As a freelancer, it can be hard to know where the best channels to share and sell your work are. Aside from social media, how and where else can you showcase your services, products and skills to a wider audience? There are freelancer marketplaces which do help with getting you started, but you might be surprised to know there are smaller platforms that can really make a difference.
One such platform is Ko-Fi, which puts the power entirely in the hands of both you and your customers. In this post, I’m going to be looking at Ko-Fi in a bit more detail. For me, this small but vibrant creative community has the upper hand on many marketplaces and subscription platforms.
Read on to find out why, and to learn how getting your creative or freelance business on Ko-Fi could be the best decision you’ll make to help you boost your earnings.
What is Ko-Fi?
I first discovered Ko-Fi a year or so ago but it wasn’t until this year that I started to use it properly. Ko-Fi is a community of creators of all genres, which is one of the things I really love about it! It’s a friendly and most importantly free way for fans of your work to help support you by buying you a virtual coffee.
By showcasing your work on Ko-Fi, your fans, friends and potential clients can pay you directly. In addition, while you can set a minimum price for your coffee, it’s up to them how many they choose to buy you. It came as a massive shock to me one time when someone bought me fifteen ‘coffees’ in one go!
Ko-Fi is perhaps less well known as say, Patreon, but for me, it definitely has the upper hand in terms of how it rewards its creators. There’s also more scope for upgrading your Ko-Fi page, via the Ko-Fi Gold option, but I’ll get onto that in a minute.
Why choose Ko-Fi over a similar platform like Patreon?
One of the main benefits of choosing a smaller platform like Ko-Fi over one like Patreon is the issue of fees. Or rather in Ko-Fi’s case, the absence of fees. Where Patreon charges both a platform fee, a payment processing fee and a payout fee, Ko-Fi takes no cuts from donations at all. It also runs as an ad-free platform, so your fans and customers don’t have to sit through adverts in order to access any of your content.
Ko-Fi payments are processed through Stripe and/or PayPal, so you have the choice of how to receive your digital coffee payments. Ko-Fi also allows you to enable monthly subscriptions (for the most dedicated fans), although this feature is for those who choose to upgrade their page to Ko-Fi Gold. That’s entirely optional, and there’s a lot you can do with the free Ko-Fi page setup.
What can I do on Ko-Fi?
Some examples of how you can use Ko-Fi include:
- Showcasing your artwork
- Sharing video content
- Cosplay content
- Sharing your writing skills (short fiction and poetry are big hits over there)
- Making and sharing comic strips
- Sharing and promoting podcasts
- Sharing and promoting your live streaming
- Creating and sharing teaching resources
- Selling digital or physical products on a shop page
- Taking commissions
The list is pretty endless. Being such a diverse creative community really suits the Ko-Fi ethos well. It doesn’t matter what your passion is, you can share it on Ko-Fi and people who love it can support you with it.
There are a few caveats to the types of content you can create. Ko-Fi has guidelines on prohibited content such as adult, illegal or NSFW content. As professional creatives, it’s important that all of us know where the lines on content lie, so make sure to read through all of this to ensure the content you create remains safe and accessible to all.
The bottom line with Ko-Fi is that Ii you have something of interest or of value to share, you’d be surprised by how many people are happy to buy you a cup of coffee just to say thanks for it!
Does it really work to improve business?
Since I started to really focus on my Ko-Fi page, I’ve seen a definite upswing in my business. Artwork-wise, especially! I upgraded to Ko-Fi Gold a few months ago and this allowed me to set a commission option for people who wanted custom artwork. This helped to drive more work my way as well as allowed me to open a shop page there too.
So far I’ve used the shop section to offer digital downloads of my artwork, and I’ll be using it to promote my existing art catalogue as well as my video content since I’ve started streaming on Twitch.
I wasn’t sure if Ko-Fi would really help me with growing my business but so far, it’s been brilliant. Enabling the subscription option was fantastic, as it allowed some of my followers to support me on a regular monthly basis. This has made a huge difference to my productivity as well because once you have subscribers, you need to make sure you reward them for their loyalty.
Ko-fi also allows you to create subscriber-only content, so that those who commit to supporting you regularly can receive special rewards in addition to the main content you put on your page.
Should I give Ko-Fi a try?
If you have something to offer your fans, community or clients, then the key thing is to showcase it. One of the most crucial things a freelancer can do is to diversify their portfolio of platforms. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket; get your work out there on as many different platforms as you can. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many people enjoy buying you a coffee!
Something to remember though is that just because it’s there, doesn’t mean it will do the hard work for you. Keep your Ko-Fi page regularly up to date to keep your followers interested.
Show up, make the effort, and create things for free that will convert into cups of coffee. Don’t be afraid to share your work there frequently; the people who enjoy what you do will really enjoy supporting you for it.
Ko-Fi is a great way to give your freelance or creative business a boost. It’s fun and free, so you really have nothing to lose by setting one up. My advice would be to explore the types of creators who are already on there and then see how you can add to the mix.
What is it that you can offer to people? Is it your art? Your short stories? Can you edit photos? Are you skilled at cosplay?
Whatever your talent or interest, showcase it on Ko-Fi and see what happens when you share it with the rest of the world.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please do give it a share, it really helps! If you’ve decided to give Ko-Fi a go, let me know in the comments what you think of it.