The State of The Experiment: Save HijiNKS Ensue!

Greetings Fancy Bastards and casual readers alike.

Four months ago I began an experiment, provoked by the sudden loss of my day job, to see if I could make a living from HijiNKS Ensue. In that time I’ve focused almost exclusively on the content of HE (the comics, the podcast, etc) and the community (emails, comments, the forum, Twitter), and less so on the capitalist endeavors. I did launch a New Store last month. I also began offering Comic Prints and Custom Designed Avatars for the first time, but I haven’t added to the shirts the way I intended.

I agreed to run that experiment for 4-6 months depending on how my finances held up. I must have run the numbers pretty accurately because in two months I’ll be out of funds (as in unable to pay bills). Considering the job market, I certainly can’t wait 60 days to START looking for work.

I believe in slow, managed growth of a business. This is why I haven’t jumped the gun and plastered the site with ads, put up 40 crappy shirt designs, or rushed a book to print. I want to do these things right. The truth is that this IS going to take longer than 6 months. I feel like if I quit now (return to a day job) I won’t be able to recapture the momentum I’ve gained since beginning the Experiment.  Quitting now would most likely mean the end of HijiNKS Ensue.

So, is this the end of The Experiment? Not necessarily (this is where you come in).

I have 100% faith that given another 6 months to a year I will have no problem generating a full time income (enough to support my family, pay for our modest house and cars, and not be entirely broke at the end of the month).

After much deliberation, the only solution I have arrived at is a DONATION DRIVE.

If we can come up with at least half of the income I need to meet my monthly obligations ($2000-$2500) through Donations, I should be able to continue The Experiment. I don’t plan for this to be a permanent solution, but rather a stop gap measure to buy more time until ads, and t-shirts and such can really take over supporting the site.

To this effect I have set up PAYPAL DONATION SUBSCRIPTIONS. This will allow you to set up a recurring monthly donation of $5, $10 or $20. You are certainly still welcomed to make one time donations in any amount you are comfortable with. The subscriptions will allow me to better gauge how much to expect each month, but a donation of $50 or more has the same effect as a 1 year subscription. Subscribers will get access to The Vault each month. Regular donors will get Vault access for the month they donate.

Support HijiNKS Ensue with your Donation!

The DONATION DRIVE TO SAVE HIJINKS ENSUE is starting today. If, at the end of 30 days, things are looking promising I will continue the Experiment for as long as possible. If they are not looking so promising I will have to find a (real) job and scale back my involvement in HE. This will most likely mean less comics and fewer (to zero) Podcasts.

“I Don’t Want to Subscribe. How Can I Still Help?”

Glad you asked.  Again, you are welcomed to make a one time donation. This is very much appreciated. Many of you have given more than I would ever expect and for that I am very grateful.

You also don’t have to contribute and get nothing in return. You can still purcase T-Shirts, Comic Prints and Avatars. I’ll be adding new print packages and shirts to the store this week (if possible).

Since starting the experiment 4 months ago I have received around $1000 in one time donations and $110 in donation subscriptions. The goal is roughly 20 times that number of subscriptions to keep HE alive. Can we do it? I sure as hell hope so, because this has been the most rewarding work I have ever done. I LOVE THIS JOB and I don’t want to give it up without a fight.

Regardless of what happens I want to thank you all, you Fancy Bastards, for you support both financially and emotionally. Your encouragement and generosity never cease to astound me. Often I’ll find myself in a moment of self doubt and at just the right moment receive an email from a reader telling me that HE is the favorite comic or a notification from Payapl saying someone just donated $100. $100!?

I’ll add a counter to the sidebar so you can see how close we are to the goal. The next 30 days will decide the future of HE, so let’s make it count.


Joel Watson

“Godspeed, You Fancy Bastards”

Posted in Comic Blog, The Experiment and tagged .


  1. It's Labor Day weekend. You can get cards (business & postcards) done pretty quickly from several sources. Email me if you need some leads. I may not be able to make it personally any more (sad, sordid tales of being a responsible adult…it really sucks), but a good friend of mine is going to be my swag mule if I don't make it, and she'll get stuff out for you.

  2. HE was recently brought to my attention by another Fancy Bastard and I'm evidently hooked, since I've read through all the archives over a couple days and have you in my normal webcomic reading rotation, so I figured it's only right to subscribe since I can afford to. Plus, since I think Josh might be an evil clone of me (okay so I'm not all that innocent myself) I need to keep tabs on what's going on with him ;).

    Love the art, topics and humor. Keep up the good work.

  3. Good luck! May the Schwartz be with you!

    Monetarily, do Avatar purchases help you as much as donations? Of course they require your own personal time, but those are essentially direct payments to you since you don't have to pay for materials, right? Just trying to think of ways to get my friends to give you money but also get something in return (aside from the regular HE awesomeness).

  4. Yes, if you factor out all the work avatars have no material cost. Time is expensive but not as expensive and Tshirts and printing.

    Items currently in the store (as far as profit to me) go like this:


  5. Done & done. I would subscribe for more but the price of living is rising like you wouldn't believe over here in blighty.
    If you had a page full of pay per click adverts that we all clicked through on every day do you think you'd get away with that?

  6. I wish I could help… I don't really have the money right now to spend on things like keeping other webcomics in the water…

    I will put a 2-month bid on your PW adboxes for 50 cents a day. If people meet the demand that's, what, 2$ a day?

  7. As someone who was dependent on the generosity of stranger when running a somewhat big gaming site a few years ago (and successful doing it), I can relate. So I've just signed up for a monthly subscription.

    All the best, and please keep up the funnies.


  8. Dude, make sure you get some postcards, flyers, business cards, something that I can put on the tables at Dragon*Con! You can send them to me, and I'll take care of it.

    Least I can do, man…I'm all for those trying the experiment, in any way, shape, or form, and I'll be pimping you, Save Hiatus and my own store stuff when I go to D*C this year! (And I expect some nice interviews in return for my dissertation, but we can talk 'bout that later, yus…)

  9. Hey there. First time commenting – found this comic through InkTank a while ago, and have plowed my way through the archives and been a regular reader since.

    HE is the first comic I've read in a long time that actually has me laughing out loud on a regular basis, so I reckon it's worth supporting the Experiment; I just signed up for a subscription and bought a couple of shirts so I can promote the glorious HE while riding my polar bear over here in Norway.

    Keep the laughs coming, man. They're much appreciated.

  10. Good luck Joel. I just signed up for a subscription. Not as much as I'd like to give, but I wanted to kick in something in hopes you can make this work. Thanks for all the laughs!

  11. Giving you a nice little subscription of ten bills a month. I hope you realize that I'm now paying more a month for your comic than… other… pictures I… look at… nevermind. Use it well. Keep being funny.

  12. Hey, like i said – the laughs are much appreciated. HE is easily my new favorite webcomic, so it's in my best interest to keep you in… business, I suppose (this counts as business if you can actually make a living off it, right?).

    Also, the t-shirts look awesome and would have been a no-brainer purchase anyway; I'm looking forward to picking them up at the in-laws' place when the wife and I head over to the States for a sweet-ass vacation in… 12 days, aw yeah! I shall proudly inform the world of the true intent behind the Holodeck, as well as who to vote for in '08 – incidentally, your statement that "BSG is the best show that’s ever been on television" greatly contributed to my decision to download *coughs* I mean -purchase- the hell out of said show. Hadn't seen a single episode before, and now we're trying to pace ourselves so we don't run out all too soon… Managed to slow down from our habit of 4 episodes a day, so we still have nearly all of season 3 and what there is of season 4… Not enough, though. It will never be enough.

    Anyway, I'll shut up now. I do go on sometimes. Thanks again for the laughs!

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