When Do You Stop Following Your Passions

The following is a guest post from Martin of Studenomics, where he helps you become financially free by 30. Life’s too precious to waste it away being in debt or always pissed off.

Does there come a point where you grow up and give up on a failing business/passion? I strongly believe so.

“IF YOU’RE PUTTING IN 200% EFFORT AND SEEING A 10% RETURN, IT ISN’T A BUSINESS YOU’RE RUNNING. YOU’RE RUNNING THE TITANIC.” – Everett Bogue

Evan wrote a great piece on following your passions and when is it time to give up a dream. The following line really resonated with me:

“We are adults and chasing your dream to make it in music is very different in your teens when compared to when you are into your 20s then late 20s then early 30s and then 40s…after that find me more than 10 people who were commercial successful after being discovered after 40!”

Well said Evan. I know that it’s not the popular opinion to tell someone to move on, but someone has to be the bad guy. Someone has to open your eyes and help you out.

Now it’s time to answer the important question…

What should you stop following a passion?

I have two simple rules here that I share with anyone that asks me for advice on this topic.

1. When you realize that there’s no money in it!

We can all talk about being passionate, loving life, and selling all of our possessions to live in a trailer, but at the end of the day, we still need to make money. If you’re not making any money and aren’t close to it after a few years, you might have to cut loose and move on to something else.

I believe that if you’re going to fail, you fail fast. There’s no sense in holding on hope for a decade, thinking that things might change. This applies to not only business, but life as well. You need to change things up if you’re not happy with the current results.

And the second rule?

2. Your behind on your bills.

It’s common for us to romanticize stories in society of how some ultra-successful entrepreneur risked it all, mortgaged his house to the max, and took a chance with a business to become a billionaire. Those stories are sadly rare. The survivorship bias is dangerous. We all love a good comeback story. Nobody ever thinks about the loser.

What nobody talks about is the 34-year old dude living with his parents because his business failed and his wife left him. You don’t want that to be you. A business/passion/dream needs to make money so that you can pay the bills. If you can’t pay the bills, you know what happens. I don’t want to see you lose everything just because you held on for too long.

Don’t hate me just yet. I have some good news here.

Do you have to stop totally chasing dreams?

“Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt—until they commit to beating the right Dip for the right reasons. In fact, winners seek out the Dip. They realize that the bigger the barrier, the bigger the reward for getting past it.” — Seth Godin

Nope. Not it all.

I’m not saying that you have to quit making music, blogging, helping others, or auditioning for movies.

You don’t have to give up. You might just have to suck it up and get a job. You likely might have to spend less time on your hobby.

I have a friend who treats his dream gig as a hobby. It’s something that he does in his spare time. He has a real job and full family commitments. When he has time he performs gigs. When he’s busy with work/family he focuses on what brings him his living. It’s not that scary.

I personally have always kept a part-time gig and held on to investments while working on my freelancing.

Risking it all is fun when you’re young. You just need to set a deadline for yourself so that you don’t stick around for too long.

What do you think about following your passions? You can check out my post on teaching any skill for dollars if you want to give freelancing a shot.

4 Responses to When Do You Stop Following Your Passions

  1. Yea, I don’t think I would want the life of a broke musician or artist. My passion fresh out of high school was to be a geologist. During the first year in junior college, I figured out I was just a rock hound and was not crazy for general geology. (I have a younger brother who is a geologist, though.) I then went in the US Air Force to find that I did not want to make that my career. I decided that mechanical engineering in the aerospace field was my passion as I went through college. That is my career choice that I am still passionate about. I get to design and build parts that fly in outer space. They have helped to make Hubble and Landsat images sharper. They help satellites survive the vibration and shock (i.e., staging) of the launch environment. They have helped steady lasers in-flight. I couldn’t ask for more than that.

  2. this post is written for every aspiring actress in NYC or LA! Sometimes, it’s best to realize it may not happen fully. Setting your sights lower and still being involved with the passion while paying the bills isn’t selling out.

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