Do what you love and the money will follow: True or False

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Confucius
Confucius encouraged others to do what they love. But was he truly right on this point: Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently some very intelligent people have been discussing the question about work, passion and money and the conclusion of most: False.

The reason — it doesn’t take too long to find plenty of cases where “doing what you love” can be utterly unproductive financially. “I don’t think you’ll make a lot of money if you love sleeping,” one person responded.  Others, including me (though I shouldn’t claim I’m nearly as intelligent as most of the others in this group), pointed out that the chances of making real money in certain occupations are extremely poor, no matter how many hours you work (and how good you are) at the skills — consider ballet dancing, or poetry for example.

In other words, passion needs to be grounded in some economic reality. And that kind of thinking certainly should apply to your construction marketing processes and priorities.

This Forbes article makes observations about the “Do what you love” argument

Fortunately, for most AEC professionals, doing what we love can correlate to good money. If we work or operate businesses in or serving the trades, we serve real needs and there are plenty of people willing to pay for the services. In the professions, there are challenging educational barriers to entry — if you have the passion and interest a perseverence to complete your degree and then set to work enjoying your vocation, you should do quite well, regardless.

Then there is marketing. If you are operate or lead an AEC business and you have a natural passion for marketing and business development — you really enjoy the process of learning how to attract and retain new and profitable business — you certainly will have an edge over the competition. And I hope if you are a marketing professional, you chose your field not just to make money but because you intrinsically enjoy your work.

What if you sense part but not all of the picture is there?  You for example, enjoy your craft/trade but don’t really enjoy the marketing and business development work. Or you are working in a marketing role/function to get by, not because it reflects your heart and passion and values?

I’d suggest a change is in order. In the former situation, take a while, do your research, and connect with a marketing pro who has a proven track record and passion for success in your field/industry. (Obviously you will probably not want to work with someone representing your competitors; you may find guidance from non-competing peers or people in your community who are doing well in marketing.)

If you are a marketer but don’t really enjoy your vocation, you have a different challenge, but also an opportunity. Can you use your marketing knowledge/skills to market yourself into the opportunity you really want. In other words, use your marketing knowledge as a way to fuel success at your passion.  If you do, I think you could find relatively high economic success, even if your passion is poetry or ballet.

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