While it’s true that I’m a writer who primarily wants to share content so I can create connections, I’m also a single mama in need of financial support. Hence my mission to knuckle down and give Patreon a go.
Patreon is a platform that allows creators (usually artists) to receive funding directly from their fans, or patrons, as part of a monthly subscription, or per work of art.
I first considered doing this over a year ago but was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to consistently deliver content. I thought that my other commitments or circumstances could get in the way and possibly overlap — whether it was my photography work, being a mum, having a health setback or just needing a break from life. The idea that my ability to deliver the rewards could be jeopardised was unsettling to me then . . .
Now, Patreon allows creators to pause memberships if any issues arise. This means that patrons are not charged if creators cannot follow through with their promise of content. While this does take the pressure off, today my desire and determination to deliver authentic content is my number one priority.
I’ve never been more ready and willing!
Having a Patreon account allows one to put themselves out there as an official creator. But it does require a sense of bravery. I mean, what if one doesn’t get any patrons? What if one is creating content and no-one is consuming it?
In a weird way, this only makes me more determined to try and love the process for what it’s worth. Two things I try to tell myself every day on my creative journey (thanks to the solid advice of Gary Vaynerchuk): focus on what you want to say and be in love with people saying no.
Why would anyone want to love being told no? Because it inspires innovation and determination.
What got you to where you are now will not get you to where you want to go next . . .
That’s an indirect way of saying that you need to be willing to evolve as a creator in order to achieve your goals . . .
To be transparent about my financial situation: I became a single mum nearly two years ago and have been getting by with the Australian government’s single parenting payment, as well as child support and a part-time job working in the family business. I no longer have the part-time job but it was good while it lasted; it helped me adjust to single mum culture while having that family support. My immediate financial goal is not to have to rely on the single parenting payment. I specified this as my first community goal on my Patreon page. I felt it was important that potential patrons knew my background and financial situation.
The arrival of the pandemic saw the need for temporary homeschooling of my kids, probably the same need that a lot of the parenting world has right now, and this made my home a perfect breeding ground for striving to be a full-time creative. Starting a Patreon account became absolutely vital on my to-do list.
Now that I have time in my life again to appreciate ambition, and to just bloody go for it, I am determined to get to where I want to be by doing what I wholeheartedly love to do: writing and sharing, as well as encouraging and inspiring others. But, on steroids. I’ve got a lot of content brewing inside of me that is looking for a public home.
I know that there are many other artists out there in similar circumstances, and as a result, Patreon is really being stretched right now. Even as I mentioned in my launch video, making a start during Covid-19 probably wasn’t the wisest time to do it. But I’m up for the challenge. Besides, we could be stuck with these pandemic conditions for a while. It won’t hurt to try and carve out my own little spot in the industry where I’m making content that hopefully brings value. It won’t hurt anyone to do so — there’s room for us all. Bringing value to my potential patrons is paramount; it’s behind my intention of being on Patreon.
The other reason I’m doing this is for the personal opportunities. To push myself creatively by experimenting with various mediums. To push myself to produce varied content and be comfortable with making it public — I’ll be sharing my poems, short stories, articles, creative non-fiction, snippets from both of my novels, and drafts from non-fiction e-books that I plan to publish. All of this pushing is what I need for my own personal growth and for my craft.
I’m also delving into different approaches in the way that I structure my content. The goal here is to have my content resonate with more people — to reach unlikely audiences.
With my former Eddie Vedder campaign as an example, I’m a big believer in community-driven projects. Part of the appeal of being on Patreon was packaging my content in a way that patrons are riding along with me on my hopeful journey to becoming a traditionally published writer.
I also wanted to include five starter tips if you are ready to launch your own Patreon account too:
- Have some example content ready on your Patreon page so that patrons can get a sense of what they’re in for and what you’re about.
- Have a look at other successful Patreon accounts in your genre so that you can get ideas on what is working, and to be aware of how to position yourself on this platform.
- Specify a community goal on your page.
- Don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t lift off the way you planned. Patreon is just one way to potentially reach fans — and is not a true measure of what your art is worth. (This, I am still telling myself.)
- Don’t have any expectations — be in it for the process.
Whether I only have the support of one patron, or whether it’s a $1 pledge on the line, I am looking forward to nurturing my Patreon community with everything I’ve got. I remain grateful, as this is all about my commitment to producing content that reflects who I am — and gets my voice out into the world. I’m fucking stoked that after a bumpy road in the personal department, I finally have the headspace for this.
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