Do What You Love (For A Living)

How do you make a living doing what you love?
Apr 18, 2022
5 min

You are a billionaire. What now?

In a single lifetime, the average American makes around $2 million. This means that $1 billion is equivalent to 500 American lives. Unfortunately, the human brain is unable to understand the scale of 500 objects, let alone one billion.

Lucky for you, the Pixel Wealth website visualizes wealth using pixels and scrolling: Check it out.

A person with $1 billion will never run out of money. This makes the original question much more clear: How would you spend your time if you didn’t need to make money? 

You will quit your job. Then what? You can’t spend all your time doing nothing. So the answer to this question is what you say next.

Money doesn’t change people. It just makes them free from society’s control. Some people forget this, then virtue signal about how much money they would give away with $1 billion. All while they’ve yet to give a dime.

Using this logic, most peoples’ lives wouldn’t change: Houses would become mansions. Cars would become yachts. Life stays the same…

If you’re NOT doing what you love, but don’t agree with the above statement, then you fit into one of many categories.

  1. You’re completing a prerequisite to do what you love.
  2. You don’t know what you love to do.
  3. You are a liar (to yourself).
  4. You aren’t a liar, but you’re waiting on…

Case 1 has a game plan. Case 2 needs to try new things. But what about the other cases? 

You need to get started now. Of course, knowing how to get started and setting the right expectations will prevent you from turning what you love into a job. 

Unless that’s what you want…

What is a Profession?

A professional gets paid for their work, while a hobbyist does not. What’s the difference between a professional and a hobbyist? 

A professional’s objective is to provide value to others, while a hobbyist’s is to provide value to themselves. These approaches determine a person’s ability to achieve financial success while pursuing what they love.

If you want to do what you love, but only on your terms, then you are pursuing a hobby. You cannot expect to be paid for work that no one else benefits from. As my father once told me, “No one gives a fuck about you.”

You are not special. So consider yourself lucky if the work that serves you also ends up serving other people.

If you want to do what you love for a living, don’t rely on luck. Chances are slim that you will naturally find a career in pursuit of a hobby. The reality is that you can NOT do what you love for a living if what you love doing doesn’t make money.

Doing what you love ONLY makes money by providing value to other people. Therefore, doing what you love for a living requires an understanding of how to provide value to others with your hobby.

The problem is that many people carry an illusion of what it takes to provide value to other people. Watch TV, and you will be barraged with a series of finished products (in advertisements). Turn on the radio, and you will hear polished songs from the top 1% of “artists” in the world. So, of course, you will have an initial belief of what it means to provide value to others.

But it’s probably wrong.

A Consumer's Fantasy

The world of a consumer is a fantasy. 

Companies — groups of people working together — act as entities to solve problems and provide products. These products are displayed in a polished state and promise to solve problems the consumer may or may not have. Consumers witness a product’s final form but rarely the process of its creation. As a result, consumers hold common beliefs that are entirely wrong.

You can view this phenomenon by looking at the music industry. As a consumer, your first interaction with a song, video, or promotion is when it’s finished. For the vast majority, this only occurs when the artist already has social proof: The day of a normal person comes to mind.

This fantasy is why taking advice from a consumer is problematic: Their perspective is flawed.

Consumers witness artists “blow up” who have “just started making music” (on a record label) and believe that “talent” is a requirement for success. They didn’t witness the artist’s previous works, which the artist’s record label removed when their contract was signed.

Consumers believe there is a correlation between views and music quality rather than views and funding. Consumers cannot recognize the potential of a song: Most consumers call unfinished (unmixed) songs bad and confuse autotune with compression.

Consumers believe the zero-to-hero stories that record labels put out. You can show a fan of a pop star the star's songwriter’s original reference track, and the fan will still deny the amount of help the pop star uses. Yet some artists (in the 99%) still ask consumers for their advice.

Kanye West presents a typical story of an upcoming artist: A person who spends years training to change the world through his music, only to be initially treated as a joke. He told people he was a rapper — an artist — and no one would believe him.

Kanye West told his collaborators ideas that they (videographers, executives, etc) wouldn’t execute because those ideas didn’t match the expectations they (the public) had in mind. He is a crazy person, but consumers talk about him now because he succeeded.

What Do You Do For a Living?

In order to achieve any other career, you attend 18+ years of school (1440+ hrs/yr). Some people even spend upwards of $80,000 for education, and all this effort MIGHT land you a 9 to 5. 

You can’t expect to put in a few hours every week to succeed in an endeavor: You need to make what you love to do a priority. Beyond school. Beyond everything else.

This isn’t to say that you should quit your job to do what you love. Rather that earning money doing what you love will require more than effort. You need to educate yourself and analyze the industry you are participating in. If you’re not, someone else is. 

Of course, doing so may turn what you love into another job.

In the context of the music industry, a record label performs analysis for a signed artist. When you look closely, you realize that a record label is a business, and that’s why it’s more successful than an individual (independent) artist. That’s why they call it the music business and why these articles apply to every other business.

Walmart outsells your local lemonade stand for a reason.

Sometimes, the best realization is that doing what you love will remain a hobby. And that’s OK. What isn’t is never getting started on your passion because you were waiting for the right moment. That’s never going to come.

So get started. NOW!

Most people aren’t willing to miss a homework assignment for their hobbies, let alone dedicate priority toward them. Add in prospects by friends and family members — to get drunk or grab milk from the store or whatever — and their dreams become practically unachievable.

If you are unable to spend time analyzing the industry you want to succeed in, you are relying entirely on luck. And when it comes to the music industry, you are bound to fail.

Doing this work is not always rewarding, but it is necessary. Some people do the work themselves. Some people have the luxury of paying others to do it for them. Regardless, the work is being done.

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