The passion economy, in which people monetise their skills and hobbies to earn income, is worth more than $38bn globally according to new research.

The emerging market sees people earn a passive income from pursuing what they are passionate about, putting a premium on individual talent in areas such as life coaching, fitness coaching and podcasting.

This is facilitated by technology that allows people to scale up their business to a large audience at low cost. While technology has made it easier for people to monetise their time in the gig economy, through apps such as Uber and Deliveroo, this work is often precarious, demands long hours for low pay, and sees the worker under the control of a large company.

By contrast, the passion economy gives people complete control over their work.

“Trend that we’ve seen increase dramatically during the pandemic”

According to Disciple Media, a software company that builds platforms for passion economy workers, the industry grew to a global market value of $38.66bn in 2019.

The London-based company brought together forecast data from sources including OfCom, Deloitte and Forbes, breaking down the largest passion economy verticals.

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It found life coaching to be the biggest sector, accounting for $15bn of activity. Self-improvement activities followed at $11.66bn, while influencers came in next at $8bn.

Fitness apps and podcasts accounted for $2.9bn and $1.1bn respectively.

Disciple CEO and Founder Benji Vaughan said: “The passion economy is a concept familiar with many VCs in Silicon Valley but hasn’t permeated too far in the UK yet. But our research shows many business leaders would be wise to wake up to this bright new area of opportunity.

“The passion economy is the summation of the many different ways people are aligning their incomes with the things they care about – and this is a trend that we’ve seen increase dramatically during the pandemic.”

Read more: The passion economy – the next big growth opportunity?