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It's The Most Marketable Time of The Year!
Can you hear the Christmas music when you read the headline?
Hello there, gentle reader!
Well, it’s November, Thanksgiving here in the States is right around the corner, and the entire holiday season is about ready to kick into high gear.
It’s the time of year where everyone is forced to think a little more than usual about what they have in the bank account, as they get ready to put together lavish dinners and buy thoughtful gifts for the people they love.
Over here in Skojecistan, the bank account has a distinct echo. We’ve been working our butts off, as I’ve previously mentioned, but the cycle we’re in with the two primary businesses we run (Residential Real Estate Sales and an Assisted Living home) would best be described as “ early in the long game, with a positive prognosis, but pending actual results.”
As you’re probably aware, mortgage rates and home prices have been going up simultaneously, and even so, housing inventory is in very short supply. Here in the Phoenix market, there are only 16,000 homes for sale in a city of nearly 5 million people, which is one of the fastest growing in the country. (In the past three months, over 2,000 people moved to Phoenix from Los Angeles alone!) The median price in Phoenix is now over $500K, and the median price here in Scottsdale is over $1 Million. Everything is expensive, including our eye-popping rent (we sold our house in 2021 and have been waiting for things to stabilize before buying again). But with over 63,000 real estate agents in the city, competition for every sale is fierce, and rebuilding our business, which had been somewhat dormant during my 1P5 days, is taking longer than we’d like. We are at a point where even though we thought we were done moving, we’re forced to seriously consider relocation to some place where living expenses are a lot less insane, once our oldest graduates high school this coming May.
Which leads me to my ask: there are nearly 2,000 free subscribers of this Substack, and only 115 paid. The annual revenue brought in by my writing is now less than I would make in a single month in my previous gig, in the heady days when I was providing for my large family doing the kind of work I love:
If you enjoy The Skojec File enough to justify $5 a month, it would really be a big help. It’s less than a latte just about anywhere these days, and it helps me to justify the time I take away from my marketing activities for our other businesses to come here a dive into the deeper topics that I love, and the community we’re building here. I’m not asking you to give something for nothing - times are hard for most of us right now. But if you find this ‘stack valuable, it’d be huge if you’d subscribe. Remember - you can cancel at any time. You can do so at the button right here:
(If you like the idea of kicking an extra tip in the bucket, I’d gratefully receive that as well to help get caught up on things. My Paypal is available right here.)
The follow-up on this request is a return of the favor: I want to know how can I provide more value to you, the reader?
What makes a $5/month subscription worth the ticket price? I’m trying hard to write more frequently, as I had let my busy schedule get in the way for a while, and I’d like to offer more subscriber-exclusive content to sweeten the deal. One thing I’m considering is making the “Friday Roundup” where I share the most interesting things I’ve been reading/watching that week into a weekly, subscriber-only feature. There’s so much interesting stuff out there. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone hand you a list of things worth thinking about.
On a similar note, Substack has introduced a referral program which is kinda neat. Here’s the scoop on that:
If you enjoy The Skojec File, it would mean the world to me if you invited friends to subscribe and read with us. If you refer friends, you will receive benefits that give you special access to The Skojec File.
How to participate
1. Share The Skojec File. When you use the referral link below, or the “Share” button on any post, you'll get credit for any new subscribers. Simply send the link in a text, email, or share it on social media with friends.
2. Earn benefits. When more friends use your referral link to subscribe (free or paid), you’ll receive special benefits.
Get a 1 month comp for 3 referrals
Get a 3 month comp for 5 referrals
Get a 6 month comp for 25 referrals
To learn more, check out Substack’s FAQ.
Finally, I’m working on creating merchandise for sale, partly as proof-of-concept, partly so I can learn how to properly market books and other items (my novel manuscript is on pause at the moment due to time constraints, but it is coming), partly because I’m trying out different side hustles to see where the best opportunities are.
To that end, as I’ve previously mentioned, I made a coloring book that’s pretty fun. Here’s the ad I put together for that (which I still haven’t figure out how to run on frippin’ Instagram!) and it really is a neat little Christmas gift:
As linked above, The Atomic Robot Coloring Book is available right here on Amazon with free Prime shipping. I make a modest commission of about $2.50 per book, which only adds up if I sell a whole bunch of them. (If you do buy a copy and like it, please leave a review to help others find it!)
Just to answer the questions before you ask: Yes, this book features AI art. I used Midjourney to make the images in the book, as I am just not that proficient of an artist. It took a couple of nights of machine whispering to get 50 usable robot coloring images, and then I designed the cover and compiled it all together in a format Amazon would accept. I ordered my own copy, and the quality is really excellent. It’s much better paper than most coloring books you’d find at Walmart. And as I said in the video, I made sure to only print on one side to avoid things like marker bleed-through.
I also have a few neat 200-page blank journals (wide ruled, lined paper) I put together with fun covers, which feature some of my favorite Midjourney-generated images. Like this Space Octopus Nebula one:
And this Giant Robot Forest Guardian one:
I’m working on coming up with some more items when I can make the time. I have ideas, I just need to squeeze in the execution.
If you’re interested in any of this stuff, cool. If not, also cool. But I thought I should at least let you know they’re available!
That’s all for now. Feel free to leave some comments/ideas/suggestions in the box if you have any. I’ll leave this post open for everyone to comment, not just subscribers.