Most self-employed freelancers identify as creatives of some sort – content writers, artists, designers, cartoonists, etc. By creating content and introducing new ideas, these creative freelancers share meaningful and/or inspiring experiences with their following, oftentimes for free.
Powering your creativity takes more than just skills, effort, and patience. It requires funds as well!
In other words, to turn your passion into your profession, you need to figure out a way to monetize it. Scaling your freelance business, thus, requires people willing to buy your freelance services but also an audience that’s willing to invest in.
Today, the word crowdfunding has gained immense popularity and is an easy way to raise money in order to start a project or launch a product. Some well-known crowdfunding sites are Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon or GoFundMe.
In this article we’ll show you how to add Patreon to your freelance marketing strategy:
Patreon is the most popular crowdfunding site option amongst creative freelancers and is used globally by creators of all kinds to supplement their monthly income.
What is Patreon?
Patreon is a crowdfunding platform created in 2013 by Jack Conte, a YouTube musician, and his then-roommate Sam Yam, a developer.
Patreon helps content creators get paid by members of the general public aka fans or followers. It gives them the opportunity to earn predictable, recurring revenue monthly. Six years into action and it has revolutionized the way creators and artists generate revenue.
How’s Patreon different from other crowdfunding platforms?
Unlike other crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Patreon is for creators who regularly share new content. Based on a subscription-style payment model, this platform lets fans make small, regular contributions to their favorite creators for their creative pursuits.
While fans get benefits like exclusive content, one-on-one Skype interactions, and behind-the-scenes moments, creators get a monthly income in return that allows them to power through and stay creative, while keeping their audience engaged.
Patreon takes 5% of processed payments from the creators. It also charges additional processing fees to move funds to PayPal or Stripe.
How Can Freelancers Benefit from Patreon?
1. Steady Income
Creators often find themselves struggling to make a regular income. Patreon can help with that by providing a steady monthly income – something that most freelancers covet.
Take the real-life example of freelance illustrator Fran Meneses (Frannerd) who currently makes over $5,000 a month through her Patreon account. Patreon works to reassure budding creators and helps them keep going on their individual paths.
2. Open Dialogue
Delivering good content requires an open dialogue with your audience. This is what Patreon lets you do by helping you strike a communication with your audience and using their interests to create content.
3. Creative Inspiration
Apart from money, Patreon also stokes up your creative passion. It helps you do what you have always wanted to do and get paid while doing so.
When you know your efforts are going to be recognized and appreciated, you strive to create more and create better.
Patreon also helps you build goodwill in the industry. You can network with other creators and boost them in their creative journey. Building a community and a strong network of connections, thus, becomes easy.
You’ll be providing value to a community that is interested in the same things as you are. As more people begin identifying with you as a brand, you’ll grow an audience who looks to you as an expert in your field.
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How do I make Patreon work for me as a freelancer?
There are different strategies that you could use to run a Patreon account. If you look around at what other Patreon users are doing, you’ll see there are many different options.
But first, does your freelance business fit in with the Patreon model?
Freelancers belonging to the following industries are more likely to succeed on Patreon:
- Game designers and developers
- Visual artists
- Graphic and web designers
- Writers and content creators
- Video creators
How do I get started?
These are the next steps to create your account on this crowdfunding site and build your strategy on Patreon:
1. Define the exclusive benefits you’ll be offering
What are you willing to offer your community? Ideally, you want to as your community what kind of content or benefits they’d be interested in. This real feedback will help you set up your strategy, but here are a few ideas you can include:
- Sneak peek/behind the scenes of your freelance life
- Extra tips on running a freelance business (video, podcast or content)
- Extra tips on brushing on specific skills that they can’t get anywhere else (video, podcast or content)
- How-to video on using tools to be better in your niche (video, podcast or content)
- Q&A with you
- Course on starting out as “Freelancer X”
- Digital download of relevant assets and templates
2. Set up your page and membership tiers
Depending on the benefits that you’ve decided to offer to the community, you will now create different tiers. Starting from a small donation (e.g $1 per month) and going up as you offer more benefits.
For example, here is a sample template you could adapt for your own offering:
- Tier 1 – Bronze – $1 or more per month – Support my free useful content
- Tier 2 – Silver – $5 or more per month – Patron-only feed with updates
- Tier 3 – Gold – $15 or more per month – Tier 2 + Monthly Q&A for patrons
- Tier 4 Diamond – $50 or more per month – Tier 3 + Monthly 1-on-1 call to discuss what you want, receive feedback on your work or brainstorm ideas
3. Engage with your patrons and build a community
Be consistent and create engaging content to interact with your patrons. It’s important to be thankful and commit to what you promise. So, set realistic expectations. Take a moment to figure out what you can do realistically in a month.
Do what you love and put your heart into it. The results will show themselves in the long run. You can start small and add new goals to keep your audience motivated.
“If I reach, $500 per month I’ll produce a special tutorial video that all patrons will get to vote on.”
Things to consider when using Patreon
- Don’t let disappointment get the best of you – If you have just begun your project on Patreon, you need to keep in mind that good support won’t come in quickly. Like all good things, this too takes time. Focus on making meaningful, creative products, and let time help you garner the attention you seek. That said, I genuinely feel that a lower fan base should never leave you disappointed. Remember that growing an audience is a test of patience and high-quality work.
- Create solid, consistent work – The keyword here is “consistent”. From releasing your content to meeting the quality – the consistency should be visible in all that you do. Choose the schedule that works right for you and stick to it. When fans pay for your content, they expect consistent releases. Don’t let them down.
- Participate in conversations – Patreon isn’t about money making alone. It’s about building a community too. So, interact with your fans regularly. Answer their queries, create polls for benefit ideas, ask your fans for suggestions about what would they like to see, do live sessions, post images, and videos. In a nutshell, shoot the breeze and grow.
I hope this article will help you give wings to your creativity while earning a monthly income.
Do let us know what you think of Patreon or if you are using it! We’d love hearing from you and learning from your story!