Hey Jamie, and thanks for the tag Ellie too, really appreciate this.
I think these are great ideas, and especially good for people starting small now but wanting to get things in place properly right from the start. So I hope my feedback will help in some way.
- Financial services, accounting, and tax.
I’m super lucky because I approached a local accountant, explained what I was doing and they agreed to support me in kind. Both personally, and for the charity I run, though I would love to be in a financial position to pay them one day because they have been really awesome and are a relatively small business. But I do feel quite guilty because I’m not based in the UK now, but my charity is, and most of my income comes from Patreon or freelance work on things like Fiverr so is all in dollars, and messes up the tax side a lot, which is a huge headache for them! We also have to submit an annual financial report to the Charity Commission, so these things cause chaos! I personally live in the Channel Islands so we have our own tax here, and it’s illegal for us to pay VAT on UK things so this also complicates things. I know Patreon are working hard to add the Channel Islands to the list and to resolve the tax thing.
I would love to see the Channel Islands added to the list on Patreon so that myself as a patron of other creators, and for my patrons, not to be paying UK tax as this is the main stumbling block for me and other Channel Islands based folks right now.
But a product developed by Patreon, that isn’t just USA focused could be a great investment from my perspective, especially if its user friendly to my accountant in the UK and reduces her workload. Or if I could manage my personal finances in terms of Patreon then send the information over to her for the annual reports that would also help as I need to submit my earnings as a self employed person to the Channel Islands government each year so they can calculate my tax, health insurance, contributions, etc.
If what Patreon offers could be prepared for UK or Channel Islands based authorities then it is definietly something that I would consider using. If it’s purely USA based, then it won’t be of any use to me. The cost will be a huge factor too. But in principal I would definitely be interested in this service.
- Helping you run your patreon page
Yes please! I would absolutely love this. I’ll be at sea as I row around the coast of Britain between May and September next year and I would love to have someone share updates and deliver to my patrons whilst I’m rowing. I also feel quite frustrated that I’m not streamlining my page at the moment, and I would love the opportunity to work 1:1 or to have some kind of advisor or mentor, who I could sit down with, explain my goals, audience, project, etc, and then together to plan a campaign that benefits both my community and my income as a creator. This could then allow me to stop stressing about finance and trying to do half a job across multiple platforms or tasks.
Even five minutes to sit down with another Patreon creator and see what suggestions or feedback they have for my page would be gold dust.
I totally agree that the whole magic with Patreon is about the creator engaging personally with the patrons, but right now I don’t feel that I’m serving the patrons and potential patrons properly, so having someone manage the page and with social media, etc, could actually help me to be more present for my audience, and be a better use of my time and energy too, so I serve them better as a result.
I’m not in position to pay for this right now, but I would be happy to pay for this, especially if it could be like a loan or something, where you get help for your channel, which leads to an increase in income, and then once you hit a basic income you start to repay the cost of the one on one sessions or something? When I worked in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, the university had a similar set up, where you went to university for free, and then at the end of your degree and you started earning, you paid in what the tuition would have cost, so that the next student would get their tuition for free.
- Helping you choose 401k plans
Had to Google this one! Not something I’m familiar with. If it’s about putting aside funds for pensions and things, then I would definitely be interested in this, as I’d like to get to the point where Patreon becomes my primary source of income (instead of doing horrid transcriptions and things for £5 on Fiverr just to pay rent and eat). My audience is primarily teachers and teens who I teach for free on Skype in the Classroom, and I would love to do more of this and to create proper content for them, connected with my row around Britain and following the Viking routes. If I could develop my YouTube channel and connect all those teachers or schools or classes with my Patreon page, and have them support for $1 a month, I’d be in a position to be full time creating, and to have the luxury of putting some of that aside for my old age, or to support other projects, or to manage any funds better would be awesome.
- Connecting you with Brands
I was actually thinking about this one the other day, as I’ve recently joined Famebit. I think for beauty and lifestyle vloggers Famebit is great, but my audience is a tricky one, and the kinds of brands I want to work with are not currently on Famebit or are too restricted in what they want from the creator. But I’ve already been lucky to get a lot of my expedition kit for free, just for using it as part of my Guinness World Record attempt row around Britain. But I’d like to be able to work with more brands and companies, but in a more authentic way. My target audience are teachers and teens so I have an ethical/moral obligation to protect them, and I want them to watch more and more content, because the royalties from views on YouTube and Amazon are being used by my charity to provide education to kids living on rubbish dumps, and street kids who have no access to education.
I don’t really want to be doing intros or outros promoting brands geared to my kids, but I think there are other genuine ways to incorporate those brands. For example, I’m building my own boat, so I need a hammer and saw, wood, boat paint, cups of tea to drink whilst building the boat, and I’ll obviously be wearing clothes for the videos (I could especially use a technical sailing clothing brand right now!), or using things like TubeBuddy or Patreon, or a camera to film. These products could genuinely be included in my content and those companies could then share the footage. During my row I’m stopping off at schools, and doing a city based tour for schools and the general public in December next year. This involves an augmented reality museum of my expedition kit, boat build workshop, and all the Viking finds and places around the British coast. This would be an awesome opportunity for a company to have their service or product included in the augmented reality museum, to be seen by the general public during the tour, but that museum could also be taken to their business event or their clients to showcase what they have been involved with in terms of supporting the expedition and education. That same app will be accessible to anyone who downloads it for their VR/AR device, and it will be used in museums worldwide after the event.
Plus companies would be able to use photos of me using their products or services over the next eighteen months or more, and its more than just having kit or money, its about a long term relationship with that company, where you can go and meet their team, give them interactions just for them during the expedition, or that they can weave you in to their own social media campaign, alongside the message they want to deliver, or meeting their corporate responsibility for example.
If I had funds right now, I would certainly employ someone whose sole job it was to connect my expedition and charity with brands in a genuine way, and also to have those brands become a part of the Patreon community because that’s an incredible opportunity to engage directly with your fans. For example, if a company gave me technical sailing/rowing clothing to wear for my expedition, my audience would be really interested to go on a visit to where those products are made and to find out more about the design behind them, or how the fabric was chosen for its material properties, and then to actually see it being made, and me wearing it for the first time. That has educational value about the real world, about material science, and about business, marketing, etc, but gives the company chance to show their values to young people who will grow up knowing their brand.
If Patreon could offer something like this, maybe with a manager whose sole job it was to link up brands with creators, that would be amazing!! So I’m all for that. I think the important thing for me as a creator, is that I’m small with a niche audience, not millions of subscribers, but its about brands coming onboard now and all of us growing together in a really authentic way, that the brand becomes a part of our community and family as we go on this expedition together.
- Connecting you with graphic designers
DEFINITELY something I would be really keen to see develop. At the moment I have to trawl through Fiverr or Upwork to find people to help me with things that I’m not able or don’t have time or interest to do. It would be especially good if those graphic designers were other Creators on Patreon so we could end up supporting each other. Not just for graphic design, but for things like music composition, or for doing fun collaborations. Even if it was just a case of saying ‘hey guys, if you like my new YouTube banner it was created by person x, if you like it then please go and check out their page on Patreon’. Like a skill trade. I wonder how many creators also offer their services to others in a Fiverr type way? If we could all support each more, then that would be a whole new area, especially if people could offer their services on a dashboard or something, maybe patrons would also be interested in buying specific skillssets from the creators, but don’t know they exist or offer those services? I think Tim Schmoyer incorporates this in his rewards really well, as I benefit from the content he makes but also know he has services you can hire. Likewise Evynn Hollens offered a singing lesson reward to her patrons, so not only do fans get to support her content but they can also hire her, even if its a limited few who get that opportunity.
Slightly off on a tangent, but I’d definitely like Patreon to become a one stop shop, and maybe we could use funds from our Patreon pledges to cover specific things or services like graphic design?
Thanks so much for putting this out there Jamie, its great to get the conversation started, and being involved in the development of Patreon and being asked for feedback is the thing I love most about this platform.
The only further thing that I personally would love, is the opportunity to have some kind of Patreon Page manager or mentor who can help you with your channel from day 1, and to maximise it at each stage of the journey and as it grows. That would be worth offering for free I think, because the more money that each Creator can bring in, the more commission Patreon is going to get in the long run, and the more likely we will be to hire or buy extra services from you, so that we can do the thing we love most…creating stuff that our audiences enjoy.