Make the Money, Don’t Let the Money Make You

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Do YOU make money doing what you love?

When I speak at conferences and events about entrepreneurship like I did at Harvard earlier this year, I am often approached by people who say they WANT to make money doing what they love BUT...

If you were given enough money to cover ALL your expenses for life by your country's government with the only condition being to given them a report of how you spent your time, what would you spend your time doing? What percentage of time would you allocate to different activities over the next 12 months?

Give yourself a few minutes to answer this question before you continue reading.

 Now that you know what you would spend your time doing, take a moment to allow yourself to dream and imagine what it would be like to earn money doing that.

What difference does it make for you to be paid to do what you like doing most?

If you are now thinking "yeah, but that's not going to happen / nobody's going to pay me to do this / I need to earn money”, read this sentence again and NOTICE how this is a closing statement and NOT a constructive question.

Closing statement like the ones about GIVE YOU no chance to succeed. They're statements that stops YOU from taking any actions to MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN.

In Oprah's Masterclass with Morgan Freeman, I discovered that he wasn't actually famous until his 50s. He struggled as an actor and eventually gave up. He got an office job and did it for a while before deciding that he was going to do what he loves, and did it for while entire career before being recognized as the world class actor he is now.

Do you believe Morgan Freeman has regrets and wishes he had kept his office job, or do you believe that he is grateful he stuck with doing what he loves despite all obstacles that got put in his way?

Take a few minutes to answer on a piece of paper before you continue reading: what would it be like if you could earn money doing what you love?

To guide you in the next step of your journey, you will find tips for each of the 3 main ways I have heard this question answered:

1. You cannot answer that question because you simply can’t make money doing what you love. Nobody will pay you to do what you answered to the 1st question of this article.

2. You have written down what it would be like, but you're not good enough / you don't know where to start / you don't have the right background / not enough money / not enough qualifications / too young / too old / your parents won't let you / your wife or husband won't let you / etc

3. Now that you know what it would be like, you can see how you can go a head with starting to make money doing what you love.

Next Steps

1. Don't Listen to the Nay Sayer in Your Head

If you struggle to answer this question, you have this voice in your head that tells you it is impossible. Notice this voice and who it reminds you of. We all have voices in our heads coming from our parents and people who have been important for us. Give a name to the voice, the nay sayer in your head who tells you it is impossible and that you shouldn't even consider making money doing what you love.

When you're done, take a moment to explore how someone can make money from the action of "walking"? Who would be willing to anyone pay to walk?

I have always been amazed by the idea that fashion models are PAID TO WALK! It's easy to be cynical and dismissive about the fashion industry, but from the perspective of making money doing what you love, fashion models have turned walking on a stage into an art form that pays. Fashion Designers are very happy to pay models to walk because they add value by showing the clothes in the best way possible.

I have learned from fashion models that WHAT you do doesn't matter. What matters is HOW you do it. if you boil down ANY job to its basic actions, they're all very simple:

  1. Being a waiter is "JUST" bringing food to people
  2. Being an accountant is "JUST" adding up numbers
  3. Being a lawyer is "JUST" matching the law with the situation

The best are not the best because of WHAT they do, but because of HOW they do it.

Jiro Ono is considered the best Sushi Chef in the world. His restaurant is in a metro station and doesn't even have a toilet... yet it has 3 Michelin Stars (meaning it is worth traveling to that country just to eat there) and people pay a minimum of $200 per person without drinks.

Everyone cooks. Even if it's just microwaving a frozen meal. The reason Jiro has 3 Michelin Stars isn't because he "JUST" cooks. It is HOW he cooks makes all the difference. 

Action Point: Take the time to research people who make money doing what you want to do with your time. While you watch the Morgan Freeman Masterclass from above and watch this documentary about Jiro, take notes of what you can learn from them.What do they do differently?

What difference would it make for you if you did what they do, in your field? 

2. You Need a Plan

You are pumped up and you'd love to make money doing what you love (and you may have already tried) but you just don't know how to create a sustainable income or to make enough money from spending your time doing what you love.

Take a sheet of paper and write down all the reasons / obstacles / worries / fears / concerns / limitations / obligations that stop you from earning (enough) money doing what you like doing.

Now write down how many hours a week you can invest over the next month towards the project of "MAKING MONEY DOING WHAT YOU LOVE".

The first step is to realize that we naturally focus on "making money" because it is grammatically at the beginning of the sentence... while actually it is from doing what you love that you will make money. Therefore you want to focus your attention on doing what you love because making money is a byproduct of HOW you do what you love.

Once you are clear on this, focus your attention on HOW you will spend the time you are ready to invest. Write down what you will do with the time you dedicated to this project over the next month?

For the final piece of this leg of the journey, explore HOW you can create value from doing what you wrote you will do.

A client started training for a race because he loves working out. He trained hard for months and kept a great record of everything he did, from exercising to eating and resting. After the race, he wondered how to create value from doing what he loved. He started blogging about his experience and what he learned. He shared recipes for his meals and his training routines. From working in marketing, he is now a successful personal trainer. And he is so much happier now BECAUSE he gets to do what he loves every day AND earns money from it!

3. Everyone Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Face - Mike Tyson

I started practicing judo at 5, and when we were thrown on the floor by our opponent, my judo teacher always reminded us that it's normal to fall. We are bound to. What matters is what we do when we stand back up.

You are bound to fail at one point or another, as we all are. What's important about Mike Tyson's quote is to be mentally, physically and financially ready for our plans to fail so that when it happens we don't give up because we "failed".

The Shadoks are creatures from the imagination of a French cartoonist. The Shadoks decide they have to go to another planet and ask their scientists to build a spaceship. The scientists calculate the chances of failure at 99%. That's why they decide to hurry up to fail the first 99 spaceships!

I learn from this story that we need to prepare ourselves for success AND failure. Answer the following questions to guide you on the journey:

What are 10 different ways you can earn money doing what you love? 

How much do you need to earn to do what you love full time?

If you were to make the jump and spend 100% of your time doing what you love, how long can you sustain your without earning money?

What does success look like for you for the next 3, 6 and 12 months?

How will you get clients? What is your sales process?

Who are the 10 people you admire most in who make money doing what you love? 

Read this article about who are the right mentors for you and this article on how to play the numbers game and get lucky to learn how to contact these people and learn from them.

Follow me here on LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook or YouTube to read more about how to make money doing what you love. 

Answer these questions to assess if YOU ARE READY TO FULFILL YOUR DREAMS.

About the author


Noam Kostucki is a professional speaker, coach and consultant on communication, strategy and innovation. He believes that everything can be turned into an art form, whether be public speaking, building a brand or running a business. Over the last decade, he has engaged with over 20,000 people in 12 countries.…

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