Creator of the Week: The Fantasy Footballers
Meet The Fantasy Footballers, a team of 3 fantasy football lovers who quit their day jobs to produce their dream podcast.
Members: Andy Holloway, Jason Moore, Mike Wright
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Patreon Page: www.patreon.com/thefantasyfootballers
Q+A with Andy Holloway:
Patreon: How did you get your start as a creator?
Andy Holloway: We worked together for many years in the game development space, always passionate fantasy football players and consumers of fantasy football content. As years went by, we felt a gap existed in the fantasy football market — a podcast that was accurate with high-quality content, had a high-quality production value, and was highly entertaining. We actually began the podcast on a whim, Mike and Andy developing it at the early stages entirely for a single fantasy football league that we were all in. Eventually we decided to bring the product public. Many of our competitors (all?) are network-backed podcasts with endless resources. We were dads, fully independent, and needed the ability to call on our growing audience to support the podcast. We started the Patreon page in September of 2015 after a successful launch that year and it’s grown from there. We’re humbled and honored to have the support of so many listeners who listen to us and support us daily.
If you could be any ocean creature aside from a dolphin or a shark, which would you pick and why?
AH: As we’re often times blubbering fools on the podcast, we’ll have to go with whales of some sort?
What did it take to end up where you are today?
AH: Sometimes we look back at the beginning and wonder how on earth we got to this point. We’re all fathers, husbands, and took a leap to enter into this field. Our families supported us and I would say the biggest component of our growth and success had to do with being genuine. We didn’t try to imitate or copy other podcasts, we weren’t consumed with making money, we simply wanted to provide a high-quality product that brought joy to people’s lives and helped their fantasy teams win (and have a lot of fun doing so).
At what point did you decide to develop your creative passion into a business?
AH: Years ago a friend asked me what I would love to do for a living if I could choose anything, and the answer was fantasy football podcasting. When major life transitions lined up for all three of us to take on this venture, we dove in headfirst. We didn’t’ know if we’d end up being able to make a living off of it, but we were willing to try. I hope all creators continue to endeavor to make their passion into something that can sustain them.
What are three tactics you’ve used to grow your audience over time?
AH: We’ve definitely taken the approach that every new listener is important. We’ve spent and continue to spend loads of time on social media, interacting with listeners and being as connected as we possibly can. We reach out to our audience and ask them what they’d love to see. We’ve also made it a very, very high priority to consider the 80/20 rule or pareto principle in all that we do. The demands of a business and project can be overwhelming, especially as an independent podcast, and we constantly had to evaluate whether each new venture was worth it. We’ve been willing to say “no” to opportunities in the space, opportunities for sponsorships, opportunities for partnerships, if the fit wasn’t right. We were patient in deciding what’s most important and focusing on that. We consider the concept of “staying in your lane” incredibly important to our success.
What has been the most effective monetization method for you the last year?
AH: Providing premium content as an extra benefit for supporters has been a great driver of our creator page and for increasing our support. Speaking openly on the podcast about our community on Patreon, the benefits, the connections built there and exclusive content available there has been important. Listeners already wanted to support the show and help us keep the lights on, but now they receive something beyond the simple concept of helping the show. They receive tangible benefit that helps their fantasy team each and every week. They also get the opportunity to regularly connect with us and fellow listeners personally.
When was the hardest time in your creative career, and what do you wish your present self could’ve told your past self during that time?
AH: I think the early desperation and temptation to make money was the biggest challenge. Our motives were pure, but our pockets were empty. We almost entered into a couple of less-than desirable partnerships to simply make ends meet, but thanks to our patrons were able to be patient and grow at a healthy pace without sacrificing anything content wise.
What is the greatest challenge you face right now as a creator?
AH: Time management! Every day we have to manage what seems like five hundred tasks, the overriding priority being producing the most high-quality and highly entertaining show possible. Finding and dealing with sponsors, managing the website, interacting on social media, replying to emails, juggling responsibilities on the team, all of these are a (rewarding but difficult) challenge.
How have your fans helped you throughout your creative career?
AH: In more ways than I can count. For one, we don’t exist without them, period. Secondly, they’ve answered the call and supported the show well beyond financial means. They’ve been responsible for awards we’ve received, they’ve given us heartfelt reviews, they’ve told their friends and family about us and they’ve represented the podcast in every corner of the earth. Every day when we discuss goals at the studio, we make it a priority to remember who the show is for — and it’s the fans that have gone so far and above for us that we are constantly humbled and amazed.
When did you decide to launch on Patreon, and in what ways has it affected your creative goals?
AH: We launched about 6 months after we launched the podcast. I don’t think it’s affected our creative goals very much beyond the desire to further develop a rich community of listeners from everywhere around the country and world. We continue to seek to connect users not just to us but to each other, build a sense of camaraderie and continue to add perks and benefits to our base of supporters.
How did you first announce your Patreon page to your community? What was the general feedback?
AH: We announced it on the podcast and through social media, and the feedback was entirely positive. Often listeners felt like they had received so much over the year that giving a small portion (what equated to 5 cents a show) seemed like a no brainer for them. Entirely positive response from our base of listeners.
What does Patreon mean for artists and creators?
AH: Patreon means the ability to take a breath and truly create wonderful content. Artists aren’t necessarily concerned with wealth, but provision. We’ve never been concerned or desired to be rich doing something we love, but simply the ability to do it without the pressures and weight of second jobs and sacrificing our creative time to peddle for money. Patreon has meant a weight off of our shoulders that is hard to describe to anyone not in the midst of building a business. It’s meant a way to connect and give back to those that have given us so much. We couldn’t be more thankful for the platform.
When times are tough as a creator, is there anything you continue to come back to, something that keeps you going and keeps your eye on the prize?
AH: Whenever we receive a review, a note, a tweet, or any encouragement from a single listener letting us know how our show has improved their day in some way, it keeps us going. There are far more important things in life than fantasy football, but if we can brighten someone’s day, improve their enjoyment in the midst of a tough time, or be a part of a daily routine that goes beyond their daily grind, it’s incredibly rewarding and motivating.
What’s next for you? Are there any exciting projects or big goals you are working towards?
AH: Absolutely! We are in the midst of integrating our website and the patreon API to make premium content easily accessible for our listeners. This means delivering premium fantasy football rankings, content and more in an even easier fashion. It also means exposing more listeners to our community through the website and API integration.
If you could challenge creators to do one thing that worked for you, or was transformative in your experience, what would it be?
AH: Focus on what is important. Allow other opportunities that might seem decent to fly by without a moment’s notice. Keep the distractions out of the way and don’t be afraid to say no to something. Take your time and focus on what makes you proud to do what you do. Don’t feel above receiving support. That support allows you to create with incredible focus and with a thankfulness that comes from people investing in what you have to offer.
If you could choose any creator, living or dead, to do a collaboration with…who would it be and why?
AH: The other guys may have a different answer to this one, but I’ll go with Dan Patrick. Dan Patrick and the Dan Patrick show has been an inspiration of sorts, and no one has interviewed sports figures in as compelling a manner as Dan has. He’s the best in the business and we have the utmost respect for what he has done and the show being produced by his team.
That’s all, folks! Want to say hey? Reach out to The Fantasy Footballers here:
Keep your eye out every Monday for a new Creator of the Week, here on the Patreon blog!