• Kolbie Blume

Easy ways to support your favorite makers

Let’s be honest: we’re all staring down into the pit of a global recession, so I’m sure frugal tendencies are starting to kick in.

At the same time, the guilt starts seeping in when you see all of the small businesses who are terrified of what this means for them.

So, how can you help when you don’t really have anything extra to give?

Luckily, I have a few easy ways that actually do help the creative businesses you love and support.

1. Watch their content.

It seems like this is the most passive thing you can do, but when it comes to social media and online content, views matter!

The more you scroll through a maker’s work, click on their links, or watch their videos, the better chance they have with social media algorithms.

Especially when it comes to videos or tutorials, views are vital for exposure.

For example: did you know that to become monetized on YouTube (meaning, YouTube will pay you for your videos), you need 4,000 watched HOURS within one year?

That’s a lot of views if you’re only posting 10-minute tutorials.

Content creators like me spend a lot of time making free stuff for you because we LOVE IT. We want you to feel special and motivated to keep creating because whatever we’re sharing has brought us so much joy that we just had to spread it.

And the cool part about being an artist and content creator in the time of social media is that the more people we share our joy with, the more we’re able to dedicate our lives sharing it.

So if you can’t do anything else, consuming content from the makers you love is the best way to help us stay afloat during these lean times.

2. Like, comment, save, share, and subscribe on social media.

Instagram wants to build communities, so it rewards users who have more people engaging with them. Meaning, every time you comment on a post, that tells the Instagram algorithm other people might be interested too, so it’s more likely to drop the post on the explore page or put it up further in the hashtag search.

This goes for creative businesses with both small and large audiences. Regardless of how many followers a user has, only about 10% will organically see their post unless a lot of people engage with it. If a post receives little engagement, especially in the first few hours of being live, it's unlikely that post will move outside of the 10% zone, much less attract new followers.

But if everyone who saw the post made a comment and liked it, the chances of more eyes seeing it go way up. And if just as many people shared that post in their stories or sent it to a friend, that’s a sure signal to the algorithm that this post is viral-worthy.

Remember also that Instagram isn't the only place creatives hang. YouTube is a popular place right now, for artists especially, and in addition to watching the videos, subscribing to your favorite maker's channel is the best way to support them. More subs means more views!

No matter where a creative puts their content, more eyes on their work means more chances they might get hired. Even if you can’t afford to be their next client or customer right now, engaging with their stuff really goes a long way.

3. Be a referral.

If you have a friend, family member, or co-worker who’s looking for a service your favorite maker can do, send them our way!

I don’t know about you, but I’d way rather hire an artist to paint my family portrait based on a referral from a friend rather than a Google search.

4. Use affiliate links.

Like most people I know, the term "influencer" kind of makes me feel icky, and I especially roll my eyes when it seems obvious that "influencers" are just trying to sell me something because they're getting paid bank.

But here's the thing: When makers and small creative businesses use affiliate links or share sponsored posts, more often than not, it's because they actually care about that thing and want to share it with you! Rest assured that I never accept a paid collaboration or use affiliate links unless I would actually purchase the product myself. That's because without you, online makers don't have a business -- no amount of money would be worth breaking your trust. The fact that they may get a small kickback only gives them a little more breathing room to create more cool stuff. Good for you, and good for them!

5. Watch a Skillshare class.

Finally, I’m going to (selfishly) focus on one that’s specific to me (but also thousands of other creatives).

If you've never tried Skillshare before, this link lets you test it out free for two months. (This is an affiliate link! If you use it to sign up for the free trial, I get a small amount added to my monthly Skillshare paycheck.)

If you’re already a Skillshare Premium member, please take advantage of more time at home to watch a class or two (or three or four).

Skillshare teachers get paid based on royalties, which means Skillshare pays for every minute watched on premium classes.

Put simply, when you watch even part of one class, Skillshare pays that teacher just a little bit more.

As a teacher and a subscriber, I love putting on Skillshare classes instead of Netflix as I’m doing the dishes or folding laundry—I get to learn something, and I know I’m supporting a fellow creator without having to break the bank.

These are tough times for everyone, and the way we're going to make it through is by helping each other where we can! You don't have to spend tons of money to help a small business owner stay afloat.

Mostly, these methods are about being more mindful of how you spend your time on social media and in conversations, which is something I’m in favor of regardless of the situation.

And the best part? The more you can give your time in these small ways, the more FREE stuff content creators can make for you while still keeping the lights on.

And with that, stay safe out there! I’ll just be here, making more stuff.



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