Do What You Love vs Making Money - The Entrepreneur's Dilemma

MoneyHey, everyone. It’s Matt Alberto here. I got a really interesting topic to talk about today. Just recently, I had a chat to one of my mentors, Paul, who really helps me out in a lot of my own business and my life really. He’s talking about the economy, the dilemma of doing what you love versus making money. I guess a lot of entrepreneurs will have to face this as they’re starting a new business. When you start a new business, you have to come up with different ideas and eventually you’ll have to speak with one idea especially if you want to make it grow and be successful.

Figuring Out Your Business Idea

With this one idea, the one that you’re going to focus on, should you focus on the idea that you love because it’s what you love, it’s what you’re interested in, it’s what you’re passionate about and it’s what you love to do. Or should you focus on the idea that you know will make the most amount of money possible. My mentor Paul, he talked about the idea that some people really are called to do something in the world. I mean, it’s this concept where, I mean, you might feel it yourself where you just feel a sense that you’re called to do something.

He talks about if you’re that type of person who’s called to do something and produce something in the world, whether it’s a social enterprise or some other venture that does a positive impact in the world. Sometimes, you may not be totally focused just on the money, it’s something that you love but there’s a lot of meaning into it. It may not matter so much that it doesn’t make money. Overall, I think there are different extremes to this kind of debate. On the one hand, you could just do what you love but Paul talks and says that sometimes doing what you love even though there are a lot of folks and authors really promoting that, sometimes it can leave you really broke.

Focusing Only On Doing What You Love Could Make You Broke!

I think that’s true. your business could fail because you focus just what you want and your needs. It’s a very selfish business when you’re just focusing on yourself and it may not actually be salable or profitable and it may not actually be what the market needs or wants. There’s also the other extreme of just absolutely just focusing on making the money. Even then, even if you are doing that but you’re not happy with what you’re doing, you’re not passionate, it kind of makes you wonder what’s the point of it all.

Paul talks about this happy medium and I think there is that kind of happy medium where you can do what you love, focus on what gets you excited but try and position what you love into a business system that is scalable, that can be profitable and sustain itself as well as be something that you enjoy doing. In that case, it doesn’t matter that you’re not maximizing your profit in that instance because you’re finding that medium and that might be right for you. I think for me personally, that’s where I’m kind of at at the moment. I mean, I’ve had to face this kind of … I call it the entrepreneur’s dilemma where I’ve had to decide with my business idea should I just do what I love or should I focus just on the money.

My Personal Experience in Doing What I Love vs Making Money

Historically, personally, I used to believe that I just wanted to do what I love and I did get into that idea from different books and authors and speakers and I started out doing what I love for me and that I wanted to help people. I started out as an international humanitarian, often times for a very little pay or even in a voluntary capacity. Went to the Philippines and Bangladesh, worked for the United Nations [inaudible 03:51]. I wasn’t doing that … it was what I love but then in other areas of my life such as family, friends and my personal relationship, I found that quite hard because I didn’t have the money to be able to go back to my home, to go to different important family events. It was hard for the relationship to kind of grow and develop if you don’t have the funds.

Then I had to figure out, is there really a happy medium or should I just focus on the money? Back then, I didn’t believe that there was a medium so I just got into the idea of business, involved myself in business books and go into different business mentors that got me involved in creating a business and started getting involved and doubled in different business ventures, many of which I wasn’t passionate about. As I tried different ideas, I realized that the ones that ended up being sustainable were the ones that I actually was passionate about, had skills in and had an interest in.

Do What You Love – BUT Find a Market Need with it

That’s my point of view now. I think there is a happy medium for entrepreneurs and also social entrepreneurs that you can do what you love and make the money. You can do that which you do when you figure out what you love. Trying to figure out different avenues of making money with it. For example, if you love traveling and you also love making a difference. Instead of just traveling around the world, losing money, doing it for selfish reasons, what you could do is create a business system such as the export of [inaudible 05:34] goods in different countries or you could do [inaudible 05:38] through social enterprise or ecological sites around the world or you could even create different restaurants in few locations around the country where you’re at that would benefit local communities.

That’s taking your original passion and figuring out different ideas that could make it sustainable, scalable and profitable so that it does help you make money as well. I think that’s what social entrepreneurship is about. It’s trying to find the happy medium of doing what you love which for social entrepreneurs is making an impact, helping people and changing the world while at the same time making sure that the business system itself is sustainable and that you’re okay as well as an entrepreneur, that you’re doing well. You’re not making yourself broke and taking your family down with you.

Mixing Personal Passion with Business

It’s trying to find that right balance. I’m curious how you’re achieving that balance, that debate, that conundrum, that dilemma. Share your thoughts: should you focus on doing what you love or just making money or do you really believe that there’s a happy medium? Tell me your thoughts and your experience. That’s it for me for today. Bye-bye.

photo by: 401(K) 2013