Best Passion Economy Platforms
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.
The ongoing pandemic resulted in over 400 million full-time jobs being lost. Many people have since returned to work, but a significant portion of workers moving away from traditional employment helped to spark the “Great Resignation” and the “Great Retirement.” The state of affairs sees more attention being given to the rise of the passion economy.
What exactly is the passion economy and how does one take part? A major step in understanding this kind of business environment is to look at the technology involved. The passion economy is, essentially, a digital one driven by the internet.
In the midst are a number of websites and apps, facilitating the activities of creators and organizations, as well as their audiences. We have composed a comprehensive list of these platforms that are fueling the passion economy. But before diving in, it’s important to discuss what the passion economy is all about.
What is the Passion Economy?
The passion economy refers to the emerging digital economy where emphasis is placed on monetizing skills and passions, participating in digital communities, and building personal brands. It involves creators, influencers, and organizations producing a variety of digital products for niche marketplaces and communities where they are able to directly engage with fans and followers. Leaders such as Li Jin, the former Andreessen Horowitz investor who coined the term, are among those who have described the passion economy as “the future of work.”
In contrast to the gig economy, which was mostly controlled by large corporations and startups, the passion economy is more focused on people doing what they love as a business model. A makeup artist, for instance, can create videos or online courses that people pay to access. That’s just one idea.
There are an estimated 200 million total content creators worldwide, with 50 million participating in a growing Creator and Passion Economy. While this may not sound like a big chunk of everyone involved in creating content for the online marketplace, it’s the speed at which the proportion is growing that matters.
Whatever the case, the passion economy is seen as a more sustainable and equitable work culture, especially from a freelancing and entrepreneurial perspective. At the same time, creators can better serve their audiences by understanding their exact needs and developing relevant products.
Now that you have a clear idea of what the passion economy is all about, the next likely question is “how do you get on board?”
Best Passion Economy Platforms
It is possible to build your own solution to participate in the passion economy, but there are a number of passion economy platforms that you can jump on right now and start building a business. Below are 43 of the best, and the categories they fall under.
Premonetized Blogging Platforms
Medium is well known as one of the world’s top publishing platforms, attracting upwards of 100 million readers per month. Writers are allowed to join for free and post stories to their profiles.
Once eligible, you can monetize your stories by signing up for the Medium Partnership Program.
Paying members are charged $5 per month (or $50 per year), and you earn based on the amount of time paying subscribers spend reading your content. You also make money when readers become partners within 30 days of reading your story.
HubPages is described as a community for writers and other creators to share their ideas while building an audience of readers.
A main feature of the platform is that it allows writers to earn passive income from ads placed on their content over time.
However, HubPages is quick to disclaim that it is not a source of substantial income earning opportunities. Most writers who join HubPages’ monetization program don’t earn anything until after at least two years of consistent publishing.
Independent journalists, bloggers, and general writers are invited to publish local news content on NewsBreak.
Most recently, the platform has also been accepting video contributions from selected creators. Eligible contributors who qualify for monetization have a chance to earn in several ways.
You can earn a revenue share from the amount of page views that a piece of content picks up per month, for instance, or you can get paid through NewsBreak’s referral program.
A blockchain-based blogging and social media website, Steemit allows writers and bloggers to publish their work or curate other people’s content and earn cryptocurrency (STEEM).
Writers who create high quality content are able to receive upvotes, which improves their authority on Steemit and increases their earning potential. Users who upvote or share comments also have a chance to earn cryptocurrency, which can then be converted into US dollars or other types of digital currency.
Described as an all-in-one publishing platform, Vocal is a website for writers, bloggers, and authors to share their stories and build an audience.
As it relates to monetization, users are able to earn based on the amount of views received by a piece of content. There are two earning tiers – regular writers earn $3.80 for every 1,000 views, while Vocal+ members will earn $6 for an identical number of views.
Podcasting and Audio Publishing Tools
Buzzsprout is a comprehensive podcasting solution for people who want to launch a branded podcast. The platform enables both beginner and seasoned podcasters with resources such as podcasting websites, embeddable players, analytics, and promotional tools.
Making money on Buzzsprout includes possibilities such as pay-walling premium episodes, selling directly to listeners, or including ads.
However, the main monetization tactic is using the Buzzsprout affiliate program, which can result in recurring revenue, as well as the option to promote other products using your podcast.
An e-learning platform with a difference, Medium-owned Knowable is a podcasting tool that allows users to create educational audio content. If you are passionate about a particular field in which you have deep knowledge, you can apply to have your expertise turned into audio lessons.
The Knowable team handles all aspects of producing and editing your work. They also provide a profile page that you can use to publish your audio lessons and start promoting to your audience. In return, Knowable pays creators 30% of revenues when people listen, and a 30% split for referrals.
Castbox is a podcasting company that offers a free app and podcast hosting tool. The platform boasts content from over 50 million podcasts, including audio books, talk shows, and radio programs.
Creators who wish to explore making money on Castbox must sign up for a premium channel. After this step is achieved, you can publish premium episodes which require listeners to have paid subscriptions. You can host your premium content on Castbox or other podcasting platforms.
A product of Spotify, Anchor is a free to use podcasting app with all the tools needed to record, publish, and host audio content.
It is available both as a mobile app and web-based application. You can monetize your Anchor podcasts in several ways, including subscription-only episodes, premium sponsorships, and through listener support (only available to U.S. creators).
Spreaker is another podcasting solution that has been described as easy to use and set up. The platform provides all the necessary resources to record, publish, edit, and distribute audio content.
Spreaker also simplifies the subject of podcast monetization using programmatic ads. In other words, you earn revenue based on ads placed in your podcast episodes. Spreaker allows you to control how many ads are inserted.
Business-minded podcasters will note Glow’s direct approach to content monetization. The platform offers the opportunity to create membership programs with or without premium podcasting content.
Glow provides all the tools to collect membership fees, freeing up podcasters to focus on content creation. In addition, Glow allows you to distribute podcasts to your members/subscribers on other apps, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Spoon is a melting pot of audio content and is also described as a social broadcasting network. The platform can be used for live streaming, especially by DJs (called streamers), podcasting, and chatting with people in live-audio chat rooms.
In terms of monetization on Spoon, listeners can buy spoons which they can then use to send gifts to creators whose content they like. These gifts can then be redeemed for cash based on their value.
Subscription Newsletter Publishing Solutions
Substack has quickly gained popularity as a passion economy platform in the area of newsletter publishing. Writers use Substack to set up and publish newsletters, as well as establish paywalls around premium content.
The website is free to join and use and provides all the tools needed to launch and monetize your content. In addition to newsletters, Substack also allows you to publish and monetize podcasts, and there is a beta program for video content that is currently being tested out.
Described as a lightweight email app, Buttondown is a tool that is used to create and send newsletter emails. Aimed at independent writers, Buttondown offers a minimalist interface that prioritizes the writing experience and enables seamless automation.
A host of third-party integrations make it possible to attract subscribers and market your newsletter anywhere. In addition, it is rather easy to monetize your Buttondown newsletters through paid subscriptions
TinyLetter is among the simplest email marketing tools around. Owned by the people behind MailChimp, TinyLetter is considered ideal for creating and distributing newsletters that are less “business-y,” so to speak. In the past, the platform allowed users to charge for subscriptions, but that monetization option is no longer available.
However, the fact that TinyLetter is a totally free service (for up to 5,000 subscribers) means users can still use TinyLetter to connect with their audiences while running other passion economy businesses. In addition, TinyLetter allows you to add affiliate links to your newsletters.
Now owned by Twitter, Revue is used to create and publish editorial style newsletters. Creators have access to a bevy of features to grow their following and create exceptional content. You can, for example, tap into your Twitter audience to gain new followers.
There are also tools to manage your subscription list, add browser extensions, and even schedule newsletters. The main way to monetize Revue newsletters is to enable paid subscriptions, where subscribers pay a fee to access pay-walled content.
SendFox is an email marketing tool that lets content creators write, customize, and send unlimited emails. It is targeted to bloggers and website owners looking for a way to build their subscription list while possibly saving money in the process.
Among the touted features of SendFox is its nifty landing page creator, which comes with various templates, as well as embeddable forms. SendFox’s range of features and integrations are geared at delivering more engaging and effective campaigns.
Described as the number one fundraising platform, GoFundMe helps people raise money for all kinds of events. Many of the stories surrounding GoFundMe are usually for charity purposes, but there are many people using it for personal funding ideas.
You can raise funds to start a business, further your education, or for any cause you are passionate about. It is free to set up and launch a GoFundMe campaign, and you can share your GoFundMe link across numerous social media networks to gain traction.
Kickstarter is the quintessential funding platform for creative projects, whether you want help writing a book, shooting a music video, building an app, and anything else you are passionate about.
The website makes it easy for you to describe your project and set clear goals, so potential backers can understand what you are trying to achieve. A common strategy on Kickstarter is where creators offer backers special perks and privileges for supporting their work.
Indiegogo caters to a wider pool of crowdfunding projects than many of its competitors. As such, you can use the platform for any creative project you are passionate about, regardless of industry.
Funding goals on Indiegogo tend to be lower than on similar platforms, probably due to more competition, but it tends to have more flexibility as to how you collect your funds raised and the level of involvement by backers.
Fundly is considered to be a less popular alternative to GoFundMe. It offers similar services in the area of personal fundraising for individuals, groups, or corporations.
One of the fundamental differences is that Fundly puts more emphasis in helping you share your story via videos, photos, and slideshows. In addition, Fundly may be more ideal for people who have sizeable Facebook followings and want to leverage that audience.
Online Community Platforms
PeerBoard allows you to easily create fully branded, feature-rich online communities – without the need for coding or technical skills. The platform can be embedded into your existing website via a subdomain or with its WordPress plugin.
As a passion economy platform, PeerBoard makes it easier to acquire leads, engage with customers, and deliver customer service. In addition, you have access to a raft of tools that can make it easier to turn customers into brand advocates, as well as monetize your offerings such as online courses, membership websites, blog, or online store.
As the name suggests, Tribe is a tool is all about helping you to create an engaging and supportive community for the “tribe” surrounding your brand.
Tribe is suitable for building various types of online communities and reaping the benefits of user-generated content. These are among the useful components that can help to bring success in the passion economy.
With Hivebrite, the focus is on offering access to community tools that can boost engagement and increase the ability of organizations to build successful businesses.
Furthermore, Hivebrite allows you to not only design your community the way you want it but also implement monetization strategies such as event management, membership management, and online payment capabilities.
Circle is especially helpful for creators and brands that want to create paid communities from the get-go (although it can be used for free communities as well). The platform comes with numerous features that make it easy to organize your community, manage content and users, and engage your audience.
As for monetization, Circle offers a range of strategies, from paid membership access and recurring subscriptions to coupons, discounts, and free trials.
Memberful offers software that is specifically for setting up, managing, and monetizing membership programs. Included in the platform are a number of tools that can be used to launch your own newsletter, podcast, course, or even to ship physical products.
In addition, Memberful allows you to engage your audience and monetize your offerings in a number of ways, from creating referral programs and subscriptions to setting up gift purchases and paid memberships.
Online Course and Webinar Platforms
Skillshare is an online learning marketplace that allows users to share their creative skills with the world.
Professionals with deep expertise can create interactive video courses and classes and offer them to subscribers through Skillshare.
There are two ways to monetize courses. First, you can receive a share of revenues paid by premium subscribers based on how many minutes your courses have been viewed. Secondly, you can earn from Skillshare’s referral program where every premium subscription referral leads to a $10 commission.
A Thinkific account allows you to build your own online course marketplace and turn your skills into revenue.
The platform offers a variety of tools designed to handle every area of a course selling business, including launching a website. Live and pre-recorded video, text, images, PDF documents, and PPT presentations are among accepted content, and it is possible to create quizzes, surveys, etc. to enrich the learning experience for your students.
Monetization on Thinkific often takes the form selling course memberships, e-books, and master classes. Thinkific offers a suite of apps to help creators build more robust courses and businesses. You can also sell your Thinkific courses through other platforms, including YouTube.
Gumroad is a widely known online marketplace where people sell a wide variety of digital products. Courses, e-books, templates, wallpapers, memberships, software, music, video footage, and many other types of content are all welcome.
Being an e-commerce tool as well, Gumroad makes it easy to market your creations and accept payments. You can promote your Gumroad store on social media, integrate the tool into your blog or website, send out newsletters, create coupons, or even set up affiliate programs.
I’ve personally used Gumroad for years to sell various digital products, including my Medium course and my Substack course. I’ve also used it to sell Canva templates that I have custom designed.
Podia is a complete solution for selling online courses and webinars, as well as downloadables and memberships. Podia provides a full-service solution for website building, email marketing, e-commerce, and more.
Payments are handled seamlessly and you have full control over your pricing and sales content. With Podia, most of the underlying infrastructure is taken care of for you, allowing you to focus on the creation and promotion side of things.
Teachable is another popular source for turning your knowledge into an income earning opportunity. The standout features of the platform incorporate web hosting, content marketing, and payment processing, making it an ideal option for selling courses and coaching services.
Teachable allows you to set up sales landing pages to attract customers and increase your chances of making money. What’s more, Teachable offers various integrations, so you can pair your course or coaching business with all kinds of apps to suit the needs of your audience.
Kajabi is described as an “all-in-one business platform for knowledge entrepreneurs.” More specifically, the website provides all the tools and features required for creating, marketing, and distributing a variety of digital content. It is possible to sell online courses, memberships, podcasts, coaching programs, and more using Kajabi.
Like many of its competitors, Kajabi facilitates the marketing of your digital content, as well as payment processing (via Stripe and PayPal). In addition, Kajabi offers resources that can help users enhance their earning potential.
Streaming and Video Content Platforms
YouTube needs no introduction, but with well over one billion users, a vast library of audiovisual content, and a popular Creator program, it is easily one of the world’s best-known passion economy platforms.
Creators on YouTube post videos on almost any topic imaginable and have the option of turning on monetization features once certain criteria have been achieved. Although the YouTube Partner Program is a major source of creator earnings, there are a number of ways to earn money through YouTube without relying on AdSense.
And even if you are camera shy, there are a number of ways you can still make money on YouTube without showing your face!
With over one billion users, TikTok has quickly risen in the social media space as a destination for short video content. The app is especially important to younger consumers and commonly features content surrounding online trends and pop culture.
As far as monetization goes, TikTok offers a number of ways to make money once you have attained a certain number of followers. You can participate in the TikTok Creator Fund, for starters, as well as the Creator Next program. You can also monetize your TikTok account via in-feed ads, affiliate links, partnerships with other TikTokers, and receiving patronage from fans.
If you are passionate about gaming, Twitch is an ideal platform to join. The app is popular among gamers who stream gameplay to their audience. In recent times, Twitch has also grown in popularity for music streaming, talk shows, and many other types of content.
Twitch allows users who qualify for its Partner Program to monetize their streams through ads, subscriptions, channel emotes, and Bits (a type of virtual currency).
36. Facebook Gaming
Like Twitch, this Facebook spinoff is designed for people who want to stream or view gaming content using their Facebook accounts. Access to the parent company’s mammoth audience of almost three billion users makes Facebook Gaming suitable for game streaming content creators, especially those who are just starting out.
Monetization with this solution involves becoming eligible for the Level Up Program, at which time you can earn from in-stream ads, fan subscriptions, and “stars.”
Outschool is a virtual, live-tutoring marketplace. It is an ideal solution for teachers who want to offer their skills online. Using Outschool mostly involves live zoom classes, although pre-recorded video lessons are also used. Teachers on the platform can provide private classes to individual schoolchildren, groups, and even company employees.
Earning potential on Outschool depends on how much is charged per hour for classes, as well as how many class hours you are able to conduct. At the moment, Outschool is only open to teachers from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Wales, England, and Australia.
Tipping and Patronage Sites
With OnlyFans, users are able to create and monetize mainly adult content. Creators post videos and allow their fans to consume different types, and amounts, of content depending on their subscription level.
There is also pay-per-view content and viewers are encouraged to patronize creators by leaving one-time tips. A number of high profile users have reported substantial earnings from posting their risque photos and videos on OnlyFans.
Patreon is a creator platform where users offer exclusive content to their subscribers in exchange for monthly subscriptions and tips. Video, images, articles, and poetry are among the content shared on Patreon, and you can even launch a newsletter using the site.
Tipeee allows creators to share content they are passionate about and grow a community. The website caters to creators across a wide variety of fields, whether it is photography, writing, music, design, cosplay, etc.
Monetization takes the form of tips, which are like virtual “thank you’s” given by appreciative community members to creators who produce quality content. At the moment, Tipeee is only available in select European countries.
Ko-fi takes the “buy me a coffee” concept to another level. It enables creators across various disciplines, including writing, podcasting, streaming, video, music, art, and more to share content and products with their target audiences.
Ko-fi encourages monetization through donations, memberships, commissions, and direct sales. An attractive feature of Ko-fi is that it does not collect transaction fees for donations, allowing creators to receive 100% of their tips.
Cameo is essentially a “shout-out” platform designed for connecting public figures and celebrities with their fans. If you are a performing artist, sports personality, or social media influencer, for instance, you might consider using Cameo as a way to earn an extra income.
Subscribers on Cameo pay creators (celebs) to record shout-outs that they can then give to the special people in their lives. Cameo takes a cut (25%) of all revenues and passes on the rest to the creators.
Flattr is a micro-donation platform that allows digital creators to receive support from subscribers. You simply create an account, share links to your creations, and ask for support from followers and fans. Users (called contributors) can donate to creators in one of two ways – either with a one-time payment directly to the creator, or recurring subscriptions which are split up between all the creators they support on Flattr.
It can be difficult to identify the best passion economy platforms based on your individual needs as a creator. Hopefully, the list above will give you some ideas about where to start. While entering the passion economy is enticing for many, it is by no means a get-rich-quick-scheme and will require years of effort before finding success. Still, the examples of passion economy platforms in this article are some of the best options available for you to start your journey.