Please, help. I'm about to give up

I’m not sure if anyone can help me or not. I’ve been on Patreon since around late April, early May of 2016. Since then, I have had no one. Not a single supporter.
I have a few clients/collectors but they either are afraid of crowdfunding for some reason.
Or think they have to offer up large sums of money, and cannot afford it. I have tried to contact few creators here and there to ask if they would like to use the pledge for pledge theory (if there’s someone support8ng you, others might do it).

I never got any response. I tried on deviant art to get pledge for pledge contacts and only got sworn at and insulted because I would rather not be connected to anyone who does things that are sexually or violently graphic.
I have rewritten my creator page NUMEROUS times. Currently I have it mostly empty because I am trying to do that again, but the more that I am ignored. The more frustrating it all is, and it comes through in what I am trying to put in my creator page.

I’m disabled (due to inherited physical issues, spinabifida is taking them, and also, I have PTSD- from severe abuse as a child, in school). And I am on disability. I want off of it. I hate being on it. But I can’t do that if I can’t support myself. I have tried mentioning my disability and tried NOT mentioning it. it seems to make no diff.
I have seen creators on Patreon who are disabled. Make the statement that: (for example) they are lazy and don’t want to get off of disability but would like to be able to afford this or that game and so on. And they are being supported even though it sounds like more of a joke than a serious situation.

What I do, also is not what most of the features of Patreon are geared towards. I’m not a you tuber. I’m not a singer or podcaster. I’m a fine artist. A jewelry artist, a clay and pyrography artist. Most of the features are geared towards people who blog, sing or YouTube.

At this time I cannot put videos together and that is also hindering me. I also do not post often, in Patreon in my post section because what’s the use? No one is watching. No one cares. It’s depressing. It really is. And I’m at a loss for what to do, anymore.
I don’t know anymore, what I can do. I really don’t.

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I don’t mean to be harsh, I feel at this point you need honesty: Patreon may simply not be for you. Not because there’s anything wrong with you, but it simply doesn’t work for everyone, and if you’ve been around this long without your audience catching on, it’s very unlikely you’re going to get anything out of the site within a timeframe that can help you get off disability. It’s just not realistic. Again, I’m not saying you’re doing things wrong. I’m a fine artist, I’ve been around for 2 years and am only making pocket money, it’s just the way it is, not everyone can flourish in this format. I don’t mind because I never expected it to be my living. But if you need the money, you may be far better off on something like Etsy or Gumroad where you can sell things without the pressure of having to convince people to pledge, and probably get better money for what you make. Patreon is new and nobody knows the magic formula yet nor where it will go. I would just not bother if it’s not working for you after a year. It sounds like it’s causing you a lot of distress and worry, and that’s energy you could be investing in some other site made for people like you. This one isn’t, as you’re fully aware of!
Just my 2 cents. I felt that telling you “try doing this or that” would just be cruel and make you spend more time and effort towards inevitable disappointment.

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Well, since I finally got into the community I would like to see if anyone would be willing to give me advice. Though I appreciate your honesty. I’m actually on etsy and other places, as well… I honestly believe I am doing something wrong. It might be me, it might be that i havent been able to go the pledge for pledge rout, that would encourage others.

I’m going to TRY to give it until December, at the least, if not April or May of 2018. Since its not working too well anywhere, I’m sure I’m doing something wrong. I get pleanty of compliments on my work. But, no one is buying. I am stressed, and depressed, but I also have been here so long that after finally getting into the community I want to try and see if it can help me.

I’m also trying to get some drawing videos on the net on you tube (I need a new PC first, hopefully this month) to try and get some attention that way. I know that part of my problem is that I’m not really very good with communicating, partially because of the PTSD. Anyway, I do appreciate the comment. And the consideration. And you are right. I am stressed and depressed. But, I also am hoping that I might find someone here who is willing to brainstorm or offer advice… Maybe.

Hi, Toria,

I am sorry that you feel like giving up - yet I fully understand (or believe that I do) what you are describing. You put work into a profile, you try to present what you do in a appealing way, but you don’t seem to get any feedback or support. And it feels like you don’t get any respect.
Been there. Still there :slight_smile:

There probably isn’t a silver bullet to improve your specific situation, mostly for exactly what @joumana has eloquently put into words. I have doubts that Patreon works for me, but so far I feel more comfortable here than, say, on Youtube, so I am still giving it time. Yet, to sharpen what Jounmana already said, it may well be that not just Patreon isn’t for you, but what you do or want to do isn’t for Patreon.
That is in no way a quality critic, there is art to be found on Patreon that does not live up to what you show for sure. Yet …

From my observation (very restricted so) the more successful Patreon users provide some project with continuity appeal. Be it a continued comic/cartoon, be it a project that is evolving over time, be it something specifically tailored towards (paying) patrons. Yes, there are those that only want to be supported because “they are artists and that should be reason enough”. Some of them are having success because what they produce meets a public taste. Is that good, is that enough? It may be, if you can make your living from it … but you don’t need to read Nietsche to see the flaw in that.

What you could consider is setting up a project, like a cartoon or retell a classic story in your personal style, promote it to people who like your art, ask them if they don’t want to pledge 1 Dollar a month, to ask friends. Be open, tell them that you don’t expect to make a LIVING from it, but that you are looking for a START, so every dollar helps showing that there is something going on. I know, you tried - but maybe not with a concrete project, not with a specific GOAL that they can see?

If you want to focus on getting some money in, I am afraid that my perspective is: Cater for the dogs. If you are an artist (I cannot judge that, I a not an artist and I do not understand the term “art” the way it is broadly used), you are probably capable of “mimicing” some style that works, that is successful. As a writer I have to copy styles all the time (I work as a ghost), it is this what is paying off my house. Not art. But craft. (sigh)

As far as exposing disabilities or not doing so - that is a very personal thing. I can give you my highly biased, grown on experience, politically absolutely incorrect and therefor absolutely no-go for public discussion opinion or suggestion on it. Since it is personal, such a private mail most likely won’t help you much for your profile page, but it may answer that hidden question “do people care” that is behind there somewhere :slight_smile:

All the best from Germany,
Marc

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Thank you Marc. Yes, I can actually copy styles (in my painting and drawing)- I can copy The Disney, My Little Pony, and Anime (japanese animation such as pokemon and other popular and non popular shows) art styles, as well as most (not all) other styles I try to draw in.
My Jewelry and clay works, I try to stick to original works here, and not copy anything with those.
As for mentioning my disabilities. I would actually rather not. But sometimes the issues do keep me from working and slow down my productivity. So, that’s why I was considering it. I would rather not, simply because: I don’t want sympathy support/buyers. I want to be supported, and have my works bought because people like them.
Also, its not really that I want to support myself with this (that is a desired ultimate outcome, though) I just want to be able to afford art supplies at this time, then if I can get a good enough following hopefully I can give up the disability benefits.
Anyway, thank you. Hopefully more people are willing to offer ideas.

Toria

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One of the basic truths of Patreon: it’s extremely difficult to get patrons if you don’t bring a large following with you. We discuss this a lot in the creator’s group on FB, and most of us have managed to convert 2-3% of our following to patrons. So, I have about 2,000 FB followers, 1,500 email subscribers, about a thousand on YouTube, and a few hundred on Twitter and IG—and consistently about 30-35 patrons.

I checked your Patreon page, and what I saw was a lot of advertising for things for sale, but not a lot of content. Think about what you might offer patrons beyond commercials. Take photos as you work, every time you put your tools down. Take photos of your easel or work table. Talk about your process. Give them a peek into your world, outside what you’ve posted to Etsy today.

And write and post for yourself, to sort of document your growth and progress. Maybe you’ll end up creating something people want to follow, and eventually support.

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Thank you, Lisa.
I actually tried to get into a creators group, on FB. I think I got into one. But, I had some questions about rules there, and still, no one answered me. So I couldn’t bring myself to post, anything.

I’m actually very awkward and shy (not good for an artist, I know) if I don’t get the “go ahead” to do something, I won’t. It’s a nearly cropping fear associated with my PTSD I have tried for 22 years to shake it (I’m going to be 32 in August- so, it’s been a long time).
Anyway, I am trying. But… It’s not easy. So, if I can’t get permission to say or do something, I stay quiet, unless someone gets me upset. That is one reason I believe that I am doing something seriously wrong everywhere.

That said: because of the same issue, I have no idea how to use social media to its fullest. I have maybe, at most, a dozen followers on FB, about 6 on Twitter, and Less on Tumblr. On LinkedIn I have only about 2 connections. It’s pitiful, I know. I do have some ideas, about 2 things that can get people interested… Or involved.
But, I need to wait until after Friday, before I can implement it, because the items have been on exhibition since May first-class (I take everything home on Friday).

I don’t really have a work table, at the moment. I use my lap for that, most of the times. Space is so tight in my home. Though I suppose I can try and find a work table. Take photos: are photos really good enough?

I’ve been trying for over a month to get a video I took, together for YouTube. But the laptop is 10 years old… It’s slower than a crippled snail. My mother is going to try and get a new one for me.
I post to social media, and get one or two follows, but, then nothing after.

This sounds like whining.
I’m sorry. I don’t mean to.
I’m just trying to make sure I state my situation clearly, in order to get advice.

Can you offer any more suggestions, after knowing the above info?

Should I post to it regularly regardless of responses?
I do fanart… Maybe I should post that.

There has been conflicting information: some things I read say not to talk about yourself or anything other than the works. While other info says that people want to know about you, and therefore you should… Which would be meant by the comment: “Give them a peek into your world.”

Also, as far as progress images of works go… Does that hinder an artist’s copyright? <- should I ask those questions elsewhere in the community?

Again: I’m sorry for all of the questions. And the complaining. I really appreciate all of the help that you have all offered so far. And feel like I’m trying to take advantage of all of you, or, like I’m being too pushy. Maybe I’m not pushy enough?

Building a following is like learning a new creative skill. You have to keep at it, for weeks or months, before you see any sort of payoff. It doesn’t happen overnight.

You have to do the work. That means overcoming shyness, physical difficulties, and now knowing how things work. It means figuring things out, and trying things that are suggested, to see if they work for you.

If you’re not willing to do that, you should choose to do a type of work that doesn’t require those things of you.

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You make it sound like I turned down everything you suggested. I did say that I am trying. And I plan to try what you suggested. I never said that I wasn’t going to. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t plan to try. I wouldn’t be asking for help if I didn’t plan to consider or try it. I was just stating how things were for my other questions.

You sound like your annoyed with me.
As I said, if I’m being too pushy with my questions, I’m sorry. I just had more questions in connection to what you said.

Hi Peridot…

I took a look at you Patreon page. You might want to throw a link up here in this thread so people can do that easily.

I’ve got a few comments for you, but keep in mind they are just comments and do not represent any sort of authority on my part. They’re just things I thought about while looking at what you do have there. (I’m aware you are in the middle of another readjustment of things.)

First, you could do yourself a favor by simplifying your pledge levels. Right now you have 5 of them and four of them seem to be including physical items. Several with multiple choices. This seems, to me, like a lot of work on your part to fulfill all these rewards. I would suggest you reduce that to maybe three, four at the outside, pledge levels. In general $1, $5, $10 (and maybe $20) seems like the way most folks go. Of those, maybe only the $10 (and $20) yield physical rewards of some sort which should be specific to each pledge level. This will reduce confusion over choice and make it easier for you to fulfill the rewards. Also, you may wish to include language indicating that one must be a supporter at that level for a number of months (about 3 I would think) before they are eligible to receive a physical reward.

Additionally, forget the pledge-for-pledge and affiliation thing. You can still do that if you want, but I wouldn’t talk about it right there in the pledge. Also, it’s worth considering if this is really worth doing. I would think it would be better to try to talk family and/or friends into backing you for at least a little while until the ball gets rolling. Additionally, that sort of thing is really only ‘valuable’ if you already have a big audience that people will want access to in some way. Probably best not to even worry about it. Instead, just offer the usual $1 patron awards and let it go at that. People pretty much expect that and it won’t do you any harm.

Spell check everything. Catch as many errors in language and spelling as you can. Put up sharp and clear pictures, as good as you can get them, to showcase your work. This will help encourage people to support you by letting them know you are at least mildly competent and serious about what you are doing.

Remember that you are ASKING for support. Not BEGGING for money. There is a vast difference in tone and style between these two things and your Patreon should reflect that. Your ‘job’ when you write your Patreon blurb is to convince people you are good enough to support, not sad enough to help. (And I don’t mean that as a slight in any way, just that it is the sort of tone your blurb should take).

As for your goals, consider rewriting them so they explain HOW meeting that goal will help you be better/do more/etc.
For example, your first goal of paying your volunteers, consider how the following sounds vs. what you have now: “At $150 I will be able to pay my two volunteers a small, regular amount as they continue to help me They are very kind people who make making my art easier and they deserve a reward for their efforts.” Basically just explain why these goals are important, what they will help you do (make better art? Make different art? Work towards a dream?) and what, if any, benefit to your supporters it represents. The idea here is to convey that you do X and by supporting you they can help you do X even better.

On the backside, you’ve got that thank you message that goes out, right? Why not include in that a one time discount code for one item from your store that supporters can use. (Go ahead and mention that on your one dollar pledge tier). It doesn’t have to be much, say 10% or so, but since you deal primarily in physical items, this can help incentivise things for supporters even at non-physical-reward tiers. I wouldn’t mind getting a small discount in exchange for a monthly dollar of support, and I suspect others would like it too.

Once you’ve done all that and you’ve got it all in place and you’ve maybe got some friends and family to jump onboard at least long enough to help get you started, advertise. I don’t mean take out ads (though you could if you have the wherewithal to do so), I mean tell everyone everywhere you can about your new Patreon, what it does, what they get out of it, and how it helps you. It doesn’t even have to be that intense. The idea is to say hey, here’s what I do and here’s a neat way you can get involved. Once a week facebook posts, occasional messages on Twitter. Instagram, whatever. Get the word out there. Let people know on your Etsy page. “Hey, if you’d like 10% off your next item, head over to my Patreon and become a supporter for as little as $1 a month.” It’s worth the effort if it brings in even one more person. Be nice about it, don’t be too pushy.

Some ideas for additional patron rewards and occasional niceties: Can you write 500 - 1000 words explaining how to do something related to your art? It doesn’t have to be major, maybe just explain a little technique, or a trick you’ve worked out, or a reliable way to do something. People enjoy those sorts of ‘insider looks’. Can you talk about inspirations for pieces you’ve made or why you made a thing a certain way? Recording audio is fairly easy anymore, and posting 5 or 10 minutes of you talking about your art is a great way to engage people in what you do. If you write things down and then speak them into a recording, you’ll have something you can post to your patrons that will take little effort to produce or edit and makes them feel like they know a little bit more about you and your art. Since providing physical rewards can be expensive, time intensive, and demanding, finding other rewards to give will make your Patreon seem worthwhile even to those who maybe don’t want a thing, but just want to help.

Also, it seems like you have a unique challenge making art that others do not. Perhaps opening up and discussing that a bit and how it affects or informs what you do (if they do) or how you overcome those challenges (if any) would be a way to go in terms of rewards for patrons. You’ve got a story to tell. If you are comfortable doing so, people will be interested in hearing you tell it. Again, not playing for sympathy or begging for support, but just being open and honest about what life is like for you, how you’ve met your challenges, and what that brings to your work.I’m interested in it myself, so it’s reasonable to assume others will be as well.

I hope this helps you. The basic intent for you seems as if it will be showing your competence, explaining what the support will do for you, and engaging with your supporters.

You can do it.
Good luck, and have fun.

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Don’t give up! Try other things. It might be helpful to try building a fan base for your jewelry on Instagram. While it’s tech, and operates solely through the phone, it’s fairly simple. If you post your creations over time and gain some followers - and follow other artists and jewelry makers - you might be able to advertise your Patreon through Instagram in a productive way.

It’s a slow build, slower for some than others. Patience is incredibly important, though, and I wish you the best.

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As has been mentioned, you have to build a following everywhere else first. I understand your frustration there. For YEARS I have been struggling to build a following while I watch friends make a couple of posts and blast past me with numbers. I asked them what I needed to do, what I was doing wrong and kept getting the same advice that when I tried and continually applied, did not increase my rate of growth. These things seem to come naturally to some people and some of us just have to analyze the heck out of it and keep making adjustments until we find what works for us.

Just recently I realized there are tutorials on youtube for how to leverage social media. I suggest spending some time really focusing on the different social media you use. Figure out the best times for posting, read up on hashtags, look for articles for optimizing your wording. Just build your following and plan for a re-launch of your Patreon while you’re doing this. Look up articles on social proof. Being able to explain social proof to friends and family members helped to get a few of them on board which gave credibility to my Patreon. Plan a soft launch and individually contact friends and family and let them know what you’re doing and why it’s important that they pledge just $1 so that when you do your official launch it will already appear to have initial success.

I also suggest reading “I’d Rather Be in the Studio”. It’s about self-promotion for artists. A lot of it is aimed at fine artists trying to get into galleries, but translates well enough into any artistic endeavor. It has a lot of great tips on how to set up a website or blog which also translates well to Patreon. It helps determine the best wording, how to make the most out of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and email newsletters. I’m only a quarter of the way through the book, but some things are starting to click with me that I just did not get before.

The thing you have to remember about Patreon is that without an established following, nothing about it is right now. It is slow building a following and even slower converting that following to paying patrons. I’m at a point where mine has stalled out, but I believe in the idea of patronage and know that if I persist I can make it work. You can too. Picking our brains is a good start. Find online articles, infographics, youtube tutorials, and books on any part of it you’re struggling with and reevaluate and readjust your plan.

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There’s a lot of great advice here from others. I’m relatively new to this, but can support and hopefully advise a few things.

As the others have said, your support isn’t going to come from Patreon. People aren’t going to magically find your Patreon page and start giving you money because you want and need money. GoFundMe would be a better source for that. That are going to come here because they are already a fan of yours, already following what you do, already like what you produce, and want to help support you in that.

I produce youtube videos, and it wasn’t until I started building up a larger subscriber base, working my community, using Facebook and Reddit to help support them that I started to see a few (very few) come over to Patreon to support me financially because they like the content I produce and the community that I work to try to build. They aren’t supporting me because I want money. They support the projects, content, and work I produce.

Even with all of that, I have almost 25,000 subscribers, 1500 people who have “liked” my Facebook page, and other areas I’ve built up, and I have about 20 Patrons. That’s after well over a year of hard work. I didn’t have my first one until 7 or 8 months after I started (and that’s not counting me! I actually signed in through a different account and supported myself so that it wouldn’t look like I was alone and not worth supporting)

it takes time, work, creating things that people want to support, and encouraging them (not begging, not hard selling) that if they want to see you keep producing and improve, then this is how they can support that mission and vision. Give them a future to look forward to supporting.

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Thank you all. I appreciate the help and advice. I didn’t respond to anyone sooner, because I was worrying about annoying someone else, and I don’t like to get into arguments, or get people mad at me, which, is what it felt like I was doing a while back.
Anyway- I will try all of what was suggested, when I get a new computer. I really appreciate the advice. And the kindness.
I do. Thank you.
Right now it takes about 2 hours to do one simple task, like send an email, on my PC… So, I’m on my phone most of the time, for the time being.
Also, about the spelling mentioned before by one of you.
I’m Dyslexic.
I do spell check (not easy on a phone when it’s extremely limited on space and when copying and pasting doesn’t always work on this phone.)… Spell checkers and proof reading doesn’t do it all.
But I do try.
I’m worst at punctuation and grammar. I just didn’t want anyone thinking that I am being lazy or something with my spelling.
So I figured I should mention that.

As for getting family and friends to donate a little to get some visual support… They won’t. I’ve asked them all. Asked each one outright.
I hinted before that that if I could get someone to get me started by doing this… And so on.
They will give me loans here and there. But when I asked them about this, they just tell me I don’t need them holding my hand. That I can do well on my own.
I did and do, have some collectors. But, they won’t do it either. They all have various reasons as to why they won’t or can’t.

I will say: I only joined patreon, originally, because I received an email invite from Taryn (sp?) Who I did not know. And I checked out all of the info at the time. Nothing said that a creator needed a lot of supporters already. And it also didn’t say how hard it would be.

So, I figured, with my few collectors I might be able to start out and continue from there. The email and info at the time (it has since changed to match what’s happening now), I feel, was extremely misleading.
It doesnt help either when I tried to ask other creators some questions, and never got a response. I nevervgot a response when I emailed the "comunity happiness team(I think that was what it was called) about something that I can’t remember what it was, now, though.
Anyway, I am determined to make this work. So, once I can get a new PC (hopefully this month or next)- I can start to implement the advice you have all offered… I could try on my phone. But its a cheep smart phone and can’t handel a lot.

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