Because, sometimes, what you’re passionate about doesn’t pay your bills.
One of my awesome clients said something really interesting to me recently. She shared:
“Jen, I’m not passionate about work. I’m passionate about living my life, but that doesn’t pay the bills"
We went on to explore more of her business model, how it can continue to support her to do meaningful and impactful work in the world and live her life on her own terms along the way, and what she shared about her passion stuck with me long after our call.
Because in many ways, I can relate.
I’m passionate about travel. Reading. Writing. Spending time with my loved ones. Raising our cat babies. A really good salted caramel brownie. Anything Shonda Rhimes creates. Feminism and human rights. And getting outside and living my life.
And I have absolutely no urge to monetise any of those things that I love.
That’s not to say I’m not passionate about my business - I love the work I do as a creative coach, it energises and fulfils me in ways I’m grateful for every single day - but at the very heart of my work is a foundation of purpose more than passion.
Because some days I don’t feel passionate about doing the work. I may be tired, or just itching to be outside and to switch off from it all, but I still have to show up wholeheartedly and give my work and my clients everything I’ve got. And it’s that foundation of purpose that helps me to do exactly that.
For some, building a business and creative career from your passion is the perfect fit - I’ve seen many of my clients do this, from musicians, to writers, to photographers and many other creative pursuits in-between. But I’ve also seen many of my clients feel a little lost and stuck when they think about monetising their passion - and how the pressure they put on themselves to build a business around something they’re passionate about can hold them back from bringing a big-hearted, high impact, crazy-awesome business to life along the way.
And if you fall into that camp, I have some thoughts to share with you today to hopefully encourage and support you as you move forward in your creative work and life along the way.
You can focus on your purpose & your why
What impact do you want to have in the world? What do you want to be known for? How do you want to spend your days? What kind of life do you want to live? What kind of career do you want to build?
Whenever I start working with a new client I always ask them - what’s the why behind what you do? And it’s because I’ve found that the answer to this is the very heart of our business - it’s what fuels us to keep on moving forward, even when things get tough or challenging along the way. Purpose feels like something bigger than us - passion is great, and I believe it is needed to for an impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable creative life - but purpose helps to push us forward in a really meaningful way in our work.
So if you’re struggling to connect the dots between what you’re passionate about and what you want to focus on in your business, try flipping your focus to what your why is and what feels purposeful to you. See if that can give you any extra clarity, or a fresh perspective on your vision for your business.
You can focus on what you’re really damn good at
What gifts, strengths, ideas, and skills do you want to share with the world? What are you really awesome at (or becoming really awesome at) that you want to monetise through your business?
Now, this doesn’t work every single time - sometimes there are things that we could monetise, but that we really don’t want to because our heart just isn’t in it, and we have to listen to our intuition there and trust that it’s not the path for us. But it's when our purpose, passion, and skill set intertwine that the magic usually happens.
You can focus on what can support you to build an impactful, fulfilling, & sustainable creative life
This is the very foundation of everything I do in my business - it’s where my purpose, passion, and skill set intersect with each other.
To support creatives to do work in their business that is meaningful, impactful, and purposeful.
To support creatives to feel fulfilled in their business and to live a wholehearted creative life along the way.
To support creatives to build a business that is financially stable and thriving, to have a workload that is manageable, and to have a business model that is sustainable and scalable in the long term.
And this is what I focus on because I’ve found that with all three, that’s how we can cultivate and build a creative life that is big-hearted, high impact, and crazy-awesome along the way.
So instead of just thinking about how to build a business around what you’re passionate about, you can try exploring how to build a business that allows you to do meaningful and impactful work in the world (in whatever way this looks like for you - there’s no right or wrong way to have impact), to feel fulfilled in your business and your creative life, and to be financially sustainable along the way too.
This is ultimately about blending your purpose and passion and turning them into a profitable and sustainable business model that can support you to live the life you want to live along the way.
And remember: your purpose driven business can support your passion projects
This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently - how once we’ve built a profitable and stable creative business that enables us to do meaningful, impactful, and fulfilling work in the world, we can still find ourselves with creative desires outside of the business that we wish to explore along the way too. For example - I know I’d really love to carve out some space for both a fiction book and a collection of personal essays that I’d love to write, and I feel really grateful to have a business that can give me the space to dedicate some time to those projects at some point soon down the road.
Our business isn’t the only thing we have to do in the world, but it gives us the wonderful opportunity to have the financial stability and time freedom we need to pursue other creative endeavours that we don’t have to demand will provide for us financially. And the relationships we build through our business and discoveries we make in our work along the way can also be a jumping off point to creatively fulfilling side projects too.
It’s something to keep in mind as we explore how we blend our purpose, passion, and gifts and skills along the way - just because we may have a passion that isn’t something we can or want to (or want to yet) monetise doesn’t mean we can’t still make space for it in our lives along the way.
On a good day, passion alone can be enough. But not every day is a good day - when we’re tired, stressed, overwhelmed, or facing the monotony that any career can bring, a bigger purpose is what can push us to keep on moving forward and giving it all we’ve got. And sometimes, passion for something alone isn’t enough of a foundation to build a profitable, thriving creative career from. My hope with this post today is that it can hold some space for you to explore your own intersection of passion, purpose, and profit, and help you to explore what they may look like specifically for you and your creative work and life along the way.
As always, I’m rooting for you!
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