I came across this term Passion Tax from Adam Grant’s post. While he has spoken in context of managers in an organisation, I thought of it as an entrepreneur. Intriguing as it is, the reality of it dawned like a flight of bricks being flung at me. I applied it directly to my entrepreneurial journey, where invariably I’ve been only incurring this Passion Tax rather than the actual revenues.
As much as I would like to blame my ‘Writers Streak’ for not being out there, and demanding what I deserve, I can’t ignore the fact that it has not worked in my favour. Being passionate about what I do, the people around me, the environment I want to be in, comes naturally to me. But never have I thought how much it takes away from me, and my inability to sustain it till it starts working in my favour.
The entrepreneurship world is steeped in this Passion Tax and no, this is not just my own experience I speak from. But having worked with business owners for close to a decade now, I can safely say a large number of us are being pulled down by this, especially in the small business segment. An architect might love designing spaces but if he has to wait for five years for a breakthrough project, then how do we account for all these years? Some businesses do have a smaller gestation period to see some semblance of success. But again, if the right pricing for your services or products is not being commanded, would you consider paying this Passion Tax till the time you reach that stage?
Passion Tax is nothing more than the extra time, energy and involvement that goes in creating something. The lack of appropriate monetary returns on it, is what makes it a complete package. The question remains how much of it are you ready to incur, to reach that stage where you start delivering impact.
Biggest example that comes to my mind — Elon Musk building Tesla — man that guy would have a completely new country created out of the Passion Tax he would have incurred in building Tesla. And look at how it’s taking over the world now, opening up opportunities not just for him but for actual countries and their businesses.
How far would you go to pursue the passion you know resides in you, and is itching to come out, show up, and live in the world so it can only multiply?