The Passion Trap: Why Your Hobby Will Likely Never Make a Dime (& the simple solution)

Written by Scott March 5, 2013

The Passion Trap

“To sell is human.”

- Dan Pink

How to Fail at Helping People…

For every crazy hobby and passion in the world, I’ve seen an example of someone who’s absolutely crushed it. Everything from knitting to gardening to dancing to fishing.

What’s possible just blows my mind.

But the sad fact is that these people are still very much the exception, not the rule.

But they don’t have to be.

Most passions and hobbies don’t make a dime, and among the ones that do, few make enough to cover more than a nice meal out each month.

But why is this?

What separates the millions who love playing chess on the weekends from the few who have become highly sought after and highly paid chess teachers and coaches?

What separates those who save their vacation days to take a two-week trip each year from those who’ve turned their passion for travel into a way to fund their lifestyle?

There is one thing that separates a hobby or passion from a business or career.

And it’s dead simple…

The People Making the Money Are Willing to Sell.

I wish it could be a tad more profound, but this is the ridiculous reality.

Most people I talk to don’t like to sell.

They think selling and marketing is some sleaze ball industry whose sole focus is to convince you to buy a bunch of useless garbage you don’t want and don’t need.

Unfortunately, in many cases this isn’t far from the truth, especially with much of the crap sold online today.

But what if your product could cure cancer? 

What if you have a set of talents or passions that can genuinely make the lives of those around you better?

What if your idea could change the world?

Then would you be willing to sell?

Contrary to what so many new entrepreneurs and people hoping to pursue their passions would like to believe…

Your Stuff Will Not Sell Itself

Sure there is the oddball case of the guy who never did a bit of marketing and turned into a billionaire. But we don’t care about him. Modeling his success is not practical nor useful. It’s also not reality.

Everyone has to sell.

Apple has some of the best technology and products in the world. They have a cult following of customers that would die for their brand. Their stuff practically sells itself. Yet they spent upwards of $1 billion on sales and marketing last year.

Microsoft practically has a monopoly in corporate operating systems, yet they have an international sales team of thousands.

I don’t care how good you are, how big your team or how unique your idea, if you don’t find a clever way to communicate value to the people who desperately need what you have to offer, you will likely fail.

Some call it Sales. I call it Helping.

Sales is not an inherently bad thing.

And as it turns out, selling and marketing is a part of everyone’s life. Whether you’re a mother, husband, employee, entrepreneur or friend, there’s not an area of your life where it’s not relevant. This is why we dedicated an entire module in Connect With Anyone — over a dozen lessons — to Sales Influence & Negotiating 101 for the REAL World.

Because when done right, and applied to products and services you genuinely believe in, it makes the world a better place.

Maybe you’re naive (or perhaps arrogant) enough to decide that you don’t need to sell. You think that you can just work on your passion or idea and the world will come knocking. The problem is you’re leaving the world of slimy sleazeball marketing, and useless products, open to trick the people that could become the customers and future friends you can actually help.

If you offer your services for free forever, not only will you never have a business, put people will start to value you the same way you value yourself. Eventually they might start to think your help is worth about what you’re charging…

But when you switch your focus from how to make money to how to help people, I have a feeling you’ll start to love ‘sales.’ Because, suddenly, the right type of causal, compassionate selling, becomes synonymous with being a good good person. Because every sale you make has the potential to dramatically change a life.

And that’s what it’s all about, anyway.

sell things that help people

For Four Years I Decided I Didn’t Want To Sell

And for four years this site didn’t make a dime. Its following also didn’t grow.

And worst of all, it was helping almost no one.

The funny thing is that ever since I could remember, I dreamed of being a coach. For years I had helped a lot of people find work that set them on fire, but I’d never been paid for it.

Then one day, a close mentor of mine said, “Scott, I think it’s time you start charging people.”

So, after a terrified night or two of lost sleep, I hesitantly put a paid coaching page up on my site. Within a month, I was full with clients.

The only thing holding me back from making money from my passion and helping people in a genuine way was ME.

Then I poured my heart into my coaching, and then into creating Live Off Your Passion and most recently, How to Connect With Anyone.

Projects that started the size of a golf ball began to fill my living room. Hundreds upon hundreds of hours were spent creating the most helpful tools I was capable of building.

They it really started to get fun…

People began writing notes about how their lives had changed.

But still not many people were buying, because I wasn’t really selling.

But I was convinced that the tools I’d created were some of the most life-changing on the Internet. Not because I thought so, but because my customers did.

From then on I realized I had two purposes…

One was to create the most life-changing products, tools and courses I was capable of.

But the other was to do everything in my power to get the people in our community to realize how valuable these tools could be for their lives.

Because, as it turns out, even if you have the best product on the planet, it doesn’t make a bit of difference if people aren’t willing to buy it, try it and benefit from it.

That’s why I spend hundreds of hours understanding our community members’ pain and needs – the things that hold YOU back.

It’s why I do the thousands of surveys and emails. It’s why I spent weeks creating the marketing plan and course description pages. Not only does it allow me to create the most useful tools for our community, but it also allows me to learn exactly how to communicate it in a way that all of you will find valuable.

Because if you find genuine value, then you might decide to purchase and try the course.

And that is when I actually get the chance to help change your life.

But you must be willing to sell.

In the last two weeks nearly 250 people from 24 countries joined our Connect With Anyone course. They paid between $397 and $597 for lifetime access. We spent months getting ready for this launch.

Is that a lot of money? Absolutely.

Is it a deal for what they’re getting? Hell yes, it is!

This is my life’s work. I’ve never been more proud of a project or the way it’s helping people. I believe it’s worth many times what they paid. And that is exactly the level of value we plan to deliver for all of you.

And if for some reason some of the folks don’t get the value they were hoping for, then they are always welcome to 100% of their money back. Our #1 metric at LYL is results – I don’t see any other other way of running our business.

Because for me it’s not about selling or making money. It’s about changing lives.

And, as it turns out, the three go together better than most would like to admit.

When it comes to sales, I still have a lot to learn. But I do know that I built this business to help people. And if something will allow me to do that in a better way, I will become a loyal student.

Thank you guys for being a part of all of this and for supporting the crazy launch that ensued over the past two weeks.

We don’t do those very often, and when we do, we like to make them a real party. But damn, are they exhausting!

Sometimes it just comes back to asking for money – the nice way.

The equation is simple.

Find your way of making people’s lives better, then do all you can to prove it.

If you don’t ask people to buy from you, you won’t make money.

If you don’t do everything in your power to show them how helpful what you have can be, then you both lose.

You will never build a business around your passion.

And worse yet, you’ll never help people in the way the world needs.

If you have something inside you that will change the world (and we all do), then it’s your job, above all others, to do everything possible to communicate that value to those around you.

Do it in the most open, honest and genuine way you know how, and life will start to get a lot more fun.

Remember, at the end of every sale, the customer always says, “Thank you.”

Your job is to make them mean it.

It’s time to start selling, the right way.

-Scott

For the comments: Why are you not comfortable selling the value you have to offer? Be honest. Tell us below.

P.S. Today Chelsea and I are off to spend March in Thailand for a little change in scenery and some big thinking.

I’m especially excited because after a little travel hacking, our business class seats only cost us about $21. And thanks to renting our place on Airbnb, and to Matt Kepnes’ new book How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, we might even return with a few more shillings than when we left (but something tells me our spending won’t be capped quite at $50/day…).

Oh and courtesy of my lovely friend and recovering lawyer, Jodi Ettenberg, and her new book, The Food Traveler’s Handbook, we hope to get in at least six meals a day – pretty close to standard for our usual adventure. ;)

If you live in Thailand, be sure to give a shout out in the comments.

Damn, we live in an amazing world. So fun to share it with you all!

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