How to be successful on Patreon

The guy that runs the freeCodeCamp YouTube channel (1,000,000+ subscribers) just published an article called How to start a software YouTube channel.

While he was writing the article, he reached and asked for my thoughts on how to be successful on Patreon. Below is what I wrote, which he quoted in the article:

There are three types of people who do well on Patreon:

  1. People with a truly gigantic audience (for them it doesn’t really matter what they offer through Patreon, it’s really just a donation page)
  2. Creators with a big audience who release super compelling bonus content through Patreon (like a popular podcaster who releases a bonus episode to patrons every week, and that’s all they do with Patreon)
  3. Creators with a decent-sized audience who make a lot of effort providing value to their patrons in different ways: offering cool rewards, creating a community, giving fans greater access to the creator, etc.

Thus for the vast majority of creators, you have to have a decent-sized audience AND put in a lot of work in order for Patreon to be worthwhile. The bigger the audience you have, the less work you “need” to put into Patreon. One takeaway here is that unless you are super famous, just putting a Patreon link on your YouTube page will not result in any meaningful number of patrons. Patreon takes effort, and you should probably only do it if you enjoy doing it, because otherwise you will burn out.

Here are the reasons why I have been successful in getting people to join my Patreon:

  • I have a large email newsletter (due to my blog), and this is key because email converts so much better than any other marketing channel.
  • I put substantial work into building and refining my page, and had probably 20 of my biggest supporters review the tiers and language on the page before releasing it publicly to give me suggestions on rewards and how I communicate the value of joining.
  • The video “courses” (meaning playlists) I create on YouTube take hundreds of hours of work and are really high-quality, and so most people have joined Patreon because one of my courses delivered massive value to them at some point and they want to thank me.
  • I have been giving to the community for free for years (answering literally thousands of YouTube comments/blog comments/emails), thus many viewers have built a personal connection with me.
  • I have a good reach on social media.

Here are reasons why people stay subscribed as patrons:

  • I put a lot of ongoing work into providing value.
  • I thank my patrons a lot.
  • I prioritize my patrons above everyone else.

Anyway, this is just my perspective on Patreon. I’d be happy to hear what other people think!

P.S. For anyone who is interested, I’m Data School on YouTube and Patreon.


Agreed. We constantly see the success stories but not the many fails — so it’s easy to get false expectations. I once searched social media sites like Instagram and Facebook for tags like “patreonlaunch” and checked after a couple of months how the launch campaign had worked. Pretty much every account I found would probably count as a launch failure. Often no patrons at all, or 1 or 2 at best.


I agree that you need a big audience in order to have a successful patreon account. That’s why I’m trying to connect more with people on YouTube and Twitter.


I feel like the other issue is ppl sometimes fire up their brand new patreon expecting instant high numbers, and hand over fist growth each month, but that’s not what most of us experience right out the gate. It’s far more realistic to expect small (and hopefully steady) growth. Just because your first six months to a year isn’t gangbusters like some of the top earners/folks with huge audiences achieve doesn’t mean you’re a failure.
No matter where you are in building your patreon stats, I’d say consistency is key - updating your main, publicly visible content for all as well as keeping your patreon-only posting schedule on track is super important. Send out fun, positive tweets/posts the first two weeks of the month reminding your followers you’ve got some great content planned and to come hang out. When you share patreon-only links to posts in tweets or whatever social media, snip a little preview of the art or text or whatever you make so you can entice new potential fans to join, which seems a lot more effective than the generic patreon header thing that appears if you only paste the URL.
Above all, I think being positive and upbeat counts for a lot - stay true to your “brand” and the ppl who are interested in your creations may eventually decide to see what all the fuss is about behind the scenes. :heartpulse:


All great thoughts, @asmodrawscomics, thank you!

Great tip! I’ll have to try this :+1:


freeCodeCamp converted the article I mentioned above into a 66-minute video:

I have a 3-minute video segment about Patreon which you can find starting at 52:58. In that segment, I briefly cover two topics:

  1. Who should start a Patreon page?
  2. Seven quick tips for being successful on Patreon

Hope some of you find it to be helpful!


I like all of these suggestions, especially this part

Send out fun, positive tweets/posts the first two weeks of the month reminding your followers you’ve got some great content planned and to come hang out. When you share patreon-only links to posts in tweets or whatever social media, snip a little preview of the art or text or whatever you make so you can entice new potential fans to join, which seems a lot more effective than the generic patreon header thing that appears if you only paste the URL.

I actually might try this strategy out. I’ve been redesigning my thumbnails on my videos to make them more creative and stand out to the viewer. I’m hoping that they attract more viewers to my videos. So, I’ll try the same with my patreon videos!


Just announcing upcoming content hasn’t worked for me. It seems to be a perfect opportunity for patrons to rethink their support and maybe cancel.


This week I’ve seen two people offer the opposite: instead of announcing upcoming content they reminded their audience (each in a public post) what they gave their paying supporters during the previous month.

No idea how that’s working for them, it just caught my attention.


I’ve had trouble with that too. I usually tried announcing some perks that I will be doing for anyone who joins my Patreon account. But, I barely get any responses. Is this post that I made on Twitter a good way to attract some attention?

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I think that sort of post can help interest people, but I think that talking about things you’ve already done for patrons (and waving the exclusivity in front of non-patrons) can help grab people’s interest.

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In waving exclusivity in front of non-patrons, do you mean that the tweet should go like this:

“Hey everyone! Have you checked out my “Deadpool” movie review on YouTube? If you had and you loved it, then check out the rest of the movie reviews on my Patreon account! It’s $3 for early access to my reviews before I post them on Sunday or Monday and it’s $5 if you want to make a featured request!”

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Something like that, yeah. You know the best way to write for your audience. I sometimes don’t mention the $ amount or the money at all and just say ‘x was available for patrons’, so it sounds less like a sales pitch and more like a normal part of my day to give exclusive cool stuff to paying customers. Play around with different posts and see how people respond!


Using the actual tier prices in the social media announcements makes it look like standard product advertising. People don’t seem to like that. Try it more general like “if you support me on Patreon” or something like that. They will see the specifics when they click the link.


Thanks for the advice! So I guess the tweet should go something like this:

"Hey everyone! Have you checked out the Deadpool review on Youtube? If you had and you enjoyed it, the review was also available for the patrons on my Patreon account! If you want to check out more of my reviews or if you want to suggest more movies and TV shows for me to review, then please feel free to support me on Patreon!

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Something like that, yeah. (Just got back to this.)

Try different things and see what sticks!

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"Hey everyone! Have you checked out my Deadpool review on Youtube yet? If you did and you enjoyed it, let me know! If you have any suggestions or want to check out more of my reviews, check me out here (insert Patreon link to page) and get involved in helping me make my content the best that it can be! I make extra content for my Patrons every month and Patrons also get cool (what ever you offer here). Also warm glowing feelings knowing that you support an artist that loves making videos etc. " Something like that. Make them feel like they want what you got :slight_smile: and really they do want it. :slight_smile:


Thanks! I’ll try that!

Hello All!

I tried to create a new topic, but I got an error message (“you are not permitted to view the selected source”). So I apologize if I am sort of hijacking this post, but it is quite related to my topic. SIDEBAR: Are new Patreon Community Users unable to post new topics?

I’m John Lathrop and I am lost … not about what Patreon is or how to use it … this is the bigger/broader definition of lost. It’s the Ultimate Question. The Ultimate Catch-22. The Big One. The big “HOW in the world” question. If there are threads out there that delve into this deeply, please let me know!

So here it is … I assume that most new Patreon creators, like me, need a day-job to survive. But when a Patreon account is brand new and has zero Patrons - or let’s go even further and say it has 50 Patrons … I don’t know if that’s even a lot or a little, but if they are at the minimum $3 on my page, that’s a whopping $150/month. Obviously I would need hundreds of patrons to even consider living on this alone. Which brings me to my dilemma, the catch-22: I can’t create the music and art my Patrons are paying me for because I don’t have enough time; I don’t have enough time because I have to work a day-job to survive; thus, I can never focus on getting more Patrons and I’m in fear of losing the ones I have.

So what is the answer? According to the first post on this thread, you already need a LARGE built-in audience … my audience is relatively small … 1500 or so followers on FB, and about 1000 on my email lists, for example. Still, I have spent years building my audience, and it’s not like they are chopped liver. Am I screwed until I have 100,000 followers? And if so, it begs the same day-job question, basically … because how would I have time to devote to building up those followers?

This is the only reason that for YEARS I never even considered starting a Patreon page. Why bother even creating a Patreon page if I can’t come through on the perks I offer because I don’t have enough time to create … because I don’t have enough Patrons to support me?

Any help offered on this will be greatly appreciated. And I don’t mean to be negative, I am just in need of support and understanding of how this will work when I am limited on time due to needing a day-job. I feel what I have to offer is high quality and very unique: Mod Power-Pop music ( and Mod Pop Art (, but both take a lot of time to create. With the purpose of Patreon primarily being that creators will now be able to create their art full-time and be supported financially by their audience, I fear that despite spending years creating art and building an audience, I am still missing something or not understanding something that could/should propel me into being successful on Patreon and FINALLY having no day-job.

Thank you in advance!