Daily Dispatch

To Make a Living You Only Need 1,000 True Fans

This post was just a little thought I had while updating my Patreon profile earlier today.

For those who are unfamiliar, Patreon is a platform that allows creators to receive financial pledges in return for different levels of rewards. Creators can choose to receive the support per creation, or on a monthly base. Many opt for the latter so that the Patrons know precisely how much they will be pledging each month.

Initially, as many do, I dismissed the idea thinking, no one would want to donate, nor support me financially with my projects. I think this was a fair argument at the time as my limited impression of Patreon was merely seeing it as a donation-based platform, in where Patrons give money each month to their favourite artists, receiving nothing in return nor knowing where the money has gone. At the time, I didn’t like this idea, and I still don’t. But I noticed that there were a handful of creators doing something a little different on the platform, something that has since become the norm.

Using Patreon as a subscription service seems to now be the more excepted way to use the platform. Calling it subscription service is perhaps a little unfair, as the Patreon profiles for creators have become the second home for them and their audiences online. Patreon allows you to have an on-going discussion with your community, share exclusive posts with only your supporters, as well as a section for other Patrons to ask the audience questions and start a conversation. The subscription service system is more focused on the tier rewards. Rather than just asking for a donation, creators (including myself) are offering their Patrons (or audience) products and services in return for their support. I prefer this option as it allows creators to provide a level of added value to their Patrons, as well as the Patron knowing where their help is going.

I don’t want to discount or undervalue donations as many people are happy to throw a few dollars your way if they enjoy your work. Because of this, I think it’s best if creators implement a $1 tier for anyone who just wants to support them without receiving anything directly in return.

Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 true fans rule is also worth mentioning as it can go hand in hand with building a Patreon profile. In the article, Kelly states that to be a successful creator you don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only acquire 1,000 True Fans.

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