Do you want to make a career doing what you love online? I am, and I want to help you do it too! With the incredible online platforms we have available today, there is no reason why you can’t succeed. The most important tool to my success is Patreon.
I’d like to share with you how to use the website, along with other social media platforms, to get out of your parents’ basement and into the real world! You might be wondering why you should listen to me... listen to me because this is coming from a real artist. Patreon is the wave of the future, and I want to help you ride that wave to success! Here are six pieces of advice that I’ve learned while creating and sharing my art on Patreon through the years.
1. What is Patreon, anyway?
Patreon is a membership platform for fostering a community and building meaningful relationships with people online. Its purpose is to help artists earn a real, stable salary. My definition of success includes obtaining the ability to do what you love and put food on the table at the same time. Patreon is one of the few sites that actually make this possible. A reliable salary gives you more freedom to create and puts you in control of both your career and your life. When it comes down to it, if you are an artist looking to expand your influence online, you need to use Patreon.
Although it is crucial to maintain a presence on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Patreon should be at the center of your social media hub. The idea of connecting directly with your supporters is paramount. This is a proven fact; artists who have done this throughout history have been very successful.
2. Build relationships.
One of my favorite things about Patreon is being able to connect intimately with my most devoted supporters. People have the unique opportunity to contribute directly to your ideas and help you grow as an artist. Patrons give me great honest feedback and I feel lucky that I’m able to use their input to make material that they will enjoy. I hate using the word ‘fans’ when it comes to my supporters - they’re more like family to me. I call them the Hollens Family because it’s a community built on loyalty and friendship. That relationship is everything.
One of the most pivotal moments of my career was realizing that I needed to not only create art but also manage my community. This is incredibly important, and I spend 80% of my time doing it!
3. You have to work hard.
I am very lucky in that I don’t even need to call my job work because I love it so much! That being said, I work very hard and am 110% committed. One of the most difficult things was teaching myself how to wear so many different hats. For example, I had to teach myself how to edit and color my videos. However, the internet is free and with a bit of google searching, plenty of persistence and some long nights, anyone can learn how to use Final Cut Pro and Adobe Creative Suite. (Good news- I will be covering these topics in the second segment of the Hollens Creator Academy. You can learn from my mistakes! :D)
If being an artist is in your heart and your soul, you can’t wait for someone to ‘discover’ you. In most cases, this is simply not going to happen! You need to open doors for yourself! Social climbing doesn’t work, but working your butt off does. There’s simply no way around it. That being said, set up your content on Patreon in a way that will not require you to do so much work that you get overwhelmed. Take it from me, I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way! Thankfully, my Patrons are always really understanding when I need to change something due to my busy schedule or if I have to delay a project. Don’t set yourself up for failure by promising too much content on Patreon.
4. Stop being afraid to try.
It really comes down to three things.
Are you willing to work hard?
Do you love your work?
Does your content have value?
If you just nodded your head three times, there is no reason why you can’t succeed. There are no excuses.
There are countless programmed social expectations that tell us we can’t succeed. But in reality, it’s just hard work. A lot of hard work. As consumers, we only see the finished product. We don’t see the millions of behind-the-scenes hours that successful people put in to create things of value. I guarantee you that the most successful people in the world are the ones who work the hardest. One saying I love is, “It takes 10 years to become an overnight sensation.” For the first couple years of my career, I was living in the basement of someone else’s house and eating ramen noodles with my wife to keep overhead costs low. I worked constantly, refusing to take breaks until I was forced to by the people around me. If you take one thing away from my story, remember that I started doing a capella as a 30-year-old dad in my underwear, making music in my garage. If anyone tells you that you can’t do it, run away from them as fast as you can (maybe put some pants on first), because they will not help your journey.
In order to succeed, you need to set yourself up for the opportunity. Stop letting the fear of failure hold you back, and just try. Make a Patreon account TODAY, and begin exploring where it can take you.
5. Understand the future of the music industry.
Online musicians are the future. Connecting with fans is the future. Patreon is the future. It is the only platform that understands the musical revolution we are in because relationships on sites like Patreon are the only thing we can monetize in the future. There is no excuse to not try today because we have this incredible mechanism to succeed that was never available before.
Remember that content is king, distribution is queen, and if they aren’t married there’s no reason to create. Audio needs to have video. This is a necessity. You can’t make a name for yourself today if you don’t do this. The music industry is changing rapidly. No one knows exactly what is happening, and if they say they do- trust me, they’re lying. To keep up, you need to be constantly listening, constantly learning, and constantly trying to innovate.
6. Be passionate.
If you do what you do passionately, you don’t have to be the most talented person out there. It's not all about your music or your production quality. It's about who you are as a person. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and show people who you are! If people like your personality, they will like your music. People need to feel connected to you! As musicians, we have to constantly speak to our audience and remind them that we are real humans. I have no aspirations for fame, my goal is just to continue doing what I love and be able to provide for my family. If you love what you do, you don’t have to work a day in your life.
This is the future of music and people haven’t realized it yet. We need to look at music from a new perspective. This is why I’m starting an artist academy. I want to teach. It's not about making money. This is something more important than my art. I want my legacy on this planet to be making the world a better place by teaching others. That is where my passion lies, and I’m so excited to begin pursuing it.
I would be lying if I said the prospect of all this doesn’t scare the heck out of me. But one thing I’m sure of is that there is no better reason to live than to help other people achieve their dreams.
Check out more of my thoughts on this subject and others in a podcast I recently did on Music Biz Weekly titled Peter Hollens Shares His Passion And Success With Patreon.
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