I do a number of things. Most frequently, I DJ, produce and promote dance and performance events in a large city in the NorthEast.
In the two years since I dropped out of the corporate world to do this, I have become extremely successful. Although it isn't NYC or LA i dont consider this to be a minor accomplishment. My events are very well attended, I got a ton of free publicity, and constantly field offers from bars, clubs and restaurants looking to affilliate themselves with what i do.
In addition to this I do regular freelance writing for a local "Time Out" style publication, and do some acting work mostly for fun.
I make enough to live happily. I am not the richest person I know, but some things i do enjoy that even the best employed of my friends do not, are fringe benefits and access to things that can not be purchased with money. Access, perks, connections, invites etc and most importantly I get to work alongside extremely creative and talented people.
I don't know how to monetize this, quite frankly. How much I make? Its not really something I can estimate. I do make a decent living at it, but I could probably be doing better with less hard work in the corporate world. But then I wouldnt experience these fringe benefits and the satisfaction I get from seeing my ideas executed and my creativity embraced by thousands of people.
And when you ask what it is people like me are making and that people like you are consuming?
We provide written, musical, performative and visual content for magazines, film, television, stage, radio, blogs, advertising. We make the music you listen to, we write the books you pretend you read, we design the clothes you wear, the packaging for the food you buy, the commercials that make you decide to try a different brand of cat food. That LOL cat you sent in a mass email was probably made by a hipster. THe outfit on your favorite actress was probably designed by one hipster and chosen by another, while a third and fourth did her makeup and hair.
Basically we are the class of society that makes the present world look sound, smell and taste the way it does. Some of us work in more commercial contexts, a few are lucky enough to breathe the lofty air of high art, but were all in the same general buisiness
We've ALWAYS been around, doing the exact same thing. It's only recently that people started calling us hipsters and resenting us, while denying the truth that we do provide a very real service to your lives. Unless of course you do not ever participate in cultural life. In which case, I condole you.