For a frustrating number of people today, working life best resembles a Dilbert cartoon or the 1999 cult classic film Office Space.
To be more blunt, this is a life spent in the vicious cycle of cubicle hell, in which one must work long hours at repetitive tasks in order to see only marginal gains. The frustrations in the “office drone” lifestyle are considerable, whether they be a demanding and impossible-to-please boss, equally unhappy coworkers, or the subtly infuriating task of working with printers and scanners day-to-day. Indeed, those dependent on their work income can feel that they will never escape.
That’s where the idea of the “new rich” comes in. The idea of the new rich today isn’t about old money and new money, so much as it is about old ideas of work and new ideas of realizing one’s full potential. Dozens of articles have already been written about the many ways in which the Internet has changed the old ways of how humans interact, and one of these very real ways is using a personal website as a way to shake off the confines of an old job, embrace lifelong passions, and live off of something that doesn’t even feel like work.
This is an unprecedented era in the world of lifestyle blogging. Social networks like Pinterest and Instagram have allowed people to share their passions quickly and in increasingly aesthetically pleasing ways. A personal website, though, is how a hobby on social media can become a personal brand and business. From purely a financial perspective, this undertaking has never been more affordable. Many blog formats are entirely free and still offer ample designs that are easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye. For those looking for the next step up in building a beautiful website, there are affordable services such as Squarespace. In other words, there are fewer excuses than ever as to why someone shouldn’t go out and try to create their own website that fits their personal aesthetic.
More important than these financial rationales are the personal and spiritual reasons for striving to become a member of the new rich: building a personal website, gaining a loyal readership, and taking advantage of this popularity in the form of advertising or boutique merchandising is about taking the “work” out of work. When someone builds a personal website and thus a personal brand, the creative potential is truly limitless. Lifestyle businesses are about taking passions that used to be reserved for nights and weekends and sharing them with the world at large. Whether this means blogging about classic cars or having an online cooking journal that will eventually become a widely available cookbook, a lifestyle business is about being fulfilled by more than just money.
Of course, leaving the rat race is an intimidating prospect, and there are many who will claim that taking on a personal lifestyle business is simply unreasonable. The easy rebuttal is to point at those who have already taken the step to join the new rich by turning their niche blogs into their personal business: just look at Muddy Stilettos founder Hero Brown, who founded her lifestyle blog in 2011 about her life in rural Buckinghamshire and has turned it into her main employment. Brown reports that even as her own boss, she is working harder than she ever has before. That is the real potential of joining the new rich by turning a passion into a product: the old ways of meandering through each work day will happily fade away, replaced by real satisfaction.