The Fine Line Of Monetizing Minimalism

How do minimalist blogs make a profit? In most cases, they don’t. It’s only the most popular minimalist blogs that monetize minimalism. It’s a fine line. Should we be monetizing minimalism? Or does that contradict the very nature of the movement?

The fine art of monetizing minimalism: Photo of a stack of coins in front of a clock.

Money has never been extremely important to me. Sure, I enjoy enough money to live a comfortable life. But I refuse to sacrifice too much of myself in order to make more money.

Minimalists claim that time and experience are more important than stuff and money. That’s the whole idea behind the movement: to take the emphasis off working long hours and live more simply with less. Why then, do some successful minimalist bloggers work so hard monetizing minimalism?

An Argument For Monetizing Minimalism

Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist makes his living blogging. Granted, he has some scruples about how he generates income. He uses no advertising and uses less list-building strategies than many blogs. Most of Joshua’s income comes from book sales. But like most blogs, Becoming Minimalist has several streams of revenue:

  • Book sales
  • Amazon affiliate selling
  • Speaking
  • Hosting affiliation
  • Online courses

The argument for monetizing minimalism is simple. One has to make a living, so why not  make money spreading a message that benefits others? Like Becoming Minimalist, sites like Zen Habits, The Minimalists, and Be More With Less have all developed ways of monetizing minimalism. In that process, they are spreading the message of minimalism. They’re teaching others to be happy while living with less.

That’s a great thing, right?

Maybe not.

An Argument Against Monetizing Minimalism

Monetizing minimalism goes against the very nature of the movement.

Minimalists tell us to spend less money on stuff. Meanwhile, many of them have affiliate links leading to Amazon, hoping you buy more stuff.

Minimalists tell us we should own less clothes. But rather than leaving it at that, some create and sell us programs to teach us what clothes to buy.

Minimalists tell us we should spend less money. Still, they write books and produce movies with the ultimate goal of getting us to spend our money.

Minimalists tell us we should declutter our schedules and inboxes. But they convince us to read books and take classes that take up our time and space.

Some minimalists use programs like Kickstarter or ask for donations so that they can make products for you to buy.  

Do you see the irony? By monetizing minimalism, we do the exact thing to which we’re passionately opposed.

What Makes Hip Diggs Different?

When I first started blogging in 2011, my sole purpose was to have a public writing platform. Heck, I didn’t even know you could make money from blogging. It didn’t take long for me to discover all the promises about getting rich quick. The bug bit me!

I tried, without much success, to monetize danerickson.net. I started a handful of other blogs with the goal of making money. Nothing worked. Then I started Hip Diggs. At first, I had dreams of monetizing this blog, too. But with time, I’ve decided there’s something much greater than money here.

Hip Diggs has given me a platform to truly express myself. This blog allows me work toward my own goals while helping others. And it’s all free. Other than a small investment of money and time, it’s free to me. And it’s always been free to my readers.

Will I Ever Monetize Minimalism?

I’m not going to say that I won’t. But at this time, I feel a sense of freedom by not monetizing Hip Diggs. I’ve noted that as soon as bloggers monetize their blogs, they have to work harder. They go from selling books to online courses to offering personal coaching to making movies and more. All in an effort to produce income.

I already have an income. As a college professor, I’m able to teach others how to become better writers and speakers. My salary is decent. I have good health benefits. I’ll be able to retire with a nice little nest egg. Why would I want to spend countless hours monetizing minimalism and give up the simple life I’m already living?

Maybe, when my daughter is older and I have more time on my hands, I’ll put more effort into monetizing Hip Diggs. But when that day comes, it’s my promise to you, that I’ll only sell services and products that promote the lifestyle.

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