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Why “Doing What You Love” is the Worst Business Advice Anybody Can Get

Do what you love
Follow your bliss
Let your passion be your guide

It means the same thing… if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

And you know what? I’m calling B.S!

Yes, I know I might “ruffle” feathers and maybe get some hate mail from coaches or gurus who live by this rule and tell their clients it’s the ONLY way to achieve success and happiness but that’s just not true.

I know because I’ve seen people invest a ton of money and thousands of hours building a business they’re passionate about only to watch it crash and burn.

And it’s not like I don’t have personal experience with “doing what I love”

I followed that advice for 10 years straight. I took photos, made art and created documentary films but it didn’t work.

I was doing exactly what I loved and yet, I didn’t have the life or business I really wanted.

  • I was working way too hard — 50-60 hours/week
  • I hit an income ceiling at just $1000/week
  • I didn’t get paid when I didn’t go to work
  • And most of all… I didn’t feel like my work was reaching people, and I didn’t feel like I was making a difference.

I knew it was 1 of 2 things… either something was wrong with me or something was wrong with that advice.

And it wasn’t me!

How to Get Everything You Want in Life

Building a business around your passion seems like a great idea and we all want to believe it’s true.

It sounds good, and it feels right but it doesn’t work in the real world and here’s why…

When you only follow YOUR bliss, and YOUR passion, and do what YOU love…

When you only listen to the “whispers of your heart” you’re ignoring the most important thing to having a successful business…

What your customer wants and needs.

Do what you love is ultimately about you and it’s self-absorbed because you’re not considering your followers, your audience or your tribe.

You’re not considering what they want and what they’ll pay for.

You’re not asking the most important question of all… how can I be of service to the people who need me and what I have to offer? 

Because that’s the secret to making money and making an impact. That’s the REAL secret to building a business that matters, a business that lasts and ultimately a business that fulfills you.

As I like to say…

You can have everything you want in life if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.

Finding Your Reason for Being

So, when it comes to following your heart and doing what you love I want you to start thinking about it in a whole new way.

Here’s an image I like to share at Live Your Message LIVE: 

It’s based on the ancient Japanese concept of Ikigai which roughly translates to “a reason for being”. “Iki” means life. And “gai” means “the realisation of what one expects and hopes for”.

The Japanese believe that everybody has an Ikigai or a “reason for being” and when you find it, you also find meaning and satisfaction in your life.

And when I came across this amazing concept everything fell into place.

Doing what you love is just ONE piece of the puzzle because finding meaning and satisfaction in your life and getting paid for it also means you must:

Do what you’re good at

Do what the world needs 

Your Heart Has No Business Running Your Business 

How many times has your heart led you astray? How many times have you dated the wrong person?

How many times have you poured yourself into a business you believed in with your heart and soul but nobody else cared about in the way that you did?

The truth is there’s more — a LOT more — to starting, growing and sustaining a profitable business.

And doing what you love just doesn’t cut it because it’s just one part of the path to success.

If you want to create a business that also lets you pay the rent and the bills (and maybe even take a couple of bucket list trips), then…

Do what comes naturally and easily to you AND also makes you money.

Do the thing that’s wanted and needed in the market and do what’s going to actually make the world a better place.

So just to be clear…

I’m not saying that you need to avoid doing what you love…

I’m saying you need to find that balance in all 4 of those circles you see above.

If you don’t and if all you do is follow your heart and follow your bliss, I’ve got news for you…

You’ll work long, you’ll work hard and you’ll get nowhere fast.

So now that you know the worst business advice out there, I’d like to offer you the opposite of that 🙂

It’s a powerful, step-by-step masterclass (it’s free!) and it includes insider insights and strategies — basically my BEST advice — on building the business you’re truly meant to build and sharing it with the world.

You’ll learn:

  1. The 3 paths you can follow to start a business – and why only one leads to purpose, passion, profit and play! 
  2. The 7 key criteria to identify the perfect niche for you … so you can make great money AND love what you do
  3. How to tune into what you really want … so you can design a business you’ll love, that aligns with your natural strengths … and that will pay you well for doing the work you’re meant to do in the world and a whole lot more!

Get your free masterclass now

Now over to you…

What’s the worst business advice YOU ever received? Did you follow it? What happened?

Share your thoughts in the comments below… I read and reply to each one 🙂

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    I think that “Do what you love” is a starting point and from there a lot more has to happen. However, saying it is THE WORST BUSINESS ADVICE ANYONE CAN GET is a bit extreme. I realize it is really a marketing ploy to get people to read your blog, which I almost didn’t because it felt manipulative. But, being a fair person I decided to read it before unsubscribing from your future information. Ikigai is just another way of saying, do what you love, live your purpose, follow your bliss. I think your chart is nice and a good teaching tool. But, I do not feel putting down other people’s advice is a good way to win friends and influence people. I wish you the best of luck and know that you are doing quite well in your business but that too can fade or end.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Thanks for sharing! You can see this as a marketing ploy or you can see it is a pattern interrupt to help my readers realize they may be seeing an incomplete picture. I also believe that if you don’t ruffle any feathers with your work, you could be playing it “too nice.” I teach people that you want to get out of the “meh” zone by willing to have people self-select in or out rather than trying to please everyone. The truth is that there is a lot of bad advice out there and learning to discern between good advice and bad advice is a key skill in today’s world. 🙂

      1. Alex Slattery Avatar
        Alex Slattery

        Just can’t please everyone. Lol. I’m not sure how I ended up on your email list but I’m glad I did. I really enjoy your writing, tone and info. Thanks Marisa.

        1. Shannon Goodell Avatar
          Shannon Goodell

          Thanks so much, Alex! Marisa really appreciates it.

  2. Larry Avatar

    Sorry, couldn’t disagree more. You don’t place the importance of life (or business) on what other people want or need. And the materialistic emphasis is exactly why so many people are miserable. You’re leaning heavily on the definition of narcissism. Of course your business has to satisfy or serve a market, but if you’re not passionate about what you do, you’ll not be happy – no matter how successful your business is. I too agree with Zig Ziglar’s “You can have everything you want in life if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.” The ONLY way to do that is to do what you love and are passionate about. Okay, so maybe we agree that doing what you love AND giving your customers what they want and need is a winning combination (for self-fulfillment and for some, more “things.” The worst business advice I ever received? That partnerships don’t work.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Thanks Larry! I think we do agree. The reason this is the worst advice I ever received is because it’s incomplete and on it’s own will lead you astray because, as you say, “Of course your business has to satisfy or serve a market.” However I see lots of people simply follow their passion and never manage to have the income or impact they desire.

  3. Cheryl Eastman Avatar
    Cheryl Eastman

    Thank you so much Marisa for this wonderful insight. What you are sayinng is that it is not all about us, but someone else out there needs the gifting we were born with. Through the Experience Product, I am learning how to tab even further into my purpose which I truly believe will lead to fulfillment and satisfaction for me. It really is reciprocal!!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      That’s exactly right Cheryl! I’m glad you’re creating an experience product that hits that sweet spot. xoxo

  4. Janet Parkhurst Avatar
    Janet Parkhurst

    Hi Marisa (and others)!
    The worst advice I got was to do what my PARENTS wanted me to do. In my case, my mother wanted me to be a secretary–just like her. She loved being a secretary so assumed I would, too. I did not. I just didn’t have the skill set and hated the role. I was fired so many times I thought there was something wrong with me.

    Then I discovered I was good at writing. And I LOVED to write. I took evening classes in order to learn advertising copywriting, which always paid well. Although it wasn’t the same as writing the Great American Novel, it paid the bills and garnered some respect (especially my own!).

    Later on, when I was deemed “too old” to continue in advertising, I began writing recruitment advertising and even resumes. Boring? Yes! But then I realized there were no boring topics–just boring writers. So, it was a challenge but I made it work.

    I am now on to my next venture, which will be writing for as many clients I can help with their “whats.” Marisa, you are so right. A huge part of being able to succeed in business is a “How can I help you?” approach, rather than a Look At Me!!!!! one. And, I am going to include proofreading services in my business, too–I have never seen so many typos and misuse of verbiage and grammar as I am seeing these days. Either people are not taking the time to eyeball their messaging (and, instead, relying on Spellcheck), or they seriously lack literacy!

    PS: Please don’t be offended, but I found a couple of blips on your piece! Maybe you can use my help? 🙂

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Sounds like you found what you love and are good at and are open to the ongoing evolution of that.

      I’m honestly not worried about 100% perfection on my blogs and materials. It’s more important for me to get things out that will make an impact, but thanks for the offer!

  5. tony Avatar

    the worst advice?..”If it’s so easy/simple/obvious etc. why isn’t everyone doing it?..”..imagine if Mark Zuckerberg/ Ray Kroc / Anita Roddick etc. had listened to that advice. Another one is “if it sounds too good to be true it must be”. Someone quoted this to me on getting a return of 20% p/a in a business.. I told him i need to get that in a week just to keep the lights on. Most people take business advice from people who’ve only ever been employees.

    1. Shannon Goodell Avatar
      Shannon Goodell

      Yes, “If it’s so easy/simple/obvious etc. why isn’t everyone doing it?” is definitely terrible advice. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Jacque Small Avatar
    Jacque Small

    Thank you. I am undertaking a relationship building exercise. I am going to start focusing more on what people need that would help them.

    Great article.

    1. Shannon Goodell Avatar
      Shannon Goodell

      That’s the way to go! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kye Davis RN Avatar
    Kye Davis RN

    You can do all the right things for all the wrong reasons! Putting financial gain before you Path & Purpose is the path to Destiny Divergence. Many falsely believe that if their attempts to step forward fail to bring prosperity, the Path is wrong. The Social Change Agent of today must become aware that they are the perfect avatar of the target market they are attempting to impact. Therefore, what the audience needs is Exactly what the entrepreneur needed to transcend the pain of the past —- hence the goals are one and the same. When you align with this concept, follow a marketing system that brings you peace — You will be unstoppable. Unfortunately, many spend way too much time listening to others living in a mentality of I AM NOT ENOUGH! Then there is the misaligned need to impact or heal others which is a topic for another time😊

    1. Shannon Goodell Avatar
      Shannon Goodell

      Such sage advice. Thanks for sharing, Kye!

  8. Teri Dawn Marshall Avatar
    Teri Dawn Marshall

    Loved this article Marisa. Balance is exactly what’s required. I immediately sat down after reading this article and listed all the ways I could get paid based on my business model. Now I will align each one with how my programs and products fulfill giving to the world, my clients and me what’s needed and wanted. Of course, I don’t see this changing the course of my Calling. It does,however, allows more creative ways for me to monetize what I do and deliver a great program/product.

    1. Shannon Goodell Avatar
      Shannon Goodell

      So smart, Teri! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Adrian Bendall-Charles Avatar
    Adrian Bendall-Charles

    You are amazing Marisa. If they could teach this in school, the World would be a better place. Civil Service should not be executed by Governments only.

    1. Shannon Goodell Avatar
      Shannon Goodell

      Wow, Adrian, you made our day! I’ll be sure to pass along your lovely message to Marisa 🙂 And we 100% agree with you.

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