This is a guest post by Demis of I Just Want Your Money. It just goes to show that anyone can come up with their own unique way of making money.
The first I felt the pinch of the “economic downturn” earlier in the year was it really punching below the belt. As a freelance visual effects artist working on feature films, often moving from film to film without much of a break, suddenly a huge hole of up to 6 months had opened in the local visual effects industry – scary no matter which way any of us were looking at it (for individuals and companies alike).
Fortunately for me, my wife’s job pretty much covers a lot of our basic living costs (including mortgage) for those times when things have occasionally gotten a bit lean, but this year was looking pretty mean, and I had to come up with a better solution than “house-husband” to fill in my days before the industry picked up again – whenever THAT was going to be.
Initially coming to be during an alcohol-fueled brain-storming session on my couch (“brain-storming” being a polite way of saying “the beer was doing the talking”), the idea behind ‘I Just Want Your Money‘ was actually inspired by those crazy Nigerian email-scammers – you know the ones! My wife and I were complaining about the larger-than-normal volume of spam mails we’d been experiencing that week, and I said something along the lines of : “… You know, if those guys just grew a pair and simply came right out and asked me politely for some cash, I might just give them some…”, as opposed to the constant lies and trickeries contained in those types of scam tactics.
Of course, the timing was perfect – with that same thought planted in my mind a few days later, I started putting together a website based entirely on that idea : be honest with people about my intentions (i.e. “I’m not doing too well with work right now – please give me some cash”), and follow it through with as much value-add as I can.
But how would I “value-add” on the website equivalent of the homeless guy in the street?
Simple – my “option 2” was born, where I come up with as many fairly stupid (yet often fairly handy) items or services that I could do myself with minimal cash-outlay and minimal time, and post them all on the site.
At the lower end of the scale, there’s options like :
– for $10 I’ll make an ‘Awkward Phonecall’
– dob in a cheating boyfriend, tell a colleague about their terrible body odor, ask a guy/girl out for somebody else… you name it.
– for $25 I’d do a sexy dance on YouTube to whatever song they wanted. Ok, so I’m not much of a dancer, but I certainly give me my all.
– for $100 I’ll get my wife to nag you (she really is quite excellent in that regard) for an entire week, ideal for people who really need that little extra motivation to get organized!
… right through to the top-dollar options such as :
– for $10,000 I’ll fly anywhere in the world and do anything they want me to do – attend a highschool reunion as date, come and help someone out at tax-time, come play keyboards at someones wedding reception… in Kenya. Whatever they could come up with, so long as I wasn’t breaking any laws (or cheating on my wife!)
Taking a day of my time to set up (using default Paypal merchant facilities) I threw the link at my Facebook friends, and waited. Within 3 hours I’d covered all set-up costs and was starting to get into the realm of pure profit… I just wanted their money, and the punters out there seemed more than happy to part with their spare change! 🙂
So, how’s it doing now?
The set-up was a couple of months ago now, and to date the site has pulled in thousands without a heck of a lot of maintenance or upkeep. The best part is that all the while I’ve still been plucking away at my REAL job taking whatever I can get when opportunities arise, then filling in the off days performing “Sexy Dances”, making “Awkward Phonecalls” and doing anything else waiting in my inbox! It hasn’t made me a rich man, but it has certainly taken the edge off things for someone who went from two incomes down to one-and-a-bit almost overnight!
Curiously enough, the phonecalls have been the big winner for me – it has out-performed any of the other various services I put up on offer, and fortunately for me, it is also the one which costs me the least to do! Think about it – I can call any phone number in the world for, let’s say, 2 cents, for the minute or so I need to actually make my phonecall. WIth a price-tag of $10, that’s really not such a bad profit margin. Of course, the hard part isn’t dialing the number, but having the guts to cold-call some random stranger and deliver a potentially messy message to them, keeping a straight face! (For instance “My neighbour has been making way too much noise during sex – can you let him know to keep the noise down for me?” is one of my all time favourites. Just stop for a minute and consider how that call would go down if YOU were the recipient!)
But what about the “Option 1” income? I’m still quite surprised just how many people have thrown me a few dollars expecting nothing in return apart from maybe an email thank-you! These good-will donations have probably made up about 20% of all cash received, which really says a lot about the generosity of the good people on the internet! I suppose the website is just funny and cocky enough, that even if somebody isn’t willing to fork out for something as useful (yet attractive) as a $25 Autographed Headshot of yours truly, they still might laugh just enough to pass me a dollar!
The big question for me is what happens next?
It’s only a matter of time before my career get’s too busy again (often 15-hour-days in this industry!) to be bothered shaking my behind on YouTube anytime someone requests it. I also don’t want to keep saying I’m unemployed once I’m actually busy, so plans are already underway to take the best performers on the site and revamp the whole angle so that I can keep it alive long after the recession has gone! The guys I work for some of the time now are already getting fairly used to my “Awkward Phonecall Breaks”, so I’m sure I’ll be able to keep those going, as well as whatever else I can think of to keep the cash flowing!
For now, I’m keeping it real, keeping it honest. What started as a joke over a few drinks has become one of the more entertaining chapters of my online life, and while there’s still a willing audience, I’m going to keep on shaking it!