The Surprising Truth About Doing Work You Love

“Do what you love and the money will follow” is bullshit.

The truth? Knowing how to get paid for your passion is just as important as uncovering it in the first place.

We all have plenty of things that we love to do. I love to drink whiskey and watch Netflix. But I don’t expect the money to follow those activities.

Of course, I could find a way to get paid to do those things. But it’s not going to happen automatically. I can’t just start drinking more whiskey and watching more Netflix and then wait for the money to roll in.

Unless you can find a way to apply your strengths to your passions, and then use those to solve actual problems for other people, the money won’t follow. Because you won’t have created any value in the world.

I don’t do what I do for the money. I do it for the impact. But I need to make enough money to be able to sustain that impact day after day.

Plus, there’s something about being paid well for my work that makes me love it even more. It’s hard to love things that make us broke.

“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is ridiculous.

The truth? Doing meaningful work is fucking stressful. And scary. You have to really want it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m much more fulfilled now than I was working for someone else on stuff that didn’t matter to me. But entrepreneurship is no walk in the park either.

In fact, I probably work harder now than I did in my old job. The difference is that now it’s a choice. I only work when I want to, which happens to be a lot of the time because my work excites me so much.

If your goal is to work less, or to be more comfortable, you don’t need to build a business. You need to find a new job.

“Leap and the net will appear” is just plain dangerous.

The truth? Successful entrepreneurs invest significant time and money to build a safety net before they ever leap.

Every single entrepreneur I know built a business on the side before they left their job. There is a time and a place to leap. But it’s not before you start getting paid clients or customers.

You’ll want to leap before you’re ready. But if you leap too early, the stress will cause you to make decisions out of fear. This can be a creativity killer (and a business killer in the long term).

For me, it took about 8 months to build up the $20,000 runway that I felt comfortable with. A lot of that money came from sales, not from savings. And those sales came from investing in my business.

I wish someone had told me all of this stuff sooner. It would have accelerated my progress dramatically.

Because the truth is, doing work that you love is worth it. There’s absolutely no excuse for NOT doing work that you’re passionate about. It’s a tragedy to me how much potential is wasted when people do work they hate.

You just have to decide:

Are you willing to do what it takes to have the life and business of your dreams?

(Photo credit: Chris Ford via cc)