Selling on Half.com As Blogging Motivation

Filed as Features on March 26, 2008 8:38 pm

After blogging for quite some time, I’ve certainly experienced lulls in writing desire. The obvious term would be “blogger’s block.”

A bit of self-contemplation and armchair psychology is in order.

I recently sold several items on Half.com, a subsidiary of eBay, and have noticed my motivation to sell and ship items to be extremely high – I haven’t missed a ship date yet, and the vast majority have gone out early.

Selling items on Half.com is quite straightforward:

  1. List your item.
  2. Someone buys it.
  3. You mail it.
  4. Every two weeks, money is deposited in your bank account.

What’s interesting is I’m highly motivated to complete step 3. Enough so, that I’ve even been mailing items off early. No “going to the post office block” there.

Here’s why:

  1. When a buyer purchases an item, you receive an email that clearly lists a due date. It’s usually about three days from the customer’s order.
  2. Half.com has made the listing and shipping extremely easy. Items are added by entering the ISBN number. They send you an email (which you print out) containing an address label, and packing slip. Your profile contains a clear list of purchased items.
  3. Customers and buyers rate each other. Positive and negative ratings are public. Obviously, failure to mail an item on time would likely result in a negative rating.
  4. There’s a “star” system that changes colors as you accumulate positive ratings.
  5. Your money earned is clearly totaled and deposited bimonthly.

These five qualities boil down to some basic motivational tricks:

  1. The process is easy, so it doesn’t feel like work.
  2. A firm deadline, combined with threat of public humiliation if missed (sounds harsh, but it works).
  3. Money paid out regularly = near instant gratification.
  4. Stars and ratings = statistics that increase over time.

So what strategies could one use to apply these motivational concepts to blogging? I have set up deadlines using a calendar with posts I want to write. Progress over time is easily tracked using various server statistics (hits, traffic, uniques).

More difficult is “punishment” for missing deadlines, and monetary gratification. Perhaps as “my own boss” I should devise a reward for every post?

How do you stave off “blogger’s block”? What sort of “tricks” do you employ to motivate writing on a regular basis?

Here are some additional posts on the subject:

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