It’s March! Don’t you feel such a renewed sense of energy and motivation? I do! This happens at the change of every season for me. I find myself more excited about all my projects, and more ready to jump into new endeavors. This time around, my newfound inspiration has led led me to look for new income sources. Thanks to my crazy schedule, I have crazy erratic income to match, so I’m always on the hunt for something to help me earn a stable monthly income. Recently, I’ve found it with Patreon.
Like most of you, I’m in the process of becoming financially independent, which is no fun. So, I like to test out a lot of different ways to make money while still allowing myself the freedom to do things I love. I’m a substitute teacher, which is my main source of income, but I’m also a tutor, which pays less, but it’s cash. Then I run this blog, which gives me a decent chunk of change from affiliate marketing. It’s slow to arrive, but it’s so great when it does, because I earned that money helping you guys be the best adults you can be. Which is super fun.
So, the other day I was telling my friend Holly about my erratic income and she was just like, “why don’t you create an account on Patreon?” And I was like… I dunno. So, today I’m going to show you how to set up your account on Patreon, and give you some tips for getting the most people to become your patrons. And then, of course, I’ll pepper this article with buttons you can click to support me on Patreon. After all, I’m giving you all this awesome info!
What is Patreon?
Back in like, Michelangelo times, wealthy people would become patrons of artists, meaning they gave them a stable monthly income to create art for them. That’s basically what Patreon is, but for the modern era. Patreon is a platform that allows creative people to create bonus content for their fans, who pay them on a monthly basis. You’re basically making a subscription content service for yourself. This allows fans to get more behind-the-scenes information on the content creators they love, and it allows the creators to stabilize their erratic income while doing what they love. Which, of course, is the goal for all twenty-somethings who are trying to gain financial independence!
A common misconception about Patreon is that you have to be a visual artist to use it. That’s not the case! Patreon just allows people who don’t earn a stable monthly income a change to change that. There are visual artists, but you will also certainly find writers and bloggers and musicians and anyone with potential for a fan base.
How to Earn a Stable Monthly Income with Patreon
Since so many different people can use Patreon, each type of content creator has different methods available to help them get the most patrons. So, this is going to be some general rules to help the majority of Patreon users.
1. Set Up Your Page Right!
Below are all the parts of your creator page with some tips for how to make the best of them. For some, like creating rewards, I’ll give more details beyond this section, but this is a general overview of how to set up your page!
Connect Social Media
Every content creator, regardless of niche, needs to do this. It gives you the most options for finding people who might want to be your patrons. As of now you can connect Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Twitch. However, I recommend promoting every damn place the internet will allow. You never know who might want to help you settle your erratic income!
Choose How Patrons Pay You
Per month or per creation? If you’re trying to earn a stable monthly income or stabilize erratic income, you’ll gravitate toward monthly. However, Patreon recommends this: if you’re creating at least four posts per month, choose monthly. If it’s less, patrons may not feel they’re getting their money’s worth.
Upload Profile and Cover Photos
Not having either of these makes it look like your page isn’t taken care of. If you can’t be bothered uploading pictures to make your profile look complete, why would patrons think you’ll create quality content for them? This is a good place to put brand images if you have them, as well.
Fill Out Your About Section
Keep this simple! Like with blogging, if readers see a giant chunk of text with no breaks, you’ll lose them immediately. Introduce yourself, explain why you’re on Patreon (what you need the money for) and what your patrons will get for their money. But keep it short. A couple of paragraphs max, especially if you’re using a video, too.
Another tip– avoid needy language. Telling patrons that they’re “supporting” you makes it feel like they’re doing you a favor, when really, you’re doing them a favor by giving them this awesome stuff. It’s not so hard to say no to a favor for a stranger. It’s much more difficult saying no to something you really, really want. So, entice your readers. Don’t beg them for money. That’s GoFundMe.
Another tip- don’t put external links in your about section. Someone on this page is about to give you money. Don’t lead them off this page.
Record Your Intro Video
This is not required, but has been shown to convert more patrons. If you can, why not?! If you choose to make a video, it should be the focal point of your page. Show off your personality! Make people see how funny and charming and goodhearted you are. Make them feel like they’re giving money to a worthy cause. Again though, keep it simple. Don’t keep viewers longer than 3 minutes or so.
Write a Thank-You Message
Though needy language is banned from your About section, your Patreon patrons are indeed helping you earn a stable monthly income. You should thank them! Tell them how grateful you are for them, and what a big hand they have in the success of your brand. After all, without fans, clients, customers, etc., a brand is nothing. So be genuinely grateful.
2. Create awesome rewards
After you’ve set up your page to entice readers to help you stabilize your erratic income (though you’ve learned you won’t be phrasing it that way!), it’s time to actually set up your rewards, and your funding goals. Your rewards are what individuals get for becoming your patrons. Your funding goals are rewards that everyone gets when you hit a certain milestone of patronage.
There is a setting that allows patrons to donate $1 per month without getting a reward. Unfortunately though, very few people will help you earn a stable income just because they like you. You have to give them something. So, here’s a compilation of the best tips out there for setting Patreon rewards.
1. Create more than one reward. Give the people options! Having multiple reward tiers means you can draw in fans with multiple interests. Do you have different topics on your blog? A reward for each topic!
2. Have some unpaid posts. Engaging with your fans/clients/patrons is the most important part of being a blogger. Building trust is how you get people to buy things from you, take you up on your recommendations, or help you earn a stable monthly income. Patreon is no different! The path to evening out your erratic income is paved with good free stuff for your viewers.
3. Don’t make your rewards a lot of work. The whole point of Patreon is to help creators earn a stable monthly income so they can spend more time doing what they love and less time trying to scrounge up cash. If your rewards are difficult or time consuming for you, they’re not the best you can do. Below are some reward ideas:
- Access to your idea list– allow viewers to see what’s coming up next on the blog
- Shout Outs– thank your patrons in your posts, maybe give them a back link if they’re also a blogger.
- Discounts– if you sell your own products or courses, let your patrons have a discount! They’re already supporting you in another way.
- Beta Testers– give your patrons exclusive access to products before they’re available on your blog!
Setting Funding Goals
Again, your funding goals are basically bigger rewards that you’re promising patrons once you hit either a certain number of patrons, or a certain amount of money from them. For these, it’s best to put some more effort into them, as they’re a big incentive for patrons to not only give, but give as much as possible. There are essentially two types of funding goals, which I have named myself and explain below.
1) The Give- This funding goal is when you promise to give something big to your patrons as more of a celebration of hitting a milestone. This one is a bigger incentive for your viewers as it directly gives something to them. For example, when you hit $100 per month, you’ll release a course about XYZ
2) The Get- the second type of funding goal is when you need a certain amount of money in order to get something for your business. Like, when you hit $10 per month you can buy photoshop, which will allow you to increase the quality of your pictures, thereby enhancing your patrons’ experience on your website.
3. Launch and Promote
1. Utilize your email list
The people on your email list are the ones most invested your business, as we’ve talked about in part 4 of my blogging series. They have already taken this extra step to get the behind-the-scenes info you share via email, so they’re also likely to participate in other things you have to offer. Again, phrase it like you have more to offer, not like they’re doing you a favor.
2. Utilize your social media
You can connect your Patreon account to your Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitch. But don’t forget about Instagram, Snapchat (although they say that’s dead) LinkedIn, Pinterest and that new one, Vero. Post your link everywhere. You never know where you’ll find your biggest fans! Or, y’know, fans with the deepest pockets 😉
3. Utilize your family and friends
Here’s a great tip. Set things up so it shows the number of patrons you have, not the amount you’re earning. Now ask five or ten loved ones to each donate $1. Then, it’ll look like you already have a bunch of patrons, and no one will know they’re just doing you a favor, because no one can see they’re giving so little. It’s psychology that people do what they see other people are doing. I guarantee it’ll be harder to get your first patron than your hundredth.