How to take payments via Stripe on a Static Site
I’ve had rolling around my head an idea of selling small how-to guides and resources. Things that I wish existed, but have never been able to find.
For example, I’ve read a bunch of books that talk about good Object-Oriented design, or refactoring code, or writing better tests. Despite all these books, the most useful part of learning, doing the thing you’re trying to learn, is still hard to come by.
I’m afraid that when I read a book about software, I retain only a fraction of the material, because I get so little exposure to actually writing code that exemplifies a given topic.
I went to the Turing School of Software and Designe, and they’ve got a great set of exercises for learning basic Ruby. It’s a repository of tests, and you run the tests and make them pass.
It’s one of the most effective methods I’ve encountered for learning Ruby.
I’d love for something similar to exist for learning more complex topics; targeted at early-career software developers. Shorter and more focused than a book, but more interactive and of higher quality than the smattering of blog posts one might find on the topic.
Since this is a problem I’m willing to throw money at (and have spent non-trivial sums of money on, across books, courses, and hours spent working through this material), I imagine others are willing to do the same.
Therefore, I want to simultaneously:
- Scratch my own itch
- Make these resources available for others to benefit from
- (Aspirationally) inspire someone else to build a course or guide to some topic I want to learn, so I can buy it.
Josh, why would you sell something like this, instead of giving it away for free?
Great question. I’ve got a few reasons:
1. I want to learn how to collect payment for something
For better or worse, much of the world revolves around exchanging money for services.
If the thing I can help you do is valuable to you, you will pay me a fraction of the perceived value to obtain said service.
I always teach what I know. There’s a running joke among some of my friends and co-workers: “Josh has written a gist about everything”.
I keep copious notes and document nearly everything I do. I love to teach others and help them, so “selling a product about how to sell a product” fits right in line with teach everything I know, despite how much it smells like a multi-level marketing scheme.
2. Putting a price on something means I’ll put a lot of effort into making it good
The difference between
Write a blog post and publish to the world
Build a first-class, best-in-breed guide to an important skill that helps people put a roof over their head
Putting a price on something I’ve made moves it from the former category to the latter, and I treat it with the care it deserves.
3. When someone does something for free, they are telegraphing to the recipient that it’s not worth any money
We, as humans, ascribe value to that which has evidence of value. If have two things, and one was free and the other cost money, I’m going to value the thing that cost the money more.
The thing that I’m building will deliver value. Value that is far greater than what it will cost. If I made it free, you would not value it as much.
I’ve put together a lot of resources for students getting ready to start Turing. Someone going to Turing is spending $20,000 and taking nearly a year off from earning any money to learn the skills of writing software.
They’ve got a lot invested in the program.
I put this guide in front of every new student going through the back-end program. I drop it in their cohort Slack channel before Turing starts.
You know how much interest it generates? Invariably, very little. The actual value of the material is enormous, but almost no one ascribes significant value to it.
I’ve considered putting a price on it, just so it doesn’t get lumped in with all the other free stuff out there… but I have not, and likely never will.
I’ll be honest. It’s scary to put something out there and ask people to give you money for it.
In general, when something scares you, it’s probable that pursuing that scary thing will be really good for you.
It is on this principle that I’m offering anything for sale.