Don’t Fall In Love With What You Do For a Living

I used to not agree with that statement.

As I’m writing this, it’s the first time in a while I’m writing something that is not well thought of in advance. For the past 2–3 months, I’ve been focused on writing bigger articles for Entrepreneur, Crunchbase, The Understanding Project, and Redoubtable.

Let me tell you: it’s such a relief to finally be writing anything I feel like writing, without having a care in the world about how well it does! No deadlines, no set subjects, no required word count, etc.

When I started writing back in January 2018, my only purpose was to improve my writing skill, writing 30–40 minutes every day. I had no clue what I would be writing about, letting my imagination bring me wherever it wanted me to. That was, in essence, what people call a hobby.

It was so much fun and fell in love with everything surrounding it. Even when my stats were sh*t after an algorithm change back in April of last year on Medium, I pushed through.

I didn’t push through because I needed to but rather because I just loved writing.

Things started to change when I started making serious money writing. With it, I could very well make a living writing for one hour a day. What a shift from having to work 9–5 as a software engineer! I was hooked.

But what I didn’t realize then was that this would change everything. No more could I just write simple articles, like this one, that would make me no money. It wasn’t just about making money but I had made a name for myself writing “stronger” articles, so writing something of a different standard was unthinkable at the time.

But it’s not only in writing. I own a video game company. I grew up playing games and started working in the industry from a young age. It was great. I loved it. Building games just might be the most fun thing I’ll ever do, and so I decided to start my own game company.

It was really fun during the first months, assembling a team and building a quality product. As I’m writing this, I’ve been working on-and-off on our first product for about six years.

Six years on the same unreleased product!

When this became my full-time focus and when it needed to make me money to support myself, that’s when the fun faded away.

Entrepreneurs have it the hardest. How are we supposed to build something great if we’re not passionately in love with it?

What else should we do, then?

The problem is when you do something for a living, it becomes serious. You have to worry about a component — making money — that sucks your energy away from being creative and productive. Serious is not fun.

The ideal scenario is to actually do what you love, without thinking about making a living out of it. In everything I do, it performs better when I don’t attach a dollar sign next to it. But, this is near impossible to do, especially on a single source of revenue. Which leads me to:

Diversification of revenues

Diversification of revenues is a pretty solid way to still do what you love but attach less importance to the revenues it brings.

As I’m writing this, I have 10 sources of revenues, one of which I’m adding today: a virtual coworkingForest Coworking is a project I really care about, and thankfully, it doesn’t need to make me a ton of money. With the other projects I have, I could very well make zero from it and still pay my bills.

This gives me the creative freedom to focus on improving the product as opposed to improving the revenues.

Task delegation

When you’re too close to the matter, sometimes it’s hard to think clearly about the right decisions to make. That’s not a bad time to delegate to someone you trust. Of course, this doesn’t apply to everything you do.

In my writing, I try to delegate as much as needed on things that are not as creative, like editing and sharing on the internet. That way I focus on what I like doing, without worrying much about its perfection and how well it will do.

In game development, I’m currently looking for a level designer and an outreach manager to take over for me. That way I can focus on the creative process without thinking about how it will make money.

Basically, whatever makes you think money, find a way to delegate that thinking to someone else not involved in your creative process.

Creativity and making money are not friends.

Conclusion

Most of us can’t easily dissociate the creative process and making money, yet it’s when we can that we actually make more money.

When you get too close to the matter, delegate to people you trust and figure out how you can have other sources of revenues. It’s so liberating not to have to worry about the dollar sign at the end of each task you do.

So, evaluate what you’re currently doing. Think about the reason(s) you’re doing it. Figure out how differently you would do it if it wasn’t for the money. Start working towards that.

You can do this!