Melancholy Paydays and Motivation

I was wondering if anyone else gets the same feelings as me about the 1st of each month?

Rather than looking forward to payday with great anticipation and excitement I actually get quite anxious as I get put in the queue and then the processing happens. Nuumbers will drop and the payment is always at least a bit lower than expected (I lost 12 of 97 patrons this time round, about $90 in total).

Then it gets converted to GBP as it comes into my paypal and the number looks smaller (though I know the value is the same!) and then I hand over my contribution to bills and stuff and what looks an impressive number on Patreon is much, much smaller!

Basically, the days after the 1st when I have the smaller amount of money, I have to chase patrons who were declined, I have to block serial decliners and work out if they were declined by accident or not, I have to revise what I plan to do with my money due to the lower amount and, most importantly, I have to get back to work… It’s actually quite a stressful thing to do. My motivation is always badly hit for a few days until I start looking forwards to the next payday.

I actually hate these few days… I know payday should always be exciting and a time you reap the rewards of a month of work but it doesn’t always come out that way!

Does anyone else find a similar problem with their motivation or with always feeling just a bid melancholy about payday?

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@Elfy, what you shared is incredibly important. Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know how you feel about payday, and all the stressful stuff that comes with it. You painted a clear picture of why it can be so stressful, so scary, and so unknown, which is something we can never be reminded of too much.

I know other creators also feel this way as they’ve told me, plus I see similar sentiments on Twitter, Instagram, and other places. You’re not alone in feeling this way. I can tell you that it’s something we’re taking very seriously and are already planning a lot of work to make improvements wherever we can to minimize the confusion and stress around payday. Mostly it will be through giving you more information and clarity about how payments work, as well as about your patrons and what’s going on with your own specific page.

Is there anything we can do to make this experience better? Would you be interested in a monthly thread around pay day in the forum so we can all come together and share these things with each other, as well as motivations to keep going the next month?

Thanks again for sharing, and please accept this cute gif as a form of cyber hug!

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Hi Dav and Mindy, I just wanted to say that this thread really resonates with me. I don’t want to complain, because I love Patreon so much, but the first few days after the 1st of each month are just so stressful for me. I would be so much happier if the number of patrons the system displays did not fluctuate so much in the beginning of each month.

For example looking at my own billing cycle, if my number of patrons was 126 on the 30th of September, I would have appreciated it if it remained like that until the end of the billing cycle. Then, either adjust the number on the 6th of each month to reflect the real declines (rather than the processing progress), or reach out with an automated email telling me who declined and how my number is being adjusted.

Right now, I have 123 patrons listed. I had 126 on the 30th of September. I have 3 declines, but 2 of them were declined for months. So I am thinking with the one decline from Sep, I should have 125. Where did the other 2 Patrons go?

This morning - even more confusingly - I had 121 Patrons listed, and the same 3 declines :confused:

I usually avoid looking during the first few days because it is disheartening to me, but I have a special offer going right now and… there’d been other glitches I wanted to check on - I had one of my Patrons up their pledge yesterday and I received no notification so I am trying to check manually now…

I also notice that I hesitate posting updates during the first few days of the month because I’d rather not look at my (temporarily) sinking numbers…

Again I do not want to complain - I love Patreon - but if this process can be improved, it would be wonderful and I would be grateful.

Thank you so much for all your hard work, Patreon staff!

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I just want to say that despite the picture I painted above I’m not trying to be ungrateful, these are feelings inside me. There are things Patreon could do better but 95% of the problem is my own stuff.

Rose, I’m jealous of both your patron number and the very few declines you get! I regularly lose over 10% of my patrons through declined cards each month and only a few of them fix the issue, it might be because I’m an NSFW page so there are more problems? Just a guess.

I do my best to stay positive but when payday rolls around and numbers drop It bums me out. It feels like a lot of work that I’ve done is going unpaid at that point. I almost hate looking at my own page because everytime I refresh it the numbers drop. I went from $802 dollars the day before payday to $700 getting paid out. When I see that happen I just want to write an angry message to patrons and Patreon and quit… Forunately that passes and I go back to work trying to recoup and recover what disappeared!

That $100 drop hurts though… Not just financially but it makes me wonder why I bother to create when through one reason or another a large proportion of the people nominally paying for my work get it for free anyway. It makes me feel like I’ve been taken advantage of.

Rather worryingly, a $20 patron messaged me back after I informed him of the card being declined and whilst he fixed it and got the payment through he told me that this has been an issue for him the last two or three months on my page. He said he would consider cancelling his pledges because he feels like he is making my life harder and stuff. I try to tell him it’s all fine but it is definitely an issue. When people have to fix their pledges every month they get annoyed.

I liken it to a regularly employed person getting a pay cheque at the end of the month and never knowing what it will say. You know the number promised to you the day beforehand but then the number you actually get can be dramatically less. It’s hard to plan spending around that.

Sorry for the long ranty post but I have a lot of frustration with things today! Just to clarify, apart from the declines which are really hurting every month most of this is on me and not Patreon.

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Hi Dav, I feel for you. I am sorry it has been such an ordeal for you. I don’t know if it helps to hear (probably won’t) but I lost a ton of patrons when Patreon implemented that change in their payment method. People got so discouraged that many quit Patreon altogether. I feel that’s a real loss to everybody, creators and patrons and Patreon - and I am not sure if the issue is 100% resolved :frowning: it sounds like it isn’t for your patrons, Dav…

When I see that happen I just want to write an angry message to patrons and Patreon and quit…

I am glad that it is a feeling that passes and I do want to discourage you from mailing your patrons an angry post! The patrons are there supporting us and they are basically the people who believe in you and in your work the most… willing to pledge every month or as much as finances permit.

Personally I am really grateful to my patrons for as long as they stick around, it helps me emotionally to continue working because I know my Patrons are there for the stuff I create - I find it empowering! I do not get upset when people unpledge, but the current wave of declines is quite frustrating as it is a technical glitch that can be ironed out.

I hope you feel more encouraged soon! You have good earnings and I am sure that is a testament to your hard work and to patron buy-in :slight_smile:

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Yeah this happens to me very often, and it disappoints me. September 28th it says I will get $380, on October 1st the number is $349. Not a huge difference but very discouraging, and it doesn’t even say why.

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I do, I try to ignore it the last few days of the month and not count on the high figures I see in the middle of the month for next month’s payout. It makes me feel better if I believe I’m going to get $0 in payout on the first of the month then my expectations are overwhelmed in a good way when I see the payout on the 1st or second of the month.

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Oh yes, I feel this. I get hardcore anxiety on the first of the month. When I can, I try to stay away from Patreon until at least the 3rd, but that’s rarely possible because I have to post and reply to people.

I don’t generally go after declined patrons, but many have still explained to me why they declined. For many, it’s just a matter of when their own payday is. Since they can’t choose their billing date with Patreon, sometimes they have to wait till they get their paycheck and have money in their account. I have others whose card or Paypal declines every time for technical reasons, and they have to either retry or cancel/re-pledge to get it to work. (Some of these patrons have since left in frustration.) I always let my patrons know that as long as they fix things by the end of the month, it’s no issue. I don’t want them to stress about it. Most of my declines get fixed by day 5, and a few more usually trickle in by the end of the month.

As for how to make things better, I’m not sure. I have three thoughts on this, but no solid answers.

  1. I really wish there was better support for patrons whose cards repeatedly decline for technical reasons. I’ve had very many of these patrons, and before my outgoing pledges were taken out of my earnings, both my card and my Paypal would decline for no reason. This seems to be a Patreon-specific problem; my affected patrons always emphasize that their cards work with every other vendor. I don’t know how deeply it’s been investigated by Patreon, but I’ve had many patrons come away from customer support frustrated and without a solution.

  2. For patrons who decline because they actually have no money, it would help if there was a way to give them the flexibility of choosing their payment date without an increase in fees. But I know that’s easier said than done.

  3. Part of me is tempted to say “don’t display changes in my campaign’s total until the processing cycle is complete.” At least then I wouldn’t have that heart attack of seeing a $150 drop when a handful of $10 and $50 patrons decline on day 1 but fix it on day 2. On the other hand, that would make it harder for us to see and report an abnormal amount of declines. So I’m conflicted.

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This does resonate with me. I’ve lost a lot of patrons around the 1st of every month recently, it seems to be more to do with changes in the systems than anything else. I’ve managed to end up with eventually having gained more patrons at the end of each month, but that recent trend of a HUGE dip in patrons at the top of each month is pretty discouraging.

Other than that - absolutely love and appreciate this platform very much!!!

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Yeah, I get the same thing.

Lose a lot at the start of the month, slowly build it back up to he same or a higher level only for it to happen the next month. It gives the feeling of running on a treadmill, you’re working hard to just stay in place.

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so true, the treadmill comparison is a powerful way of explaining that scenario

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Is there some way to fix all these declines from even happening? I had 80 last month and around 60 this month. A lot of them have to call their banks and have been told they thought it was fraudulent because of the way the money was taken. Perhaps there is a better method? Or maybe you can speak to all the big banks and figure this out? At then end of each month I lose probably 15-25 patrons that are declined and not resolved and that’s a lot of lost income for us both.

I :heart:️ you all so much. This is a huge stress point for me in my life, especially since I’ve not been very active as a creator for a while due to mental health challenges.

Because of that my Patreon page is understandably shrinking every month, but that doesn’t help me feel any better. Like all the years of hard work I put into my art and building a community don’t matter now that I’m struggling.

That’s the thing about independent creators: we don’t have a safety net. We are our business, and once we destabilise, everything else does too.

I’m definitely not blaming my patrons or Patreon for this, I know how blessed I am, I still have over 200 patrons sticking around even though I’m not really creating much at the moment.

But yes, at the beginning of every month, I wait for the exit surveys and dropping pledge numbers with a sinking heart. It adds to my negative self-talk, why I’m a failure, etc etc.

Sigh, anyway, I’m just really grateful to hear how hard this is for many of us.

Thank you all for your honesty and sharing.
Warmly
Nate

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It’s been stressful for me this month more than usual, but I also had a number of patrons have to withdraw for financial reasons. At least three of them also told me they either were not given the option to pause, or couldn’t find it. Did that go away? Because that seemed to have been a good option for those who liked the idea of being supportive but had to deal with money woes for a month, they felt bad about “quitting” for a month then coming back. I wasn’t aware that pausing a pledge had left, so if it’s no longer an option for us please let me know so I can adjust my end of month “please check your payment method and pledges” courtesy post?

Good thoughts - and more patrons! - to everyone!
Tamara

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Email to Patrons on Payday

THIS. All of this. I get the worst anxiety as the month end comes close. The last two months have been a roller coster, get 3 new Patrons at low entry points lose 2 at higher ones. I lost 5 last month and the difference matters.

It hurts sometimes. It hurts on months when I’ve been producing my ass off because I feel like my hard work isn’t valued.

It hurts on months when I haven’t been able to write because I feel like “I deserved to lose them, I let them down”.

I am a full-time care giver for an elderly infirm parent so this is pretty much my job, and it’s a job where I can get a demotion or a promotion on any given day regardless of performance.

I know that I haven’t “gotten my weight up” as a creator. I need to fix a LOT on my profile and about how I explain this. But I still feel that I deliver great work so on months when there’s a precipitous loss for seemingly no reason it’s anxiety causing.

I feel you.

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I have the same issue, My wife started to call the days between the 29th and the 4th of the month “these days of the month” for me.

It is so very painful to see the declined payments and it makes me some times not opening Patreon at all because of this. It destroys my motivation.

sigh I have that feeling again now

====

I completely agree with Evan’s Idea

  1. Stop sending these email reminders the last minute exits are such a painful thing
  2. Charge them the day they joined not all together

These two changes would me Patreon SO MUCH BETTER for the creators.

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One concrete issue that could be looked at is how the pledge total changes during the first of the month without the pledges changing and without declines. (e.g. I can see the total number of patrons stays the same, and I can see the total pledged amount in Patron Manager stays the same.) That is, the pledge total displayed on a creator’s page may go from 500 to 439 to 470 and back to 500 as charges are processed. Maybe not quite that extreme, but I see this volatility starting with a substantial dip of the first of every month. It has frequently resulted in changes to which goals I’ve reached over the course of the day.

I SUSPECT this is because Patreon calculates that pledge total as “total pledges - expected fees” and the “expected fees” is based on recent charges, and somehow people with larger fee fractions (perhaps due to lower pledges?) get billed early in the cycle, so it makes Patreon think the fees are going to be way higher across the board until more of the patrons are billed? Or maybe instead it falls back to a more pessimistic fee estimation until a certain number of patrons are processed? I can’t think of why else it would change without the number of patrons or actual total pledge amount changing.

In any case, it would be nice if the pledge total displayed on the creator’s page did not go down on the first of the month EXCEPT for pledge cancellations, declines, or ACTUAL changes in charged fees to a given patron.

P.S. @tamara it was mentioned before that the ability to pause pledges was going to be removed – like, a while ago. I don’t think there was a follow-up saying that it actually HAD been removed, but if your patrons can’t do it, I expect it actually has been removed.

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Beyond any changes of interface or charging methods I would just love if Patreon had more success charging payments first time. I get the feeling a lot of the pain, for me at least, is failed payments. The problem with that compounded by patrons sometimes having to manually do things to get the payment through.

I’ve had a patron tell me he is considering removing his pledge simply because his payment is declined every month. I’m sure he isn’t the only one and that there are others who decide that when they get messages each month that they have had an issue they decide to remove their pledge.

A lot of it is unavoidable and an unfortunate part of the job we do, we can try to mitigate the damage but there will always be faults and always be people gaming the system.

As for sending out warning e-mails when patrons are about to be charged… I’m on the fence about it. I don’t receive any notifications before Amazon Prime, Netflix, WWE Network, etc take my money and I don’t see it as a scummy thing to do. It is up to the subscriber to keep track of the subscription, on the other hand it does make things more opaque.

Just wanted to add… I’m very happy I’m not the only one affected by this phenomenon!

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