Looking to monetize your hobby? Want to turn your passion into a business? Then you need to look into a service like Patreon. However, if you are reading this, you are not a huge fan of Patreon and are probably looking for the best Patreon alternatives!
Services like Patreon help creative people to earn a well-deserved income from doing what they love most.
But not everyone finds success with Patreon. Some users find Patreon limiting and prefer more tools to connect with their audience.
The great news is that there are Patreon alternatives out there with their own robust set of features. We put together 5 of our favorite Patreon alternatives to help you choose the right platform for you.
What is Patreon?
Patreon is a crowdfunding tool helping online content creators earn money directly from their audience.
This allows creators to keep their freedom of expression without obliging the rules of the higher-ups such as publishers, agents, or editors.
Patreon quickly rose to the top of crowdfunding platforms due to its unique, rewarding system and multiple subscription options.
However, the platform’s noble cause to give the power back to the creators comes with some limitations.
If you’re looking for a platform to help you connect with your audience and monetize your digital product, make sure it ticks all the boxes.
So, let’s first see what separates Patreon from the rest and see if there are Patreon alternatives that are better suited for your needs.
Patreon’s creator is a musician who wasn’t happy with the low recurring revenue he earned from YouTube. On top of that, the system pressured creators to constantly develop fresh new content that valued quantity over quality.
Many creators still weren’t able to find success after growing subscribers on YouTube.
With this in mind, it’s easy to guess why Patreon was well-received among content creators. It helped creators focusing on their work, knowing they’ll have recurring financial support.
Its reward system is a great way to reward “patrons” with exclusive content and make them feel a part of something bigger. On the other hand, it motivates others to commit, knowing that they’ll have access to the gated content.
On the other hand, nothing is perfect. Patreon takes notably high transaction fees (10%) combined with commission fees of the likes of Paypal. It also obliges patrons to recur commitment, when for some creators, even a one-time payment would suffice.
Also, you should keep in mind that Patreon is just a side platform that you can never really own. You can’t “own” your audience (patrons), nor could you build an entire membership around it. And those are the traits of some upcoming Patreon alternatives.
- Recurring revenue directly from the audience
- Less rigid in terms of available content
- Unique rewarding system for patrons
- A third-party platform (your audience is never yours)
- Lack features for promotion and marketing
- High transaction fees
Top 5 Patreon Alternatives
- Buy Me A Coffee
If you want to turn your content creation from a passion project to a real online business, you’ll need a tool like Hyax.
This is an all-in-one membership website builder that allows you to create, market, and sell your digital (and even physical products) in a blink of an eye.
On the other hand, Patreon is a crowdfunding platform first and foremost. Besides managing subscriptions and exclusive content for different subscription plans, you can’t do much.
As a Patreon alternative, Hyax provides all the above on top of all other features that suit modern content creators. Create your membership site and design the landing page. Manage subscriptions, memberships, build courses and digital downloads, and more. The software’s UX and drag-and-drop builder make it easy to start your own digital enterprise.
Furthermore, the platform has a digital storefront option that you can design and customize. So, if you’re a creator selling digital products, you can manage your entire business operation here.
With Hyax, you have complete freedom to start building a community instead of all your members’ data being owned by Patreon.
This is extremely important for the future of your business. What if Patreon shuts down? What happens to all your audience or members? With Hyax, you’re the owner of your email list, and even if you make the jump to another platform, you can still reach your followers easily.
On top of everything, the platform has top-notch promotional features. It allows you to build a sales funnel with upsells (a discount over $50 purchase) and manage payments quite easily.
One of the downsides of platforms like Hyax is that you’ll have to commit to paying a monthly subscription instead of relying on transaction fees. So if you’re still making content as a hobby, there’s a chance Patreon’s system might suit you better.
But if you’re looking to make the jump and turn your passion into a career, Hyax can do a pretty good job.
- Multiple projects per subscription (can build multiple membership sites)
- High-level customization
- Marketing features
- Affiliate and referral program built-in
- Built-in features (no need to install plugins and third-party apps)
- No free plan ($99/month) but has a free trial
- Only two payment plans (Patreon or Stripe)
- No API yet (developers say it’s coming soon)
- Best for content creators that want to commit to the project
If you’re looking for a Patreon alternative to fund a particular one-time project, then Kickstarter is for you. While Patreon relies on recurring monthly revenue, Kickstarter aims to fund your project as quickly as possible. You use it (as the name says) to kick-start a project.
With Kickstarter, you rely on a few things – exposure, good marketing, and the appeal of your product. It works on an all-or-nothing system.
You set up a financial goal for your project, and you put hope into a crowdfunding platform. If you don’t achieve the goal in a limited time, your project is bust.
One of the platform’s upsides is that you can finance some of your ideas quickly and independently. It also lays the groundwork for your followers to keep following you after the funding completes. Kickstart will even promote the project on their website in the “project that we like” section.”
However, if you want a recurring income stream from content you create consistently, Patreon remains a better solution. Some creators use both crowdfunding platforms simultaneously – one for cash flow and one for one-time projects.
- A quick way to earn
- Build a long-lasting community around funding the project
- Easy to set up
- Good promotion features
- Boom or bust business model
- For one-time projects
- No subscriptions or memberships
- No way to earn recurring revenue
Ko-fi is a Patreon alternative better suited for small content creators who are still testing their audience’s waters.
Unlike Patreon, Ko-fi doesn’t require your audience to commit to a subscription service. Instead, they can provide one-time payments and hand out occasional tips.
In a way, this makes for a healthier creator-audience relationship, where they don’t feel like they’re committing but can still provide support.
Ko Fi’s other upside is that there aren’t any transaction fees other than commissions from payment processors like Paypal or Stripe. So, it’s free to use, easy to get started, and lets your audience decide when and how much to offer.
On top of that, Ko-fi provides a unique feature where you can sell on-off services, content, or even events for a fee that you decide.
On the other hand, it doesn’t provide that aura of membership exclusivity notable for Patreon. The rewards system and access to exclusive content are what keeps your audience close while also providing guaranteed monthly cash.
- One-time payments and donations
- No transaction fees
- Allows selling of one-time unique services, art, content
- Has a storefront for physical products and digital downloads
- Can’t create gated content
- Can’t separate memberships into tiers
- A bit strict with types of content
4. Buy Me a Coffee
Buy Me A Coffee (BMC) is one of the alternatives to Patreon that’s slowly getting traction.
Content creators can set up a profile easily and set up their price of one coffee. Then, your audience can donate as many cups of coffee they like and support your work. Your supporters can also commit to monthly subscriptions, so you receive recurring revenue (just like Patreon).
On top of that, Buy Me a Coffee is an extremely user-friendly platform. It’s quick to set up if you’re a creator and even quicker to donate as a supporter. In fact, your donators don’t need to have an account if they want to make a one-time payment.
All the cash goes directly to your wallet, and you keep what you raise, besides the 5% transaction fee.
On the flip side, Buy Me a Coffee ineffective in collecting data and audience insights. The only relevant interaction comes from posts and messaging features, but it’s still better than nothing.
There’s also no option to create subscription tiers or separate memberships that allow you to distribute exclusive content to special members. So if you had a plan to segment your audience by their donations and add some exclusivity, you might want to look for a different tool.
- Patreon alternative without the feeling of commitment
- Shop feature
- One-time donations
- Users don’t need accounts
- Lacking in membership features
- Too simple for seasoned creators
- No analytic tools or any real audience insight
Similar to Hyax, Podia is an all-in-one selling platform for creators. Therefore, it’s much more powerful than a simple donation website but also much more expensive.
With Podia, you can lay the groundwork for your entire personal brand. Starting with designing your website, building courses, and segmenting memberships.
That said, it’s a platform for those who want to move from a third-party donations platform and have total control over who their audience is.
This makes Podia great for seasoned content creators that have already built a following on their social channels. If so, you can then monetize this authority with Podia’s features.
The platform doesn’t limit you to the number of digital products you want to sell and doesn’t charge transaction fees. Its smooth user interface makes the website and course design real easy while providing simple analytics to keep track of your audience.
On the other hand, if you want to commit to a membership website, you’ll need to pay up. Podia will charge a monthly subscription ($29.99/month base plan) for its service.
It also relies a lot on third-party plugins while you can’t really upsell or downsell your digital products. Therefore, if you want a similar powerful platform, Hyax might be a bit better.
- Amazing UX
- No limits on products, emails, audience
- No transaction fees
- Can build memberships and courses
- Monthly subscription
- More complex than Patreon
- For creators ready to make the jump into a membership website
If you are looking for the best Patreon alternative, then we highly recommend a platform like hyax.
Patreon is a crowdfunding platform first, which does have its benefits. However, the fanbase that you grow on Patreon will remain the platform. Moving your fans to a different platform can be challenging.
Hyax allows you to build custom pages to suit your brand identity while also delivering tools to manage your memberships, downloads, and more.
What do you think about our best Patreon alternatives? Do you know of any similar services? Let us know in the comments below.
Jack Paxton is the co-founder of VYPER, a marketing tool that helps brands build email lists, social followings, and revenue using viral giveaways, referral, and reward programs. After millions of dollars spent testing different marketing strategies at his marketing agency. He then also co-founded Hyax a fast, conversion & design-focused course and funnel builder for creators.