Sharing in 2017 - 31 December 2016
Milkyway over Acadia National Park
(full-sized version is here: http://www.tom-hill.biz/Galleries/Scenics/Maine/i-w8WB2v9/A)
So ends 2016. Looking back you can easily see I didn’t write very much in my blog this past year. Looking even a bit further you’ll see I haven’t written much of anything the last couple of years. I’m not sure what the cause of that is. If there’s a new years resolution is a commitment to contribute more to my blog in 2017.
One thing I noticed is related to sharing. Sharing is a wonderful gift to whomever you share with. On recent travels I listened to the an episode of NPR Ted Talk that discussed this precisely. One thing the show noted was the intangible contribution you have when you share with no strings attached. In other words, it was about the benefit of sharing your stuff with no expectation in return. I found that whole concept interesting.
I find it interesting because many folks might balk at the idea of giving up something for nothing. They might say, “what’s the point if there’s no direct benefit.” Well, that’s a good point until you look a little deeper. There are definite underlying benefits when you share. In fact, some might say giving stuff that matters to you away pays off bigger in the long run than being totally committed to the bottom-line. I agree.
While I was driving down the road listening to this discussion my mind wandered to my website, www. tom-hill.biz. You see, years ago I transformed my relationship with photography from a vocation I was trying to do full-time to a mindset that embraces the freedom of not making money. Instead of constantly trying to sell a print to whomever I talked to, I changed to only talking about photography when the subject naturally came up. Then, and only then, did I talk about how to get prints of my images which was through my website. In most of those cases, I tried to give away my images.
What that meant was if someone expressed interest in a print, I would figure out a way to get them what they wanted for free. Only the people who naturally progressed to my website unsolicited by me would those people actually pay good money to get their prints through the purchase engine on my website. Being that my website was still a “for profit” operation at the time, there was still a industry standard markup for anyone that bought a print. Unless they talked directly with me, they always paid that industry standard markup instead of the “Friends and Family” price.
Since I wasn’t talking about my images like I used to, I noticed I was sharing them with fewer and fewer folks. You can observe this phenomena using one of those web-traffic calculators. There were decidedly fewer visits to my website in the last few years since I changed from trying to make photography a vocation.
Even though my website has a huge array of products that my images can be printed on—enough to satisfy anyone’s needs—no one was buying them. In other words, I wasn’t making a penny and people weren’t seeing my images. Which begs the question, “if no one is paying attention, then what’s the point of the website?”
This brings me back to talking about sharing. I want to share my images. I don’t need to make any money off of them. So, as of 1 January 2017, I am going to change the pricing schedule on my website for all the products you can buy so everyone gets the “Friends and Family” discount. In a nutshell, that means you only pay enough to cover the cost of the product and a small amount to the overhead of maintaining the website. Essentially, this means everything is half off, forever. What that means to you is if you want a print of one of my pictures, it would be my honor to let you have that print if you simply paid what it would’ve cost you as if you owned the image yourself.
Please, checkout what I have. Hopefully, it’s easy to navigate to see what I have, and if you want, to buy a print or two (or maybe even a coffee mug).
Happy New Year.