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In two weeks, I’ll no longer be at my day job.

Kind of crazy, huh? Definitely crazy.

I’ll be working with an ex-day job co-worker now freelance/our-own-thing coworker to hit up some local market creative endeavors.

But I’m also hoping to get some serious stuff done on TRO.

This site doesn’t really bring in anything, but it could, and I think it could without requiring any sort of paid access (ridiculous) or intrusive advertising. I’m interested in partnerships with targeted retailers, but that’s not my primary focus.

The main thing is affiliate links. Without directly selling anything, TRO performs the service of directing people to the books they want/need next.

Ideally with the minimum amount of pain and ideally easy to find low prices. Right now, only about 600 books on the site have affiliate links.

Those 600-ish books bring in about 80-100 bucks a month.

Up until this point, that money has gone right back out in hosting fees and the little excess contributing to the weekly giveaway costs.

But if I get affiliate links up on everything, finish making the lists look nice and increasing the site’s usefulness, it could theoretically bring in enough to make TRO actually worth my time.

Time to be investing in editing/writing reviews, archiving scan examples, and continuing sorting lists. The stuff that I’m really passionate about, for some odd reason.

Worth my time at minimum wage, or half that, perhaps, but enough to finance the project, at least. It’s an exciting prospect.

Pretty crazy, but within the realm of possibility.

It wasn’t my original goal – which was just to sort my collection and share the results – but the ideas have gotten a lot bigger a lot quicker.

Even if the material we are interested in archiving and discussing is only a small niche of our massive modern culture, I believe it’s truly important.

We’re focusing on the life’s work of thousands of amazingly talented individuals in an archival, enjoyably readable format. The collected edition is a big deal.

TRO has the potential to be a really amazing resource. I like to think it already is.

And I want to be open about how the site operates every step of the way. So that’s why I’m sharing all this with you guys.

TRO has started to be come a real community, with forum discussions and a steady stream of review submissions. Not to mention much needed advice. Some of you have also asked me about a donation button (and I guess I should probably figure out how that works very soon.)

I appreciate your friendship and help. It’s amazing to see this little dream take shape. The participation keeps me going.

The next few months might be a little bumpy as I do whatever I have to to survive – taking odd jobs, selling stuff I don’t really need, getting serious about selling my own art, trying to launch a separate local business – but TRO is a priority for me.

I’ll put whatever I can into it and maybe it will support me a little back. It’s worth a shot.

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45 Comments Post New »

  1. avatar madainn wrote on at February 1, 2011 12:39 am:

    hurrah! Best of luck, I envy you even though it may be tough.

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    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 12:42 am:

    Thanks Julia. It may not work out like I plan (and who knows, maybe I’ll end up with a different non-freelance job. The resumes are out there.) but long story short, the safety net was getting fairly unsafe anyway. Time to work without it.

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  2. avatar Chris D. wrote on at February 1, 2011 1:17 am:

    YEAH IAN!! Way to go man! Though you may question whether or not it is truly time to take TRO to the next level know that there are a good strong group of us who are 100% behind you. I can’t believe you’re passing up that sweet 40% art supplies gig you had going….are you sure you don’t want to reconsider? ;) It’s nice to see that you’re revisiting the donation button idea again. Though you may not get a ton out of it, at least it will help support the nuts and bolts of the site such as the aforementioned hosting fees and giveaways. Congrats to you and TRO!

    PS…great pictures here for the post :)

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    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:00 am:

    Luckily, I still have many friends who work there so I can probably get the hook up. ;)

    It may be a bit before it’s up (these next two weeks are gonna be pretty hectic, mainly focused on said day job) but I’ll definitely be looking at the donation button soon. Even it’s a few bucks a month, that’s a bag of cat food. (not for me, silly, for my cats.)

    I’ve built a budget, and it’s not too crazy – 300 for rent, 100 for utilities, 200 or so for food (for me and the cats). Beth’s is similar. Some month’s I’ll blow it out of the water with freelance work. Some months will be tough. Generally, hopefully, it will be an upward trend.

    I’ve got some luxury items to part with (videogames, tv, super-camera that I don’t actually use much.) I’ll figure it out.

    PS. Thanks for noticing the pictures, haha. I have no idea how many people will appreciate the Shazam references, but I had some fun with it.

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    avatar Chris D. replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:17 am:

    Wow you are really serious about this new venture in life. You know a man is serious when he budgets food….for his cats :)

    I just enjoyed the pictures so much because knowing you for this short time I imagine it went like this…
    “well I gotta post this update…it’s easily one of the biggest things I’ve said on here…I hope people don’t think I’m crazy….oh man…what if things don’t work out…oh hold on, I gotta get some cool pictures to enhance this post, no random pic will do, not on my blog!”

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    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:20 am:

    I am kind of obsessive about pictures. Comes with 5 years of mostly visual education, I suppose. I actually spent time cropping and enhancing the borders on that first one. I know, right?

    I started out looking for pictures of superman with a beard, then batman as a hobo, but settled for Billy Batson, the original po’ boy turned entrepreneur (also superhero.)

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    avatar Chris D. replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:24 am:

    OK, now you really shouldn’t have mentioned that. All I’m craving now is some crazy-ass looking pics of Supes and The Bats that you have referred to. How about Wonder Woman huh? Lets make it a Trinity of Vagrants.

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    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:25 am:

    I couldn’t find the superman one I was looking for, actually. It’s from the Alan Moore story with Swamp Thing. I’ll scan it eventually when I review the volume (I think it’s collected in a couple places.)

    This is the batman picture that was in the running:

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    avatar Chris D. replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:28 am:

    I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve used this and meant it, but I LOLd all over the freaking place when I saw this! Holy crap that is hilarious…I mean…”Holy Crap Batman, that is hilarious!” You produced that pic with superhuman speed. Now I’m waiting ever so patiently for that Swamp Thing review :)

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:29 am:

    I figured you’d like that one, but I felt like it didn’t send the right message ;)

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    avatar Chris D. replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:33 am:

    haha…i dunno, it makes the post a lot lighter :)
    I’m glad that you were able to sneak it in there somehow still.

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:35 am:

    haha yes, thanks for the opportunity.

    And now I need to start the process of trying to ignore my email alerts and get some work done! :D

    [Reply]

    avatar Chris D. replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:42 am:

    I couldn’t agree more! I just walked by my computer while cleaning and next thing I know a half hour has passed. Depending on the time of the day this thing is like a slightly slower chat program. Back to work!

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    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:48 am:

    I know – I almost feel like I did before I had to uninstall AIM, ICQ, and MIRC back in the day. I’m going to have to figure out a system for using the forums soon, it’s drastically cut into my work time.

    I want them to be active though, it’s definitely a lot more fun on this site when they are.

    [Reply]

    avatar Chris D. replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:50 am:

    It will be very odd to one day have so many TRO members posting that at any one time of the day on the right side bar it won’t just be 100% of a pics of my, yours, or simon’s avatar for post updates :)

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    avatar Simon replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:52 am:

    Loving the pics as well, only read Shazam (Jeff Smith) yesterday and I didn’t realise his crazy beginning was the real beginning, it just felt like it was his kinda thing.

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 6:35 am:

    it’s a really crazy comic.

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    avatar Chris D. replied on February 1st, 2011 at 1:23 pm:

    Dude….did you ever go to sleep?!?

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 1:31 pm:

    yeah, I slept from 7am to 1pm, which is a nice 6 hours.

    [Reply]

    avatar Chris D. replied on February 1st, 2011 at 1:34 pm:

    Oh that’s good, probably a well needed rest after that intense forum session :)

    I’ll be going back to nights starting tomorrow for 7 days strait so I’ll be on here at the most random times of the day.

    I’ll also try to do a review or two if I get time since I’m usually bored out of my mind on night shift.

    Anything else that you can think of that you could use help with? Link finding, error checking, etc…?

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 1:39 pm:

    Honestly, I probably need to get better about figuring out ways to let people help with the site. Right now there’s only so much others can do, and even reviews from other people take a big chunk of time from me.

    I’m trying to decide right now whether I should focus on getting the marvel books and let reviews stagger even more, try and do both, or just focus on reviews until we’re caught up.

    [Reply]

    avatar Chris D. replied on February 1st, 2011 at 4:31 pm:

    well just my two cents but it seems that you are putting yourself under more stress about finishing the Marvel entries. Plus it seems like your initial intention with the site was to have a database established for the users. I don’t think you’ll get many complaints about not being able to stick to a review a day, you’re only a man..not a Super-man! (yeah…i had to say it)

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 4:34 pm:

    I think you’re right. I’d love to see those marvel books up and finally be able to sort my collection, haha.

    Even if I have to post two a day for a couple months, we’d eventually catch up on the reviews. I probably shouldn’t push myself so hard to do 4 or 5 in a day.

    OK, I’m gonna concentrate on marvel (especially because with the latest update they’re all going to have covers when they upload!) I’ll try to do some reviews, though, I like having them up on the front page. they just look so nice.

    [Reply]

  3. avatar Mari wrote on at February 1, 2011 1:21 am:

    1. Happy almost birthday Ian!
    2. good luck I really hope this/you make it!
    3. I’m really sick but i wanted to write you something so i hope this is slightly understandable
    4. expect a package real soon!

    love marsbar

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:03 am:

    Thanks sis
    Everyone’s been really supportive, though most agree I’m crazy. You know how our parents are though, so I cringe a little to hear their responses.

    But yeah – I was working this job for the potential to get health care, and then that potential was taken away through some shifts in management. Soooooo… why work a job that pays less when I was previously getting paid more to do tutoring and a LOT more to do web design? Gotta try and push that full time.

    Thanks again for the package, you have no idea how much that’s going to help. Worrying less about asthma is gonna be a major load off.

    [Reply]

  4. avatar Mari wrote on at February 1, 2011 1:22 am:

    also – i think paypal is a good way to do/get donations

    [Reply]

  5. avatar Marc wrote on at February 1, 2011 1:56 am:

    Your dedication to this project is really admirable, Ian, and I wish you the best of luck. Even if times get tough, just remember that you’ll always have the support of the community you’ve created here. :)

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 2:07 am:

    It means a lot, Marc, thank you. A lot of times I feel very odd about drawing income from this site when I know it’s such a community effort.

    It does take a lot of time though, and will much more as the forum picks up and things get added, so I suppose I should just think of myself more as a beach lifeguard or comber. It’s not like I made the beach fun, but someone’s gotta maintain it.

    [Reply]

  6. avatar Simon wrote on at February 1, 2011 2:59 am:

    Congrats Ian! Big scary move and it took balls to do it, who knows what s waiting around the corner for you now? It could turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever doj=ne.

    As far as being short on time for the site don’t worry too hard as there are now a few of us getting into the review mood which should lighten your load considerably so you can focus on yourself for now.

    Donate button is a must; we love this site, if it ever gets to a few days before host payments and you simply are $10/20 short that’s what we are here for. If it’s a community thing we should be able to put money towards to the running now and then.

    Affiliate links – $100ish a month from 600 books! That’s pretty good going if you ask me. If we could get the rest of the links up, and maybe even get the UK (and other countries) links up too that should increase revenue very quickly. Especially if we run with the book of the week idea.

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 6:35 am:

    Thanks Simon! The international links should be working for those books with ISBN numbers, now!

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  7. avatar asw138 wrote on at February 1, 2011 3:25 am:

    The amount of work put into this site is staggering. With a little spit shine, I think this could be THE go-to place for information on trades. Best of luck!

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    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 6:35 am:

    Thanks! I’ll keep at it! :D

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  8. avatar Jockman wrote on at February 1, 2011 10:05 am:

    Good Luck man. Hope things work out. Looking forward to the future of TRO .

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 1:15 pm:

    Thanks! :D

    [Reply]

  9. avatar Eric wrote on at February 1, 2011 3:39 pm:

    WOO WOO. Good luck! Thanks for putting in such hard work. I know I have fallen in love with this site and I am beginning to fear how much work I can get done. You have created a staple on my web browser bookmark bar and I look forward to all the great work to come. GOOD LUCK!

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 3:42 pm:

    Thanks Eric! That’s really encouraging to hear. I hope the site only becomes more useful to you.

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  10. avatar jonah_X wrote on at February 1, 2011 3:56 pm:

    Ahoi Ian, I wish you the best for your “real” job-life. “Real” in quotes, because the REAL deal of work you do is the one you put into this site every day and week.
    Every day I expect the TRO Updates mail in my Thunderbird, and every day I am positively surprised of what you did. This whole link-thumbnail-webdesign-600books-wizardry astonishes me.

    This is absolutely great, and I’m really happy that I stumbled over this page. You can do it!

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 3:59 pm:

    Thanks! It’s how I’ve been feeling too. I solve interesting problems, create something people actually enjoy, seem to be doing something no one else has been able to do quite as well. It’s a far cry from what I do at my “real” job, which just isn’t satisfying at all. So, yup. Onward and upward!

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  11. avatar Steve M. wrote on at February 1, 2011 5:56 pm:

    Wow, good luck Ian! It’s always nice to see someone do something they have a passion for, as opposed to the rest of us toiling away at so-so jobs.

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    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 6:24 pm:

    even if I’m back at a so so job in a month, hopefully the time will be of benefit.

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  12. avatar duckduckgoose wrote on at February 1, 2011 8:28 pm:

    Congrats, Ian. I have been checking in with the site for a little while now. Kind of new to reading comics and have gotten lots of good advice from TRO. I run my own wholesale business. You can be successful at anything you are passionate about. Great job so far. Thanks for all the hard work. You’ve inspired me to keep reading.

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on February 1st, 2011 at 8:39 pm:

    Thanks! Cool to hear from another entrepreneur. I hope your buisiness is going well :D

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  13. avatar lonefeather wrote on at February 2, 2011 7:40 pm:

    Seriously an awesome thing you have going here and I know we’re all excited to be a part of it. This site is becoming exactly what you say and there are so many who are becoming passionate about it. Tis truly awesome! :)

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on February 2nd, 2011 at 7:42 pm:

    Glad you feel that I’m following up. I’ve got a lot of ideas and they don’t all come quickly, so I often feel behind – but looking back it always seems like there’s more here than I ever imagined at the outset.

    [Reply]

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