Does this sound familiar to you?
You’re helping a relative with something related to your favorite geeky topic. It could be keeping their computer running top-notch, or showing them how to use social media. You could even be teaching them about the difference between comic books and graphic novels.
Your relative turns to you and says, “You should charge people for this!”
Maybe they’re right! So you go home and do a little research. It seems possible. You think making money off your passion or skills could actually work.
But then you run across that one comment which, in a mere matter of seconds, destroys your entrepreneurial dreams and seemingly turns them into delusions of grandeur:
“Geeks can’t make money. It’s impossible to earn from doing something you love.”
Well, that’s bantha poodoo.
Do they seriously think no one would buy your adorable Ewok-themed knit slippers? Or that no one will ever pay you to write about your favorite movies and TV shows?
Thousands of people make money doing things just like this every day. So there’s no reason you should think you can’t do the same thing.
In fact, here are three reasons why you can ignore anyone who tells you it’s impossible to make money as a geek.
The Term Geek Is Pretty Broad…
If you’ve done any reading into the so-called difference between nerds and geeks, you’ll know what I’m talking about here.
There’s really not one way to define “geek” (or nerd, for that matter). From the outside, society assumes we geeks are the ones obsessing over the latest Avengers film or arguing the minutia of whether or not the upcoming Star Wars films will destroy the validity of the expanded universe books by beloved authors such as Timothy Zahn and Michael Stackpole.
Sure, some of us do those things. But people can geek out about many things, not just pop culture-y topics.
For example, there are plenty of people who are passionate about cooking, or gardening, or cars. Plus, did you know there’s such a thing as sneaker collecting? Participants are called sneakerheads, and many of them are such experts at their hobby, they can tell when a shoe is a fake or a legitimately-licensed product.
Plus, some of the world’s most famous names are who you could call geeks about their respective industries. What would the world of electric cars be without Elon Musk, or the world of high-end computers without Steve Jobs? Heck, several years down the road whoever was at the forefront of virtual reality tech will be like the next Bill Gates!
So when you think of the word geek in terms that allow for geeking out about pretty much anything (including sneakers!), suddenly you’re looking at a whole bigger, broader meaning of what it means to be a geek.
And that leaves a lot more room for making money.
The Internet Is, You Know, a Thing
One of my biggest beefs with people who say geeks can’t make money is the fact that many of them literally don’t think there’s anyone out there who will buy your stuff.
It’s like they’ve completely forgotten about the internet’s existence, and are stuck in the 1980s (oh, heavens, the horror…).
The truth of the matter is we live in a global society and economy, all thanks to the web.
You can put up a website about your geeky business, provide your contact information, do some marketing, and you’re likely to get at least one person who buys your offer. It could take a while, but it’ll happen nonetheless. Guaranteed.
Now granted, you may run across a few people who acknowledge you could sell your products or services to anyone around the world, but they usually still spout some inane reasons why it won’t really work. But these are the kinds of people who tend to be pessimistic about many areas of life.
They aren’t worth listening to, and they aren’t worth your time.
When you literally have access to billions of people around the world, it’s inaccurate, and even ignorant, to assume you can’t make money as a geek.
The Population (Current and Past) Wants Your Stuff
I don’t think I need to provide much evidence that right now, geeky stuff is trendy.
Normally, I hate talking about “trends” because they’re fleeting. But it seems making money off your hobbies and interests is here to stay. For years, passions were considered something you couldn’t make money off of. That’s slowly changed, thanks to things like (again) the internet, millennials’ desire for a good work/life balance, and the idea that you should really be yourself.
Now, Marvel and DC can’t make movies and TV fast enough before consumers are begging for more. The YouTube and online video industries are exploding, with major companies like Disney buying video networks like Maker Studios because video is “the next big thing.” Plus, geeky conventions just keep growing, with ones like WonderCon becoming so large for their original venues they have to find new spaces.
People my parents’ age find it insane such “hobbies” could become so big and attract so many consumer dollars. I find it quite normal.
And future generations will be even more likely to buy your geeky products or services. Generation Z is highly practical, but they’re dedicated to the principles of honesty and transparency in businesses, which means they want you to just be yourself. Plus, they’re far more likely to view entrepreneurship as a legitimate means of earning a living. So if you’re your own boss, they’re likely to think positively about your business compared a large corporation.
Couple these Gen Z characteristics with their desire for genuine interaction, and you could have a great new demographic to work with.
The World Is Waiting for You
Now that you’ve seen three solid reasons for why it’s possible to make money as a geek, you should feel a lot more confident about pursuing those dreams.
You can ignore all the nay-sayers, and let them lead their own pessimistic lives and wallow in all that bantha poodoo.
You have something more important to do.
Just think: in five years’ time, you may find yourself farther along in your business than you could’ve ever imagined.
The world and everyone in it is waiting to see what you have to offer.
Are you going to let them down?