Lifestyles of the broke and nameless
It’s 9:06 PM. I’m staring down the barrel of another failed project. This whole nightmare started in 2009 when I graduated into an economy where all the once-valuable skills of my Network Administration degree (with a focus on Linux!) were now outsourced to “software as a service”—like Google Apps and Amazon Web Services—and to other countries where labor exploitation was more blatant. This was right after the economy went into a generation-defining nosedive. The economists claim the economy has seen a full recovery and then some, but I don’t know anyone who feels whole. Their definitions need work.
I accepted my path into IT was closed off and tried making a living online. I sold t-shirts. EBooks. Photo prints. I tried affiliate marketing and ads. I got an ad revenue check once. DistroKid paid for itself through referrals. Music is the closest I’ve been to a big score through album sales and Patreon. $40 dollars a month after years of sincere and consistent effort. At least it’s something.
But not really. It’s not enough to move for better job opportunities. All the “beginner” jobs here are taken by retirees who discovered the party and businesses they supported for decades screwed them over. I can’t even muster a “fuck you, grandma.” I’m not that bitter. Yet. Whine about the “War on Christmas” as I pay for my toffee snickerdoodles while Republicans raid Social Security and FEMA for vanity projects like wars and walls some more, then maybe I can learn to hate you the way you hate “millennials,” whatever that is. I’ve already resolved to use the self checkout next time and forever after. Blame yourself.
So that brings us back to the internet. Business, but online! Heck yeah. It’s only recently, thanks to that $40/month and the rising popularity of subscription newsletters, that I had any real hope.
That’s what they—who, I do not know—call a lifestyle business. One, maybe two people working on something that 500 or 1000 people are willing to pay a few dollars a month for. I could never get much above 10 people with the music. That’s why I consider it a failure. I do $40/month worth of work, schedule the result to post automatically, and focus on other things.
Like this attempt at a lifestyle business. For now, the newsletter is free. I will make payment optional in the future. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to make it mandatory. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try writing a book again. Stay tuned.