After months of indecision, we’ve finally decided not to go ahead with Patreon. This is why.
What is Patreon?
Before I get started, I’d better explain just what Patreon is for those of you who are, so far, blissfully unaware. Patreon describes itself as a platform that allows creators to run a ‘membership business’ for their fans and followers. In other words, fans pay money directly to the creators, and in return they get some kind of perk or reward. It can be looked at in one of two ways: it’s either a brilliant idea that allows creators like us to get paid for our hard work (guys- running a YouTube channel is actually quite a lot of work! Why do you think this poor blog is so neglected?!) and creates an exclusive community for your fans. On the flip side, many view it as a virtual begging bowl where sailing channels are asking their followers to fund their enviable lifestyle.
Nick and I really don’t see the problem with Patreon. Some are vehemently against it- we’ve read many comments from those who clearly consider it to be a way of begging for money while living the dream. I kind of get that, but I don’t agree. I see no reason why someone who is putting a lot of work into producing enjoyable, high quality content shouldn’t get paid for it. However, we’ve decided not to go down that route.
Why Patreon isn’t for us
YouTube do allow creators do get paid by monetising their channel. However, YouTube has recently changed their advertising rules and regulations, which means that videos can be automatically demonetised for showing ‘inappropriate content.’ Unfortunately, what exactly makes content ‘inappropriate’ is largely speculative, and we ourselves have had many videos demonetised or restricted. There’s an appeals process, which we’ve used successfully, but the channel doesn’t make revenue while it’s being reviewed, which generally takes 24 hours. This means that we lose a whole day’s revenue, and it’s almost always the first day the video is published- the day we get the most views. In short, YouTube do not make it easy to earn money from their platform. Hence, Patreon.
Our friend Allison from Sailing B+A inadvertently made the decision for us. We were over their house having dinner, and discussing this very topic. She gave us a very solid piece of advice: “Money buys an opinion.”
Quite frankly, while we’re very happy for our followers to have an opinion on where we go, what we do, and how much time we devote to cruising and sailing, we’re currently in the satisfying position of being able to ignore those opinions if they don’t line up with our own. If these same followers were taking their hard-earned money every month and handing it over to us, we’d be beholden to them in a way we’re currently not- a dynamic we’re in no hurry to change.
You see, while we’re happy sailing and cruising, we’re also happy doing things other than sailing and cruising. Here’s some examples of actual statements that one of us have come out with over the past few months, while we’ve been in the USA:
“Let’s buy an RV!”
“Let’s buy a van and do a conversion and do a road trip around the USA”
“Let’s hire a ski chalet and spend the winter snowboarding”
“Let’s go hiking in Nepal”
“Let’s go home, take back our apartment, and live in a house for a bit”
“Let’s work for a while”
“Let’s go spend 3 months on a surf break”
“Let’s sail around the Baltic”
“Let’s transit the Panama Canal and sail the Pacific”
“Let’s cross the Atlantic and sail the Med”
“Let’s ship the boat back to the UK- I’m sick of sailing”
“Let’s backpack around Asia”
“Let’s open up a restaurant”
I could go on. Point being: we love sailing. We love living on a boat. We love cruising. We would also love to do other things with our time, and having Patrons would make us feel obliged to continue on the course of action they had originally signed up for: boating, cruising, sailing to exotic places.
We’re not sure what the future holds for us, but what we value most is our freedom. We feel that Patreon would limit that freedom, even if it’s just psychologically. So. No Patreon for us. But there are ways you can help us out.
How you can help us out- if you want to
If you would like for us to get a bit of money in exchange for the videos we create every week, then there is plenty you can do- and most of it won’t cost you a single penny. The easiest thing to do is to simply watch the videos (told you it was easy!). If you’ve got a spare 30 seconds, then go ahead and watch the advertisement- that’s how we get paid. If not, that’s also totally fine.
The more activity we have on our videos and channel, the more it will grow. The powers that be at Google (who own YouTube) have a very mysterious algorithm in place that dictates how videos and channels are featured. While we don’t understand the finer points of this algorithm (pretty sure nobody does apart from a few well-paid nerds in Google HQ) one thing is for certain, which is the more activity (views, thumbs ups, comments, and shares) a video is receiving, the more likely it will be featured alongside other well-performing videos. And that, my friends, is how our channel grows and how we, ultimately, get paid.
We’ve also added a donate button to our website- you should be able to see it in the footer and the sidebar right now. If you’ve been emailing us, asking how to buy us a beer, well, there’s your answer! And thankyou in advance!
Until next time,
Nick & Terysa