There are two types of currency on Patreon: financial earnings and community. Whether you are here because you want to achieve financial success, or because you want to grow and engage a loyal community who will follow and support you from project to project (or a combo of the two), Patreon can help you reach those goals.
It’s harder, however, to gauge exactly how much money you’ll earn on Patreon, or how big your community will grow. As much as we’d love to, we can’t look into a crystal ball and tell you exactly how much you’ll earn if you sign up for Patreon. But we can tell you what factors influence your earning potential and give you an example.
If your goal is financial, it’s important to know that how much you can make on Patreon is determined by a few key factors: the size of your fanbase, the portion of your fanbase that’s interested in your membership offering, and the attractiveness and value of your membership offering.
For example, if a YouTube creator has 30,000 subscribers, and 15% of those subscribers are super passionate, then they’re likely to click through a video end card promoting the creator’s Patreon page, which means 4,500 people primed for patronage. However, not all 4,500 of those individuals will become patrons, in fact, typically 1-5% of those fans might convert to patrons (in this case, 45-225 people). The reasons why they convert vary, it could be the structure of the Patreon page or the value of the membership offering, or it could be a cut-and-dry financial situation on the patron’s side.
Now, let’s say that creator has reward tiers that are valued at $2, $5, $10, $25, and $100. If most patrons pledge $2-10, it’s likely the average patron will pay roughly $7. The creator could hope to earn $315 on the low end and $1575 on the high end following the first promotion of their page.
|Size of following||30,000|
|% of following willing to learn more||15%|
|Traffic to creator page||4,500|
|% of traffic that converts||1-5%|
|Average value per patron||$7|
|Total monthly earnings||$315 - $1575|
Play with these variables above to help you understand how much you can make! Whether you have 1,000 or 1,000,000 followers, you can have sustainable success, but know that the variables can differ widely. First, consider the overlap of your audiences on different platforms; when you share your page with fans on YouTube, are those the same fans who will hear about your page through Instagram? Also, the ability of your page to convert patrons is key. Are your motives clear? Can your audience easily see and support what you want to do? Lastly, though still very importantly, consider the value of your reward tiers both for your earnings, and patron benefit.
Now, let’s talk about community. Take a look at the image below; as a creator, you start with a huge pool of people, these are all of the individuals who will find you and your work through word of mouth, industry events, online networks and platforms, press, and other opportunities.
We know there are many steps taken between a person being a general audience member to a committed patron. Some creators are great at what we call “filling the funnel” — meaning, you have huge social followings, so it’s easy for you to send a lot of people to your Patreon page. Most will remain as audience members, fans, and followers. The more passionate ones will covert pretty easily to patrons, and because of the sheer amount of people sent through the funnel, you’ll soon see sustainable success.
The other possibility is that you don’t have a massive following, but your audience is hyper-engaged and loyal, so the majority of them convert to patrons. They want to see you succeed, so they sign-up on the spot.
Regardless of your financial or community-driven goals, you’ll want to nurture your audience wherever they are. Nurturing your community is one of the best ways to grow your audience both on and off of Patreon and a surefire way to keep your fans happy and interested in what you do.
Consistency is key. Your fans love you, and they like your style. Whether you choose to post on your page and engage with your patrons daily, weekly, monthly or on a random schedule — your fans will come to expect and enjoy that connection with you. Knowing that your success as a creator comes from both creating your work, as well as working to distribute and promote your work, give some thought as to the balance you’d like.
Some creators spend little to no time managing their page while others engage with their patrons constantly, exclusively sharing every bit of their creative process with them. It’s really up to you how much you'd like to engage with your patrons and how often you post content on your page, but it's always good practice to figure out what you are hoping to get out of Patreon and how much work you're willing to put in.
Lastly, when you’re thinking about your potential financial earnings on Patreon, it’s important to think about what kind of business you want to run, and what kind of business your audience would support. Do you like the idea of offering different benefit tiers for audience members who want to unlock special access to you? Or do you want to create a fan club where your members join for one price and get the same access to everything. We’ve created Patreon to help you get a steady income by sharing your work with your most passionate fans, but how do you it is up to you.
Check out this article on the business models that are most successful on Patreon.