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Thread: Chasing money or doing what you love?

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    memenode's Avatar
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    Chasing money or doing what you love?

    Do you sacrifice your personal interests and what you care about and love in order to make more money?

    Do you sell things which you don't personally care about or write about things you aren't really passionate about?

    It's always been difficult for me to do that, which may be partly why I make less money today than I otherwise would have. Or it may simply be that I haven't found or perfected my personal formula just yet. A popular marketeer Seth Godin says that all we really need is to follow the Three "U"s: Useful, Unique and Updated and that if we do that everything else will follow. Many marketeers seem to share a similar sentiment nowadays.

    Their advice tends towards being who you are, doing what you truly care about, being natural and organic, building a personality, being a leader, networking etc. rather than just trying to sell everyone something and obsessing with mechanical SEO trickeries. The sentiment is: be great, remarkable and exceptional and the money will follow you. Don't follow the money.

    On the other hand it sometimes seems to me like people who actually do not more than chase money while taking a more mechanical approach where they merely simulate leadership, networking etc. (using tricks that "work" to gain thousands of twitter followers instead of actually BEING someone whom thousands of twitterers want to follow, for example) are often successful and at least currently, make more than I do.

    So what do you do?

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    Seth can't quite be taken at face value. His positive mental attitude is on overdrive. His happy meter starts at 11. His eyeglasses are shaded so rosy that he can't see anything in 12% of the visible spectrum.

    Still, much of what Seth says is correct. He's certainly done quite well with his "do happy things and happy things will happen to you" PLUR appoach to life.

    But even then, what Seth practices and what he preaches aren't quite in accord. These day's he's mainly cranking out volume after volume of feel-good books that are so short they could almost be magazine articles.

    Still, I often find myself recommending Seth's books to people. Why? Because most of that he says is correct, even if it is saccharine sweet.

    To really succeed, you have to work on projects that you enjoy. But, you can make millions of dollars in bottom line profits without doing that. And maybe that's not such a bad compromise for most people?

    Let's take the three U's you mentioned:
    • Useful
    • Unique
    • Updated

    Useful -- That depends what you mean by "useful", Senator. Plenty of sites are completely useless at anything but wasting time -- and some of those sites are very popular.

    Unique -- HubPages isn't unique, but it's beating Seth's Squidoo by quite a good margin.

    Updated -- This is the one I have the most problem with. "Updated" is critically important in some niches. In other niches it's irrelevant. Most niches fall somewhere in between. It's best to be very careful in applying Seth's platitudes to your niche.
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    memenode's Avatar
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    Good points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    But even then, what Seth practices and what he preaches aren't quite in accord. These day's he's mainly cranking out volume after volume of feel-good books that are so short they could almost be magazine articles.
    Yeah I noticed that. I've read somewhere this sort of thing is basically a marketing ploy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    To really succeed, you have to work on projects that you enjoy. But, you can make millions of dollars in bottom line profits without doing that. And maybe that's not such a bad compromise for most people?
    I suppose so. Maybe a combination is best where the work that is enjoyed is taken as a primary project while a bit of other things is pursued as a matter of practice, experimentation and learning. And if anything comes out of it, it can be reinvested into the main project.

    I'm not sure though. There could be value in being super focused and dedicated to that single thing even if it's not the most profitable kind of business, where pouring your heart and soul into it could be what differentiates you from others and makes a breakthrough..

    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    Useful -- That depends what you mean by "useful", Senator. Plenty of sites are completely useless at anything but wasting time -- and some of those sites are very popular.
    Maybe they're useful for wasting time when wasting time is actually on the agenda (killing boredom and things like that). Useful then can't really be defined universally as it's subjective and depends on what the person's needs/desires are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    Unique -- HubPages isn't unique, but it's beating Seth's Squidoo by quite a good margin.
    Interesting.. although, unique might not necessarily mean a completely different category. I haven't really compared hubpages and squidoo though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    Updated -- This is the one I have the most problem with. "Updated" is critically important in some niches. In other niches it's irrelevant. Most niches fall somewhere in between. It's best to be very careful in applying Seth's platitudes to your niche.
    Right, he's mostly basing his argument for updating on that the search engines lately are attracted to and give weight to "recency". He seems to count comments to an article as an update, without any changes to the article itself. After all they do update the page..

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    Right, he's mostly basing his argument for updating on that the search engines lately are attracted to and give weight to "recency". He seems to count comments to an article as an update, without any changes to the article itself. After all they do update the page..
    I've tested and I have been able to find no evidence that the search engines give any sort of a bonus to frequently updated content.

    I do see temporary bonuses given to new sites and new pages.

    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    Yeah I noticed that. I've read somewhere this sort of thing is basically a marketing ploy.
    I should not be too hard on Seth. He's a marketing guy and he's very successful at it. He's so successful, in fact, that a bunch of dollars which used to be in my wallet are now in his wallet.

    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    Maybe a combination is best where the work that is enjoyed is taken as a primary project while a bit of other things is pursued as a matter of practice, experimentation and learning. And if anything comes out of it, it can be reinvested into the main project.
    I keep trying this, but I am having one hell of a lot of trouble allocating time properly. I may have to start using an appointment calendar to set time aside for specific projects!

    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    There could be value in being super focused and dedicated to that single thing even if it's not the most profitable kind of business, where pouring your heart and soul into it could be what differentiates you from others and makes a breakthrough.
    I strongly believe that there is significant value in being hyperfocused.

    With the Internet removing geographical barriers to competition and lowering barriers to market entry to near zero, we're entering a more competitive marketplace than humans have ever seen.

    To succeed in this marketplace almost requires a fanatical devotion to winning.

    What I've been saying a lot lately is "Play hard or go home."
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    dcristo is offline Newbie Net Builder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    .What I've been saying a lot lately is "Play hard or go home."
    Very true. I have the same philosophy for partying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    I keep trying this, but I am having one hell of a lot of trouble allocating time properly. I may have to start using an appointment calendar to set time aside for specific projects!
    I can identify with that. The concept I'm currently trying to follow, though often rather loosely is allocating only an hour or two per work day and an entire weekend (if I want to) as fair game for secondary projects. The rest is for primary project (so about 8 hours per work day ideally) and of course other activities (gotta live...).

    But it gets harder if you wanna have more for the secondary stuff.. The closer it is to 50/50 the harder it must be to stay focused.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    I strongly believe that there is significant value in being hyperfocused.

    With the Internet removing geographical barriers to competition and lowering barriers to market entry to near zero, we're entering a more competitive marketplace than humans have ever seen.

    To succeed in this marketplace almost requires a fanatical devotion to winning.

    What I've been saying a lot lately is "Play hard or go home."
    Indeed, which is kinda good. I mean.. it pushes innovation forward and actually makes more people wealthier than they'd otherwise be. More wealth means more people that can pay you for something. Also, winning isn't always required to succeed.

    That said, how hard the competition is also depends on the niche.

    Quote Originally Posted by dcristo
    Very true. I have the same philosophy for partying.
    Right on.

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    tharvish222 is offline Unknown Net Builder
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    I was inspired today by a tweet that said:
    "If you're FULLY committed to doing what you LOVE money will chase you. Chasing money is a lack of faith in yourself & your abilities. ♥"

    These words are so true. Many people think that they can't make money doing what they love, what they call their 'hobbies', but that's not true! You can do anything you want to do! Anything at all! Look at music artists and rappers. They are shining examples of individuals doing what they love and getting money for it. It's all about sticking to it. If you work really hard and stick to anything long enough it pays off. The key is patience! Patience, loves! Example: if you want to be a world-famous writer, what do you do? Get to work and write! Keep writing! Send your things to publishers, and if they don't want to publish your works, publish them yourself! Always stay positive and focused on your end goal (ie: being a world-famous writer). Ignore nay-sayers and discouraging people, even if they are people close to you, because only YOU know what's best for you, and you must follow your own heart to achieve true happiness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tharvish222 View Post
    If you work really hard and stick to anything long enough it pays off.
    That is very correct!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tharvish222 View Post
    If you work really hard and stick to anything long enough it pays off.
    This is true, but it doesn't pay your rent or feed your kids. At some point the practicalities of life need to be met, and this is where a lot of webmasters struggle. I believe that what is needed outside of passion is a system.

    Without a system (or strategy) whether it is intuitive to the person or external such as advice on these forums or a diary, the reality is that a lot of time can be wasted on activities that don't help.

    I'm passionate about the area I live in, and I have a goal of creating a magnificent portal for the area, but in practical terms I'm struggling to build backlinks, and this prevents my site from reaching the top of the search engines, which in turn means the money isn't following me in great enough amounts to consider the project a success.

    Although I do enjoy reading Seth Godin's books, I wish reading his books would pay the rent.

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    memenode's Avatar
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    Awesome post Tharvish. The biggest challenge seems to be in finding exactly what that thing you love is. Few months ago I went through the process of self rediscovery and narrowed it down to web publishing about technology and philosophy, but it appears that was still too general as I still have trouble motivating myself to write more often on my latest project and am tempted to jump into something even more creative and practical like programming or writing scifi...

    Or maybe my problem is simply lack of persistence. I don't know for sure yet, but the idea is to keep exploring.

    But what elbandelero says is quite true as well. When doing what you love can't pay off immediately that means you still need to do something that will pay the bills and keep you afloat until it does pay off, and these other things can suck up some time and energy. It doesn't even have to be a typical wage job. It could be doing something like freelancing to stay afloat, doing things you're not necessarily passionate about, but skillful enough to do, just so you can have some dough to sustain yourself on while you are working on The Thing you love (or even just still trying to find what exactly it is).

    I guess the obvious conclusion is that we need both. Dreams shouldn't be given up and we shouldn't adopt a philosophy that is all about just chasing the dollar rather than passion, but we shouldn't act as if subsistence and bills will pay themselves either. Some sort of a reasonable compromise is necessary.

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