Craig Mod on Running a Paid Membership Program

Craig Mod:

In the end, launching a paid membership program is maybe the smartest thing I’ve done: 2019 was the most productive and creatively engaged year of my life. And I owe the brunt of that to the Explorers Club. A rapturous THANK YOU to everyone who joined. It has not been “easy,” or effortless. […]

Everyone’s needs are different. I can’t explicitly recommend every writer or photographer or YouTuber to start their own membership program. What I can do is tell you about my experience, and hope that it’s instructive to those readers out there who might, too, be membership-curious.

Memberships — often driven by members-only email newsletters — have been the lifeboat for indie publishing and creative arts in a market where ad spending has largely been guzzled up by Facebook, Google, and Amazon. The term “win-win” applies: income for creators; great writing/photography/videos/music for consumers, from their favorite creators.

I am tremendously grateful to everyone who has joined. I realize not everyone can afford to join, and I realize we’re all a bit bombarded by “memberships” and “subscriptions” these days. But ultimately — this is a good thing! A scant ten years ago this ecosystem barely existed. Now it’s ever-more normalized. This feels healthy. Directly supporting writers, artists, musicians, software developers, et cetera, feels like the final remaining puzzle piece of the last 30 years of independent creation. Computers democratized design in the ’80s/’90s, the web democratized publishing in the ’00s, and now proper payments infrastructure is democratizing creative sustainability.

Bingo. Mod’s Explorer’s Club is just sublime, by the way. Highly recommended.

Monday, 3 February 2020