When everything’s monetisable, what’s left just for you?

I started learning the guitar in 2020 – electric first, then moving over to acoustic. I can bang out some three- and four-chord wonders, as long as they’re in G, D or A. I’m even working on my first song in a few years, composing it on my cute new acoustic.

Between lessons, equipment, and of course instruments (I’ve upgraded both my electric and acoustic), I’m probably out nearly £3,000 in three years.

Now, swap the guitar and amp for a microphone and a hosting account, and I’d be insisting that this hobby start “paying its way”. I’d be expecting Patreon backing or coffee donations.

Of course that’s not to say we shouldn’t be able to make money from passion projects if we want to – case in point: the ad in this week’s issue – but our side-hustle, gig-economy culture is leading us to expect our creative endeavours to become an income stream when really, we’d hope that we were doing it for the love.

I’m not playing the guitar so I can upload my covers to YouTube or release my next EP on Spotify. I’m doing it so that one day I can be drunk enough to pull out my guitar at a party, and everyone can sing along to something in G.

Acoustic guitars in Mark's studio

That’s why I appreciated the conversation in the latest episode of Well… Adjusting. I’ve been listening for a few weeks and have enjoyed host Robin Hopkins and producer Steph as they chat with a variety of people on topics like money stories, grief, and neurodivergence.

There’s a real fizz to the show that I enjoy. Robin lets us know early on that we can expect the kind of late-night-at-the-bar conversation, and the show manages to bring a heightened conversational feel without it relying too much on the “we’re all just sharing a bottle of wine and shooting the shit” trope.

The minute I’m bringing you is from episode 8. The episode is a discussion about the whole white picket fence, corner office, corporate ladder, American dream thing. This is something guest Sam rejects as a default setting, and host Robin can completely relate. I can too.

But the minute I wanted to bring you – for me it starts around the 22:45 mark – is almost a parting shot from Sam:

Everything’s a side hustle right now! And I want us to get away from it, unless you genuinely like turning it into a side hustle, you can do something that you like doing just for fun.

What caps it is Robin’s response:

Yeah. I think you should take on being a voice, like your slogan should be “Don’t monetise this.” And make t-shirts. But then, you see, I just turned it into a business!

Ain’t that just how it goes?

Thanks to Melissa at EditAudio for cluing me into this show. If you edit interview shows, there’s plenty to learn from the pacing of this one. And it’s worth remembering that if you have a podcast and you want to showcase your knowledge or expertise, you should take time to switch the focus to you – even just for a bit – so people get to hear what you have to say, and what you learned from the conversation.

I asked Robin about the whole monetisation thing, and you can hear what she had to say on the Big Minute podcast.

That’ll do it for this week. I’ve got lots more shows to listen to, and I look forward to sharing my next discovery with you. Take care, wrap up warm, and I’ll be back in your inbox next Sunday.

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