Within the Drupal community, we’re all familiar with the problem "How can I support myself writing free software?" For me, I am passionate about Open Source because it allows online communities to openly collaborate and build amazing software. In short, Open Source is about collaboration and community and "free" software is a bi-product and possibly a misnomer. Perhaps this “free” bi-product should be viewed differently - Open Source developers should get paid for their hard work.I am now facing this challenge.
I’ve decided to start experimenting with getting people to sponsor/hire me by asking, "How can I help you with Webform and Drupal 8?" This question is on my website, my business card, and at the end of every Webform-related screencast. Along with this inquiry , I’m trying to provide what I hope is a high level of quality, value, and user experience within the Webform module. This experience includes inline videos, maintained documentation, and a 24-hour response time for most issues. In essence, I’m seeking to create opportunities that will result in financial gain for my hard work. At the same time, I want to emphasize that I am respectful of the Drupal community's feedback. This ticket, from YAML Form module's issue queue, is the best example of me responding to constructive criticism, which helped me to properly embed YouTube videos within the Webform module.
My journey towards, for lack of a better word, "profitability" is ongoing. At the same time, I feel a respectful and grateful obligation to also take the Drupal community with me on this journey.
First off, the single most significant ongoing source of pride I get for the maintaining the Webform module is being able to welcome new users to the Drupal community. I’ve even started to tweet welcome messages to new users.
At DrupalCon, I had a few discussions that led me to the following conclusions: that I should take advantage of the opportunity that I have created when welcoming people to the Drupal community - that I should suggest registering a Drupal.org account as well as recommend joining the Drupal Association. Becoming a member of the Drupal community is a multistep process and who knows? Maybe this new user will one day start helping me triage the Webform issue queue or even hire me.
Inspiring the Drupal Association to explore new opportunities via encouraging new members of the Drupal community to join the Drupal Association as they begin their journey is something I want to be a part of. I’ve thought about this challenge and concluded that our first opportunity in engaging a new user lies in the "code", specifically within a module's user experience, and the immediate user persona to target is the site administrator. So I’ve decided to add a new user experience within the Webform module called "How can we help you?"
I am out of words for now, so it is finally time for me to show you my "How can we help you?" experiment.