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Want to design a career that fit your interests, no matter how unique? What about a business around things you’re passionate about, even if those are divergent as Dungeons & Dragons and drag queens? Yes, even drag queens. Is it possible to choose your own adventure and make a living—at the intersection of what you love?
A quirky gay geek is doing just that. Matt Baume ‘makes stuff for the internet’ based on his interests in gaming, literature, movies, music and the LGBTQ community. As a writer, Baume’s work appears regularly in publications such as Rolling Stone, Vice Magazine and NPR. He’s also the host of two popular podcasts, Queens of Adventure and The Sewers of Paris. Baume has spoken at such notable events as South by Southwest, Gaymer X and The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association, among many others, and he is the author of Defining Marriage: Voices from a Forty-Year Labor of Love.
Baume joined us on the Queer Money™ podcast to share his interest in identifying unexpected connections among disparate groups of people. He shed light on why the LGBTQ community gravitates toward arts and entertainment and offers insight on the current state of queer culture. Baume discusses his take on marriage equality, the challenges of our community moving forward, and the value of ‘adding stripes to the rainbow.’ If you’re unaware, black and brown are the newest colors being added. Baume also gives advice on getting our message to the geographically isolated and learn how to make a living doing what you love.
Learn how Matt Baume built his business on this Queer Money™:
Build what you love
Whether it’s broadcasting drag queens playing Dungeons and Dragons, telling the stories of how entertainment has affected queer people or writing for publications such as The Advocate, Baume says his whole business is predicated on “making stuff for the internet.” Baume says, “The thing that is very rewarding for me, and the thing that my audience seems to really enjoy, is unexpected connections between people.” It just so happens that between all these disparate activities Baume also makes a living.
Baume admits, “Being fulfilled is great, but you’ve also gotta put food on the table.” Meaning, as much as he’d love to shed light on everyone, he must find stories that pique the interest of enough people to make some money. Baume says, “It’s not just chasing the dream of doing the work, it’s also performing the due diligence of making sure the work can support you.”
Baume suggests that if you want to earn a living at what you love, you need to do a few things for free to build a platform. Most cannot do this without other income. Thus, use a springboard, such as an existing income, from which to launch your dreams. This is great advice for all the Millennial and Gen Z readers who are desperate to leave their jobs and run after their passions with wanton abandon. Baume built his writing career by first writing for free and then for a fee. As this income stream grew, he decided when and could he go at it alone.
Know why you’re building it
Baume says that much of what he does connects communities that many see as different. Baume believes this is a critical time for LGBTQ people to not just engage our self-interests. Baume says, “People who are facing similar barriers to participation in society need the support of those of us who have acquired recognition,” which is a call to action for many in the heteronormative and cis gay and lesbian communities to remember the allies.
Baume calls out the oppression of several different communities. For example, Baume addresses transgender people who choose to volunteer to serve in the military, the defunding of HIV and AIDS programs that help not just the LGBTQ communities, but many minority communities in the U.S. and Africa. Baume is also angered at the many states that are choosing to leave desperate children in need of loving families to languish in the foster care system instead of allowing them to be adopted into LGBTQ families that will lovingly raise these children.
Know how you’ll bring people along for the ride
Especially when it comes to issues facing the LGBTQ community, Baume cautions that there’s a long road of progress ahead of us. He continues, “It’s just recognizing that life is a journey and not everybody is ready to meet you where you’re at. Sometimes what you have to do is say,
“Okay, this is where I am right now, and I’d like you to come meet me here eventually. I get it if you’re not quite there yet.”
This points to how Baume has created a business around issues that are important to him. Baume acknowledges that not everyone is at the same place, but that doesn’t mean that sharing information and creating a knowledge-base or even plain entertainment can’t inspire progress.
Baume is pursuing his passion. If this passion translates into dollars that help him continue his work, then that’s reason enough to continue. He concludes that sometimes you just have to try and see if it works. Baume and his partner gambled with Queens of Adventure and it worked. It’s time to take your shot and see if it sticks.
February 10, 2019 at 12:14PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs