Developing a website and business from scratch is a daunting prospect. After one year, 5,500 page views and hundreds of comments I wanted to answer some questions and provide an update as to the progress of the site.
First, I want to thank readers and experts who were kind enough to offer their insights. I greatly appreciate your input. The personal history community was especially gracious.
Most suggested that I shorten the articles on the site; I reduced verbiage by about a third.
The second most frequent comment was that there are infinite possibilities for the site and I should not market to any particular demographic. I envisioned that the site would tell the personal histories of older people. Readers told me not to limit the site’s potential which resulted in articles on Valentine’s Day love stories to recording a child’s significant event to creating audio messages for business, associations and nonprofits.
Many suggested that I place more generic photographs on the site (with less of an emphasis on older people). That was done.
The next most suggested observation was whether or not I realized that there are thousands of websites that allow people to tell their own stories for free. My answer is yes and my guess is that there are people who want a guided interview by an expert “and” there are people who want their own websites.
If I’m good enough to do interviews with top officials from the White House and Department of Justice plus many other agencies, hopefully I’m good enough for potential customers. I don’t use my government shows as examples because I want clear separation between this site and my government duties.
Finally, people ask when I plan on retiring so I can start recording and the answer is I don’t know (I’m eligible in a year). When asked why I started the site before I was ready to give it my full attention I explain that it takes years for websites to become functional by creating the traffic necessary to build a business.
I always said that I envy people who made their living solely based on their drive and creativity and their willingness to take risks. Well, I discovered that it’s harder than I thought.
I have no idea what the magic combination of creativity and words are. Does the site work? Will people “get it,” or will they tell me that I’m being foolish? Are my suggested prices too much or not enough?
Thus far it’s a work-in-progress “but” it’s been a fun learning experience and I’ve met a ton of nice people along the way. Thanks to everyone who cared enough to guide me.
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