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How often have you heard "following your passions will make you poor" or "you'll stay broke if you follow your passions."

I know I did. A lot!

It's not bad advice because many who follow their passion assume plenty of things (like I did), which leads them to find themselves up against a giant wall of obstacles without knowing what to do. Their solution? Quit.

While it's not a bad piece of advice, it's an incomplete one. Let me put you in context.

I'm gonna assume you are passionate about MMA. Suppose you want to make it to the elite level. You must put in the work, and being passionate about it isn't enough.

Not only do you need to put in the work, but you have to be good, very good.

Now, knowing in advance that not everyone makes it to the top. 

What is at stake? 

What happens if you do reach the top? 

The majority of MMA fighters are broke in the beginning.

They need to train, provide for their family, and stay healthy to be able to fight.

Reaching the top doesn't mean you'll make millions. You have to be smart about how you spend and invest your money. That's why most fighters promote the event with drama and gossip. The more attention you bring to yourself, the higher your chances to sell PPV and more seats.

Think about it, if they did follow *the* advice, they would've quit. And many superstars wouldn't be the superstars they are today.

Retired fighters are starting YouTube channels.

They document their journey, sign sponsorship deals, and make more money than they were before.

Again, where would they be today if they had followed *the* advice?

So the question becomes: is it worth it in the end?

In this intersect, we'll uncover the 7 biggest obstacles you'll face pursuing your passions (and how to overcome them).

Obstacles aren't meant to be easy

Some say that becoming an entrepreneur is far easier than before.

Others are saying it is more challenging now.

I realized... What differences does it make?

Honestly, who cares?

Everyone is going remote and wants to lifestyle design their future.

Everyone is looking for a piece of the pie.

That's not a bad thing. But it is if you have the wrong expectations because of someone else's success. The "how I went from broke to 6 figures in 12 months" kind of success.

Please do yourself a favour, and believe in yourself, but don't you dare compare yourself to others.

It will only hurt you in the long run, and it isn't worth it, I promise.

I am multi-passionate. That's what my business is all about. But, I'm not going eyes blinded and expecting clients to come to me.

It happened that one of my passions (web design and branding) was monetizable. I didn't know how much I could make before immersing myself in the industry.

Do you know other people with the same passion as you making bank? If not, you might don't know them yet. That is the first obstacle you *might* face.

1. Difficulty finding a market or audience

It surprised me that I could make a sustainable income by building websites. I was only learning for fun because I loved it and didn't know anyone making much money with it.

My first wake-up call was from my friend who paid 2K for a mediocre website. The opportunity blew me away.

I started looking up how much it costs to make a website, and the results were crazy.

There was no limit, 2k, 5k, 20k, 50k, even 100k for websites.

For my part, it wasn't an obstacle to have the market fit validation. 

But, in a different situation. I would've conducted comprehensive research to find similar people that achieved what I want to do and reverse engineer.

One of my best examples is Patt Flynn, who launched a second YouTube channel about Pokemon cards (one of his passions.) 

Remember though. He is a well-known digital marketer with more than 15 years of experience. It isn't an overnight success.

What he was able to achieve in only one year is mind-blowing. But again, he has the experience and knowledge. 

Don't let this discourage you. You can get knowledge.

But you have to put it into practice. Otherwise, you won't have the experience.

Ask yourself how did you become interested in your "passion"?

Do you have friends who share your passion?

Do they have friends who share the same passion?

Do they know someone who is making a living with the same passion?

Look up on social media and try to find someone or many others making a living with your passion.

2. Lack of support or encouragement

My parents always encouraged me to get a diploma and a job. 

I never worked a 9-5 in my entire life. My stubbornness saved me from this pressure of "have to have a diploma." 

The lack of support for my entrepreneurial route didn't bother me at all. I knew deep down that one day or the other. I will be successful.

I understand that it's easier said than done. 

Loneliness and rejection will often knock on your door.

It's the sad reality.

The best way to deal with it is to have a clear vision. 

What does your life look like in 3-5 years?

I know I won't make websites all my life, but my vision is clear.

I want to make 20-40k tax-free monthly, creating websites and living in a country with warm weather, saving and investing my income while transitioning into a full-time content creator.

Building a personal brand is the best way to attract well-minded people and create opportunities, support, and encouragement for yourself.

It's essential, but I don't rely on it.

3. Lack of knowledge or skills

That was one of my biggest pitfalls. I assumed that clients would come to me because I do pretty work. Well, we can agree that it's not enough.

Copywriting, marketing, and sales are critical skills to sell your services. Until now, I suck at sales, and the only way to get better is to do the damn thing.

You being good at what you do is not enough. I repeat, it's not enough. You have to learn how to market yourself and how to close clients.

4. Lack of financial resources

Going all in your online business is terrible advice. If you have a job, keep it. 

In my case, I had enough savings for a year of living without an income.

But, at some point. The red line became closer, and I wasn't generating any revenue.

That's where I decided to pivot and target local businesses. I was able to get back up on my feet before reaching a dangerous amount to live in.

I hate the pay-check-to-pay-check lifestyle. 

I didn't become a solopreneur to experience that, but again, it's a reality you need to be ready for.

When you lack financial resources, your decisions become blurry.

You develop anxiety and start questioning everything.

Because of that, you lose focus and start doubting yourself.

Having consistent revenue is CRUCIAL if you want to pursue your passions. Otherwise, you are gambling with your life. You might win, but you might also lose everything.

At this point, it becomes unhealthy.

Pursuing your passions shouldn't be that way.

5. Lack of focus or direction

I felt lost for a year. Pursuing what wasn't necessary, my passion for making websites blinded me. 

I wanted my website to look pretty and professional. 

It took me 5-6 months. No clients, and no revenue.

I decided to focus on Shopify and couldn't land a single client for a year. I sent more than 2000 emails, and I couldn't. I was doing everything I could; posting reels, TikTok, and writing blog posts. 

I did not know what to do anymore.

I finally signed up for group coaching.

I paid 4k… I did everything from the coaching. But I wasn't able to sign any clients.

I started to become exhausted with all this BS. 

But quitting wasn't in my vocabulary.

I'd lie if I told you it didn't cross my mind. It did, many times!

But I wasn't going to quit, ever.

I was missing a key piece of the puzzle (the most important) for my specific situation.

It was a network. I didn't know anyone who could refer me to my ideal customer.

I started networking and posting content online without any particular goal. 

I want to expand my network and put myself out there.

Six months later (as of right now,) referrals are coming my way. About time!

In the beginning, the only thing that should matter is GETTING CLIENTS.

I pursued a niche that was my passion (eCommerce), which kept me poor because I did not have a network.

I consider myself very knowledgeable in eCommerce. I have two failed brands under my belt that helped me learn a lot about what it takes to run a successful eCommerce brand. I have consumed over 3000 hours worth of content since 2014. I can write and talk about it for hours.

In this niche, an important piece of the puzzle was missing. Trust is the ULTIMATE factor as to why someone is going to work with you or not.

From the moment I switched to local businesses (beauty salons and med spas.) Suddenly, I knew people who were looking for websites and people who knew people who needed a website.

I still don't regret how it went because I learned a lot. I got better at writing, SEO, and design.

6. Fear and self-doubt 

Fear and self-doubt are inevitable. You can't escape it, but you can learn how to handle it.

When you do what you're afraid of (sales call, showing your face on social media), you conquer one of your biggest obstacles. The imposter syndrome will haunt you, but you'll beat it. 

Self-doubt is a thought related to a lack of skill or confidence. The remedy is very simple; reps!

Put in the work every single day, even if you are having self-doubt thoughts. 

Before you even realize it, you are 10 steps ahead of where you started.

7. Burnout

Burnout will only come if you transform your passion into a burden. 

In my situation, I already established what will burn me out, working with hellfire clients. Those are the ones who think that the earth is theirs and that their needs are all above all. They don't respect boundaries and exhaust you.

You can imagine what working with these clients will do to you physically and emotionally.

At some point, your passion becomes your job. Many think it's a bad thing, but why should it be?

I'll stay passionate about making websites as long as it sustains my desired lifestyle.

As I mentioned above, I won't be doing it for the rest of my life, but I will use it for as long as I need.

There were many days or weeks where I spent 10-12 hours on the computer like it was nothing without ever feeling any "mental burnout." 

There are negative side effects such as bad postures, screen light exposure, etc. But those are "physical" burnouts.

It's the same thing with weight training, you can burnout from overtraining. 

If you do, you'll have to start from the beginning.

I don't advise working for 10-12 hours a day AT ALL. Mental and physical health is optimal for a successful business.

Now, I'm smart with those 10-12 hours days. When I'm in a creative outburst, I don't waste it. 

I work from 8 am to 12 pm with 90 minutes sprints and 10 minutes rest.

At 12 pm, I take a 1-hour break where I'll eat and take a 25min nap.

At 1 pm, I get back to work until 5 pm with the same strategy. 

At 5:30 pm, I restart until 9 or 10 pm.

Please note those days aren't typical, but I feel necessary when I have a new project that I want to work on. Also, I have five mandatory prayers throughout the day.

I divide my day in two. The first half is for my revenue-generating skill (website and branding.)

I dedicate the second half of my day to any other project. For instance, my ongoing project for the 3-5 upcoming years is building my personal brand. I don't work 10-12 hours every day. But when I do, I get the most out of it.

My online business, which generates revenue, always gets the priority (first half of my day). I treat it as my 9-5 job. And I treat my personal brand as my second business until it surpasses the revenue of my first business (creating content, digital products, courses, etc.)

Working hard wasn't and won't be a problem for me. 

My actual problem is my love for work. 

I'm a workaholic at heart, obsessed with learning.

Ultimately, I want to work 4-6 hours per day while making a self-sufficient income. 

But I don't see myself not working. 

My brain can't handle it. 

I love boredom to sort out my thoughts, but not for a day-to-day lifestyle (for now.)

I don't have a close-minded relationship with work. It's only my present feeling.

Pursuing your passions shouldn't be a burden. If you find the right balance and determine what might lead you to burnout, you'll never get burnout in the first place.

It should be fun.

It should be fulfilling.

Don't let anyone change that for you.

Do you really want to pursue your passions?

You have to understand from the beginning that it won't be a walk in the park.

It's not a quick-rich scheme.

It's not an overnight success.

The worst thing you can do is escape your corporate job to imprison yourself in a new jail cell because of your passions. 

You will fail if your first motivation for "pursuing your passions" as your dream job is money.

Ask yourself the right questions.

What is your ideal lifestyle? 

Many want to pursue their passions but don't even know what they want out of life.

Do you want to settle, live in a big city, or travel the world? 

It will determine if your business model is suitable for your desired lifestyle.

For instance, you can't launch a catering food service if you want to travel the world (in your beginning).

But there are sacrifices you can make to make it happen.

  1. Postpone your "desired" lifestyle for at least 2-3 years. That's the strict minimum to at least explore the potential of your business.
  2. Achieve your financial goals.
  3. Hire your first sub-chef and train him/her up to your standards.
  4. Hire your first manager and train him/her up to your standards.
  5. Take one week off and see what happens.
  6. Take one month off and see what happens.

If your business is still running while you're making a lot of money, it's a success!

If it doesn't, you have to make critical decisions. And it could be for plenty of reasons. There are many ways to make it right, the only downside is dealing with it.

What is more important for you at this point, your business or your lifestyle? 

Now that you're successful, you can train others on how to do it with an online course.

You can pivot to a different business model and make it work because you have the knowledge and expertise.

I had many other routes that I wanted to explore; open a restaurant, start a food catering service, food blogger, basketball coach, fitness coach, massage therapist, and others that I forgot about.

From all these, three can succeed with an online business model (food blogger, basketball coach, and fitness coach.)

I asked myself two questions:

  • Do I have the necessary knowledge/skills to make it work?
  • Do I have the required dedication to make it work no matter what?

The answer was No for all of them. But, if you answered yes, there are two additional questions that you should ask yourself:

  • Does it compromise my desired lifestyle?
  • Does it compromise my five years goals?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, sorry to bring it to you, but pursuing this particular passion wouldn't be a wise decision.

It's not a lost cause, but making decisions is essential. And when your choices are wrong, they can hurt your life. You must ask yourself good and profound questions to make reasonable and rational decisions. 

It should be uncomfortable. 

Your upcoming journey won't be comfortable, so why should these questions be?

Cut The Noises

Listening to the wrong people can fuck you up badly, so you should ask those profound questions. 

You won't believe how many times I have heard that making websites is dead. 

I really thought it might be. Bullshit.

If people are doing it, then it works.

Even if there aren’t, it might work as well.

What about the first person who became a UGC (User-generated content) creator?

Brands didn't even know what the fuck was a UGC creator. But, there was a clear demand for authentic content, and someone saw the opportunity.

Embrace The Change

At some point, either your passion will stay forever, or it will fade. In my case, it vanished.

I am multi-passionate. I'm obsessed with learning. I love routines, but I also love changes and challenges.

I don't overcomplicate that I don't love making websites the way I used to. 

The reason is quite simple. 

I have another passion that took over; exploring & sharing.

I don't fight it. I embrace it.

Some were web and brand designers but fell in love with photography. They incorporated it into their services but finally decided to pivot to photography completely.

Is it bad? No. I admire those who embrace the fear of change and take a leap of faith.

There are countless stories of people who change careers, quit their corporate job, or do something completely different from their school education.

Follow your own perspective and your own beliefs.

You don't have to follow the mass.

Be yourself.

Be unique.

Is it worth it?

I didn't experience it at its full potential. But I know that it will be worth it 100%. I don't regret how I went through life and where I landed.

I developed a simple framework that helped me determine if it's "worth it" to pursue this particular passion.

Establish the basics

You only have to do it once, and it might change throughout your journey due to your growth.

  • What lifestyle do I want?
  • What is my desired revenue?
  • What is my 5-year goal?

Ask deep questions

  • Do I have the necessary knowledge/skills to make it work?
  • Do I have the necessary dedication to make it work no matter what?
  • Do I have a clear direction (goals) for this passion?
  • Do I have the time for this passion (20h per week)?
  • Do I have the financial resources (can I sustain my lifestyle with my current income)?

If you don't answer yes to all of these questions, stop right there. If not, ask the following:

  • Does it compromise my desired lifestyle?
  • Does it compromise my 5-year goals?

Let's put this into practice. One of my passion is anything Japan and Anime. 

I always dreamed of making some income from it. 

How could I do that? I came up with two business ideas:

  • An anime clothing line with custom art and quotes (eCommerce brand)
  • A blog about anime (reviews, community, fan art.)

Stage 1

  1. What lifestyle do I want? Be able to locate wherever I want and work whenever I want.
  2. What is my desired revenue? 30k per month to be very clear-minded.
  3. What is my 5-year goal? Generate 1M in revenue per year with my business.

Stage 2

  1. Do I have the necessary knowledge/skills to make it work? Yes.
  2. Do I have the necessary dedication to make it work no matter what? Yes.
  3. Do I have a clear direction (goals) for this passion? Yes.
  4. Do I have the time for this passion (20h per week)? Yes.
  5. Do I have the financial resources? No.

Stage 3

  1. Does it compromise my desired lifestyle? No. (print on demand)
  2. Does it compromise my 5-year goals? No.

Despite all my enthusiasm. I will only pursue this passion if I reach my desired revenue. 

Otherwise, it will compromise my current business, which generates revenue.

I stand firm behind my views.

I root for you to pursue your passions.

But you should pursue them with caution.

That way, when someone asks you, "was it worth it?" 

Your answer will be hell yeah.

Let's create.

- Imed

About imed djabi

I explore the intersection of passions and business.

I am a minimalist, and multi-passionate currently obsessed with the creator economy, branding & web design.

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