Today, more so than at any other point in history, individuals have the ability to pursue their own unique dreams while still earning a living. In earlier times, going to school and finding a profitable career often meant being miserable. But happiness was hardly the ultimate aim of a steady paycheck. This was the sacrifice of adulthood: you did what you needed to do to make money regardless of how your quality of life suffered.
For a majority of people, this did not mean pursuing their passions. It meant pursuing what was sure the make the most money. But young Americans, accustomed to the technological advances and the wondrous internet, have found a way to combine their dreams with a paycheck by using unconventional means.
One of the greatest aspects of young people making money from their passions is the degree of specialization that has been given to the world as a result. Looking for a knitted beard warmer, or perhaps a custom-made mermaid costume for your next cosplay event? Look no further than Etsy.
Etsy is an online marketplace that exists especially for one of a kind and handmade items. While prices may be higher on Etsy than in traditional venues, consumers are more than willing to pay more for better quality items that no one else has.
In the era of “Do it Yourself” weddings, many have looked to Etsy to provide specialty, craft-made decorations. Sure, many of these consumers could make these items themselves. But therein lies the beauty of Etsy: It is the division of labor at its finest.
You may not have the time to spend your days painting reclaimed wood, but someone else provides this service for you. Allowing you to focus on whatever area of expertise you choose.
But what is truly amazing about Etsy is that it is allowing artists to make a steady income from their creations. This was much harder to do before the days of the internet. But now young people do not have to settle for career choices that make them unhappy just to pay the bills.
If your creations are more abstract than the physical items sold on Etsy and other online markets, than you may find better luck on site like Patreon.
Before the progressive era, when state funding was the answer to all of life’s problems, the arts were privately funded by wealthy patrons. This is how many artists were able to pursue their passions without living in extreme poverty.
Patreon has brought that same principle into the modern world. Now, independent journalist, writers, vloggers, and other artists are able to produce work while accepting funds from patrons who have a vested interest in the work. This has helped many make lucrative careers while pursuing what they love to do.
This has been huge for the indie media scene. With Facebook’s algorithms constantly changing and established outlets often reaping the benefits, it has been hard for many independent journalists to stay afloat. But Patreon has created an outlet for them to do so.
With so many people dissatisfied with the direction mainstream journalism is heading, many have chosen to vote with their dollars, giving donations only to outlets that they believe are doing a good job at reporting the news. Through small donations, starting at as little as a dollar, interested patrons can support whatever cause they like. Personally, I make a habit of supporting independent journalists. And the fact that I am able to do this without being exorbitantly wealthy myself is the true beauty of Patreon. With each microdonation I give, I am supporting artists and writers I believe in.And while small donations do not seem like much, several small donations can add up quickly.
There are even some Patreon users who have made over 60 thousand dollars a month in donations. While this may be a rare happening, it shows what is possible when artists crowdsource their salaries. This has allowed young people to pursue their passions without having to risk being penniless. It also gives them instant market feedback. If people like what you are producing, you will get more patrons. If they do not like what you are doing, you will feel it in your wallet and will know to adjust accordingly.
Patreon and Etsy, as well as other options that will be discussed later, have helped contribute to the changing mindset occurring all over the world. Younger people do not want to do what is profitable simply because we can make money. We want to do what we love without sacrificing a paycheck.
The advances that have made this lifestyle possible are allowing more and more people to chart their own course in life, rather than follow what has traditionally been expected. And this is, in itself, leading to a world filled with more individualism.