Taking some time to tap in about my Grant for the Web funded project - Helping Small Businesses Adopt Web Monetization!
This project is building off of a previous funded Grant for the Web project (2020) - Helping Minority Content Creators Monetize on the Web. That project allowed me to use funds to upgrade my own production equipment to produce better online content; moreover, the project also provided resources for me to educate and even onboard other content creators of color into the world of web monetization. By the end of the grant period, I had hosted a couple workshops dedicated to discussing web monetization, showcasing a couple fellow 2020 GftW grantees (Shout out to Pamela J. Alexander and Adam from gFam!) and delivered my most popular workshop to date about web monetization, social media marketing and building your online community (that workshop has been watched over 1,000 times)! Actually - Here is a link to my grant reports for that funded project: https://community.webmonetization.org/hmccmw
This time around, I want to educate and onboard more individuals into our exciting world of web monetization!
You see, I am both a content creator AND small business owner. Since becoming an early supporter of Coil and Web Monetization, I have always been open and eager to explore the ways in which I could comfortably fit myself into the world of advancing the messaging for online micropayments, tipping content creators and bridging gaps between online businesses and their existing/potential customers. As a content creator advocating about the benefits of web monetization, my last funded project saw so much success that I went from not having a TikTok account before it to now having well over 50,000 followers! This is largely attributed towards my first round of funding that made it possible for me to deliver premium quality content, while offering viewers clear ways to engage with me further after watching (whether that be following a link to my web monetized storefront - https://MICOPEIA.com and/or encouraging them to follow me (@micopeia on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube) so that they can participate in my next web monetized workshop and course.
So this project keeps this locomotive going, baby!
By the end of this project, we will have an entirely new web monetized website from MICOPEIA LLC that exclusively hosts my evergreen herbalism workshops and courses. The really cool part is that customers who purchase from MICOPEIA.com will be given free 1-month trial memberships to Coil to then access my exclusive content!
You see, what I'm doing here is offering a value proposition that may potentially further the adoption and education of/around web monetization, simply by meeting and introducing individuals new to the technology on their own terms.
To successfully introduce my existing community to web monetization while being an example for other small businesses to look towards, the leading objective in this proposal is to build an entirely new web monetized Wordpress website to host my educational wellness workshops and courses. Then, as a value proposition for customers, offer complimentary free 1-month trial subscriptions to Coil with every purchase they make, thereby introducing them and potentially onboarding them to web monetization via a content creator/small business owner they already know and support.
The past 4 months of this grant period have allowed me to lay the groundwork for the launch of the new website, and while there were some minor adjustments, this project has been rather smooth and extremely exciting to work on.
For reference, here are the deliverables that I outlined in my proposal:
- Completion of Writing 3 Evergreen Webinars/Courses in Wellness and Herbalism (1 of 3 already completed at the time of writing this proposal)
- Completion of the New MICOPEIA Web Monetized Wordpress Website
- Purchasing 1-month free trial subscription codes from Coil (approximately 300 total)
- Dedicated social media posts/ads marketed towards promoting the new web monetized website
- Distributing 1-month free trial Coil subscription codes to customers who make a purchase at MICOPEIA.com
- Social media contests seeking followers to nominate a woman or POC to receive a MICOPEIA Care Package that includes a 1-month free trial Coil subscription to access the new web monetized website's content
- Completing a 60-day post-project completion report examining how many users renewed their memberships after the 1-month trial
Since the project began, I have both finished writing my courses and workshops, and I even developed my educational content further, to strengthen the pipeline between individuals who discover my brand via social media that also eventually become recurring customers. Seeing how many of the new and existing MICOPEIA social media followers appreciate my short 1-minute wellness hacks, tips and tricks, I decided to start building an ongoing Herb Library just to create and archive this type of content.
Not mentioned above but outlined in my proposal was the need to also grow to a new physical space to record this educational content. I honestly had built my company starting in my parents home in 2016 and grew to small studio spaces in Detroit and Colorado for production work, but to record the materials that I proposed, I needed to find a retail partner that would be open to letting me use their space and/or rent a commercial space with a kitchen; unfortunately, even though I reached out to several small businesses and even looked into commercial spaces, I found that partnering businesses weren't able to help and that the funding I requested for this purpose wasn't enough for 6-month lease options that I was offered (I truly was hoping to find a 2-3 month pop-up lease option or partnership). Being one always open to pivoting for positive change, once I saw that things weren't working out with those plans AND my parents had some health scares working, I decided to just invest further into MICOPEIA and find a much more ideal working situation.
I ended up finding a larger home to move into, dedicating two spaces within the home completely to the production efforts of my small business. In this move, I've been able to completely level up the company, my efforts as a content creator and small business owner and begin recording content for the new website!
The only drawback that has come is the time delay of moving MICOPEIA into a new space. Moving took from mid -March through the entire month of April which is not something that I was anticipating, but it was exactly what was needed. The move pushed back the time that I was planning to work on the new website and record content for the website; however, not only was I able to be a good son and move closer to my parents, but I also found a home where I can dedicate taxable space for my business...and it also has 6 raised bed gardens outside allowing me to even expand into educational gardening content.
Since getting things set up in the new spaces, I have been back on my TikTok game @micopeia, recording educational content for the new website and dedicating time to working on the new website!
Though there has been a delay, this project clearly has a map to introducing and onboarding individuals into our web monetization ecosystem!
A huge part of that are marketing efforts lead by my existing social media presence. Though I haven't launched the social media contests and posts specifically promoting the new website, since getting set up in the new space, I have been shouting out the fact that I am working on a new website within my most recent TikTok videos and Instagram posts. This has certainly continued to generate interest, sales and open doors to conversations with individuals eager to sign up for my forthcoming workshops! So...minor delays, but we are still cooking! You can see my recent videos here on TikTok: https://tiktok.com/@micopeia and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/micopeia/ .
I am going to file a no-cost extension with Grant for the Web explaining further about my 1-month delay, hoping that 30-60 extra days will give me the time to finish the website, recording my initial educational materials and begin distributing the free 1-month trial memberships to Coil. I also would want that extra time because I have a planned post 1-month assessment of my proposal which looks at the retention percentage of individuals who ended up getting a Coil subscription AFTER their trial ended. So the extra days would be rad!
FOLLOW ME ON TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter all @micopeia! The more engagement I receive on posts, in theory, the more those platform algorithms will share my content with potentially interested individuals.
BIG THANKS to the Grant for the Web community for really being awesome! From MozFest 2022 to just building new relationships with fellow grantees, this time around, I am having much more fun, and I am really excited to share this new web monetized website with my community. You can even see in the recent comments for my latest TikTok videos that people are ready to learn more about herbalism through MICOPEIA, and I think it's really going to be an onboarding game changer when I share that they can do so with me in my web monetized community...for a few bucks a month (in comparison to others offering similar courses for well over $100!).