1.8k

Bootstrapping, Tribesmaids, and earning back a $10,000 investment

For those who aren't familiar with internet start-up talk, "bootstrapping" refers to a business that doesn't take on any investment capital. As Wikipedia explains, "Such startups fund the development of their company through internal cash flow and are cautious with their expenses."

The Offbeat Empire is a bootstrapped company. I started it with money out of my own pocket, and have never taken on any investment dollars or venture capital. This means that by necessity, the Empire always has to function in the black — simply put, the company has to be profitable, because there is no other money other than the money coming in.

For the most part, I love bootstrapping…but sometimes it's hard, and the Offbeat Bride Tribe's migration earlier this year was one of those times.

9.5k

Skimlinks: what it is, and how it makes us money

I've mentioned before that the Empire uses a service called Skimlinks is performing on the Empire. Skimlinks is one of those little monetization strategies that isn't going to keep a business (or even a hobby) afloat, but that definitely adds up after a while.

First, some background: Skimlinks is a service that turns any product link in a blog post, comment, or forum post into an affiliate link. If a reader clicks through and buys something, both Skimlinks and the Empire get a cut of the sale. When we do straight-up shopping posts, we use our own affiliate links (no need to give Skimlinks a cut: it's easy for us to do product links in posts like my shoe posts). But Skimlinks provides a great way to monetize links posted by commenters or forum members, and it's also a nice way to make sure no product link goes un-cashed-in-upon.

Here's how it's performing, ranked by site:

2.6k

"Show It" technology: the non-monetary bonus of an offbeat affiliate account

As you may or may not know, everyone in the Empire has their own Amazon affiliate account, which means, if someone purchases something on Amazon.com through our affiliate links, we not only get a tiny percentage of the purchase, but we also get to see what they have purchased. Now, we can't see WHO purchased WHAT, but that doesn't matter — I really delight in the truly random crap that shows up every now and then. Wanna see some of my favorite things purchased by Offbeat Bride readers?

2.7k

Non-shady ways to mooooonetize your blog

For me, the biggest challenge with monetizing has been finding legit, non-scammy tools. There's a lot of shady, scammy stuff that goes down in the world of online advertising, and it's hard to trust information you find online about any of them. I like to feel good about the businesses I partner with, so I figure it'd be worth sharing some of the tools I use that don't feel shady to me.