Updated: Sep 9, 2020
A little over a week ago I launched a Patreon! As a content creator looking to make my work more sustainable, Patreon's monthly subscription model seemed like the best option. So far, the response has been amazing. With 160 patrons signed up, I can anticipate $2,043 in funding monthly. WOW. I'm so grateful and humbled to see that folks believe in my work.
I haven't withdrawn any funds from Patreon yet. Until September 1st I'm covering my expenses with savings and income from other employment. But just knowing that I can anticipate those funds has made a huge difference. I won't give a full budget and priorities breakdown here as I will be sharing that monthly with specific Patreon tiers. However, I believe that it's important to show a clear picture of the impacts of this new membership model to early supporters who have already signed up and others who are curious about how Patreon will support Feed the Malik. And yes, Patreon has already made a huge impact. So I'll be sharing these roundups for the next few weeks to paint a picture of what paid memberships mean for Feed the Malik.
Patreon gave me a sense of security. As I depart from my stable, full-time job, looking forward to a basic and regularized level of income for Feed the Malik gave me space. Space to NOT have to frantically look for another job. Space to take a chance on NOT working 60+ hour weeks and to just focus on Feed the Malik. Space to plan strategically and work on projects that support my broader mission of uplifting marginalized voices in food. Space to say no to a couple of branded deals that didn't make sense for products we would NEVER use at home. Space to think beyond posting to Instagram, even though Instagram does serve an important purpose as you'll see below.
What did I cook up in that space? See a more detailed overview below.
Patreon Impact Preview Vol. 1
A week of projects from Feed the Malik
1. I created a guide to Black-owned products available in the DMV at local stores like Whole Foods or Target. I also filmed, edited, and published one of two Instagram videos for this guide (the video received almost 25k views so using Instagram was a great way to help amplify that guide). This is part of my strategy to encourage folks to make small, sustainable changes in their lifestyles to continue supporting Black communities and to also create content for folks who are still not entirely comfortable with restaurant dining. Having time to sit down and really think about that strategy? Yes, that came from Patreon and being able to move away from working two jobs.
2. I finalized, photographed, and shared a Sourdough Peach Cobbler recipe I’ve been working on for far too long. This recipe uses fruit that's in season and sourdough starter discard, something that's especially important for new sourdough bakers who may have started during the COVID crisis and have extra sourdough starter to use up.
3. I wrote about a new Black-owned restaurant in DC! This chef is a DC native, serves great food, and his restaurant had not received any press or blogger coverage (that I could find) in the local scene. I also provided the restaurant with a set of photos that they can use for social media and promos. This is part of my strategy of supporting Black- and minority-owned businesses, especially those without a PR or a marketing budget.
4. I was interviewed for a podcast that will air in December focusing on charting your own path to success in the digital sphere. This was especially important as I want to provide a more diverse, nuanced perspective within the digital entrepreneur space, which can, frankly, be very White-centric.
5. I photographed and edited photos for four other independent restaurants or food businesses to use for digital marketing and on social media. I also made and provided free graphics, optimized for use on social media, for the businesses to use as they wish. This is part of my goal to support BIPOC-owned and independent food businesses which often struggle with their digital presence for a variety of reasons.
6. I sent out prizes to winners of the Black-owned restaurant sweepstakes that I helped organize, capping off a few weeks of effort and press appearances.
8. I updated approximately 200 entries on my directory of Black-owned restaurants and food businesses in the DMV. I also made a new map to go with it and then learned how to edit the HTML code to make it size responsive on mobile phones for better usability. This was long-overdue, but I was finally able to carve out the hours to do it because Patreon allowed me to step back from other work.
9. I filmed a video about various efforts to encourage folks to spend mindfully that will go out to an audience of a few hundred thousand people next week!
10. I edited an interview with a small business owner that will publish next week. In this one, we talk about her journey as an entrepreneur and also about complex identities as an immigrant. This interview had been on my hard drive for weeks. Clawing back time to devote to Feed the Malik allowed me to finally get this one together.
11. I matched another Black-owned restaurant with free resources, setting them up with folks to help with photography and marketing strategy.
That's an overview of some of the projects I completed in the last week in the time and space I was able to carve out for myself because of Patreon. There is much more still in the works and I won't lie I'm so so excited. Will Patreon cover all of my expenses at this point? No. As it stands now Patreon will cover rent, utilities, and other mandatory bills with just a little leftover for projects for Feed the Malik. In the future, I hope to grow Patreon and my blog income to cover my expenses and the costs associated with Feed the Malik (which includes the food that makes up the majority of my content) and to also pay myself for my time, for the many hours of editing, research, and writing that goes into this project. I'm not there yet, but what a starting point. So THANK YOU for your support!