How to Use Patreon to Start and Fund Your Business

When it comes to finding information online on making money from your hobbies or starting a home-based business, the same solutions are often suggested: offering consulting services, selling on eBay, etc.

Today, the internet is flooded with advice, both useful and useless, thanks to the content marketing movement. It’s like searching for a needle in a haystack to find something valuable and unique. However, there is something worth exploring – a website called Patreon.

Patreon is more than just a platform for self-serving purposes. It brings back the traditional concept of artists being supported by patrons, as it was in the days of kings, queens, and the Royal Court.

If you have a passion or skill that people are willing to pay for, such as singing, writing, drawing, or acting, Patreon is the ideal place.

What is Patreon?

Patreon is essentially an ongoing Kickstarter campaign with a significant distinction. Instead of receiving one-time payments for each project, artists or creators are paid by their patrons on a regular basis to continue creating.

Patronage is the key focus of Patreon, which positions itself as a crowdfunding platform specifically for creators.

A history of patronage

When you hear the term "patron," you probably think of history or literature classes. In Europe, the arts were often supported by royalties, aristocrats, and members of the Royal Court. They financially supported talented individuals such as artists, musicians, poets, and sculptors in exchange for prestige and social or political endorsements.

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However, patronage can be traced back even further to the Ancient Romans, albeit in a different form. The purpose of endorsement remained consistent throughout history.

This tradition of patronage is what Patreon has capitalized on. Their goal is clear: to create a platform where creators can be funded by patrons over an extended period of time.

How to Use Patreon to Start and Fund Your Business

Is Patreon worth your time?

In his email to members, Patreon CEO and cofounder Jack Conte describes Patreon as a return to the classical model of patronage, with even greater reach and power.

Currently, Patreon patrons collectively contribute $2 million per month to creators.

Furthermore, the company shows promise as they are earning money and recently secured $15 million in Series A funding from notable investors, such as Alexis Ohanian, Danny Rimmer, Joshua Reeves, Sam Altman, and David Marcus.

How to Use Patreon to Start and Fund Your Business

This Summer, things are going to get bigger as Patreon joins forces with Subbable. If you get set up on Patreon now, you won’t have to worry about things not working later.

When you become a Patreon patron, or just a "Patreon," you agree to give an artist a tip of an amount you select every time they release new content, whether that’s a song, a video, a poem, or an illustration.

If you’re worried about an artist creating too much, you can set a monthly maximum budget so you never feel out of pocket. Choose an amount, enter your payment information, and wait for the content to start rolling in.

As a Patreon, you get direct access to an artist’s stream, where you can chat with them and access exclusive content.

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In exchange for your support, creators offer additional Patreon packages, such as monthly Google Hangouts, music production tutorials, pre-sell concert tickets, a coffee with the artist, or an exclusive video workshop.

Patreon does not charge those giving money, but they do take a 5% commission from creators, and creators are responsible for paying for a patron’s credit card transaction fee, which is around 4%.

Patreon works well for musicians, youtubers, writers, bloggers, photographers, animators, authors, podcasters, video producers, fashionistas, indie gamers, webcomic artists, and even jewelry producers.

The benefits for creators are many: recurring funding, engagement with top fans, the opportunity to give back, and the chance for fans to give back.

There are also many reasons to become a patron of the arts on Patreon: the opportunity to directly support and influence the works of favorite creators, seeing things before anyone else, inspiring creators to pursue their work full-time, and receiving rewards from the creators.

Whether you join as a creator or a patron, you’re joining a community of makers and supporters, turning passion into a living.

To run a great Patreon campaign, have a vlog on your Patreon page explaining what Patreon is and why you’re doing a campaign. Fill out your profile to clearly state what someone will get if they become your Patreon.

How to Use Patreon to Start and Fund Your Business

Step 3: Tell people you’re using Patreon! This is marketing 101. No one can create a product without marketing. Even well-known companies that release the same products have to keep marketing. After all, out of sight, out of mind. Market yourself everywhere.

Be honest and open. Ask for support. Let people know your content is free but you’re asking for their support. Share what they’ll get when they support you. Some people are incredibly creative here!

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Step 4: The activity feed is key. It’s where you connect with your patrons, talk to your fans, and keep people engaged. Patreon has its own activity feed and profile page. Check theirs and, if needed, become someone else’s Patreon to see what they’re doing in their feed. $1 a month is worth the experiment, right?

Who’s behind the site:

How to Use Patreon to Start and Fund Your Business

Patreon was founded in May 2013 in San Francisco by cofounders Jack Conte and Sam Yam. Their CrunchBase profile shows they’ve raised $17.1 million in funding.

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