There are two truths about the saying, “Do what you love and the money will follow.”
These two truths are in opposition but are still both correct.
Let me explain…
How nice would it be to view your work as a blessing instead of a curse, instead of a necessary evil that you trudge through to enjoy your nights and weekends?How nice would it be to view your work as a blessing instead of a curse, instead of a necessary evil that you trudge through to enjoy your nights and weekends? Click To Tweet
Wouldn’t it be great to LOVED your daily work?
- What if your work was an extension of yourself and your talents?
- How nice would it be to know and feel that you’re doing the work you were meant to do?
You may have heard this before and so we know it’s not enough to say – “Do what you love.” The thing is, you must LOVE not, in particular, the label of what you do, but the overall feeling of the work and workload required to produce a product that the market wants.
That’s the two truths. One; That you love your work so you the invest countless hours it takes to master your craft. Two; Make sure that the market wants to pay for what you are producing.
You need both and the correct mix is magic.
The Two Sides Of Do What You Love And The Money Will Follow
Let’s say you are a writer.
It’s not the label of being a ‘writer’ that most people fall in love with. It’s the things they do on a daily basis that it takes to be a writer that makes them happy. Things like thinking while having a cup of coffee and putting their emotions to paper. From there, those things and feelings, are what make them love writing. Since they love feeling that way, they do more of the things that make for a successful writer.
But now you must ask, “Does anyone want to buy their book?”
The Practical Application Of “Do What You Love”
You’ve been down this road already haven’t you? You need the ‘how’ of what needs to be done and not the ‘what’. You know you should be doing what you love doing. If not, you won’t put in the long hours to become great at it. It just makes sense.
- How do you find what you really love to do?
- What does the market want to buy?
- Lastly, how do you find the mix of the above two so you can make a living?
These are the questions I asked myself as I went through my many job changes. I always felt dissatisfied with life despite the blessings I had and was well aware of. From being in the army, to being a personal trainer, I was always looking inside. Trying to scratch an itch.
Everybody wants to wake up in the morning and be excited about their tasks for the day. So then you have to ask yourself: If enjoying your job is so great, then why doesn’t everyone do it?
The reason “Do what you love and the money will follow,” doesnt work for most people is because they haven’t found the combo of passion and market demand.
They don’t know where to start. They’re stuck in a pattern of work, eat, take care of the kids, go to sleep and wake up to do it all over again. They don’t have time to think about themselves and the way their lives are going. Even if they did, there is no guide given and set in place in the educational system that offers help. So they can’t take the first step. Both you and I know that the first step is the hardest.
Even if they made time to find a passion project, they don’t know how to make enough money doing it to feed their families.
You have to work to eat. It’s better to do the kind of work you love to do, and get paid for doing it as well.
Many people try to make money doing something they love for a couple of weeks only to pull the plug when their bank accounts don’t immediately swell.
You have to step back and put things in perspective…
I look back over my last 16 or so years trying to make a living online as an example. During those years, I’ve traveled around the world, had many awesome experiences, went to bed and woke up when I wanted and had successes and failures.
Since that time, I have learned how to make a reliable living online and I am not facing a huge debt. (Update: This has changed. See footnote) I learned specific skills about how to make money blogging, how to make money with a membership site and how to make money while offering free and valuable content.
I had these awesome life experiences and learned all this specific information for way less than the cost of a university education, and in about the same time. The major factor is that I didn’t learn how to WORK FOR SOMEONE ELSE the way university teaches. I learned how to PLAY ON MY OWN and have my income be residual and passive at the same time.
Meaning that even though I love what I play at, I don’t have to do even that.
You can read motivational articles and inspirational books all day long and that does serve a purpose, but if you are going to change your life then you need practical steps to follow. These practical steps are where you should be spending your learning time and not in the conventional education system.
Unless of course, you want to WORK in a conventional way.
Earl Nightingale was famous for saying that we need more individuals. That conformity is not the way to success.
“Each man has his own vocation. This talent is the call. He inclines to do something which is easy to him and good when it is done, but which no other man can do. He has no rival. For the more truly he consults his own powers, the more difference will his work exhibit from the work of any other.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson – Quote is from his book Essays. Specifically Spiritual Laws
Seems Folks Have Already Figured This Out, But I Didn’t Listen…
By now you know the path you want to take. You just need to know how to offer it to a hungry market. Find the demand, and then tailor your skill to provide the thing.
As a personal trainer I’ve learned that if you want to be able to do something well and quickly, then go to the experts. Let someone else do all the hours of research, information gathering and sifting because that’s what THEY LOVE TO DO and apply what they have learned.
An example: I know I like to write and record what I learn from reading. That’s what I like to do, but what does the MARKET need or want?
I found out what the market wants by doing a ton of writing on everything my heart desired. From fitness books to action and adventure fiction. I put it out there and waited to see if anything struck a chord. There were some hits and lots of misses.
Living by the philosophy of “Do what you love,” I continue on the writers path by breaking apart my books and tweeting bits, posting blurbs on Instagram and putting full articles on Facebook. On the things that get a response, I write more. I drop the writing where crickets are my only audience.
I offer everything I have in the way that I like. That is the “Do what You love,” part. Lots of writing and then wait for the world to tell me what they like. The waiting tells me what the world will pay for.
Once you know, you go for it.
UPDATE: Long story short, life has thrown curve balls. It’s ten years after originally writing this and I can say that the prose is true, the application has suffered. Sometimes, you cannot make what you want happen. You have to learn to deal with the job you have for survival. To this end, I point you to Stoicism and the following article on a different blog. https://highexistence.com/8-career-lessons-ancient-stoic-philosophy/
Having said that, you can’t let your hopes die. So I once again put words into the world and wait for the next indication of what people want to read. These are just waves in the ocean of life, but my rudder remains fully in hand and on course.
You can learn more about figuring out your passion’s market here on Ryan Holiday’s website
Sometimes you need to buck up and do a restart. This is pretty normal. Technology doesn’t stay the same and so businesses can get wiped out sooner than you can say, “Ebook.” See also my story about my 7 year journey making money with google adsense.
Just adapt and overcome and keep working on your dream. That’s my two cents on the saying “Do what you love and the money will follow.”
What do you think?