Do you belong to the group of people who are restlessly juggling a full-time job and sidekick projects? We all know that working on a side-job can be really soul-filling but wouldn’t it be even better to gain some money for that kind of work as well?
What if we told you that this awesome platform called Patreon will help you achieve just that? The model is a win-win for both creators and fans – allowing creatives full freedom of expression backed with the possibility to earn money, and giving fans an opportunity for some exclusive deals.
The best way to explain how the platform works is with a use-case, so we bring you Nicky Case, the creative behind ncase.ME. Now, we all want words like peculiar and unique to come to mind when somebody thinks of us. For Nicky Case, a multitalented young fella, that is an everyday reality and his ncase.ME is proof of it. What you’ll find if you go there is the author’s sense of humor complemented by unique drawings which he comically describes as “Badly-Drawn Peeps”. In reality, they are amazing interactives – he takes any system (whether it’s social, political, economic, environmental, or physical) and presents it through games.
Nicky helps people comprehend complex concepts with the power of play. (No, it’s not gamification – that gives him shivers.) We found him to be just the perfect example of how you can use the Patreon to monetize your work so in the following paragraphs you can find all about both – the platform and this marvelous guy…
How It All Began for Nicky Case
In case it wasn’t clear enough by now, we are talking about a really interesting guy here! According to speeches he delivered, Nicky dived into the world of game producing when he was just 16 years old. He got an internship in a video game company and this marked the first step towards becoming an independent creator.
Having in mind he started his professional career in the gaming industry early in life, it comes as a no surprise Nicky encountered a period when he was trying to find meaning in what he was doing. The tech culture he became a part of as a teenager required of him to perform his best at frequent crunch times. This lifestyle led him to burnout and anxiety, and a constant need for the confirmation that the work he was doing was important. That was a breaking point and a moment when he decided to make a video game called the Coming Out Simulator 2014 to share a deeply personal experience.
During the period of working on his video game, Nicky started realizing just how far-reaching these concepts and interactive storytelling can be. His game received amazing and supportive feedback and, as he emphasizes in one of his speeches, it was a sort of a testament to the power of stories and parables.
The Idea Behind Interactives
Nicky’s innate curiosity, wish to grasp the world around us, and desire for personal growth led him to research all sorts of scientific concepts including cognitive psychology and social learning theory.
He discovered that good stories make systems understandable and that it’s far easier for people to comprehend explanations when they are transformed from abstract instruction to character motives. He has chosen code as a tool for visualizing and explaining the world and has woven incredible stories into his creations.
In his Eyeo speech, he mentioned two sides of understanding: the first one is figuring out they way systems work, and the other one is grasping the concept of empathy – understanding and knowing the stories behind those systems. As he puts it – education is empathy, and empathy is education. This can be seen as the foundation of his work.
More importantly, having fun while learning is the key to meaningful personal development. That’s actually how a hub for educators, coders, and artists who want to reunite learning with play – Explorable Explanations -was created.
Whether it’s art, chemistry, STEM, or social sciences, the entire community contributes to creating games that would help everyone understand concepts from any of the mentioned subjects. Thanks to the fact that all of his work is an open-source/public domain, people can join Nicky and take part in the process, code and create together.
Working with Patreon
Many creators today use Patreon for generating revenue under their terms, and Nicky followed suite.
As we mentioned before, we are talking about a platform that allows creators and artists to earn an income and connect with fans directly. It helps them build a membership business where they create under their own rules.
It’s quite simple really. You make money by inviting your fans to give a certain amount on a monthly basis for the work you do. The platform is ads and social media algorithms free, and it allows you to communicate directly with your audience. Awesome, right?
Creators receive monthly support anywhere from $1 to over $100 per fan and, in return, they offer some special stuff like a sneak–peek behind the scenes, all sorts of genuine extras, and a direct thanks and appreciation for supporting their work.
Photographer and journalist behind the concept of Humans of New York, podcasters and YouTube stars from This Might Get Weird, musician Amanda Palmer, educators from Ted-Ed, web series creator and author Issa Rae are just some of the amazing and independent creatives who are leveraging Patreon.
Nicky does the same by making everything open source and rewarding his Patreons with his unique drawings, sharing Patreon-exclusive content and giving credits in his future projects.
Unifying All His Work on a Personal Website
Nicky is a multitalented person – apart from his coding ventures, he also draws comics, writes short stories, and gives talks. All of his work can be found on his website with a personalized .ME domain name that serves as a collective hub for his creations and his portfolio.
Unique in design and tone, his brand is easily recognized through blog posts on his website. There you will find the discussions of the processes of his work, new projects, personal life, and comments on the things happening in the world.
Being an amazing interactive storyteller and creator, he also expresses his creativity by writing short fiction stories.
Also, Nicky was one of the keynote speakers at festivals and conferences like Eyeo, XOXO, OpenVis, Long Now, and GDC. In his talks, he explains how he makes interactive fiction and non-fiction by telling stories about and through systems.
Lastly, when you click on the link to Nicky’s Twitter profile on the website, you get to his 48.1k-follower account where, among other things, he posts the latest updates about his projects.
Once again, we see how a person’s online presence tells a story about their brand, the message they want to communicate with the world, and sets them apart from others playing on the work-and-play filed. 🙂
Nicky aims to inspire people to make sense of the world because failing to understand concepts and people can easily lead to frustration, hate, helplessness, and apathy.
He’s a champion of interactive art and learning through practical work. Not only that but he helps people discover more about themselves, others, and the world around them.
And if you are a creative head willing to try out monetizing your work, or maybe trying to help out the community in general (NGO guys, we are looking at you!), we invite you to explore the world of Patreon. Who knows, you might even be earning double your current monthly income. 🙂