Money Isn’t The Only Way To Get Paid As A Creator

While we all want to get paid as a creator, there are other perks that are often overlooked.

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Money Isn't The Only Way To Get Paid As A Creator

Get Paid As A Creator

As independent creators, we are always looking for ways to make money with our craft or content. While that is true, money isn’t the only type of currency that’s being exchanged over the internet. There are a variety of other goods and services that can be obtained and traded that will help further us in our creative journeys.

Today I wanted to discuss a few valuable resources that can be exchanged by creators on the internet. While these resources are not cold, hard cash, they can provide a lot of value to your brand and online endeavors.

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Many of us become creators because we have a passion.  Our craft is not just a job. It is something that we’re drawn to do. The act of creation, and showing our work the others, gives us a sense of personal fulfillment. While personal fulfillment may not pay the bills, it is an important part of our lives that should not be overlooked. We need to be doing the work that we enjoy, and having a steady flow of personal fulfillment in our lives is important.

Without the sense of personal fulfillment, our work becomes…work.  A creator with a lack of personal fulfillment might lose motivation or feel burnt out. We need to keep the fires of passion-fueled in order to keep working towards our goals and in our creative endeavors.

Goods and Services

One thing I’ve noticed about independent art communities is that they love to barter with each other. For example, a web designer may build a website for an artist. In turn, the artist will make a logo and branding for the web designer. A musician may write a theme song for a content creator’s YouTube channel. In return,  the YouTuber could teach the musician how to run their own YouTube channel, or make a video about the musician.

This may seem simple, as goods and services often have a monetary value associated with them. However, just because you aren’t getting cash in your pocket, doesn’t mean you aren’t getting paid.

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Get Paid As A Creator


Creating for exposure seems to be a touchy subject for a lot of creators and artists. Many influencers will attempt to get free goods and services from artists and creators and return for access to their audience. While there are many people out there that do this in a less than ethical sense,  working for free is not always a bad thing.
When we are first starting out, we have not yet built the rapport and reputation that we need to run a full business. We may work for free during our first few projects in order to build up our credibility. There is nothing wrong with doing this as long as it is done in the right way.

When it comes to working for exposure, it’s important to make sure that we are picking reliable people to collaborate with. Just because someone has a lot of followers on social media does not mean that you are guaranteed engagement. I’ve known creators that have had half a million followers on social media with no engagement. I’ve also known creators that have less than 100 engaged hardcore fans on social media. Before engaging in a “content for exposure” relationship, make sure to vet the person and study their social media accounts. This will help ensure that you will get value from their promotion.

Networking and Relationships

Similar to exposure, working and collaborating with other people will help you build relationships. This can be as simple as making a new friend to show your work, or as complex as a sponsorship contract with a large company. Regardless of the size, important to make sure that you are picking these relationships wisely.

You want to collaborate with other creators that can offer value to your brand. You should also collaborate with creators who have a similar audience that you would like to attract. Most importantly, network and build relationships with creators that have a similar work ethic and similar values to yourself. There’s nothing worse than starting a group project and being the person who is carrying the rest of the team.

Think In Terms Of Value, Not Dollars

As independent creators or artists, we tend to think of transactions in terms of dollars and not value. I believe that many creators can benefit from adopting a value-based mindset when it comes to online transactions and collaborations. While this won’t pay the bills, many non-monetary transactions will help build your audience and set you up to make money later.

These transactions and relationships can also help you build a client list for future money-based endeavors. This includes referral traffic and testimonials from those you have worked with. Even though you may not have been paid, you still have a satisfied customer that can give you reviews and referral traffic.

For example, say you are a hip-hop producer. You can make a beat for a rapper with whom you are friends for free or for trade. When people hear how great the song turned out, you may get real paying customers coming your way. Overall, having a value-based mindset can lead to future success. However, you should make sure that you understand the value of your transactions before agreeing to them. You should work to strike a balance between paid work and other forms of compensation. You should also be seeking personal fulfillment in the type of work you do.

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