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Work for the Money, Not Your Passion

February 10th, 2005 by Bob Bly

My colleague CM, one of the world?s most successful DM copywriters, shocked me when I asked him about his success.

?Forget all that advice about ?do what you?re passionate about,?? CM told me. ?Work is about making money — as much money as you can.

?For instance, if you love horses, don?t study to be a veterinarian. Instead, go into a business where you make a lot of money. That way, you can own as many horses as you want.?

I?ve always taken a different tact: follow your passion. Do what you love to do, then find a market or application where you can make good money doing it.

Most successful people I know worked hard to get where they are. And you won?t put in long hours unless you truly love what you do.

Whose approach do you like: CM’s or mine? And why?

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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 10th, 2005 at 7:51 am and is filed under Success. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

96 responses about “Work for the Money, Not Your Passion”

  1. Amrit Hallan said:

    I think it depends on what you are passionate about and what you can do to earn money. Your friend gave a wrong (with due respect to him) analogy. Loving horses and treating horses are two totally different things. The more appropriate example would be, being a teacher if you love teaching, being a singer if you love singing, being a writer if you love writing, being an explorer if you love exploring, being a preacher if you love preaching, etc. On the other hand, if you love collecting antiques, you don’t try to become a curator…you earn more and more money to enable you to purchase antiques.

    The important thing is the effort you put in, the work you do.

  2. Anonymous said:

    I say, do what you’re passionate about. There are too many stories of people following their passions and making lots of money to ignore. For example, a few years ago the son of a friend of mine announced to his dad that he wanted to be a juggler. Dad was not entirely pleased. However, the son went on to become a huge success: performing around the world; entertaining corporate audiences; holding master classes for other jugglers; and making a high income. I believe, if you’re determined and creative, you can make a living from virtually any interest you have.

  3. Steve Slaunwhite said:

    Oops, that wasn’t anonymous. That was me.

  4. Jim Logan said:

    If you want to “work” like CM, then “okay.” But to me, that’s not the way to live your life.

    Life’s too short. Do whatever you’re passionate about. Monetary success will result from your efforts. Passionate work shows and is respected with paying customers. Regardless, doing what you truly enjoy brings happiness.

    Who would you rather hire – a great copywriter that’s in it for the money or a great copywriter that has a passion for the job? Which would you rather have on your team?

  5. Steve Slaunwhite said:

    You make an excellent point, Jim. I wholeheartedly agree.

  6. Jason Bedunah said:

    I think you can find a way to make gobs of cash in nearly any area of interest. Isn’t this the lesson of niche marketing?
    If your friend loves horses, there are dozens and dozens of areas he could make good money in with horses. He could become a horse-breeder. He could write a guide about horse-breeding. He could write a guide about betting on horses. Etc, etc.

    He should think Niche.

    — Jason Bedunah
    http://www.jasonbedunah.com

  7. Shelle Castles-Melton said:

    I think if you’re passionate about whatever it is – you’ll find a way to get it. Either by working your A** off doing what you love. Or, by working your A** off by doing something that makes you gobs of money. The true question is: What is going to make you happier?

  8. Kevin Stirtz said:

    Bob, I agree with you. It’s more important that you are passionate about what you do than simply try to earn gobs of money doing it. It’s about the human condition, the human spirit. Show me a fabulously wealthy person with no sense of purpose or fulfillment each day and I’ll show you an unhappy human. Show me someone who is excited and passionate about their work (regardless of their income) and I’ll show you someone who thoroughly enjoys life. Someone once told me all humans have a basic desire to belong and to contribute. Doing what you are passionate about enables you to accomplish both. (And have a lot of fun at the same time!)

  9. Elisa Camahort said:

    I absolutely agree that you do what you feel passion for, BUT no one will pay you to do something just because you love it. Lots of bloggers are talking abut trying to make money blogging right now, and at the same time talking about how they do it because they love it so much! They are basically begging people to under-pay them.

    It’s exactly why actors are the worst paid people on any theatre production. Theatres pay the stage crew before they pay the actors sometimes!

  10. Rob Hyndman said:

    I can’t work my a*& off on anything – not for long, anyway, unless I’m pasionate about it. So it’s a moot question for me …

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  12. Danny Thompson said:

    I worked my a** off for money and was absolutely miserable. Now I’m doing something I’m passionate about for considerably less money and am much better off for it.

    If, by doing what you love, you make enough money to enjoy other things you love…well, that’s about as close as you can get to my definition of success. Much closer than the trade-off that CM advocates.

  13. Bruce DeBoer said:

    Passion it critical or else you’ll be changing your name to Dilbert.

    However, be aware that as soon as you make money with your passion it becomes work.

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  15. Nadin said:

    Actually Bob, your friend is doing exactly what he says he’s not doing. He’s following his passion, which just happens to be making money.

    If you are passionate about money, go for it with all your passion and you will find something that makes money. If you are passionate about something else, go for it and money will find you.

  16. Louis said:

    A thought provoking question, indeed! Thanks.

    And I think Nadin just got to the real truth here. It seems to me (too) that your friend “CM” is doing exactly what he is most passionate about – making money. For me, I need to have a good deal of passion for something in order to sustain any long-term effort… and just making money doesn’t seem to be enough for me. I’ve spent tons of time over the years completely immersed in a thing (learning mostly) that I have no intention of ever making money at… and yet I was extremely “successful” at them. (I attained my intended goal.)

  17. Dawney said:

    I love to sleep, yet I can’t find anyone who will pay me to do it! Therefore, for some people, we have to move beyond “our passion” and think in terms of goals instead of passion. I have to look beyond my passion for getting some sleep, and figure out how to make the most of my goal–that of sleeping indoors in a comfortable bed with clean linens, etc.

    It depends on the person, the passion, and goals.

  18. myra said:

    I allways followed my passion untill I was broke… Now, my passion is not to be broke ever again.

  19. jan said:

    i think it depends upon your passion, and whether it is something you can actually make a living with. Also, there might be a risk that it becomes less special when it becomes a business. But there are certain areas people are drawn to early in life, say in music or with dance…and if they become a “Rolling Stone” or a “Barishnikov”, then their passion truly ‘paid off’.

  20. yt said:

    but seriously…won’t u guys chose to work where u earn a GREAT deal of money rather than what you really enjoy?

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