Many self-help gurus preach the importance of doing what you love, using faded clichés like “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. Maybe you’ve heard this one too: “Do what you love and the money will follow”. Does this really make sense? It’s a question that takes some introspection.
In one of his classic interviews, Steve Jobs professed the importance of doing what you love because your enthusiasm will allow you to keep working when everyone else has quit. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll do more work and put in longer hours, theoretically improving your chances of a big payoff.
However, I’m not so sure Steve Jobs followed his own advice. After all, he went from being a hippie, to traveling to monasteries, to becoming a tech giant. It seems more logical to conclude that Jobs got passionate about design and technology after he got involved in the field. More on this idea later…
You can make money doing what you love if there’s a market demand for what you love. If there’s no market demand, there’s no money to be made. If you open a coat and jacket store on the Miami boardwalk because you love winter fashion, you’ll probably fail. This is an extreme example, but too many people are victims of this thinking.
If you can find your target niche through what you love, you can carve out a pretty nice space for yourself. If you love taking care of arthritic dogs, you’re not likely to become a billionaire pursuing this route, but do the math: if you can find a niche of 10,000 dog owners to give you $100 each for your product or service, you can bank a million dollars. You can establish yourself as an expert and become the go-to person for your area. Plus, your business will become a better fit to your lifestyle, because you will truly enjoy your work.
However, please don’t buy that “never work a day in your life” crap, because it’s just not true. I’m not a pessimist, but if you’re on the path to becoming wealthy, you’ll have some days you don’t enjoy. Every business has boring or unenjoyable tasks, but they have to be done. Then, you can get back to the fun stuff.
What if you don’t have a niche to take over? You’re not alone. Most talented people don’t have one overarching passion. You most likely have many things that you enjoy doing, but can’t see one taking over your entire life. You should keep these things your hobbies. If you tried to make them into your livelihood, you might not get as much enjoyment out of them.
Instead, focus on your natural skills and hone them in ways that make you more valuable to the marketplace. Try to find something that is a natural strength for you, or that you gravitate towards. While most people have a fear of public speaking, I love to speak in front of crowds or groups, and I know that I can deal from a position of strength when public speaking is involved. If you’re a people-person or a natural persuader, try sales. If you’re curious and methodical, take a look at research positions.
You can make a decent amount of money doing something you don’t necessarily love, but this writer feels you can’t get much luckier than someone who is passionate and naturally talented towards a field with staggering market demand.