What Is Patreon — And How Does It Help Creators Make Money? (2024)

Patreon has become so ubiquitous that most YouTubers, podcasters, and content creators seem to have a link to it somewhere on their social media channels. But what is Patreon, anyway? Is having a Patreon the best way to earn money as a creator? And how much can you really make on the platform?

Ahead, we break down this popular membership platform, look at how much creators are earning through their Patreon, and cover how you can set up your own.

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a membership platform that creators can use to monetize their audience by sharing gated content. It allows creators to offer both free and paid memberships to their followers in exchange for exclusive content, a behind-the-scenes look at their content creation process, or even digital products. Over 200,000 creators are using Patreon to earn recurring monthly income.

How does Patreon work?

Publishing content on Patreon isn’t that much different than posting content on other social media platforms, except you have more control over how much you can earn from your content.

With Patreon, there’s no wrestling with ad revenue-sharing programs or trying to decode obscure payment plans from creator funds. Instead, creators can decide how much their subscribers would pay for their memberships, and what kind of exclusive content they’ll share with subscribers. No algorithms and no advertisers to appease. It’s just you and your Patreon subscribers.

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Who can use Patreon to monetize their content?

No matter what kind of content creator you are, you can likely find a way to make money through Patreon. Here are some examples of what different types of creators can offer to their Patreon subscribers.

What kind of creator are you?What can you offer your patrons?Examples
PodcastersAd-free episodes, extra behind-the-scenes episodes, listening parties, fan submissions, newsletters, exclusive merchDungeons and Daddies, Heather McDonald, Eyewitness Beauty
YouTubers and other video creatorsBehind-the-scenes content, access to exclusive communities, discounts on merch, exclusive vlogs, early announcementsEpic Rap Battles of History, Molly Burke, Whiskey Tribe
Creator educatorsExclusive videos, inclusion in credits, exclusive community access, behind-the-scenes content, exclusive coursesKurzgesagt, Veritasium, Christine McConnell
MusiciansExclusive songs, early access to new projects, behind-the-scenes videos, discounts on merch, exclusive meet-and-greets, exclusive Q&AsAlissa White-Gluz, Jacob Collier, Amanda Palmer
Gaming creatorsExclusive shows, Q&As, behind-the-scenes content, community access, early access to new contentSuperMega, The Escapist, KawaiiStacie
Visual artistsExclusive art, process videos, early access to new content, community access, free digital productsLittle Thunder, RossDraws, TheLatestKate
Writers, journalists, and bloggersExclusive feedback channels, exclusive blog posts, early look at upcoming content, free signed books, exclusive newslettersWait But Why, N. K. Jemisin, Brandon Stanton

Why set up a Patreon?

At first thought, setting up a Patreon account could seem like giving yourself a bunch of extra work on top of everything you’re already doing as a creator. But trust us when we say that while there’s some elbow grease involved, it’s more than worth it in the end.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider setting up a Patreon.

Diversify your income streams

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If your biggest source of income as a creator is tied to your social media platform of choice or just a few brand deals, you should be looking for ways to diversify your income. And launching a Patreon is one of the best ways to do this.

Sure, you’d have to put in a bit of work to make that income from your Patreon memberships, but it’s a lot more stable and consistent than what you’d make from platforms like YouTube or TikTok, or from brand partnerships. Social media platforms and brands are constantly changing the ways they pay creators, meaning your income can nosedive overnight. Creating a Patreon makes you less dependent on revenue from other platforms and advertisers.

Build a deeper connection with your audience

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Another great thing about Patreon is that it connects content creators directly with their audience. Many creators would offer an exclusive community (like a Discord server) or other ways for their paying subscribers to send feedback and ask questions through Patreon. Not only does this make your audience feel like they’re part of an exclusive club, but it can also help inspire new content.

For example, the podcast Dungeons and Daddies would ask their audience to submit names for characters that would appear later in their show. While simple, this kind of interaction can be incredibly effective in community building.

Enjoy more creative freedom

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Patreon is one of the best ways to escape the bane of all creators: the dreaded algorithm. That’s because on Patreon, you’re not competing for your audience’s attention the way you are on a platform like Instagram or TikTok.

Your Patreon subscribers have paid to be there, meaning that they’ve literally invested in the content you’re sharing with them. That gives you the freedom to create the exact kind of content you want to produce, without having to worry about an algorithm making it hard to reach your audience.

How much does it cost to use Patreon?

You can set up your Patreon website without paying a dime — the platform will only charge you when you start earning. Once you start getting paid, you can expect to pay the following fees:

Platform fee

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Patreon charges a flat fee, taken from your earnings, simply for using the platform. The amount you’ll need to pay depends on the plan you’re using. The Pro plan charges 8% of your income, while the Premium plan charges 12%.

Currency conversion fee

When you set up your Patreon page, you’ll choose one of 14 currencies as your payout currency. But if your patrons pay for their membership in any other currency, Patreon will charge a 2.5% conversion fee to convert it to your payout currency.

Payout fee

When you pull money from Patreon to your bank account, the platform will charge a fee that varies based on your region and payout currency.

For example, American creators receiving payouts in USD via direct deposit can expect to pay $0.25 per payout. You can check out Patron’s guide to find out how much you’ll have to pay.

There are a few other costs associated with using Patreon, such as sales taxes on payment processing fees, but they’re generally smaller than the fees listed above.

Despite these fees, you can make a killing on Patreon. Need further convincing? Let’s take a look at how much Patreon creators are making.

How much money can you make on Patreon?

No two Patreon pages are the same. Some creators may have a massive audience, but with few followers who are willing to spend on a monthly subscription. Meanwhile, others may have a smaller, more dedicated audience that will pay anything for some extra content.

Let’s look at some of Patreon’s top creators — and some smaller accounts — to get an idea of how much you could make on the platform.

How much do top Patreon creators make?

According to the website Graphtreon, which tracks some of the top creators on Patreon and their earnings, here’s how much the 10 creators with the most patrons are earning:

CreatorWhat do they create?Number of patronsEstimated monthly earnings
Matt and Shane’s Secret PodcastPodcast68K$190K – $476K
Chapo Trap HousePodcast43K$182K
True Crime ObsessedPodcast43K$119K – $299K
x4fabVideo games40K$45K
Dungeons and DaddiesPodcast38K$105K – $264K
Worlds Beyond NumberPodcast34K$58K – $265K
the yardPodcast32K$206K
Not Another D&D PodcastPodcast30K$83K – $208K
KurzgesagtVideos28K$23K – $267K

While these numbers are impressive, note that having a ton of patrons doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be raking in more than a creator with a smaller audience. You have to strike a balance between attracting a large following and monetizing your Patreon in the right way.

How much do smaller Patreon creators make?

According to the data from Graphtreon’s top 1,000 creators list, here’s how much some smaller creators are earning on Patreon.

CreatorWhat do they create?Number of patronsEstimated monthly earnings
Sam the IllusionistVideos1.8K$1K – $17K
Core4VT ReactsVideos1.8K$1K – $17K
Clarence KennedyVideos1.8K$2.5K
Jon DentonVideos1.8K$3K – $16K
SciBabeBlog1.8K$5K – $14K
Miracle of SoundMusic1.8K$3.5K
DogenEducational content1.8K$1K – $17K
Syama PedersenAnimations1.8K$2K – $13K
GordoTEKVideos1.8K$1K – $17K

How to estimate how much your Patreon could earn

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So, with all these numbers in mind, how much could you expect to earn on Patreon? Well, Patreon itself has shared a handy system for estimating your own potential revenue, which could be more useful than simply looking at how much other creators are making.

Here’s how to figure out how much you could make on Patreon:

  1. Take the number of followers or subscribers you have on your top platform — let’s say 30K people.
  2. Take 15% of that number, which the Patreon team estimates would be the amount of people who’ll follow a link to your Patreon website. In this example, that’s 4,500 people.
  3. Of all the people that visit your Patreon page, 1-5% of them will sign up to become a subscriber. In this case, that’s 45-225 people.
  4. Now, you need to find the average value of each patron, which is based on the price of the Patreon membership tiers you offer. So, if you offer multiple membership tiers that cost $2, $5, $10, $25, and $100 respectively, but most patrons pay between $2-$10, then a patron’s average value is about $7.
  5. Finally, multiply that dollar amount by the estimated number of patrons you’ll have. You should make approximately $315 – $1,575 in Patreon earnings per month.

Now, try this with your own numbers to estimate how much you could earn from Patreon.

How to set up your Patreon page

Now that you have an idea of how much you could make from Patreon, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up your own profile.

Step 1: Sign up for a Patreon account

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First, create a Patreon account, either with your email or by linking a Google, Apple, or Facebook account. After that, select the type of content you’re creating (e.g. podcasts or videos), and decide whether you want to sell digital products through Patreon or not.

Step 2: Give your page a name

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At this stage, you’ll give your Patreon page a name. Don’t worry if you aren’t 100% sure about the name — you will be able to change it later.

Step 3: Connect your social media accounts

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By linking Patreon to your social media channels, you’ll make managing and promoting your Patreon page a breeze. Not only that, but your patrons will feel confident that this page is really yours.

Step 4: Customize your page

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It’s time to personalize your page. Most creators on Patreon would give their page a headline that succinctly describes what it’s about. For example, “creating a true crime podcast” or “filming comedy sketches.” Then, you can upload your profile and cover images, and fill out your About section.

Step 5: Set your membership tiers

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Now, you’ll iron out your Patreon membership tiers, including what you’ll be offering subscribers of different tiers, and how much your patrons will pay.

Not sure where to begin? Here are some pricing tips from Patreon.

Step 6: Complete payment settings

Better make sure you can get paid! Patreon will ask you to set up a payment schedule (monthly or per creation), select your currency, and choose your payment settings. For instance, how you want to get paid, and what kind of tax entity you are.

Step 7: Finishing touches

The last little bits to set up your Patreon page include giving Patreon your legal name and country of residence, setting up your visual preferences, and choosing whether your number of patrons and earnings will be visible to people when they visit your page. Finally, be sure to preview your page before you hit publish.

And that’s it! It shouldn’t take you more than an hour or two to set this all up and start earning.

3 tips to maximize your Patreon earnings

Sold on Patreon and ready to set up your own page? Here are some tips on how you can make it work over time.

Find the right balance between value and effort

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Patreon’s exclusive memberships are great for giving your audience something more than your free content. However, be careful that you don’t spiral into burnout by creating that extra content.

Your Patreon content has to entice new potential subscribers and keep them coming back, but don’t forget that you’d still need to create your regular, free content. It’s important to treat new types of content you offer through Patreon as experiments. Find out what type of content engages your Patreon audience — ideally that doesn’t require too much additional work from you — and do more of that.

Build your membership tiers strategically

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Choosing what you’ll charge for each membership tier — and what your patrons will get out of them — might be one of the biggest challenges when setting up your Patreon. That’s because pricing strategy, or how you decide what you’ll charge, is a complex mix of psychology, economics, and business strategy. While you don’t have to run focus groups or hire a marketing agency to set your Patreon tier prices, you need to be ready to modify them over time.

If you set your membership prices too low, you’ll likely not make enough revenue for the amount of work you put in. But if you set them too high, fewer people will sign up. Finding the perfect pricing and the right number of tiers to offer is something that takes time and careful planning.

Interact with patrons frequently

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Not everything on your Patreon has to be an exclusive piece of content that you spend weeks working on. One of Patreon’s strengths as a creator platform is that it can bring you closer to a subset of your audience, and you don’t necessarily need a lot of production value to take advantage of this.

For example, sharing quick, behind-the-scenes clips of your recording setup, posting occasional polls asking for feedback, or even publishing written updates on your creator journey are all great ways to keep your patrons engaged.

And that’s how you can make money on Patreon!

Setting up a Patreon is one of the best ways for creators to build a direct relationship with their most dedicated followers and make a recurring monthly income. It doesn’t take long to set up a Patreon account, and you can start earning some serious income in no time — as long as you already have a decent-sized and engaged audience.

By creating your own membership subscription, you can diversify your income streams as a creator. That means you are more resilient when other platforms like YouTube or TikTok make changes to their creator monetization tools.

Early in your creator journey and not sure how to start earning? Check out our FREE guide to making your first $100 online.

What Is Patreon — And How Does It Help Creators Make Money? (15)

12 Ways to Make Your First $100 Online

Get inspiration and pro tips from a dozen creators who know how to make bank!

Follow The Leap onTikTok,Instagram, andYouTubefor moremonetization tips for creators.We also make anewsletter.

Further reading

  • 12 of the Best Ways To Make Money Online as a Creator
What Is Patreon — And How Does It Help Creators Make Money? (2024)


What Is Patreon — And How Does It Help Creators Make Money? ›

Patreon provides business tools for content creators to run a subscription service, making it easier for them to monetize their content. It's essentially a crowdfunding site for content creators, but it describes itself as a "membership platform" to simplify the process for creators.

How do creators make money on Patreon? ›

In exchange for a monthly or annual fee, paid members get exclusive benefits giving them even more access to what you create and the community experiences you offer. As a creator, paid membership gives you recurring, predictable income that can help you build your creative business on your own terms.

What is the point of Patreon? ›

Patreon is a way to join and engage with your favorite creator's community. No algorithms or doom scrolling here — you'll have a dedicated place to get content from the creators you know and love.

What are the downsides of Patreon? ›

Pros & Cons
Ease of UseBilling Issues
Ease of LearningLimited Editing Features
FlexibilityPricing Issues
1 more row
Jun 18, 2024

How much does Patreon cost? ›

Patreon charges a flat fee of 5% on all pledges made to creators. In addition to this, payment processing fees are also charged. These fees may vary depending on the payment processor used and the location of the patron.

Who is the highest paid Patreon creator? ›

Top Patreon earners:
1the yard (Creating a podcast)
2Chapo Trap House (Creating Chapo Trap House Podcast)
3The Adam Friedland Show (Creating The Adam Friedland Show)
4TrueAnon Podcast (The ONLY Anti-Pedophile Podcast fighting the Sicko Elite)
46 more rows
Dec 20, 2023

Who actually pays for Patreon? ›

The member pays their higher membership amount on the 1st of the month. Members who upgrade a monthly (non-charge upfront) membership immediately access the higher membership. There's no charge to upgrade, and the member pays their higher membership amount on the 1st of the month.

What is the most popular content on Patreon? ›

You will notice that podcasts are by far the most successful medium on Patreon, followed by videos.

Can I use Patreon for free? ›

Who can join for free? All fans can join for free if their creator has a free offering listed on their page. Some creators may only show their paid options prominently on their Patreon. You'll know a creator offers this option if you see a Join for free button on their page.

What is the Patreon controversy? ›

Since its inception, Patreon has been widely criticized for its approach on handling and removing child sexual abuse material either drawn, photographed, or filmed.

What content is not allowed on Patreon? ›

By submitting content to Patreon, you accept that it complies with both these guidelines and Terms of Service. Creations displaying p*rnography or graphic depictions of sexual acts. Creations that depict minors in a sexually suggestive manner.

Is there a better alternative to Patreon? ›

Why Kickstarter is a Good Patreon Alternative. Kickstarter is ideal for innovative entrepreneurs seeking funding for one-time projects rather than ongoing support. Unlike Patreon, Kickstarter operates on an all-or-nothing funding model, ensuring that projects only receive funds if their goals are met.

What is Patreon mostly used for? ›

Patreon provides business tools for content creators to run a subscription service, making it easier for them to monetize their content. It's essentially a crowdfunding site for content creators, but it describes itself as a "membership platform" to simplify the process for creators.

What percentage does Patreon take to creator? ›

Current platform plans
5% of the income you earn on Patreon plus payment processing, currency conversion, payout fees, and applicable taxes.8% of the income you earn on Patreon plus payment processing, currency conversion, payout fees, and applicable taxes.
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Apr 22, 2024

Does Patreon take a cut from creators? ›

If you sell products, Patreon will keep 5% of commerce earnings plus fees and applicable taxes. There's no cost to list products, and you only pay when you start earning.

Can you live off of Patreon? ›

But it's important to be realistic about what Patreon will and won't do. Based on their numbers, Patreon estimates that a creator with a following of 30,000 people can make about $315-$1,575 a month. If you're currently making nothing, that sounds pretty great. But it's hardly enough to live on.

How to get payout on Patreon? ›

How to set up my payout method
  1. Log in to your Patreon creator page on Desktop or mobile web.
  2. Click the Settings button on the left navigation side.
  3. Click Billings and payouts tab.
  4. Click Add payout method and follow the prompts.
Apr 25, 2024


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