Chris Guillebeau recently asked me to contribute to a post on his blog about whether financial success follows if you “follow your passion” as so many gurus recommend. There ended up being a bunch of great opinions from a number of successful bloggers, writers, and business owners. But none of us addressed another topic, which I thought of later: If you turn your passion into a job, can you still love it?
I love podcasting. I love podcasting so much that I moved from California to Arizona in large part to lower my cost of living so I could pursue podcasting and still have a roof over my head. I never expected Absolute Science or Grammar Girl to make enough money to support a middle-class life in a high-cost region. But much to my surprise, Grammar Girl took off. Building on that success, I was able to found a podcasting network—Quick and Dirty Tips—and now my passion is my full-time job.
But now I spend about 3/4 of my time on stuff that isn’t podcasting. I have a job (or run a business, depending on how you look at it) and every job includes tedium. My time is mostly consumed by the following less-than-thrilling activities:
- Dealing with money (following up with people who haven’t paid, paying people, keeping books, planning, filing quarterly taxes, etc.)
- Hiring (and firing) people
- Attending meetings
- Fielding business inquiries
- Worrying about the money because now that I employ people, I have a responsibility to keep this thing going and growing
- Traveling for business
- Dealing with contract negotiations and legal issues
Granted, I should outsource more of the mundane tasks like bookkeeping, but the reality is that if you do what you love and you’re successful at making it your job, you have a job that is like any other job—it involves a lot of boring or unpleasant tasks.
I’m not complaining. I still enjoy what I do and have more fun than I did as a technical writer. I’m glad that podcasting and all the job-related stuff that goes with it is my job. I just find myself wondering whether it’s a given that you diminish a passion by turning it into a job. Thoughts?