This is a question commonly asked by people who aren't doing what they love but would like to. Are you one of them?
The other day, I was talking to a Mom with a teenager the same age as my daughter. She told me her daughter's passion is in performance theater. However, since my friend didn't want her daughter to become a starving artist, she advised her to keep performance as a hobby and pursue something more profitable… like law.
My heart broke for that young lady.
In fact, I know it is possible to make money doing what you love. It may not be boatloads of money. You may not become a multi-millionnaire.
But it is possible to make a decent living without being stuck in a high-paying profession that you don't particularly enjoy.
When I was finishing university, I knew I wanted to get into work that involved children. Specifically, I felt drawn towards children's television. Hey, don't blame me, I grew up watching Sesame Street.
The opportunity to work in children's television did come. To my dismay, it paid even less than the government job I had. But I didn't care! This was my dream job and besides, I was single — how much money did I need anyway?
Those years were some of the happiest in my adult working life. However, after a year or so, I started feeling poor and a bit sorry for myself. My main beef was that I couldn't afford to go on vacations.
I remember making a very clear prayer: “Lord, please show me how I can continue to work for children and still make money.”
You know what? A couple of months later, I got a call from UNICEF, where I ended up working for the next 14 years.
My next challenge came after I started having children. Suddenly, an office job didn't feel right anymore. I longed to stay home with my children, to have cookies in the oven when they got home from school and be the queen of my domestic empire.
So I wondered. Is it possible to stay at home and still make money?
I continued to pray. And this time, I made plans.
It took a long time — my eldest child is turning 16 this year — but here I am, at home, working, baking, knitting, sewing, cleaning house (bleh) and making money doing what I love: writing, blogging, blogging about writing…
I've got another example from real life. When we were freshmen at university, a friend of mine confided in me that what she really wanted to study was fine arts. The problem was, her parents did not approve. If she insisted on studying fine arts, she would have to put herself through school.
So my unfortunate friend was stuck in her computer science course. Being the intelligent and diligent person she is, she completed her degree with flying colors, got a job in a prestigious company, worked in different countries and did become a multi-millionaire!
But after maybe 10 years, she had a full bank account but an empty heart.
To her parents' dismay, she quit her high-paying job. And then she did put herself through school. She studied fine arts in Australia — because finally, she could afford to pursue what she really loves.
Forcing yourself to stay in a job or profession you don't like, just for the money, doesn't work. It's the formula for misery.
I'm not saying go for your passion and settle for a life of poverty. What I am saying is be committed to your passion and then be creative about making it profitable. Learn and master marketing, because that is the key to offering your brilliance to the world and getting paid for it.
How about you? What's your passion? And are you making money while doing what you love? If not, what do you plan to do so you can?
photo credit: pedrosimoes7
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
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I think the hardest part about making the choice to chase your passion is the fear that at the end of the day, you might not be able to make enough money to do all the other things you want to do such as go on vacations and travel.
This use to be an issue for me, until I found a way to workaround that fear so I could pursue my passion without stressing out.
I do agree with you though where you mention the need to be creative in making your passion profitable.
Maybe 20 years ago that might have been more difficult, but now with the internet its so much easier to connect with people who could be interested in your passion and whatever product or services you decide to sell.
I believe that passion, patience and perseverance will ultimately lead anyone to a happier and more fulfilling life.
You’re a shining example of that, and I look forward to more of your writing.
Yasuo, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment!
I agree, the Internet has made it so much easier for us to pursue our passions and find the people who are just as passionate about it.
If I hadn’t become a work at home copywriter and marketing adviser, I would be a practicing childbirth educator and breastfeeding counsellor. That was my “passion plan” and I actually got certified and everything.
My point is, if you want it enough, then you’ll be willing to do what it takes to make it happen.