How many of you have ever heard some derivation of the saying:
Do what you love and the money will follow
I have found this to be a VERY tricky thing for several reasons. I want to share these with you so that you can hopefully follow your heart with a more informed brain.
1) You Have to Know What You Love
This may seem like a minor point, after all don’t we all know what we love doing? The sad thing is, a lot of us could be mistaken. I spent MONTHS way back in 2006 figuring this out. And I had the answer right there in front of me, but I discarded it. When I made a list of my top occupations, writer was number one. But I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to make a living off of writing (at least not fantasy fiction) within any short timeframe. It takes most dedicated writers YEARS to get to a point where they can support themselves (let alone a family) with their writing. So I told myself that I would do that as a hobbie and instead I would pursue the second thing on my list: coaching.
So even someone as self-aware as myself, who had the answer right in front of them, didn’t follow it. Instead I followed something which I “really liked”, but it wasn’t my “love” occupation.
2) The Money Will Follow…Eventually
This is what the saying should say. Yes, if you do what you love, your passion will show through and you will make money doing it … eventually. My wife and I are both writers. One of the reasons I discounted writing as an option for me back in 2006 was because my wife was already doing it and not making any money (at that time). She has now been writing for more than ten years (that’s ten years as a full time writer) and written more than 10 novels along with some novellas, and she is only now making money doing it. She started really making money back in 2012, but it has fluctuated since then, still not quite a “steady” livable income. I don’t say this to deride her ability, she is a great author, and works tirelessly at her craft (she just wrote over 30,000 words over the holidays on a new project). She is a machine and exceptionally creative.
My point is this: sometimes when you follow your heart and do the things you love, it will take (what some might consider) a long time before you’re making good money doing it. My wife knows that her craft is one where it takes time to build up a solid income (mostly because you need to have a lot of books out there each bringing a little in), and she works day in and day out to achieve her goal of being financially self-sufficient. She will get there too, thought it may take a couple more years. So be prepared to work a “day job” in the meantime while you follow your heart.
3) You Need A Passion to SHARE what you love
Perhaps the saying should read: “Share with passion what you love and the money will follow…eventually”. You can love doing something, but if you never share it with anyone, if you keep it to yourself, chances are you aren’t going to make much money doing it. Just like I did with my writing. Since 2006 I have written a lot, but I didn’t necessarily share it (yes I wrote some plays and shared them, but I’m not counting that). I loved WRITING, not editing and publishing and all that stuff. I just wanted to tell a story. Even now it takes a lot of effort for me to go through the publishing process. And what would drastically diminish that effort is having more passion for the sharing of my gift, that thing I love doing.
I am an introvert by nature and though I have a healthy social life, I was never one to do much “networking” or talk about business stuff. Doing that takes a lot of passion. I learned something really early on as a coach – the most successful coaches were not necessarily those who ‘coached’ the best, they were those who ‘marketed’ the best. I find this to be true in a lot of businesses. If you want to do what you love AND you want money doing it – you need to learn how to also have great passion for SHARING what you love.
Me I never had much passion for talking about or sharing coaching (because it was not my “love”, my calling), but get me talking about writing and you’ll see the passion spill out all over the place.
So yes, please, by all means, follow your heart (it will never lead you astray if you listen close) and do those things you love doing, but do it informed.
The money may not come today or tomorrow or even this year, but if you are sure of what you love and you are sharing it passionately, then yes it will come…eventually.
I say this not to discourage, but to enlighten. Too many of us try to do what we love but lose heart when the money or success isn’t immediate. Well all I’m saying is: be persistent, keep trying, work a day job if you need to. Do whatever it takes.
You’ll get there in time.