July 18, 2023: I originally wrote this post way back in 2018 and through the many redesigns and restructurings of the website, it was placed in draft mode. In preparation for a podcast episode of Getting Work To Work, I revisited the article and saw that it was still relevant. Additionally, some links were broken, so they have been revised.
Last week I saw something on Twitter that enraged me: people were shaming people for using Patreon in the absence of a “real business model.”
The reason I got a little testy was because a lot of creative professionals rely upon Patreon to fund their projects and businesses. One awesome example is Noclip, they make 100% crowdfunded documentaries about video games. They earn around $25,615 per month with 4,987 patrons. How is that not a business model?
While I can understand the intent of the conversation—build a reliable business model, not just do things for the sake of doing them—I couldn’t help but think about the tendency of creative professionals to do anything and everything they can to make a living. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Additionally, I couldn’t help but think about how we can support creative professionals who are creating amazing work every single day.
It’s one thing to follow creative professionals on social media and comment on their work. It’s another to take the time to send them an email. To actually go to their website or respond to their email newsletter and say, “I wanted to take a moment and thank you for your work. It means a lot to me that you consistently do it.”
I know when I receive emails out of the blue, it is a huge increase in motivation, encouragement, and good vibes.
There are a few ways to promote your favorite creative professionals. You can subscribe to and share their email newsletters. You can like, comment, and share on their social posts. You can take the time to send the content to friends that might like it.
One thing I love doing is sharing my favorite content by creative professionals in this newsletter. Here are 11 of my favorite creative professionals, what they do, and where you can find them:
- Ilise Benun, Marketing-Mentor: Ilise runs Marketing-Mentor, a website with products and services that help creative professionals take their work to the next level. I have learned a lot from Ilise from her books, as a guest speaker, and from many conversations.
- Adam T. Croft: Adam is an author who consistently writes great content for audio professionals that directly applies to all creative professionals. His latest book Quit Aspiring, is a must read for those looking to break into game audio (though, I argue every creative professional could learn from it).
- Alicja Colon: Alicja is an amazing paper crafter who uses “paper, glue, photography tricks, and photoshop magic” to create amazing things. Recently, she went from working for an agency to running her own creative studio.
- Chris Butler: While Chris does a variety of great things—check out his about page—I really dig his latest project, Design Tomorrow, “a podcast about design, technology, and being human.”
- Dina Rodriguez, Letter Shoppe: From her illustration work and workshops to her side projects, such as Women of Illustration, Dina constantly inspires me with the work she produces, the communities she builds, and how she is authentically herself by promoting a creative culture that gets paid in money instead of exposure.
- Luke Preece: I recently discovered Luke’s work on Instagram through some recent work he did for Metallica. An amazing illustrator with an incredible style, I’m blown away by how he approaches his craft.
- Nick Laparra, Let’s Give a Damn: I’m blown away by the way Nick shows up in this world. His podcast, Let’s Give a Damn, is one of the few I actually listen to because it introduces me to “a group of misfits who [refuse] to settle for the status quo.” Now that’s something I can get behind.
- Rachel Nabors: Years ago I took a workshop from Rachel and I admired how she brought her love for animation to the web. Recently, she wrote a book called Animation at Work that helps people get up and running in the world of animation on the web.
- CJ Casciotta: I learned about CJ on Let’s Give a Damn. I loved his book, Get Weird, and I love his new project called Ringbeller that aspires to “teach kids creativity and kindness.” He’s got some awesome puppets that make me laugh and smile everytime I see them.
- Meredith Koch: I’m intrigued with Meredith’s approach to filmmaking and the images that she brings forth in her films. Her collaboration style is infectious and I appreciate the way she wants to create great films on any budget. I got the chance to design a poster for her film RAKSHA, which was a lot of fun.
- Kyle Shold, Freshwater Bay Creative: I’m a huge fan of Kyle and count him as a close friend. His work for craft beer breweries is well done and his posters have found a home on my wall.
I hope that you’ll take a few moments to check out one or more of these amazing creative professionals.
The best way to support your favorite creative professionals: with your money (when you can, of course). Buy their products, support them on Patreon, do everything you can to help them make ends meet.
It can be stressful to not know where your next paycheck will come from. By supporting them, you are helping them to reduce stress so they can focus on creating their work.
What if they don’t have visible ways to support them financially? Ask them. “Hey, I would love to support your work, how can I do that?”
Accountability, Motivation, and Mentorship
One final way to help creative professionals is to provide emotional support. This can be done in many ways, such as accountability groups, motivational moments, and mentorship.
For example, a good friend of mine and I have been getting together at a local coffee shop to share goals, encourage one another, and hold each other accountable to the projects we want to do.
As we near the end of 2018, it can be a stressful time for creative professionals as business slows down. They can use all the encouragement, promotion, and support you can give.
Thank you in advance for all of the ways that you can think of to help elevate the professional artists, developers, designers, photographers, filmmakers, writers, and more who choose to daily bring forth their work into the world.