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The great Chinese philosopher Confucius famously said:
But not everyone could or can follow his advice. There are several reasons for this.
However, the Passion Economy is changing this scenario gradually. Yes, the COVID pandemic has brought with disease and devastation but also important lessons and transformations. The economic recession has gripped the world but on the other hand, let’s not overlook the rise of the passion economy. The Passion Economy is a recently evolved concept with roots in Silicon Valley – the hub of information technology, inventions, and innovations.
According to The Verdict, the Passion Economy is one “in which people monetize their skills and hobbies to earn income”. An emerging market, the Passion Economy “sees people earn a passive income from pursuing what they are passionate about, putting a premium on individual talent in areas such as life coaching, fitness coaching, and podcasting.”
Passion businesses (as author Adam Davidson calls them) are further boosted by technology allowing passion businesses and/or entrepreneurs to expand, more importantly, at a low cost. In the passion economy, people have complete control over their work as opposed to being controlled by a large corporation; their individuality and uniqueness are at the forefront.
According to Andreesen Horowitz,
“Whereas previously, the biggest online labor marketplaces flattened the individuality of workers, new platforms allow anyone to monetize unique skills. Gig work isn’t going anywhere—but there are now more ways to capitalize on creativity. Users can now build audiences at scale and turn their passions into livelihoods, whether that’s playing video games or producing video content. This has huge implications for entrepreneurship and what we’ll think of as a “job” in the future.”
In other words, the Passion Economy is the result of people realizing their passions, monetizing them with the help of technology and doing it all independently. There is no middleman or boss. One is one’s own boss. Freelance bloggers and video content creators, food bloggers, online course teachers etc. are all examples of individuals contributing to the Passion Economy. SaaS (Software as a Service) tools such as WebEx, Google Apps, etc. are at their disposal to scale up their ventures and earn money. It can also be said that the Passion Economy seeks to empower the business starter or owner rather than let them be owned or run by someone else.
The Passion Economy has gained much momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic as people are increasingly pursuing their hobbies and making money out of it. This has been the result of massive layoffs, job losses and working from home for prolonged periods of time. So why is it important for us to know about the Passion Economy? It is because the Passion Economy market is currently valued at $38 billion and is growing steadily. Secondly, it is also drastically changing the nature of work globally which is an important development that will affect every single person all over the world.
Features of The Passion Economy
1. Everyone can access it
Thanks to fast developing and easy-to-use technology, anyone, and everyone can be part of the Passion Economy and create value for themselves. This is largely due to the fact that every other person has access to the internet and smart devices such as a smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc. Also, the huge surge in SaaS tools like WIX, Instagram, Shopify, etc. has enabled millions of people to start, scale-up and monetize their passions.
2. Focus on Digital Products and Services
In the Passion Economy, entrepreneurs focus on digital platforms such as Udemy, Teachable, YouTube to promote, expand their business, create value for their customers and/or followers. They don’t have to depend on physical tools like a shop and bear overhead costs like rent, electricity, etc. In the digital space, there are no overheads save a monthly or annual fee which is usually low.
3. Promoting Individuality
Individuality and uniqueness are valued very highly in the Passion Economy. They are the driving forces behind it that are encouraging people to break out of molds and shatter the glass ceilings set by society. No longer are age, location, and capital barriers for people wanting to monetize their passions e.g. someone interested in music can simply create their podcast, reach out to their audience and earn income at the same time. Anyone, old and young, professional or not, with a passion and access to technology, can become a part of the Passion Economy.
4. New forms of work and career opportunities
The Passion Economy, as mentioned before, has been a boon for freelancers, entertainers, teachers, homemakers, and everyone with a passion and love for something e.g. food, sewing, knitting, writing, teaching, art and craft, etc. These passions are being formalized in the Passion Economy and empowering their owners and changing the nature and future of work. For example, teachers are coming out of retirement and creating course content through vlogs, podcasts, and videos.
If we get a chance to do something we love, we are truly fortunate. In the last decade or so, the Passion Economy is making this increasingly possible and helping people realize their dreams, earn livelihoods based on their passions, likes, and hobbies.
Jobs and work are no longer limited to offices in high rise corporate buildings thanks to the digital revolution and the independence it gives people. The Passion Economy is characterized by four key features or elements that we have talked about in this blog. They are accessibility, focus on digital products, individuality, and the creation of new job opportunities and careers. This trend is only going to become more popular as time goes by. As a result of the pandemic, many people have made their passions into permanent careers.
If you are interested in knowing more about the Passion Economy, get your hands on a copy of The Passion Economy: The New Rules for Thriving in the Twenty-First Century by Adam Davidson. In his book, Davidson talks about how the Passion Economy is reviving people’s individuality, passion, and uniqueness which is normally reduced to a commodity in the traditional marketplace. He also illustrates his thesis with four case studies that feature small businesses started by ordinary people and their success. We hope this article and the book inspires you to follow your passion and lead a happy and fulfilling life!