Monday, April 29, 2024

Some Updates

A little over a year ago I added a “tip jar” to my blog. It provided a way for people who wanted to support my work to do so without pressure or rules. It also provided some income for the work I do on the blog without cluttering it up with annoying ads/pop ups/etc. Many of you have contributed…and I appreciate it so much!

Last week I had to take the tip jar down. It was apparently being used by thieves to vet stolen credit cards. Most transactions (over 350 over the course of a month by the time I caught it) were unsuccessful. Two went through for very small amounts and with similar names (which is how I caught it). The only solution appeared to be removing the payment link since I didn’t want to force people to tip over a certain dollar amount—which would be the only way to discourage thieves who were using it.

The Departed Tip Jar

As much as I didn't want to do it, taking the tip jar down has given me an opportunity to promote another way for followers to support the work I do.   As I mentioned in my last post, I have started a monthly subscription newsletter.  It costs $30 a year to subscribe. The newsletter—called “Notes from For Love of the Table”—is very much like my blog: filled with recipes, tutorials on techniques…as well as my not-so-humble opinions. You can read more about it in my previous post (at the end)…or on the “About” page of the newsletter.

Because it involves money/income, the removal of the tip jar also provides an occasion for me to explain a little bit about what has happened with my cooking classes over the past few years. I know that many of the people who took my in-person classes have been disappointed that I am no longer offering them.

Prior to the pandemic, the place where I taught most of my classes operated the class program on a non-profit basis. Even so, they compensated the teachers generously while offering the classes at a price that anyone could afford. When the pandemic ended and the program started up again, they made the decision to restructure the way instructors were compensated. I was no longer able to make enough for teaching the classes to cover my time. I was very sorry to see my time there come to an end.

Around the same time all this happened, I was pursuing increasing the number of in-person classes I offered at another venue. My classes there never really took off. It takes years to build a consistent clientele—years when you often teach for the sake of building up a following and don’t earn enough to cover the costs and time involved. I am no longer in a position to be able to do this.

Zoom classes have been my solution…at least for now. I can offer classes on Zoom at a price most can afford (I charge $35—in-person classes cost upwards of $75, which many cannot afford) because I don’t have to cover the cost of ingredients for tastings or the considerable amount of time it takes to stage an in-person class. With these Zoom classes, even when only a few people sign up, I can make enough to cover the time I have spent.

Some (many? most?) people don’t like Zoom. I totally understand. Mostly I have shared all of this to explain why my in-person classes came to an abrupt halt—seemingly out of the blue. But I have to add here: if you liked my in-person classes, consider giving my Zoom classes a try!

As far as the tip jar is concerned, I was thinking about taking it down when I started the newsletter anyway since the newsletter had provided an avenue for people who enjoy my blog to support me. It had occurred to me that it would be unlikely that someone would tip and pay $30 a year to receive a monthly newsletter. But I could be wrong about that…so I had left the tip jar up (until last week).

The idea of the newsletter came about as I have tried to rework my career in the wake of the pandemic and my shifting teaching situations.  Like teaching, the blog was something I was already doing.  I have always loved my blog. I love everything about it: testing recipes, writing recipes, writing posts, taking pictures….   (And I’ve always been so gratified when I learn that others have enjoyed reading it and cooking from it.)  Unfortunately, I have never been able to figure out how to justify it financially. When everything came to a grinding halt in March of 2020 and every working moment had to produce an income, I had to let the blog go. I have posted a few times over the past four years…but obviously not as much as I would like. By adding a paid subscription newsletter, I will be able to give extra content to those who subscribe (plus Zoom class discounts!) and, if all goes as planned, eventually provide enough income for me to post regularly to the blog again (which will remain free and public). I might even be able to do an in person class or two.

To those who have subscribed already:  Thank you so much!  I hope you are enjoying it and looking forward to cooking from it...or enjoying the things you may have already cooked.

For those who didn't know about the newsletter yet: If you use my blog…and learn from it…and want to see more of the kinds of things I share here, I hope you will consider subscribing to my newsletter. Doing so will bring more content your way (right into your inbox every month) and it will help me continue to teach, write, and develop recipes.

Thank you so much for taking a moment to read this post that doesn't even include a recipe. I have always been so amazed by—and appreciative of—those who have followed along and cooked with me over the years. Thank you...  I'm looking forward to many more.

Subscribe to "Notes from For Love of the Table"


Katrina said...

Ugh to thieves and trolls and all the annoying things. Glad you’ve worked around it and found a way teaching will work for you. And for those that don’t know—best cooking instructor ever is Paige! And can your Zoom classes be saved or viewed later if you purchase it but can’t get on at that time?

Paige said...

Hi Katrina! Yes...Ugh. I was so shocked. Oh well....

And thank you for your kind words about my classes!! The Zoom recordings of the classes are always sent out after a you can watch them any time...and start and stop them as you "cook along" if you like. I sell all of the classes recordings after the fact case a class happened and you didn't know about in time to sign up.

Katrina said...

Ok, awesome! I’ve made your gnocchi a couple times. So good!

Paige said...

Thanks! :)