For a little over two years now, my right wrist has been really messed up. And instead of getting better, it's getting worse. It's gone from being an annoying source of intermittent pain, to an overwhelming source of constant pain. I have an appointment to see a wrist surgeon coming up in April, so hopefully things will start to get better soon.
At first, I only experienced severe pain when overusing my wrist, but I was still able to play bass without pain, work on charts just fine, cook, etc.. But now, playing the bass is impossible. I can't even lift my bass with my right hand, but then if I do try to play, my wrist and fingers get super painful right away and I can only push it for about 30 seconds before I want to die. Ouch! Using a pepper mill (and/or sea salt mill) is also way too painful, so Michelle has quickly learned how to become an even better sous-chef, predicting my next move before I even make it…
And then about a month ago, I tried working on some charts. Since I'm able to type just fine on my MacBook Pro, I wasn't expecting any pain using my ultra-slim Xkey mobile keyboard since the depth of the keys is about the same. But when I went to play a simple four-note chord, I quickly learned just how much pain my wrist is capable of producing. It was excruciating! (I think it may have to do with having to press more than one key at once? Not sure.) So all of a sudden, working on charts was out of the question too.
As a result, I decided to take an indefinite break from selling charts online and made the extremely difficult decision to take DanielMenjivar.com offline. And ever since then, I've been getting a lot of emails from people asking what happened to the free charts…
But actually, it was never my intention to offer free downloads simply for people to freeload and use with their bands without payment.
Over the years, I've received numerous inquires from potential clients asking to hear samples of my arrangements or to see samples of my charts and transcriptions. I've decided to go a step further now and offer a couple free downloads so that you can have a look and "test them out" with your band.
I have no doubt that you'll love playing through these charts and I'm confident that you'll be impressed at the caliber of my work. I sincerely hope that these free downloads will persuade you to contact me to purchase additional charts…
My intention with the "free" downloads all along was only to provide potential clients with a couple samples that they could test out with their bands to make the decision of buying charts from me a lot easier. (In the beginning, I tried samples that only included the first page of each part but quickly realized that no one really wants to spend the time and money to print an incomplete chart. People want to test the whole tune to make it worthwhile.) There were multiple downloads on the site, not to give people a whole set-worth of tunes for free, but to account for the various different instrumentations people were working with.
So given that the sole purpose of those ineptly-named "free charts" was to drum up sales and to encourage potential clients to do business with me, now that I'm not looking to get new business, it doesn't make sense to keep the downloads available anymore, no?
I had heard many times before that you should never give your time and/or services away for free, ever. But I went ahead and put these free samples on my website anyways, hoping that it would pay off in the end. And it did. While there definitely were a lot of freeloaders just looking for free sheet music who would never be willing to pay for it, I also got a lot of quality customers out of it, and then a ton of repeat business after that. Of course the majority of the downloads were from these so-called "freeloaders" but all I was hoping for was for 1% of the downloads to turn into a sale. Just 1%. I'm not completely sure what conversion rate I ended up with in the end, (and I'm feeling too lazy to check), but whatever it was, it was enough to keep me busy with a steady stream of work. So from my perspective, the free samples were working.
A couple people had suggested that with the amount of traffic I was getting, I should at least put a donate button up on the site, but I never did because I wanted it to be clear that what I wanted was more business. I wanted people to order more charts from me, not just donate a couple bucks and never hear from them again.
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The hardest thing about taking DanielMenjivar.com offline, apart from the sentimental, emotional and of course, financial aspects, has been dealing with countless emails from people asking me to send them the free charts so they can play them with their band. So rather than cutting-and-pasting my reply over and over, I can just send them a link to read this instead. Now you know!
When I took my charts website offline this weekend, clients say “get well soon” while freeloaders complain about free samples disappearing!— Daniel Menjívar (@DanielMenjivar) March 3, 2015
There is a small possibility that I might offer some free samples again in the future when my health improves and should I decide to get back into the business of offering my transcription and arrangement services online. I'm not certain. So if you want to be notified if/when I do, the best way would be to subscribe to email updates here. That way, you'll be the first to know.
Hopefully my upcoming appointment with the surgeon will solve all my wrist problems once and for all. Wish me luck!