I’m just looking at my first proper month of Steemit payments – it took me about a month to get used to the place and to get a feel for what works best (just a feel mind you, it’s still emerging). It also took time to gain some influence and get known by a few people. The #openmic community, coralled by @luzcypher and @pfunk did a lot to help me get more of an audience and encourage me to keep trying different stuff. I’m also beginning to build relationships with the artist/collaboration community especially since @merej99 inspired the
saga Ballad of Ned’s Head.
The thing about Steem-based currency is that it feels like Monopoly money when you’re giving it away but it feels like real money when you receive it.
I’ve been blogging for a long time now (about fifteen years since I first typed shit in a text box and pressed “post”) and I’ve grown up with the idea that you make money “because of” blogging not directly through it. Well that’s changed with Steemit – I expect to still derive some income and other benefits “because of” Steemit but I’m also drawing down actual pounds sterling that my wife recognises as real income.
I drew down £79.32 during the month of October. Now if someone had said to me “Dear Lloyd, we love your blogging so much that we’d like you to write for us a couple of times a day, about whatever you feel like and we’ll pay you £80 a month after the first month.” I’d have a pretty short, concise and potentially offensive answer ready for them. But because I’ve chosen to do it myself and I don’t feel like I’m beholden to anybody, and because I’ve always been told “because of” not “for” I’m over the moon that I’m seeing shekels pop up in my bank account.
For those not familiar with the process, you get paid within 24-36 hours of posting and the amount depends on lots of things but mostly the number of votes you get, the influence of those voting for you, and what other good content is getting paid out on in the same period (I don’t know how much this last one affects things, I guess it must, but I haven’t seen any analysis). Anyway this isn’t an Amazon or YouTube “oh you get paid after one month of sales and only if you exceed a total of £x” – it’s actual
monopoly money even in small amounts.
One of the downsides is that the whole system is complex and it keeps changing (yes that’s two downsides but they go together nicely) – so for example, for a while we were getting paid in a mix of tokens – Steem and Steem-backed Dollars (SBD) (which are liquid) and Steem Power (SP) which can only be “powered down” over two years. Then the SBD supply dried up and now we just see Steem and SP and it’s unpredictable how much you’re going to see until the moment you get paid (you can make a good estimate, but rarely spot on). So then to turn your Steem into Pounds you will have to go through a third currency (probably bitcoin) and the rates of Steem/BTC and BTC/£ can fluctuate quite a lot. Also all prices on the site and supporting sites in the ecosystem (e.g. steemstats by @jesta) are in US$ so you have to bear in mind the USD/GBP volatility too (thanks Brexit!). But mostly I ignore all this mental arithmetic nonsense and get on with writing and playing.
I do acknowledge that I’m privileged – I had a good, British education. I’m a native English speaker and writer with years of experience of crafting words both online and off- I also don’t have a day job, by which I mean I don’t have to be somewhere chained to a desk from 9am to 5pm with someone watching my every move. And I’ve been practicing my ukulele and singing for many years.
Nonetheless it’s got me going. I’ve written three songs in the last few weeks, two of which have been sitting in notebooks for years not ever quite emerging. I’ve had lots of fun playing for people and I’ve made some new pals. That’s the thing that continues no matter whether this whole thing is still here next week, the relationships we build can be transferred over into other places, the community exists regardless. My goal for the next couple of months is to pull some of the people whose work and company I’ve enjoyed in previous online communities in here to get them doing cool stuff and getting paid for it too. If you know me from somewhere else and you’re interested let me know before I start pestering you myself.
You can sign up for Steemit here and you’ll get a small amount of Steem Power to get you going.