How to Create a Patreon for Your YouTube Channel
When you’re thinking about how to best monetize your YouTube channel, Patreon is probably one of the first options that comes to mind. It’s one of the best-established off-site monetization platforms out there. In this guide we’ll show you how to create a Patreon, step by step.
Basically, your fans can subscribe to you on Patreon to say thanks for the amazing content you create. In general, you can offer different subscription tiers and you can make premium subscriber content — such as additional videos, worksheets, ebooks, and even merchandise — available at different levels as an incentive.
Since it’s one of the most well-established players on the market, it offers lots of integrations with platforms like MailChimp, Discord, Vimeo, and Twitch.
One drawback of the platform is that, while there’s no subscription fee, the platform always takes a cut of your income when you create a Patreon page. How big that cut is depends on your pricing plan: On the Lite plan, the platform fee is 5%. If you opt for the Pro plan — which lets you create different membership tiers, for instance — you surrender 8% of your earnings. With Pro+Merch (11%) or Premium (12%), you’re giving up even more, in return for extra features.
Patreon Basic Setup
Let’s get right to it! Go to Patreon’s homepage and hit the Get started or the Create on Patreon button. Patreon will then take you through a 5-step basic setup.
On the page that opens, sign up with your email and a password, or by connecting with Facebook or Google.
Describe Your Content
First, you need pick a label — or two, maximum — that fits the content you create. For your YouTube channel, select Videos. If you also run, for example, a related blog or podcast, pick one of those too.
Now, Patreon asks whether your content should be rated adult — especially for nudity, but also for any other reason. Picking Yes is mandatory in those cases, but you should know it’ll also limit your visibility on the platform itself.
Setting Up Currency and Merch
Next up: Picking the currency you want to be paid in. Patreon currently offers eight major ones. Supporters can also pay in any of these, and the platform will convert them for you.
The next question is whether you want to enable Merch for Membership. This feature lets you send exclusive merchandise to supporters after a set time, as a loyalty reward.
We’ll look at this in more detail later. For now, you only need to know that it’s only available in Patreon’s higher tiers.
Connect to Get Verified
The final step of basic Patreon setup is connecting a social media profile. This lets the platform verify that you actually own it, and it’s also required to claim a custom URL (it’ll look something like patreon.com/yourChannel, and you can set it later on).
To add your YouTube channel (or any other of your profiles), hit Connect and sign in to let Patreon access it.
So far, so good! If everything went alright, you should now see a bare-bones page. Note that it’s not accessible to the public until you Launch it – so take all the time you need to set everything up.
Ticking Off the Patreon Launch Checklist
With the basic setup done, you can now flesh out your profile.
There are a few more things to do before launching, all in a handy checklist right there on your page.
A good start is choose your profile pic (256 x 256 px) and a page banner (1600 x 400 px minimum).
You’ll also need a page title, a tag-line of what you do, and a slightly longer about-you text.
With that done, your page should look roughly like this:
Ignore the Getting Paid settings for now — you can only make changes here once you’ve launched your page and set up a pay-out method. We’ll show you how to do that at the end of this guide on creating your Patreon page.
Next, go to Page Settings. Many creators use some handle for their work, but Patreon needs your real name and location. Enter those in the required fields, and the basic checklist is checked off.
Here, you can also choose the color of buttons and links on your final page – if you uploaded a banner and profile pic already, Patreon will even try to guess a suitable brand color.
You can then preview your future Patreon page, and even share that preview link with others if you want some feedback from friends or family. Note that your page isn’t public yet – you’ll have to Launch it to make it accessible.
Check Out Pricing Plans
Before you launch — or set up any advanced features — take a good look at the Patreon’s plans. You’ll see them right next to the preview above, or also here. You’ll notice that our page has been set to Pro + Merch, a plan on which Patreon takes an 11% cut of our earnings.
The “+ Merch”, of course, refers to the Merch for Membership feature.
If you’ve picked a suitable plan, you’re ready for launch — which will make your page publicly accessible, and also lets you make some special promo offers.
In the next sections, we’ll show you how to set up Patron Tiers and Merch on your Patreon page — and how you actually get paid.
Setting up Patron Tiers
Creating tiers is fast and simple, but you also need to be able to deliver what you promise.
It can be a good idea to restrict time-consuming perks to the highest tiers – and you can also limit the number of subscribers to each tier. This’ll also add a shade of exclusiveness, of course.
Patreon offers some templates here, and they’ll already include a basic tier structure, complete with suggested pricing and perks.
Selecting the “Video Creators” template lands you with the following basic setup, which you can see under Tiers in your page settings.
But let’s add another, even greater tier here to see how that works. Hitting Add Tier leads you to a setup page.
Here, you first add a title, a monthly price, an eye-catching image, and a short description. Patreon will show plenty of good tips on this.
Farther down, we get to the heart of it: Select the benefits you want to give members — and there are quite a few options. Under Advanced, you can limit the number of patrons on this tier.
There are a few more options here. You can connect your Discord server to manage roles, and apply proper sales taxes for your jurisdiction. You can also ask new patrons for their shipping address — which you’ll need if you want to send them anything, and especially for Merch, which we’ll set up in the next section.
If you’re unhappy with this tier later, you can always unpublish it (on the bottom right).
Then just save the tier, and you’ll see it appear in the overview!
Setting up Merch for Membership
Patreon’s Pro + Merch and Premium plans allow you to sent extra perks to select member tiers.
Here’s how to create merch for members of your Patreon page. First, go to the Merch tab in your settings.
You supply designs, choose a few different items, and Patreon will automatically deliver them to patrons of the required tier – once, or after every 3 months for a year. The item will be charged to you – so make sure to calculate that into your tier prices.
Select the kinds of item you want to offer, and on what schedule to send them. You can either send one item after three months of membership, or four spread over one year. The following process is the same for both, but we’ll show you the year-long option.
In either case, Patreon will take care of the printing and shipping.
Give this perk a little description, and — more importantly — select which member tier will receive it. Patreon will make a few suggestions here, and helpfully also calculates some revenue figures.
Now, add your design to the individual items (at least the first one, for now), and finish this step.
Let’s take a moment to review everything we’ve just set up, then — if everything’s in order — we can publish the Merch feature for the selected tiers.
Finally, Patreon takes you back to the main Merch settings tab, where you can now see your newly set-up loyalty program.
Launch and Monetize
Now, if you’ve set everything up to your liking, hit Launch. Patreon may — in some cases — take a few days to verify you and your content. Finally, announce your shiny new page to your various followers.
Patreon also allows you to set a number of special offers for your launch, which we won’t cover here.
Soon, hopefully, you’ll see some cash flow. But how do you get paid?
Your view of the page you’ve created now changes to something like the following, with new settings available.
Clicking on the Settings here — you can find the others under Page now — takes you to a different menu. There, go for Payouts and taxes to add a payout method.
You’ll be asked what kind of business you run — and whether you’re a U.S. resident, for taxing purposes.
On the next screen, you can connect a PayPal or Stripe account. These have their own platform fees, which you can see below:
Patreon will then tell you that any account balance will be put on hold for a few days for security reasons. After that comes a tax form, W-9 if you’re a U.S. resident, though filling it in is beyond the scope of this guide.
That done, you’re all set up. Patreon can now actually pay you any funds that you may have accumulated at this point.