Here is my review of Patreon.com.
I did this to help give you the tools to know whether or not this will be something that will help you, as well as give you the tools you need to get started. Who is Patreon good for? Will I make any money on Patreon? This review will go over this and more!
Update: Please be advised that we don’t do pledge for pledge anymore.
What is Patreon?
Wow! All of the Patreon creators make $1 million dollars a month, combined!
On their main page you can see their tagline, “Support the Creators You Love.” Patreon is a website where creators give back to their fans, and then their fans give back to them. So, as a creator, or artist, designer or video producer, you create various types of content for your viewers. On Patreon, people who enjoy your work can pay you for your hard work. They can either pay you monthly, or by creation.
Your Patreon Profile Page.
I love the design of the Patreon profile pages. They display all important information clearly.
Patreon has a great simple layout. I like the big letters. They clearly establish the important content. I also enjoy the social media support, and share buttons. There is a video option and then you can link to sites, write about what you are doing, and offer rewards.
Running down the left side, is information about you. Links to your social media accounts are included, and you should really use them! This is how the viewers coming to your account will learn more about you and what you do. If someone is going to support your creations, they are first going to go to your social media accounts. Overall, the site is very easy to navigate, highlights important information, and has an aesthetically pleasing structure.
I suggest completing your profile completely! A full profile is an inviting one.
My Experience Getting Established on Patreon.
Caption: This is the most recently added Patreon user. If their experience is like mine, I hope they are ready for some good hard work!
I have reached out to many people on the site, and they often respond by saying that they only want their true fans. If you only want your true fans, you also only want $6 a month. Most people I meet are trying to make money online. If you are trying to use patrion to make money online it is probably not going to work for you unless you put in a lot of effort to get at least as many patrons as I have.
With an audience that reaches millions of people around the world, I have only been able to get these 58 supporters by networking with other Patreon users. If you don’t Patreon will not be the way for you to make a lot of money online– especially if you are not dedicated to it, and willing to pledge to other people’s pages!
I made these connections because I offer pledge-for-pledge on my page. While I am supported by 58 people, I am also supporting around 50 or 60 other people. So how much money am I making on this? Not much right now. However, I am working hard to build up my page, and create a network of support. You can see some people are making $1,223 per month, and have 206 Patreon supporters. That’s cool! Patreon is an awesome resource for some of it’s users. It just takes a lot of dedication to get there!
This is just a sampling of the creators I support on the site.
You will see a many inactive users on Patreon. The hardest thing to do on Patreon is getting your patrons from zero to one. This is why I do the pledge-for-pledge system. For many of my patrons, I am the only person supporting them. You can see Jill is pledged to me for a dollar. Since I pledged her, she has found a few more supporters. The first pledge is the hardest to secure!
Almost everyone who I am pledging have not even created on Patreon. Their pages are still pretty empty. If they have anyone supporting them, they are making about $6 a month. If you are trying to make money online, there are many better ways to do it. Patreon fits best into an existing business system. I have a business system that Patreon is perfect for. That is why I am working so hard to build up my Patreon reputation. I talk more about it here (link to second article).
A Inside Look at Patreon Creators.
There are many users on Patreon. By looking at their experiences, I have formed my own approach at using the site.
Let’s take a look at what most people are experiencing with Patreon. This is why I called this post “Great for a Few, Challenging for most.” When taking a look at the new users on Patreon, who just created their page, you will see that they have zero supporters. If you don’t have any Patrons, there will be a blank space in your profile. Many of the new pages have a blank space there– and elsewhere on their profiles! Even people who have elegantly written profiles and links to their websites have no Patreon supporters yet!
I have looked at hundreds of people’s Patreon pages, and I have seen that most of the people there are only doing okay. If you have a YouTube channel already, you may want to put more effort into your channel before attempting to use Patreon to make more money. Another idea is to start your Patreon as a side project, and link your channel to your Patreon page. If you try to use Patreon before you have an audience, it is almost always a waste of time. That is what is frustrating with Patreon. The site was created to support creativity. The sad fact is: most people get almost no support, while a select few get tons of support.
I went through and found the top 25 Patreon creators. Pentatonix has over 2,000 Patreon users supporting them, and they get paid $15,925 to make a video! That’s awesome, right? I know you are thinking, “Damn! I want to get paid $16,000 to make a single music video!” Unfortunately, if it was an easy thing to do, everyone would be doing it.
This Youtube channel is wildly popular.
You see very quickly, that most Patreon creators do not make very much money on each project, or monthly. My page is nowhere near making as much as these pages! Even on my list of the top 25 Patreon creators, the amount of money people make drops down to $3000 a month. Though, I am sure anyone would be happy to make that amount every month just for making videos, or doing what they love!
How Does Payment Work with Patreon?
My profile displays that I get $240 per video, which seems really awesome! But that is just on the surface. Patreon allows pledges to be capped monthly by the patrons. This means that any of my patrons may stop supporting after my first or second video each month. I actually get around $50 per video, after I make the first few videos. But here is the thing, I am also paying out money to support other Patreon creators. That’s the only way I got anyone to pledge to my page (other than my mom and wife, who did it because they love me)! I have a Youtube community with a pretty big following. Patreon also takes a cut of the earnings totalling up to 10%, depending on your payment method.
Here is a photo of Patreon’s FAQ. It explains the various fees.
The Problem Posed by Patreon.
People hate monthly payments! That makes Patreon really frustrating. I had several people who said they would be willing to give $100 to a one-time project, but would not pledge to a monthly project. People just hate monthly bills! While the feeling might be irrational, and related to how much money they will spend, it is more related to their attitudes toward the concept of monthly bills. They eat away on your monthly finances. People associate monthly bills with payments like debt, rent, phone bills, and many other negative monthly payment. That is one of the biggest inherent limitations of Patreon– the monthly sponsorship feature. That will be where you struggle the most. If you are trying to be one of the people getting paid each month, you will have trouble finding people that are willing to pledge you a monthly amount. The biggest Patreon creator is Pentatonix, who makes $16,000 a month. There are similar Kickstarter projects that make millions of dollars. People are just much more willing to give a one-time payment for other people’s projects.
I spent weeks convincing my mom and wife to become patrons to my page. I have spent months getting my account up to 58 patrons, that I also support. Between supporting others, and the credit card fees, there is not a lot of money in it for any of us. We all have to work together to make a page like Pentatonix, or Merritt’s podcast.
Most people hate being locked in to pay other people every month. But this the factor that attracts creators to use the site. They want that monthly income, and that security. I want to know that everytime I make a video I will get $50. For the first few videos I make, I will get hundreds of dollars. We all want that security, but people do not want to pledge to that, unless they are a really avid fan who is bananas for what you do.
The Size of Your Current Audience Matters.
Look at those crazy numbers!
Going back to Pentatonix, they have 6.5 million subscribers, 2,076 Patrons are on this page. When you do the math that works out to you receiving one Patreon supporter for every 3,551 youtube subscribers. I have only 3,000 viewers. I should not expect to get more Patreon subscribers. That is a pretty small percent. The conversion of subscribers to people who will actually pledge is only .03%. That is very close to zero. No one would be happy with a .03% conversion ratio.
I am working with other people, and they are working with me. We are trying to give each other the best chance possible to get to the level of the top 25 users. We are trying to give each other the chance to even just break a few hundred supporters! I think most of us would be happy to see 100 patrons. If you started out on Patreon, and get 58 like I did, you will be so excited! It took a lot of time and effort to get there! I can’t imagine how much work it takes to get to 2,000.
I can imagine, however, that getting from 58 to 2,000 supporters is not similar in difficulty to getting from zero to 58. Now that I have 58 patrons, each one after that has gotten much easier. When you have 2,000 patrons, it’s almost effortless to get the next one. When you have 6 million subscribers, like Pentatonix, it is almost effortless to find support.
It is incredibly difficult to get started on Patreon if you don’t have an existing audience. You should start by making a website, youtube channel, or whatever you want to do that you are passionate about. Learn how to do something valuable. If you have time, and energy to use Patreon and you want to make money, spend your time learning something useful. Come back to Patreon later. I spent a ton of time over the years learning everything I could about Facebook Advertisements. I am known as the “Facebook Guy” on Youtube. I have more videos than anyone else about Facebook ads on Youtube. I spent years learning these skills, and shared the best knowledge I found for free on Youtube! Even after doing that I can barely get a few people to pledge me.
The thing is, Patreon is tough to get started with. You can expect to feel frustrated when you are getting started. Even though pledge-for-pledge has brought me a fair amount of supporters, I am still hardly breaking even for each video I make. The only difference now is that it is easier for me to get Patreon Supporters.
The Sad Truth: The Psychology of Sponsors.
If you want a big page, you will almost certainly have to pledge someone else on the site. I get messages from people saying that they are too poor to pledge $2 a month to my projects. If you are that broke, why would anyone else want to give you money? It is one of those ridiculous things about the human psyche. People are more willing to give to individuals, organizations and businesses who are already wealthy and established. People give fortune 500 companies giant amounts of money!
In this way, creating a Patreon account is much like opening a restaurant. The only way you are going to get people to eat there is by bringing friends and family members, or if there is a long line out front. A place opened down the street from my wife and I that we had never heard of. We would drive by this place everyday, but never even noticed it! We started noticing that there were a lot of cars in the parking lot. Then, we decided to try it out, and enjoyed it. This is the same idea with Patreon. If people see that you have a lot of support, they are more likely to support you. Patreon is almost useless, until you get around 50-100 supporters. That is really hard to do!
The point is: people want to give money to people who already have money! People will be a contributor to the top pages much sooner than they would to my page. They will become a patron of my page way sooner than that of a new account with only a few existing patrons. That’s just how it works!
Make Sure Patreon Aligns with Your Current Business Model.
I love Patreon. It is awesome! It holds a lot of opportunity for established YouTube channels to make a bit more money for their creations. If you are trying to make a lot of money, forget Patreon. You are only going to do that if you have a large audience, and think they will react well to you asking them to support you on a monthly schedule. To start, you will certainly have to do pledge-for-pledge. That is what makes using Patreon really hard for some people. You need to get over your fear of monthly payments, and support some other people to get your feet off the ground.
You also have to be creative to have a successful Patreon page. Make sure your skills are developed! If you are not passionate and talented at what you do, Patreon offer you success. If you are not going to have a successful page, do not waste your time with it. Your time will be better spent making more videos, writing more blog posts, being a fan of other people’s work, and developing your skills. It is best to be established in your field before you try to make a living on Patreon.
The worst thing you can do with your time is do something that will not benefit you later. I hope my review helped you learn more about using patrion to make money online. You decide whether you think your audience will be willing to support your content though Patreon.
In summary, Patreon is great for a few people in a few established organizations companies groups etc. Patreon is very challenging to get started with for individuals, and continues to pose challenges as you attempt to cultivate and grow your account. I am grateful to have 58 patrons through Patreon.com at the time of making this video. In just a few months, I have gotten all of these sponsors! I am grateful because it has taken me hours of work to get to where I am now!
I am using Patreon, and I am putting a lot of time and effort into it in order to build a business system that works from start to finish. Remember, I love supporting people who support me! I will support your creativity! If you need your first patron, support me! When you receive my “Thank you” message, reply and ask me to support you back! I will always do it. I am not here to judge creativity, I am grateful that you found my work useful. Everyone is trying to get love and support on Patreon, but we need to branch out and pay it forward to the other creators. This way, we can all have the most valuable experience on the Patreon!
I reviewed Patreon from my experience starting up, to my experiences now. Whether you are starting out, or a bit more established, I hope this helped you learn what you need to do to be successful.
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Update: Please be advised that we don’t do pledge for pledge anymore.