In this guide, I’ll cover all the things you need to know about Patreon – a crowdfunding platform for creators – so that you can successfully and quickly get started with it, create your first Patreon page in no time, and start building a following and making money from your work.
Let’s start with the basics. I’ll begin with the definition of the platform and what it’s about. Then, I’ll move onto how it works exactly.
After that you’ll learn how to set up a proper account and what to include in your Patreon page, together with what goals to set and what rewards to give to people who pledge and become your fans.
By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to head over to patreon.com and launch your creator’s page in under 10 minutes.
What is Patreon?
If you’re in online business, following people doing that, or just like stumbling upon new platforms and seeing what they offer, you’ve probably heard that crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter are getting quite popular.
Well, Patreon is one such site too, helping artists keep doing their work, but also getting paid for it on a regular basis.
I first heard about this on one episode of the Smart Passive Income podcast, and decided to pay more attention to it as I love businesses based on passion.
Patreon’s founder himself is an artist who wanted to make a living from what he was doing online. In his case, YouTube videos back in 2013.
So Jack Conte partnered up with Sam Yam to create what became the place to go for artists wanting to turn their craft into a real business, build an audience and form meaningful relationships with their fans.
But also it’s the favorite place of the viewers, listeners and readers who are there to support the creators whose work is shared on Patreon.
How Does Patreon Work?
In a nutshell, you go to the site, create and launch your Patreon page (more on that below), and then have the chance to get subscribers (your patrons), who’ll pay for the privilege to get access to the next thing you create.
What makes the experience unique is that you – the creator – can finally keep doing what you do best, and know it will be appreciated by people not just once, but every next time you release something new.
That means exclusiveness too.
You can present yourself and your work in the best way possible, and Patreon as a platform lets you do so much more after that.
You can create goals (and thus keep both yourself motivated to create more, and your fans encouraged to keep coming for more, and to pledge) and give special treatment to fans based on how much they’ve chosen to pay.
The site lets you do that by using the subscription-based business model.
As we know, recurring revenue is the holy grail of online business.
Who is Patreon For?
You can succeed with creating a Patreon page (or even become a top patreon), if you are an artist and a creator of some kind.
Most people who perform well on the funding platform are YouTubers, musicians, writers, podcasters, developers, and more.
The categories of the content that’s present on Patreon range from Comics, Animation and Photography, to Drawing, Science and Theater.
Setting Up a Patreon Account
In this guide, I’m talking about an artist, or anyone creating some type of content that can be shared online, who’s looking for a new platform to connect with people and get paid for it consistently, of for each new work of art.
So if you’re just looking to become someone’s fan, obviously that won’t help.
Patreon is yet another of the many possibilities the Internet offers to creators to make money online and keep doing what they love.
If you’re one of those, read on.
Hit sign up on the Patreon homepage and fill the necessary fields, or do it directly with Facebook.
Once you’re in, head over to their logo in the upper right corner, and click ‘Create on Patreon’.
You’ll be taken to the homepage again where you can click the ‘Start My Page’ button.
Now here’s the real deal.
Creating Your First Patreon Page
The site will guide you through the first steps. Which are confirming the name you want to use, sharing what you’re creating, choosing the category that fits you best, stating you’re not going to share any adult content, and being welcomed by the founder of Patreon with a short video.
You should take your Patreon page seriously, as it’s the tool you use to make a good first impression. And that’s how you’ll grab the attention of potential fans before they’ve got the chance to see your work.
What to Include in Your Patreon Profile
Video content works great here. And so does a well-thought out bio section.
But be careful not to overdo these.
Keep it to the point, share what you think is important (make sure to include what you’re creating and what people will get once they become your patrons).
Here’s one good example of that:
These guys are creating educational videos, and are doing a pretty good job.
They have a 2-minute welcome video, followed by a few paragraphs of text saying who they are and why they need their patrons’ help.
Of course, they know how to produce video content the right way. But even if you don’t, it’s still the best way to form a relationship on a more personal level, and be checked out by people who skip the text and just have a minute to decide whether they like you or not.
Fill in The Details of Your Patreon Page
Here’s your chance to add a profile pic and a cover photo.
Then, link your social accounts and choose a username that will become your Patreon url.
The video and bio section we talked about are in the ‘About’ section.
Have some content ready for your first pledges.
If you write articles, like Tim from WaitButWhy, put up a few right after you launch your Patreon page so that there’s something to offer for the first enthusiasts.
Have special rewards.
The next section in your settings is ‘Rewards’. And it’s a key component of successfully launching your Patreon page as an artist and getting funded in the first month.
Here the platform allows you to give something special to those who become your patrons. After all, they’ve decided to invest their time and money in your work, and deserve to receive even more than what you’ve initially promised.
You can choose from behind the scenes access, live hangouts, sneak peeks, a private community, exclusive tutorials and more.
In fact, you don’t need to brainstorm Patreon rewards ideas as there are already enough suggested to you.
Once you click to add another one, you’ll see this screen:
According to research done by the team behind Patreon, creators with more than 2 reward levels are earning more in their first month.
Moving onto Patreon Goals
Here’s where you tell your patrons what’s coming next, and can get them excited by being part of it.
A good rule of thumb is to have more than 1 goal.
If you visit the Patreon page of the Daily Tech News Show, for instance, you’ll see that even though having close to 4,500 patrons, there are still solid goals going on there.
The current one states this:
ROUND TABLE SHOW
A monthly round table discussion of evergreen tech issues with a rotating cast of hosts drawn from DTNS Contributors and hosts.
The goals you set can be divided into 2 main categories: money-based and community-based.
Once you’re done with that element of your Patreon page, you get the chance to add a thank you message or video, and set up payment options.
Next, you can preview and launch your official Patreon page, before you start inviting people to check it out and see what you’re offering.
There are many more tips we can talk about, strategies to get more patrons and make more money, or explore what some of the top patreons out there have done that changed their financial situation and future.
But this is a get started Patreon guide. And it’s all you need to know to be ready to take action right away.
So, please, head over to patreon.com now and begin with the sign up process.
I believe success with online business comes after you’ve explored different platforms a bit. There is one for you, where you’ll get a big number of fans by doing what you’ve always done – creating what you’re passionate about.
If you still haven’t monetized your passion, this is yet another opportunity that can turn into something big for you.
Even if you’ve tried other crowdfunding sites like Patreon, you still need to give it a chance as it’s something different and made with the artist in mind.
Here’s to you and launching your first Patreon page in less than 10 minutes!