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How to do what you love for a living and still love it tomorrow

If you’re an entrepreneur with a passion business, get this guide on how to love what you do for a living and keep loving it over the long haul.

April 13, 2020 by Cyn Meyer

As you sit staring at your computer screen with browsers open for your social channels and website, you reflect back on your passion business.

From an outsider perspective, everything looks perfect.

After all, you’ve managed to make a living doing what you love. 

The only problem is, whether you’re a solopreneur or entrepreneur, running your own business is tough. 

Not only do you run up against issues with loneliness, dealing with imposter syndrome, and worrying about your revenue stream (to name a few of the heavy hitters), you feel at ends with entrepreneurial burnout. 

Can you do what you love and still have the same passion for it tomorrow? 

The answer is good news: yes. 

You can certainly love what you do for a living and still love it in the long run, and we’ve got a few tips that show you how.

4 ways to do what you love and still love it tomorrow

#1. Expect to do the “work” 

The first way to love what you do over the long-term is to throw the antiquated “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” mentality out the window.

Yes, you can truly do what you love for a living. But, like any business, it comes with a range of tasks, projects, and moments that you don’t love. 

For instance, if you’re a travel photographer who loves to -- as the title states -- take photos while traveling, you may love your photoshoots and despise your email list building or accounting tasks. 

Or, you might love delivering great travel photos to your social media audience but cringe at doing a Facebook Live video -- even though you want to leverage Facebook Live to grow your business.

(After all, Facebook Live’s search popularity increased by 330% in only one year, and users watch Facebook Lives three times longer than prerecorded videos.)

Even if you do love email marketing, accounting, and Facebook Live videos, the point is you won’t love everything in your passion business, so be prepared to treat it as work. Parts of it, anyway.

And get ready for some long hours. Maybe even really long, sometimes. 

Small business owners put in a staggering 70 hours of work each week, which is plenty more than what’s expected at a traditional 40-hour corporate gig. 

What’s more astonishing, if you look at successful entrepreneurs who love what they do, Grant Cardone works nearly 95 hours a week to earn his seven figures, and Gary Vaynerchuck claims to put in 20 hours a day.  

Let’s be clear, though: Overworking yourself is not recommended, nor is it beneficial. In fact, we recommend the opposite (more on that later).

These insane hours are merely examples to prove that entrepreneurs are susceptible to working long hours. So, don’t overdo it.

For one, it’s not good for your health. 

Entrepreneurial burnout is real. In fact, a study of 326 Business Networking International (BNI) members revealed that 28% of entrepreneurs feel moderately or strongly burned out. 

What’s more, another study shows that 30% of startup founders deal with depression, and more than 50% of those reach burnout status.

Secondly, there’s no correlation between the hours you put in and your income. 

SleepJunkie surveyed over 2,800 people and found that people who work 50-59 hours per week make more than people who put in over 60 hours weekly.

My point is to view your passion business as work that you’ll love and work that you won’t love. And, most importantly, don’t overdo that work. Your health and bank account won’t reward you for the extra hours. 

Of course, while framing your passion business as “work” is a huge part of loving what you do, it’s only half of it. The other half of the equation is in learning how to enjoy that hard work.

#2. Adopt a growth mindset

One of the most powerful ways to stick with a career that you love is to adopt a growth mindset, which lets you more easily endure difficult times. 

Difficult times -- whether working long hours, making a mistake, or falling out of love with what you do for a living -- are, unfortunately, inevitable. But they don’t have to be intractable. A growth mindset equips you with an effective way to overcome them.

If you’re not familiar, a growth mindset is a belief system formalized by the work of Dr. Carol Dweck. It’s the opposite of a fixed mindset, and it’s a state of being where you crave continuous learning and embrace challenges, pitfalls, and uncertainty. 

People with a growth mindset are active listeners and learners, and they don’t fear failure. People with a fixed mindset, on the other hand, do everything they can to avoid failure, change, and criticism. They stick to their comfort zones.

Why is a growth mindset so vital? 

For one, it actually works -- especially when it comes to creating a lifelong career based on your passions.

A Stanford study found that people who have a fixed mindset are more likely to see through rose-colored glasses and think that passion provides endless motivation. 

On the other side of the coin, people with a growth mindset are more likely to expect a slew of difficult times when pursuing your passion.

And when you anticipate difficult times, you’re, of course, more prepared to overcome them.

So, what’s an effective way to adopt a growth mindset? 

The answer is simple: embrace new challenges. 

Put another way, rather than seeing your passion career as a static business that you’re supposed to love from day one until “happily ever after,” view it as a business that gives you a variety of exciting learning experiences.  

If you learn to be excited by new challenges, you’ll continue to feel passionate about your business.

So much so that a Deloitte study found 100% of passionate people and 95% of contented people are excited when they encounter new work challenges, as opposed to only 61% of half-hearted workers.

To stay passionate about what you do for a living, try these growth mindset tips:

  • Anticipate pitfalls and treat each failure as a learning lesson.
  • Stop seeking approval from other people.
  • Enjoy the process, rather than the end result.
  • Welcome imperfection.

It’s easier said than done, I know. But these tips have helped a lot of people, and if you work at applying them, they can help you too.

As can our next strategy, even if it seems really counterintuitive at first.

#3. Focus on building a lifestyle that you love 

When it comes to building the stamina for doing what you love for a living, it’s vital to look at your life holistically. Your business is a means to an end, and your lifestyle is what really matters.

If you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, doing what you love for a living falls into the privileged top category of self-actualization and self-fulfillment.

This is a stark comparison to having a dead-end job that you don’t love to meet basic needs, for example.

All this to say, if you focus on what your labor of love provides you in the grander scheme of your lifestyle, you’ll likely love it -- and the work it takes -- for longer.

Take the founder of Paper + Oats, Kelsey Baldwin, for example.

While Kelsey loves designing and founded a successful design business, Paper + Oats allows her to live the lifestyle she loves, which involves bonding with her daughter as a single mom. 

Her priority of spending time with her daughter is a lifestyle that also falls into the top category of self-actualization. 

Kelsey is the perfect demonstration to prove that you can love both your career and your lifestyle by looking at your business holistically and focusing on what lifestyle benefits it provides.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of this mental shift is that it allows you to relieve the pressure of having to love, and always love, your career. Your career allows you to love your lifestyle, too, which -- for most of us -- is significantly more important.

A powerful way to build a business and lifestyle you love is to clearly define your “why”.

Popularized by Simon Sinek, you can define your why by asking yourself questions:

  • Why did you choose your industry?
  • What gets you excited about what you do and, why is that important?
  • What does it achieve?

By clearly defining your “why” and centering your business around it, you’ll create a “golden circle” that’s bound to make your business succeed over the long-term.

Plus, developing that golden circle lets you serve your audience better, which allows you to love your customers, too -- and vice-versa.

And what’s not to cherish in that arrangement?

Clearly defining your “why” also goes for your personal life, which means centering your lifestyle around your core values, too. That way, as you go in and out of business mode, everything is aligned, and you’re able to stay authentic to your most important values.

That said, while it’s ideal to love both your business and life, our next tip is to draw boundaries between the two.

#4. Set hard boundaries

Our third tip for doing what you love for a living and still loving it in the future is to create thick boundaries, not only between compartments of your life but also between tasks in your business. 

Let’s start broad first and dig into setting boundaries between your life and business. It’s vital not to let your business intrude on your personal lifestyle. 

Take, for example, sleep.

Entrepreneurs notoriously sleep less than the recommended eight hours per night. In fact, according to a MetLife & US Chamber of Commerce survey, small business owners sleep an average of 6.7 hours per night.  

This, naturally, isn’t the best for your health. (No pun intended.)

Sleep deprivation leads to lousy effects on your body, like:

  • Memory issues
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Weakened immune system
  • High blood pressure

And that’s just sleep. 

Imagine how much your stress levels rise, and your overall well-being takes a toll when your exercise regimen and important relationships get neglected alongside your shut-eye. 

It’s little wonder entrepreneurs suffer significantly more from mental health conditions -- including depression and addiction -- compared to the general population. 

The lesson here is to not let your working hours bleed into your personal hours. Create crystal clear boundaries around your personal and business priorities and stick to them. 

Now let’s narrow in on setting boundaries within your business. 

To avoid falling into a time sink and suffering from entrepreneurial burnout, watch closely how you spend your time. 

Setting boundaries also means refraining any type of multitasking. Not only does it make you more susceptible to mistakes by dividing your attention across tasks, but it also slows you down. 

While you may feel more productive when multitasking, the reality is the opposite. You need to streamline your processes. 

In fact, single-tasking -- which is, exactly as it sounds, when you do one task at a time -- can make you up to 80% more productive than working while multitasking.

What’s another way to steer clear of multitasking? Time blocking. 

Time blocking is simply setting aside a block of time to do one task, and only that task. 

The reason why it’s so effective is it forces you to focus on your task at hand, something that sounds simple but isn’t habitual. On average, minds wander an alarming 46.9% of the time

So, when you time block, you allow your brain to focus on one task type, which can help you work more productively by up to 150%

To time block, simply batch together similar tasks and commit to completing that assigned task during one set period of time from start to finish.

The goal is to become more efficient with your work time, so you can avoid entrepreneurial burnout and leave enough time to enjoy both your business and lifestyle.

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Love what you do today, tomorrow, and the next day

The honeymoon phase of doing what you love for a living will end.

But it doesn’t have to fizzle out completely.

With our four tips, you can keep the fire burning over the length of your entire relationship with your passion business. 

Basically:

  • Shift your perspective from “work that I love” to “work,” which will help you tackle the parts of your business that you don’t actually love. However, while hard work is a big part of it, it’s not everything and shouldn’t be overdone.
  • Adopt a growth mindset to train yourself to embrace new challenges and take on difficult times like a champion throughout the highs and lows of your business.
  • Rather than focus on building a business that you love, focus on building a lifestyle that you love from your business. Center both your business and personal life around your “why”.
  • Finally, draw clear boundaries both between your business and personal life. To respect boundaries within your business, use single-tasking and time blocking. You’ll be more focused, productive, and fulfilled.

Here’s to never falling out of love with what you do for a living. 

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