If it was up to me I’d never have anything to do with money, I’d never ask anyone for it or try to earn it. What I’d prefer is being a traveling troubadour, asking only for food for the night and a warm place to stay but unfortunately my kids are allergic to hay and my wife has reliably informed me that the life I desire can only be found in bad fantasy novels where the main character is the chosen one and that’s not me no matter how much I think the universe circles my being. So now when I create something I ask people to pay me for it, I feel guilty for doing it as I know a lot of my audience are in similar financial circumstances to me but without me asking for it I’d have to stop creating anything. Personally I’d rather be dead than stop entertaining people which would put a real downer on the whole comedian thing plus I really need to see how 2020 turns out, I feel like it’s got a Game of Thrones/Lost vibe to the season finale but hey who knows we could get an unexpected Quantum Leap.
Let’s put it like this. You like a creative. Maybe you enjoy a musician, painter or comedian. You follow them on social media and anything they put out there you absorb and appreciate. You enjoy what they do and feel guilty whenever they ask for support because you, like most of us, are not Jeff Bezos and money is tight (especially now). There are numerous ways to support a creator financially and non financially. The financial ones tend to be really obvious and we’re mostly all aware of them but the non financial ones don’t tend to be and get overlooked. Fear not there are plenty of things you can do to help them without spending a single penny of the two pennies you have left at the end of every month.
- Buy the stuff they make – be that the art they make, the shows they produce or the songs they record, this is the most direct way to support a creative. A lot of creatives will do custom commissions in order for you to have a completely unique experience such as portraits, comedy shows or workshops, these are usually more expensive that their regular products but also completely bespoke to you.
- Subscribe to their twitch/patreon/ko-fi etc – usually it’s a very small amount and provides them with the closest they can get to a monthly income from their passion. If you’re already subscribed consider gifting a subscription to someone who you’d think would enjoy their content
- Buy their merchandise – unlike buying their product directly merchandise is often created by external companies and the creative gets a percentage of the profit from it.
- Tips/donations/coffees – Most creatives have a way to give them tips which start at the price of a coffee all the way up to whatever you feel like. I’ll be honest these are my favourites as it shows someone just wants me to feel like they’re enjoying my stuff.
- Platform specific tips – Twitch has cheers, bits and other ways to interact, Patreon has different levels, Ko-fi allows you to gift the creator with a gold account so they’re able to do more to produce content. Whichever it is we’re always exceedingly grateful
- Likes and comments – Social media is a minefield of algorithms these days and lots of things get lost as so much is posted. Liking and commenting on your favourite creators work pushes their content up the rankings and allows them to get seen by a bigger audience
- Share everything – if liking and commenting is the gentle nudge to someones work sharing is the big flashing neon sign. Sharing someone’s creations means that your followers see it and the creator can get to a bigger audience. Plus shares are worth way more to all the technical stuff that goes on behind the scenes of social media algorithms. Share everything everywhere, it’s free, everyone gets to enjoy the stuff you’re already enjoying and it gives the creator a warm glowy feeling inside.
- Big Recommendations in real life – I can tell you as a comedian I have got most of my corporate work through word of mouth, nothing gets a creative more work than a personal recommendation from a trusted friend. Recommend them to your friends, recommend them to your family, recommend them to your place of work to do work’s parties or paint portraits for the foyer. Real life recommendations are a huge source of income for creatives.
No matter what the creator creates they do need your support as followers in order to keep creating things for you to enjoy and that absolutely doesn’t have to be any money whatsoever. We love making things but without people showing us support we tend to stop just because we can’t spend the time on stuff that’s necessary in order to earn a living or in some cases we assume that no-one wants it because the people consuming it have assumed that others will support them. Honestly it doesn’t take much to make our day, when someone’s retweeted a joke on twitter or jumped on a Twitch stream and told me they’re enjoying it that makes my day. And that’s it, if you enjoy a creatives work really let them know.