“When you support small business. You are supporting a dream,” they say. But is this enough to trust an online creator, small e-commerce owner, a passionate learner who is sharing interesting bits in a weekly newsletter, or a writer with a weird sense of humor? In other words, regular folks, who don’t have an army of lawyers and a well-defined 100-page unreadable return policy?
Why support small businesses owners in a world where big corporations seemingly offer everything at a better price?
I’ll start addressing the question with another question:
Why you should pay me?
There are numerous sites that offer a great user experience and have a larger database of book summaries.
And yet, there are misfits who, when visiting my site for the first time, decide to stand up. Engage in the sometimes frustrating experience of finding their wallet – “Where the hell is it this time!” Return to their virtual portal of infinite joy. And enthusiastically type a combination of 16 random digits in a square box that gives permission to a person they never met to withdraw a portion of their hard-earned cash.
Why is that?
Every time I receive an email about a new member. Except that I do a little dance routine and energetically scream. I ask myself this question.
The answer. I hope. Is that they realize this:
I care more!
No one told me to read the books I’m reading. To write the articles I’m writing.
There wasn’t a task assigned to me to write about this or that. I was simply interested enough in the topic to sit, research it out of curiosity, think about it, and write about it.
Commonly, I don’t even care if the topic has a business or search potential – SEOs can understand. I simply want to get it out of my system.
Gigantic corporations might radiate stability and convince. But they often lack charisma and personality.
It makes sense.
Yes, you can get people to write by paying them. But you can’t make them care. At least you can’t make everyone write with the same level of enthusiasm no matter how much you pay them. No matter how many additional benefits you throw at them.
At the end of the day. They don’t really care. They force themselves to do so because they have certain monetary needs.
The Era of Creators
Thanks to the tools at our disposal. It’s relatively easy to start creating. To start a business. To transition from consumer to creator. Especially online.
No, I’m not saying that it’s easy to make a living by posting stuff on a website – it’s not! But the starting part is at least available to everyone.
Seeing that others are doing it and that it’s not that hard to arrange a web page. More and more people these days are considering the path of becoming an online creator.
Whether this will be making videos and uploading them on YouTube. Creating an online tool that can help you block unwanted spam. Curating resources and sharing the bits in a newsletter. Or writing long pieces that aim to provoke the inside part of your skull.
These days. Everyone wants to be an online creator.
Sadly, not everyone wants to support online creators.
People who want to make a living online following their passion are often exploited.
First, they have to work themselves to the bone to create a ton of free stuff so they can be discovered.
Then, depending on their success from step one – I mean, if they are not exhausted and still in the game. They have to go see a fortune teller that will perform a ritual giving them a hint on what type of service they should create that can potentially make people open up their wallets.
Finally, after several months of stress, frustration, and self-doubt. They can ship something and pray to the online algorithms that their creation won’t disappear in the void of stuff online.
So, yes. If you happen to stumble upon something you’re particularly interested in created by a solo creator. Don’t simply pass by.
Even if you can’t afford to buy the product of the person. Write them an email. Share one of their articles. Tell a friend. Bake them a cake and send it over (if you happen to be interested in baking cakes and sending them to complete strangers you can find my address when you subscribe to my newsletter – just FYI).
Plainly, f*cking do something to tell these folks that what they are creating is useful.
Because. You know what happens. People who sit in front of a computer all night after sitting in front of a computer all day at their job hesitate. Overthink. Get maniacally depressed because they don’t know if what they’re doing is worth doing. Don’t know if the juice is worth the squeeze.
And when they don’t know. They quit.
Eventually, the friendly newsletter curator with fewer than 200 people on his email list who you happen to enjoy reading is no longer sending you emails. Because you – yes you – never told him/her that what he/she did was useful.
And if this is not enough for you to finally press that like button.
Here are a couple of extra reasons to convince you to support small businesses:
Reasons To Support Small Businesses and Online Creators:
1. They Care More
You can clearly sense the enthusiasm when a one-man bakery owner is talking about their gingerbread on their website.
After all. They started baking because they love baking. They love the process. Love the opportunity to make other people smile by creating something tasteful. Getting paid for doing everything they love is a by-product of the hard work. Not the main result they are seeking.
Conversely. In big corporations, the messaging of their products is manufactured in a cubicle by people who probably never tasted the product.
It’s not their job to care. Their job is to increase sales. To reach the quarterly target. And this usually happens by lowering prices, weird psychological tricks, and massive tasteless campaigns.
2. They Work Harder
Getting hired is simply filling a single box in a gigantic machine.
Working for yourself is doing everything.
If you are a solo creator you or not only the founder. You are every part of the machine – writer, editor, support person, billing person, maintenance person, and also the person responsible for figuring out how your efforts will keep the roof above your head.
3. They Are Not After Money
Sure they want money.
But most solo founders are interested in making just enough money to continue doing what they love doing.
Ask around and you’ll see that it’s about having the financial freedom to keep doing what you’re doing. Not reaching world dominance.
4. They Are Transparent
They are perfectly aware that their products are not flawless. But that’s part of the process. That’s part of their charisma.
They don’t hide their flaws.
They openly talk about them and encourage others to find themselves in this crazy saturated market of “perfection”.
5. They Inspire
Small business owners and online solo creators are mostly adored for their uniqueness.
But they provide something else that’s equally important.
Hope and encouragement.
They represent the suppressed voice of everyone feeling crushed by the dullness of their regular job.
They give hope to those who feel that the writer inside them wants to get out.
They don’t only positively impact our days with the things they are creating.
But they also touch deeper. Provoke enthusiasm and prompt us to show up for ourselves and start doing what we really want to do.
6. They Will Keep Doing What They Are Doing
A while back. When I was young, stupid, and cashless. I never understood why someone will donate money to someone creating a free service online.
Now I know.
Now I know that if I don’t support someone creating something I love. I will basically have to stop using the tool I love. Because at some point. This person will give up.
Craig Mod, the weird online bird probably said it best:
“…the main reason to become a member should be: Craig, ya weird bird, I want to see more of your work in the world.”
7. They Will Support You
They will support you if you start creating.
I’m sure that most solo founders will happily pay a fellow creator even if there is a cheaper alternative. They know how hard it is to keep working on a passion project especially when no one is yet cheering for you.
And I know this because I’m an online creator.
I’d prefer to buy an ebook for $50 dollars. Get a semi-working tool. Support someone’s newsletter by purchasing an ad because I know how much work is involved in the process.
Some Closing Thoughts
Surely I’m not suggesting getting everything from small businesses, solo creators, or watching only YouTube videos.
There are a lot of situations that require getting something from an established company.
A washing machine. A car. A pair of running shoes for example.
But the main motivator that brought me to write this article is how little we think about this.
Mentioning a book these days is linking to Amazon instead of suggesting buying it from a local library.
Seeing someone with fewer than 100 followers subconsciously convinces us that what this person is saying is not worth reading.
When we are out shopping we gravitate towards the big brands instead of checking what local artists have prepared.
If you’re still with me.
And if you do think similar to what I’m proposing in this text. You can start with your favorite creator.
Send her an email. Send her a DM. Like her video. Share her newsletter. Purchase something she created.
Communicate in some way how her vocation is changing your situation.
You will be surprised how little creators need to keep creating.
“It isn’t enough just looking for the quality in the products we buy, we must ensure that there is quality in the lives of the people who make them.” Orsola De Castro
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