Struggle with Patreon

Since I restarted using Patreon on July 27, 2020 I noticed they run various courses to help the creators on Patreon improve their game. The second such "course" is starting today, it is called the "A-club" in which we are going to be divided into small groups to help each other. Sounds interesting, we'll see how it works.

Before it even starts they asked us to write a few words about ourselves and our goals. So I started to write about my struggle, but I feel I need to think and write about this more.

Here is the struggle:

Ideally I'd like to keep writing blog posts, tutorial, course slides, screencasts, and interviews and share all of them free with everyone. See the list of websites and other places where I post. However I still need to generate an income and I still need to feel I earn relatively well compared to what I can get with consulting and teaching courses.

I don't want to rely on a single source of income, for example a donor who pays a salary to me as that will not give me the peace of mind.

My hope was, and still is, that there will be a few hundred, maybe even a few thousand people, especially in the Perl community, who will think it is important to have fresh content about Perl and Perl related subjects and who would be ready to support me doing that with 2-10, or maybe even 20 USD/month.

So far there are 62 supporters. The majority giving $2 / month.

Here is the struggle: I put quite a lot of my content behind a pay-wall. People can get access to them either via a Code Maven Pro subscription or by being in one of the "higher" tiers in my Patreon account. (I put the "higher" in quotes as I see a lot of Patreon creators for whom the $5 tier is the lowest.)

However most of my supporters are on the $2 / month tier that does not give them access to the exclusive material.

So in fact my best creation is only seen by a very small number of people.

Think about it, there are over 100,000 monthly visitors to the Perl Maven site. There are even more on the Code Maven site. There are more than 5,000 subscribers on the Perl Weekly newsletter and then there are only 62 Patreon supporters and only about 20 of them have access to the exclusive material.

So only a few tens of people actually enjoy a large chunk of my work.

I don't like this.

I thought about publishing everything to be accessible to the general public, but I don't think that in itself that would bring in a substantial number of new supporters and it would lower the incentive to support me by more than $2 / month.

Provide consulting services

I recently talked to a friend who suggested: create public content and sell training and consulting services.

That's nice, and that's exactly what I have been doing for the last 20 years.

However I see little or no correlation between the clients I have and the public material I created in the last 10 years.

Besides that, when I provide consulting or in-house training, that too reaches only a very small number of people.

If you are interested, check out my business models.


I don't have any conclusion. I am just writing down my thoughts in hope that someone might have an insight or that just by expressing my thoughts I might make some progress.