Thanks For Your Membership and Premium Levels

I didn’t know if I was completely off my rocker, or what.

The only thing you can do in those—for me—oftentime circumstances is grit your teeth, close your eyes, and hit PUBLISH! That post went up late afternoon my time here in Thailand, and the email out to my ~10,000 contacts, set for 9pm my time, corresponding to 6am on the west coast US, and 9am NYC.

I went to bed at 10pm without looking.

Woke up at 3am, nature call and swallow a bit of water, and told myself, “don’t look!” which lasted for 15 minutes.

To my surprise, not only were there a healthy number of new memberships, but there were people in email and comments saying, ‘dude, I’m trying to pay you but your checkout button isn’t working.’ So, the sort of problem that while unfortunate, is also the sort you want to have if you have to have a problem that Karma has brought your way. Anyway, I got it sorted reasonably quickly without getting technical assistance from PaidMembershipsPro, the creators of my own server-side software (runs on my side, it’s not a third-party service). To get a bit technical—so that you’re suitably impressed—in order to have the à la carte pricing I do, because of some java scripts (.js files), the functionality for that a-la-carte works only on the main signup page, so I can’t drop the shortcode into a post or any other page. It just displays, but doesn’t work. Now I know.

A bit on this a-la-carte pricing model, because I want to be transparent and genuine about it. The downside is that there are from 1-4 paid levels, i.e., $1, $2, $3, $4, $5, or $6. This means that your credit card will have 1, 2, 3, or at most 4 separate charges of $1 or $2 from FreeTheAnimal each month. Pain in the ass, I know. Here’s the upside. Changing it is as easy as clicking on Membership Account just under the header or on the sidebar, and you can delete or add any category with a click and your billing will be automatically changed, fewer or more separate charges, up to a maximum of 4. Incidentally, I’m using Stripe as my payments gateway. I’ve had a number of Merchant Accounts before. Stripe is the easiest and cleanest to work with ever. Super easy to get started, too.

So, now that this is in the bag, it appears I’m not completely off my rocker, and it’s up to me to build it…time to create content.

Here’s how you should expect that to go, generally.

There are 4 categories of paid levels, so, ideally, I ought to create content in each of them at least once per week. However, I can get fixated on a topic, which comes at the expense of content for other topics. When that happens, and it will, I’ll make up for it in the weeks to follow. It’ll even out. This is good because I create best when I can’t help myself but write or do a video about something.

For the 2 free levels, it should be relatively straightforward to put up something decent in writing or video in one, the other, or both once per week.

That leaves public posts. I can’t really just completely close the blog, because then there’s no compelling message for why someone ought to come on board for my style or authenticity, genuineness, and absence of “ONLY 24 HOURS HOURS LEFT TO GRAB THIS DEAL!!!” bullshit that I hate, and everyone else should too, forgetting the fact that it still makes millions for the worst among us.

So, public posts will more or less be excerpt summaries of the Member Posts I’ve put up since the last public post.

What about the Free, Non-Pesterting Newsletter emails?

Subscribe FTA

I don’t want every single Newsletter to be nothing but a sales pitch. But you have at least subscribed and so I’ve got to do some original content for those, and also basically, the latest public blog post as addendum, to hopefully nudge you into membership at at least one or both of the free levels, if not any at the premium.

Finally, what about the videos, like the one that follows, here? Just open, public, and free—even videos in premium posts. It’s a whole other world of bandwidth cost and server setup to host your own video and plus, I can use them to gently nudge people into Membership or Newsletter.

OK, here’s another poolside, after-a-dip-in-that-pool video from the south tip of Phuket, Thailand.

Have a good one, y’all.

Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.


  1. WK Lee on April 23, 2021 at 22:11

    Hi Richard, I’ve been a lurker from waayy back, about maybe 15 years ago, I have a question about sending links from members to non members. How are the links going to appear? Will they be readable to those who might not be inclined to sign up?

    Congratulations on your Members Only success.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 24, 2021 at 01:02

      Thanks for keeping an eye out all these years.

      The technical answer is that only if it’s a public post will a non-member be able to see it fully. You can know that by at the end the post, “Filed Under”. Then there are the two free categories, General and Rants. Everything not public they will get an excerpt and a link to sign up.

      I do not mind, however, any member in their own judgment, in addition to providing a link, also copy/paste the whole text into an email.

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