When Your Passion’s Unprofitable


 

Abstract:
 

In my work, I talk to a lot of people about their passions. When I point out that in my opinion, passions should be front and centre in life, a lot of them answer with a variation of: “That sounds great, but you see, my passion just isn’t profitable.”
 

Experience shows that a passion-centered life always provides for your needs. If this sounds vague, it’s because the actual path looks different for each individual, as my Coaching clients show. Here are some example to get your imagination going!
 
 

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Essentials in life

 

When people think of essentials, they think about paying bills. Ask yourself if you would still need a big house and car if you were outrageously happy and fulfilled?
 

This is not to say material riches are bad. What I’m saying is that people get the order of things wrong. If you focus on the material first, you’ll get stuck on that level; when you focus on passion, the material will follow.
[bctt tweet=”If you focus on the material first, you’ll get stuck on that level; if you focus on passion, the material will follow.”]
An example is a friend of mine who left a well-paying career to follow her passion for travel and became a tour guide for a few years. Now she considers starting her own tour company, which could potentially be very profitable.
 

passion centered
 

Manifold paths

 

It’s not always as straightforward as selling what you create with your passion, or the service you provide. One of my previous clients followed her passion for the history of her country into a career and now leads a cultural heritage centre. Others reduce the “necessities of life” like jobs to a minimum, in order to be able to fully focus on their passion.
 

Some actually do find their passion profitable. This often requires a lot of work on things like self-esteem so you don’t undercharge people just because you love your work. Earning money doing what you love should be the norm, not an exception.

4 Steps To Take If There’s Never Enough Time/Money

never enough

There are people who always rush around. “Lots going on!” is there every other sentence. They’re involved in a million different activities, and while every one of these activities sounds great, they seem to be piling up to an overwhelming workload.
 

Others are always strapped for cash. I used to be one of those. In fact, I’ve currently taken on a big financial commitment which strains my finances and will continue to do so until June. Sometimes it takes me back to the way I used to feel, all the time. Then I remind myself that I’ve indeed learned my lessons and am doing this willingly! It was different years ago, when I had no control over my finances at all and there was never enough.
 

You probably know at least one person who never has enough time or money. Maybe you’re like that yourself? When you look around yourself, do you perhaps wonder how others manage to make big purchases, or take time to create art or get a lot done? And at the same time, you seem to be permanently behind schedule, disorganised, and a little out of breath? Or alternatively, there seems to be “a lot of month left at the end of the money” every time?
 

It might be time to find the root causes of this phenomenon. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can take measures to turn things around.
 
 

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Don’t play the blame game

 

Obviously, everyone has had busy times in their lives, and unless you were born with the proverbial silver spoon in your mouth, you’ve likely been short of cash at least once, too. Neither is a reason for worry! It’s just when this becomes a chronic state of things that you should get suspicious.
 

If there’s never enough time or money in your life, it’s an indication of an underlying issue. It’s usually to do with beliefs we hold, either consciously or unconsciously.
 

Before I continue, it’s important for you to understand that you’re not “to blame” for what’s going on. Beliefs are usually formed in childhood and become second nature to us. Most of the time, we assume that what we believe is simply “reality”.
 

There’s a big difference between taking the responsibility to own your beliefs, and blaming yourself for them. Taking ownership means you’re in control. You’re empowered to change things. Blaming yourself is counterproductive and simply not fair. In other words, you couldn’t help creating those beliefs of yours, but you can refuse to continue giving them power over you.
 
 

Taking back control

 

The most effective way to get rid of self-sabotaging beliefs is to replace them with functional ones. You can do this by following the steps below.
 

  1. Identify your belief by watching your thought and speech patterns. Do you always say you can’t afford something? Are you always “in a hurry”? The phrases you most often use around the subjects of time or money, are likely expressions of your belief.
  2.  

  3. Challenge the belief. Ask yourself: “Is this really always true?” Find examples of when the belief clearly wasn’t true. For example, if you believe money is hard to come by, remember the time when you were given money for your birthday or got an unexpected pay raise or tax return. Undermine your dysfunctional belief as best you can.
  4.  

  5. For a space of about three weeks, challenge yourself every time you think or express your belief. Stop yourself immediately. Then speak (out loud, if at all possible) the belief you’d like to replace the dysfunctional one with. Example: “There’s never enough ti… -stop! I mean, I choose not to make the time for this right now.”
     

  6. To speed up the process, you can also use your new belief as an affirmation. At least twice a day, say your new belief out loud. Be sure it’s in the present tense and contains only positive words, as your subconscious can’t distinguish between “will” and “won’t”. For example, make it: “I have plenty of money” rather than “I’m not broke”.

 

Remember, it takes a minimum of 21 days to create a new habit, and the same goes for establishing a new belief. In the beginning, you’ll feel like you’re lying when you speak your new belief. Stick with it, and you’ll notice that it starts to feel like the truth after a while.
 

In order for the changes to stick, you need to follow up your inner work with action in the real work. Learn time management and money management and commit to putting them into practice. Life is too short to deal with a constant state of lack.

3 Steps To Dramatically Change Your Finances Through Focus

finances focus

I’m not exactly rich right now. Two years ago, I’d finished paying off old debts and made a conscious decision to live and to pursue my passions. What followed were a few major expenses. I got my teeth fixed (around 3,000 EUR) and enrolled in business courses (2,700 EUR). I finally got into traditional archery and swordfighting (for which I bought equipment far exceeding 1,000 EUR).
 

Add to that the fact that I took a substantial cut in salary when I downsized my life, plus a few unforeseen expenses, and you have a fairly skint Sibylle who once again owes some money. Yet when I think back to the time I went broke in 2004, I realise it couldn’t be more different this time around.
 

For one thing, I owed a lot more back then. But the main difference is that I had no idea about finances and no idea how to deal with the mess. I was scared and helpless. Now, while my finances are a little strained, I still know exactly what’s going on. I went into this knowingly and don’t regret a single expense, because they were all necessary for my well-being and/or happiness. Most of all, I know without a shadow of a doubt, how and when I’ll have every last penny paid back and a comfortable financial “cushion” once again.
 

In short, I’m now educated about finances. I’ve also developed something which enhances everything in life, including finances: focus.
 
 

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Finances revolutionised

 

To learn about finances, I spent years going to workshops around the world and doing every program offered online. I read dozens of books on money management and found through trial and error, which of the systems I learned made sense. Therefore, I regularly write about money in the newsletter, and I hope with all my heart that it’s helpful.
 

The most important thing about finances is to tackle them on two fronts: Money management, which is about knowing where your money goes and how to budget it, is step 1. Step 2 is a mindset which is as free as possible from learned ideas about money being scarce, or only coming to bad, greedy people, and all these other things we pick up from childhood onwards.
 
 

Where is your focus?

 

You’ve probably heard about the law of attraction, which states that you manifest in your life whatever you focus on. Focus is what occupies your mind most of the time. Now with an average of 6,000 thoughts that each of us has every day, it’s practically impossible to police this process. Fortunately, there’s a shortcut: Your emotions, which are caused by your thoughts.
 

Ever felt pretty good, and then you remembered something awful someone said to you, or your child being bullied, and after a minute or two you feel awful? Nothing outward happened, you just thought of something negative, and it changed everything.
 

To find out where your focus is, check in with your emotions. Set 3-4 alarms on your phone throughout the day. Whenever you hear the alarm, ask yourself how you feel. If the answer is anything other than: “Wonderful!” at least half the time, your focus is not on things that make you happy.
 

If you consciously adjust your thoughts 3-4 times a day, you will form a habit over time. Think thoughts of gratitude, or think of someone you love. It takes a while, so stick with it for at least a month or two! The change will be dramatic.
 
 

Make it work for your finances

 

Here’s how you can use the above process in relation to your money situation.
 

1. When you “check” in, specifically ask yourself how you feel about your finances. If you feel awful, or even just uncomfortable, your focus is likely on bills, expenses, or debts. Adjust this towards thinking of the money you receive, however little it is.
 

2. Create a “giving” fund of ideally about 5% of your income. If you can’t afford it, start with 10 or 20 bucks a month. Donate these to a cause close to your heart. Whenever you do this, send along your love.
 

3. Also check in with how you feel whenever you spend money. If you feel anxious or worried, stop yourself. Say: “I happily give xxx EUR/$ for this” or, as Marie Forleo suggests: “There’s more where that came from.”
 

These may seem like small steps, but they will turn around your focus. You’ll move away from scarcity and regret, and towards abundance and security. Your cash flow will follow.

Can You Make Money Doing What You Love?

Crafts - make money doing what you love

Can you make money pursuing your passion? I’ve heard all the objections. In fact, I’ve used quite a few of them myself in my time:
 

“I’m not a pro, I can’t charge for this!”
“I love doing it. I don’t need to make lots of money.”
“Charging for it degrades my work.”
“Who would pay this much?”
 

Why do we resist earning money with our passion(s) so much? It’s almost like we prefer to stay in dead-end jobs and meaningless drudgery – well, I know not all of us live that kind of life, but look around yourself and you’ll see how many still do.
 

I believe it’s because we have been so brainwashed into thinking that paid work has to be something we dislike, or at least something we wouldn’t do voluntarily. We’ve come to believe it’s somehow unethical to charge for something we love doing.
 

I call BS. Doing what lights you up is the reason why you were put on this planet. You are here to radiate joy and love, not to suffer in misery. It follows that it must also be possible to live off whatever you earn with your passion.

[bctt tweet=”We’ve come to believe it’s somehow unethical to charge for something we love doing. I call BS.”]

 

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Why not just give your work away?

 

The marvellous Leonie Dawson once wrote an article in which she told a story of one of her mentors, who taught her about charging for her artwork. The rationale was that there is a balance of energy which needs to be preserved. You create your crafts or art, and provide your services, by using all your heart and love and energy on it. Therefore, when you give it away, there needs to be an equal amount of energy flowing back to you: energy in the shape of money.
 

Next time you think you should give your stuff away because you had fun creating it, remind yourself of the balance of energy. Life just doesn’t work with energy flowing in one direction only. There needs to be an exchange, giving and receiving, in order to preserve the natural balance.
 
 

Charge realistic prices

 

Think what a craftsman or a plumber charges per hour, and ask yourself whether your service, or your art or craft, is worth so much less? Your time is your most valuable commodity.
 

For example, when I determine the prices for my Coaching, I don’t just calculate the actual hours of the Coaching sessions with my client, but the many hours preparing and sending emails and materials, as well as the learning and further study I do in order to stay up to date in my field.
 

If you, for example, create jewellery, think of similar pieces sold in a commercial shop and what they cost. Now consider that those pieces are probably mass produced, whereas your work is likely unique and at the very least, handcrafted – this alone is worth a hefty premium! People expect to pay more for unique pieces, so don’t be afraid to ask for a sum which reflects this.
 
 

The nuts and bolts

 

If you are going to give it a go and try to make money with your passion, be sure to build a strong back end before you give up your daytime job. Most people have zero knowledge of business, and this goes especially for creative types.
 

A small online business isn’t rocket science, but you still need to learn about costs, turnover, and profit, about marketing and advertising, and how to budget. I highly recommend investing in yourself there; people often think they’ll save money, but in the end they waste so much more by trial and error.
 
 

Why?

 

Finally, why do I think this is important? Because it’s my deepest belief that you are on this planet to shine, that you are meant to be joyful and live in bliss. It’s your purpose as a human being. You weren’t born to pay bills or buy a suitably upper-class house or car. You weren’t born to reach life’s “milestones” like marriage, kids, job promotion, and retirement like clockwork if that’s not what lights you up.
 

I’ll say it again: You were meant to shine. To shine, you need to do what lights you up. By the natural order of the universe, doing this will provide you with all you need to live. The only caveat is that you need to learn how to do this – by charging enough money and learning how to run a business – because we aren’t taught these things in our schools.
 

Do the work and claim your joy!

[bctt tweet=”You were meant to shine. To shine, you need to do what lights you up.”]

Plug Your Money Leaks (and have fun with it)

Personal Finances, Money Leak

There was nothing fun about going broke and having a large, powerful bank breathing down my neck. And yet, it led to massive personal growth for me. I got my act together and learned about personal finances (and of course, paid back every last cent I owed), and I learned incredibly useful lessons along the way.
 

Easily the best and most useful of these lessons was the realisation how much stuff I don’t need in my life. My clothes didn’t fall apart even after three years. I didn’t need to order in pizza, I could bake the frozen version from the supermarket just fine. I realised with relief, that neither my happiness nor my self-worth depended on anything I needed money for.
 

It also taught me a lot about my spending style, and the reasons why I had always been terrible with money up until then. One major point is what I call “money leaks”, and it’s so big, I decided to dedicate an entire article to it. Heads up: If you identify and plug the places where you’re “leaking money”, you’ll end up with much more, without penny-pinching.

[bctt tweet=”If you identify and plug the places where you’re ‘leaking money’, you’ll end up with much more, without penny-pinching.”]

 
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Identifying your money leaks

 

We all have different spending habits. That’s why it’s important to track your spending for a while. Don’t worry, you won’t have to write down every croissant you buy forever! Just stick with it for a month and see what you can learn from it.
 

A lot of money advice seems to focus on frugality. My approach is a little different: I recommend you save money in order to finance more joy with it! Plugging the money leaks is much easier this way. By the way, if you haven’t done my free online training yet, you can sign up for it here – it’ll give you 3 days of lessons and assignments you can put into practice immediately.
 

A money leak is an expense that’s not strictly necessary and doesn’t contribute to your joy and passion (or passions) in the long term. In the following, I’m going to give you a list of common leaks, in order to give you an idea. Yours might be completely different, of course, but it’ll be easier for you to spot them once you know what to look for.
 
 

Subscriptions

 

These are recurring, often monthly, expenses which seem completely insignificant on their own. How much can those few bucks for Netflix really hurt? The problem is, that it’s a constant “leak”, and if you add up all your subscriptions, the amount you spend on them per year can be rather frightening.
 

The solution: Ask yourself if you can get the same thing for free. Could you pool your Netflix account with a friend, or watch the same shows on DVDs a friend owns and could lend you? Do you get a newspaper whose main articles are all available online for free? Is your TV really enhancing your life, or taking time from your reading and your passion? Are you paying for an anti-virus program when a free one would work, too?
 
 

Clubs and gym memberships

 

Do you still pay for that gym membership although you’ve stopped going six months ago? Or do you pay for a social club whose meetings you hardly ever attend? It might be time to weed those out.
 

The solution: The gym is not the only way to get into shape. Look for online workout videos and find a sports hobby you actually enjoy. Try running with a friend or playing volleyball with a group at a public volleyball court. You’re more likely to stick with it this way, and it won’t cost you a thing!
 
 

Special offers

 

Certain shops and websites run regular offers which are so cheap, it seems insane not to buy them. The problem is that this tricks you into buying things you would never have got otherwise, and a lot of the time you end up buying additional stuff, spending even more.
 

The solution: Before you hit the “Add to Cart” button, ask yourself if this pretty porch lantern is really essential for your passions and your joy in life. You have lived, how many years, without it – could you perhaps do without a little longer?

[bctt tweet=”If it’s something you wouldn’t buy if it wasn’t cheap, then even the cheap price is too much.”]

Once you’ve plugged those money leaks, you’ll be surprised how much more cash you have left every month. It’s time now to invest this – into savings, into “play” money (a certain amount you’re allowed to blow each month), and of course into your passion! Have fun with this, and always think in terms of what else you can afford now, rather than what you’re denying yourself.