Each of us has only so much time on this planet. What we do with it defines us. For 2014, I’m passing on the resolutions. The idea, as I’ve mentioned recently, is to focus on process instead; little things I can do fairly regularly which contribute to the things I want to achieve this year. When I look back at 2014, I want to see progress. I want to feel I’ve moved us into future more than I’ve let time pass me by.
First, our point of sale for subscriptions is weaksauce. Click a link to go to Paypal? Some people would rather mail us a check! (Some have!) I’ve got the basic software installed on the site now, but have a couple more modules to purchase and install before it all works.
Instead of Paypal, our supporters will be able to enter credit/debit card information on a secure form (powered by Stripe) right on the website. We’re going to offer discounts on multi-year subscriptions, maybe monthly payment options, and more; like subscriber profiles allowing us to offer all kinds of subscriber-only content without the need for more damned passwords.
Second, the cost of printed issues has got to come down. We’re fortunate our printer – Blurb – enables us to put together a really fantastic printed product, but we’re talking US$20+ per issue to your door. To put that into even greater perspective, our hosting bill for the website was US$120 or so for 2013. The 11 issues I bought in 2013 (remember, I have to buy one before we can sell any) ran me approximately US$240.
Um, actually, another way to drastically reduce the price per issue might be to simply reduce the number of issues! Our recent shake-up solves yet another problem!
SIDECAR: THANK YOU
This is a good time to say once again how much I personally appreciate you subscribing to this little magazine. How small are we? Well, we might have had over 10,000 people a month visit the site at various points in the past couple years, but less than 150 people have actually subscribed.
So yeah, not counting the value of our time, travel, technical support, and supplies, GBXM cost us a little under US$400 in 2013. That’s almost four times what it cost the three years prior, and yeah, we’re bootstrapping this thing as hard as we can. A couple hundred dollars in the last few months of the year from subscribers really made a difference at this end. Again, THANK YOU. YOU’RE MAKING A DIFFERENCE AND WE WILL NOT FORGET THAT.
GBXM goals (continued)
I’m also going to blog more. It bugs me that we’ve kinda pulled the same stunt some of the big outlets pull – take what people used to get for free and hide it behind a paywall. Granted, 10,000 people a month were visiting the site, but only 100-ish felt compelled to subscribe – even when it was free? And only maybe half those people actually read the issues?
Maybe it shouldn’t bug me so much, but it does. I want GBXM to be a website you enjoy visiting. Yeah, we’re focused on delivering a top quality monthly magazine, but whereas some businesses give you the movie for cheap and charge extra for the behind the scenes and bonus footage, I want to see us sharing that sort of stuff for free on the website. This is where the blog posts come in.
There was a time when we were running multiple stories on the website each week. I think that time can come again. It’s tricky to find time, what with the full-time day job and all, but I plan on sharing more behind the scenes and preview-type stuff on the website in advance of the issues.
THE MAIN EVENT
This is a big one for me. I want GBXM|united to really unite gearheads by getting us all together in person. Over the years, I’ve managed to sketch up a couple events I’d like to organize at some point. One’s called “The Arizona Hot Seat,” and would challenge competitors just as hard as their machines over the course of a very busy weekend. Another is inspired by Australia’s “Shitbox Rally,” an epic, cross-country road trip in $500 beaters for charity, ideally an expansion of the original with James Freeman’s blessing.
There’s also a worldwide GBXM photo scavenger hunt which pretty much just needs a budget for meaningful prizes at this point, and the super top secret “Ronin Project,” which involves a mysterious case, code words, and secret instructions. I’d like to make one of these happen this year. Just not sure which it will be.
I’m quitting smoking – again. I quit cold turkey as a New Year’s resolution on January 1st, 2012, then went over a year – to sometime in May 2013 – before getting frustrated about something so stupid I can’t even remember anymore, picking up a pack, and slipping right back into the mire. It’s not easy, but mind over matter. I’m sick of the smell, the cost, and being tired all the time. It’s so stupid. This is as good a time as any to put it down for good.
I also want to do more with the truck. April 2014 will be two years I’ve owned Rocinante the Fun Cooker, yet I’ve only really been out with it twice. Tricky though it might be when any trip requires finding a babysitter – Penny’s still a bit too small for all that bouncing around, and without AC, it can get a bit hot in the Arizona desert – it’s something I want to do at least a couple more times this year, aside from working rallies.
I’m also going to spend some time this year preparing to import a Mitsubishi Delica Star Wagon from Japan in 2015. Maybe I’ll find a square-headlight, 1989 model and bring one in sooner, but my heart is set on the facelifted, 1-star frontal crash rated 1990-up trim. Project Delica has already begun and you can read about it elsewhere in this issue.
Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes fame) once said, “There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” Already a few weeks into 2014, I’m already finding it a struggle to get things done. Resolutions, goals, or even just simple little changes to process – these are all just hopes and dreams and are worthless without action behind them.
50 weeks from now, I want to look back and feel a sense of accomplishment. I want to feel I’ve moved us into the future more than I’ve let time pass me by. How’s your 2014 shaping up? Where are you headed, and how are you going to get there? Drop me an email and let me know how GBXM|united can help.