Do What You Love Until You Go Broke

Scott Allen at About Entrepreneurs:

In recent years, the philosophy “Do What You Love, and the Money Will Follow” has become increasingly popular following the success of the book Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar.

While the approach sounds great, as career coach Dr. Marty Nemko puts it, “Millions of people have followed their passion and still haven’t earned enough money to even pay back their student loans, let alone make even a bare middle-class living doing what they love.”

It’s not the book’s fault. In fact, it’s a very fine book that will take you through a number of exercises to help you discover your true life purpose and find a number of different ways in which you can fulfill that purpose in your work. It will teach you to distinguish the true inner voice from the flash-in-the-pan ideas that constantly run through your head. And maybe it will help you be one of the few to beat the odds and pursue your dream career.

The problem is that most people don’t read the book and don’t go through the intensive self-discovery exercises it prescribes.

Some of the common scenarios include:

* No one wants to buy it. You’re passionate about it, but apparently no one else is. You can’t sell people something they don’t want to buy.

* Someone else already thought of it. You have a great idea, but it’s a niche market, and someone’s already beat you to it. And if they’re better funded, they may be doing it better/faster/cheaper. (It happened to my first company – a mistake I won’t repeat!)

* A lot of people already thought of it. Highly competitive markets are no fun. I don’t care how much you love the business you’re in, if you’re constantly having to go head-to-head with competitors, it will get old very quickly.

* There’s more to it than you realized. You underestimated the costs, or the development time, or the incubation period for the marketing to take effect, or the amount of energy required, or the toll it would take on your personal life.

So while pursuing your passion is an admirable goal, doing so to the exclusion of all reason and responsibility isn’t. If you have family depending on you for income, you have to consider that, as well.

Photo by playboy.

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