How to Make a Living from Your Passion

My goal —

More people to become self-employed, in order to allow more individuals to do great things. Best way to move humanity forward?

Why make a living from your passion?

My thought:

The necessary prerequisite or step towards greatness: You must become self-employed.

As long as you are employed by someone else, you will never gain 100% freedom. And freedom is the goal (not money).

You can earn 10 million dollars a year, but if you cannot take a nap when you want, you are not free (Nassim Taleb’s rule)

Make a living, not a killing

There is a difference between making a living from your passion and making a killing.

The goal [for now] is to make a living from your passion.

1. Extreme resourcefulness

MODERN PHOTOGRAPHER: Marketing, Branding, Entrepreneurship Principles For Success

First step: reduce your expenses to the extreme minimum. I think all great entrepreneurs have (at least once) embraced a poverty-lifestyle. Steve Jobs going to India. Elon Musk feeding himself on $2 a day [hot dogs and spaghetti], sharing a computer with his brother, living in a sleeping bag in their office, and taking showers at the local YMCA.

2. Charge money

Charge money for your services. Either sell products or sell services.

The easiest way to build a following is to provide great things of value for free. For example great free ebooks, presets, knowledge, or tools.

My personal rule of thumb is this:

Either give something away for free [marketing] or charge A LOT OF MONEY for it [profit].

3. Freedom over money

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I would rather be hyper-poor (and free) than hyper-rich (and a slave).

The simple tips:

  1. Reduce your rent to an absolute minimum (move in back with your parents and pay a small rent, share a room with a roommate, or move to a city with a low cost of living like Hanoi/Saigon/Mexico City)
  2. Reduce your food costs to an extreme minimum. Feed yourself on eggs, cheap cuts of meat, water, and coffee. See if you can feed yourself a day on just $2 a day. For example in LA I can buy a dozen eggs for $1 (24 eggs for only $2!). Or you can go to an ethnic market and buy a pound of pork or organ meats for less than $1.50 a pound!)
  3. Don’t own a car (or if you need a car, buy a super cheap used car). Buy a cheap car on The best car is no car.
  4. If you need entertainment, read free ebooks (.epub) on Project Gutenberg (or My favorites is to read philosophers (Nietzsche, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, etc).

4. Marketing

Hosting your own blog means that you can be indexed by Google. Thus, people can discover you (randomly) on Google.

It seems the most effective way to market yourself is via the Internet. What has worked for me is blogging intensely about a certain topic (street photography), and climbing the ranks of google to become #1 in my topic. To be intensely curious about your topic, and to share your knowledge with others, while building yourself as an authority on the topic.

To me, marketing is nothing but trust-building. You build trust via showing your authenticity, via building substantive things, and for the most part, just by being yourself.

What I recommend the most is marketing by blogging and building an email newsletter (use an email marketing tool like to build your email newsletter). This will give you direct access and connection with your followers. I don’t recommend building up a strong following on social media, or else you lose control and power.

5. Never stop

The last tip is to never stop. I think life and growth is about being relentless, never giving up, never losing your hunger, and never stopping to hustle. Hustling, working hard, and perseverance is what makes the great entrepreneur.

I also encourage you to aim for longevity. This means: “Slow and steady wins the race.”

6. Build your savings

Save Money!

I like the idea of staying frugal, in order to maximize your freedom. And instead of being suckered into buying things with your money, perhaps you can use your money as a tool to build and create your own things.

Don’t just buy stuff, figure out how you can use your money to build the things you desire!

Also the benefit of saving your money is this:

You can continue to build a greater moat around you, to maintain and preserve your freedom.

Once you have the ability to make a living from your passion, I don’t think the goal is to just continue making more money for the sake of it. Once you can make a (frugal) living from your passion, you can truly devote 100% of your time, attention, and focus on working on things you give a deep damn about! To never do anything ever again that you don’t want to do! Isn’t this true freedom?