Are We Living in the Patreon Era?

February 20, 2018 - 13 Comments

Trends are changing faster than ever before. Most of us still remember life without the internet, yet even what used to be "the thing" online is outdated now. Those who want to keep on growing simply have to keep up.

Online advertising, the lifeblood of much of the internet as we know it, is slowly dying. We can feel the next wave coming. Those who can catch it early could win in a big way.

If you've been wondering why your online ads are less successful than they were in the past or you're a creator or personal brand, this episode is for you.


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What You'll Discover in this Episode:

  • Why Facebook, Google and other online ads are becoming less and less effective.
  • What is banner blindness and can you do anything about it? 
  • How Patreon is based on an idea that seems doomed to fail - but may be the future of the internet.
  • What is crowdfunding about and is it something you should take part in?
  • The top players on Patreon, what they do, how much they make and how they get their fans to donate even though they're already rich.
  • The difference between value-based business and indirect business. Which one to pursue?
  • Why are people happy to give money to creators, even though they're not obliged to do so? 


Here are the resources we mentioned during the episode:

Time to Collect Patrons?

Are you already using one of these crowfunding platforms? How could your business model benefit from Patreon? Share your thoughts with us on this new way of making money and keeping your fans, in the comments below!

Also, if you have a question that you'd like to be answered on the podcast, send a tweet to @actigrow or leave a voice message below.

Thanks for listening!

About ​Alexandra Kozma

Alexandra is a traveling marketer. When she is not editing podcast episodes or writing blog posts, she's out there exploring a new city. She's the creator of the Morning Mindset daily mindfulness journal.

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  • The times they are indeed changing! People still seem to want information for free, and I do see YouTube as a good source of that information and (for me) a decent way to make some money. I’ve noticed a major drop in my online course sales the past couple of years, and it’s not just from my lousy landing pages. I think the online course market is super saturated. Plus, blogging seems fruitless. You can’t even trust websites anymore. There are so many fake and low-end or copied websites now. They look legit but if you dig deeper you see they are junk. Some of them even ask to guest post on legit websites. My own mailing list is full of auto signups with fake or bot email addresses and it’s impossible to stop them (according to aWeber). All of this is very disheartening to small creators like myself. Like you said in the podcast, if you are big, then you will get bigger and can use these multiple streams of income. But for the person starting out, it’s nearly impossible now. Banner blindness indeed! I’d love to know the solution. I guess we’ll wait and see.

    • Thank you for your comment, Marlene. Good observations about the saturation and bot-ification of the Internet. For sure, the noise is growing and the signal is probably growing to a lesser extent.

      However, I also see this as an opportunity to differentiate yourself. If everything’s flooded with bots, cheap knockoffs and scammers, people will be desperate for the real thing. It may be more difficult to reach those people, but when they do find you, they’ll be all the more passionate about what you do.

  • This is something that I have recently been considering, so I am glad to see a podcast on this topic. (And, by the way, I like this more “philosophical” podcast and wouldn’t mind more of them.) One approach would be to have a “donate” kind of button on the website. (I noticed this on Maria Popova’s site, You are essentially inviting visitors to donate to support your content creation. Another angle is that you offer your free blog posts and other resources AND give your audience free access to all your products (more of an open-source approach), but you invite them to pay you whatever it is worth to them. I don’t know how it would work. My hesitancy is two-fold: 1. As you mention in the podcast, this seems more viable for people who already have strong momentum in followers, other streams of income, etc. 2. I haven’t had a lot of success at getting many people to look at either my free stuff (that I consider high-quality) or purchasing my low-cost paid products. I have too many uncertainties with how to be successful at an online business. I am determined to figure it out, though!

    • Thank you for your reply, Mark! I’m happy to hear that you enjoy the philosophical episodes as well. :)

      I agree with your concerns, here. Conversion rates for freemium stuff tend to be in the 1-2% range, so the vast majority of people will simply not pay if they don’t have to. I think the more passionate and the larger your fan base, the better these models will do for you. One of the most interesting things is to see how the donation model is used in a supplemental way, rather than as the sole income source.

      • That makes sense– the donation model would need to be supplemental for me. I appreciate the information about conversion rates for free stuff. It makes me feel better! I need these glimmers of hope. :)

  • Thank you for this podcast, Shane and Hannah! I have been listening since someone pointed me to it in December as one of their favorite business podcasts, and I agree. You do a terrific job of taking apart and analyzing relevant topics to those of us navigating this entrepreneurial adventure. Keep up the good work, I appreciate it!

    • Thank you very much, Maureen! I’m happy to hear that you’ve found our podcast useful. :)

  • I always like your podcasts, Shane! And this was another good one. I like hearing about your perspective (you called it more philosophical) on the industry trends. Best regards

  • Hi Shane,

    I looked into the Brave browser and one thing they also mention (in one of their graphics) is pop-ups. If browsers in the future will block pop-ups and who knows, maybe even landing pages, online marketing would need to change drastically.

    Really enjoyed this episode and I’m thinking of creating a page.

    • Hello Melvin,

      I wouldn’t take it that far. Regarding pop-ups: keep in mind that there’s a difference between a popup and a modal box. A popup is a new browser window that opens up on top of the one you’re currently looking at. Every browser blocks those, these days. A modal box is what you typically see for opt-in forms, but it’s not a separate window, it’s actually an element of your website. These are almost never blocked, unless they contain ads.

      As for landing pages: blocking landing pages would make no sense at all. That would mean blocking almost everything on the internet that isn’t an article or a social media page. I don’t think users would be happy about that.

  • Shane, you are so right at the minutes. If your audience trust you and become very focussed by you on their needs. They’ll pay. Thanks for the idea of sponsors. One of my plans could bring me evergreen money, so I could setup a payed team. I need your Thrive Architect plugin and tutorials in Thrive University so much. As this eyeopening podcast. Thanks a lot to you and Hanne

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