Being a creative person gives you plenty of opportunities to monetize your abilities and possibly one of the best ones out there is Patreon.
Patreon is like crowdfunding, except it’s crowdfunding at a constant pace. The typical form of Patreon is a monthly based subscription where the creator provides monthly updates to the supporters, customers and or followers.
Patreon is established as a platform to support artists, and I might get a lot of hate from a lot of people, but I think Patreon somewhat lacks the real business status. But I’ll get back to that more at the end of the post.
But Patreon is nonetheless an excellent choice to start your business from. You might lack the capital to start your business, and that’s where Patreon shines the light.
Patreon offers you an easy way to start getting money to your bank account from the whole wide world. Patreon is based on support. Support meaning someone voluntarily gives you money and expect to get something in return or in some cases does not wait to get anything in return.
It’s a support based platform, but it’s increasingly going to the way of making money from creations than creating and being supported. It’s not the same if that thought crossed your mind.
Introducing the reward system
Rewards are something you give back to the people that have supported you. The rewards differ a lot, but generally, there are pledges (a subscription system) where you set a price for someone to pay and then he/she receives something for the amount spent.
Simple subscription service with simple rewards. You can create a lot of different kind of rewards and make them as simple or as complex as you want them.
Generally speaking the more money, you ask the greater the rewards you will deliver for that given money. And yes, I said you will. Not like you should. You see, for you to create a business that lasts, you will have to deliver more than is expected.
By surprising your client and customer, you need to deliver more than is asked for. Same goes in Patreon even though the general idea could be that people support you out of their goodwill. You will still deliver more than they have requested.
Think about it the other way around. You have purchased something and instead of being happily surprised you are like, ok, this good but nothing great. You know. That kind of feeling lasts and also paves the way for the next purchase.
Which won’t happen if you don’t deliver value in the realms of damn, this was more than I needed.
If you surprise your customer and make them feel special and deliver way more than what he/she dreamed of. You can be sure that he/she continues to support you in the future also.
It’s insane not to support you. If they get more than they wanted it’s only logical to shell money at your way.
Pledges and how to be the best
Market research is the key here. Whatever it is that you create, or you are passionate (or better said what energizes you) about. Do market research on what the best of the best Patreon members offer in your area of passion.
The goal here is to offer the same and then some. However, do not price yourself lower. Pricing is one of the critical things in business. Pricing too low or too high all affect the way your customers perceive you.
Many offer various pledges for various reasons and for various people. Some can afford to support your more, and some afford to support you a bit less. So it is only reasonable to create a multileveled pledge system.
Going too low with your price might indicate your product is not good or is not as high quality as someone others.
Going too high and people might think that you are trying to cash in or that the product/rewards you are offering can’t be so valuable as to charge a premium for it.
Price range and pricing your services and products
Usual price range is anything between 1$ to whatever you can deliver at what price range of your choosing. In my opinion, there is no limit to what you can charge for, for your products and services.
Offer something simple in the lower tier pledges. Wallpapers or sketches in the art field, few photos or notes in photography, some graphic design templates and tools in the graphic design area. It really is up to the area you are working on.
Giving too much at the lower tier is not the way you should go. If you think that pricing yourself as low as possible, brings in more customers. You are wrong. People don’t pay you or support you because you give all of your stuff basically for free. They pay, because they know, like and trust you.
Those three fundamentals play a part in business strongly, and you should consider that when pricing your services and products.
You can also think about the customers and supporters you are trying to bring in. Do you want to serve those who are in for the free stuff and who like to benefit from you or do you want to serve those who are there to learn from you? Think about that for a second. Soon you will find the right answer to your pricing strategy of which there are many.
Give credit to your work and price accordingly
You have to appreciate yourself and the hard work you have done. This is something that creative persons might struggle with. You might see your work as something not so valuable. However, in reality, your work is invaluable. You are a creator, and you should treat yourself like that.
Don’t think of yourself as nobody or somebody. You are unique and indispensable. Start to think of yourself that way. Price yourself that way. Appreciate your creative work.
You have created something new and exciting for the world to experience. There has to be a price to enjoy that creation of yours.
Surely you can always do work for free. However, that won’t pay your electricity bills. Does it?
If you want to thrive in the creative market, price yourself as a professional. You know your craft, and you can price yourself as such. If someone doesn’t support you in the price range you have set for yourself then he/she is not your customer. Not worthy, in other words. You have to accept that and move on.
There are those who appreciate your work and the things you do, and they will be ready to buy from you. And they will pay the price you have set for your products, because they like, know and trust you.
Competition and exposure
Patreon is not the easiest place to make money. That is because of the competition you have against you. There is so much talent out there that sometimes you feel like you don’t stand a chance against others.
That is not the case. What you need, is to study the persons you would like to beat, or you would like to be (try to beat more than be, just a hint for you). This way you will gain insight on what they do right and what they do wrong.
All the things they do right is those that you implement to your own content, product and service strategy and the things you don’t like, you skip or do better. That way you can build something they do not have, but you do.
Do things that other’s don’t do
Some of the creators might be fearful of being on camera, so that could be something you could or should go for. Maybe some creators only provide a certain portion of their materials, where you could deliver the whole plate. You see, the way to differentiate yourself from the crowd is to do things others don’t do.
Offer something others don’t or are not willing to.
To gain exposure for your business is a huge topic of its own. Talking about Patreon, you have to acknowledge where your competition is crushing it. Is it Instagram, some art site, stock photo site, design site. What is the place they are going for and why?
What drives customers and traffic to their site. What makes them the go-to person?
Gaining exposure is difficult, but with the right mindset and strategy in place, you can do it. Find the one place your customers are hanging on and dominate the platform.
Domination is not the easiest task by any means, but with the right mindset, anything is doable. Running a business needs endurance from your side — stamina in the amount of a mountain.
Patreon as the core of the business
As said at the beginning of this post, Patreon lacks the business status in my opinion. Yes, I very well know that many, and, I mean many make a lot of money from that platform.
Yes, if you measure your business just by money, then surely creators of many kinds, are having a blast there. A business if you want to call it. However, I have always seen business as something where you have total control of things happening.
Patreon is not working like that. You don’t own Patreon, and I think that is the thing why I don’t see Patreon as a real business. A business model that you can call your own.
I think (and I might be old-fashioned here) a business should have its own store or a website which acts as the mother base so to say.
A one primary touch point for your customer to get more information about you: and I’m talking about a website here — your site. Yes, you can have Patreon as the platform of selling your services, but you should still have your site that is the primary source of information.
When you are building a business of your own, you want total control. You want to build a business that looks just the way you want it to look. Typography, colors, logo, everything, and I mean everything should scream you.
Your business has to look like you and not what Patreon wants it to look like.
Let’s think about the big brands for a second
What about the big brands like Coca-Cola, FedEx, Starbucks and so on, do they work under some others name? No, they don’t. You might be feeling like, but I don’t want to be a big brand. Do you want to make a career out of your passion? I think you do. Would you like to create amazing stuff and get paid to do that? I think you do. We are creators after all, and we like to get paid to deliver awesome stuff to others.
You don’t have to build this big brand under your name if you don’t want to. But I would also suggest not to limit yourself here. What if your brand grows organically. You can still create that awesome stuff you want, and your brand gets bigger and bigger, while you don’t do things any differently.
Doing this under the Patreon name won’t do you any good. You want to build your own name and legacy, not Patreon’s.
A final note
Patreon is, by all means, a great platform for many creators out there. It makes it easy for artists of many kinds to get paid by their creations. That is where Patreon is top of the line.
Where Patreon lacks big time is the way you are presented. You are one of many, and you don’t differ in the platform from others like you. You can and will blend in, just because everything starts with the name Patreon.
It’s not yours and if you want to create something truly amazing, start building your own business from scratch. This way you are not limited and can basically grow to any given size you want.