from passion to profit: how to find the “we” in earning more

day in the life: lunch money

I started my business with about $80 that I put on my personal credit card so that my husband wouldn’t see the bill.

That was what it cost for my first web hosting plan. I don’t think I spent another dime on the business for a few months. Nothing more substantial than a fiver here or a ten spot there, that’s for sure.

By necessity, I did everything myself. What I didn’t know how to do, I learned or ignored. It was about 5 months until I started to bring in more that a few dollars per week.

That was the summer I bought Scoutie Girl with a loan from our local credit union. The 2 block walk with the check from my house to Jan‘s was exhilarating. I felt like I walked there a wannabe and walked back a real business owner.

That very real exchange of money kick-started my drive to grow the business. This wasn’t about some cash on the side anymore. It was about profit. Passion-driven, profit-earning business building.

The very first month the site was under my management, I brought in more ad revenue than ever before. I also created a fall advertising package that earned more in a month than I had at my previous full-time job. I was making a profit!

Of course, that was the first time I felt uneasy about the money appearing in my PayPal account. It was the first time I really questioned whether it was okay for me to be pulling in a profit in a way that was just so much fun! I got really uneasy about “me” and my skills.

That initial exchange was also a dive into the deep end of collaborative business relationships. You see, my business is not an island. Nor is yours.

Over time, I came to understand that making a hefty profit isn’t about “me,” it’s really about the “we.”

My profit is part of the community’s profit. My growth is part of the community’s growth. My success is part of the community’s success.

There is no room in microbusiness for a business that is not part of the greater whole.

You’ve heard it said that “you gotta spend money to make money.” I would argue that the flip side is true as well:

You gotta spend money because you make money.

The more money I make, the more I can let flow back out to other businesses that support me: my assistant, my coaches, my technologies, my designers. The more I profit the more sustainable those other businesses are.

I increase my expenses as my profit increases because, each time I do, I gain freedom, security, and support. My business no longer relies upon my ability to get stuff done – now I have a team to fall back on, to trust.

Without profit, there is no team. Without the team, I can’t profit.

If I try to hoard my profits, I end up becoming overwhelmed & disillusioned. And I owe a ridiculous tax bill.

You can’t DIY yourself to sustainability. And you can’t DIY yourself to freedom.

The road between passion & profit can feel like a greedy one.

Who am I to earn money from something that comes so naturally?

Yet, earning a substantial living from your passion allows you to support others in their own passions. The cycle is generous and unending.

Profit isn’t only about “me” – profit works best when you consider the “we.”

This post is part of the Passion to Profit series hosted by Laura of Create as Folk. You can grab the entire series in a fab little ebook Laura put together. Click here to download immediately! (right-click & save as, if necessary)/em>

{image credit: emdot}

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22 comments on “from passion to profit: how to find the “we” in earning more

  1. Justine says:

    Absolutely Tara, great post. This is something I’ve struggled with too – earning great pay days from things I really enjoy. I think we are trained to believe that you should hate your job or that money = problems.

    The money I earn helps other people too – I reinvest in my business which means I’m reinvesting in other people: mentors, helpers, designers, product sellers. And so everyone wins!

  2. Elle says:

    You can’t DIY yourself to sustainability. And you can’t DIY yourself to freedom.

    I love this and I think most entrepreneurs miss this completely. I think of my brother -in law who is an attorney but refuses to pay anyone for anything! He does his own taxes, and a gazillion other things and is always struggling. I don’t know if its trust issues or just holding on so tight to every dime. I’m going to keep this post in mind for myself when I do start earning. Can’t wait to go check out the other post.

  3. michelle says:

    Inspiring as always Tara. LOVE this perspective. Gives me even more incentive to produce.

  4. Julie Boyles says:

    Without profit, there is no team. Without the team, I can’t profit.

    You can’t DIY yourself to sustainability. And you can’t DIY yourself to freedom.

    I kept thinking to myself, “I can’t afford to hire anyone to help.” It became clear that I couldn’t afford NOT to get some help.

    It’s a leap of faith to implement the notion that if we can produce more, we can sell more. Lots of planning and thought need to go into a decision like this, but in the end it’s just a leap.

    Bringing on some independent contractors was the best decision I’ve ever made for my business. Going from just “me” to “we” has been so rewarding, fulfilling, and truthfully a lot more fun!

  5. Kimberely says:

    Well said. Here’s to upcoming businesses being part of the “we” generation.

  6. gwyn says:

    You are such an inspiration Tara! The money isn’t flowing my way yet but I know it will because I am part the WE! Maybe the new DIY is DIT Do it together.

  7. I agree completely with Gwyn – the new DIY is DIT – do it together.

    This is something I need to do more of…I know that I will profit more and be able to support others by building my business…well, together. :)

    Thanks, Tara.
    Heather

  8. nathalie says:

    I completely agree with this statement. I especially unstood the moment we truly respect ourselves as a bona fide business and not a hobby. I have recently just felt this.

    Enjoyed this one very much!!

    isa

  9. Well said! I have a small group of people that also profit from my jewelry company. I also have a great team of nine reps that “profit” from my ability to grow the company, create a great line that sells and add new products every year. Sometime reps get “upset” when I mark down items significantly and squeeze our margins. However, sometimes we have to put items “on sale” to make room for newer/better products. This allows us all to grow and sustain the “we” as you put it. The “we” is everything and it is what makes working as an entrepreneur so rewarding.

  10. such an on POINT post … I’m off to check out the rest of the series and blog about it on this day!

  11. Emma says:

    Insightful post as always, Tara!

    I have nothing of value to add, other than to mention that my husband was checking out your photo as I was reading and commented that you “have a really cute look”, so I thought I’d just pass the compliment along.

  12. Tamisha says:

    My favorite part: “Who am I to earn money from something that comes so naturally?” I LOVE this. And this is exactly what we go through in our minds. Guilt. Uncomfortableness. Feeling bad for generating revenue from a God-given talent. What’s crazy is that there are other people who do this and never feel guilty. I think of music artists. I doubt they go into the studio and sit down for hours perfecting one line in a song and think, “this is so wrong!” Bestselling authors probably don’t sit down and think, “this is so wrong.” Why? Because it’s become a part of our society. It’s normal for us to think music artists should be millionaires. It’s natural for us to think bestselling authors are generating major income from book signings and sales.

    I love that “we” can be crazy enough to form other “natural” ways to make money! TOGETHER.

  13. Marie Noelle says:

    Great post! I totally agree! A little bit like the circle of life (you know… in Lion King… hehe) but it’s the circle of business!

  14. Great post! And so true. I love that line – you can’t DIY yourself to sustainability/ freedom. Really thought provoking. Thank you

  15. Jaydev Gajera says:

    love the post ! really inspired me…..

  16. Love the concepts here-Yes, I am proud of all the taxes I need to pay, and of all the things I buy either out of need or out of love- I am deeply grateful for being able to support others in their creative paths through money I have made doing what I love, and I feel I was made to do-Thank you for all the awesome work you do to keep us inspired and doing!

  17. Love the concepts here-Yes, I am proud of all the taxes I need to pay, and of all the things I buy either out of need or out of love- I am deeply grateful for being able to support others in their creative paths through money I have made doing what I love, and I feel I was made to do-Thank you for all the awesome work you do to keep us inspired and doing! XX

  18. This may be my favorite post yet! I love the concept of using profit to support others’ passions and the “generous and unending cycle.” Very inspiring post, it’s always good to pay it forward in business and in life!

  19. I like to think I wasn’t waiting for permission to make a profit, but I feel like I was just granted that. Thank you!
    And yes – DIT – love it!

  20. What a great post. Sometimes I feel that it is impossible to Do What You Love without some kind of pain or hard work. But it is true. What I do is so a part of me that it doesn’t feel like work. It is my passion. You are so right about giving back. It will always come right back to you. Thanks Tara!

  21. Laura George says:

    My mom always used to tell me how much she longed to have a lot of disposable income – not because of what she could buy, but because of the amazing things she can do for other people with that money. That has always made a huge impression on me. And now, I see people who earn a lot and focus less on how great it would be to have their clothes, house, car, etc. Rather, I think about how amazing it would be to be making enough that I could give in the ways they do, that I could reach out to those who need it, that I could support people in their quest to do what they love after finding that I can finally do what I love.

    Now I just have to get to the point where I can do what I love. In the meantime, I think it’s super-important to support those looking to do what they love in every way I can with what means I have.

    Thank you for reminding me of these lessons my mother taught me. Making money isn’t bad. It’s about what you do with your success.