How to Make Money on Patreon: 2023 Guide with Ideas

Are you looking for an additional way to make money as a creator? If so, platforms like Patreon might be just what you’re looking for. With Patreon, it’s possible to monetize your creative content and get paid for what you love doing by people who are passionate about supporting you.

In this guide, I’ll teach you how to make money on Patreon. I’ll try to keep it quick, but also give you everything you need. You’ll learn how Patreon works, discuss the different kinds of content that can be created on the platform, tips and tricks for making money on Patreon, and more. By the end of this guide, you’ll know everything you need to if you want to start making money Patreon in 2023.

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a popular online platform designed for content creators to receive financial support from their fans and followers. With a Patreon page, creators can offer exclusive content, perks, and rewards to their subscribers for a tiered monthly subscription fee. It’s a great way to build up recurring, sustainable income while letting creators, like artists, influencers, or musicians, focus on producing high-quality content.

How does Patreon work?

Making money with Patreon is pretty simple: you create an account and offer memberships. Those who join your memberships pay you a monthly fee, which can be one of several tiers for different benefits, and you provide them with the content you promised when they signed up.

It’s basically a way for creators, like writers, musicians, filmmakers, YouTubers, and more, to be able to monetize their work. Fans help them make a living via their subscription fees, and in return, they get access to exclusive content or services not available anywhere else.

Why Patreon is a great option for content creators

In today’s digital landscape, content creators face a lot of challenges in monetizing their work. Free platforms like YouTube can be really unpredictable. In fact, unless you have a massive following, those types of methods rarely creator’s livelihood. Instead, Patreon allows creators to receive direct support from their fan base, which can provide a more stable income, even with a small following.

A quick history of Patreon

Patreon was invented in 2013 by developer Sam Yam and Jack Conte, a musician who wanted to make a living from his YouTube videos. Recognizing the need for an alternative income source, Conte and Yam developed Patreon as a crowdfunding platform specifically for content creators. Today, Patreon has grown into a thriving community, with thousands of creators worldwide leveraging the platform to support their work and connect with their audience.

How much money can you make on Patreon?

The amount of money you can make on Patreon varies a ton depending on many factors like how much effort you put into creating content, how engaged your audience is, and how well you market yourself as a creator. The biggest thing to note is that it takes time to build up a meaningful income from Patreon, but with hard work and dedication, it’s certainly possible.

Patreon Top Earners

The top earners on Patreon have anywhere from 17,000 to 43,000+ patrons and earn anywhere from $75,000-$181,000+ per month! Of course, most creators don’t reach these numbers, but if you’re willing to put in the work, it’s possible to make a solid income of a few hundred or a few thousand per month.

Patreon Earnings Calculators

To get an estimate of your potential earnings on Patreon, you can try using a Patreon earnings calculator. Or you could just quickly do the numbers on your own. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a calculator that I like, so I’ll just show you how to do it yourself! While there’s no way to be entirely accurate because it’ll depend on how many Patrons you get, calculating an estimate based on bess guesses is pretty simple.

You need to consider:

  • Your current follower count across all platforms
  • How many people you think you can get to sign up
  • How much you’re going to charge your Patrons
  • Fees

Let’s say you have a really engaged audience with 20,000 followers across all social media, and you think 1% of them will convert to paying members of your Patreon. Of course, these are just best guesses, but that’s potentially 200 people!

If you think you can eventually get to 200 patrons at $10 per month, you’re officially hitting the $2,000/month club! Great!

However, you need to remember there are fees that will be taken out of your payout. Patreon fees are 5% to 12% depending on what plan you’re on, so let’s say you’re on the lite plan.

The lite plan will charge you 5%. So 5% of $2,000 is $100 in fees. Then there’s the payment processing fees which are 2.9% + .30 per transaction. 2.9% of $2,000 is $58 and 200 x .30 is $60 for a total of $118 in payment processing fees.

Confused? Here’s a quick breakdown:

200 subscribers x $10 = $2,000
-$100 (5% fee for Lite plan)
-$58 (2.9% payment processing fee)
-$60 (.30 payment processing fee x 200 transactions)
= $1,782 in profit

Example of Patreon earnings with fee calculations

Still not too bad!

Now, even if you hit that 200 patron goal (or whatever your goal is), you need to consider that people will fall off each month. Hopefully, you’ll continue marketing so that you can keep getting new patrons.

Is Patreon Free?

Patreon is free to sign up for, but you will pay a fee once you start earning. Their lowest plan takes 5% of your earnings, while their top-tier plan takes 12% of your earnings. This covers the service as well as any fees. However, you don’t have to pay this until you have paying patrons!

Here’s a full pricing explanation from Patreon’s website.

Patreon Plans & Fees

Patreon offers three plans to choose from: Lite, Pro, and Premium. Each plan comes with different features and platform fees. The Lite plan has a lower fee, while the Pro and Premium plans offer more advanced features and tools, but with higher fees. Select the plan that best suits your needs and budget.

In addition to the different plans, there are payment processing fees for each transaction. For donations (monthly subscriptions) over $3, you will pay a fee of 2.9% + .30 per transaction. For those under $3, the fee is 5% + .30 per transaction.

Getting Started on Patreon

If you’re convinced and ready to join the other 200,000+ Patreon creators, there are a few things to do to get your Patreon page set up and running:

Setting up a Patreon account

To start making money on Patreon, you’ll need to create an account. You’ll be prompted to sign up using your email address, Facebook, or Google account. It’s free to sign up, but once you start earning, they will start to take a fee from those earnings based on which plan you pick (5-12%).

Creating a Patreon profile

Once you’re signed up, you’ll need to set up your profile! First up is an eye-catching profile picture that represents you or your brand and is easily identifiable. A high-quality, professional-looking photo can help build trust with potential subscribers.

Once you have that set, consider putting up an introduction video that gives potential subscribers a preview of your content and your personality. Record this in your own natural style and focus on the value you bring to your subscribers. Be sure to mention the exclusive content and perks they can expect when they join your Patreon community!

Designing Membership Tiers

One of the features of Patreon is that you can create multiple membership tiers. While some creators just have one tier at one price point, there are benefits to offering different tiers.

You know what’s great about having different membership tiers with various rewards? It means you can really connect with all of your fans, across all budgets and needs. Just think about creating unique rewards for each level that get even better as you go up. You could offer cool stuff like sneak peeks at content, insider updates, live streams, exclusive merch, or even some one-on-one time. Just make sure the rewards are awesome and give subscribers a good reason to level up!

Some Patreon pages have a super cheap $1/month tier for people who just want to keep connected with you while others have low tiers like $5/month without a lot of benefits for those who may just want to support you. Once you get into the $10-$20/month range, you’ll want to really start amping up the rewards. Of course, you can even have a VIP type option at $50 or $100/month where they get really exclusive content, a say in your content, or even one on one contact with you.

It all depends on what type of creator you are, how your audience wants to interact and receive content from you, etc.

Here are some examples of membership tiers from various Patreon accounts as an example!

via Tarot by Bronx (video creator + tarot card reader)
via Jacob Collier (musician)
via Rainy Lune (visual artist)

How to Promote Your Patreon

Even though it would be great if you could just sign up for Patreon and have new members join your page immediately, it’s not likely. To attract subscribers, you need to invest time and effort into promoting your Patreon page, even if you have a large following. Keep reading for some tips to promote your Patreon and start building up your subscriber base (and income).

Create content for YouTube channel, blog posts, and other platforms

When you create high-quality content for your YouTube channel, blog, or other platforms you can attract your ideal audience, who may eventually subscribe to your Patreon. Regularly sharing content outside of Patreon helps you showcase your work and build credibility, enticing potential subscribers to support you on Patreon for exclusive content and perks.

Advertise exclusive access to extra content and live streams

Offer exclusive access to additional content and live streams for your Patreon subscribers. By providing exclusive benefits, you incentivize potential supporters to join your Patreon community. Use these opportunities to engage with your audience, answer questions, and provide insights into your creative process.

Collaborate with other content creators

Partner with other content creators to expand your reach and tap into new audiences. Collaborations can involve guest appearances, joint projects, or cross-promotions. It’s always helpful to build relationships within your niche. Plus, it introduces your content to potential subscribers who may be interested in supporting you on Patreon.

Build an online community

Foster a sense of community among your Patreon supporters by engaging with them through comments, messages, and social media. Encourage discussions and interactions among your subscribers to create a loyal fan base that feels connected to you and your content. A strong community can lead to increased word-of-mouth referrals and higher subscription rates.

Leverage social media channels

Promote your Patreon page on your social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Share updates, teasers, and exclusive content previews to entice your followers to become subscribers.

How Patreon payments work

As a creator, you can choose to be paid out via bank account, Payoneer, or PayPal. This is something you can set up in your account settings.

According to Patreon, payments are processed on the 1st of every month and they recommend waiting until the 5th of the month for creators to cash out. This allows for retrying declined payments.

When your money is ready, you can click the “withdraw” button to be paid out. Alternatively, you can set up auto withdrawal which will process on the 5th of each month. From there, deposits can take 1-5 business days to appear in your bank account.

Realistic Expectations for Potential Earnings

Patreon can be a real game-changer for creators looking to earn some extra cash from their supporters. But remember, it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. While it can be a fantastic source of income, you’ve got to stay grounded and be realistic about what you can make.

Here’s the deal: building a successful Patreon campaign takes time, effort, and a whole lot of patience. Focus on making top-notch content and really connecting with your audience, because that’s what’ll boost your chances of success on the platform. Just keep in mind that how much you earn on Patreon depends on things like your niche, audience size, and the value you bring to your subscribers.

Growing Your Patreon Fan Base

Even when you have an established fan base, growing your Patreon subscriber list is key to increasing your monthly income. To attract new subscribers and retain existing fans, try the following strategies:

Attract new patrons and loyal fans

To grow your Patreon fan base, consistently create and share high-quality content on your primary platforms and social media channels. Engage with your audience by responding to comments, answering questions, and showing appreciation for their support. Building a strong relationship with your audience will encourage them to support you on Patreon and spread the word about your work.

Increase your conversion rate

Optimize your Patreon page and promotional efforts to increase your conversion rate. This is something I’m super nerdy about and I like to play around with on my own sales pages, etc. You’re attracting people to your page, but how many are subscribing and what can you do to improve that number? Ensure that your membership tiers and rewards are attractive and provide value to your audience. Monitor your analytics to identify trends and adjust your strategy accordingly to maximize the number of new subscribers.

Engage with Patreon supporters and subscribers

Keep your Patreon supporters engaged by delivering on your promises and providing regular updates. Share exclusive content, host live streams, and interact with your subscribers through comments or direct messages. A strong relationship with your Patreon supporters will result in higher retention rates and a more stable income.

Retaining subscribers with consistent content and interaction

Often it can be harder to get new subscribers than it is to retain the ones you already have. To retain subscribers, maintain a regular content schedule and communicate with your audience frequently. By consistently delivering valuable content and engaging with your Patreon supporters, you create a sense of community and loyalty, making it more likely for your subscribers to continue their support.

Tips for Making More Money on Patreon

Track analytics and insights

Monitor your Patreon analytics to gain insights into your subscribers’ behavior, preferences, and demographics. Use this data to optimize your membership tiers, rewards, and promotional strategies, ensuring that you’re meeting your audience’s needs and maximizing your earnings.

Diversify revenue streams

Don’t rely solely on Patreon for your income, but Patreon can be an income stream that also funnels people to other income streams! In fact, people who already know and love you will be more likely to spend money with you elsewhere. Diversify your revenue streams by offering merchandise, sponsored content, or paid partnerships alongside your Patreon subscriptions. This approach can help you maintain financial stability and minimize the impact of fluctuations in your Patreon earnings.

Pricing strategies for membership tiers

Ensure that your membership tiers are priced appropriately to maximize your earnings. Consider factors such as the value of your rewards, the costs associated with creating and delivering rewards, and the willingness of your audience to pay for your content. Experiment with different pricing strategies to find the best balance between accessibility and profitability.

Promote your Patreon page through various channels

Leverage multiple channels to promote your Patreon page, such as social media platforms, your website, email newsletters, and collaborations with other creators. By reaching out to your audience through various channels, you can increase your visibility and attract more subscribers to your Patreon account.

17 Patreon Benefits Ideas

To make your Patreon page more attractive to potential subscribers, consider offering a variety of benefits that cater to your audience’s interests and preferences. Here are some quick ideas to get you brainstorming:

  1. Early access to content: Give your Patreon subscribers the opportunity to see your content before it’s released to the general public.
  2. Ad-free experience: Offer an ad-free version of your content, providing a more enjoyable user experience for your subscribers.
  3. Exclusive content: Create content that is available only to Patreon subscribers, such as behind-the-scenes footage, bonus episodes, or additional resources.
  4. Personalized content: Offer custom content or personal shout-outs to your subscribers, making them feel valued and appreciated.
  5. Access to a private community: Create an exclusive online community where your Patreon subscribers can interact with you and other members, fostering a sense of belonging and loyalty.
  6. Live Q&A sessions or workshops: Host live events, such as Q&A sessions, workshops, or webinars, where your Patreon subscribers can ask questions and learn from you directly.
  7. Discounts on merchandise: Provide discounts on your merchandise or services to your Patreon subscribers, giving them an added incentive to support you.
  8. Creative input: Allow your Patreon subscribers to influence your future projects, such as suggesting topics for your content or voting on upcoming projects.
  9. One-on-one consultations or coaching: Offer personalized consultations, coaching, or mentorship sessions to your Patreon subscribers, providing them with valuable insights and guidance.
  10. Subscriber gifts: Send physical items, such as signed prints, merchandise, or handwritten notes, to your Patreon subscribers as a token of appreciation for their support.
  11. Exclusive collaborations with other creators: Partner with other creators in your niche to offer exclusive collaborative content, giving your subscribers a unique experience they can’t find elsewhere.
  12. Monthly newsletter: Send a monthly newsletter to your Patreon subscribers, offering exclusive updates, behind-the-scenes stories, and previews of upcoming content.
  13. Access to your creative process: Share your creative process with your Patreon subscribers by providing progress updates, drafts, or sketches of your work.
  14. Exclusive tutorials or courses: Create exclusive tutorials or courses specifically for your Patreon subscribers, teaching them new skills or providing valuable insights related to your niche.
  15. Limited edition content: Offer limited edition content, such as prints, digital downloads, or collectible items, exclusively to your Patreon subscribers.
  16. Priority access to events or products: Give your Patreon subscribers priority access to events, product launches, or limited edition items, ensuring they have the best chance to participate or purchase before anyone else.
  17. Access to a content archive: Provide your Patreon subscribers with access to an archive of your previous work, including exclusive content, older projects, or work that is no longer publicly available, allowing them to dive deeper into your creative journey.

Of course, no one knows your audience better than you. Except for maybe your audience themselves! Maybe try asking them what types of benefits they’d love to receive as part of their Patron subscription. This could be a great way to get creative, come up with unique incentives that no one else is offering, and make sure your patrons feel appreciated and valued.

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