In today’s economy passion is a driving force for a ton of millennials. Things like benefits and stability simply aren’t the main motivating forces for a lot of the workforce.
Instead, it’s something that’s harder to define but can still lead to a lucrative career. So what is it?
Today, we see thousands of people earning a non-traditional living.
From YouTube stars who sell their own products and courses to Instagram influencers who make money promoting products and selling shoutouts, to bloggers who make multiple six-figures in affiliate income.
Passion is the driving force of this new economy. This brings with it other motivating factors like:
- The freedom to work from anywhere, create your hours, and live where you want
- Control over your time, how you spend it, and who you spend it with
- Work that aligns with your unique skills, gifts, and experiences
Below we investigate the rise of the passionate economy, how it works, what benefits it brings, and how you can get started in the passion economy today.
Table of Contents
What is the Passion Economy?
The passion economy is a relatively new phrase. Passion and economy used to be two separate ideas. But, today’s economy is led by millennials and influenced by technology, which has allowed for the birth of the passion economy.
I’ll take a deep dive into an article written by Li Jin, that examines the passion economy and the evolution it’s undergoing.
Is the Passion Economy the Future of Work?
It very well might be.
The Origins of the Passion Economy
Millennials have helped to push the passion economy forward. It began with the introduction of the gig economy, which gave workers greater autonomy over their schedules.
This includes things like being a Lyft or Uber driver, or doing tasks via TaskRabbit. With newfound time-freedom, this has given workers the chance to place their energy on things that are more important to them.
The idea of your career choice being a big source of your identity has loosened over the years. Instead, this career identity has been replaced by passion becoming the driving source of identity.
Next, we have the tech innovations that have made complex technology now available to nearly everyone. Instead of forever working in the gig economy, you can graduate to the passion economy, which relies upon digital platforms to help monetize your skills, talents, and interests.
5 Elements of the Passion Economy
The passion economy seems to be the next big evolution in how we work and how we live.
Here are the five key elements in the passion economy that dictate how it functions:
1. It’s Accessible to Everyone
The passion economy is accessible to everyone. The variety of tools and platforms out there makes it easy for anyone to become an entrepreneur.
For example, anyone with a smartphone and an Instagram account can work to become an influencer.
Those who wanted to make a living off of their creative skills used to have to work for large agencies. Think massive advertising agencies or those who wanted to write would have to be employed by a movie or TV studio.
Easy access to technology has reduced the barrier to entry.
For instance, if you wanted to build a business around your passion even back in 2010 you’d have to possess some technical skills to build your website. But today, there are a number of tools that make it incredibly simple to build a website and start building a business around your passion.
Here are a handful of tools that have helped lower the barrier to entry:
Squarespace. This affordable website builder lets beginners create their very own websites.
Shopify. This easy to use tool will let you build your very own eCommerce store.
Wix. This tool uses a drag-and-drop builder to help you quickly create a website without any tech skills.
2. The Focus Is on Digital Products and Services
Old-school generations of entrepreneurs mostly focused on the offline world. Even eCommerce giants like Amazon and still dealing with physical goods.
The evolution of new creator platforms is primarily focused on digital products and services.
We have platforms like Podia, Thinkific, Teachable, and Udemy. Which, are purely knowledge-based platforms. Creators can build and upload courses based on their passion and experiences and profit directly from these skills.
Plus, with the focus on digital goods, it’s easy for creators to scale their efforts. You can create something once and it can be sold time and time again. You only have to invest time into the creation of the product once.
3. It’s Creating New Forms of Work
The variety of digital platforms and software tools available are creating forms of work that have never been seen before.
For example, we have jobs like:
And that’s just scratching the surface. Jobs like this didn’t exist a few years ago.
With the passion economy, people are more easily able to monetize their passions and gifts, no matter how niche.
A lot of this plays into the ideas of the long-tail and 1,000 true fans concept. This is the idea that all it takes to earn a decent living is 1,000 true fans who support you financially. With the integration of the internet and digital platforms, it becomes easier to reach “our people”.
For example, we have Joseph Michael who runs the course called Learn Scrivener Fast. The goal of this course is to help writers who use this specific software learn the ins and outs of the tool quickly. That’s it. This course currently makes over $40k per month.
4. Individuality Is the Core Focus
Individuality is the main monetization factor. Things like your skills, past experience, and expertise can all be directly monetized.
For example, the website Clarity.FM allows experts to monetize their skills by the minute.
People from the world over can pay you for a minute of your time to ask questions directly related to your unique experience.
Or, we have Outschool, which is a platform that offers online video classes for students aged 3 to 18. Nearly all the instructors featured on this platform are past school teachers and create their own custom curriculum based on their years of experience.
With the passion economy you can directly earn money off the skills you currently have.
For another example, we have Chase Reeves who runs the website Matterful.co, along with the associated social media accounts. One thing’s for sure, he loves bags.
He’s been able to take this passion for finding the absolute best bags and travel-related gear and turn it into a business.
5. It’s Supported by Technology
Software is an integral process of building your own passion-based business. Platforms that support online business owners usually operate on monthly fees.
Users will pay a monthly fee for access to a suite of tools to power their business. This symbiotic relationship allows the SaaS company owners to generate consistent revenue and invest in improving the tools, while the users can use the software to exponentially grow their business.
For example, let’s look at Podia. This is a versatile platform lets you sell memberships, online courses, and digital downloads. Plus, you can take payments and manage your email list.
All you have to do is create content with your skills, passions, and talents and pair this with an audience who wants what you offer. The platform will handle all of the technical aspects of running your business.
What Benefits Does the Passion Economy Bring?
The passion economy brings all kinds of benefits for workers. It’s more of a value-based way to work.
Most of us have the belief that life is short and we don’t want to spend our days chained to a desk. We have unique skills and experiences. We want to be our boss.
The passion economy allows workers to embrace this and create a business that supports the kind of lifestyle they want to live.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of working in the passion economy:
- Do what you love. Spend your days doing what you love and getting paid to do it. Be in complete control of your time.
- Express your creativity. Get paid to share your art, or share your creative gifts with the world.
- Escape office politics. No more dealing with toxic coworkers, office bullying, or LBGTQ discrimination.
- Take care of your family. Be a stay at home parent and take care of your kids while you’re still earning an income.
- Travel the world. Earn a living while adventuring around the world, living out of Airbnbs and experiencing other cultures.
- Earn more online. Make more money online than you would normally earn in your home country.
- Get out of poverty. Escape poverty by learning new skills and earning on the internet.
Passion Economy Success Stories
I already mentioned a few examples above of people who are succeeding in the passion economy.
But, here’s a handful of additional examples that show you no niche is too obscure when it comes to earning a living online.
1. Matt created an eBook around a software he loves to use
Matt Donley had been using the 3D modeling software called Sketchup for most of his career. He originally planned to create an eBook showing people how to use the software as a side project. But, the success of the project led him to quit his day job as a carpenter. Within the first three days of launching his eBook, he generated over $13,000.
It’s now grown into a huge online resource for Sketchup, including tutorials, courses, and a handful of eBooks.
2. Stephen created a niche blog about what he loves
Stephen is an Irishman who moved to Australia who makes a full-time living from his blog, Irish Around Oz. He shows people how he relocated and offers tips for others wanting to do the same.
His blog is tailored towards a pretty small audience, people from Ireland who want to move to Australia, but he regularly makes around $10k per month from his blog alone.
3. Lucy shares her webcomics with the world
Lucy Knisley creates webcomics about babies and cats. She funds her creations via Patreon and currently has over 900 patrons who contribute over $1300 per month. This is an incredible side income, especially for a comic artist.
How to Get Started in the Passion Economy?
Hopefully, you’re feeling inspired and are thinking of ways you can build your own business and participate in the passion economy.
There are multiple roads to success with monetizing your passion. The path you take will be different depending on the person, your skills, and the business you’re trying to create.
The steps below shouldn’t be followed to the letter, but act as a guide towards turning your passion into a full-time income.
1. Uncovering Your Passion
Everything starts with your passion. Sometimes hearing the phrase, “it’s easy, just follow your passion!” can make you throw up your hands in frustration.
Some of us are born with our passion flowing through our veins, knowing what we’re meant to do since the moment we’re born.
But, for the rest of us, who aren’t that lucky, we need to spend a little time digging.
Take a Peak Moment Inventory
Throughout your life, you’ve had moments that you cherish. Moments where you were completely in the zone. Moments where whatever you did felt effortless.
These moments are known as peak experiences and they can point us in the direction of what we need to be doing.
For example, maybe you have a little side hobby of writing fiction. You give yourself a few hours a week to spend with your novel and when you do time flies by. The world around you dissolves and you’re fully present with your work.
Or maybe it’s speaking. For most public speaking is one of their biggest fears. But, others relish at the moment. Maybe you had a give a presentation at work, or a motivation speech at your local volunteer organization. This could hint at a newfound career as a motivational speaker.
Ask Yourself Questions
It’s easy to say “I don’t know” with discovering your passion. Still, there are moments throughout our lives that stand out, and hobbies that we enjoy more than our actual work.
Spend some time evaluating these with the questions below:
- What topics can you talk about in the late hours of the night?
- What books or magazines do you read on a daily basis?
- What movie to TV show characters do you love, what do they do?
- What does your ideal day look like? How would you spend your time?
2. Finding Passion and Market Overlap
By now you should have a list of moments in your life and things that you’re deeply interested in.
Here’s an example of what your list could look like:
- Long-distance trail running
- Writing fiction
- Making and learning about coffee
- Trying different varieties of wine
- Making new recipes from scratch
Once we have this list, we’ll want to make sure there’s an actual market for that passion. Spend some time searching around the internet to see if there are any existing websites, magazines, blogs, forums, and even companies serving that niche.
If there are, then the market should be able to support you and your new passion business.
3. Skills and Audience Inventory
When it comes to monetizing your passion, it’ll take a lot more than just being passionate about the subject. You’ll need some tangible real-world skills too.
For example, let’s say you love drawing more than anything. You want to create custom designs for businesses and sell your artwork.
To do this you’ll need the artistic chops, but you’ll also need marketing and technology skills. You’ll need to build a website, get on Instagram, upload your designs, learn how to market yourself, and more.
Ask yourself if you’re willing to gain these skills and bend your passion for the needs of the market in order to run a successful business.
4. Choosing Your Monetization Method
There are dozens of different ways to monetize your passion. We’ve highlighted a bunch of different ways above.
Once you’ve discovered your passion and are building an audience, it’s time to profit off of that.
Here are a few different approaches:
- You’ve been writing fan fiction in a forum for years, so you package up these stories as a Kindle eBook and become a full-time author.
- You love cooking tasty vegan recipes, so you create a blog and YouTube channel and sell a monthly membership subscription to your growing recipe library.
- You love creating animations, so you work with a digital agency to create funny whiteboard animation videos.
- You love going to the gym and helping people get in the best shape of their lives, so you create an eCommerce store selling your fitness plans, food guides, and supplements.
- You love finding the best travel deals, so you create a travel blog that shows people how you do it and you create a paid eBook of your best travel hacks.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the passion economy and how people are applying these ideas to create a business that brings them freedom, joy, and happiness.
Remember, you don’t have to jump in 100% into your passion-based business either. It can start as a side project that you build on the side of your full-time job. Once it gains traction, in traffic, and in income, you can invest more time and energy into the project.
After all, is there anything better than getting paid to share your gifts with the world?