Whether you create art, music or other content, you may have wondered how you can make a living from your work. While it may be possible to sell your creations, one of the most innovative ways to make money from your work is through platforms like Patreon.
Patreon is a crowdfunding site that allows fans to show their support for content creators. It takes its name from back in history when artists would have a patron who supported them as they created their works of art. Essentially, people will sign up to support you with an amount each month to show their appreciation for your work. This can be a small amount, but as your community grows, it can develop into a decent income stream. In fact, there are some Patreon creators who earn $200,000 or more per year on this site alone.
So, how do you tap into this market? Before you begin seeing dollar signs, you’ll need to know exactly how making money on Patreon works. So, here we’ll delve into this topic to help you start making a consistent income through this popular membership platform.
A Patreon Overview
Patreon is a membership platform that allows people to build an income stream for exclusive access to their work. The platform is used by musicians, artists, YouTubers, podcasters, bloggers and more, who are seeking financial support from their fans. The creator can offer access to exclusive content as a perk of paying a monthly membership fee. Patreon also provides a way to communicate with fans directly.
Patreon has been operating since 2013 and it now has over 200,000 creators using the platform to receive support from more than six million patrons.
As a Patreon creator, you’ll need to sign up for an account and set up your creator page. This is where you offer exclusive content for your fans. However, there are starter kits that can make the setup process a little easier, with template pages, so you can simply fill in the blanks for a quicker launch. You will need to let Patreon know the type of content that you create, but you can populate your page with a profile picture, links to your social media channels, cover images and even a video to introduce yourself.
If you opt for a pro Patreon account, you can set up multiple membership tiers offering different incentives to appeal to your fans. There are also other platform features available if you choose a tier above the basic “Lite” plan.
It is free to start using the platform, and the company makes its money by taking a percentage of your earnings along with a payment processing fee. The actual percentage can be 5% to 12%, depending on the subscription tier that you choose.
Who Can Use Patreon?
Patreon was designed for a variety of content creators to get support from their fans. This includes podcasters, musicians, writers, video creators, game creators, visual artists, and journalists. However, the platform can also be used by educators, local businesses, non-profits, and communities.
Patreon publishes a wide spectrum of content from political streamers and musicians to adult games. In fact, one of the top Patreon creators is the True Crime Obsessed podcast which has tens of thousands of Patreon supporters. However, there are some rules to sign up for an account.
Firstly, you need to be at least 13 years old to open a Patreon account and if you want to support a creator, you need to either have permission from your parent or guardian, or be aged 18 years or older. The only other formal requirement is to have a bank account to receive the patron payments.
What is the Earning Potential of Patreon?
The specific amounts that you can earn on Patreon will completely depend on the number of dedicated followers you have. If you already have a large social media following, there is the potential to bring a number of loyal patrons with you when you sign up.
Patreon estimates suggest that approximately 15% of your following will click through from your public content to your Patreon page. This could be whether you have a YouTube account, social media page or blog. Approximately 1% to 5% of those who click through will then sign up as a new patron. According to Patreon, if you offer membership tiers that span $2 to $100, you could have an average monthly donation of $7 per patron.
So, if you currently have 50,000 followers, it will break down as 500 people clicking through to Patreon and up to 25 signing up to donate. With an average of $7 each, this works out to $175 per month. While this doesn’t sound like much, as your audience grows, there is the potential for your Patreon income to grow.
Just bear in mind that Patreon will take a percentage of your donations. Depending on your service tier, you’ll pay 5% to 12% of your earnings plus payment processing fee. The payment processing fee is 5% plus $0.10 for pledges of $3 or less and if the pledge is over $3, the fee will be 2.9% plus $0.30.
So, in the above example, with 25 patrons each supporting you with $7 per month, each pledge will be subject to a 2.9% payment processing fee plus 30 cents. So, each pledge will cost $0.50 in fees. This brings your income to $162.50 per month.
Patreon offers flexible payments, which means you can receive payments when you want or as automatic monthly payments. You can accept funds via PayPal, Payoneer or direct deposit. The only other fee you’ll incur is a payout fee each time you transfer money out of your creator balance. This fee depends on your payment method and it can vary from 25 cents to a percentage of the transaction amount.
How to Make Money on Patreon?
The simplest way to explain making money on Patreon is that it is like having a membership club. Followers choose to sign up and support you each month. You can decide on the pledge levels and the rewards that they will receive depending on what they choose to give.
For example, you may have five tiers at $3, $5, $10, $25 and $100. At each tier, your fans’ perks can vary with the highest-paying supporters receiving access to the most content.
One thing to bear in mind is that Patreon has no obligation. Your patrons can cancel anytime, which takes the pressure off them when signing up.
A key to making money on Patreon is to understand if you’re providing value for your followers. For example, if you’re an artist, you may produce tutorials on drawings. However, at the higher support tiers, you may offer a one-to-one Zoom call to discuss techniques. This will allow you to highlight the value offered by pledging more.
Another important way to make money is to set your lowest tier at $3. There is very little difference between donating a dollar and donating $3, but your fees will drop with these slightly larger amounts.
The great thing about this membership platform is that you can tailor your Patreon page to be completely transparent with your supporters. You can explain what you are hoping to achieve and how much time you put into your efforts. You can also explain what the Patreon earnings will pay for.
Since Patreon is easy to set up, you can include plenty of pictures to represent you and your work. You can also include a video, which will allow you to make your page personal. Remember that the people who sign up do so because they like you and want to personally support what you’re doing.
Finally, remember that any rewards you offer will come out of your earnings. So, you need to be realistic about what you offer. There is no point in offering massive gifts if you end up spending all of your pledge money. In fact, some of the most effective rewards can be quite low-cost. For example, you could offer “behind the scenes” content. This could be in the form of videos or newsletters that provide regular engagement with your followers.
While Patreon is fairly simple to use, there are some tips that can help you to boost your supporter numbers and maximize your earnings. These include:
1. Add a high-quality video
Patreon allows you to put a video on your page and this is a great way to not only introduce yourself, but also showcase what you can provide to your supporters. You can also explain how the financial support of your fans will help you to create even better content.
2. Promote your Patreon page
It is very likely that your patrons will come from your social media channels, so make sure that you have a link to your Patreon page on each of your social media accounts and include a plug at the end of your podcasts, blogs or YouTube videos.
3. Connect with your patrons
Patreon data suggests that creators who send messages through the platform are far more likely to achieve a minimum of $100 in their first month using the platform. You can even let your fans know on your other channels that becoming a patron will allow them to connect with you more easily.
4. Offer a variety of benefit tiers
When you offer multiple reward tiers, it can help to persuade more people to pledge. Price your options strategically with great incentives to showcase the value in each of the options. For example, successful creators often offer exclusive content that is not available elsewhere, particularly with the more expensive tiers. You could also offer early access to your content, free content or bonus episodes.
5. Make use of the Patreon resources
Patreon has a whole host of free resources to help you to make the most of the platform. This includes tutorials, blog posts and even workshops that can help you to enjoy more success. For example, there are tips videos from top creators, live workshops showing how to use the platform and articles explaining techniques to convert more fans into patrons.
If you’re a creative and already have a following on your YouTube channel, social media page, or blog, becoming a Patreon creator can be a great way to generate another income stream. This platform is easy to use and you’ll only pay fees on your pledges, so if you don’t have much support, you’ll pay almost nothing. This provides a great incentive if you’re starting small, as you won’t need to lay out any money to use the service.
Just remember that the idea of Patreon is to create a community of fans who are pledging to support your work. You can offer exclusive content and incredible perks that will provide value for people who already enjoy what you’re doing. Of course, you will still need to build a following, but this can be a nice way to boost your income if your other platforms are not delivering the revenue you need to support your enterprise.
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