Tips for Balancing Work and Family as a Creator?

Hey, it’s Erica from Patreon’s content team. I’d love your input for a story I’m currently planning.

We’d love to hear about your experience balancing family and your creative career. Whether it’s taking care of your kids, a loved one, or any position where you find yourself in the role of caretaker, how do you balance that with running your creative career? Here are a few questions:

  • How are you managing it?
  • Does running your own membership-based business make it easier?
  • What advice would you offer other creators in your situation?

Full disclosure: we would like to use some of the answers we receive from this discussion for a blog post, so please let us know if you’d be willing to be mentioned in the post, or if you’d be willing to talk directly with one of our writers!

Thanks so much! :hugs:


I went from 60 to 20 hour work-weeks; my earnings went from $2700 to $600 back up to $1000 - all in my first year as a new mum. My income has dropped roughly a quarter, not so much if you consider my hours were cut down to a third. The biggest difference is that my income now comes from 3 different sources, no longer from just Patreon, and I only spent time/money/energy on the things I love doing.

My story:

I have been a Patreon creator since February 2016. During my best month the total patronage was $2700+. One of my strengths, according to my patrons, was to always deliver more than I promised. Which was easy to do, because I worked 60+ hours a week. Until last year…

I became a first-time mum in July 2018. By the time I returned from maternity leave, and the little one was 4 months old, we started daycare 1 day a week & my parents also have her 1 day, so I was able to put in 20-24 hours a week - at best. Sleep deprivation is still very much a thing & caring for the little one when she’s sick still results in less art-time. I try to draw when she naps, although oftentimes I find myself doing housework haha.

My own fulfilment is important for my physical and mental well-being, so I try to make time for things like running, maintaining the garden, playing videogames (rarely), going to the movies with my husband or spend time with family and friends. I’m lucky to have a husband who supports me so well, and who also spends a lot of time with the little one. Admittedly some of the things are harder to prioritize, when work is also a hobby and already comes last so often…

For the first 4-5 months I tried to maintain my income, by aiming to put out the same amount of content in less time. Of course that didn’t work, so I ended up overpromising & underdelivering. I’ve lost a good chunk of income due to an unexpected charge in October, followed by the “new fee debacle” and getting rid of all my physical reward tiers.

I made some pretty radical changes (and some costly mistakes) and I saw my earnings drop to $1600 in October, and then to below $600 last month…

It took me 5 months to realize that the way I organized things before I got pregnant was no longer sustainable. At 20 hours I was still forced to produce 5 to 6 pieces of art each month, spent a lot of money on production and another 2-3 days to pack and ship everything. I no longer have that kind of time… so I decided to pull the plug out of everything that was causing me stress* or wasn’t cost-effective.

(* I have post-partum PTSD, so work-related stress is something I have to avoid too)

Here’s what I did in April:

  1. I removed 3 physical reward tiers and encouraged these patrons to continue their support at a digital tier by lowering their pledges to $1, $2 or $5.
  2. I was able to pause my campaign in May (thanks to a big commission the previous month I didn’t have to worry about finances) to really take the time to give my patreon page a big overhaul, focus on improving my store, create a new commission form and take a much needed break (lots of gardening & running).
  3. I adjusted the rewards for each tier, to the point where it wouldn’t stress me out, even if I or the little one would get sick. I need to be able to complete everything I promise in half the time (12 hours a week).
  4. I set myself new goals for this year: I want to make $1000 on Patreon, 800+ Euro through my store and 200 to 500 Euro through commissions. These amounts are before expenses like production or shipping fees (about a third of my total income).
  5. No longer having all my eggs in one basket makes it easier to not stress out over the monthly dip in patronage, or a bad month for store sales.

So when my total patronage fell below $600 last month… iirc it was $545 at its lowest, I panicked a little. This drop severly impacts how much funds I can put towards the production of new merch for my store, so I decided to reintroduce a new physical reward tier on July 10 that would cater to my most loyal fans & would give me the extra cash to have something new to list in my store every month. Within 10 days all $25-slots sold out and I’m now back at ~$1000/mo. So now I can focus on my other two goals! :slight_smile:

Making these necessary changes definitely caused me and my husband some anxiety, because my income experienced a huge drop before I was able to climb back up. But I am happy to say it did climb back up, and did so in a more sustainable way. I’m more conscious about what I spent time, energy and money on now - and only pursue things that I enjoy & are worth doing. This is a luxury position to be in, and I would not have been able to do this without the support and encouragement from my patrons.

I left some details out, but this post is already pretty lengthy as it is. Happy to be mentioned in the post if you can used any of this, or talk to a writer if you have additional questions :slight_smile: Thanks for asking the community this question, I really wish some advice was available when I struggled with this balance!


I’m so happy to hear that you were able to climb up, and what an awesome strategy to put into place while also being mindful of your new schedule and needs.

Thank you for being so candid in your experience. I feel like this is something so many creators will find relatable as well! I’ll be in touch if our writer would like to chat with you directly. Thanks again!

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Short answer - I’m a single full-time father, and I do most of my work while my son is at school or after he goes to sleep at night.

One fun thing we do is, every time I get a new patron (for any amount), I show him the email notification and we give each other a fist bump to celebrate. It helps me stay positive and remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Yes, any part of my answer may be used & you’re free to mention my name.


I love that he’s in on the successes with you and is learning first hand that success is a marathon not a sprint! I’ll be in touch, Chris!


Balancing work and Family/life is definitely hard.

My partner and I work really hard to separate work from the rest of our day. I plan my work days around his, since I work from home and he works away from home. So when he gets home, I’ve usually already started winding down (though his work days vary in length) and forward things on my schedule i may not have gotten to, to the next day. Sometimes a little overtime is needed but it’s rare and we endeavor to keep it that way.

Our aim is to ensure that the evenings are for non-work things. Us, errands, exercise, etc. Unless we decide to play some online games with friends, the computers are generally offline in the evenings. Some days we even mute or turn internet connections off on our phones, which can really help. I’ve always been something of a workaholic and it’s taken a very long time for me to start feeling even semi OK being offline in the evenings. (I admit that on days when my phone is still connected, i’m still somewhat working the social media circuit and it’s a habit i need to break. People can wait until the morning for an answer 99% of the time. It’s a rare occasion that something is important enough that it needs my immediate attention and i need to really come to terms with that and curb that “always online and answers imediately” habit.)

It’s on ongoing thing and i think it probably always will be as everything around us evolves, but the both of us work together to promote time off in the house. We know that burnout is real and have experienced it many times in our very different fields so we strive to make better choices to avoid that at all costs. It honestly makes for a smoother home life when you can actually get away from work for a while and recharge. Everyone has different ways to do it but it comes down to really digging deep and figuring out what your bad habits are and finding ways to help yourself break them. Don’t expect to do it immediately, be gentle and understanding with yourself and just keep working at it. Try different things. Some folks need a strict schedule. Some need something more loose. Timers, sticky notes, working alongside other people to keep you on task to keep you accountable, etc. There’s many tools and ways to get it done! It’s never too late to experiment and find what works for you and sometimes what works at one point in your life may not work forever. You are an ever evolving human being and your specific habits and needs will change over time!

As for my patreon, i find the monthly cycle has really helped me and my patrons are letting me work on all sorts of things to further my skills and business without having to pay a lot for commissions. Mind you, i DO still offer commissions through the platform but all in all, i know exactly what i’m doing right from the beginning of the month and it makes it much easier to handle overall then sporadic commission orders and trying somehow to fit in other work. Having a cycle works wonders for me

(and yes, feel free to mention me and use any of this in the blog or what-have-you if you find it useful)


@chriscade @Frenone @Temrin thank you so much for your help on this article and for sharing the ins and outs of finding balance with your family and career. I wanted to share the article with you in hopes you’d share it with your fans and community as well :star_struck:

Thanks again!!

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Thanks for sharing the link, and I’m glad my experience & perspectives were helpful!