Teri's Doing It! Now a Free Newsletter
I fall down a hole, crawl out wiser.
“…I learned that the point to life is giving, not achieving. It’s in philanthropy flowing from soul to soul. What do I have to give? I pondered. This, I decided: writing from my soul as philanthropy. Before I met Sadie and Nikos, I wrote for the joy of crafting words into sentences, paragraphs, and stories. Sharing well-woven words motivated by compassion coupled with wisdom would only increase that joy…” Teri Murrison, My Philanthropy, Aug. 22, 2022
I haven’t been feeling particularly joyful or wise lately. Rather, I’ve been consumed with marketing Teri’s Doing It!, trying to attract new subscribers to defray the cost of publishing. I’ve been working diligently on starting up an income stream, making this hobby a job. Consumed with the business end of what used to bring me joy.
I’ve been conflicted too. Recently, the platform I use to send out this newsletter, Substack, has been embroiled in controversy over their tolerance of (and some say promotion of) Nazi-friendly (and worse) newsletters with lots of paying subscribers. Some have accused Substack of profiting from and even sympathizing with evil things. In my book there isn’t much worse than people who practice intolerance, bald-faced hatred, and genocide so, I tried to pick up my newsletter (twice) to take it elsewhere. But because I don’t have the resources to put toward establishing myself on a new platform I’ve stayed uneasily put. Leaving’s been more complicated than I expected.
But then last night I realized I’ve fallen down into a hole here that I hadn’t known was there. I was leaving Substack (again) and signing up with another hosting site and as I was linking the new site to my Stripe account that processes payments for my Substack newsletter I started combing through Stripe menus. There was a screen there tracking my tax threshold. Tax threshold? I didn’t even know what that was.
I learned that Stripe tracks where my subscriptions come from and notes when I’ve made more than the minimum amount of income or transactions from each location so I can collect sales tax on behalf of whatever government there that requires it. Great. Next to “Great Britain” was an exclamation mark and the word, “Exceeded!”. Apparently it allows only a single transaction without registering to collect tax for them. I have had three transactions. Double great.
It’s naive and pretty stupid, but I had never considered that selling newsletter subscriptions created tax obligations other than my personal US income and self-employment tax. Substack didn’t tell me about that (it wasn’t their responsiblity to do so though a cautionary note would have been nice). Who knew that taking 4 British pounds a month would be subject to a 20% value added tax? So, as I turned from the hole in which I’d found myself I began asking some pretty important questions.
Teri, do you really want to create and administer a big, complicated money-making newsletter? Do you want to find a new site and then take on everything that comes with publishing electronically? Do you want to spend your time mulling over international tax law, reporting and paying taxes all over the world (or paying someone to do that)? Can you afford to do that? And most importantly, can you write and do that?
My answer was not just no to all of these, but hell, no. I most assuredly do not. So, this morning I decided to discontinue all paid subscriptions to Teri’s Doing It!
As I settled myself with this change of course and decision, I suddenly thought back to the words I wrote in 2022 in My Philanthropy. I hadn’t decided to discontinue paid subscriptions because of them but those words affirmed my decision and it felt good coming back to myself.
Here’s what that means. From now on, Teri’s Doing It! is free to anyone who signs up. I still want it to be widely read by subscribers, but it wants to be read as a gift not a product.
And to those of you who have already paid to subscribe, hold on, please. Unless you tell me otherwise, I’m going to go back and prorate refunds. Monthly subscribers, I shut down paid subscriptions for you too. No more charges. That feels good to me.
But don’t expect any change in this newsletter other than that it’s now free. I’m still going to be working hard to up my free subscriptions and to make sure that anyone who wants to read Teri’s Doing It! knows about it.
This is going to be one of the best free newsletters on Substack (or wherever I end up)!
Speaking of Substack, yes, for now I’m staying. If I don’t charge subscribers, Substack costs me nothing and I can feel good that I’m eating away at a small portion of the profits made off Nazis and their subscribers.
I may have needed to fall down a hole to realize all of this but I’m wiser now. Philanthropy better suits me. I’m happier. Because the point of life is in giving, not achieving.