Seth Godin once wrote: “In order to monetize your work, you’ll probably corrupt it, taking out the magic in search of dollars…”
In other words, when you choose to follow your passion, and make it into your business, there will be a point when the magic and heart will take a back seat to commerce.
It’s enough to stop you in your tracks, isn’t it?
It almost stopped me way back when I was contemplating going full time as a performer and songwriter. The “business vs passion” thoughts raced through my head at top speed when I was first debating that leap.
These same thoughts worry many people I meet who are just beginning their businesses.
The deeper truth is that until you decide to do something, all the deliberating in the world means nothing. Your business, as it turns out, is a lot like marriage. You’re entering into a relationship with something – be it music, consulting, marketing or coaching.
When you enter a relationship with something, you are almost certainly going to love it sometimes, hate it sometimes, obsess sometimes, and want to take a one-way flight to Anything-But-This sometimes.
This is what most people would call “taking the joy” out of it.
(As in — “Wow. I used to love sitting around writing songs. Now I just freakin’ hate it because I have to make money from it. I wish I’d gone to law school and just stayed in that Skynyrd tribute band on the weekends.”)
Will this happen to you if you start a business from your passion or purpose?
Yes. It will. Many times. (Minus the Skynyrd part.)
But, as with marriage, if you’re aware and committed to your relationship (in this case with the business, the service, or your purpose) you will move through this phase into a deeper place.
When I was a musician, did I — as Seth Godin describes — “corrupt” my work “taking out the magic in search of dollars?”
Oh, let me count the ways. (Hey, even Bob Dylan did Victoria’s Secret TV spots!)
But here’s the thing.
Many people have done this. And lots of them recognize when they’re being inauthentic, and they stop doing it. Some of them end up loving these aspects of it. It’s a part of the story of that relationship!
Besides, you’re only stuck in those situations if you think you’re stuck in those situations.
And this is not one of those: “Do what you love and the money will follow” speeches. There may be some truth in sayings like that. But mostly people think this means you’ll never have any challenges along the way.
Here’s the truth.
Regardless of YOUR purpose, the purpose of your (or any) business is to make money.
Many people don’t want to face this reality. But they’re missing out. This is actually another lovely element that can build that relationship. Sort of like when you have kids in your marriage.
For me, the most painful part of going pro as a musician was the bitter moment I recognized that no one – be it manager, agent, label, etc - was going to come along and rescue me so I wouldn’t have to deal with all that money stuff.
This was when I realized that if I loved my career, and if I wanted to indeed make a successful living at music, that I’d also have to learn how to kick some ass at business, marketing and money.
This moment of disillusionment lasted about a year. (Hey, I wanted to make absolutely certain there was no chance of rescue.)
But then my relationship with music (and with myself) got deeper. I got better at business and marketing. I got stronger as a person. My passion for everything got more fierce and, in so many ways, more real.
And that’s when I began to make much more money.
I’ve now coached and taught thousands of people who have created successful businesses out of their purposes and passions.
The happiest are the ones who step up and fully embrace their business and the importance of making money at what they do.
They go through ups and downs in this process.
And they screw up along the way.
But they use the relationship with their work, their passion and their business to Uplevel who they are. They stay committed. They stay awake. And they recognize that the passion part is really a daily choice they will always continue to make.
So, now, I’m curious about you.
Has your business ever squeezed the joy out of your passion? And what did you do about it? Share in the comments below please!