During our multipotentialite mixer the other day, someone asked me if I thought they needed to make videos for their website when they prefer writing blog posts. They had noticed that with their audience, videos perform better and get more traction than written content.
We chatted back and forth. I had some thoughts about how they could get their blog posts out to the world more effectively. But ultimately, my answer boiled down to this:
I’m a fan of doing what you want to do.
I’ve noticed again and again that I’m much happier and my efforts consequently succeed more, when I listen to myself and put my energy into the things I want to do over what’s popular or profitable in the short term.
A quick disclaimer here to acknowledge that the advice to “do what you want to do” doesn’t reign in all situations. If you’re a parent, you obviously can’t just drop everything to follow your bliss all the time. The desire to do your thing needs to be balanced with the needs of others, particularly those who are dependent on you.
However, when it comes to career, I believe that when we do the sort of work that lights us up, we end up being happier and that benefits everybody. Put simply, when you’re enjoying yourself, you’re more likely to do great work, keep at it, and improve, giving things time to take shape and grow. With blogging, in particular, it takes time to find your voice and grow an audience.
Of course, we want to listen to our audience and delight them by delivering what they’re asking for. There’s some compromise involved (one of my suggestions was to make a video every couple months but mostly stick to blog posts). And there will also always be stuff to do that doesn’t exactly light our heart on fire, but is necessary. Email and admin spring to mind…
It’s just that you don’t want to feel like you’re constantly responding to other people’s needs and ignoring your own. Feeling like you’re always in reaction mode, pushing your desires down to adhere to other people’s expectations…those are the things that create resentment.
But what if the things you want to do aren’t going to pay the bills?
When it comes to blogging, both video and written content can be an effective way to build an audience. But what happens if the things you yearn to spend your time on are more difficult to monetize? What if they’re things that don’t usually come with a big paycheck, like spending your days meandering in the woods or writing poetry (or both)?
In that case, you’ll need to figure out how to:
A) Monetize your passions (wilderness guide? haiku writing business?),
B) Pursue your passions as personal projects and support yourself with a good enough job or business, or
C) Monetize your passions and also develop a few other revenue streams (i.e. the Slash Approach). The cool thing about being a multipod is that you have a range of skills to draw from. Some are bound to be more profitable than others and it’s okay to lean on those to supplement your less profitable (but personally/socially significant) work.
It really boils down to this: when deciding where to put your efforts, listen to yourself. Your intuition is usually your best guide. Do the things you want to do but figure out how to do them sustainably. That might mean that you sometimes have to spend time on things you aren’t absolutely jazzed about but if you get the balance right, it shouldn’t matter.
How much do you listen to yourself when making business/career/life decisions? Do you ever have to balance your desires with other considerations? How do you navigate that?