Following Your Passions to Making Lots of Money

Follow your passions and the money will follow.

A real feel good quote. The kind of quote that makes you want to quit your job and start watching footballs games all day. The kind of quote that will make you rich– actually, not really. I really don’t like that quote to be honest. It’s too ambiguous and too scammy in my opinion. I need something more concrete to get me motivated. But nonetheless, the topic of following your passions to make lots of money is one that I would love to discuss today.

Considering I’m not one of the lucky few that are following their passions to earn a decent living, I decided I would search around the net for additional advice on following your passions to make lots of money (or a decent living at least).

Gary Vaynerchuk (the guy who probably eats, sleeps, and breathes passion) described the connection between following your passions and making money, the most effectively:

If you enter a niche because you’re following the dollars, you won’t keep it up. It’s too much work, and you will get tired and frustrated and you will eventually fold. You have to think about building your brand in terms of a marathon, not a sprint. It will take longer to see results, but in seven of fifteen years you won’t crack, you’ll still love what you’re doing.

On the flip side, Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz via the following your passion blogger roundup had the following to say on the topic of money vs. passion:

This might make me the bad guy, but I don’t believe that passion inherently begets money. I believe that passion makes it far easier to navigate the hurdles that come between you and money. The mountain standing in your way is a lot easier to climb when you’re passionate. If you’re not passionate you look at the mountain, realize how big it is, say “Screw it, I don’t give a shit anymore,” and then tell your friends and family that the mountain was too high. Uh, no.

Where do I stand?

I think that you should follow your passion if the passion itself has a decent following and there is a way to monetize this passion. It is what it is. There has to be a way to make money in the particular niche. You can’t blindly chase fields that won’t pay you. We all need to survive financially.

In turn, this leads to the million dollar question: how do you figure out if the market you want to enter can allow you to earn a decent living, while still following your passion?

(Stolen directly from “Career Renegade” by Jonathan Fields)

1. Differentiation. What’s so special about you? Can you do something different with your passion in the specific market? Can you change up a process and do it better? The key here is to find out if you can really do something different in the field of your passion. If you can’t, then it might be a bit tricky to earn a living.

2. Hunger. How bad do you want it? Are you willing to sacrifice? How bad do the others in the market want to be helped? Is there a problem that needs to be urgently solved?

It seems like these days many young wannabe entrepreneurs are dying for ways to figure out how to make money through blogging. As a result, people like Darren Rowse (he has 141k subscribers) and Brian Clark, are making a living by showing people how to make a living online. Yes you read that right. There’s people making money online by telling people how to make money online.

What problem can you solve?

3. Price availability. This is the most sensitive and critical aspect in my opinion. How are you going to make money? How will you price your products? This part is usually overlooked for reasons unknown to me.

So now let’s say you want to follow your passion for playing the guitar to make a living. Cool. You need to figure out how you will monetize this passion and how in the world you can earn enough money to the pay the rent. Perhaps you’re a social dude and you can give guitar lessons to guys that want to learn guitar to pick up girls (forgot where I read this)? Maybe you hate people and don’t enjoy collecting cash from people and you want to set up an interactive online subscription site? If you want something in between, you can think in terms of playing at weddings and other parties (free food & booze is always a good thing).

I can’t answer this for you, but from my research (yes I do research) it’s clear that pricing needs to be addressed before you join the “follow your passions to make a living” crew.

Do you have to be passionate to make lots of money?

That’s the thing. I really don’t think so. What about all of those folks that make over a 100 grand a year and hate their jobs? Sure they don’t fully enjoy their 9-5 but they have enough money to do whatever they want in their free time. They may not be happy at work but they’re surely happy when they go on a 5 star cruise or when they buy a brand new card. Apparently stress is a killer for these folks, but I wouldn’t know because I’m not one of them.

Can you sacrifice money for passion?

You definitely can. You can work on projects that drive you but don’t pay you even enough so that you can drive. Is it worth it? I can’t answer that for you. If you live at home and are decent with frugality, you really have nothing to lose. On the other hand, if you got a family to feed and bills to pay, the following your passions mantra is going to be pretty difficult to apply.

The main benefit of working on something you’re passionate about is that the worst-case ultimate end result is you just go back to work. If after many months or years, you feel that you can’t earn a decent living follow your passions, then you can always go back to work. As a 20-something that doesn’t sound all that bad, does it?

Key takeaway point: I have no clue! This is a discussion that I would definitely love to open up. What do you guys think? Do you need to passionate to make lots of money? Can you follow your passions to the path of prosperity? Or should you suck up the stress that comes with the high paying job?

2 thoughts on “Following Your Passions to Making Lots of Money”

  1. To answer your questions: You absolutely don’t have to be passionate to make lots of money as Lyndon’s case shows. All you have to do is being smart and dedicated to your job. Passion is a different level, which makes you want to do your job or whatever it is REGARDLESS of the amount of money up to a certain point.

    After making much more than $50-70,000 for a single person, you DON’T really need much more. It’s just life inflation and gravy (savings) after that.

    The way I look at it is if you can make more money now, it may save your work life down the rod. i.e. takes 10 years to make $500,000 making $50,000/yr or 1 year to make $500,000 if you do so you don’t have to work 9 years in the tail end so you can save and do whatever you want.

    Regarding sucking it up, that’s what I’ve taken in a slightly different approach today in “Treat Your Job As If You Won The Lottery”. Thanks for the mention. When do you graduate btw?

  2. Hey MD,

    I’m going to have a take a similar approach as @Financial Samurai.

    You don’t have to be passionate about your job to make lots of money.

    I work for a big financial services firm and for those who are willing to stay for 10 years or so , they can make 250k+/year. It will be a grind but the money will be there whether passion is there or not.

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