Why pay for content?

Why donate to a maker?

Why pay a freelancer for services?

Why pay for an training when there are so many free events and trainings?

Valid questions. In the world of so many free things on the Internet, an endless selection of online events we can benefit from, open-source everything, and content galore, why spend anything on individual content creators?

Consider this: in this world, nobody can just “follow their dreams”. We need to make money to survive, and time, locations, coffee, 3D printer filament, books, gathered knowledge and training materials all costs something. If we want these things for free, we are ignoring the fact that somebody has to pay.:

  • Skilled coders and graphic designers produce content that you cannot feel or weigh. Yet, we pay them properly for their time and skills, because we value and enjoy the content, it makes our world better, and we recognize that it does not magically appear from nowhere.
  • “Free Shipping” on e-commerce sites is a myth, and is actually included in the cost.
  • Governments provide free training – taxpayers pay for it, but it helps empower those who need it to improve their lives. Great.
  • Free training events cannot be sustained. They either run at a loss, or are a type of advertising to bring paying customers on board.

So how can we sustainably enjoy beautifully crafted creative content?

By being willing to spend a bit of money to enjoy high-quality content, we can support people who are creative and can make things others can enjoy. Just like good-quality food at a restaurant, good food has a minimum price, and ideally, spending money on the food we love to eat supports the people who make that food, so that they can keep making it.

People like me who love to make useful, practical technical content have to have multiple jobs to survive, but life would be better if the content we make craft can support us financially. This way, we can create more and better content.

What can you do?

  • Encourage makers. Getting a message from someone who likes what we do can make our day, and help us keep going. You can message me on instagram, or contact me on the About Page. Its free, and it helps me creating!
  • Give credit to original makers. If you benefit from a piece of code, or ask for help online to solve your problem, so you say thanks? Do you share info on whether the solution worked? Its a free and simple courtesy that makes people with valuable knowledge more willing to share in the future. Gratitude has also been shown to promote better mental health.
  • Follow original creators on their platforms. Don’t just like and follow the 100K+ spam accounts of memes and uncredited content – find the original creator of content, and follow their small 400 follow account. It helps them grow their business.
  • Support freelance businesses. Patreon, donations, paying for events and training, and even donating equipment, all this can help makers keep producing creative content. Shucks, buy them a coffee even. You can also shout out and let your friends know about the trainer//creator//coder//freelancer and the services they provide.

Some of these actions are free, some require saying something, and some are through material support. Doing this let’s creative makers and freelancers worry less about how they can survive, and focus more on creating beautiful content that can inform, inspire, educate, and make the world more colourful.

Paul Hoets is a freelance maker who lives in South Korea. If you liked this article and would like to contribute to his empire of dirt, silicon and tech. education, buy him a coffee!