woman standing defiant in her workshop

What is a Subscription Maker?

Given the fact that this blog is called the SubscriptionMaker.net, you may be wondering what it means to be a subscription maker. In this segment, we will answer that question by first giving you a functional definition of what it means to a subscription maker then we’ll talk about the specific categories.

Functional Definition of a Subscription Maker

Let’s start with the least controversial part of what it means to be a subscription maker. A subscription is an economic relationship based on recurring income. After payment, the subscriber doesn’t own the material. Instead, the subscriber is just given access to the material by way of a license.

You can also think of a subscription as a service. The subscription service can include the delivery of physical products. Think about Netflix’s original business model or the current business model for “Bark Box or Chewy.com” Or, it can simply be an email meant to help you start your day off right.

Now let’s tackle the hard stuff. If you listen to people, who consider themselves part of the maker movement. You will generally be talking with people who make physical things. They join makerspaces. And for the most part, they are hobbyists.

However, this definition always seemed pretty limited to me. You could make the case that it would not be too much of a stretch to include podcasters, professional speakers, bloggers, and coaches. This group could even potentially include contingent workers.

What are the Subscription Maker Categories

For conversation, we will be talking about a more expansive view of what it means to be a “maker” than the one used by the maker movement. This statement doesn’t mean that we don’t respect the maker movement or that we want to see it changed in any way. It simply reflects a slightly different worldview.

In the UK where makerspaces started, people who own digital marketing agencies are thought of as makers. I found this odd at first. However, I have come to embrace this more expansive worldview. In the Uk, they refer to anyone who builds, markets, and sells content as a maker. Some might say, “digital maker.” However, they are makers none the less.

Digital Makers

Let’s start with podcasters. Podcasters make audible content. Sometimes they work from scripts other times they ad lib their presentations. However, they always record their content for future playback through syndicated subscription channels.

Bloggers make text-based digital content. They get paid for the audience they build. And the influence they garner. You can think of blogging as the gateway 

Performance Makers

The first up are professional speakers. Professional speakers are a lot like podcasters in that they make audible content. They are different in that they perform their presentations in front of a live in-person audience. They may also record their content. However, their main value-add is the ability to stand in front of a crowd and engage with them in real-time.

Coaches are people who make their living helping people achieve their goals through facilitated conversations. Traditionally, they did this over the phone or in person. In general, they don’t record their conversation. However, they do sometimes make online courses.

Physical Makers

Artists make physical content that is judged to be works of art. Art is not art until it is shared. Art may be abstract and highly personal or something very realistic, think of a photo. However, it does not become art until it has been shared with at least one other person who appreciates it.

Craftspeople are makers who produce practical goods and service. Generally, crafts are either physical or involve the delivery of physical goods. Crafts also have to be shared to generate economic value.

Contingent Professionals

Contingent professionals are a little different than the other makers because they may not be able to choose their economic arrangement. Skilled professionals are being displaced by technology and economic expediency every day.  We list them here because they are the fastest growing category of makers. They are a category whose members have yet to be defined. However, they are still makers.

Standard Disclaimer

None of the subscription maker categories are set in stone. Nor are they exclusive. There is nothing that says that because you are a podcaster that you can’t be a coach or that because you are a public speaker that you can’t also receive some income from blogging. You could make the case that SubscriptionMaker.net is dedicated to facilitating these kinds of activities.

Conclusion

All these maker categories can benefit from the economic stability that recurring income has to offer. In no particular order, you could make the case that the maker categories should include: Artists, Bloggers, Digital Agencies, Coaches, Contingent professionals, Craftspeople, Podcasters, Professional speakers

If you want more information or a broader discussion, join the SubscriptionMaker Group on Facebook. We love to hear your thoughts on this topic and others that interest you.

Zachary Alexander