How to make a living while doing what you love
It’s a stereotype we’re all too familiar with: The Starving Artist.
We picture him huddled close to a lone candle in a dingy apartment, rubbing his hands together for warmth, barely making enough money to pay the rent and feed himself and his equally downtrodden cat. At least, we say, he has his art.
We tend to romanticize the notion, as though the suffering and deprivation makes the art better or the artist’s commitment more noble…but what if it’s completely unnecessary? What if we don’t actually have to choose between doing what excites us and living a life that includes material as well as spiritual prosperity?
How To Have Your Cake And Eat It Too
It turns out, there’s a host of ways to do what you love without being forced to live like a character from a Dickens novel. Here are just a few:
- Multiple streams of income allow you to bring in revenue from a diversity of sources, making you much more resilient to market fluctuations, world events, and changes in the economy than those relying on a single source for cash flow. Your passion could be your side hustle until it gains enough momentum to become your primary income generator. Or, you could create a side business that is tangential to your core business; for me, this has found expression in the ability to connect innovators to capital while serving them in an advisory capacity to help their innovations develop. This wasn’t the original plan for my consulting business but has started to become a significant portion.
- Traditional methods like bank loans still have their place. Entrepreneurs, creatives, and start-ups also continue to seek capital through venture and private equity funding, though investors are far more likely to fund ideas that are novel and innovative.
- Newer methods of funding include angel investments, family-office investments, crowd funding, and developing creative ways to expand on and leverage what you already do. This may take the form of establishing a referral or affiliate program, creating programs that can be repeated with minimal effort and sold to multiple users, or seeking out not-as-traditional sources of funding.
- Lifestyle changes can also have a major impact. Working in a low stress, well-paying job can free up time and mental space for the thing you’re passionate about. Saving money by downsizing or cutting back on unnecessary expenses, combined with making more money with a side hustle or big project is a solid way to support doing what you love.
Planning To Succeed
Eighty percent of businesses fail within their first five years. This is not proof that it’s impossible or improbable that people will succeed if they follow their dreams. It is proof that failing to support your dreams with a solid plan makes success less likely.
To avoid being a statistic, take a step back and look at the big picture. Make a realistic assessment of what you need to turn your passion into a business, how long it will take to become profitable, and what you can do in the meantime to maintain a life you are still comfortable living. Some sacrifice may be necessary, but if you create a practical plan based on a combination of money making and money saving strategies, you will be able to fund your passion and your life at the same time.
Doing what you love doesn’t have to be a luxury you wait to indulge in until you’ve saved up enough money to quit your current job, or you’ve retired, or sent the kids off to college. It can be a viable and valuable part of your life right now, and at every stage going forward, yielding a rich harvest that fuels the overall prosperity of your life.
Your passion isn’t a handicap; it’s the main driver for creating wealth and happiness in your life. Don’t wait another day to start enjoying it!