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When I started this blog more than 10 years ago, I had one goal: to entertain as many people as possible with my travel stories.
I got away from that goal in recent years, focusing on guides for travelers instead, realizing that it’s hard to earn a living when you tell stories like these.
But now I’m going back to my roots.
It’s time to tell the juicy travel stories I’ve never told before — the way I want to tell them.
Introducing the Adventurous Kate Patreon
Patreon is a site where creators create special exclusive content for their biggest fans. They put their content on the Patreon platform and have a monthly paywall to access it. You can see mine here.
I’ve considered starting a Patreon for quite some time — for many reasons. I thought it would be a great place to share my best stories. So much of the content that I share here is optimized and affiliated and filled with ads.
Honestly, I’ve missed writing stories to entertain people. But now I’ve started writing them again, and it feels AMAZING.
Here’s what I can promise you on Patreon:
ZERO advertising. ZERO affiliate links. ZERO SEO-style writing.
Just great stories, told well, with no hidden agenda.
How does Patreon work?
All kinds of artists use Patreon to create extra content for their biggest fans. Podcasters use it to share bonus episodes. Writers use it to share extra stories. Musicians use it to share exclusive songs and albums.
And in all cases, these artists create content that people can enjoy for free, whether through a blog, a library book, or free Spotify account.
But for the people who really love their content and are happy to pay for it, they create special, exclusive content.
Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York uses Patreon to create behind-the-scenes updates that his fans are eager to pay for — even though most people consume his content for free on social media.
Musician Amanda Palmer was able to create albums that record labels refused to make — because her fans loved her music, believed in her artistry and wanted to hear what she wanted to create.
I’m not as famous as either of them, but I see this as an opportunity to tell the stories you love reading the most and I love writing the most.
As for the logistics, you sign up, pay a monthly fee, and when I post new content, it will be delivered to you via email. You’re charged on signup and on the first of the month.
(Which is why I chose to launch this on the first of the month, even though it’s April Fool’s Day and that’s kind of weird. I was ready to launch last week, but I didn’t want you guys to get charged twice in a row.)
What kinds of stories are you telling on Patreon?
THE GHOST STORY! The story you’ve been asking me to write for nearly five years!
When I was in Kotor, Montenegro, I was haunted by a ghost for five nights in a row. The ghost would sidle up to me and touch me as I tried to sleep. It is the creepiest thing that has ever happened to me and I think it’s one of the best stories I’ve ever written.
Beyond that, I am planning on writing more stories about finding love on the road. Kind of like in this post — but different stories, and longer and in more detail.
Remember the boy on the bicycle? The story that broke your hearts? Since I wrote the story about him, we had another chapter. I’ll be writing about that.
I will be writing about how living in New York was the greatest thing ever and almost destroyed my life.
While I’ve been nervous to write about it, I will be writing about how I was a woman brave enough to travel the world solo but ended up trapped in an abusive relationship, unable to leave.
There will be more travel stories and essays, too.
Each month, I will share one long-form essay to my Patreon feed. But that’s not all — I’ll post shorter writings on a weekly basis.
Right now, I have the ghost story up as the main long-form essay for April 2020 — and I also have a shorter essay about how I used rage to beat the hell out of the whipped cream when making a cheesecake.
In short, I am saving the juiciest stories for the Patreon.
And that’s not all — there’s also a private Facebook group (very different from my Facebook page) for patrons, where you can always reach me directly and have better interactions with each other.
I see it as a really wonderful community where smart travelers can help each other.
How much does your Patreon cost?
There are three tiers so far: $6 per month, $10 per month, and $25 per month. I expect the vast majority of people to sign up for the $6 per month tier.
The $6 per month tier gives you access to the full Patreon feed, including one long-form essay per month and several shorter writings throughout the month.
You’ll also get access to the private Facebook group and you’ll be able to vote for where I travel next — or for now, what I write about next.
The $10 per month tier includes all of the previous benefits as well as monthly “Ask Me Anything” videos, complete with exclusive videos posted to the Patreon feed.
The $25 per month tier is for people who want the stories but also want private conversations with me: every other month, you’ll get a 30-minute private video chat with me. Plus all previous benefits.
How much will you earn from Patreon?
Patreon takes three different kinds of fees, so I’m not earning the full amount you pay. Creators pay Patreon platform fees, payment processing fees, and withdrawal fees.
I have a Pro account with Patreon, so that costs me 8% of all gross earnings.
Each payment from each patron over $3 is charged 2.9% plus 30 cents if they’re from the US; 3.9% plus 30 cents if they’re from outside the US.
Each withdrawal to a US bank account costs 25 cents. Other methods like Paypal are more expensive, but I plan to only use the cheap withdrawal.
So, let’s say I have 100 patrons on the $6/month tier and 60 of them are American, 40 are non-American, and I make four withdrawals per month. That looks like I would be earning $600 each month, but here’s what I would actually earn:
- I would start with $600.
- I would pay $48 in platform fees.
- I would pay $10.44 in payment processing for 60 US subscribers.
- I would pay $9.36 in payment processing for 40 non-US subscribers.
- I would pay $1 for four withdrawals.
- My total would be $531.20.
I’m cautiously expecting to earn in the neighborhood of $500-600 per month from around 100 patrons, the vast majority on the $6 per month tier. Maybe not right away, but soon.
Is $500-600 enough to live off? Nope. My health insurance alone is $565 per month. This is simply one income stream that helps cover my expenses.
Of course, I could end up being wrong — it could end up being less than $500, or it could end up being more than $600. Honestly, the world is so crazy right now that I just need to TRY and see what happens.
You want us to support you — but do YOU support anyone?
HELL YES. I have two writers whom I am proud to support every month on Patreon.
One is someone you may know — Lauren from Neverending Footsteps. Lauren writes the most hilarious travel stories on her blog, especially her “incidents” around the globe. I always look forward to her stories, so when she started a Patreon for her best stories, I signed up right away and have been enjoying them since.
The other is writer Lauren Hough. Her incredible essay “I Was a Cable Guy. I Saw the Worst of America” was one of the best things I read in 2018, and she got a book deal off it. But as a brand new writer, she’s starting from scratch, and for that reason I’m happy to support her. I love her writing, I love her tweets, and I’m glad I get a bonus essays from her on Patreon.
(I’m also open to supporting creators not named Lauren.)
Why are you doing this now?
You deserve full honesty. I’ve wanted to do a Patreon for a very long time, because I genuinely love writing these stories and I thought you would enjoy reading them. However, I kept putting it off for various reasons.
But once COVID-19 hit, it became imperative to act quickly. I lost nearly my entire income overnight because nobody is booking travel anymore. If I didn’t introduce new products, and quickly, I would have lost my business.
I’m cautiously optimistic. Consulting is going pretty well so far, and so are the Travelers’ Night In online gatherings. It just depends on how long this health crisis lasts.
It helps a lot that I’ve purposely kept a very low overhead on my blog. I don’t have any staff; I have a grand total of two contractors totaling $519 per month, and my hosting is included in that.
It’s a tough time for so many of us. I know so many people are out of work due to this pandemic. I know lots of people are struggling. We’ve never lived through anything like this before.
Please understand that I’m not using Patreon as charity — I’m using it to introduce a new product to people who might be interested in paying for it.
Are your posts here going to be boring now?
Oh God, no! I love you guys so much and would never do that to you. Some of the best stuff is going to be on Patreon, that’s true. But I’m going to continue posting great stories here on the blog. You can’t get new readers if you’re putting all the good stuff behind the paywall.
And I would never change the monthly recaps. I know how much you love them.
I know that only a small percentage of you will end up becoming patrons. And that’s fine!
This blog is the cornerstone of what I create and there will always be TONS of free content for you here. The Patreon is just full of extra stories for those who want them.
BONUS: If I get enough patrons, I’m sharing the ghost story with everyone for free.
And the last thing — I know I have teased the ghost story for a very long time, and I want to share it with as many people as possible.
If I get 100 patrons and keep them for one full month, the ghost story will be publicly unlocked. I will post the ghost story here on the blog for everyone to read.
It’s like a stretch goal, and I hope to meet it.
I hope you enjoy the new stories!