One of the most damaging myths perpetuated by our society is…
The Myth that if You Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow
It’s one of those deceptive half truths that often leads to humiliation.
The reality, however, is much more like this: if you’re dedicated, disciplined, and smart, and willing to make short-term sacrifices for long term gains, AND you fundamentally understand how money is made (i.e. and the ins and outs of successful business models and the business models of your competitors), then there’s a good probability that, if you’re selective about what you do, you can turn your passion into a money making venture.
This isn’t always the case, but it usually is. There are always…
Exceptions to the Rule
Some people are lucky in love. They marry their high school sweethearts, have beautiful children, rarely fight with their spouse, and rarely question their relationships.
Other people are lucky in business. They start businesses in their garage with friends and end up developing that business over the next 30 years and becoming billionaires.
For many of us, financial freedom and success takes us a little more work, but the payoff can still be huge. We just have to face…
The Problems Associated with Doing What We Love
Here are two common problems you might face when trying to make a living doing what they love…
1. You make very little per hour and have to work 16+ hours per day in order to make ends meet. Working that hard makes you hate your life.
2. A market exists for what you do, but you don’t know jack about how to get paying customers.
Another problem is that…
Many People Don’t Have the Guts to Make Money Doing What They Love
Most people’s passions make them feel good about themselves. If you’re good at painting, for example, then it’s likely that you receive lots of social validation from others regarding your painting. Your job might suck, but at least you feel fulfilled as a painter.
So what happens if you try to become a professional painter and fail at that? What happens if you have to make more paintings just to make ends meet and the quality of your paintings suffer? What happens if you fail as a professional artist?
If you fail at job-ifying your passion then it’s likely that you’ve lost a large (in some cases, the largest) source of your self-esteem. And most people don’t want to risk that.
If you try and fail at job-ifying your passion, then one of the greatest sources of your energy and self worth may start making you feel terrible.
Making Money Doing What you Love Takes Lots of Guts
Lots. It takes more guts than making money doing something that you hate. It takes more guts than making no money at all. It takes putting yourself out there and being willing to fail at something that used to make you feel like a million bucks.
It requires you to stand up for the value of the services or products that you provide and have a backbone. It requires you to actually believe that people should pay you well and asserting your value directly or indirectly.
And if that’s not enough, you’ll have to deal with the fact that…
Cognitive Dissonance Can Mean Death to Your Passion
In a classic 1959 psychological experiment, it was shown that people are more likely to find intrinsic motivation for tasks which they are paid very little. When people are paid more to perform a task, however, they attribute motivation for performing the task to the high monetary reward. They report enjoying the same task less because, in their minds, they are doing it for the money.
And this makes sense. If, for example, you are an unpaid blogger then there’s a good chance you love blogging enough to do it for little or no pay. If, however, you’re a paid blogger and are obligated to blog in exchange for the money you receive, then you’ll likely enjoy it less. After all, it’s your job.
One solution is to…
Business-ify Your Passion Instead of Job-ifying It
The small business people have been talking about this ever since The E-Myth Revisited was published.
But here’s what you need to know: if your business doesn’t run without you, then you don’t own a business. You own a job. And believe me, very few people like their job.
When you business-ify your passion instead of job-ifying it (i.e. when you create a business that runs without you), then you free up the time, energy, and creative resources necessary to actually be passionate about the heart and soul of your business.
This is why, with few exceptions, the people I know who have funded their freedom, who are making it on their own doing what they love, actually geek out on business and business processes. So if you’re trying to fund your freedom, you’ll need to learn to geek out on the processes by which money is made. You need to learn to enjoy business and marketing on some level.
For example, if you love blogging, but don’t love Internet marketing, then the chances of you making it as a blogger are slim (that’s just the odds; there are notable exceptions). If you love business and fundamentally understand the processes by which money is made on the Internet, and then start a blog, then your chances of making it as a professional blogger are much, much, better.
But perhaps the #1 thing holding you back from making money doing what you love is…
Your Pursuit of Soft Opportunities
If you don’t understand the place of “soft opportunities,” then you’ll ensure that you never get to leave your day job (or that you’ll have to go back to it).
What are Soft Opportunities?
Soft opportunities are future opportunities. They are (often) opportunities to boost your ego that don’t also boost your bottom line. Soft opportunities are usually social opportunities. They are ego opportunities. They don’t put money in your pocket.
As an example, I’d like to talk about…
How Aspiring Professional Bloggers are Getting Killed by Soft Opportunities
In my view, soft opportunities are the #1 reason why aspiring professional bloggers never make it. As you read this, look for parallels to your business (or your future business) – chances are good that the parallels are many.
Let me first lay the groundwork by saying this:
If you don’t know how to make money selling other people’s products or services, then you’ll probably have a difficult time selling your own products and services. Likewise, bloggers who don’t know how to make money online without a blog will probably have a difficult time making money online with a blog (most people who really know how to make money online aren’t wasting their time with continual content production because the return on investment is so low).
(My advice is that any aspiring professional blogger should learn to create information products, do serious affiliate marketing, and learn how to build a list).
Many bloggers don’t fundamentally understand Internet business models, they end up wasting heaps of time and energy on “soft opportunities.”
- When you spend countless hours trying to hit the Digg front page but don’t have a specific plan for converting the traffic into money, then you are wasting precious time and energy on a soft opportunity. You might get a rush when you get all that traffic, but 6 months down the line all that time and effort will likely seem irrelevant.
- If you spend lots of time networking with other bloggers with similar subscriber counts, when you should be instead be working on a business plan, then you may be wasting time on soft opportunities. Note: if you want to become an A-list blogger, talk to other A-list bloggers, not your peers. (I’m not saying talking to your friends is a waste of time, just don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re doing productive networking when you’re not).
- When you are blogging to promote your service-based business and get clients, then your blog is probably a soft opportunity that is generating almost no clients for you (blogs are one of the least effective ways to get high-paying clients for your service business; there are some exceptions).
The fact is, people obsess about their traffic, about subscriber counts, their Twitter followers, and technorati rankings. But if you want to make it as a professional blogger, there’s one number you should be paying attention to above all others: your bottom line.
All of this advice doesn’t just apply to bloggers: many new business owners are too concerned about getting publicity, working on branding, creating ads with big pictures of themselves, and networking, than they are about creating direct and immediate opportunities to create income. Because publicity, networking, etc. make us FEEL good, and make us feel like we’re making progress (until our mortgage payment is due and we realize that all that publicity and networking made us little money).
It’s not that money is the most important thing, but…
If you Don’t Have a Laser Beam Focus on Making Money, then Your Dream Job or Business Has an Expiration Date
I’m not saying you should become a greedy scrooge. I’m not saying you should become obsessed.
I am saying that you should have your priorities on straight. I am saying that you should…
Find Overlap Between Your Passion and a Proven and Repeatable Business Model
Before you set off trying to make money doing what you love, find the highest leverage way to business-ify your passion.
For example, if you’re passionate about antique furniture restoration, realize that a blog about furniture restoration might be a horrible way to make money. Maybe the best way would be to create a set of DVDs on furniture restoration and sell that?
If you want to eventually sell those DVDs, but feel that blogging is a great way to get started, then you’d be wise to first investigate whether or not blogs are a good venue for selling information products (my own research suggests that, with a few exceptions, blogs are one of the WORST platforms for selling your own e-books and other information products).
Here’s the take-home: find a business model that can facilitate the business-ification of your passion, then find others who have successfully executed that business model. Research how many hours they spend on their business and how much money that yields. If you’re not willing to work similar hours for a comparable income, then start looking for a different business model. Especially if you don’t think you’re as savvy or skilled as the person running the businesses that you’ve researched.
In this post, I’ve diverted from the usual topics to talk about money. Because freedom can’t come unless you get the money thing handled (in one way or another). Period.[Ed. Note. To be honest, Clay doesn’t have many talents (it’s a miracle he even gets out of bed in the morning). BUT he’s the recognized #1 expert on getting your market to tell you the EXACT book, online course, or coaching program they’re desperate to buy from you… and THEN getting them to “pre-buy” it from you *before* you create it (making you profitable LONG before you’ve spent one cent producing it). Find out how Clay can help you live a passionate life without working so much.]