Support Nanosphere from as little as £1 a month
We would like to present a new plan to help us develop Nanosphere. Ultimately we can’t avoid the fact that it needs to make some sort of income, as we have bills to pay. We have been looking at various ways in which to achieve this – we already try to make use of affiliate links, and we are exploring advertising and sponsorship. We have also looked into Patreon and we have decided to launch our own Patreon site to help support Nanosphere now and in the future. Click here to support Nanosphere on Patreon
What is Patreon?
Quite simply, it is a means of raising funds for creative projects directly from a group of supporters. Some people use it to support their YouTube channel, others with making podcasts or music or photography. It provides a source of financial support, in many cases where there would be little or no means of raising support otherwise. Patreon is a site that allows people to support projects they like through a subscription basis. Different people employ different models, but we would like to keep it nice and simple to start with and offer a monthly subscription. In time we may add a premium level of support, one that brings additional rewards for a higher level of support, but for now it is transparently what it is – supporting Nanosphere on a monthly basis until you decide you no longer want to. In return we get to go on producing Nanosphere, and making it better we hope.
A bit of background
We launched Nanosphere in 2019 on the back of the demise of Bureau, our retail business at the time. We did this without any idea of what the plan was, but we had received such heart-warming support over the loss of Bureau and the weekly Stationery Wednesday newsletter that we felt we should act quickly and launch a new website and newsletter. It was always a venture into the unknown. In fact it still is to some degree, from deciding whether to stick with stationery or broaden our horizons. Whether to just keep a blog and newsletter or to do more – videos, books and tours have all been discussed. We feel we have a much better idea now though, building on a core of stationery and particularly developing the Stationery Walks. I’d love to start making videos to support it, but that is a venture into the unknown.
Finances to date
Let’s be clear on this, so far Nanosphere doesn’t make us any money. In it’s first 12 months it brought in the grand total of £81 net. That is just covering the bills associated with running the site, with zero income for us. So that’s about £40 each, less than £1 a week. It isn’t paying the mortgage for sure! But that’s fine, we didn’t set out with a grand plan.
We made what we could from affiliate links, trying to get commission from promoting products. It’s a nice idea, but unless you want to send people to Amazon all the time, it just doesn’t work. We were faced with either pushing products that we didn’t like just for the commission, or going with the product regardless of any potential income. The standing desk last week is a perfect example of this – Jo did approach them and get a sample to try and use herself, but we made no commission on any sales. But that’s fine, it was a good product and we wanted to share it.
We do try and work with shops we like and that do offer a commission, hence there are links to Cult Pens or the London Graphic Centre more often than not. But we like both shops, they both have great ranges and so that works for everyone. It just isn’t enough. So we feature many shops that we love but that are either not ready for or will maybe never work on a commission basis. But their content is worth sharing.
Advertising and sponsorship has yet to work out, although we will keep working to seek a backer. And that brings us to Patreon.
So far we have relied upon Ferrotype, our branded stationery and gift business, but this has taken a big blow under Covid 19. We supply a lot of conferences, and people no longer attend them. So businesses don’t buy branded notebooks as before.
We agreed we wanted to develop Nanosphere further, as this was a completely different model to Ferrotype. We have come across a lot of different people using the Patreon model to help finance their output, and it makes sense. It won’t finance Nanosphere on its own, but once we can establish an income then we can devote the time to grow it. It is caught in a Catch-22 situation just now, not making the money to justify the time.
So, we are looking to you, our amazingly supportive and devoted readers for support. If you can’t or just don’t want to then that is absolutely fine. But if you do want to offer your support then it would be very gratefully received.