Patreon currently is one of the most popular crowdfunding platforms. For me, they take about 5%. With some creators, it can get closer to 10%. You can set different levels of supporting you with each level having their own reward. Here are some tips on creating rewards:
Make sure they benefit the patron - not you
Be careful with physical items as podcasting is a global audience
Make sure you still deliver value, and that that fulfillment won't damage your original product
Some things to consider are you might offer engagement where you do private webinars for members only.
Some people offer to spotlight their "Fan of the week/month"
Insights into the creative process, so notes, sketches, demos. There is a reason lyrics on napkins are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
So you want rewards that benefit the audience, but don't lead you to burn out.
If I Can Get 50% Of My Audience I Will be Rich
You have 500 downloads an episode and you think that you can get 250 of them to donate $10 a month that would be $2500 a month or $30,000 a year. The bad news is you may get 3% if you're luck7 and the average contribution is $3 so you have 15 patrons for a total of $45 a month. I say this not to dash your dreams, but more so you don't quit your day job without knowing the facts.
Tom Boruta runs a website called Graphtreon where he tracks how much people make no Patreon. According to a post on theoutline.com "Boruta’s numbers are based on the roughly 80 percent of creators who publicly share what they earn. Of those creators, only 1,393 — 2 percent — make the equivalent of the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or $1,160 a month, in October 2017. That same article (Titled No One Makes a Living On Patreon) stated "In 2016, Patreon boasted that 7,960 users were now making over $100 a month, which struck me as such an insignificant monthly income to brag about. Around the same time, the company reportedly had 25,000 creators, meaning only 31 percent of Patreon’s users were making over a hundred bucks."
Last month I made $254 on Patreon. They took $11.19 and left me with $230.11. I work about 20 hours per month on that show which means I make $11.50 which is higher than the current National Minimum wage of $7.25 That is before taxes. If I set aside 30% for taxes, that makes my "take home" 161.77. Using that number I make $8.05/hour.
In 2016 there was a private Patrecon where 40 Patreon creators attended. At that event, founder Jack Conte stated, "the Importance of making great stuff." https://youtu.be/zBSOLTlRPoE
In this video, Jack points out how he spent a ton of time on creating a video that cost $10,000 and it made him $200. This is what inspired him to start Patreon.
I see where the Deep Fat Fried Podcast just started their Patreon in January of 2018 and already have 500 patrons. If you dig deeper you also see they have 24,000 YouTube Subscribers.
Crowd Sourcing: Step One Get a Crowd
So many people start a podcast focused on the money. I understand that. We need money, but don't forget crowdfunding starts with the word Crowd. So step one is creating a crowd. You monetize your audience, and in a world of AM/FM, CD, Spotify, Netflix, HBO, Cable TV, Satelite radio, you need content that inspires people to tell their friends. You do that by making people:
If you can educate while you make them laugh, that's a win. If you deliver the content you can't get anyplace else that's a win. My biggest takeaway from this is you are not going to create what Michael Hyatt calls "WOW Content" by turning on a microphone and winging it unless you are insanely talented. That reminds me:
If you're talented it is easier to grow your audience.
In a nutshell, you need
I recently started noticing a pattern. Natali Eckdohl of bizchix.com really started crushing it in her business. Darren Dake started making close to six figures with his online courses, and Jeff Sanders is now selling more and more books. What was the pattern? Years. Natalie and Darren are three years in, and Jeff is approaching three.
You might say, "But what about John Lee Dumas? He got his sponsor in six months!" John Lee Dumas does the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast. He does it every day. So if you take John's six months that is more or less 180 episodes. If you do a weekly show, how long does it take you to do 180 episodes? 3.5 years. Does this mean that everyone should start a daily show? Hell No. John is one of the most organized, disciplined, and charismatic people I know. I know TONS of people who have tried to be John Lee Dumas and failed. Why? Becuase it comes to him naturally. Also, if you have a job, a spouse, and kids, you can't do a daily show and deliver good content (unless you are a Super Hero of some sort).
You Have to Treat It Like a Sponsor
Even though some people choose to crowdsource over sponsorship, you still need to treat it like a sponsor and mention it in every episode. If your audience doesn't know how to support you, they won't do it.
Be Careful With Your Wording
I've heard some podcasters say things like, "If we get up to a certain level we can kill the sponsors." This does not make sponsors feel loved.
The first part of crowdfunding is getting a crowd and delivering so much value that they feel guilty for not supporting you. That takes time, effort, and dedication.