How Turning Your Passion Into Profit Leads to Better Mental Health

Posted on: July 29th, 2019 by Pat Mesiti No Comments

For a couple of years I’ve been encouraging people to be courageous and turn what they love into a money-making venture. I say if you are a passionate writer, mentor or even jewellery creator, why not explore becoming an online content creator, a life coach or even online jewellery dealer? Do it, turn your passion into profit. Let’s be real, the economy is changing. Full-time jobs are disappearing and more and more people are becoming self-employed and making a living doing what they can, when they want to.

Previous studies have shown that people who have unstable incomes usually have worse mental health than people with permanent jobs, but a recent study on mental health and self-employed workers came back with a result that surprised everyone. The Paris School of Economics recently looked at the ‘gig economy’ or people who are self-employed in their own enterprises and guess what? These people have much higher levels of happiness and life-satisfaction than people in nine to five jobs. I am talking about people who have been creative in how they earn a living. The study looked at people who earnt money from Uber, Airbnb and delivering fast-food, but these are not necessarily their only jobs. They might have an online writing business and be letting out a room on Airbnb. They might be life mentors and do some shifts as an Uber driver. They might buy and sell antiques online and deliver fast food. They have created an income-stream and lifestyle that may be unconventional but it is also deeply satisfying – according to this new research. In fact, gig workers are 33 per cent happier than conventional workers – and be aware that psychologists usually regard a 5 per cent shift in the happiness measurement as huge. This is a 33 per cent increase in happiness!

Paris research finds ‘gig’ workers happier than others

The Paris Economics paper is called ‘The Effects of Self and Temporary Employment on Mental Health’: The Role of the Gig Economy’ and was led by French economics professor, Bénédicte Apouey. He studied self-employed gig economy workers in the UK. Gig work in Britain is expanding rapidly. Deliveroo, which delivers fast food, is the fastest growing tech firm in the UK. Uber posted a record profit increase while Airbnb has expanded four fold in four years.

Prof Apouey concluded that self-employed workers reported improved ability to concentrate and self-confidence, both important to mental health. These workers also reported a big boost to self-worth and happiness. The increase in happiness was found in both men and women but it was stronger in women and for older workers (ages 40-64 years). The evidence points to issues of control in the job as potential drivers of the improvements in mental health. This is what the paper said:

“Our evidence suggests that the effects are driven by happiness and control in the job. Our results are consistent with findings from a recent report (BEIS, 2018a) which highlights that more than half of those working in the gig economy are satisfied with their experience, due to the independence and flexibility aspects of their work and also consistent with research looking specifically at Uber drivers (Berge et al 2018). …  However, to the extent that changes in the labour market are towards offering more flexible forms of self and temporary employment, our results suggest that these jobs may also have positive effects on worker wellbeing. Exploring the exact mechanism driving these results, or on other organisational factors that may affect job satisfaction, is a topic for future research.”

Happy gig workers are their own boss

In a nutshell the researchers found that self-employed ‘gig’ workers are happier because they are their own bosses – they are independent, have control over their jobs and set their own working hours. The increase in self-confidence and concentration fits with benefits from not having to stick to the rules of traditional paid work, such as working schedules set by a boss or having long commutes to the office. I also strongly suspect that a lot of Uber, Airbnb, Deliveroo drivers also have creative outlets or creative businesses, and being creative is closely linked to happiness and life satisfaction.

In previous blogs we have looked at why people quit their jobs. Let’s look again at that. The Forbes business website identified the top five reasons for leaving your job:

1. People get tired of trying to reason with their boss.

They finally realise that it makes no sense to keep pushing a rock uphill trying to get their boss or their boss’s boss to see their point of view. If they propose ideas that they believe will help their business and the business leaders don’t listen, eventually great employees will give up pushing and go work somewhere else.

They finally realise that it makes no sense to keep pushing a rock uphill trying to get their boss or their boss’s boss to see their point of view. If they propose ideas that they believe will help their business and the business leaders don’t listen, eventually great employees will give up pushing and go work somewhere else.

2. They get tired of being overlooked and ignored.

It’s easy to take a top performer for granted. Your leaders may start to think, “If Nora leaves, there are plenty of other people on the market who are just as good as she is.” Great employees don’t need to stick around waiting for somebody to give them the pay, promotions or other good things they deserve. They have choices. They can find another job in a heartbeat – and if you don’t take care of them, they will.

3. They don’t have faith in their leaders.

Executives too often forget that while they are busy evaluating their team members, their team members are evaluating them too. If a great employee doesn’t have faith that their leaders know what they're doing, they'll go to work for somebody they have more confidence in.

4. They are exhausted and burnt out.

5. They get fed up with workplace politics.

6. They have big ideas they want to put into practice.

Their organization is too conservative and slow-moving to allow them to execute their plans.

7. They are underpaid.

Workers are underpaid relative to the market – or underpaid relative to what they could earn somewhere else.

8. They want to move up faster.

Their company’s structure, culture and policies won’t allow them to move up as fast as they can.

9. They want to change career paths.

There is no way to change careers in the organisation.

10. They want to work for themselves.

The most common reason people quit work is because their boss is not a good boss. People also get frustrated because their good ideas and creativity go unappreciated. If you are an entrepreneur (you turn your passion into profit), you no longer have a boss to answer to. You can earn millions or just scrape by depending on the success of your business. You set your own hours. You can be as creative or as conventional as you like. You are free! Is it any wonder that gig workers are 33 per cent happier than other

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ABOUT PAT MESITI

Pat Mesiti is a best-selling author, coach and educator in the area of personal development. Having built some of Australia’s largest people-driven organisations, Pat understands the power of harnessing human potential. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s great business minds and has sold over millions of copies of his books and materials.

 

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