The good news is that there are always exceptions, but the exceptions seem to have a slightly more complex working formula than Love=money. I think the ones who tend to the success side of the tracks are the ones who employ formulas that go like this:
To be successful in any venture except games of chance requires more that just doing what you love. Doing what you love is just the beginning. If you're going to make a living at it, you're going to have to acquire some other skills, and you might also have to completely reconfigure your basic ideas of work and how you're compensated for it. I'd offer a few suggestions for that reconfiguration here:
- If you can, make sure to reserve your most productive time and energy for your passionate pursuit. Don't wait until after the family goes to bed to do your great work(unless you can actually make it happen then), give your peak hours to the work you love.
- Structure your support tasks so that they get done regularly, but they don't consume all of your available time. Make one half day each week your administrative time, and use it wisely. Get all of your tasks done then and be diligent about saving those tasks until then instead of interrupting your creative flow.
- Improve your planning skills and processes. Contrary to popular belief, good planning is a skill that can be learned. It's not something that anyone is born with, everyone who is good at it has practiced to be that competent. At the very least I'd encourage you to have a short period of time at the beginning of each work week to write down a vision for the week ahead and a prioritized list of measurable goals to go along with it. Keep it simple, but write it all down. Take advantage of some of the amazing books, videos and software that has been written about planning and productivity. Every moment you put into creating a plan will pay you back in hours saved by the focus you gain.
- Look for multiple ways to create income, especially passive income. Most people who are following their passion have had to cultivate diverse income streams to make a living. While I encourage you to make your passionate pursuit the main source of your income, I'd also encourage you to be open to other possible streams as well. For many creative artists, teaching their specialty can be a viable sideline. Private music and art teachers can command lucrative hourly rates, especially if they offer group classes. If you're competent at an activity, you probably can offer some kind of service related to that competence. Coaching, teaching, mentoring, counseling are all possible streams of income for a specialist. The only caution here is that it's easy sometimes to shift into spending all of your peak time in this secondary stream. Having a schedule full of students can take a lot of time and energy to manage as well as teach, so again, give yourself a workable structure to allow yourself the time you need for your own creativity. Passive income sources are those that don't require more than minimal time and energy to manage, yet they still provide a return. Regularly invest a portion of your income in interest bearing accounts. Create an online shop through services like CafePress or Zazzle that will give you a commission for items you sell on their websites. Write and sell ebooks on your area of expertise. The key is to have more than one predictable stream of income flowing in.
- Learn all you can about entrepreneurship. Like planning, entrepreneurial skills are able to be studied, practiced and learned. There are thousands of books, videos, workshops, seminars, coaches, programs and more on the art of entrepreneurship. At the very least learn everything that you can about starting a business, even if it's a non profit or a seemingly unrelated service. There are some basic categories of knowledge to learn here: planning, organizational structuring, managing resources, delivery systems, financial planning and reporting, sales and marketing, project management, etc. The more you learn about successfully starting a venture, the more opportunity you'll create for yourself. Most cities have an organization called the Service Corp of Retired Executives(SCORE/ACE). These are skilled and experienced retired businesspeople who volunteer their time to help fledgling entrepreneurs to get started on the right foot. This is a good place to begin. At the very least I'd encourage you to identify and work with a mentor who you respect and admire that can point you in the direction of your own success.
- If you have to have a day job, shoot for a position that is complementary to your passionate pursuit, but don't settle for doing something for someone else that you could be doing for yourself. For example, if you'd sell used cars to make money when you could be selling your own paintings, why not buck up and sell your own work? But if you want to be a teacher and you're getting your certification taken care of, substitute teaching is an excellent way to get classroom experience and make contacts for your future career. I also recommend that you find a day job that offers you as much autonomy, flexibility and related experience as possible. Sometimes work at home situations can allow you to set your own schedule, pace and flow. If your employer's requirements make you compromise your own pursuits, it's probably not going to be a beneficial relationship for you to be a part of in the long run.
- Make your own work your top priority. It will never, ever be anyone else's priority, so if you don't, no one else will.
My wife, Monica Corrado again is one of the best examples of someone who has initiated several streams of income to make her work viable. Her company, Simply Being Well, LLC is a for profit corporation that features products and services that she has designed to help people regain their health through holistic nutrition. To fulfill this mission she offers cooking classes, individual consultations, published materials, public speaking engagements, and teacher training. Each of these streams is driven by her passion for inspiring people and for holistic nutrition. These diverse streams make her work sustainable.
The last encouragement I'll offer here in regard to making a living is that it rarely happens overnight. The people who are successful are also diligent and persistent. They learn from every decision they make and they are committed to making their vision a reality. They didn't wait for permission. They didn't suppose that it was up to anyone else but themselves. They didn't wait for a Hollywood producer to discover them at the Piggly Wiggly in Hattiesburg. They made one commitment at a time to the work that they loved, and they followed through with each commitment until they had what they wanted. Do what you love, then plan, promote, persist...whatever it takes until the money follows. It will look like magic to others, but you will know that the only magic was in the conviction, commitment and dedication that you put to the task.