The Gifted Blog

April 23, 2012

Pay it Forward

Before I began my job, I thought I understood the movement to support small businesses.

But then I started working at Common Thread Studio, a small sewing studio in our neighboring town. And all of a sudden I "got" the importance of supporting small businesses. I saw firsthand all that my boss had put on the line to get her dream business off the ground - time, money, her reputation, livelihood. And I finally understood that purchases made at the shop directly allowed her to pay for basic living expenses and provide excellent service to customers.

It also meant that I could support my family while continuing to write The Gifted Blog, and our guest instructors earned side income to support their work as artists and designers. In short, the money coming into the store directly improved the chances that the creative people working there could continue benefiting the community through their work.

Right around the time I started my job, I read a post on Craftypod that I've been mulling over ever since. Sister Diane writes:
Every cool blog post, every podcast, every video that you enjoy for free online comes to you because another human being chose to put their time and energy into making it. A few of these folks got paid for their efforts, but the vast majority were doing it for free.
This excellent post goes on to explain that all this great content is only sustainable if the people making it are rewarded. She says it so much better than I can: read on here.

So what does this all mean for me and you?

I'm starting a monthly series called Pay it Forward, very much inspired by Sister Diane's work on Craftypod. Will you join me? Each month anyone who wants to participate will ask these two questions:
1) Who adds value to my creative life? 
2) Knowing it takes hard work to produce creative inspiration, how can I pay it forward to sustain them?
I will choose one or more blogs, businesses, or artists to support and report back to you at the end of the month. I'd like to focus on supporting people financially. But paying it forward can also look like words of support, helping to spread the word about a favorite business, or other non-monetary means of sustaining someone else's work.

I want to hear from you! If you pay it forward to sustain someone's creative work, leave a comment, email me at giftedmailbox[at], or give me the link to where you've blogged about it.

Pay it Forward Idea #1: Blogs with Businesses
Do you enjoy any blogs that are attached to businesses? Maybe the blogger has a little online shop. Maybe they are putting out a book. Or maybe they sell cool downloadable tutorials on their site. Buy something to support their work! Treat yourself or get a gift for Mother's Day and feel good about giving back to a blogger you love.

I'll be back next week to share who I supported this month. What other ideas do you have for paying it forward?

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  1. Great post, Charissa, and an idea that definitely got me thinking (esp because I love "free" things!) I'll report back soon...

    1. Ooh, goody - can't wait to hear from you!

  2. Thanks for posting about this. I'll be really eager to follow your progress on this. Also maybe a little more motivated to do this myself.

    I also follow SD and she's a great inspiration.

    1. Hi Chppie - Isn't Sister Diane cool? I've been challenged to think about the sustainability of creative work so much more deeply because of her. Thank you for your comment - and please do let me know if you join me in paying it forward - even for a month!

  3. I think Diane and your initiatives to support our community is a really important one. I believe in it too and have been doing the same (though not publicly). I say: Way to go!

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Michele. This topic is exciting to me because it affects me personally (in whether I'm able to support my blogging financially) and is an area that I'm naturally lazy in. I'm glad to have the accountability of reporting back to you all!


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