I want to take a few moments today to talk about passion vs. money when it comes to choosing a career and why you should choose passion.
I hear so many kids being told to pursue an in-demand major so that they can get a good job when they get out of college.
And I’ve met quite a few people who chose a college major, or a career path, based solely on income potential, only to get burnt out, miserable, and ultimately start over in a new direction later in life.
I remember telling my high school guidance counselor that I wanted to be a photographer and a writer. He basically shrugged and dismissed my ambitions, pushing me toward a more traditional academic path.
Even in film school, I was pressured toward more academic film studies classes rather than hands-on camera work. The idea was that I should get a proper film studies degree so that I could fall back on teaching if my passion (filmmaking) didn’t work out.
It sounds reasonable. But it actually isn’t.
Income Doesn’t Necessarily Bring Happiness
Most people will take the steady paycheck from a soulless job over financial uncertainty while following their passion.
It’s what our parents want us to do. It’s what society wants us to do.
But is it really what you want to do? Does more money in your pocket really satisfy the unfulfilled feeling that your life could be so much more?
For me, it doesn’t.
Before I quit my day job back in 2008, I had a great job at a great company, earning more than I had ever made up until that point. I had full benefits.
It was the type of job that you stay at and make a career out of.
But it wasn’t my passion. I hated working for somebody else. I resented the fact that I wasn’t doing what I loved for a living.
The job security, and steady paycheck, didn’t make up for the fact that I was still miserable in a day job – the place were I spent 75% of my time.
My passion led me to quit that job, move to Chicago, Illinois, and hustle like mad to become a freelance cameraman. THAT was my passion at the time.
When my passion for freelance videography waned, and the economic downturn ate into my income potential, I embraced my passion for writing. Tracy and I pursued blogging, and coaching people online.
Yes, I never know how much I am going to make month to month. I don’t have a steady paycheck, but I feel fulfilled. I feel like I finally have freedom in my life.
I am so much happier as a writer/coach without a steady paycheck than when I had a steady paycheck in my “safe” career.
Our First Mistake Of Choosing Profit Over Passion, And Why It Failed
DavyandTracy.com (formerly Incredible Smoothies) wasn’t the first blog that Tracy and I launched. In fact, our first blog was called Create Your Day, and it was a blog about having a grand wedding on a budget (think DYI crafts).
It was 2009, the economy was in the toilet, my videography business income was anything but stable, and rumors of layoffs at the company where Tracy worked began to circulate (we were dependent on her income).
We were also thinking about making a go at blogging.
Our keyword research indicated that the budget wedding niche had major profit potential. Plus, our own wedding a couple years prior was on a shoestring, so we had personal experience.
(To learn more about researching profit potential of a blog niche, see the Keyword Research module in our Pro Blogging E-Course.)
We went for it.
In January 2009, we purchased a hosting plan and paid for the domain name. I wrote 100 blog posts (100 articles!) within six months, and Tracy made dozens of DIY crafts.
We started getting a little traffic, and traction on social media. But our hearts were just not in it and you could tell. We were barely growing and not a lot of interaction with readers.
We made the mistake of choosing a niche based on profit potential rather than passion.
So after 6 months, we shuttered our budget wedding blog and created a new blog – Incredible Smoothies (now DavyandTracy.com) – despite the fact that our keyword research indicated that this niche would be difficult to monetize as effectively.
But it didn’t matter to us. While we felt like our backs were against the wall financially (Tracy was ultimately laid off from her job, and the firm closed soon after), we chose a business with heart.
We didn’t expect much from a smoothie blog, so we figured we’d have to create a second or third blog to cobble together enough of an income keep us afloat.
However, because we poured our soul into Incredible Smoothies, it blew past our expectations and was more successful than we could have imagined!
Rock The Boat And Follow Your Heart
Keep this in mind whether you are deciding on a topic for your blog, or choosing a college major or career path – follow your passion, and don’t just make decisions based on profit (or paycheck) potential if your heart is not into it.
Don’t be afraid to branch off from the safe or established path. You only have one life, so spend your time doing what you love. Seriously!
No paycheck or profit margin is worth toiling away doing soulless work that doesn’t engage and inspire you.
At the end of your life, you’ll be glad that you lived your dream and followed your passion. The money that you made, and your material possessions, will mean nothing on your death bed.
About Davy & Tracy
Hey there! We're Davy & Tracy Russell, the husband-and-wife team behind this website. We help trailblazers break through barriers so they can turn their passion into their life's work through entrepreneurship. How can we help you?