Last night I was inspired by none other than Carms Perez to create a very short an interrogative post on my social media fronts. The post was this, “The only thing keeping me from doing what I love is ________________.” There were lots of responses, but one of the recurring themes—sadly—was money.
When I posted this question, I didn’t really think there was a “correct” answer. I was wrong.
Carms, the person that inspired the post, wrote a response consisting of two letters: “me.”
When you get down to it, you can say that there are dozens of road blocks keeping you from pursuing your passion. You can blame it on the fear of not having a steady income, not being able to find the time or not being able to take the risk. But, in all seriousness, the only thing that is holding you back from pursuing your passion is you.
Take me for example, I studied Journalism & Electronic Media when I was in college, but soon realized that I might not be guaranteed a financially secure future if I continued to pursue my passion. So, I went off on a tangent and—several years later—ended up with a great job and working for an amazing company. However, I still wasn’t satisfying my desire to pursue my passion.
It’s funny, what drives you and motivates you isn’t always what makes you money. For me, it’s a combination of things, teaching, writing, producing content and broadcasting. I like doing all of those things. Now, of course if I chose one of those things, continued to educate myself and focused on becoming successful, I could probably turn it into a job and make a fair amount of money. But, there are a lot of things I’m passionate about.
Social media is a funny thing. It allows you to connect with people you never would have met otherwise and it helps to reinforce the “in real life” networking that you do. Last year I attended PodCamp Nashville for the first time which opened a whole new world of possibilities to me. I had already tried my luck at podcasting and I thought I knew a lot about WordPress, it turned out I was very green.
After learning from a few key people (Jeff Goins, Dave Delaney, Cliff Ravenscraft, et al) I took to the “cyber street” and applied what I had learned. It turned out that by witnessing their passion for what they do, I found the inspiration to pursue my own passions.
Call it being at the right place at the right time or whatever you will, but over the last several months I have enjoyed great success in creating content and engaging with thousands of people across the globe through Google+. After a bit of market research, I realized that I was one of the stronger players in my local market in terms of follower count and level of interaction on the network—Taylor Swift has me beat, of course.
At some point, I decided that I would start sharing what I have learned. That’s when I started having the most success with my content.
On Saturday, I took my sharing to another level: my first speaking engagement.
I know there has been a lot of negative publicity surrounding the “lack of success” of Google+, especially an article by the Wall Street Journal. However, I know the value of the connections that I have made and the possibilities that this new set of tools gives to individuals and businesses, so I wanted to share that with an audience, and I couldn’t find a better opportunity to do that than at PodCamp.
I have always looked at the “social media experts” in my fair town as the Golden Elite, the people so good at what they do, they actually get paid for it. Not quite celebrity status, but definitely “Internet Famous” in our local circles.
After taking the gamble to speak at PodCamp, not as a Director of Marketing, not as a Digital Strategist for a local company, but simply as an Internet enthusiast that shared the same passion as everyone else there, I realized something. It doesn’t matter if you do what you love to get paid, all that matters is that you love what you’re doing. Money shouldn’t be an issue.
If you try to monetize something before the time is right, you might end up striking a bad chord with your tribe. There is no greater example of this then an instance where I shared an Amazon affiliate link and received tons of criticism from my followers for “gaming the system.” As it turns out, there’s a right way to do some things, and a wrong way. I had gained the trust of my readers to selflessly share compelling and valuable content and I had tried to turn it into a television commercial—not a good gamble on my part. Luckily, I used the constructive criticism and thanked my followers and continued to move forward.
The timing might not be right for me to start a new career in digital media or social marketing, but I do know that I am enjoying what I am doing, what I am learning and what I am sharing. Sure I could tell you that the only thing keeping me from doing this is money, but that’s a lie. The only thing that was keeping me from doing what I love was me.
I don’t get paid for what I do, and I still enjoy it. I find the time for it and I invest a lot of my creative energy, passion and thought into everything I create, share and write. To me, seeing what you pour all of that energy into shows you what you are really passionate about and taking the opportunity to pursue that is something to which you only get one chance.
What are you waiting for? Find the time and pursue your passion, you are the only thing standing in your way.