Pay What You Like

There is no denying it, business is getting harder for all of us. Actually – correction – life is getting harder for all of us.

We each have our own issues to deal with whether they be health, financial or relationship. I get it. I am facing a significant health issue personally, however, my mantra of “do what you can while you can” is getting me through.

This brings me to my point. As part of my own journey after ten years in this business that we recently celebrated is how do we sustain it in the long term? 

A publication that people literally stop me in the streets to tell me how much they love and support what we are doing (there also those on the other end of the spectrum – they tend to let us know from behind a keyboard on social media however.)

Costs have continued to rise since the onset of COVID, which we didn’t skip an issue in by the way. In fact we offered FREE advertising to a number of businesses throughout that period, thinking karma would repay us, sad to say it didn’t. Business advertising is harder to afford for small regional business despite the fact we have not raised our prices since 2019 and so that mainstay revenue model has continued to slowly go down.

We have lost some major advertising in budget cuts and policy direction at different government levels, significant money now goes to ‘online’ campaigns, not regional printed publications.

We started this business as a free community newspaper, with affordable advertising for small business and community groups, hoping it would also grow to give us a prosperous business asset that we could at some stage pass on to our children or potentially sell to meet our modest dreams, a house and a holiday. Not much to ask after a life time of giving.

It dawned on me that the people that love us most, are unable to show their support as there is no way for them to do that, our product is free.

The idea of changing to a paid product was not something we wanted to consider, but what if we gave those that could support the opportunity to do so? The idea came from my 12 year old son, when dinner table conversation was focussed on a tough day at work… “why don’t people pay you for the paper” simple question, then the idea became real with the next thought – what if people just paid what they like?

It is the business model of much larger organisations than ours, The Guardian and Wikipedia come to mind straight away. A small payment from a large percentage of our readership would be a very beneficial addition to our bottom line. Now that we have done the work, we know that it could lead to true sustainability, and hopefully ongoing growth in support of our community.

Our competitors in both our markets charge a fixed rate for their publications, but I don’t model our business on those whose values I don’t align with.

This is a new way of doing business, pay what you like could be the future of our business, but it is also a much fairer way for the consumer to engage. It brings out the best in society, those that can afford it will pay because they value what we do, those that can only afford a little might do what they can when they can, and together we can continue to find the good stories in our region and make sure they are told.

We have setup a payment button on our website, visit for details.

With Gratitude

Rich Evans

PS: that significant health issue I mentioned, I’ll share that in an upcoming issue, I wanted this to be about the business and a sustainable business model going forward, not a sympathy post because of my health.