After two years on Patreon, here’s why I’m sticking with it

I’ll never forget sitting in Carl Edwards’ retirement press conference in 2017 when he was trying to explain to a baffled room why he’d walk away from a perfectly good job into an unknown future.

“There’s no life raft I’m jumping onto — I’m just jumping,” he said.

That hit me hard, because I had started to tell my media friends the same day that I was soon going to quit USA Today and start an independent website funded through Patreon.

I related to Edwards in a major way, because at the time, hardly anyone even knew what Patreon was. It was a terrifying leap of faith — a trust in strangers who follow me on Twitter — and I found out later my friends were quite worried about my decision!

It was two years ago today when I actually launched the site. I can remember practically being sick to my stomach, because I knew the next few hours would reveal whether it could work or not.

If it didn’t succeed, I was going to be out of journalism. It was this or bust. But if it worked, it had potential to be the most enjoyable job I’ve ever had.

As it turned out, the past two years have been the best of my life. I’m so incredibly grateful to those who have chosen to support this website and podcast and keep sending me to the racetrack. It probably gets repetitive to hear me say THANK YOU all the time, but that’s honestly how I feel every day, so I can’t help but constantly be appreciative.

That said, I often get asked: How long are you going to do this? And also: If another outlet approached you with an offer, would you quit Patreon?

I can’t predict the future, but as of now, my plan is to keep doing this as long as you’ll have me. I’ve actually had some great offers over the past couple years and thought about those possibilities. But ultimately, I feel such a strong bond with those who have gotten me to this point — and I’m having so much fun doing it — that I feel it would be a mistake to change course.

Patreon has given me the freedom to cover what I want, how I want, when I want — and for who I want. And that connection to my “bosses,” as I call them, is something I really cherish.

I’ll give you an example. During a Southern 500 watch party here in Portland last September — a barbecue with some patrons who attended the Portland Grand Prix earlier that day — I was given a major shock. A group of my patrons had secretly raised more than $6,000 for my baby daughter Liliana’s education fund (which didn’t exist yet!) — and presented me with an oversized check! “Speechless” doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.

And that wasn’t even the only time the group of “Gluckers” (the nickname they gave themselves) had conspired to do something generous for me and my wife, Sarah.

As you can imagine, things like that are deeply humbling. I certainly don’t think I deserve ANY of this and I constantly wonder why people have decided to be so supportive — through Patreon and beyond. I truly don’t get it, if we’re being frank.

But it certainly makes me want to work harder and stick with this, because I view my role as trying to help entertain and inform people about their favorite sport. If they feel that’s being accomplished, then I’m not about to abandon it.

Anyway, today is the start of Year 3, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to post the link to Patreon if you’re interested in signing up for the first time. This year I’m offering a few more patron-only pieces of content, so you can check out the details there. Plus I had 1,000 stickers made with my cartoon face on them, and if you become a patron by the Daytona 500, I’ll send one your way.

Here’s how you can help support this website and my podcast (and get a sticker!).

Thanks for reading — whether you’re a patron or not — and I’ll talk to you soon.

11 Replies to “After two years on Patreon, here’s why I’m sticking with it”

  1. The reason we support you is YOU ARE AWESOME! You ask the questions we would ask, you write the stories we were wondering about, and you are very creative in your approach to everything! I had been reading your articles, tweets, and anything else you did, for years, so I count it a privilege to support, in my small way, my favorite NASCAR journalist! Thank you for the opportunity, and for not giving up!

  2. Why do we support you? Because you are a fantastic Person, as well as an absolutely terrific reporter and author. Getting to meet you at races and reading your articles add to my appreciation of racing. You have introduced me to racing series that I never considered before and made “watching” through your articles and tweets simply enjoyable.

    Thanks for being there.

  3. I was an early supporter of you on Patreon. Then you started with twitter and facebook crap and the newsletters suffered. I think twitter and facebook are the cause of many of our countries hacking problems. I refuse to get my news on a 3″ X 5″ screen… a phone is for making/receiving calls and sending/receiving texts. I don’t use my phone to buy a coke.

    I think it was only $10 a month and I felt bad when I quit, especially when you discovered real racing such as F1, Supercross, Sprint Cars, Midgets. IndyCar and others Always hoped you’d do an SCCA Pro Rally. I ran back in the ’80s and often a journalist would co-drive and write a story. Are you at Daytona this weekend for the 24 Hour?

    I’ll check out your newsletter for a month and if gaged by the failing NASCAR propaganda, I may pony up.

    1. What does this mean? He doesn’t have a newsletter. And he has always been on Twitter and Facebook. This isn’t new. You also don’t have to use your phone. Use a computer. This post doesn’t make much sense at all.

  4. You do a terrific job but like Mark, I’m old fashioned and don’t do the fb thing so I can’t support you. I’m glad others do because I can read some of your tangental stuff. I worry however that when it comes to nascar media, you may soon be the last man standing. Good luck!

    1. Brent and Mark…

      There seems to be some confusion. The Facebook group is only ONE of the benefits of supporting Jeff.

      However, he has ALWAYS had his articles in plain site here. You can always come direct to his site as if you would any other site and read them online.

      The Twitter and FB posts are ADDITIONAL, and link to THESE articles.

      It’s a shame you have decided either to pull funding or not do it because of this misunderstanding. Please reconsider.

  5. Here’s the thing – NASCAR – really racing in general – needs to attract young fans. Fans my age started a rebellion when we decided to watch races on TV. This offended our parents who couldn’t imagine watching a race any where but at the race track. Each generation brings change – including how news is consumed. So keep doing what you’re doing…you’re appealing to a crowd that motor racing needs if its going to survive.

  6. I have always supported you and will do so no matter what. I just love how you report things and talking to you many times in person, you are such a great guy and genuine. You have gotten me into my passion more so thank you.

  7. So for those of us choose not to use Facebook whats the best way to stay in the loop with fellow patreons and gluckers?

    1. Hi Paul…Jeff is working on another way other than FB for Gluckers to have discussions this year, far as I know. He, of course, can speak to it directly when he’s ready.

  8. Jeff for some dang reason I started crying reading this. I wasn’t the first day, but I know I jumped on board within a couple of weeks – and can I say this has been a pleasure. As long as you do this, I’ll be supporting you. Happy Anniversary and many many more!

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