Stop me if you’ve heard this one. . .
A woman loves making pottery, so she decides to open a little shop selling it.
A man is passionate about writing, so he quits his job to focus on his first novel.
Then. . . (wait for it) . . .
I mean nothing. No customers, no readers, no clients, zilch.
They return to the world of the “working dead” with their tails tucked and their egos bruised.
But worst of all they have lost faith in the kind of world where they can make a living doing something they love.
But it didn’t have to be that way.
Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ is Wrong
It’s time to shatter this belief.
“Just do what you love” is a horrible recommendation.
The goal is to spend your time doing something that you absolutely love,
and to move away from wasting your life on things that don’t matter to you.
So why doesn’t this work?
The Hard Truth About How to Make Money From Your Passions
Here’s where things start to get interesting.
Quite simply, if you want to “do” your passion and keep doing it, all day, every day, you need to find a way to make money from it.
(Otherwise, you’ll likely need a job, which is too bad, because it’s really inconvenient to spend so much time at work.)
So, how do you get paid to do what you love?
The secret is . . .
It isn’t about you.
It isn’t about your passion.
It’s all about your clients and customers, and what you give to them, what you do for them, and how they benefit from knowing you.
You have to make them care about your passion so much that they’ll pay you to do it.
The Hollywood Principle
So many people blindly follow their passion, believing their love for it will be enough to make them successful. (Think of young Hollywood hopefuls.)
But what these passionate people fail to factor in is what I call “The Hollywood Principle.”
The Hollywood Principle states that no matter how passionate you are about something, nobody cares about it simply because you do.
The hard truth is that if you want clients or customers, your work – even in the sacred space of your passions – must still be concerned with why they should care about what you’re doing.
People fleeing the corporate world – the world of 9-5 and dictated eating and bathroom schedules – tend to equate a passion-based business with freedom.
They want the freedom to be their own boss.
The freedom to be in charge of their own time.
And perhaps most of all, the freedom to do whatever it is that they love.
Words of Caution
With this mindset, they throw caution to the wind and do what they love without regard for The Hollywood Principle.
They pursue their venture with the love and compulsion characteristic of passions.
But it can all go wrong because they forget to connect what they love to something that others will care about too.
Don’t let this happen to you.
If you simply want to engage in your passion – write, make pottery, or do whatever else you might care about, then by all means – stop reading this post and proceed.
But if what you want is to make money from your passions so you can keep doing them, then read on.
Living Off Your Passion
The goal here is to remain in the passion space, so of course you shouldn’t contort yourself just to meet their standards.
You’re not just out to find a market need and fill it. That’s the old way of doing business.
The real challenge is to find a way to persuasively communicate to your clients and customers the gift of your passion, your mission, and the unique value you bring.
Finding your unique value is key.
And then you have to make them see it.
But where the heck will I find that, you ask?
Your Unique Value
Start looking for it by searching for what you give (to the world) that you love to give so much that you can’t help but give it (aka: your mission.)
Let me use myself as an example.
I love to write. But it’s not just writing for writing’s sake. I use my writing as a tool to help me further my personal and business mission of helping people find or create work they love.
Sometimes a passion is just fun. That’s ok.
But a passion that has a mission behind it can be a world-changing force.
It’s great to read an article like this and think: “Interesting.”
And then move on.
But today, I want to challenge you to answer this question in the comments below.
Because if you really want a life you feel is built just for you, you’re going to have to build it.
The question is “Why do you do your passion? What’s your unique value, your mission, or how do you contribute?”
Take a few minutes to think about it.
Is there something that captures the essence of who you are and what makes you both valuable and unique?
If you come up blank, ask a few friends.
It’s worth really digging in to answer this question fully.
When you can answer it, you will be able to clearly connect what you do with why someone needs it done.
And it’s in the answer to that question that you’ll find a nugget so powerful, you will finally know how to live off your passions.