guide to the passion economy

Thanks to the internet, opportunities for income generation have been undergoing a radical transformation. One of the most exciting developments has been the rise of the passion economy which empowers individuals to monetise their unique skills, knowledge and interests.

What is the passion economy?

The passion economy is built on the concept that anyone can monetising their distinct talents and passions. Platforms like Patreon, SubHub, Substack and Teachable have popularised this trend by enabling individuals to build direct relationships with their audiences. In the passion economy, value is derived from personal expertise and the ability to connect with a community around a shared interest.

The term “passion economy” was popularised around 2019. The phrase gained attention with the publication of a 2019 article by Li Jin, a former partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. In her article, Jin described the passion economy as a new wave of internet-enabled opportunities that allow individuals to monetise their unique skills, interests and expertise.

Freelance writers, artists and educators have always found ways to monetise their talents through direct sales, teaching, or consulting. However, the rise of the internet and digital platforms in the 2000s has greatly expanded these opportunities, allowing for broader reach and more innovative monetisation models. This has allowed ordinary individuals to pursue online businesses centered on their passion.

Turning your passion into profit with a membership website

One platform that lets you easily monetise your knowledge is a membership website. With a membership website you can create a dedicated space where your audience can access premium content behind a paywall, receive personalised services and engage with you and other members.

The membership model offers several advantages:

  • Steady revenue stream: Unlike one-off sales or ad revenue, membership fees provide a recurring income.
  • Community building: A membership site fosters a sense of community, leading to higher engagement and loyalty.
  • Creative freedom: You can design your content and services to align perfectly with your passion and expertise.
  • Direct relationship with your audience: Cut out the middlemen and build direct, meaningful relationships with your supporters.

Steps to building a successful membership website

If you have an expertise or a passion that others find valuable, building a membership website can be an excellent way to share your knowledge and earn an income. Don’t be deterred by a niche that seems too competitive or one in which the audience seems too small.

In a competitive niche, your unique perspective can set you apart and attract a dedicated audience. One solution to a competitive niche is to refine the audience you want to target. For example, rather than target everyone doing yoga, try to specialise to meet the needs of a specific audience segment – like children practicing yoga. Read how yoga instructor Cheri found her niche.

Likewise, a small niche audience is often more valuable because their engagement and commitment will be greater. The more specific and unique your niche, the easier it will be to attract a dedicated audience. This is because you’ll be able to create content directly relevant to the needs of this audience.

The most important factor in identifying your niche is to choose a topic that aligns with your interests and expertise. This should be a topic that you’re passionate about because in order to be successful, you’ll need to remain committed to producing new content on a regular basis.

Examples of successful membership website topics

  • Lesson plans for home schooling to Sunday school
  • Online tutorials for craft tools to astrophotography
  • Coaching for yoga to personal manifestation
  • Expert advice for stock trading to wine tasting

Once you’ve chosen your niche, it’s time to start building your website

  1. Choose the right platform: Choose the platform that will meet the needs of your audience and the content you will create and deliver. Read our article comparing six of the best membership website solutions. We highlight their positives and negatives.
  2. Define your value proposition: Clearly articulate what makes your membership site valuable. Your value proposition should address the specific needs of your target audience. This could be exclusive content, personalised coaching, courses or other unique benefits.
  3. Create high-quality content: Content is the cornerstone of your membership site. Ensure your content is valuable, engaging and consistent. Regularly posting of relevant content will keep your members coming back and attract new subscribers.
  4. Build your community: Foster a sense of community among your members by using forums, live chats and social media groups to encourage interaction. Engaged members are more likely to remain subscribed and become advocates for your site.
  5. Market your site: Utilise social media, email marketing and SEO to promote your membership site. Offer free content or trials to attract new members. Collaborate with influencers in your niche to reach a wider audience.
  6. Analyze and improve: Regularly review your site’s performance using analytics tools. Understand what content resonates most with your audience and continually refine your offerings. Listen to member feedback and be open to making improvements.

Tips to be a successful creator in the passion economy

  • Be authentic: Authenticity builds trust and loyalty. Be genuine in your interactions and transparent about your offerings.
  • Stay consistent: Regular updates and consistent communication keep your audience engaged and satisfied.
  • Offer value: Ensure that your members always feel they are getting more value than what they are paying for.
  • Engage personally: Personal interactions, such as live Q&A sessions or personalized content, can significantly enhance member satisfaction.


The passion economy offers a unique opportunity to turn your knowledge and passions into a sustainable income. By building a membership website, you can share your expertise with a dedicated audience, create meaningful connections and enjoy the freedom of doing what you love. Start today and watch your passion transform into a thriving community and a rewarding business.

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