254: The Monetization of Everything

254: The Monetization of Everything

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Disclaimer: This is just my opinion based on things I see while perusing the world and popping in to different communities, and I hope you will understand the point I’m trying to make here. I am not bashing content creators or solopreneurs or folks with a side hustle—that would be hypocritical because I am all those things. But I’m gonna talk about something I see in the world today that I think we need to be careful of: the monetization of everything.  

In today’s world, it feels like if you have a thought or a word or a skill or an interest or an anything, you should be making money at it. And then we get excited about that, and try to make money at it, but we don’t make the million someone told us we could make. We end up feeling that our words/thoughts/skills/interests/whatever aren’t worth anything, and we shouldn’t even bother with it because why put it out there if it’s not for money?

That’s a really slippery slope to take a ride on. And there’s a lot of people on that slope.

While chilling out with a cup of coffee one morning, I came up with a super honest but probably inappropriate comparison for the current need to monetize every single thing we do. See, I got thinking about… “the oldest profession in the world”. And I got to thinking about how just because someone can monetize something (bom chicka wow wow) doesn’t mean you should. And it doesn’t mean that if you don’t that your version isn’t worth something to the people who matter.

Just sayin’.

The potential dollar

With the connectivity of the internet, with the ease of all the selling platforms and marketing platforms that exist today that did not exist in our parents or grandparents day, there’s this potential dollar hanging over every single thing. You have chickens, you can sell eggs. You have a crochet hook, you can sell hats. You know how to incubate duck eggs, you can sell a course. You have rabbits, you can sell their manure. 

I’m not saying don’t have a side hustle. I’m saying it’s okay to crochet things because you like to make hats for your kids and you have no desire to join the ocean of people who tell you you can pay your mortgage just by selling enough hats or eggs or jams or courses on how to make those items. Are there people out there making a lot of money off those things? Sure. Is it the norm? I don’t believe so, and we have to stop acting like it is.

We also have to stop acting like the only value in making a hat or a jar of jam or having a nesting box full of eggs is if someone trades you a certain amount of dollars for it. 

It’s okay to make videos for Tiktok just because you like to make dorky videos for Tiktok. Because when money starts to get involved, now it’s all about the views. It’s not about the cool video you made that made you happy, it’s about how many views it got.

And now you’ve created a monster that needs to feed itself.

When everyone is making money at it, no one is making money at it. Which is to say that there is something called supply and demand. There is only so much time to listen to podcasts and read books. There are only so many people who can buy your eggs. More people creating something doesn’t increase the number of people who are available to purchase that thing.

Egg money and the simple life

At some point, this all changed from “I’m making a little money” or “wow I can help pay this bill with the eggs I sold” and it turned into “you too can be a millionaire by making YouTube videos about hydroponic gardening or doing a speaking tour on how to raise emus!”

Which is ironic. Because for people who are all about simplicity and the simple life… now we also want to be millionaires? Now we look at our friends who aren’t selling their comfrey or their rabbit manure and say, “what, do you HATE money?” 

Money is tricky to talk about

Another little disclaimer: I’m very blessed to live a life where my husband’s income can support our family and any money I bring to the table has always allowed “extra” things. My income is not needed, but it’s nice to have.

But I will also say that we intentionally built a life that could be supported on one income. I’m not saying we are rolling in the dough, I’m saying we could survive on one income if we had to.

I will also say that buying a house in 2000 is different than 2023. My husband made almost $15 an hour when we got married and our mortgage was just under $600 a month. Compare this to young adults now making $17 – $20 an hour who can’t find an apartment for less than a grand a month. Average rent on a no frills one bedroom apartment in our area is a few bucks shy of the mortgage payment for our farm.

Things are different now. Regardless of the fact that my husband and I make more money now than we did when we bought this farm 12 years ago, there is no way we would be able to buy this farm if we were buying it in today. That blows my mind.

Long story short, income and economics and all of that is a much bigger conversation than I can dig into in a ten minute podcast episode – maybe that’s a series we start in the future. 😉

I also want to point out that I have friends who are trying their hardest to start new income producing adventures because they want to get out of some super sucky employment situations. That’s awesome and I really admire them for that and I hope it works out really well for them. I’m glad we have all the platforms we have now to help them make that a reality. When you have potential dollar signs hanging over everything and you’re scrambling for money or you’re trying to remedy a really big problem, you’re in a different spot in life. 

And I point that out because I feel like there is a push in a lot of different communities that if you can monetize it, you should monetize it because that’s going to get you so much further ahead.

But will it?

Time or money?

When I was working full time, I realized you either trade a lot of your time and get money, or you trade a lot of potential money and get time. 99.9% of us will never see huge amounts of both of those at the same time for any extended amount of time. You either have one or the other.

And there is some part of us that wants to believe there is a magic bullet solution for this. Like there is some way that you can have enough money to do every crazy thing you want to do and also never-ending amounts of time to do it with. And we’ve got people walking around spewing this BS that if you haven’t figured out how to do both by now, you obviously suck.

I know people who are absolutely kicking ass at the side hustles and businesses they are building and they are so freaking successful… and most of them don’t have two seconds to sit down two days in a row. They’re waiting for a chance to breathe. And that’s the reality of it.

I also know people who seem to have all the time in the world… and they don’t have two dollar bills to rub together most of the time. That’s the reality of it.

Love it? (Don’t) put it up for sale.

In my humble opinion, we should not be taking every little thing that we can do and love to do and decide that we need to put a dollar amount on it and put it up for sale. How many people who really love working on cars/writing books/making music/working on random house projects have started to do that as a business and then decided they hate it because now it’s their job? It doesn’t bring them as much joy as it did when it was something they just did for fun or a little extra?

We should not be telling every potential YouTuber/blogger/homesteader/crocheter/farm stand runner that if they just work hard enough at doing all the things they can have all the things. You can’t have “all the things.” Most of us get time or money and most of us have to choose which one we want more of. 

Monetizing every single thing you do doesn’t necessarily get you ahead. Many times when we try to get ahead, it’s a two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. We inherit a “con” with every “pro”. I’m not saying that’s wrong, I’m saying more people should talk about it. Sometimes monetizing every single thing leaves you scrambling for a life you used to enjoy but have now farmed out to the almighty dollar. 

It’s okay if it’s just for you

Some people get into homesteading and hope it will be something that makes them a lot of money or gets them famous on YouTube or saves the world. 

But your homestead doesn’t have to be that if you don’t want it to.

It’s okay if your homestead is “just” your place of peace, or “just” adds to your freezer and pantry shelves—not the entire community’s.

It’s okay if your homestead “just” helps you sleep at night. Your homestead is valid even if it’s “just” for you. 

It’s okay if your homestead is “just” how you make sense of the world or is a place for you to be loved and safe and “just” be.

— Amy Dingmann, 10-30-23


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