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My friends, what an insane summer it’s been. As I careened from Serbia to Croatia to Italy, part of an uncertain six-month process of getting back home to Prague (which I finally did three days ago!!), I was keeping a secret all along.
I wasn’t just traveling. Or just blogging.
I was spending all day and all night working on a course — my first digital product ever.
I now present it to you: Earn Like an Artist: Building a Patreon That Pays. This course that teaches creatives how to build a Patreon that earns them regular recurring monthly income.
It’s available today for a limited time — only through October 15, 2020!
Earn Like an Artist: Building a Patreon That Pays
Patreon is a site where creators host exclusive content behind a paywall. Their fans can pay for the content on a monthly or per-creation basis. It’s the perfect place to showcase your best work, earn more income, and build a tight-knit community of your biggest fans.
All kinds of creatives use Patreon — YouTubers, podcasters, Instagrammers, Etsy creators, even nonprofits. You can easily tailor it to the kind of creative work you produce.
I launched the Adventurous Kate Patreon earlier this year. It had been in the works for a long time, but after COVID hit and I lost 90% of my income, I knew it was time to actually go through with it. I launched with my first original essay, “The Ghost of Montenegro,” and held my breath.
This is one of the smartest decisions I have ever made as a blogger.
You guys have been reading my content for a long time. You know what kind of work I do best — personal essays and travel stories. They don’t earn much money, but they’re the best stories on this site — and YOU LOVE THEM. I love them, too.
On Patreon, I could get paid to actually produce work like this. Right away, 100 readers signed up, and over the next few months, more and more joined.
This is what I have always wanted — to get paid for creative work without compromising my values.
Well. That set off months upon months of research. I studied all kinds of Patreon creators, both small-time creators and major celebrities; creators who create little content and creators who constantly push out Patreon content; creators who are doing extremely well, creators who are doing decently, and creators who are struggling. Every creator I studied had value.
Soon I knew Patreon backwards and forwards — and I realized I had enough material to create a course around it.
Ah, courses. That’s been bit of a sore subject. I had been developing a course on and off since 2017 (seriously, my friends from Antarctica still ask me when it’s coming out). I did all the course prep — but I now realize that it wasn’t the right topic. Maybe it will be in the future.
But Patreon? I knew it backwards and forwards.
Better yet, I could help creative people earn the money they deserve.
Patreon is reliable income in the time of COVID.
If you work in the travel industry, you’ve suffered a lot of financial losses this year. I’m one of them. My site’s business model earns from travelers actively planning trips. When the travel plans stopped, the money disappeared.
But you know what I also had? An audience of readers who loved my writing. And I decided to go all in on that.
Here’s the crazy truth — Patreon is one of the safer, more secure ways a blogger can earn an income. It’s more secure than SEO. It’s more secure than social media.
I have blogger friends who got knocked down hard by multiple Google updates, and other friends whose highest earning posts were outranked by other bloggers. I have Instagrammer friends who used to get several thousand likes on each photo, but now only earn a few hundred. I have friends who found themselves in “Pinterest jail” and lost their greatest source of traffic. In all cases, their income dropped significantly through no fault of their own.
Those income streams involve playing in someone else’s sandbox. You operate under the illusion of reliability until it’s too late.
Patreon is different. They give you full access to your patrons, similar to how an email list functions, and you only lose patrons if they choose to leave. (And some will leave. It’s inevitable. But most will stay, and if you market your Patreon properly, you’ll continue gaining readers.)
Patreon is a way to earn from the work you love.
Do you hate sponsored content? Do you hate constantly cracking out videos to satisfy the YouTube algorithm? Does writing for SEO make you die a little inside? Did you get banned from Pinterest again?
A lot of people think that these are the only legitimate ways to make money from content. And I can understand why people feel this way. This is what everyone else is doing.
Forget all that. Patreon is the work you love to create, shared between you and your biggest fans. Imagine how good it would feel to earn from work that made you happy!
Could Patreon work for you?
Patreon works for all kinds of creators — this is definitely not just targeted toward bloggers! Here are some of the most common questions that people ask before starting a Patreon:
Do I have enough fans for a Patreon?
You definitely need an audience before you go to Patreon. Patreon is about leveraging the audience you already have, not creating an audience that doesn’t exist, and Patreon does not function as a discovery platform, unlike Kickstarter.
BUT HERE’S THE GOOD PART — you don’t need to have a gigantic audience in order to perform well on Patreon. That’s a huge difference from earning from display ads or affiliate marketing. From a single visitor to your site, you might earn 19 cents in Mediavine income or $4 in affiliate sales. But from a single patron, you’ll be earning $5 or $10 or $25 from that one person, every single month.
It helps to have the kind of content that your fans are actually interested in — and in Earn Like an Artist, I show you how to figure out the kind of content your fans will be eager to pay for.
Will I make enough money to make Patreon worth it?
That depends on your definition of “enough.” Most Patreon creators use Patreon as a supplement to their income, not as their entire income. Even for me, it’s a supplement, not the whole thing, but it did earn enough to fully replace my hotel/accommodation affiliate income that disappeared due to COVID!
If you’re used to earning income from lots of different sources, Patreon could be a good fit for you. Don’t expect it to become your sole income source.
One of the biggest mistakes I see on Patreon is charging too little — but Earn Like an Artist‘s “Making Money on Patreon” module will help you get income clarity before you launch and show you pricing tweaks to make you much more money for the same amount of work.
Do I have enough time to do a Patreon?
You definitely need to commit to Patreon, because commitment is what your patrons deserve. Patreon is not passive income by any stretch.
A lot of creators overexert themselves by promising way too much content each month and exhausting themselves. But you don’t have to do that! I recommend creating one major piece of content each month — a Big Monthly Creation, so to speak — and supplementing it with small, low-effort content. In Earn Like an Artist, I break down how to make a monthly content plan that works for you, and share 30 different Patreon reward ideas, some of which take very little time and effort.
In general, I say that if you can commit two hours per week, you’ll have enough time to create your Patreon content each month. Some people don’t even need that much time.
Will my fans sign up for my Patreon?
It’s true that only a small percentage of your fans become paying patrons. But these tend to be your most passionate fans, your ride-or-die fans. And amazingly, you probably don’t know that most of them exist!
Ten years ago, EVERYONE commented on blogs. Today, people almost never comment, and many people prefer to be lurkers on social media. It’s easy to overlook fans who have never made themselves known.
I was shocked at the number of high school classmates, college classmates, and former coworkers who joined my Patreon. I had no idea some of them even read my blog!
Couldn’t I just Google everything instead of taking a course?
You could. Most people do. But a lot of creators I’ve seen start Patreons by Googling the information have made catastrophic mistakes that hurt their income long-term. There’s a lot of good information that you can Google, there’s also a lot of bad information out there, and it could lead you on a path to earning far, far less than what you’re worth.
One of the benefits of Earn Like an Artist is that it takes all the information out there, strips it down to the best information, and is organized and delivered to you in an easy way that will allow you to get started quickly, tailor your Patreon to your personal strengths and your audience’s wishes, and ultimately earn more money.
Plus, once you invest in something, you’re motivated to actually do the work and get a return on your investment. You don’t really have the same motivation if you haven’t made an investment.
What’s in the course?
Earn Like an Artist consists of eight modules covering different aspects of Patreon. The lessons are told in video slides, which are accessible to both people with vision impairment and people with hearing loss, and at the end of eight modules, there are worksheets to do that get you to apply the lessons to your own personal situation. There is a Facebook group for support, and I’ll be a major part of that.
You can do the course at your own pace, and you get lifetime access.
Here are the modules, and how they break down:
MODULE ONE: INTRODUCTION TO PATREON gives you an overview of the concept of patronage and its history, and the basics of getting started on Patreon.
You will learn:
- The basics of how Patreon works as a site
- How to explain the concept of patronage to your fans
- How to get over your self-doubt as a creator and believe that you deserve to earn from your work
- The biggest benefits of earning through Patreon
- PLUS: Examples of 10 brilliant Patreon creators who lean into their strengths to generate income
MODULE TWO: CREATING YOUR CONTENT is dedicated to choosing which content to create on Patreon that serves you and your patrons.
You will learn:
- How to reconnect with your “why” as a creator and build a Patreon that works for you
- How to identify the material that will get your fans excited to join your Patreon
- How to showcase your personality and connect with your patrons
- How to choose which content to feature on your Patreon
- PLUS: 30 examples of popular reward ideas for Patreon
MODULE THREE: MAKING MONEY ON PATREON is centered on the financial aspects of earning as a Patreon creator.
You will learn:
- How much to charge on your Patreon
- How to estimate how much you’ll earn on Patreon
- How to navigate Patreon’s platform fees and pricing options
- The advantages and disadvantages of earning by monthly subscription or per creation
- How to run a support model, and the only types of creators who should attempt this
- PLUS: Detailed financial breakdowns of how subtle price tweaks can earn you significantly more for the same amount of work
MODULE FOUR: CREATING YOUR PATREON PAGE shows you how to set up a Patreon page designed to convert your fans into patrons.
You will learn:
- How to set up your Patreon page
- How to write a bio that inspires your fans to join your Patreon
- How to write tiers that inspire your patrons to sign up — or upgrade.
- The subtle page tweaks that will earn you more money and delight your patrons.
- PLUS: Examples of what to write and what NOT to write for your bio and tiers
MODULE FIVE: ORGANIZING YOUR CONTENT is about creating a long-term strategy for delivering content to your patrons each month.
You will learn:
- How to create a content strategy that you deliver to your patrons each month
- How to choose a “Big Monthly Creation” and supplement it with short-form content
- How to plan ahead for seasonality, events, and times when life gets busy
- PLUS: The 10 biggest mistakes Patreon creators make
MODULE SIX: LAUNCHING AND MARKETING YOUR PATREON is designed to get you as many patrons as possible right out the starting gate.
You will learn:
- Everything you need to do to get your Patreon launched in about four weeks
- How to create a monthly marketing plan that gains patrons long-term
- How to target different segments of your fans based on social media platforms
- How to talk to your fans about Patreon
- PLUS: A launch timeline and checklist for four weeks before your launch and four weeks after to make sure you get everything done
MODULE SEVEN: MANAGING YOUR PATREON teaches you how to run the day-to-day on your Patreon and keep things running smoothly.
You will learn:
- How to keep track of your patrons’ details and remember details about them
- How to maintain communication as a Patreon creator with an inner circle
- How to do a monthly check-in with yourself, evaluate the previous month, and see how next month can go better
- PLUS: A full, detailed guide to troubleshooting your Patreon with several scenarios of what to do if things go wrong, including what to do if you’re not making as much money as you want to.
MODULE EIGHT: GROWING YOUR PATREON LONG-TERM focuses on the part that too many Patreon creators don’t prioritize:
You will learn:
- How to upgrade your Patreon, whether it’s a slight refresh or a complete revamp
- How to do a high-profile push for more patrons and time it to an event
- How to do a formal relaunch of your Patreon to your fans
- PLUS: The best way to get existing long-term patrons to upgrade to a higher tier.
For more information, see the course sales page here.
How long is the course available?
Earn Like an Artist is available for purchase through October 15, 2020, at 11:59 PM EST. This is not an evergreen course that you can sign up for anytime — it’s available for a limited time only.
If you get started now, you could be making money on Patreon by the holidays!
I want to do this, but now isn’t a good time.
The good news is that you don’t need to do the coursework right now! The course is designed to be done at your own pace, on your own schedule. And if you’re, say, expecting a baby next month and knowing things are going to be CRAZY, you can always buy now and do it once you get used to your new normal. Everyone gets lifetime access.
And if not, you can sign up for the Earn Like an Artist mailing list, get a free download of Patreon content ideas, and you’ll find out when it goes on sale again next year.
How do I learn more?
You can learn about everything and sign up for the course at EarnLikeAnArtist.com. I encourage you to take a look and see if it’s a fit.
Hope to see you there!