Do you have to do what you love or do you have to love what you do?
Honestly, I don't know.
I really don't know.
Both are very difficult.
And very hard to do.
But no matter what end of the spectrum you're at or want to end up, there's one thing that will hold true for both situations...
To be able to do what you love you've gotta do a lot of things you don't love.
And that's something I had to learn the hard way.
Because if you want to be able to love what you do or do what you love, you've gotta do a lot of things you might initially not enjoy doing that much...
No matter what you're doing, no matter what you want to be or become, if all you're able to do is to do that thing you love, it'll be hard. Just really, really hard.
Even if you're really, really good at it.
And probably THE most important skill to be able to do what you love or love what you do is to be able to sell stuff. No matter if you like it or not.
Everything in life is about sales. About presenting yourself. Your ideas. Your thoughts. The things you do. The things you care about. Ultimately it's about finding people who love what you do. About finding other people who do what you love.
When I first started writing I hated sales. I was afraid of selling out. And I guess that's what most creative people (by the way, were all creative deep down inside) are struggling with.
They don't want to sell out.
We're all afraid of selling out.
But here's the truth...
If you do what you love or love what you do, you'll never sell out.
The only way you'll ever sell out in life is doing something you don't enjoy doing just because you get paid for it.
When you trade your precious time doing something you don't enjoy doing just for the money.
That's the ultimate definition of selling out...
Marketing is pretty much the same as sales.
And I hated it.
Just like I hated sales.
But when I published my first book I realized that we've all been told a lie.
Even though today everybody can write a book, do an online course, create art, upload videos to YouTube or what not it doesn't necessarily mean that anyone will ever care.
Simply because there are millions of other people who are doing exactly what you're doing.
And it's almost impossible to stand out doing the exact same thing millions of other people are already doing.
Right this very second there are thousands of people hitting the “publish” button on Amazon to get their books published.
There are hundreds of people who are clicking the “post now” button on Medium.
Thousands of people are uploading videos for their online courses on Udemy.
And tens of thousands of people are uploading videos to YouTube.
Or what not.
So how do you stand out?
Well, I hate to admit it.
But the only way to stand out is through marketing.
But not in the classical sense where you need to spend millions of dollars on ads.
No, that's not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about the cheapest marketing there is on planet earth.
I'm talking about showing up.
Every single day.
No matter what...
# COPY WRITING
This is probably the toughest one out there. Because it's really hard to learn. The only way to learn it is to do it. Just like all the other things I've already mentioned and am about to mention.
And all of these skills can't be learned by reading about them. Or by talking about them. You can only learn it by doing it.
But why do you need to know anything about copy writing?
Well, copy writing is the difference between being able to sell something for $1000 instead of just $10. And most of the time, the difference between those two is the story you're telling.
These days people call it storytelling. But storytelling is the exact same thing as copy writing. It's just a much nicer way of saying that you're trying to get a higher price for something you've created or want to resell for a higher price.
And at the end of the day, the only way you'll be able to keep doing what you love, the only way you'll be able to love what you do is that you need some sort of success.
And if you're not able to make enough to survive doing the things you love, well then you will ultimately have to stop doing what you love...
# EMAIL MARKETING
This is probably the last thing I ever expected I had to learn when I published my first blog post back in 2013.
All I really wanted to do was to write. And get my thoughts out there. To reach as many people as possible with my message. Whatever my message is.
But the problem with all of these platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Medium, Pinterest and on and on and on is that they're all in the business of monetizing their reach. Which is totally fine by the way. These platforms are all businesses and not non profit organizations.
But if you want to get your message out there, if you want your voice to be heard and don't have a lot of money to get started it's never such a great idea to build an audience on a platform you have absolutely zero control over.
When Facebook introduced their ad system and organic reach went down, a lot of people and businesses went out of business. Simply because they relied on free reach on a platform they had no control over.
And it'll always be the same thing. Free reach will disappear. Because all of these platforms are created by businesses. And almost all of them rely (or will rely at one point) on monetizing their reach through some sort of ad system.
That's why email is so powerful.
It's not controlled by any business. Even though that has also changed dramatically over the last couple of years, since Google now owns something like 90% of all email inboxes worldwide (I just made that number up). They can do whatever they want to...
I hate networking. But at the end of the day it's all about who knows about you.
And that's a pretty cool way I've found for myself to avoid going to useless networking events.
If you're constantly showing up, if you're putting your work out there for everybody to see, people will know about you.
Even if you don't show up to networking events.
Put in the work and let your work speak for itself…
# BUILDING YOUR OWN PLATFORM
Is probably the most important thing out there.
And your platform consists of every platform where you publish your work, your ideas and your thoughts. It should be a set of as many different platforms as possible. To spread you risk and diversify your distribution.
Simply because some people might prefer that one platform over another. So you basically have to be everywhere. You have to be everywhere where your potential readers, listeners, viewers or customers are.
People won't go where you want them to go. They will only consume your ideas, thoughts, content or art where they want to consume it. Not where you want them to consume it. So be where they are. It's the simplest form of customer service...
# CARING ABOUT PEOPLE
The isolated artist who doesn't care about people and creates his or her art in isolation is dead. If he or she ever existed.
Today it's all about showing your readers, your listeners, your viewers or what not that you care about them. That's how you get your 1000 true fans.
I struggle with this a lot I would rather just create my stuff and see it blossom. But the truth is that without any true connection, without really engaging with people, at least on a minimal level, it just won't work out...
But at the end of the day all of these things don’t really matter if you do what you love or love what you do.
Because then you’ll automatically do all of these things. Sooner or later.
Because it’s the only way you’ll ever be successful.
Because success (whatever success is for you) is what you need to be able to love what you do.
It’s the one thing you need to be able to keep doing what you love.
And when I say you, I’m really talking about myself and my own experiences…
[Related: I stopped giving a shit a long time ago]