Patreon is a crowd-funding membership platform, which means you can make money with Patreon if people like you enough to pay and subscribe to your channel in order to access your content.
Compared to how many people earn money from YouTube, Patreon is a bit underrated.
However, it is one of the most highest-paying platforms for the creative crowd online.
There are over 100,000 creators on Patreon with the top-tier earning salaries of $2 million monthly (or more).
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These “creators” are anyone from Youtubers to writers, musicians, podcasters, comic artists, videographers, online gamers, and other creatives with interesting skills to share to the world.
How Does Patreon Work?
Many YouTube stars embraced YouTube and Patreon equally.
But the original way people earned money through YouTube was via AdSense.
A viewer must watch an ad for 30 seconds, or click the ad featured before or somewhere in the middle of a YouTuber’s video. Only then will the YouTuber earn money.
However, it isn’t as simple as that. It would take about 1,000 views for a YouTuber to earn $10 to $20.
Unless a YouTuber’s channel has millions of viewers, earning through YouTube’s AdSense would take a lot of time, effort and videos.
To complement this income generation, many YouTubers took to Patreon and made it their second home.
There, musicians, singers, painters, gamers, and other creators were able to dictate subscription fees in exchange for VIP-style access to their work.
Several types of fan support at Patreon exist:
- Monthly subscription – Fans of a creator pay a monthly subscription fee in exchange for freebies and insider news (sometimes being first to listen to a new song, asked opinions about a new comic character, and so on).
- Per-campaign – Let’s say an independent ukulele player wants to release a new album, but has no funds to do so. She then creates a campaign on Patreon specifically for this project. Fans can support this album one-off without having to pay a monthly subscription fee.
- Donation – If you’re a fan and you donate money to a creator you like, you’re in control of how much you want to give, and when you want to send your donation. You don’t need to be a paying subscriber or a support of a campaign to donate. The catch is that donations often do not include freebies. Of course this isn’t set in stone, since the creator can still send gifts your way as a donor.
You might think: why go to Patreon, if YouTube is already the biggest video-sharing platform on the planet?
Here are several reasons why…
Patreon vs. YouTube Channel Membership
- Patreon filled a void – At the time of Patreon’s launch in 2013, YouTube has not yet launched its own Channel Membership program (this came out in mid-2018). Those who have started out at Patreon’s membership service stuck with it even after YouTube’s launch.
- Patreon only takes 5% cut – Patreon is still a service, so it charges its users for using the platform by taking 5% of the membership fees. Compared to YouTube’s massive 30% cut, Patreon is more friendly to its users.
- Patreon’s terms do not change drastically – Google, the mother company of YouTube, is notorious for updating its terms regularly. These terms include changes with monetization, which can be off-putting to YouTubers.
- No minimum patrons required – At Patreon, there were no requirements regarding the number of patrons upon sign-up. With YouTube’s Channel Membership, your channel had to have at least 100,000 subscribers.
When it comes to pledges of supporters, Patreon and YouTube have similar starting points.
Fans pay $1.99/month at YouTube Channel Membership, while Patreon supports pay starting from $1/month.
How Much Can You Earn With Patreon?
It has been proven that you can make money with Patreon, but there is no standard income to be made.
However, it’s just impossible to state an estimate revenue you can get from Patreon mainly because the number of supporters you have is different to other Patreon users.
These are just some examples of top Patreon creators making bank on the platform:
- Chapo Trap House (Earns $95,000/month with over 21,000 patrons) – Political comedy podcast by hosts Matt Christman, Will Menaker, Virgil Texas, Felix Biederman, and Ambe A’Lee Frost.
- Jordan B Peterson (Earns $75,000/month with his 8k patrons) – Former Harvard professor discussing psychology
- Amanda Palmer (Earns $55,000/month with over 11,000 patrons) – Singer, musician and blogger.
- Philip DeFranco (Earns $50,000/month with over 14,000 patrons) – Maintains his own YouTube-based news network with 6 tiers ranging from $5 to $1000.
- AvE (Earns $44,000/month with over 12,000 patrons) – This YouTuber is known for his tech-focused videos explained in layman terms. Its Patreon has only two tiers – $2 and $5, both of which get access to content a week early.
- Sword and Scale (Earns $34,000/month with over 10,000 patrons) – Now in its 145th episode, Sword and Scale is a true crime podcast.
As you can see from these creators, you can definitely make money with Patreon as long as you have followers (or in this case: “patrons”).
As a creator, you will dictate the tiers (membership levels) and their corresponding benefits per-tier.
You can add multiple tiers, as well as multiple benefits. And choose if you’d like to include tangible items like t-shirts, stickers, CDs, etc. or digital items like access to a livestream video or copy of an unreleased song.
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Who Can Make Money with Patreon?
Anyone can open up a Patreon account.
However, once you begin earning money from the subscriptions, Patreon gets a cut from your monthly income.
The percentage will depend on what type of Patreon plan you chose: Lite (5%), Pro (8%), and Premium (12%).
The pricier the Patreon plan you choose, the bigger add-ons you get such as analytics, accounts for team members, dedicated manager, and so on.
If you’re planning to join Patreon, but is not sure if you’d fit in, you’d be surprised at the impressive roster of Patreon users there are.
To give you an idea, here are real Patreon users and how they’re using this platform to earn money online:
We know crowd funding is a legitimate way of earning from podcasts, but forgot to include Patreon into the list when discussing podcasting as a business.
You don’t need to be a professor, public speaker, or celebrity to create a podcast. As long as you’re creative, smart, and entertaining enough, people will naturally follow you.
Aside from the Chapo Trap House, The Last Podcast on the Left is a favorite podcast hosted by friends Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks, and Henry Zebrowski.
Since 2011, these guys have been releasing 1-hour podcasts about the horrors of the world both imagined and real – think zombies, serial killers, and so on. While Zebrowski is a comedian on his own right, his co-hosts mostly found massive fame through the podcast.
2. Teaching and Education
There is massive potential to teaching at Patreon.
From musicians creating music lessons for their patrons, to people learning how to speak English from ESL natives…and everything else in between.
You’d find essay writing lessons, painting courses, gospel music, and many more.
Singers and musicians are big at Patreon.
A cappella groups Pentatonix and Home Free are perfect examples of music acts that opened their world to patrons, which ultimately helped them create music, tour more places, and produce music videos.
If you’re trying to learn guitar, you can find many expert guitarists sharing their knowledge at Patreon.
You just gotta dig deeper and learn how other musicians take care of their patrons.
4. Video Creators
These group of creators bring a wide range of content to the world.
Some share educational videos like cooking or experiments, while others stick with pranks, family funny videos, and so on.
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5. Visual Artists
The internet threatened traditionally-beloved professions like comic book artists and other similar fields.
But the technology, tools like drawing tablets and software, and services like Patreon paved the way for visual artists to make money online.
Thanks, in part, of their fans who helped bring money to the artists by buying their merch, joining Kickstarter campaigns, or subscribing to their Patreon.
The cool thing about Patreon is that creators can offer their content in phases, which is ideal for authors working on their novels.
They are “paid” as they go.
Journalists also have a nice little home here, especially those with very specific niches.
For instance, NASCAR writer Jeff Gluck is a fan of Patreon because it has given him “the freedom to cover what I want, how I want, when I want.”
Video game creators join Patreon and release updates and sneak-peaks to fans of their games.
Some go as far as asking its patrons to help shoulder the game development bill.
Watching online gamers do their thing (and narrate what their characters are doing on screen) has been around for several years and who wouldn’t want to get paid to play video games?
It’s no wonder these popular names from the gaming industry are using Patreon to share more content in exchange for income from monthly subscriptions.
8. Communities and Organizations
Of course, organizations (whether private or non-profit) and communities can turn Patreon into their go-to fundraising headquarters.
Patreon was made exactly to unite a community of people into one (or more) goals.
The Secret to Make Money with Patreon
If you look at the highest-earning Patreon top creators, you’ll understand that they all have one thing in common – all of them have a significant following (people who financially supports their work).
Without supporters, it’s difficult to make money with Patreon.