Pursue Passion… or Profit? (video)

You know how people always say, do what you love and the money will follow? I've probably even said that a time or two myself, but I've decided that it's flawed...

Instead, do what makes the money and your passion will follow.

I know that may sound like a contradiction, but follow along with me here.

My first business was an electronic repair shop. Not something I was particularly passionate about, but it paid the bills. I was passionate about having a family business and pursuing financial freedom, of course. And I enjoyed the work - it just wasn't my "passion in life".

My next business included computer training and web development - helping others learn skills to start & grown their own business. Something I was definitely passionate about, but I didn't really have the means to do it on any kind of large scale. Meaning I was basically helping one person or one business at a time.

But those were the right choices at those times in my life, because the bills had to be paid and the children had to be raised. It wasn't until my business saw a sustainable passive income that I had the financial freedom to really discover and pursue my passions.

It's hard to even know what you're passionate about when all you can think about is how you're going to make the next mortgage payment, or put dinner on the table next week.

Even worse is that nobody else will get it. If you're working all the time, with no profit to show for it, your friends & family will tell you you're nuts and tell you to go get a real job. But if you have money coming in, nobody will mess with you - and you'll be free to really start exploring your options.

My point here is that I don't want you to feel discouraged if you're just starting out, and you haven't discovered your true passion yet. That's okay. Try a few things, make some money first, and let it just come to you naturally.

The cool thing is that the internet provides you the opportunity to do both - to make money AND pursue your passions in life. My own online business allows me to work from home, and allows me both the time and money to work on a series of books I've always wanted to write. So I do that, plus give back to the Internet Marketing community, because I have a passive base income that pays the bills. The main source of my income being my affiliate sites and various affiliate promotions.

It took me years to find my place in it all, and create a vision of the lifestyle and future that I wanted - and a plan to fund it. But every single one of those years that I wasn't 100% sure I was going in the right direction... I still earned a full-time income. Money is necessary - so pursue that first, and let the passion find you when you're ready for it.

Trust me, it will happen when you're less stressed about making money.

So get out there and make some money!


p.s. If you need help making money online, join my group at our Internet Marketing Forum. I check in there daily myself, and would be happy to answer your questions, or share resources with you.

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»


  1. Paul Cooley says

    Well, once again Lynn.. You hit the nail on the head! Great job telling it like it is! πŸ™‚

  2. Julie Anna says

    Hey Lynn,
    Definitely a prophetic video. Truth well spoken.

    I was recently thinking about affiliate marketing and its very real tendency in money chasing models. Meaning that when a wave hits with huge profit potential there may be a cup or bucket you want to put out there to collect some of that wave but really how passionate can one be in a trendy market? I don't think there is a thing wrong with that opportunity. To capitalize on those markets is terrific and certainly will lessen the urgency of the money stress crunch in some people's cases. Riding the wave market (hot) coupled with a few systems in place of solid money makers can be a great foundation, as you mentioned, then one can springboard into a more natural delight directed source of income with or without the former built model(s).

    I think your points are a needful insight right now since so many people are in a dire situation and need cash. Puttzin around trying to find passion or your call in business before really making money online is like taking three aptitude tests (career assessments) before college entrance - there's a place for that but usually it's further down the road when the real major is revealed as you expose yourself to a few subjects or even after graduation as you gain experience. I mean how many times do people change their majors as they go through college or pursue something totally different after graduation? It's much the same in business, I think. Just pick what will work for now, just do it, stick to it to make some money, then putz. πŸ™‚ As you relax through gaining experience online the creativity will follow ...

    Just my two cents.

    • Great points, Julie Anna. I also believe we have a personal responsibility to prove ourselves diligent, committed and consistent before the true ideas present themselves. There's a certain sense of self-confidence that comes with that, that puts us in a position to pursue opportunities full on.

      Nothing like getting an incredible opportunity dumped in your lap... when you're in NO position to pursue it!

      I do believe we should all pursue our passions, and that we should start businesses or websites in niches we enjoy - and find work that is personally rewarding. But I also know from experience that paying the bills trumps passion every day of the week... and so that is the best starting point. Financial goals first, then personal goals!

  3. I turned something I hated passionately (science projects!!) into profit. But, like you, I now love what I do with a passion.

    But your point is well taken. How many times have we (I) told our kids that there will be times in life that they will not have their dream profession. In the meantime, they must do their best at whatever job they have. And "if you're faithful over a few things, you'll be placed over many things". Your life bears that out, Lynn!

    • I'm still clueless as to why I wanted to call you Susan last weekend πŸ˜› LOL It was great to see you again at NAMS!

      I have often wondered where I would be now if I had skipped all of the other businesses and business models upfront, and if I had known all along exactly what I would ultimately be doing. But it was those very things that got me exactly where I am today...

  4. Coree Silvera says

    I remember you saying something similar to this on the Women's Wildfire Rally w/Carrie Wilkerson, and it really hit home with me. It's so true that the stress of wondering where the next dollar is going to come from can detour anyone's passion. Like Carrie said, "Have a passion for how much money you're going to make in your business"...now there's some great passion to get excited about! Thanks Lynn for a great post!

    • Exactly. When I quit my job to start my first business my top priority (and thus my passion) was: getting on our feet and creating a better lifestyle for our family. Period. It wasn't until I got past that need that I was open to bigger opportunities in life.

  5. You nailed it.. again. πŸ™‚ This has been my attitude all along, especially because my passions are difficult to monetize. Awesome post!

  6. Brian Armstrong says


    This is random but I noticed you're using Aweber's blog broadcast...have you seen http://feedmailpro.com? You might like it.

    Hope it helps,

  7. Can you hear my applause from there?

    Wow, you are saying something so important. I have several friends stuck in a pattern of trying to pursue a passion when what they really need is to pursue an income. It makes my heart ache to see them struggle.

    It's hard to get them to see that they don't have to give up on their dreams - they may just need to set them on a shelf for awhile. If it's meant to be - it will come when the time is right and all the resources are available.

    • Such a good point, Kelly - and I know exactly where you're coming from with your feelings on that.

      The interesting thing is, I had known for TEN YEARS what it was I ultimately wanted to do with my life, before I was ever able to really put it down in an action plan - or even start to pursue it. And that's okay! Life is a journey, and there is a reason it is made up of a certain number of decades πŸ˜‰

  8. Lynn,

    What a great post! Unfortunately, too few young people are being taught that there are lots of times in life when we must do things we are not passionate about to pay the bills and care for ourselves and our families. I mean, really, how many of us love cleaning the bathroom. Passion is great. We all need some to keep us motivated. But as you point out, it is very difficult to feel passion when you are focused on simply surviving.

    You have such a gift for hitting on the right topics, here.


    • Thank you Rasby πŸ˜€

      Speaking of young people, my son took an interest in programming at the age of 12. He just jumped in at the first place he could find and started learning and applying. Over the last 5 years he has learned several programming languages and worked on a number of big projects - until he finally found a place in it all that he LOVES. And even then he freelanced online for an entire year to "feel it out" - before his own mother would hire him. *grin*

      Nothing gets dropped in your lap. Passion comes through discovery, and opportunity through action.

  9. lyle robinson says

    Awesome post Lynn! This is something I have been thinking about for awhile. Not everyone has a huge passion for something, which is ok! Experience, maturity and just plain trying things out to see what happens allow us to find that which makes us smile...:) Thanks again.


  10. Just what I needed to hear today... Empowering post Lynn! Thanks again for all the great food for thoughts, and more, that you always share with such generosity. I now have a different vision to streamline my short term goals. Feels good πŸ™‚

    Enjoy your week-end.

  11. gr8 points , very practical outlook but when any one actually goes into practicallity its just like sayin "hey ! i found a gr8 new reason for not doing that" as far as expirence is concerned every person has to go through different expriences cmon we dont have some parents, clothes , countries , homes , blogs πŸ˜‰ , height ,weight blah... no do we share the same thought process .
    to quote u "It’s hard to even know what you’re passionate about " there is not always a single thing that we are passionate about maybe you are passionate about coding,scripting but you share a greater passion for money itself (well every one has a passion for money but many don't accept this sore passion for money , making money is an art in itself), university dropouts have sitll made DOS in their garage and made zillions(lol..) from it.Expirences and situations are always different but that dosen't matter what matters is the way you allow you mind to think don't try to limit yourself if you do that your mind will find reasons, situations and expirences for which will limit you. Now I won't go too long , hope you understand what i wany to say ....anyway thanks for such a nice post once again..TC..by the way you look beautiful πŸ™‚

  12. Great post Lynn! At my advanced age I do not have any real passions left except to make enough money to pay the bills!

  13. Alex Newell says

    Really nice to hear such common sense and to have the old chestnut of "Follow your passion..." turned on it's head.

  14. Inspiring as usual. Thanks.

  15. Great Video Lynn. Common sense recommendation, but sometime we just can't put our arms around it and get it. That is what I love about Video, it says it better. I like the porch you were on, nice backdrop. Is that your home? Have a great weekend.

  16. LaTara Ham-Ying says

    You know I have a passion and that is to help women live life inside out by creating an authentic existence through Christ.

    However, I know that right now I need to live under a roof and get my oldest boy through his senior year of high school and into his first year of college and beyond.

    It is a struggle but I have learned to balance it all out. I have learned that my business is the catalyst that will drive my passion.

    Am I making sense to you?

    I have sites that cover my passion and I post to it like twice a week and send out a newsletter and all that stuff to start building the brand but it does not butter my bread so I only dedicate about 5 to 7 hours to it a week.

    However my VA biz is where the money is right now and because I am passionate about my family I market and work it more than what is not making me money right now. And you know what.... am still serving and helping others to succeed...that is a passion too.

    Passions are great and often they lead right into the dreams of your life; but if you do not have the vehicle to drive those dreams, they will likely do nowhere fast.

    Thank you for this because I have been trying to make a decision and I think I know which way to go now.

  17. Lynn that is true. I would like to add that passion never pays the bills, you cannot send a passionate check. Money pays the bills.

    However once you are able to pay the bill and even if you are living pay check to pay check and you constantly input towards your passion and make it a success in terms of generating good money. Then you got it and the line between work and play becomes a blur and that is when you perform at your best and you can be so creative it is amazing.

    All this said, right now, I want to do anything to generate money fast.

    Thanks Lynn

  18. Sometimes we need to do what we need to do and the rest will come, definitely. Great conversation to have with ourselves. What did Kathleen say at NAMS? Paying the bills is spiritual! Yup, I like paying my bills, so making some money sounds good to me.

  19. Chuck Morgan says

    Everything is funny with a pocket full of money πŸ™‚

  20. Lynn,

    This is exactly what I struggled with in the beginning. I tried to work with a niche I had passion for. I was making money in that niche, but it was not enough to put even the smallest dent in my debt. When I slowly broadened the range of niches I worked with the cash flow slowly grew with it.

    Now being debt free, I thought I would move back to the niche I have passion for. Not at the least, I have decided to leave that niche as my hobby and that is it. I don't want my hobby to feel like work.

    In all this madness the last 3 years I created LPs, ran ad campaigns, learned to do my own coding, learned to do my own graphics, ran my own email campaigns.. so on and so on.

    I hadn't even realized all the things I have learned to do on my own until just recently. I have now decided to be a "grunt" worker for the web designing professional website design, LPs, templates, and even wordpress themes. I actually find some enjoyment in it and it does put money into savings, which is important to me as I am getting ready to get out of the army.

    Great blog Lynn, I come back from time to time to read what you have to say. You don't push products, you use your blog for what it is suppose to be for. Communicate with your readers.


  21. What a timely post! I was just thinking about that book - Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow - this morning.

    I agree wholeheartedly that this book offers great advice IF you have a means to pay your basic bills in place first. I've always struggled with traditional 9-to-5 career paths - and finally realized it was because I am a creative person trying to fit into an analytical and already defined role.

    Today, I am doing what I am meant to be doing (creating web content) on a full-time basis. However, even now, I am not passionate about every project that comes across my desk - but am very, very grateful for the opportunity to earn a living with a skill that also allows me to delve into topics that really speak to me.

    Great post!

  22. Gosh Lynn your videos always make me really take a step back and really take a look at things and myself. I really appreciate how you do say it like it is.

  23. Fantastic post. Like they say in airlines - put your mask on before helping others. People make two mistakes: 1) They jump in field they are passionate about without having financial security. 2) Some try to make a "quick buck" starting a business in area they are not passionate about. Even if they are financially secure - lack of passion shows.
    Both don't work - if you have to put the work in then it better be in area you are passionate about. And you cannot put in the work if you can't pay the debt and be at peace financially.

  24. Clay Franklin says

    Wonderful video Lynn. I prefer to watch than to read so this was easy for me. I have been spending too much time learning how to make money rather than making the money.

    I just got a call from my best friend while I was reading through the comments and he was wondering if I would do some transcribing for him. I said yes and will have the audio tonight to work on. It is my first transcribing job, yet I am happy to make some money. My Pool guy is going to hire me to do SEO for his web site and after reading this post I realize that I need to get back into ebay selling until my affiliate sales and SEO / Social Media Marketing training and implementation business takes off.

    Long term I want passive income, short term I am taking on clients for web site and SEO work and even trascriptions.

    • That sounds like a great plan, Clay. I did many things along the way to pay the bills while I was building the business I have now. Including plenty I didn't necessarily like, much less love! But it paid the bills, and gave me the space and time to continue working on what I knew I wanted...

  25. Leigh Kostiainen says

    Oh Lynn, where do I start ... well I guess I can say I am smitten now!

    My one and a half week journey on your coat tails has been a mini whirl wind ... at one point in that video I felt like you were talking only to me. And then reading all the comments on this post was an eye opener because guess what ... I am not alone!

    I know my friends think I am a nutter, my husband is hoping I am not! And the rest think I am just avoiding going to do 'real' work.

    I am so excited about joining your communities and the prospect of turning on the faucet for my niches very soon.

    Thank you, so much.
    Leigh πŸ™‚

  26. Lynn,
    Thank you for saying what I've been thinking every time I dig into some new online business training. It seems like everything I've tried starts out with a whole big section on how to find your passion. On the surface, it seems to make sense -- you don't want to replace a job you don't like with an online business that you also don't like.
    The problem is, though, that a lot of what I don't like about my day job is that I have no control over my schedule, and that working long and hard at it doesn't usually have a corresponding payoff. Any business of my own is likely to address those issues, even if it isn't something I'm 100% passionate about.
    And the practical reality is that I need to make money, and frankly lots of it, in order to replace my day job. I'm not a 20-something free spirit who can afford to gaze at my navel all day and try to find my happy place. I'm a husband and father with mortgages, tuition payments, and all of life's other bills that have to be paid.
    So thank you for this reality check. I think it's really liberating for someone to come out and say this. I think too many people who have "made it" in online business like you, Lynn, have forgotten this practical reality, and instead spend time preaching about passions. I'm glad you can remember the perspective of those of us who still haven't climbed the mountain, yet!

    • I’m not a 20-something free spirit who can afford to gaze at my navel all day and try to find my happy place.

      LOL! πŸ˜† I know exactly what you mean, haha. That really got me tickled! I am a single mother of two myself, with a lifestyle to maintain and the kids to raise.

      It was actually several conversations on this very topic, with people who are just entering into an online business, that prompted this topic & video. And you're right... I think sometimes it's hard to really be in touch with that place when you havent been there yourself for ~10 years.

      I picked up a lot at the NAMS workshop and look forward to sharing more of those thoughts as well. Thanks again - enjoyed your comment, and the laugh!

  27. Lisa Marie Mary says

    Get out there and make some money!

    OMG, thank you, Lynn! I came home from NAMS all fired up and wanting to do things ...oh I don't know, in a just certain way, I guess. I'd had a plan to make some money as soon as I got home, but, once I got home, I'd decided that was not in line with my plans for what I wanted to do.

    But you know what? Making some money is what I want to do!

    Thank you! πŸ˜‰

    • Remember this blog post, about taking action:

      I was amazed at how just a few little things that only took minutes made a HUGE difference - as in money in my pocket RIGHT NOW and also setting myself up for long-term passive income at the same time. Take some action - perfect it later. That's my motto πŸ˜‰

      • Kenneth Breeze says

        "Take some action - perfect it later" Soooo true and often so hard to keep in mind. One needs to step back and see the big picture at least once a day to keep focused on the over all goals. Often we get tangled up being impatient about our success. I takes many steps, it takes many puzzle pieces that need to be put into place before it is complete.

    • Kenneth Breeze says

      Hi Lisa Marie,

      my wife and I agree with Lynn all the way. It's great if we could all just do what we like best, but often times we need to take a different road or two first, in order to get there. It took us a while though to change our mindsets (and we're still workin' on them every day πŸ˜‰ ).
      Before, like many, we would think: "I don't know anything about this or that product. Or I don't even care or like this or that product". Who knew that scanning devices for example (very boring if you ask me) go away like hot cakes right now?!?

      We learned that almost anything in the world can be sold online. And online buying is rising fast and will surpass real retail shopping very soon.
      We opened up two shops after discovering "StoresOnline" at a seminar. Not that I want to promote any store solution over another, but there are advantages in some: There is a huge training and knowledge base included, a live chat and/or call center and the support team even builds your first store for free, once you sign up. The reason I mention this issue is that we found that millions of people go to seminars but once they are home they sit there with the "Now What" face. Just like we did. What we needed is guidance to get there. Just like learning to drive. All the theory and reading in the world won't get you into the driver seat. Once you grab that steering wheel, you will need a teacher right next to you to save your life every three minutes.
      There are many other ways to do business online I'm sure. This is just one of them. You might want to get some inspiration by going to one of our sites.

      Just remember though: It takes time to learn, apply and get to any level of success. Or it takes money if you want to speed it up and have VAs (virtual assistants) and advisers do some or most of the work for you. Support and work done by others, will be essential to your growth. Please read the awesome book by Tim Ferris: "The 4 Hour Work Week". The world of outsourcing and VA's is a learning process and a journey in itself. All avenues should be pursued. The end goal is to own a fine tuned money making machine where you only jump in for CEO like decisions.

      Another tip I'd like to give anyone that is looking for something to sell online or anywhere for that matter - it has huge advantages if it's re-consumable and in the health/wellness area! The baby boomers are starting to retire, guess what they will spend their money on for the rest of their life? "Keep me healthy, keep me young" πŸ˜‰

      Good luck to all of you. I'd love your feedback. And thanks to Lynn for your never-ending awesome advice.

      Cheers, Ken

  28. gail richardson says

    Great video Lynn. It is very true for me and probably most people. it seems very exciting to think Oh I can make money doing something I love but when the money doesn't roll in it is so easy to give up and wonder where you went wrong.In the last 4 months I have basically started over and I am getting the money started first and then I know I will feel better about doing something I am passionate about.Thank you Lynn for all the support you give us .I consider myself a very lucky person to know you.

    • Thank you Gail - I feel the same. Especially after hanging out in Atlanta at the last NAMS event. It's a shame we don't live just a little bit closer! πŸ˜‰

  29. Nell Taliercio says

    And for me, I had to learn how to separate passion from enjoyment. I'm not passionate in my soul for the topics I create websites around. It doesn't fuel me in that way. And I'm not passionate about making an hourly income with clients. But I enjoy it all. I've found what I like to do online to make money, and it's now allowing me (like you said) to now pursue things that I am passionate about, too.


  30. Great post Lynn. It was karma that I found this blog and forum today - I've been discouraged by other AM forums and have developed a case of "analysis paralysis." I'll stick around here and hopefully get myself moving in the direction of making some money instead of searching for the golden rainbow of personal fultillment through work. When I was working for a salary, I never had a passion for the industry, but I had a drive to do the best possible job I could because it would potentially lead to a pay increase, it made me feel good to do something well, and IMO it's just simply the 'right' thing to do your best when somebody is paying you to do it.

    I'd love to see you write a post on integrity in AM. With all the scammy products and black hat behaviours, it's hard to weed through the muck sometimes.

    • I have written quite a few on that topic, actually. Stick around and you're bound to see some more πŸ˜‰

      I would venture to guess it is because you are listening in on the Internet Marketing industry specifically. A very volatile niche indeed. You don't experience that same negative vibe in other niches, which is what makes niche affiliate marketing so attractive. Selling rocking chairs for example... no drama!

      • You are correct, but it's not just the IM industry. The weight loss products, the mind control/hypnosis products (and I'm a believer in hypnosis having used it for dental work!), wrinkle removers, white teeth at home, etc. It seems that 95% of what is in CB is a scam, or at least kind of slimy. Let's not even get into a discussion about other AM/IM blogs and forums! I'd already decided that product sales would probably allow me to sleep better at night!
        I've registered for YOUR forum and look forward to a more positive, helpful atmosphere.

        • Ahh - ClickBank is not my favorite source πŸ˜‰

          I look forward to seeing you at the forum!

          • I'd be VERY interested to know some of your preferred networks (though I realize that, in time, developing relationships with vendors who are not currently utilizing affiliates is another viable avenue for success). Is there a post someplace about that you can point me to, please? Or maybe that kind of info is one of the benefits of Elite membership?

      • Preferred networks... that really depends on your niche/topic. I really like CJ.com (Commission Junction), LinkShare.com, ShareaSale.com, PepperjamNetwork.com. I'll work on putting together a more complete resources list along with my reasons for each πŸ˜‰

  31. Flippa Chick says

    Terry, this specific passage: "If you’re working all the time, with no profit to show for it, your friends & family will tell you you’re nuts and tell you to go get a real job..." is exactly why I decided to cut out client projects from my business model.

    For about 5 months straight I was working non-stop --- something I absolutely abhorred when I worked a 9-5. Sure I loved helping each and every client -- don't get me wrong, but when you begin to take on more work than you should, and your 30 hour work week turns into a 60 hour work week, things have to change.

    Building steady, re-occurring passive income is something I'm focusing on more this year and I've finally laid out a game plan to achieve it in 2010.

    Thanks for the tips and insightful video!

  32. Knowledge Worth Knowing says

    Pursue the passion and the money will follow! I know this to be true. My first business that I am still very much involved in is The Pitching Academy in Utah. I still teach pitchers how to throw a baseball and get paid well for it. My website brings in the cash, but another one of my passions is knowledge. I know that I am breaking some very basic internet marketing rules with it because there is no specific niche but I absolutely love it so I believe success will follow. Thanks

  33. I totally agree with you guys. When you do your work on which you are passionate about, it will not feel like you are working but rather it will feel like you are just playing or enjoying your hobby. I have worked before in companies with 8-5 job but it doesn't give me the fulfillment I am looking for. Thanks to the internet world today because I am able to have my own business by just staying at home.

  34. I think you need a healthy mix of the two. You can't be profitable without passion, but you can't have much passion without being profitable. You need to pay the bills, and you need to be happy...so you have to find a balance between the two, in my opinion.

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