“Do what you love and the money will follow.” How often have you heard some variation of that phrase? It used to be that putting in an honest hard day’s work was the most admirable thing a person could do in this country, but now even though hard work is still appreciated, autonomy seems to be even more valued. Sure it’s great to have a steady paycheck, but it’s even sweeter if that money comes from working on something you love.
Most people don’t derive much personal satisfaction from their jobs. Employment merely offers the means to pay bills. Finding that ever elusive intersection of passion and monetary gain is just a dream for most folks. Yet, the messages we get from the media in the form of hokey Instagram quotes and life/career coach sound bites is that once you follow your true passion and give it your all, money HAS to follow. Well, except when it doesn’t.
The New York Times recently ran a piece about that situation. They talked to several people who made the “leap” from traditional employment to more creative entrepreneurial efforts. Everyone profiled seemed to be talented, passionate and hardworking, but the money just never came like they thought it would.
“I’m pretty conservative and I knew it would be difficult, but it was a hundred times more difficult than I thought it would be,” said Trent Brown who left a sales career to join his wife in the cupcake business. The Browns ended up going into deep debt after opening a second store and Trent Brown had to go back into the corporate world in order to keep the family afloat.
And beyond the 80 million things that need to align in order for an entrepreneurial life to flourish, there’s also that intangible and over-arching issue of passion. “People in the labor market are blaming themselves for not being able to find a passion. The presumption is everyone has a deep-seated passion, but they might not,” said MIT professor Ofer Sharone to the New York Times.
I think everyone does have something that she could be passionate about, but not every person does the digging to find that pit fire within herself. Additionally, there are many practical things to consider when planning for an entrepreneurial venture and depending on your support system, responsibilities and resources, making that “passionate” jump might not be realistic.
Perhaps that burning desire to make one-of-a-kind jewelry or knit scarves or traipse the globe as a travel writer, can be done as part-time gig or a very satisfying hobby. Who says you have to make a career out of everything you love?
Have you ever thought about ditching your 9 to 5 for an entrepreneurial life? Why or why haven’t you done it?