29 Comments

I love this Carolyn! I've been struggling / exploring what the hell is causing me so much pain and challenge in my personal work, and a lot of what you've mentioned here both in the post and in the freshly purchased zine is SO good, so helpful. Monetising dreams is largely an issue, but I also think the modern currency maybe isn't Dollars so much as Likes and Follows? I guess because maybe those things ultimately might lead to Dollars though, so it's all very interconnected to the justification (wow, it was so worth it because I got paid) vs joy (wow, my mind and body have been paid). If that makes sense. Anyway, love your work!

Expand full comment
author

Hi Stephen, thank you for your comment—it means so much to me! I'm glad the zine resonated. Social validation is definitely a form of currency, one that people *think* lead to monetary conversion (e.g. book publishers wanting new authors to have a certain following because they think it'll translate to book sales). I also think that hobbies can be a way to make for ourselves and unlearn making for others—something we all need practice with these days!

Expand full comment

YES. Oh my gosh, I've been needing to hear someone say this! As a hobbyist and a creative, I swear every time I show someone my stuff, their first comment is that I should sell it or turn it into some sort of business. But because I'm a bit of a dabbler, the thought of monetizing everything I dip my toe into feels exhausting. Yet it often leads me wondering if I'm somehow squandering my potential if I'm not "doing anything" with it. I love this reminder that it's ok to let creativity be creativity (and how sometimes – maybe more often than not – it's more fulfilling that way)!

Expand full comment
author

Exactly on the exhaustion! We can’t make lemonade out of everything, and frankly we may not want to 🍋

Expand full comment
Mar 14Liked by Carolyn Yoo

Insanely great chart

Expand full comment
author

Thank you for reading Jenni!

Expand full comment
Mar 14Liked by Carolyn Yoo

At the moment Substack is my hobby. However, whenever I see someone show their dashboard and it says 7, 17, 87 paid subscribers, I find myself question my resolve of staying free (for now).

The allure is strong, but I have a plan and I'm really happy with it, until I see those dashboards.

I don't know what the right answer is, I think everyone has to do what is best for them and I like how you encourage that in your flow chart.

Expand full comment
author

Hi Mika, how I relate! I find it quite tricky to stick with my values and plans when looking at other people's successes. There's no quick fix, just continual rooting into our purpose and authenticity as well as surrounding ourselves with people who share our goals (e.g. other Substackers who are happy to grow while staying free!)

Expand full comment

I've been thinking about this so much, and how this pertains to monetising my Substack. I've only had a paywall on some posts for less than 6 months, and I am finding that I have started thinking about how I am 'giving value' vs just sharing and creating freely and joyfully. I beleive in creatives being paid for their work, and creating closer connections with people - but I also want my work to be seen. It's a tricky one!

Expand full comment
author

Ooooh Raj, don't get me started on Substack! That could be its own zine! I've been experimenting with paywalling too and so far it hasn't felt great especially for new posts. I like what Cody Cook-Parrott questioned recently: Is my newsletter a product or a channel? https://codycookparrott.substack.com/p/free-to-read-the-experiment-ends

Expand full comment

Yes I am very much in an experimentation phase too. I read Cody's post and I think this is a brilliant question to ask. They DO still have paywalled content though, so its not all free. But the question of value and what to place behind the paywall is an interesting one. I would love to see your zine on Substack!!

Expand full comment

Loved this article! It had such an important message - we are in a time of 'monetize everything and anything' just because it is possible (and the super sad thing is because many people need to in our current society)

Hobbies are what we choose to do, gain joy from that choice and what it brings us. Monetization changes that dynamic!

Expand full comment
author

Hi Sarah, thanks so much! Great observation—our fractured economy is definitely the root cause here, and society is shifting that to be an individual responsibility so that we are all trying to siphon money from our delightful hobbies, hah.

Expand full comment
Mar 9Liked by Carolyn Yoo

This is great Carolyn 🙌 I'm definitely a 'Keep your hobby as a hobby' kind of person 😆 I see me selling from time to time little things, but not turning the hobby in work!

Expand full comment
author

Thanks so much Teresa! It's a great healthy outlook to have 🧡 Keep the selling ad hoc and light!

Expand full comment

I'm considering putting some zines online for download/purchase. I noticed you put the digital download and physical version in two different places (I think gumroad and bigcartel). Is there a specific reason for that? Have you found one to be better for digital and one better for physical? Thanks in advance for any advice!

Expand full comment
author

Hey Mitchell! I was already using Bigcartel for my shop, but getting digital products on there is a bit of a hassle (I think you can do it with a Pulley integration but it seemed complicated). Gumroad is super easy to use and supports both digital and physical product, though they do take a 10% fee. Bigcartel just has a flat monthly subscription price. Anything you use to sell online will charge credit card (Stripe/Paypal) processing fees so keep that in mind too! Hope that helps :)

Expand full comment

Perfect! Thank you

Expand full comment
Mar 22Liked by Carolyn Yoo

Needed to be said! Thanks.

Expand full comment

This landed in my way at a good time as I've been trying to figure out what I want out of my creative passions. I feel like I'm at a cross roads, but I'm not sure which way I want to go yet.

Expand full comment
author

Take the time to explore 🫶 the answers will come (often they have always been there!)

Expand full comment

How do I do if I reach both sides in that flowchart? 🤣

Great post over all, liking it!

Expand full comment
author

Hahah we are full of paradoxes 😜 I flit between sides all the time! Thanks Jezz 💝

Expand full comment
Mar 13Liked by Carolyn Yoo

Love your work and your art style! I've been having so many conflicting thoughts about monetizing my art/hobbies--am i developing an unhealthy relationship with creating by trying to monetize? Am i reluctant to monetize my art because I feel like I'm not good enough and don't deserve to be paid for my art? AM I DOING THE RIGHT THING?? So I really appreciated your zine and you talking so honestly about this. I also find self-promotion super uncomfortable; it's kind of nice to know I'm not alone in that haha. (although that "guerrilla marketing style" does sound kind of fun). I love those little public library mail boxes you see interspersed in some places - it would be neat to find a zine in there!

Expand full comment
author

Thank you Nico! Love your suggestion on leaving them in free libraries :) And I definitely hear you on doubting whether you do or don't want to monetize and what the underlying reasons for them are! I see it as a cycle—you get curious, you dip your feet in and suss out the temperature, maybe it's too hot or cold and you take a step back and feel the earth again.

Expand full comment

That’s a good way to put it! I think letting go of expectations and being open to the possibility that this might not end up being the right thing for me has also been an important part of the journey

Expand full comment

This is so cool! I sometimes have Feelings about turning my baking hobby into a whole ass bakery—I can’t remember the last time I baked just for fun. Looking forward to getting a physical copy of this.

Expand full comment

I absolutely love what you made! And I had never heard of a ‘one and done’ marketer but I’m definitely one too!

Expand full comment

I have a lot of hobbies and at some point I always consider whether or not I could make money from it. The hobbies I have tried making a job usually end up feeling just like that, a job. And then it’s loses the reasoning why I started the hobby in the first place. An escape away from my everyday job.

Expand full comment