Patreon, a platform where creators get paid by fans of their work

Ready to quit your day job and pursue your dreams? We talk to the founder of a website that makes it possible.

For years people came to Hollywood to pursue their dreams. Now they set up shop online: making videos, writing blogs, and recording podcasts from anywhere in the world.

A website named Patreon is helping make it all possible. It’s a platform that lets everyday folks get paid to create whatever they want – from poetry to music – thanks to the subscribers who support them.

Recently, we met up with founder and creators at the site’s annual meet-up called PatreCon. At the event, which was held in Downtown Los Angeles, creators converge to share stories, exchange ideas, and learn what works.

So, can you quit your day job and pursue your dreams?

“I came to PatreCon because everyone here is hustling and they’re trying. I make videos about how great it is to be a father and how challenging it is as well,” explained Glen Henry.

Henry has a YouTube channel called Beleaf in Fatherhood with over 500 supporters on his Patreon. They pledge a monthly sum to support his content.

Beleaf in Fatherhood's Glen Henry with Rich DeMuro at PatreCon 2018

Beleaf in Fatherhood’s Glen Henry with Rich DeMuro at PatreCon 2018

“For the past two years, Patreon has been paying my mortgage. It also gives my family health insurance.,” explained Henry.

Founder Jack Conte started the site after his YouTube video went viral, but was only paid a small amount in advertising revenue.

“I thought, gosh if my fans were to just pay me a dollar a month that would make all the difference in the world,” said Conte.

The folks who donate to a creator are referred to as “patrons” and often they’ll get members-only perks, such as signed copies of books, podcast feeds without ads or bonus videos not available to the public. The average monthly support level, according to Conte, is about $7.

“To me, it’s not weird to see creative people making a living, doing a great job, building a business, hiring teams, and being valued,” said Conte.

Now, over 100,000 creators are on the platform and the site will pay out over $300 million this year.

Kati Morton is a therapist who makes YouTube videos about mental health. Morton says, “I’m all about community and this is a community of like-minded people just trying to create the thing they love creating and be rewarded.”

Kati Morton, licenced therapist on YouTube at PatreCon 2018

Kati Morton, a licensed therapist who does Mental Health videos on YouTube, at PatreCon 2018

But before you quit your day job, Conte recommends honing your craft, building an audience, and getting really good at delivering whatever it is that you do.

“It is now possible – like it’s not a dream anymore – it is actually logistically possible to make a living as a creative person,” concluded Conte.