Can You Really Earn a Living Doing What You Love?

Do What You Love The Money Will FollowDo What You Love, The Money Will Follow

You hear it all the time.  “Do what you love and the money will follow?” But is it true?  I’d have to say, “Kind of.”  When you are working doing things you love, then it really isn’t work.  It all flows.  You forget what time it is.  You have all the energy you need.  The problems are interesting instead of overwhelming.  At the same time, there are lots of things that people love to do that aren’t easy to earn a living doing.  Golf.  Reading.  Collecting.  Gardening.  Eating.

If you’re like me, as you read the above list, you can think of ways to make a living doing those things.  If you extend these things beyond to related things, there are even  more ways to make a living from them. Lots of ways.  The thing is that we want to make LOTS of money doing things we love.  We want to just do what we love and have a business magically sprout around us.  It doesn’t work that way.  So, if you’re thinking about it that way, then, no, you can’t.

You Have to Work to Do What You Love

It still takes work to do what you love and earn a living from it.  Take me, for instance.  I do what I love.  I coach people to achieve their dreams.  I consult with companies to improve their performance.  I LOVE doing these things.  BUT . . .  I also have to do marketing, proposals, hustle for business.  I don’t particularly enjoy those things.  They are necessary in order for me to be able to do the things that I love.  And because they enable the things that I love, they aren’t as bad as they would be otherwise.

I had to do a lot of work to be able to know how to do the things that I love.  I had to learn, practice and deliver while working for companies–a.k.a. jobs.  I worked at jobs like all the other people who supposedly are earning a living not doing what they love.  A major difference was that I was learning in order to do what I wanted.  I thought of it that way.  That made it easier.  I was working toward doing what I loved.  And because it was going to enable the things that I loved, it wasn’t as bad as it would be otherwise.  Knowing that I was working toward doing what I loved gave me a lot of energy to keep doing it.

Figure Out What You Love

Maybe the hardest thing is to figure out what you love, and then to figure out how to make a living doing it.  If you love quilting, for instance, you can quilt (to earn a living doing this, you either have to make very good quilts that people will pay a lot for, or you need to make lots of quilts (get a quilting machine)).  Or you could have a online quilting auction service.  Or you could have a business that sells quilting tools or supplies.  Or you could design fabric.  Or you could write about quilts.  Or you could take quilt pictures.  Or you could develop  and deliver quilt training.   Or . . . you get the point.

You can love working for a company.  Lots of people do.  You don’t necessarily love working for all companies, but working for some can prepare you to work for the one you love.  It may be a certain kind of company that you love–a restaurant or a trading company– or it may be a particular role in a company that you love.  Whatever works for you.

The way I figured out what I loved was to evaluate all the parts of the jobs that I had really enjoyed–in my case, teaching, figuring out how to fix parts of organizations, presenting, advising–and to figure out what “job” that was.  I had never thought of being a consultant until I went through this process. Once I figured it out, though, the rest was easy.  What skills did I need to be able to do it?  How could I learn them? What was my timeframe?

Not Magic, But Worth It

There was nothing magic about it.  Money didn’t instantly appear.  I had so much fun, though, that it didn’t really matter.  The problems were interesting, not insurmountable.  Doing what I loved helped me pick myself up after setbacks and keep going.  The more I learned, the more fun I was having.

So, yes, you can earn a living doing what you love.  You just have to work at it.

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Filed under Career Development, Career Goals, Executive Development, Goal Setting, Personal Change, Success

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