Home Reflections How to Support Creators in Difficult Times

How to Support Creators in Difficult Times

written by Samantha Anthony March 19, 2020
How to Support Creators in Difficult Times

Welp, it’s officially crazy times here in 2020.

With the current worldwide pandemic, everyone’s immediate concern is staying safe and making the right decisions under the current circumstances. 

Those with travel plans are finding them canceled or making the (right) call to cancel them and stay the fuck at home. Many of you may have transitioned to working from home, which is a new routine for many (stay tuned for an upcoming article on best practices for working from home). 

I’ve seen a lot of discussion on how to support vulnerable communities right now, such as the elderly, differently abled, housing + food insecure, etc. There are so many community initiatives going on right now and it’s absolutely amazing to see folks come together to help those in need. I’ve also seen a large discussion on how to support small businesses, which is awesome! Small businesses, such as local restaurants, have had to close for dine-in in many places, but you can still support by ordering take-out or delivery, or buying gift cards for use at a later date. PBS has a great article with resources to support those in need during this crisis. 

One discussion that I have not seen is how to support creators and artists during this difficult time. Most of us are experiencing a drastic loss in income. Sure, creators don’t exactly provide what are considered essential services. Many of us also generally have a lower cost of doing business, without a physical location to keep open or a large team of employees to pay.

But without art, what would the world be? Without the written word, where would humanity be? 

Books are Magic Mural

While we’re bloggers, we also consider ourselves creatives. We always aim to do something a little different with this blog. We love writing and providing helpful information on how to travel as a vegan, sustainably, and through house sitting. Our reflective posts are our philosophical outlets; in the future, these are posts that we hope to write more of. 

I know that those who aren’t creators don’t often understand how it is exactly that online creators make money. I’m pretty sure that most people think that we’re just on perpetual vacation as nomads, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Like anyone, creatives work to have money to survive. 

We all need to support each other during these crazy times, in whatever ways we can, which is why I’d like to share some of the best ways you can support creators, freelancers, and small businesses through this worldwide disruption. It’s a massive risk to try to make a living as a creator, and creators need support now more than ever.

NYC Numbers - 1/3 of creative sector workers in NYC are self-employed

Free Ways to Support Creators, Freelancers, and Small Businesses 

Back in 2017, we wrote an article on How to Support Creative Friends. Our advice in that article still stands, but there’s even more you can do to support creatives, hence this follow up article! 

Read, Listen, Watch 

The easiest way to support an online creator is very simple – engage with their work! So many of us are not only experiencing a lack of income due to this crisis, but also a demoralizing lack of motivation, when we know that no one is reading, listening to, or watching what we put out there. 

Creators naturally want their work to be seen. 

Just by reading an article, listening to a podcast, or watching a YouTube video, you’re validating our work, something we especially need right now.

It also doesn’t hurt to leave a comment and/or send creators a message or email saying that you enjoyed their work! If you use social media, commenting directly on the post on social media is even better as it helps the algorithm show the post to more people.

Here are some more ideas for free ways you can support creators:

  • Read an article, listen to a podcast, watch a YouTube video, etc.
  • Leave a comment on one of their posts on social media
  • Like/follow/subscribe
  • Sign up for their email newsletter (bonus points for responding to one)

Another reason to read, listen, and watch is that many creators use ads for revenue. Bloggers, Podcasters, and YouTubers all rely on sponsorships or ad revenue to help support themselves. While people may hate ads (raises hand), the fact is that ads help keep content free for the readers while at the same time paying bloggers for their work.

Capitalism still makes the world go round, unfortunately. So for now, ads are a win-win for consumers and creators. I have no problem with some ads if it means that the blogger can be paid to spend time on that article. Of course, some bloggers do take it too far and plaster their site with ads to the point that the page is unreadable. But when implemented properly with minimal disruption of user experience, ads can be a great reliable income stream. 

Without getting too much into the mechanics, simply put, the more eyeballs on articles/videos, the more creators get paid. As travel bloggers, our traffic is currently down by around 70%, and most others in our industry are experiencing the same. So even though you may not (and shouldn’t) be planning a trip right now, this too shall pass, and you can still get inspired for future trips.(And let us know what kind of articles would help you right now – we’re here for our community!)

So simply by reading articles, you can help support a blogger stay in business for another day. (Ok, ad revenue doesn’t pay us that much, but it definitely helps.)

So go to your favorite content creator’s website and read, listen, watch. Then share your favorite article on social media and tag their page! I’m sure they’ll really appreciate it, especially right now. 

Share Their Work 

To the above point, the more people see creators’ stuff, the better! It really is that simple. 

The more people know about what we do, the more we can enrich the lives of others that are looking for what we offer.

For us, we are passionate about spreading the message about how awesome house sitting can be for travel and doing creative work. If someone learns about our blog and decides to start house sitting, they will read our articles, may buy our book, or purchase a membership through our affiliate link. Win-win for everyone. 

So if you think someone could benefit from learning about your favorite online creators or small businesses, share the love!

Send your friend that website, podcast, YouTube channel, Instagram account, local travel business, whatever it is. They’ll probably thank you for introducing them to a new resource, and your favorite small business or creator will love having a new member of their community.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Share an article on Facebook
  • Share their Instagram account or a particular post with your followers
  • Email your friend an article that you think they’d like
  • Invite friends to the creator’s Facebook group
  • Share their Pins on Pinterest

Even if your friends’ business isn’t on the top of your interests, just being aware of what they do allows you to refer those who would be interested and benefit from their work.

Good Things Need a Place To Grow - Street Art in Madrid

Ways to Support Creators and Small Businesses Monetarily 

If you’re in the financial position to help support your favorite creatives monetarily, we’ve got some idea of how you can do so! 

Of course, many industries are severely disrupted right now, with many people experiencing a loss in pay or even losing their jobs. If you aren’t able to financially support creators right now, please do not feel bad and take care of yourself first. If you want to support, just go back above and see how you can do so without spending a dime. 

For those of you that are in a position to and want to support creators, here are some suggestions! 

Buy Their Stuff!

If your favorite creator has a product, now is the time to put off getting it and get that book, course, workshop, photo print, commission that piece, etc.! Hire that freelancer. Support local businesses with brick and mortar locations by buying gift cards or vouchers online for future use.

By purchasing a creator’s work or product, you’ll also be helping support creatives who are experiencing a drastic loss in income right now. 

You may be cooped up inside due to quarantine or social distancing. That means that this is the perfect time to learn something; read a book, take a course, or do an online workshop. This can be a fantastic time for personal development, learning a new skill, or diving deep into your own creative passions. Channel all that anxious energy into something positive! 

I truly believe that everyone is creative, it’s just a matter of tapping into that creative energy. There are so many resources out there to help you with whatever you want to learn from the comfort of your own home. 

When we released our books, we received an outpouring of support from readers, friends, family, etc. congratulating us on finishing our book. We really appreciated it! But what we’d appreciate even more is supporting us so we can eat and pay our bills, and I know every other creator out there feels the same way 😉 

Support on Patreon

Patreon is an awesome platform for consistent support for creatives. It works differently from a Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaign, which is a one time donation towards a specific project. 

On Patreon, you can support your favorite creators through a monthly donation of as little as $1/month. This helps creators know how much money is coming in each month and supports them in doing ongoing work, rather than just for a specific project.

The model is perfect, because each individual can pledge very little yet still know that they are supporting a creator in their work. More supporters at lower pledge amounts is actually better for creators, because there is less loss of income if one person decides to not support anymore. Think about it: if you’re a creator with 1000 supporters each pledging $1, if a few people decide to stop supporting for whatever reason, it’s not a big deal. But say you have 10 people pledging at $100/month each. If one withdraws, that’s a much bigger deal.

Patreon is popular with artists, musicians, podcasters, writers, activists – basically anyone with a need for ongoing support to do their work. You can search for creators through the website or app, or go to your favorite creators’ websites and see if they’re on Patreon. Supporters get access to exclusive goodies and content too! This might be bonus podcast episodes, a t-shirt, book, monthly online hangouts; the possibilities are endless. 

Buy Through Affiliate Links

This one goes for digital creators like bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers.

A major way that many of us earn income is through affiliate links (for us, this is our main source of income). Basically, we recommend a product or service, and when someone buys that product through our link, we receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you for something that you wanted to buy anyway. We even negotiate special discounts for some services we use and recommend, so you’re getting an even better deal. Personally, we only recommend products and services that we actually use – check our resource page with our main recommended resources! 😉

A major affiliate network for bloggers is Amazon, though it’s against Amazon’s terms and conditions to ask people to buy through your link (eye roll). If you’re planning on purchasing something through Amazon, go to your favorite blogger’s website, and look for any post that may contain Amazon affiliate links.

These are usually lists recommending products or gear, such as these kind of posts: 

25 Books About Spain

Eco-Friendly Packing List

Then, click on a link and purchase whatever you planned to get through Amazon. It doesn’t have to be what the blogger recommended; anything purchased through their link will count. I know it’s a roundabout way, but again, we can’t say “buy through our Amazon link” otherwise we may get thrown out of the program! 

I feel like it bears repeating that there is obviously no pressure to support monetarily if you’re not in a position to do so. But since so many people have been offering words of support and have asked how to help, I hope this post has shown some ways to do so, both financially and for free.

How do you support your favorite creators? Fellow creators: are there any other ways that people can support you during this time (and always)? 

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