Patreon is one of the platforms that help artists, game developers, content creators to monetize their content and websites. The ecosystem is quite simple, where fans of content creators give them a small contribution to their work enabling them to focus on independent content.
The issue with all third party platforms is that if they don’t agree with the creator’s point of view, the account gets suspended. This is exactly why we keep on advocating to have their own website where the complete control is there with creators. Over a few years, we have seen that even Patreon has disabled accounts in case the views are not aligned with theirs. At the same time, they don’t give additional advantages like traffic or contribute towards the success of your content. Your success depends on you.
Why do we advocate having our own platform vs marketplaces?
When you are on a platform, you are always at the mercy of the platform owners. This is applicable to all marketplaces. There are instances in Fiverr when they started with Fiverr Pro – they got in and started to disable a lot of sellers who were top-ranking sellers with 5-star ratings. I know of a seller who was with Fiverr since the early days and had done close to 500,000 USD of business through Fiverr. But, Fiverr decided without giving any reason and disabled their account. All of a sudden they fell flat and had to build up their business again from the ground up. This is there for sellers who are on the FBA program. Amazon can suspend its services at any time. There has been news about Patreon that a lot of accounts were suspended because they simply didn’t agree with the point of view of the content creator.
When your accounts are blocked or suspended it not just the revenue loss but the audience that you have built up. Everyone on the internet wants Democratization of content – but the content will never be independent if creators are puppets of the platform providers. It’s just traditional media houses in different forms.
Apart from content independence, there are other advantages to having your own platform.
Full Control Over your brand
The brand represents your identity. It is an asset that belongs to you. Having full control over the brand is extremely essential. So in the future, if you want to get investors on board or even take a business loan against your brand – you can. Investors or bankers always perceive having a business on a platform that is not owned by you as a risk.
If the platform is owned by you, you can start with additional revenues that you want to work with. There will never be a limitation of what you can do with the platform that you own. You will have more control over the revenue and structure your income based on your needs.
Case Study: A client of ours, is a wedding photographer. A usual thing will be when he is selling his services or his pictures. Over time he modeled his overall business to sell pictures, Adobe Lightroom presets, courses and blogs (with Amazon Affiliate). This helped him to start getting clients across the globe and increased his revenues. Not all revenues were per digital download; they were a mix of digital downloads and subscriptions.
Having WooCommerce to replace your Patreon – reduces the fees that you pay to payment gateways. When it comes to Patreon they charge up to 12% of every donation. This is insignificant when the donations are small – as soon as the donations swell up the actual amount is significantly higher. With WooCommerce fixed costs involved in creating and maintaining a website, most of these remain the same whether you have 100 followers or 100,000. If you have a bigger follower base it is always better to be on WooCommerce – it will be economical and better.
Flexible Donation Packages
Not all your patrons can swing a regular donation.WooCommerce is inherently flexible. Using WooCommerce as an alternative, one can easily create different packages and payment plans. For instance, there can be one time donations or fixed-term donations.
Case Study: A client creates royalty-free music. Initially, he was only giving away his work per song. After working with our consultants, he has modified his business model to have subscription-based access to his work along with the option to buy per song.
How do I create my own Patreon alternative
To get started you will need:
- Managed WooCommerce Hosting
- WooCommerce Membership
- WooCommerce Subscription
This post is focused on setting up Patreon alternative hence we will skip the part of how to set up WooCommerce. You don’t need to sweat about setting up WooCommerce when it comes to Managed WooCommerce, all the setup is done in a single click – not only that it will take care of your WordPress+WooCommerce security too.
With this extension, you can set up multiple membership tiers on your site. After installing the plugin, you’ll be able to:
- Create different membership levels that allow patrons to access restricted, bonus content. Perhaps your bronze-level patrons can view a private addition to your portfolio each month. Silver-level patrons might enjoy a protected area of your shop, where they can buy limited-edition items. And Gold-level patrons could download fun freebies on a regular basis. Set as many levels as you’d like to offer.
- Drip content to new members. Do you have a library of training modules? Allow new members to access these slowly, over time, avoiding overwhelm and rewarding loyal fans.
- Offer member-only coupons and special deals. Make full use of your WooCommerce shop to collect patron donations and share your work with the world. Sell art, stories, videos, or recordings, and create coupons exclusively for your fans.
Subscriptions allow patrons to donate on a regular, recurring basis while donations can follow any number of plans and periods, so your devotees can choose the perfect level of support for them. Use WooCommerce Subscriptions to:
- Set up subscriptions that renew weekly, monthly, or annually. Hesitant fans can start with a small commitment, while those ready to take the plunge can make a large donation right away.
- Create open-ended or fixed-end-date subscriptions. Reassure undecided patrons by offering subscriptions that run for a set amount of time.
- Ask for the first payment or registration fee immediately, to avoid those looking for freebies that will cancel before the first payment. Or offer a free trial period, collecting the first payment after new fans have a chance to look around and settle in. Don’t worry — you can restrict access to your most popular content until after the trial period.
- Allow patrons to cancel, suspend, or upgrade their account, from their membership page.
Get your WooCommerce Subscriptions
WooCommerce membership and subscriptions together
When you are using membership and subscriptions together you can get enough flexibility to create and of various types of packages that actually can represent business models. The WooCommerce online documentation offers excellent tips for setting up memberships and subscriptions as a Patreon alternative. In this article I’ll be showing you a high-level abstraction of setup as an alternative platform for more customization please refer to the wooCommerce online documentation.
Step 1: Install wooCommerce membership in a cucumber subscription from your dashboard.
Step 2: add a new product for each membership that you want to sell for instance bronze Silver Gold etc.
Now for each of these products, set up a subscription type you want. The most basic type is open-ended recurring payment for a fixed amount. You can also configure a variable payment giving your patrons a choice of the time period and the payment cycle.
Setup the payment information in the general tab for simple products and for variable products in the variable tab. You also need to set up the donation amount, billing period and end dates for fixed-term packages. The advantage with WooCommerce is that you can also set up a trial period as well as setup fees if required.
Step 3: Configure the permissions and access for your membership tiers under WooCommerce → Memberships → Membership Plans. Create a plan for each level that you have just created and associated with products that are created. For instance, bronze membership will be linked with the bronze subscription product.
Use other configuration tabs like Restrict Content, Restrict Products, and Purchasing Discounts to give patrons access to bonus parts of your website. You might offer special blog posts with Restricted Content, opportunities to buy limited edition products with Restricted Products, and bonus coupons with Purchasing Discounts.
Once this has been set up all your new Patreons will be able to purchase products from your website or subscribe. The memberships account would automatically be created and they can log in to their membership area to access all the special features and restricted content that is available to them. Not only that they will have a choice to pause, upgrade or cancel their membership or subscriptions.
Because both your plugins use WooCommerce, all the payments will go through WooCommerce and tax will be calculated automatically based on any of the tax levels that have been set up.
Having WooCommerce as an alternative for your Patreon, it will save you cost and also you can focus on creating content without the worry that your account can be suspended or removed at any time.
Tip: If you already have a following, you don’t have to worry to create your website from scratch. You can export it as CSV within the relationship management section and import it into your WooCommerce.
Hosting – The Basis of your success
Over time we have seen that people are getting disappointed not because of what wooCommerce has to offer, but because of the poor hosting solution they have got. This is why it is extremely important that you choose an extremely stable hosting provider – this will ensure that you have success with your website. This is where the managed wooCommerce hosting by GCH ensures that your website is always up and its response time which is far better than everyone else.
WooCommerce Hosting Features:
- PHP 7.4 with FPM
- SSD RAID 10
- NginX Caching
- Easy Scaling
- 1 Click Staging
- Server Security
- Automated Failover
- Performance Monitoring Tool
- Daily Backup
- Free SSL
- Full Developer Control
WooCommerce is a Patreon alternative that gives you and your fans a place to unite in a space you can control, promote, and manage yourself. With a few simple steps, you can build your own safe corner of the internet for your audience to gather and grow — and keep your creative juices flowing.