My recent $30,000 pay cut
the ongoing question of how much money is actually enough
Wild Letters is a weekly newsletter about self-exploration and building a right-fit life. Thank you for being here with me!
This summer I am taking a sabbatical of sorts (you can read more about that here), and during this time all posts will be for paid subscribers only.
My dear reader.
At the end of June I closed down the longest-running offering in my small business, a Patreon membership community that has provided the bulk of my income for the past six and a half years.
My plan for 2023 had always been to wrap up that particular offering, for no other reason than because I knew that it was time. My intuition for this kind of thing (for sensing when a project is nearing completion well before I end up resenting it) is a skill I’ve sharpened to precision over the past 14 years of self-employment. There are still so many things I have yet to learn (about owning a tiny business, about life in general), but a felt sense of exactly when the heat is about to leave a project is not one of them. When it’s time to go it’s time to go.
And yet that going can be slow and gentle — not every change needs to happen in an instantaneous rush. With this particular shift away from Patreon if felt important to me to take my time, both because I’ve cherished that digital gathering space (and the people in it) for so many years and because of the hugely unsustainable pay cut I’d be taking if I shut it all down before finding a way to replace that income. So I figured I’d wrap it up sometime toward the end of the year — maybe late summer or early fall at the absolute soonest — and that felt like a great plan right up until the moment the bottom fell out of my mental health, at which point it become essential that I quit Patreon (and many other things) almost overnight.
Quitting what needed quitting (and quitting it quickly) was unquestionably the correct decision for me. I do not regret doing what I needed to do to be well. But we cannot ignore that living under capitalism means that there is always a cost (literally) to any type of self-tending that takes us away from our wage-earning productivity. For me, the amount of money I’ve earned from Patreon has fluctuated greatly over the past six and a half years, but on the day I decided to shut it down (with no alternate earning plan in place) that one decision cost me an annual after-tax income of over $30,000.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Wild Letters to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.