This is the first in a 3-part series on how to make an income using Patreon. In this post, I’ll be covering how to make money on Patreon. You’ll also want to check out my 9 tips to get more Patreon supports and also Top tips & advice from Patreon creators.
Before we start….
If you are new to this blog, I’m Bex Band – a full-time UK adventurer and founder of the women’s adventure community, Love Her Wild. I’m on a mission to make the outdoors and adventures as fun and easy as possible. You can read more about me and how I built my dream career for myself here.
Making money with Patreon
On paper, you would think that Patreon shouldn’t work. It just doesn’t make sense that people would choose to pay someone each month….especially when it’s supporting content that, in most cases, is available for free anyway.
Initially, I was reluctant to set up a page as I didn’t fit the usual Patreon creator profile. I founded a women’s adventure community called Love Her Wild where I organise a lot of community initiates from free meetups, a monitoring program and online support for women.
As the community grew so did my expenses to keep it running. While I started to earn an income by other means (mostly running paid-for events) I was spending more time on the community projects which didn’t bring in any money but provided great opportunities for women and were at the core of why I started Love Her Wild in the first place.
Patreon seemed like a great solution. It would bring in money that would allow me to keep providing those free opportunities, without needing to put up a paywall. I was sure it wouldn’t work but as it’s free to set up an account I had nothing to lose so went for it.
I launched my Patreon page in 2018 and it has since become my most steady form of income. I now have 140 Patreons bringing in over $800 a month. I have learnt during the process of launching and growing my page on how to make money on Patreon. So this post was put together to share all my biggest tips and thoughts to help you reach your financial Patreon goals that little bit quicker!
Understand the beauty of Patreon
I guess the easiest way to explain Patreon is it is like a membership. Followers can choose to sign up to support you each month. You decide different levels of pledges and rewards that they get depending on how much they choose to give.
My tiers are set up starting at $3 then $5, $10, $25 and $100. Patreon’s can also choose to set their own amount entirely and to not get any rewards in return.
My Patreon page differs from memberships in that most of my content or what I am offering (in this case a community and adventure opportunities for women) is given for free. I think this works for a number of reasons:
- It’s been proven that if people set their own value on a product they will pay more than if you set the price on a product/service
- It feels way more personal than just paying for a membership or buying a product. It’s a real demonstration of support
- The core of what I’m doing is good and kind
- It empowers the consumer by cutting out the middleman. This gives you more control as a creator but also means it only works if you are successfully providing value for your followers….which should be the whole point in the first place anyway
Another great feature of Patreon is it is no obligation. Patreon’s can cancel at any time and are completely in control of the price they set as supporters. Make sure you make this clear to your supporters as it takes the pressure off signing up.
Understand your value
At the core of Patreon is value. Ask yourself ‘am I providing my follower’s value?‘ If the answer is yes then making money with Patreon should be possible for you.
Once you understand why your followers get value from what you do, this should help the approach your Patreon page. When you ‘sell’ Patreon to supporters you want to make clear what it is that they are getting from it.
If you are an artist and you produce tutorials on doing drawings then your value is in the tutorials. Keep mentioning this. Highlight how you are helping people and what ways you might be adding value to their lives and this may encourage them to sign up.
Setting your lowest tier amount
You’ll see I didn’t bother with a $1 tier.
To most people, the difference between $1 and $3 is nothing so start your tiers at $3 or maybe even $5.
The creators I know who have done this end up with significantly higher monthly income.
Be transparent with your supporters
Another thing that makes Patreon great is that it is transparent – it makes money and spending very black and white. Consumers appreciate this!
Spend some time on the wording you put on your Patreon page and be completely honest. Explain exactly what you are hoping to get, how much time you put into doing what you do and what Patreon money will pay for. If the goal is that it will be a salary for you then say this – explain that you want to work on this full time.
Use all the features
Make the most of all of the features on your Patreon page.
I think it’s really important to include lots of photos representing you and your work. Remember that people sign up to Patreon because they like you – they want to personally support what you do – so the more you can make the page personal, the more you will tap into this.
The goal-setting also helps to demonstrate what you are hoping to achieve and gives a target for followers to help you achieve.
Don’t skip the video
I want to put special emphasis on the video feature on Patreon. It sits right at the top of your page, the first thing someone will see. When I made a Patreon video my rate of sign-ups increased. Why? Because a video is the most personal direct way of reaching your audience. I introduce myself, my work and explain up-front why I hope they will be my Patreon.
Keep it short – you Patreon supporters don’t want to sit through a 10minute video!
Think of attractive rewards
Initially, I put a lot of effort into thinking up rewards for different tier options. I’ve come to realise though that I think this is secondary when it comes to people signing up to be a Patreon. In most cases, I’d say that feeling of connection and wanting to support you as an individual is a far greater draw than getting a free video once a month, etc.
I set my rewards too high initially and shot myself in the foot because fulfilling them then used up a chunk of the money I was bringing in (not to mention a lot of my time). Don’t offer too much or promise gifts that relative to the money you are being given is too high. And don’t forget to include postage when you weigh this up.
One of the most effective rewards I have is a ‘behind the scenes’ newsletter. This goes back to my point that supporters are signing up because they are interested in supporting you on a personal level. A regular newsletter keeps my followers engaged and gives them a sense that they are getting additional information that no one else sees….I always make sure to include personal updates that I don’t share anywhere else.
It’s up and down
In the process of making money via Patreon you’ll probably find your journey is not linear. Rather it will be a lot of up and down. Losing Patreons is just part of it. Peoples interests and circumstances will change. Sometimes I felt like it was 2 steps forward, 1 step back.
Anticipating that losing Patreons is inevitable will help you not take these as too much of a blow. If you are losing a lot of support than this might be a sign that you aren’t being engaging enough. Remember, Patreon is not just about getting new supporters – it’s just as important that you keep the engagement and support of existing ones too.
How to make money on Patreon
I would guess that most people reading this who are thinking about setting up Patreon are all going to share the same biggest barrier in doing so…….yourself!!
The first obstacle with setting up a Patreon page will be getting over those negative feelings you are likely to incur. The first will be the embarrassment that it might not work….especially as the page is so public.
Then there will be that uncomfortable feeling that many of us have when it comes to asking for money. This was something I had to get used to quickly as I began to create a career for myself. It is ok to ask for money to pay for the time you put into things. Don’t be ashamed of that!
If you haven’t already I can really recommend reading the Art of Asking. It will help you view value in a different way and help with that fear of asking for money. The author used the Patreon set up to transform her career as a musician and she has loads of amazing insights.
Confidence in your product/service and confidence plugging your Patreon page will be key to you making money so make sure you don’t skip this part!
Time to start getting Patreon supporters
Great….you’ve got a page set up and are ready to go. Now it’s time to start growing your numbers. My 9 tips to get more Patreon supports will help you start to build those sign-ups.
I hope my insights on how to make money with Patreon and sharing my own journey has been useful. Patreon, for the most part, is a slow and steady progress. But if you tap into it’s potential the outcome really is incredible. It has allowed me to keep doing what I love and to help others without needing to rely on branding and advertisements.
Do check out my own personal Patreon page and if you have any questions ask away in the comments box below.
Useful resources to help you with Patreon:
- Patreon has a load of resources available and also sometimes do meet-ups, events and online webinars to update creators and provide tips
- 75% of Patreon supporters sign up from a social media page….so having a bigger following will lead to more supporters! Check out my tips for growing your social media following
- I’ll mention it again, The Art of Asking is a fantastic book that all Patreon creators should read!
- Another post you might find helpful is How to be a successful blogger
- Read the other articles in my Patreon series: 9 Tips to get more Patreon supporters and also Top tips & advice from Patreon creators
I also put together this helpful short video for anyone looking to grow their Patreon page:
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