My $100k Breakthrough

Bragging Time:

As of yesterday morning (September 1st, 2017), my total revenue from Patreon hit six digits. ($102,959.68)

I’ve been on Patreon for just under four years now (I launched in November of 2013). My account predates monthly campaigns - back when all campaigns were “per creation”. I also started with an established fan base and a large community of fans and followers on Google+ (I had been sharing my creations free to the public since 2009 by that point, so while I’ve been on Patreon for 4 years, I’ve effectively been running this campaign for 8 years). I launched my Patreon campaign expecting that in a year I would have myself at the point of bringing in a few hundred dollars a month, maybe even $100 per creation.

How I got here

  • Continuous Output. I release 2 paid creations a week on average. I also post work-in-progress shots to all my social media outlets, bringing me up to 5+ posts a week.
  • High Visibility. I release all my works for free and show them off on FaceBook, Google+, Twitter, and my blog.
  • The Tip Jar. Releasing all my work for free turns each and every piece I produce into more advertising for myself. Instead of using Patreon as a paywall, I am using it as a tip jar. And it works great in this manner.
  • Reminders. Paired with that high visibility, every official release includes a graphic with my website address, and a “Patreon Supported” tag. This brings new people discovering my work to my site (and all my other work), and each piece of work in turn reminds them that I have a Patreon campaign that pays for it.
  • Leveraged Goals. As we approach a goal, I make it a big part of my promotion - so people feel that if they get involved, they are making a difference and that they should do it NOW, to get us over that goal line.
  • Marketing. Know your target market. Adjust your product to match their needs, or adjust your market to match your product. Find influencers and make them happy so they can tell other people about you. Maximize market penetration and visibility. Fill this paragraph with buzzwords. No seriously, those might be buzzwords, but they all WORK.
  • Keep it Personal. As an artist, you are your brand. YOU are the product often as much as the art is. Get out there and be visible and be awesome. Talk about yourself. Do your thing. Immerse yourself in your creations and sell the whole package, not just the final work.

While Patreon has changed a lot over the four years I’ve been here, these strategies have held true for me the whole way. From my launch in November of 2013 to now, I’ve been working these elements and have seen continuous growth in my patronage and in the quality of my work and the quality of my life.


Can you describe what that work is exactly? That will also be part of how you got there.

Congratulations, Dyson!

I have seen your work a couple of years ago when I was looking for an artist to hire for some map work - great stuff!

It definitely feels good to cross some “magic threshold” with whatever constant revenue-stream you are looking at and 100k definitely sounds magic enough!

Please forgive the following line of thoughts, it’s just my personal reaction to the numbers you gave:
One should note, though, that over 4 years that is about 25k / year, which boils down to roughly 2k and a bit per month. While this is GREAT to have as an additional income (and I am sure some people can live on it nicely), splitting off the 50% that the state wants to have (at least around here in Germany) I was actually “shocked” to see how much work goes into an income of about 1000 Dollar per month NET. 2 paid creations per week (I cannot create anything “creative” that anyone would pay for, but …) is a lot of work. Adding PR plus personal “customer relationship management” is another layer of activity.
What I mean by this is: CONGRATS again to your achievement. To me, though, it says: It is a HELL lot of work to get some “additional tips” through Patreon - based on your description what you have done to get where you are. Kind of disillusioning, in some way :slight_smile:


P.S. To underline: In no way I am intending to disregard your success, actually quite the opposite - your achievement illustrates how much work one has to invest into something like Patreon if you would want to make “a living from it”. It should not be seen as an “easy way to get rich, fast”, but as something you have to seriously commit to.

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That’s over the long term - but if we focus in on 2017, it averages at slightly over $3k USD per month. While I spend about 40 hours a week between creating / promoting / chatting, the reality is that at least 30 hours of that I was doing anyways before Patreon. My rough revenue from the Patreon side of the business alone is slightly below 18/hour. Throwing in commissioned work and book sales and my revenue climbs up to about $28.75 / hour (USD).

It isn’t great, but it is a great deal more than I used to make when this was my hobby.


I’d still say it’s “great”, because it is a single revenue stream, not a mix. :slight_smile:
My bet would be that not many artists can claim that hourly rate - somewhat sustained - throughout the year.

Yet, just as you point out, it only works when it gets constant “feeding”. There’s no income from “just being a great artist” alone.


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I draw maps for tabletop fantasy RPGs. Here’s my Patreon page (which needs an update).



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Yeah, congrats for sure :slight_smile: I’m also looking for ways to grow and am looking forward to when my revenue climbs to over 10k in total, which I’m coming up on in a few months. Your advice is super helpful, and I love that you stuck with it. It’s great encouragement and a reminder for me to do the same :slight_smile:


Congrats! Honestly, you work hard and it’s good that you’ve gotten something out of it.


This is timely advice; here I am posting pictures on reddit without even my signature, let alone a link to my Patreon. 8P


About a year ago I started branding all my released graphical elements to increase awareness both that they are mine (I also fail to sign a lot of my work), and that the exist thanks to the patronage of cool people via my Patreon campaign.

It made a noticeable difference in my market visibility.

But then we get to Reddit… reddit is a hard-assed place to operate in. I used to be the poster-boy on /r/RPG of how to run a blog and still be relevant to the community (I doubt I’m still there, but for several years I was in the FAQ as the example of how to provide good community content without just referring back to your external site). But as I moved most of my communications over to G+ and FB, my interactions on Reddit declined and now when someone else does post a link to my work, people crawl out of the woodwork to insist that they are either paid to do so, or are just sockpuppet accounts of mine.

But if leveraged properly, Reddit can push hits to a website better than anything out there right now. My record day for my blog (15k unique views) was set on a day when a link to one of my pieces made it to the top of a major subreddit.


WOW thats amazing success congrats I have been in it almost a year and still havent reached my first $500 goal. I definitely was told to focus on my personality and my content together and people will pledge because they love me being myself

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@DysonLogos thanks a lot for sharing this, really helpful!

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Congrats and thanks for the tips!

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What a creative way to use Patreon! A tip jar… Very cool. CONGRATS.

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