This was the critical piece I missed in my early years as a writer. And something I still see most artists in particular miss all the time. I wanted to be able to do whatever I wanted to do and write whatever I wanted to write, and still get someone to hand me money.
Sorry, Dorothy. We're not in Oz.
Those who “do what they love” and get paid for it have identified a very narrow zone where desire and skill cross the demand of the market.
I believe it is possible for everyone to find (or make) a job that plays to their strengths and interests. But in no universe (including that one) will you get to Do What You Love every second of the day.
Unless, that is, you love chasing down late payments, paying your taxes, doing hard labor and inventory, doing tons of sales calls just to get a few clients, facing squarely up to you monthly expenses, calculating how many products or service packages you actually have to sell to cover your time and expenses (and still save for retirement!), not to mention lying awake at night wondering where the next gig is coming from.
This is all part of having a real business.
These are also things most of the entrepreneurs I speak with have never faced, and which they express a conscious or subconscious unwillingness to actually face. I mean, when you think about it, turning a hobby into a business requires almost every imaginable skill set.
So let's recap:
Doing What You Love only works if you attach a price tag that an audience will actually pay. Which brings us to the scenario when Doing What You love actually does work:
When Doing What You Love is paired with “Mad Business Skills” (as Danielle LaPorte likes to say), THEN you’re in a great place to skyrocket forward in your career.
But Mad Business Skills take work to learn, and will most likely cost you either time (years of painful mistakes until you learn how to turn a profit) or money (hiring an excellent coach to cut years off your learning curve and get you immediately into business). I don't have time to waste, so I prefer the latter approach. But both can work.
If you’re not willing to make either of those sacrifices, then go back to your hobby. Please.
Love it as a hobby and do us all a favor: let it stay that way.
Because "Do What You Love" is not your “get out of jail free” card from facing your very real, unconscious, self-limiting beliefs about money, commerce, and business.
It is merely a path into facing those fears in your most self-aligned possible way
I say this as someone who has been there, and is still there every single day.
For me, it took walking away from original storytelling dream for awhile, and learning the art of business storytelling (which people actually wanted to pay me for), PLUS facing my self-limiting beliefs about money, to help me grow my skills and create a financial cushion that THEN allowed me to actually go back and develop the stories I really wanted to tell.
I still don't get paid for those particular stories, by the way, but I do get paid for business stories. And I'm ecstatic about that.
As most of you know, I funnel my "hobby" storytelling the Scrappy Storyteller. I do what I want, say what I want, experiment with whatever comes to mind . . . without having to worry that "this must meet market demand because someone has to pay for it."
Sure, I make some side cash selling things there. It's always a happy surprise and a pleasant bonus. But I don’t ever try to burden the Scrappy Storyteller with being my business.
Because I simply don’t feel like treating it like a business, and attaching a lot of money intentions to the products I create. In that arena, I want the freedom to Do What I Love without Mad Business Skills.
I know it's really a hobby, and that's okay. I'm clear on what the Scrappy Storyteller is, and what I'm actually trying to do with it.
Which is the whole point of this conversation.
Maybe as you read this, you’re thinking of an all-consuming hobby that you hope to turn into a profitable business. Or maybe you're wondering if you want to take the leap into entrepreneurship. Or perhaps you wish your day job were just more aligned with your passions.
I challenge you to ask yourself, in any of these scenarios:
“Do I have the commitment, drive, and willingness to learn the (possibly painful) Mad Business Skills I currently lack, in order to make Doing What I Love truly profitable?”
If not, go back to your hobby. Be happy and blessed, and don't feel a shred of guilt. (I certainly don't.)
But if the answer is yes . . . then roll up your sleeves and start looking outside yourself.
Because business is not totally about you or doing what you love every second of every day.
It's about the place where that Passion meets the world's Demand.
Until next time, speak freely.
Do you agree or disagree with the "Do What You Love" mantra? Comment below!
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