How Does Patreon Work (What Is Patreon?)

by Zara Mohammed, Money Columnist

Published in Money on 18th March, 2019

Wouldn't it be awesome if you could just do what you enjoy doing, all of the time, and get paid for it? Keep reading to find out how you can use Patreon as a platform to enable your fans to pay you to do what you love!

Working for yourself as a Creative can be frustrating, because although you are being true to yourself and doing what you are good at and what you love to do, it can be difficult to focus on putting all of your energy into your creative work when on its own it isn't able to sustain you financially. This is where Patreon comes in.

what is patreon

What is Patreon?

Patreon is an amazing platform that allows you to give fans and followers of your work the opportunity to support you with small financial gestures so that you can put more and more time and energy into creating the content you love to create.

Let's face it a lot of the content we create, whether we are Writers, Photographers, Artists, Musicians or YouTubers, is published online for people to enjoy - for free. We put a lot of time into writing content to post on our blogs, websites, and social feeds, not to mention those of us who produce high quality videos for Youtube. I mean, that is a lot of skill. Your time is money my friends!

You don't see many people in non-creative industries offering their services for free though, so you? And yet most of the work that creative people produce is largely expected to be available for the general public to enjoy completely free of charge.

There is so much free information online in fact that it makes it all the more difficult these days to convince anyone to pay for online information or entertainment.

Imagine the shock and horror from all of your fans if you suddenly announced that they now have to pay to watch your Youtube channel - That would be a recipe for disaster.

How Does Patreon Work?

If you are like most creative people you probably hate asking your fans for money. I hear it all of the time from Pet Portrait Artists to Esty Craft Sellers and more. It can make you feel uncomfortable to get paid for something that feels kind of like a hobby. I mean work isn't work supposed to be hard and gruelling, is it?


Unfortunately if you don't charge for your work, or worse, if you undercharge, then essentially you are undermining the work of other professionals in your field, because how are they meant to be taken seriously when they price their work properly if people find out they can get something similar much more cheaply or for free? These people need to make a living too!

You might be surprised how many of your fans actually value your work more than you think they do, and they want to support you so that you can continue to create everything that they appreciate consuming online. The problem is that often your fans haven't been given the opportunity to support you, or they may not even have thought about it, because the idea hasn't been presented to them.

Patreon is a platform designed to encourage you and your fans to value your work and the time that you put into creating it. It acts like a little like a private club where you can reward your biggest fans and supporters for their donations.

People love the idea of membership, and Patreon allows you to offer your fans a sense of membership with membership perks. We like it because it makes us feel special, unique, individual and important. It also makes us feel like we are part of something bigger, which is a powerful thing. This is why brands are so successful, because they create a sense of belonging and shared identity or interests.

With Patreon your fans can subscribe to become members of your platform and you can choose from two different ways of getting paid for your on going creative output.

You can charge a small monthly subscription fee - something fairly insignificant so that your fans hardly notice it coming out of their account, and you can also offer a choice of different payment tiers so that your fans can decide how big a fan they want to be in exchange for a set of optional rewards that you design yourself as incentives.

Alternatively you can get paid automatically per piece of creative work you produce.

How to Get Your Fans to Pay You With Patreon

Once people understand what Patreon is, how it works, and why it is important to you, it won't be difficult to persuade them to join your platform.

The key is to offer them something different or unique to what non-subscribers are getting from you. You're not going to stop creating your free content of course, because that it essentially how you get the word out there, build your following and promote your work.

So you have to provide fans with an incentive to step up to the next level and pay your small subscription fee.

The good news is that you don't have to offer much, because these are people who already believe in you, and they want to help you to continue to be successful and grow.

patreon get paid

Patreon allows you to offer your subscribers an exclusive content feed where you can pre-publish all of your creative content if you want to, so that your subscribers get to view it first. This can make your fans feel like they are VIPs getting inviting to a preview of your content.

You can also offer behind the scenes content and other private perks for your subscribers to enjoy.

Depending on the tier they have chosen to subscribe to you will also design Patreon rewards for them to enjoy, and these little gestures will help your fans to feel appreciated for their monthly contributions.

If you put time into building and promoting your Patreon platform, you will end up with a large network of paying fans, and even though each individual fan may only be paying a very, very small subscription fee to enjoy the privilege of being a private member and supporter of your work, all of those subscriptions add up to make a growing and consistent stream of income for you.

Suddenly you will realise that you can create and offer more and more free content, because you are finally being paid a proper salary to do what you do, and you won't need to supplement your income with the day job anymore.

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