How You Can Survive When Your Passion Doesn’t Pay Jack

What if you follow your passions and you then realize that there’s no money in the field? What if your passionate about something that doesn’t pay the bills?

Being self-employed is great. Not getting paid sucks.

Let me share an example with you…

Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall is a UFC fighter in the flyweight division (125 pounds). I could take him, but this post isn’t about showing off. I love to watch MMA because there’s so much action involved and it’s a fun sport to practise. A few weeks ago, Ian McCall was in the main event of a UFC event on FX. The fight was solid and unfortunately for him, McCall lost. When the athletic commission released the payouts, it was noted that McCall earned $9,000 for the fight. His opponent earned $40,000 and another dude on the card earned $66,000.

At UFC 116, Brock Lesnar earned $400,000 and millions of dollars in sponsorship money. In other words, McCall followed his passion and made pennies compared to others in the same line of work. This is like a blogger entering the field and barely earning their Adsense payout after two years of hard work. There’s always a dark side to following your passions. This can’t be denied.

There’s lots of money involved in being a fighter. Apparently the UFC is known for giving locker room bonuses, there’s sponsorship money, and you get other performance based bonuses. You can with $75,00 for best fight, knockout of the night, or best submission. McCall lost the fight and didn’t get any performance bonuses. He walked away with $9,000 for the night.

But wait Martin, isn’t $9,000 a lot of money for 15 minutes of work? Well not really. McCall fought twice this year and will be lucky to get in another two fight. From that $9,000 he has to pay his own taxes, cover most of his own expenses, and pay his trainers. Whatever is leftover is for him to enjoy. I can’t imagine that there’s much money left over at all.

If you decide to start an online business, and then you fail, you can easily switch gears. In other lines of work it’s not so easy to switch gears, or is it?

What do you do if your passion doesn’t pay jack? How can you avoid giving up?

You can spin it into something else.

If you’re good at one thing, you’re usually good at something else. We’ll stick with the example from above. This guy is clearly a good fighter since he’s trusted with the main event position. This also means that he’s likely good at the things involved with being a fighter. For example:

  • Training martial arts.
  • Getting into shape.
  • Nutrition tips to get into shape.
  • Different kinds of workouts.
  • Time management.
  • Discipline.
  • And so on.
What I’m getting at is that being a good fighter, or good in any field, also means that you’re likely good at something else. You can easily switch your current offering to try your hand at something similar that pays better.

Position yourself better.

You can always become better. To become a better blogger you can take writing classes in the evenings or hire a writing coach. To be a better personal trainer you can get a degree in something science-related.

You can also just position yourself better.

I’ve learned that there’s a huge difference between where you are and where you want to be all because of how you’ve positioned yourself.

For example, no matter what I do, Studenomics will always be aimed at a younger audience. The name itself will not allow it to be aimed at 40 year old dudes looking for retirement advice or for 60 year olds looking to find a great place to retire. It’s all about positioning yourself. I’m no expert on the topic, so I’ll just stop there for now.

I’ll leave you with this quick thought: how are you position in your career, group of friends, or academic life?

Self- employed jobs aren’t easy. That’s what you can do if your passion doesn’t pay jack. You don’t have to give up. I’ve almost given up so many times when projects have failed or I didn’t hit targets. At the end of the day, I read this quote on dealing with failure to help me move on:

“Successful people learn from failure, but the lesson they learn is a different one. They don’t learn that they shouldn’t have tried in the first place, and they don’t learn that they are always right and the world is wrong and they don’t learn that they are losers. They learn that the tactics they used didn’t work or that the person they used them on didn’t respond.” – Seth Godin

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