There are many ways to make a living as a pod jockey. Most of these professions are highly profitable, but where they offer haulerloads of ISK, they lack a fair deal of enjoyment, if not any at all.
I myself have chosen piracy to remain self-sufficient. There are people who claim that piracy alone can't keep your bank account above zero. Those people seem to overlook that there are different kinds of pirates.
Some pirates are really more like warriors, who crave combat and pretty explosions. They do not have to care about an engagement's outcome much, as they raise their funds not through piracy alone, thus being able to happily take on every promising fight they can get. They might score some nice loot every now and then, but I assume they would quickly end up broke without ISK flowing in from their other ventures.
I however do not have the mindset required for running errands for agents, shooting rats, playing the markets or scamming foolish folk. I certainly don't have the apparently supernatural tolerance against concentrated boredom that distinguishes miners from ordinary mortals. This means that I do not earn my money, I fight for it.
But fights are a messy business, as at least one participant tends to explode after each one. So in order to not end up as said explodee, I have to be very picky, paranoid and overcautious whenever I scan down a ship sitting in an asteroid field. The trick basically is to remain the hunter, ideally not becoming the prey while doing so.
The hunt is what keeps me going - roaming systems close to highsec and scanning down potential customers I could demand ransoms from or take their ships' hopefully expensive modules. Only when I have gathered enough intel on a ship that is sitting at a belt, I decide whether to approach or better move on. I am as satisfied after raking in loot or ransom money as after getting nothing but a still intact ship back home.
Hours of fruitless scanning and passing on combat opportunities don't feel like missing out to me. At the end of the day my funds are telling me that I calculated risks and followed the right tracks the way a skillful hunter would.