I started my Buy Me A Coffee profile at the beginning of 2021 and I’ve not looked back: it’s the perfect platform to sell your pole dance class tickets, your recordings or to have people tip you and support you for your work. After receiving many questions about my experience with Buy Me A Coffee, I thought I’d write them up – together with tips and tricks – in case you wanted to set up your own BMC profile.
What is Buy Me A Coffee?
Buy Me A Coffee is an online platform where creators of all kinds can get support from their fans, sell event tickets, book consultations and simply earn money – all in one place. BMC is often compared to Patreon in terms of platform types, and it’s really worth considering if you teach pole dance or any dance class online – either live or through recording and tutorials – and are looking for a way to streamline your admin.
At the dawn of the Covid-19 pandemic, I wrote a post sharing considerations and thoughts about teaching via Zoom. Now that my Zoom teaching experience has improved thanks to Buy Me A Coffee, I wanted to share this super easy and convenient online booking and selling system with all of you, to help you reduce your admin too.
Particularly after teaching non-stop through an increasing amount of live online group and private classes from March to June 2020, I had started to look into Patreon or into other online platforms that would allow me to move into more permanent, effective and less fiddly online teaching. What I didn’t like about Patreon was that it seemed to be largely about memberships, meaning that I had to regularly create content even if I wanted to take a break so that paying me would be worth it for my members. I did not like that kind of pressure, so I put it off.
In late December, I saw someone in my network post a comparison between Buy Me A Coffee and Patreon. When I saw that BMC allowed one-off tips and a more flexible teaching experience, I jumped on it. You can read about the main differences between Buy Me A Coffee and Patreon here, and you can see them for yourself in this picture below. Some options – e.g. membership levels – are outdated, but more on that later.
Setting up a Buy Me A Coffee profile
Before setting up your Buy Me A Coffee profile, think about what you’d use it for, and how often. Are you a regular content creator, churning out new tutorials every day? Or are you more of an anxious, permanently overwhelmed but sort of creative type person, like yours truly over here? Are you an individual, freelance instructor or are you a pole studio? Think about this because the use you make of it will determine the type of functions you will use for your profile.
Managing your account
Similarly to WordPress or any other content hosting platform, your Buy Me A Coffee profile will have a dashboard section where you can create all your content before it goes up. At the bottom of your dashboard sidebar, the “Settings” section will allow you to choose tags for what your profile is about. For instance, I’ve chosen: pole dance, twerk, dance tutorials. On the same page, you have the option to set it as NSFW if you consider what you do to be better suited to an 18+ audience, and you can set a goal people can help you reach with their payments.
BMC takes the same commission as Patreon Lite – 5% of your earnings. The big thing for me is that while Patreon only transfers payments monthly, with Buy Me A Coffee you get paid straight away each time you make a sale or someone supports you.
On the same settings page as the one I mentioned above, you can choose a payment type – currently PayPal and Stripe are the only options – and choose if you prefer to cover users’ credit card fee or not. I’ve decided to not cover it because Buy Me A Coffee already takes 5% of my earnings.
Using Buy Me A Coffee’s Extras to sell classes, recordings and tutorials
Because I’m more of an anxious, overwhelmed creator wearing multiple hats, I didn’t feel like making memberships the crux of my profile. I preferred selling tickets to ad-hoc, regular but not weekly events, or to sell tutorials and private classes. I do this through Buy Me A Coffee’s “Extras” option, which you can find on the dashboard sidebar just over “Settings”.
Specifically, I use the “live event” and “book a Zoom” options for live group classes and private classes respectively.
By selecting “Live event” you can write a summary for your class, choose its price, feature image and limit attendee slots. In the box underneath, you can write the confirmation email complete with Zoom logins – so your admin’s done! You don’t have to reply to anyone individually every time they book. If you have the membership option enabled, you can even choose to give your members discounts on classes. Even better, each extra will have the option for you to email or message everyone who claimed it from next week.
I use the “live event” option to sell class recordings and tutorials too – except that instead of adding Zoom login deets to the confirmation message, I add a password-protected Vimeo link with its password for students to access the class recording. This has meant that I’ve had to upgrade my Vimeo, going from free to Pro (£80 a year). But you will most likely make that money back with just one workshop.
Similarly, if you choose “book a Zoom” for a one-to-one consultation or private class you can have a general description and a confirmation message, either with pre-scheduled Zoom meetings or with a Calendly link sending people to your schedule immediately. You also have the option for them to ask specific questions ahead of the consultation.
All extras can be archived or deactivated once the class is done or the option isn’t available anymore. You can rearrange them according to looks and priority on the extras page, too.
Sharing your BMC classes
Promotion is a huge part of making your Buy Me A Coffee work, and of course the bigger your following the bigger the opportunity for people to see your links. I promote the shit out of it on my IG.
Once your extras go live, go on your home page, click on the extra and on the tiny “copy link” section at the bottom of the box – that way you can add the link to your bio, your Link.Tree or just email it to people.
All they have to do is click: “Get this,” pay, and they’re sorted! Examples of my upcoming workshop links below:
- 90s Pop Pole (Backstreet Boys choreo): https://www.buymeacoffee.com/bloggeronpole/e/25133
- No Space Floorwork (the 60s edition): https://www.buymeacoffee.com/bloggeronpole/e/25132
- Black Metal Pole (Satyricon choreo): https://www.buymeacoffee.com/bloggeronpole/e/25131
The great thing about Buy Me A Coffee is that it incorporates bits of platforms like Ko-Fi into a more well-rounded set-up. Tipping, or supporting, is one of those. On BMC, people can buy you coffees for an amount that you set – £1 to £5, to be multiplied at their choice.
What’s really fun about Buy Me A Coffee is that you can choose what people buy you – it can be a coffee, a beer, a flower or, in my case due to me being Italian AF, a pizza. You can then customise your widget button for your website to reflect your chosen option, as you can see below.
You can choose your tipping options in your dashboard, by clicking on the “support” option. Once you set your coffee/item value, you can also customise an automated message to thank people for supporting you.
Last but not least, you can choose to create membership options for people who want to support you regularly.
As usual, you can find the “Memberships” option in your bottom right corner of your dashboard. Buy Me A Coffee has recently launched membership levels so, similarly to Patreon, you will be able to set different prices and perks for whoever joins.
Your choice of perk – which includes social media shout-outs, Instagram close friends access, or custom perks according to your preference – depends on what you’re using BMC for: is it for people who just want to support you? Or are you creating ad hoc content just for members?
Generally, offering pre-access to classes or events, discounts or a cute, personal little perk is a good idea. Once again though, membership on BMC are available – they are not compulsory! So if you feel they’re too much pressure you can deactivate them or ignore the option.
Miscellaneous BMC bits
All the above bits are specific to selling dance classes via Buy Me A Coffee as an individual, freelance instructor, but can of course be adapted to designers, writers or any other sort of creatives and creators. Below are some other bits I do not use, but that are worth considering:
- Buy Me A Coffee also offers the option to write blog posts within the platform
- You can also create photo albums and, soon, add a podcast for your followers to listen
- These options can be public or members only
- BMC now has a messaging option too, so that you can reach your supporters from within the platform.
If this post sounds like an advertorial, know that it isn’t: BMC aren’t sponsoring me or anything, I’m just responding to thoughts and questions I received about Buy Me A Coffee.
It’s honestly saved me from my online class teaching admin. It’s a safe, intuitive platform which forces people to pay in advance if they want to book with you, and allows you to keep all your content creation and class organising bits in one place. After the hours wasted on tracking emails and sending invites at the start of the pandemic, it’s honestly been a life saver.
The only annoyance for me has been that sometimes, when you paste Zoom invites into the BMC boxes, spaces are automatically deleted so I have to go in and triple check to make sure links are correct. And of course, if BMC had a tutorial option and/or a way of hosting videos, I wouldn’t have had to pay for a Vimeo upgrade – but let’s hope that will be added to the platform at some point!
Everything else is literally perfect for the use I make of Buy Me A Coffee.
That being said, BMC works for me as an individual. I haven’t used it with the pole studio I teach at, and I haven’t heard of big studios experimenting with it – they may have access to their own tutorial platform, or they may be doing everything through an existing Mindbody online system.
Like what you’ve read? If you want to create a profile on Buy Me A Coffee, use my invite link here: buymeacoffee.com/?via=bloggeronpole 🙂
Support me on Buy Me A Coffee by clicking the image below
Did you find this article useful? You can always buy me a pizza via BMC 🙂