fee if they want membership to your site.

That's your best bet for generating income.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Messages
13,587
Location
Mississippi
charge everyone a small monthly fee if they want membership to your site.

That's your best bet for generating income.
That's the very worst thing Mike should do.

He has a very good patron system set up, but the overwhelming majority of members are not going to pay one dime
for access to this or any similar website.

The key is ad revenue.
 
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