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What is Patreon? Part 1

Patreon is one of the greatest things to happen to creators of all types since the dawn of the internet (perhaps since the dawn of time?) It’s a platform to help creators get paid for the things that they create. It has been described as an ongoing Kickstarter campaign – where instead of funding one project, fans (patrons) are asked to sponsor the creator on an ongoing basis. In return for their patronage, patrons are given VIP treatment and have access to a variety of rewards (each Patreon creator comes up with their own rewards). Patreon is, in essence, a sophisticated digital tip jar.

Why is Patreon a Big Deal?

One of the most difficult challenges that creators encounter is trying to find ways to support themselves that won’t get in the way of creating. If they can figure this out, then it means that they are freed up to spend more of their time and energy creating things, rather than on income creation. What Patreon has done is to create a system whereby fans can substantially support the people that create the things that they appreciate.

Patreon is great for creators because:

  • They don’t have to make a hard sell
  • They don’t have to hide their creations behind a paywall in order to be paid, which would limit the reach of their creations and would keep them out of the hands of people that cannot afford them
  • It gives wealthier fans the opportunity to support creators in larger amounts
  • It creates an immediate connection between what is created and a tangible expression of appreciation (money) on the part of the fans
  • It potentially incentivizes the creator to be more productive as well as to push themselves to release the very best content, as they cultivate a closer relationship with their fans
  • It helps creators have a better idea of who their most ardent fans are, and by asking for (and receiving) support, they know that there are actually people out there who really want to see the new things that they’re creating
  • It’s a platform that can be grown over time – it promotes long-term and sustainable growth
  • Creators keep the vast majority (over 90%) of what they make (Patreon takes 5%, and credit card fees range from 2% to 4%)

Patreon is great for fans because:

  • They know that most of their money is going directly to the creator
  • They often get greater access to creators, through the rewards that are offered (which can include things like access to private Twitter feeds, webcasts, etc.)

Great! How Do I Get Started?

Head over to Patreon, take a look at the Featured section, and take note of how other Patreon creatives are marketing themselves on the platform. Note, in particular, how those in your own field are marketing themselves – if you find them in the Featured section, it suggests that whatever they are doing is working for them. Patreon currently uses human curation to determine which Patreon members get featured in the Featured section (I will explain the process of how to get your page in the Featured section later). Take a look at a number of different pages and find characteristics that are common to each page. Note what you like and what you don’t like, and you’ll begin to get an idea of how you’ll want to put together your own page.

Want to find out: Who is using Patreon? The secrets of success on Patreon? If you’re ready for Patreon?

Then check out the next section of our guide, What is Patreon? Part 2

Do you have any questions about how Patreon works that I didn’t cover?

Please ask them in the comments below!

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