On Saturday, I was on a Skype call with a sales rep from MediaPass.
He’s been great at helping me navigating my way through the implementation of a subscription system for The Yoga Lunchbox, answering all my many and varied questions with great patience – except for one thing.
I wanted to use a subscription system where people could decide how much they wanted to pay to receive premium access to The YLB.
I asked him about letting people choose how much they wanted to pay.
There was a long pause. He responded.
People usually set the subscription rates so they can make as much money as possible.
It’s not about the money. It’s about changing the way we think about money, and the way we determine value.
A longer pause.
You’re the first person we’ve dealt with who’s not primarily interested in chasing the big dollar.
I’m more interested in shifting the paradigm.
A big part of The YLB, right from it’s inception, has been questioning value, cost and how we determine what people should pay for something. I’m still interested in these questions, but for simplicity sake, and so as to not explode the brains of the friendly folk at MediaPass, I’m just going to roll with set prices for once.
Plus I was curious.
Was my obsession with flexible-pricing models not just about changing the paradigm, but also because I’m afraid to front up and just say…?:
This is what it’s worth people. Pay up, or ship out.
‘Cos what if, like, everyone shipped out?
As it turns out, there’s no way I can have my subscribers decide how much they want to charge for premium access to The YLB. I have to set the rates. But you know what, I can live with that. I’m comfortable with the value I’m offering through this website, and I know it’s worth the money.
But that brief encounter with Matt also made me realise how ingrained our basic assumptions about money and it’s value are.
We chase Money as if it’s Important. As if it Matters. As if making a Whole Swack proves Something. Yet we all know, that beyond a basic level of income, over-all happiness doesn’t increase that much.
I get it.
I got caught up too.
I’ve been unconsciously rating myself a Giant Failure over the creation of this website, because in the four years since it’s been running, it’s been running at a loss, and all my time to date has been volunteered and donated.
Obviously, I suck at business because if I didn’t suck, I would’ve figured out a way to make money.
These thoughts lead into… what I’m offering must be crap, because there’s no dollars stacking up in my bank account.
Which is sooooo not true.
I am not a failure and this website is not a failure.
Oh sure, if I used money to score points, I am a Big Fat Loser. But if I use something else for my scorecard, like the number of most excellent relationships I’ve developed, like the number of writers I’ve nurtured, like the number of people I’ve impacted with the articles I’ve written… well then… it’s clear I’m a Mighty Success.
And if I’d been interested in spinning some serious cash out of this website, it wouldn’t be what it is… it would be something different, and it likely wouldn’t have created those relationships, nutured those writers or impacted those readers.
And that would be a Big Fat Loss, to society, and to us.
Money is a lousy way to score life. It doesn’t take into account Relationships, Health, the Environment, Time, Energy and the Kind of World We Create.
So I’ve tossed money from the top of my score card, just like I’m closing the energetic leaks by making sure that only those people who truly want and need The Yoga Lunchbox are getting it.
I’m loving the deepening sense of community and relationship I’m experiencing as a result of this shift.
I’m loving the clarity I’m enjoying now that I’m not fervently trying to figure out how to get more, do more, be more and win more through this website. I’m loving the space (witness the increase of original articles pouring forth, and watch out for my first e-book coming soon).
I’m also loving the enthusiasm I’m feeling about pouring into the website so it delivers more of what the community needs, wants, values, loves.
For this reason, I’m about to introduce a subscription system on the site, because while money is a lousy way to score, it is a good way to measure an exchange of energy.
I’m putting energy into creating this website, along with my team of columnists, and we’re creating something that has value. That means readers and subscribers are receiving value when they read the most excellent articles we produce. I’m now creating a way for readers to reciprocate that value received by offering a subscription system.
Best of all, shifting from a totally free online magazine to a mostly-free with Premium-Access Magazine means that I will then be able to produce… more premium content. More of what you love most. More of what makes The Yoga Lunchbox great.
Not more in terms of the number of articles, but more as in deeper quality and deeper connection.
I expect we may lose some readers and some traffic when the system launches. I’m curious about it – losing people because they don’t see the value in The YLB means we’re cutting loose those who perceive The YLB as low-value. We’ll only be keeping those who perceive The YLB as high-value.
Better to have 1000 true fans who connect, engage and perceive the website as high value, than 3000 kinda fans who cruise by and shrug their shoulders.
Most of all, I’m fascinated by the process I’m working my way through.
I love what I do.
I would do it for free.
I have been doing it for free.
I’ve been afraid that it wasn’t worth anything so if I charged something people wouldn’t want it and I wouldn’t get to do what I love.
That’s not true. It’s. Just. Not. True.
I’m calling Bullshit on myself, and taking steps as if what I’m creating is worth something. Because it is.
So silly huh? All this messing about, all the time, with value and self-worth and making money and success and failure. You must be getting sick of it. I know I am. I feel a settling now, a clarity. As if I’ve been circling a vast hole I was afraid to get too close to or look into the centre of incase it sucked me down down down.
I’ve looked at the hole.
I’ve seen the centre.
And I’m still here.
Oh… I’m looking for three readers to help me develop some of this premium content. If you’re keen to develop a home yoga practice, and would be happy to offer feedback on the development of an e-book, in exchange for receiving the finished product for free, I want to hear from you.