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« the smartpoint versus the tipping point | Main | positive thinking v. retaining the critical faculties of a smart person »
Monday
Apr052010

how to make money from your passion

Money can arrive, like Manna, directly from the clouds above.

Mostly however, it chooses these four channels.

It arrives through:

Employment

Self-employment

Passive Income Stream- You are the Employer

Passive Income Stream- Automated ie. From book royalties, internet advertising, referral sales, rent.

You can lifeshift into anyone of these financial styles, though the more radical the lifeshift the more you will tend towards self-employment and generating passive income streams.

Follow the dream or follow the money

Your dream work, the work that is most meaningful to you, might come with a wage attached. If you want to be a commercial diver, bush pilot, tour guide- you will find work that is reasonably, sometimes very well,paid.

But many people have dreams that at first sight seem deeply unremunerative.

Richard Noble was salesman for the steel company GKN. His dream was enormous- become the fastest man on earth. This was a dream that would cost millions, you would think, and certainly not earn him anything.

Noble pursued his lifeshift relentlessly. He knew that if he looked like a contender others would back him. So he spent $2000 on an old jet engine, bolted it to a homemade chassis, got permission to use an airfield for a day, crashed- but in the process established himself as being in the business of record breaking.

He then set about finding sponsors. Finally he built and drove the car that beat the world record.

After that he was assured of making money from books, talks, and consulting. Instead he went on to break his own record and be the first to smash the sound barrier on land- for a budget of 10% of the £25 Million budgeted by race car team Maclaren.

He used the experience gained in these high risk ventures to develop a new light aircraft and to lecture to companies on his methods and experiences.

Noble’s book ‘Thrust’ is a great inspirational read and full of great ideas for potential lifeshift money makers. Noble’s talent is to build a team of lifeshifters- who see the project as the meaningful  work in their lives. By harnessing the incredible power of lifeshifting he achieves wonders.

He is a great example of how money follows the dream.

Peter Canning is a paramedic who lifeshifted from being a speech writer on health matters. He went from talking to acting. But he is employed by a company- one that he doesn’t always see eye to eye with. However the rewards of saving people’s lives out there on the street outweighs the straitjacket of conventional employment.

Frank Nasre started his carpet business as a self-employed salesman and shop manager. He was good- and innovative- the first to realize that under appreciated Afghan carpets suited the wood floors many Australians have. His breakthrough was when he realized “There are better salesmen out there than me.” He employed them and was able to devote his time to searching out locations for a new shop. He had gone from self-employed to employer.

Pablo lifeshifted from being a hedgefund manager to being an artist living in Ibiza. His art makes very little money- right now- so he lives by doing translation of business documents for one company. The work is easy and he can do it when he wants. His primetime is occupied by painting and employment serves this.

Peter Nelson does what he did as a child- build treehouses. He lifeshifted into his dream profession twenty years ago and now is both self-employed, is an employer as well as enjoying passive income streams from books and videos. Nelson has commandeered the niche (invented it you might say) of master treehouse builder. It sounds crazy- but last year Alnwick Castle- where the Harry Potter films are shot- paid $7million to build a huge treehouse that is also a 120 person restaurant. With lifeshifting anything can happen!

There are several basic principles involved with solving the money question. One is: what you may hate, others may pay to do.

Mike Treibold lifeshifted from an office worker to professional dinosaur hunter. Much of fossil preparation involves meticulous work chipping away the substrate of residual stone. He nearly exhausted himself doing this alone until he realized people were only too keen to volunteer just to be near anything to do with dinosaurs and to learn the trade. And then he found some were better at preparing dinosaur bones than he was.

No Money on the Horizon

At first your lifeshift may look like a non-starter when it comes to making money. Top aikido teacher Robert Mustard spent years in Japan learning his skills. He had no idea that he would one day do it for a living- for him it was just what he loved to do. He returned to Canada with a 6th Dan and a towering reputation. Over time he built a good living  from teaching at his own dojo and at seminars.

One of my favourite lifeshifters is Peter Vido, the obsessive scythe enthusiast and co-author of “The Scythe Book” that has run to several editions and is still very much in print twenty years after being published. It would be hard to find a more obscure lifeshift  niche than scything (for those in the dark it’s a long handled sickle for cutting grass and corn) but Vido’s fascination comes over both in his book, website and instructional videos. He also runs seminars to teach scything (it’s all in the sharpness of the blade).

Long Tail Lifeshifters

The scythe man illustrates the so called Long Tail phenomenon where obscure subjects can be remunerative through the internet’s ability to link up enthusiasts from all over the world. The long tail can be put to work by lifeshifters worldwide.

There may be nobody in your town interested in finding new rock art in the Libyan desert. But Hungarian Lifeshifter Andras Zboray has built a business, FJ expeditions that links everyone in the world interested in Saharan rock art. Through his extensive website, CDs and translations Zboray attracts clients for his expeditions to search for new art- mining the long tail to make a good living in his chosen work.

By harnessing the power of the long tail almost any lifeshift can be made remunerative.

The stages of making money from an interest are:

1)Build your competence in your chosen lifeshift- not difficult because it’s your dream work, what you find most meaningful.

2) Establish a website with an information heavy content. Providing real value with updates in the form of news, reviews and useful blog material.

3) Publish a book on lulu.com publicized through the website. Produce dvds, courses, talks etc.

4) organize events that combine travel with teaching people your lifeshift skill.

5)Combine travel or tourism with your interest- courses in exotic locations that trade on the value added of being a holiday as well as a course.

I have followed this method with the successful Explorer School where my Lifeshift interest in exploration has been built into a business providing courses where people can learn exploration skills.

Enjoy MINTS- Money Is Not The Solution

Except it’s hard to because it very often is. You want to do a course, it costs money. If you had money you could lifeshift couldn’t you? You want to write a book, if you had a nest egg you could take time off and concentrate and write that book. But you don’t have money. So you can’t lifeshift.

Don’t get me wrong. Money is the ultimate supertool, one of the best combination spanners in the workchest. With money you achieve so much, so quickly. Everyone needs money.

But a solution is never universal. First you need to define the problem. When you know the problem you can address it. Perhaps you will need money, but perhaps not.

You want to go rock climbing- you could pay a lot of money for an adventure holiday or you could join a club and pay virtually nothing to learn.

You want to get the spare time to write- if you only you could afford a two week break at a special hotel you know you could do it. Quit the demanding job and get all the spare time you need working evenings to support yourself. Clive Cussler quit his high power advertising job to work in a divestore while he wrote Raise the Titanic.

You need a top camera to be a professional- if only you had the money to buy it you could make that lifeshift. Again you can always find a group, club or institution that owns such equipment, you can also meet people who can loan you their gear through such an institution, you can even offer to review such equipment and then use it while you have the chance. When I worked as a professional photographer I identified the cheapest pro-camera and borrowed it from a friend. The solution wasn’t money- it was people.

Money can be a snake, a motivator. The story goes: a man was dying of thirst in the desert. He collapsed and was about to expire when he saw a snake. full of fear he ran and ran...until he reached a well and his life was saved. After he had drunk his fill he saw the snake again and began to curse it. But the snake reminded him that he had saved his life...Money is needed to do certain things like travel and live. But it can get you to some interesting places and doing interesting things. Alright, get a job, earn that money, quit the job, use it for what you need it for. It’s that easy.

No question crops up more often than “so how do you pay the bills?” When you are doing, full time, what you want to do you have no status riding on your job. You couldn’t care less if you’re a dustbin man or a doctor. Ranulph Fiennes, the world famous explorer, was once seriously considering becoming a waiter at Claridges Hotel- the tips were so big he’d be able to take enough time off to make expeditions for half the year.

So the short answer to the money question is that you make a bare living in the time left over from doing your passionate interest. You can save money and live off that, or you can work odd hours- any hours as long as they do not infringe on your primetime.

The longer answer has to address how you make your lifeshift into your breadwinner. There are many ways to do this and we've examined some here. But first its important to think about money in a different way.

What usually happens is that people don’t really know how to make money from their passion so they restrain themselves from going full blown obsess ional which is sometimes all that you need to do before you start making money from it.

There are also transferable jobs which prey on any interest and make it a commercial viability. These are writing, video making both entertainment and instructional, sponsorship, equipment sales, photography, courses and seminars, lectures, tourism and hospitality.

When people want to change their lives they are usually looking for a way to also make a living. This is, in 90% of cases, what derails a lifeshift. In the beginning you cannot hope, expect or need to make your living from what you love. It’s the first commandment of lifeshifting. If you try to make money too soon from what you love then you run the risk of poisoning your interest. Yet at the same time, I believe it is possible to make money out of any interest given enough time and energy spent really mastering that interest. With Lifeshifting to make money you have to locate your interest in as high an earning a market as possible. For example, I once tried to make money selling a homebrew product I had invented. But the homebrew market as a whole, in the UK, is only worth about £2 million. The chance of making a good living is limited. You can therefore relocate your interest to either the teaching and educational market or the entertainment market. Remember if you can’t sell candles, sell candle making kits. Once you have a business that sells information and learning you can then piggyback product sales onto that. Ray Mears, as well as making TV shows, runs survival courses. After the course is over you have the chance to buy some of the excellent gear you have used. The sales of equipment naturally complement the courses.

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