Why I’m stopping my Patreon
Desperation, then thrill, discomfort, pressure, and eventually anxiety
I started using Patreon almost out of desperation.
I’d been working full-time on my businesses for about a year. They weren’t making enough money, and my experiments weren’t getting me closer to sustainable business models. I needed a new income stream.
Cole Valley Speaks was in full swing, and a lot of people were interested in that.
Even though I had a lot of irons in fires, there wasn’t anything I was more passionate about, and I threw most of my resources into that work, even though I didn’t have a monetization plan.
People subscribed for $5–10 a month, mostly as a vote of confidence.
I don’t think they thought I was an incredible writer or my ideas were particularly special. But my projects were novel, and they got some people excited. They wanted to show that they were behind me.
At first, it was a thrill, “being paid to write.”
It made me feel special. I started using it almost like a journal, sharing about my thoughts and experiences with a writing style similar to what I’d send a close friend or family member.
But, when it came down to it, I felt weird requiring people to pay.
Transparency and accessibility are near and dear to my heart, and it felt weird that only patrons could read. I started feeling like I was marketing myself too much. Doing the “personal brand” bullshit. I was becoming uncomfortable.
I started feeling like it wasn’t fair that I charged.
While I was traveling this summer, it started gnawing at me.
I started feeling like I was cheating people, especially when a week went by without me posting. I originally said I would post weekly, after all.
I started wondering if people were staying subscribed because they were being nice, not because they wanted to.
That they didn’t really want to pay each month, but they didn’t want me to feel bad, seeing them unsubscribe. This idea bothered me — I really don’t want anyone feeling like that.
I would try to talk myself out of it.
“Imposter syndrome is normal.” “Maybe you ARE providing enough value.” “Let people decide for themselves whether they want to unsubscribe or not. Don’t be too sensitive.” “All people that get paid to write probably feel like this sometimes.” But, the feeling didn’t go away…
It was causing me anxiety. I felt pressure. Self-imposed, but still.
It didn’t feel worth it anymore. I started thinking I’d feel better if I stopped and went back to free, transparent ideas. That felt more true to who I am.
When I decided to stop my Patreon, I felt relief.
I’ll continue to write, but not on any set timelines, and only as inspiration strikes. And anyone will be able to have it — which is what feels best to me.
Feel free to follow me there, or don’t.
And if you still feel compelled to lend financial support, please give to Reclaim Idaho instead.
I firmly believe they’re doing the most important work in our state right now, and I’m trying to support them as much as I can.