I am excited to be back with another episode! As we speak there are 155 of you supporting me through my Patreon, which is the reason I can offer super affordable courses, free online workshops and two podcasts with tons of free resources. I can’t tell you how much that means to me!
So in this episode I am talking about:
- How I grew my Patreon
- What my tech set up is
- How I got started and what I recommend you think about before you open an account
- Ten different things you could offer your Patreons
- The introvert-friendly things I go to grow my community
I hope this will give you some resources and good food for thought as you begin your own Patreon journey!
Listen to the Embodied Business Podcast
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⋒ Hi, my name is Yarrow and I am your host.
My Embodied Business podcast explores what it means to build a livelihood with integrity, joy and anti capitalist values. I offer practical guidance on tech, strategy, ethical marketing, creativity and money and interview other small business owners who do things their own way.
You can learn more about my work, listen to other episodes or join my community at PinkWellStudio.com
You can also sign up for my newsletter - I share free workshop invitations, resources, ideas & new episodes about once per month! ⋒
Hey, everyone, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to the DIY small business podcast. Welcome back, or welcome for the first time, I’m really excited to have you. And I’m going to be talking about building a Patreon to support your business today. I have a long list of notes here in front of me. So it’s gonna be a really rich episode, I want to talk about the technical possibilities of Patreon, what I like and don’t like about it, I have some ideas, well, actually a tonne of ideas for things that you can offer to your patrons. And I’m going to talk about how you can build and promote your Patreon. So I want to begin, as always, with a couple of updates from my world, it is the end of January 2019. Now, I just came back from a tiny mini break in London, which was really refreshing. London is just an hour away from me. And yet, I hardly ever go because it’s big and overwhelming and expensive. But I did an Embroidery Workshop and I went to some museums and I had some nice food. And I was just going to sunshine for a bit. And that was amazing. I haven’t had a holiday like a real one in a while. And it was just really nice to step out of everyday life a little bit, I had a tonne of ideas, many of which I have yet to write down. So I’m hopefully going to do that tonight. I was so inspired by the textiles, I saw that I started a new Instagram account, ad therapeutic textiles, where I’m just going to share about that kind of stuff, but embroidery, about thoughts on textile history. And I really excited so if you’re into this kind of thing, I’m going to be talking a lot about slow crafts and how they relate to mental health and how they can be therapeutic, then go follow me on there, that would be great.
Other than that, I’m kind of really into the swing of things with the live round of the DIY Small Business School now. I love everyone has joined the community on mighty networks. If you haven’t heard yet, we transferred from teachable to mighty networks at the beginning of the year, because I wanted it to be more interactive, which it now is. And we’re also having live workshops every other week. So this is a business school that’s really comprehensive online for people who care about sustainability and access and kindness. There’s one thing that sad that I as a student of mine said last year that really kind of resonated with me so deeply, she said, You know what, all I want is like I don’t want to be rich, I just want to grow vegetables and live in peace. And I was like, Yes, I this is what I want to and I want to help other people build businesses that make that happen. So yeah, that that school is a dream come true. And you can come apart by pledging $11 on my Patreon that gives you access. Anyway, tomorrow is a workshop on self care for entrepreneurs. And I’m going to be talking about things like what to do when you feel overwhelmed by imposter syndrome. What you can do when you feel really anxious about money or where the next project or client is coming from. And I’m going to talk about boundaries and setting your work week up in a way that works for you. Because I know that’s something so many of us are struggling with those workshops free to anyone. So you don’t have to be part of discord though you can be. And you can as always sign up for this workshop, and all other ones through the link in the show notes. If you’re listening to this later, there’ll be other workshops that you can join. So definitely do check that link out. Okay, so now to today’s show, building a Patreon to support your business. I started mine just over a year ago, and I now have 155 patrons, and I honestly can’t tell you how deeply grateful I am for every single one of them. It’s made a huge difference in my life. It’s given me confidence because I just feel so touched that people believe in my work and want to support it. It’s also given me more space and more financial resources to make my work accessible. So before I had a Patreon, I was teaching online courses, but they were much more expensive. And I was and still am also offering one on one services. But I understand they’re not affordable for everyone. And so the Patreon has really been my way to build community and make this sharing of skills more accessible to more people. Which Yeah, which like I said, is just so exciting. And it’s not perfect. I want to start by saying that it’s really not perfect. For example, it has happened that friends of mine who are queer, were flagged as adult content even though we’re offering really isn’t adult content. And that meant that they were not shown in the discovery section which I think is discrimination. I do think that Patreon is pretty open to being approached for this kind of stuff. I’ve done that and we had conversations about it. And I want to trust that they are working on this. They are also charging a fee, of course. So you’re looking at I think 5% of your pledges, and then you need to pay a little bit more to have your payments processed. And that depends on how you’re getting them paid out. There’s different options for that. But yeah, for me, it’s definitely the best option right now. And I’m really grateful that it exists, and that so many people have said yes to supporting me in this way. I really think that to be creative, we have our basic needs met. And that’s just incredibly hard when you are struggling for money or when your income is increasingly fluctuating and very precarious. And so I cannot recommend this highly enough to really think about whether that might be part of your business and the things that you want to create. And there’s also monthly CEO office hours. So if you’re on the Patreon newsletter, you’ll be invited to them. And you can basically show up there and ask questions, and you’ll be told about new features. And I really appreciate that kind of openness. There are technically two different ways for asking for pledges, either monthly or per project. So you can either ask people to pay a certain amount every month, or you can ask them to
now that you know about my setup, I want to talk a little bit about other ideas. Because I often hear people say, Oh, I mean, I would love the regular income, but I’m just not totally sure what I could offer and like would even would anyone even want that? And how would I promote it, and so forth. So here are some technical ideas. And we’re not technical, but basically some ideas and formats in which you can offer something as an incentive to become a Patreon. Before I want to go into them, I want to say that, of course, you don’t necessarily need to offer an incentive, you know, it doesn’t need to be a paywall for the content that you’re offering. In my experience, and what I’ve seen all around me, it does we work much better. When you’re saying, Hey, this is what you get for becoming patron. But I also want to say, you know, obviously, it’s totally wonderful and valid to make all your content available for free. And to just trust that people who can afford to support you will do this, even if you’re not forcing them to pay. So yeah, honestly, this is not something that I have a really cohesive answer to. It’s just something that I’ve observed. And it’s the same really with sliding scales, I have made really good experiences with that. I offer my dear magic of embodiment programme, as low as $3. And that feels really good to me, because a tonne of people can afford it. And I’m asking those that can afford to pay more to do so. And again, that’s a question of trust and accountability and transparency. But it feels good to me. And I don’t think that there’s necessarily like a word right or wrong way of doing this. And I also think that seeing as we live and trade under capitalism, we all have incredibly complex relationships to money. And I think we should give ourselves some time and space, to be playful and to experiment with different ways of doing this. So if that feels tricky to decide right now, just just experiment with that and see how it feels. Okay, so finally, here are my ideas. You could offer previews. So if you are someone who publishes writing, for example, maybe you’re writing a book, you could offer previews, you can send chapters as they diverge to your patrons, for example, that would be really exciting for someone who’s into your work, who like who can’t wait to hear or read more. And who wants to support you, I like how this little nugget from you every now and then. You can also offer behind the scenes stories and content. So if you’re a maker of any craft, or art or skill, or a service provider, you can give people an incentive to learn more about your processes and what happens behind the scenes. So these could be images or stories, or even videos from your space of making like your home office or studio or wherever you make your thing. Or you can pay take people on a tour. Like if you are someone who goes on hikes all the time for inspiration, why not take people along and share that? I really think this sense of intimacy and like being transparent about how we’re making what we’re doing is really beautiful and attractive to people. You could offer audios or videos, there’s really easy and super straightforward ways of just uploading through the Patreon app. So you could literally sit at your desk and just have an idea and you can turn to your phone. Open the Patreon app and share a video or even a live stream to your Patreon feed and this would be an answer For people, so if you’re someone who knows, you can, you know, you come up with content quite spontaneously, you’re excited about sharing, this might be a great option. And you can just say, hey, if you know what I, you know, if you love what I’m doing on Instagram, or Pinterest or my podcast, become a Patreon, and you’ll get even more access to that content. You could also offer discounts on your services or products. So if for example, you have pretty high end products, maybe you make custom made wood carvings, for example, or herbal, herbal potions, you know, this doesn’t mean necessarily need to be high price. But if you’re making something that has a process in itself, and that might not be a digital download, for example, then it might be really nice to say, hey, you can pledge a couple of dollars or one dollars, and then you’ll get 10, or 15, or 20% of all your purchases. So this is a way for like us to make more of a commitment to trading with each other, you get this discount our get monthly support, even if it’s not a tonne, but it is also emotional support, you know, it does just mean so much to have someone say, I want to pledge $1, because I believe in your work, even if that doesn’t pay the rent.
So yeah, and then you receive updates and discounts. That would be beautiful, too. You could also offer seasonal snail mail. So again, that’s an issue that I see a lot of makers bump up against when you’re making a thing, it might just be too much to send it out every month, maybe you don’t want to commit to that. And then you have different options. You can either say pay me per creation. And that might be for example, quarterly, or a penny every month, but receive something each quarter, again, that relies on trust, I really invite everyone to kind of feel into that, because I think trust is exciting. So as an example, if you are a painter or you draw, or you make harbour potions, you could say, pledge a certain amount every month. And then once a quarter, you will receive a snail mail package for me with a painting or some potions or something that I made. And that’s cool, because people don’t have these higher one off costs. You know, for many of us, it is not affordable to pay, you know, to just randomly buy a painting, but maybe actually having a small painting with someone is so beautiful. And by you know asking for monthly pledges, you’re kind of giving them a chance to pay in instalments almost, and it’s also giving you more secure income. So that’s another exciting possibility. You could also have a maker’s club. So if you have an arts or crafts practice or your beauty process that you’re excited about, you could say, hey, each month, I’m gonna send you instructions and a how to guide and maybe even material about following along with this work that I’m doing. And you can try it in your own home in your own time. And with your platter. You’re supporting my work, but I’m also sharing my skills with you. So this is almost like an online course. But it’s more you know, if online courses feel intimidating, because maybe you don’t want to record videos. This is another way of looking at it. You can also send out PDFs or like embroidery kids or watercolour IDs, and so forth. And there could be digital or steamy. You could offer sessions with you. So at a higher tier, you could say if you currently want mentoring, or if you just need someone to listen to you, and lend an ear if you want to be able to pick my brain and ask me anything, you can pledge a little bit more and then you can see receive a monthly session. Or again, if you have services that you want to offer in a more affordable way. Say you’re herbalist and you want to offer a seasonal consultation sounds really beautiful. You can ask people for their monthly pledge and say usually charge $90. For your consultations, you can say why don’t you pledge $30 on my Patreon, and then every few months, you’ll have a session with me. And that’s such a beautiful way for us to work together over time. Because if you’ve ever worked with a herbalist, you’ll know that this is so powerful, especially if you keep at it and you review the plants that you’re working with each season. And for you as a customer, that means that $30 maybe is more doable than paying $90 upfront every now and then. And also there’s like a really good feeling around commitment. So I think that’s a really beautiful idea as well. Of course you can offer courses like I do, and they don’t have to be as complex or they don’t have to be on audio on mighty networks. You could just record audios and put them together beautifully on a website that’s password protected. Or you can have a free plan on teachable.com where you host your videos and PDFs and content and you can give your He has access to that. But also, you can just say, you know, this is a chance to support me as an artist that doesn’t necessarily, like I said, have to be a direct incentive or anything that you’re giving back. Or you could run a podcast and say, you know, I would love to interview more people or bring out more episodes, but I’m going to need some support. And then that content, of course, is available to your whole community, but you’re also getting a few people to really commit and pledge and support. These are all my own, Oh, one more, one more, you could also offer a community. So I really think that, as I’ve talked about in my last episode, community is incredibly important in business, not just in business, it’s just important for everyone. We do live in the age of loneliness. And I think a lot of the struggles that we are experiencing are coming from a sense of disconnection with nature with ourselves with other people. And so building community is super important and super healing and beautiful.
And you could start a mighty network, there’s also free plants. And you can just say, hey, if you want to support my Patreon, then clearly we have stuff in common. And you might have stuff in common with my other patrons. Let’s all get together and share ideas, I’m going to be showing up there and answer questions and share resources and content. And I just want us to be together, that’s really beautiful, too. You can of course, also start a Facebook group that’s maybe a little bit less complicated. I personally feel pretty awful on Facebook, I really don’t want to be on that anymore. And I love the intimacy and functionality of mighty networks of time. So that’s just my personal opinion. Cool as a nada, we’ve covered all these different things that you can do. As an incentive for Patreon, I want to talk a little bit more about how you can promote it. So this is pretty awkward for a lot of people. And I totally understand why it’s awkward for me to especially in the beginning, it was quite tricky. Because essentially, you’re asking for money, and that can have so much baggage. And yeah, just things attached to it is really tricky. And something to think about. But also it’s incredibly beautiful. And by doing this, you’re giving other people permission to just saying, you know, you’re showing up and, and, and you’re being transparent about your process as a business owner, or artist or whatever it is that you’re doing. And I think that’s really beautiful. So here are some ideas, the first thing I would do is to really go through your whole complete online presence, from your website, to all your social media channels to your headers and your newsletter signature, the dimension is already Well, anyway, absolutely everything and add the link. So you can see it in the menu bar of both of my websites, you can see it in my email signatures, and my newsletter signatures, and it’s a part of all my social media platforms as well. So that’s like the foundation, no shame here, just spread that link everywhere. You can also host giveaways. So that’s a nice kind of conversational starting point, especially on social media, you can say, Hey, I’m giving away a session or a creation that I’ve made to all my patrons next month, so become a patron now. And then you get a chance to win. You can also use the free version of later.com to schedule one to two promo posts a week. I’ve had workshops, and there’s also a podcast episode on social media. But basically, I kind of challenge my shop self to talk about my offerings, you know, even the free ones at least once or twice a week. And I know that if I just pose as I go along. And you know, as it happens, I tend to be more avoidant about that. So I use the free version of later.com to schedule at least eight promotional posts in a month. And promotional can sound weird or icky or hard. And you know, I personally also don’t really love this word, but at the end of the day, I’m thinking about it this way. I’m just telling people what I’m offering. I mean, how else would they know, you know, and that’s not annoying. That’s just a formative. And if they’re not interested, they can just look away and that’s cool. Another idea is to pitch to podcasts for interviews. So I’m a podcaster. And I love it when people get in touch with me and say, Hey, this is my story. This is what I like talking about. Do you think I could be on your podcast because obviously it’s super times and time intensive to research people and contact them. So most of the time, if people really have listened to my podcast and they are good fit, that I’m super excited that they’re getting in touch and you could do the same with podcasts that are in your niche and that you feel excited about. You can Of course, also start your own podcast. And my experience that is almost a more effective way of building community, then social media. Because people get to listen to your voice, he story, there’s so much more intimacy, there’s more time spend, it’s not as bite sized, as it is on Instagram, for example. So I love podcasting. But if that feels overwhelming, invest more time in your blog, invite other people to guest blog, or create a written interview series. So maybe you’re intimidated by the process of interviewing people for potential podcasts. But maybe you can come up with a format where you’re asking other makers that you excited about five standard questions that are exciting and deep. And then everyone can answer in their own time, and you can kind of cross pollinate and grow your audiences that way.
Finally, of course, you can print business cards and add your Patreon link on there as well. Because you know, we, I think there’s a something recent times you’ll get live also happens outside the internet, maybe you will meet people at networking events, or workshops, or in a cafe. And maybe they are excited about your work. And then you have this handy little card to give to them. And they might click on your Patreon link and become patrons. So that’s cool. Of course, building your newsletter is really important. And I have another episode that you can check out for that. And you could run free workshops, which is what I do. Most importantly, I want to say, don’t give up I’ve seen so many people very excitedly, start a Patreon and then start begin to feel awkward about the process of promoting it. And honestly, it just takes time. And yes, it does feel awkward if you only have two people supporting you. And they’re both relative. But it’s also so worth it just has so much to teach you about self worth, and believing in your work and challenging yourself to become better. Building Community Learning about what people are excited about being in dialogue, you know, that’s all such good stuff. And it’s so liberating to have a little bit more regular income that gives you space and time to create. And so please don’t give up. And if you need to then do some gentle journaling work around asking for for help sharing your work and see what comes up for you. You know, ask yourself, What am I worried about? Who do I have in mind that I worry will judge me? So for me, it’s old school friends, for example, or teachers that on Sunday, sometimes like, oh, I’ve haven’t spoken to these people and trying to yours? What if they check my profile out, and then they see my Patreon. And I just feel shy about that. And I still feel shy about that. But I’ve just accepted that feeling. And I’m doing it anyway because I won’t let these people or what they might or might think about me stand in the way of what I want to create in this life. So yeah, this felt nice to record I really hope that more of you will get a Patreon or find some other kind of way to make your work sustainable because I think that’s so important. And I’m wishing you well. Check the links out. Let me know if you’ve any other questions and hopefully, I’ll see you at one of the upcoming workshops. Bye