I’m a massive fan of the writing of Ben Thompson – and so should you be. The analysis he provides on his blog is superb – and it’s free!
Interestingly, he also provides extra content for a fee – a daily email with even more in depth analysis of the technology topics of the day. Just $10 a month, or $100 for the whole year. Members also get access to a forum where you can chat to Ben and others who are interested in his work.
I subscribe – the extra content is great, the forum helpful, but more than anything, I want to support this guy to keep doing great work.
Ben posted recently that he has broken through the magic barrier of 1,000 paying subscribers. 1,000 True Fans is the title of a post by Kevin Kelly outlining how the long tail of the internet means that focused, high quality niche communities can be financially sustainable.
So, 1,000 members doesn’t sound like a lot, relative to all the people on the Internet, or the memberships of supersites like Facebook or Twitter. But 1,000 people paying $100 a year is $100,000 a year! To do a thing you love doing! Add in a few consulting days a month and there’s a good living to be made.
I’ve written before about how I would love to find a way to be able to just live off content creation. After all, I have this blog, with thousands of readers, an email newsletter with over 700 people subscribed, a reasonably popular podcast, and my webinars seem to go down well too.
Of course, it’s hard work. I’d imagine the pressure can build up when you have to produce really great content every single day. Figuring out what people might pay for and what they would expect for free isn’t easy either.
But it is super-interesting to know that to make a living as an independent is achievable and that you don’t need to have Buzzfeed levels of traffic to do it.