These Patreon Creators Will Give You Entrepreneurial Mega-Inspiration
If you’re looking for inspiration to start your entrepreneurial endeavours, look no further than Patreon. The original platform to help creators connect directly with their audiences, it helps cut out the people in the middle. Singers don’t need labels. Artists don’t need agents. Entrepreneurs don’t need storefronts. Patreon lets you create your own community of your followers (known as your “patrons”) and host different types of membership or per-item purchase.
This isn’t to say that all businesses fit on Patreon or that you should launch your business on the platform. However, the “patronage” nature of the platform draws in a lot of incredibly creative people. So if you’re stumped on how to provide value and how to better monetize a business idea you have, take a look at how these creators do it. From monetizing access to micro-subscriptions and more, they are doing some really creative things.
Jack Conte’s Patreon: micro-subscriptions and micro-purchases
Jack Conte isn’t just a musician and creator on Patreon, he’s the co-founder and CEO of the platform. However, Jack is also an amateur musician, so that’s the content he puts on his Patreon page.
Starting at $1 a month, Jack makes it easy for people to support him financially. Then his other levels include climbing amounts of value, all about access. The more you pay to be a patron, the more direct access to Jack you get.
He hasn’t uploaded videos in years, but the inspiration is clear: make it super easy for customers and fans to give you money – and they will. Even though he hasn’t posted since 2014, he still earns over $3,000 per month from his patrons… 6 years later!
In particular, this page is a perfect example of the “build once, sell many times” mantra.
Rose Kelly’s Patreon: premium content for a premium audience
While many Patreon creators start at low tiers, Rose Kelly’s self-care vlogs and blogs start at $20 a month, with the highest level being $1,000 a month. She puts out regular vlogs about self-care and her own journey with mindfulness. While self-care and mindfulness is powerful for anyone, she explicitly states that she delves into very adult topics so the Patreon isn’t a fit for anyone under the age of 18.
Rose Kelly knows who she is creating for – people who truly care about self-care and mindfulness that don’t want fluffy blog posts. Her audience wants the real deal and wants a very personal connection with her as a creator. So she charges more for that kind of access on her Patreon page. By charging more, she puts herself in a position to create the type of content that really suits her audience, since she won’t need to attract thousands of patrons to make a healthy income from the platform.
On her page, she also shows what tiers give you what videos or other content. That way, people considering different membership levels can easily identify what kind of content suits them and what kind of content they are willing to pay for.
This is a perfect lesson for all entrepreneurs: show your value, then charge for it. It’s ok to be premium, just make sure you’re delivering visible premium benefits to people.
You can check out free content from Rose Kelly on her YouTube page.
Stephanie Jarvis’ Patreon: invite people into your mission
Stephanie Jarvis lives in a 16th century French chateau that her and her family have been restoring for 15 years. Initially, she ran it as a B&B. Then she became a YouTube star. After some followers suggested starting a Patreon page, she did. Only a few months later, she’s one of the top 1,000 patreon creators on the platform.
Stephanie focuses massively on community building, but it’s not about her or about her content – it’s about the chateau. Patrons are not contributing to Stephanie personally, but instead goals on her page are associated with restoring the chateau. That way each patron feels like they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. It’s allowed Stephanie to climb the ranks and scale her Patreon page immensely, now earning over $16,000 per month. Yes, some of that money will go to her living expenses, but the vast majority goes to restoring the chateau, meaning content is simply a vehicle to show people how their money is making an impact.
Further, Stephanie includes patrons in the restoration, with goals like carving their names on the back of ancient wood paneling to go in her grand salon (that’s the $30,000 a month goal!).
The key lesson here is clear: give customers something bigger to associate themselves with. Invite them into your mission.
You can also get free content on the Chateau Diaries YouTube page.
Jim C. Swim’s Patreon: focus on quality offerings
Jim C. Swim is one of the most successful creators of all-time on Patreon. He has over 38,000 patrons as of this writing, and even at $1 a month (Patreon’s lowest financial tier), he’s making almost half a million dollars annually from the platform. His page is all about criminology and psychology, and his videos dive deep into how human psychology helps people understand criminals, crimes, and what drives people to break the law.
Jim doesn’t create much on his Patreon – just once per month. However, the videos he produces are high quality and in-depth, getting people interested and giving them more to talk about (resulting in his videos getting hundreds of comments). He also occasionally shares old content that is relevant again or connected to a current event, giving him the opportunity to re-create new “products” from his old products and get more play out of them.
Unlike creators like Rose Kelly, who also focuses on premium content, Jim takes the bulk approach. He creates high quality content, but doesn’t post all the time. That means he can afford to sell his memberships at a lower price and go for broader attraction, which makes more sense for his niche (criminology) over Rose Kelly’s niche (self-care and mindfulness).
The lesson is simple: quality will win the day, but quality can be framed in many different ways.
Jim also puts out some free videos on his YouTube page.
Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York): authentic human interest drives community
Brandon Stanton was a burnt out photographer before he started photo-journaling the people of New York City, one of the most interesting and diverse cities in the world. His photos, shared under a Facebook page Humans of New York (HONY), ended up becoming a viral sensation and the images spread around the world. On his Patreon page, every level offers the same benefits, meaning that he asks people to support at whatever level they can.
When you create, be as authentic as possible and focus on human interest. If you look at HONY’s photos and the people that Brandon photographs, it really is… everyone. There are so many stories in a big city like New York, and he aimed to document as many as possible. That helped him build an audience because people around the world could identify with a certain person or certain story, even if they didn’t live in New York.
Further, having the same level of benefit for all supporter tiers adds an additional community feeling. People are encouraged to support at whatever level works for them – there’s no upsell or big “gimme” involved. This strategy doesn’t work for everyone, but if your business is about community building and connecting people, then it’s a strategy worth considering.
Regardless of your business, though, the lesson is clear: human interest drives human interest.
You can also check out HONY on its official website.
Different packaging adds different value
Each Patreon creator uses the same platform, but how they package their offering changes the value they bring. The same goes in business. Having a great idea is the first step, but you need to position and package it in a way that makes sense for your audience and customers. Hopefully these creators provided you with some inspiration on how you can try new ways to create value and connect with your audience!