I’m earning well from an established business but I’m not passionate about it anymore. Should I continue with this business or start a new business which I’m passionate about but does not have the same money-making potential? The latter will be more enjoyable but will be a risk. ~ Ash
Without repeating what I have written in there, my short answer is not to box yourself with an either money-only (A) or passion-only (B) scenario. Rather, create a Scenario C which has the best of both worlds — money AND passion. That’s because neither A nor B would not make you truly happy since you would lack something at the end of the day (lack of money in B scenario and lack of passion in A scenario).
So applying this to your situation, let’s say you were to continue on with your current, established business. Even though it would make you financially wealthy, it would make you emotionally and spiritually empty since it’s not something you enjoy. Here, this is Scenario A, the money-only scenario. On the other hand, let’s say you abandon your business for your passion — yet this doesn’t have as high a money-making potential as A. This would leave you unsatisfied since you’d not be as financially abundant compared to Scenario A. This then leads you to Scenario B, the passion-only scenario (somewhat).
Given that both scenarios pretty much suck since they don’t realize your full desires, you should look for a third path, Scenario C, that will give you the best of both worlds. How do you get there? Some possibilities:
- Run your established business (X) while starting your new business (Y). This way, you can earn money through X while waiting for Y to gain traction. Transit to doing Y full time when it shows an adequate amount of money-making-ability, one you can quickly scale up when you do it full time.
If X is taking up all your time, delegate, outsource, or create systems in X to free time up for Y.
- If your new business idea Y has fundamentally low money-making potential, improve on it to increase its profitability. Money is a function of the value you give, so as long as you deliver massive value, you should be able to generate massive revenue.
If you can’t generate much money from it, that means you aren’t giving value that people want. Return to the drawing board and create an idea that lets you do that. Read How to Get From Earning $6/hr to $1,000/hr and Million Dollar Tip Series.
- Start a totally new business Z that (a) has high money-making potential and (b) is something you are passionate about.
Example #1: From Passion or Money, to Passion & Money
I used to be in a similar passion-or-money situation where I was in a well-paying job in a Fortune 100 firm which wasn’t my passion (this was before I started PE). I wanted to pursue my passion, my purpose to help others grow, by starting my own blog and personal development business of coaching/training. However, since I would be starting this business from scratch, without prior formal experience, my passion would likely not generate any revenue for me — for quite a while.
Not wanting to settle with either passion or money though, I quit my day job with the intent to pursue my passion and earn more than I used to. In the beginning when I had no income (since I had just quit my job and all), I gave private tuition so I would have some cash flow to offset my expenses. After I started generating revenue from my passion (which was within the 4th month of my business; earlier than expected), I stopped giving tuition. I then focused my efforts on growing the business, which then led to more revenue.
Today, my monthly revenue from PE is higher than my salary in my previous job. While it sounds like a dream come true, this could happen because I first created the vision — a path with passion AND money. Say if I were to accept that I could have passion or money only — what’s going to happen? Under this paradigm of thought, I wouldn’t have formulated a vision of passion and money. How could I, if I didn’t even think that this scenario existed? Given that, I most certainly not have taken actions to make it happen. Here, the ironic concept of self-fulfilling prophecy would play out where I would take actions that’d give me passion or money only and hence create the very scenario of passion or money only.
(I have detailed the early phases of my passion journey here: Passion or Money?, How to Overcome Fear Of Loss And Pursue Your Dreams, How to Discover Your Ideal Career: Your Message and Your Medium, Pursuing Your Passion With No Money, and Passion Paycheck.)
Example #2: Using Money to Expand on Passion
I’ve built PE to the point where it’s generating passive income each month, from Google Adsense (advertising), to my e-books, to e-courses, to royalty fees of my products, not including active income that I earn from coaching and training.
Given that PE is earning me passive income, technically I could do nothing and relax every day. I could also just do the exact same thing I’ve been doing in the past few years — write articles, do 1–1 coaching, and conduct online courses. In this scenario, I would most definitely secure good and stable money.
Yet, this is a path which I wouldn’t feel immense passion for. I’m not saying that I don’t like writing articles, coaching, or running courses — I love them and I see them as staples in my business till I die. However, I wouldn’t feel crazily excited if my current routine of business activities was to stay exactly the same for the next 50 years. That’s because I wouldn’t feel like I was innovating, stretching myself, and hence doing my utmost best to help others. Rather, I would much prefer to constantly be trying new things, experimenting with new projects, and taking on new activities that allow me to help more people and in a greater capacity, all while doing what I already love (the writing and coaching).
This brings me to my original point about not settling for an either-or, A or B situation, but to go for a Scenario C that consists of the best of both worlds — passion and money.
So given that I now have the benefit of a business with a high reach (over a million pageviews a month) and ongoing income, this means I don’t need to worry too much about doing only things with a ROI (rate of return). Rather, I can be more liberal in how I spend my time (and money) to create better, more fulfilling workdays:
- Hiring an assistant. When I started, I did everything myself to cut costs. However, after earning steady income with my business, I started outsourcing and hiring contractors between 2012 and 2014. As of 2015, I’ve a personal assistant who does an array of tasks for me, from proofreading (as she is an English major), to administrative tasks, to simple graphic work. Here, I’m using money to help me create more effective and enjoyable workdays by cutting out the admin work (which I don’t really enjoy) and doing the stuff that I’m good at and enjoy.
- Creating video content. My blog started off being articles-based and recently I’m looking to create videos as a way of increasing engagement with my audience. Even though videos don’t really earn me money AND video equipment is expensive (I’ve spent several grand procuring video gear), I’m able to do this because the other parts of my business generates the revenue. Here, I’m working on videos out of passion, without worry about money.
- Travel freely. Between mid-2011 and mid-2013, I spent almost 50% of my time overseas, traveling across different places in United States, Europe, India, and South Africa. These trips weren’t really for business but more for personal growth and exploration which is becoming a better person. Because my business generates automated-revenue and I had gracious readers housing me in many of my destinations (which removed accommodation costs), I didn’t need to worry about travel expenses or earning money and could focus on maximizing my travels.
- More new projects. This is a random thought but something I’m considering for the future is perhaps to start a foundation or some kind of free-hang-out where people can meet other PE readers, get social support, and free help/consultation. I’ve no idea how exactly I’m going to realize either but this is a long-term idea that I may look into in the future. And in either case, money wouldn’t be the key focus — passion is. If anything, I may likely need to use money from my core business to fund this project.
As you can see, given that my business is generating steady revenue, it gives me more liberty to embark on new projects and make decisions based on passion/desire, without overt worries about money. So here, I’m creating a Scenario C of passion and money by leveraging my money inflow to create more passion.
The long and the short is not to box yourself with either money or passion only. Identify that Scenario C that lets you achieve everything you want. (Day 2 of Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program is about setting the vision for your ideal life.)
Obviously, Scenario C will not happen overnight or over-month just by virtue of you identifying it, but the point is to form the vision, create a solid plan, and then take action.
Even if you’re not able to take action toward Scenario C at the moment, then pick the better path between A and B in the short term, while taking baby steps toward C.
Because by boxing yourself between A and B and choosing only one of the 2, you will never be truly happy. You will be faced with an either-or situation which will only leave you mildly satisfied at best and immensely unhappy at worst, since you are not getting the best out of your life in this scenario.
Remember, you were not born to compromise. You were not born to “make do” with what you have. You were born to live your greatest life of all. This is something you have to create for yourself, by your own hands, because no one is going to hand that to you.
Good luck, and I wish you all the best in your new business / job / whatever you decide to do. 🙂 Check out
- Successful Businesses Interview Series which features interviews with 7 successful entrepreneurs whom I handpicked myself. I’m sure you will pick up a useful tip or two about entrepreneurship from these people.
- Million Dollar Tip Series for tips on earning money in a business (or otherwise)
- Passion or Money? for my original answer to this proverbial question
- Pursuing Your Passion With No Money, on the initial phase of pursuing a passion without money
Image: Question mark