In the craft industry, why do people share so much information for free? I see so many free tutorials, patterns and videos being shared on social. In most other industries, people get paid for their skills.
So what’s the motivation behind ‘FREE’? In many cases, I suppose it’s company-driven, to help promote products or fabrics. But are companies paying individuals fairly for their work and skills? This, by the way, should be an entirely different topic, so let’s set this one aside for the moment and focus on the ‘independent’ crafter. Why, as an individual, would you share knowledge in exchange for nothing? Is being internet-famous a goal? Perhaps you’re just starting out and you feel it’s the best way to initially get exposure? Perhaps you already have another source of income so this is just a hobby? I'm curious to know.
Does ‘FREE’ de-value a skill set? Fine, I’ll give you my opinion – YES, to a point. I spent 15 years in the advertising industry and I can tell you that the best agencies never work for free and know to price their projects at what they are really worth – in creativity, skill and knowledge. So, as a craftsperson, say you’ve just spent countless hours writing and testing a pattern. You’ve created something no one else has, you have a skill and a talent and you’re about to share your knowledge with others…and then you don’t even ask for $1. Why? Even if it’s your very first pattern, you should consider charge something for it.
Does it affect those people who work in craft for a living (like me)? YES. When there is so much information out there for free, it’s definitely a challenge to ask people for their hard-earned money in exchange for your skills. BUT it shouldn’t stop you. Because if you’re confident and YOU believe that what you’re sharing has value, then those who believe in you will support you. And then, hopefully, even more people will see the support you're getting and they'll want to support you too. I think it's about finding a balance between offering some things for free and others, not.
Anyway…these are the thought-starter questions I woke up with in my head this fine Monday morning. Let’s discuss below, as I’d love to hear your perspectives… and, please, keep it thoughtful and kind.
On a separate but very related note, I would like to moment to thank everyone who has dropped by this page to check it out and to those who have signed on as my patrons. You see value in my work and your generosity - in just words or in dollars - helps me to grow.