What is it, Exactly?
The creator economy is booming. It is estimated that there are more than 2 million creators making a full time living from their craft. Growing and monetizing your audience is a full time business and actually being successful is easier said than done. There’s often a long string of details to scrutinize. Take the complexity of getting paid for your work. You’re bound to come by confusing jargon and a collection of apps and integrations. It’s no wonder why people find the idea of starting a side hustle complicated. Buy Me a Coffee wants to change that, and they’re on to something special.
Buy Me a Coffee is a way for creatives to cash-in on their talents, without the complexities of tech getting in the way. It’s for video creators, writers, musicians, podcasters, artists, developers, and nonprofits. You make money by using the platform as a conduit for managing your audiences’ appreciation for your work.
If this sounds a little like Patreon, that’s because it’s a similar model. How different is Buy Me a Coffee? Pretty different. For starters, you can be paid by anyone, and people don’t have to be members of subscribers to show appreciation for your work. The platform also makes a very clear distinction between typical platforms people use to sell products and services. For instance, you’d set up a store on Shopify to sell products, but you wouldn’t turn to Shopify to offer valuable extras like 1-on-1 Zooms calls, art commissions, or an ebook.
What’s the Cost?
Buy Me a Coffee is free to use, but there is a transaction fee charged for all payments. And it makes sense, otherwise, this service would be hard to maintain. You’ll be charged a 5% transaction fee and get to keep 95% of all earnings. The platform also only makes money only when you do.
Is It Easy to Setup and Use?
Creating a successful platform means making something that’s easy to use. And, in this case, Buy Me a Coffee had to pull this off for creatives and their fans if there’s any chance of it taking off. Suffice to say, they’ve nailed it. It’s easy to sign up for, easy to navigate once you’re a user, and easy to manage when you have paying fans.
Signing up is a three-step process. First, choose how you’d like to create your account. It is possible to join Buy Me a Coffee with your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account. And if you’d rather use an email address and your name, you can do that too. Next, choose your page URL. This is a suffix added to the end of the Buy Me a Coffee URL (BuyMeaCoffee.com/myname), and when created, it’s what people will visit to enjoy content and show appreciation for your work.
The third step is to choose how you’d like to be paid and connect your platform of choice. While not officially a step, once your payment platform is connected, you’ll need to set up your profile page. This includes a full name, what you’re creating, a featured image or video, and a bio.
And that’s as complex as it gets. Selecting your payment option is usually just a matter of signing into your payment provider’s platform and linking it with your Buy Me a Coffee account. Simple.
How to make money with Buy Me a Coffee
Getting paid can happen in a number of ways. The platform accepts credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, as well as local payment methods such as UPI in India. Fans don’t have to be members to be able to pay you. While this may sound like you’re shooting yourself in the foot, it’s a smart way to attract an audience. If enjoying your content requires a subscription immediately, most people may not be inclined to commit off the bat. The option to enjoy and buy you a coffee if satisfied makes for a lower hurdle to monetization.
This brings us to how to share your creative content with the world. While Buy Me a Coffee is where you’ll get paid, you’ll need to use other platforms to grow your audience and then position your BMC link (Buy Me a Coffee link) for supporters to contribute to your page. This may sound like lots of work but it isn’t. Every platform allows you to include a URL in your bio.
And if you already have a website of your own, BMC allows you to create a custom button to embed so supporters can quickly and easily make contributions.
The price of a coffee starts at $1 and goes up to $5. If you’d like to activate membership plans (a smart idea), they help you generate a monthly and annual subscription-based income from members.
Something that’s often not considered on platforms like these, but is a nice touch, is the option to cover the transaction fee for members who pay by credit card. It’s a small gesture but goes a long way. After all, how often do you think about the transaction fee on your card when making an online purchase? While easy to neglect, there’s a good chance that a fee for $1 to $5 will feel unjustifiable. So, taking-on that fee makes for a more pleasant member experience.
Buy Me a Coffee has also roped-in a gamification element. You can set earnings goals for your page and display them for supporters to see - a genius way to get people to rally around your brand.
The Bottom Line
Buy Me a Coffee is a smart, simple, and easy-to-use platform. If you’re a creator looking to share your talents with the world and get paid, it removes the boring tech stuff from the equation and helps you get up and running fast. You also have the potential to turn your side hustle into a six-figure business, and not have to worry about any of the backend details of running your empire.