November 22, 2020

What if my passion doesn’t generate money?

My daughter Cora loves to write poetry.

But she has some concerns that she won’t be able to make a living as a poet.

We sat down recently, and she told me:

“Mom, there aren’t many poets who actually make decent money. And the ones who do? They look like Victoria’s Secret models. They have huge fanbases online, because they constantly post photos on Instagram. That’s not the kind of poet I want to be.”

This sparked a deep conversation about art, branding, business, and the pros and cons of capitalism.

Cora (like many people) worries that maybe it is just not possible to make money doing what you love—especially if “what you love” is writing poetry that is not cute, sweet, or appealing to a mainstream audience.

I disagree.

I strongly feel there is always a way to make a living through your passion. 

There are people who make money training penguins at the zoo. 

There are people who make money selling handmade Voodoo dolls on Etsy (only 2 left in stock, last I checked!). 

There are people who make money reading Tarot cards or doing astro-cartography to determine where you ought to live based on the stars. 

Whatever you do, no matter how niche, peculiar, odd, obscure, or unconventional, I guarantee, there is a market for it. 

I once had a client who made tons of money painting fish onto wooden roof shingles and selling them to tourists at craft fairs and boutiques. People went nuts over these “shingle fish” and she could barely paint them fast enough to keep up with demand! True story.

The question is not, “Can I make money doing what I love?” Because you absolutely can.

A better question would be, “I want to feel financially secure. And I want to do what I love. I want both. So, how can I design a beautiful life which includes both?”

You can have both.

You can create what you crave.

There is always a way.

And let me tell you, there are 7.5 billion people on this planet, and there might be a surprising number of people who desperately want your weird poetry, your Voodoo dolls, or your shingle fish. 

Don’t prematurely assume you won’t be financially successful.

How about first you get out there, and you try. 

XOXO,
Susan

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