Turn Your Passion Into A Living

By Silicon Valley Blogger on 20 April 2010 (Updated 18 April 2011) 15 comments
Photo: BeholdingEye

We all want to have a job that we love — something that would get us excited about getting up and going to work in the morning…right? Who doesn’t want that? But this is often far from the reality we actually do experience.

So what does it really take to make this happen?

Finding your dream job or life's work may not be as hard as we all make it out to be if we decide to take action towards this goal. By coming up with a strategy for making it happen, you may just surprise yourself with the ideal job (or business). Here are a few simple tips on how you can get started on the road to a more fulfilling work life.

1. Find out what it is you love to do.

You know yourself the best. A few questions you may want to ask yourself: What are your skills and interests? What is your passion? What do you like to spend time doing? The first step may be the trickiest to get through, but this exercise should set the tone for you. Brainstorm about what it is that you would love to do. If you already know what that is, then fantastic! If not, then write every idea down that you come up with and explore those ideas fully. Get creative. Make long lists and remember that no answer is wrong. Explore every avenue of interest that you have and consider what it is that could get you excited and motivated every day. For instance, if you enjoy writing, perhaps you'd like to try to make money blogging or to work on self publishing a book. If you enjoy developing software, then there are many platforms through which you can seek creative growth: how about developing iPhone or Facebook applications?

2. Start small, try things out and take action!

Next, get to it. Start small and test the waters (so to speak) by doing side gigs, by freelancing or by teaching lessons in something that you’re good at. Advertise your services on Craigslist or other job forums. Find ways to fit these efforts into your schedule and make time for them. If you need money to fund your venture, budget for this by building a "venture fund" in a free savings account that addresses a specific savings goal. If you need to finance your ideas and happen to have good credit, you can opt to apply for a loan at a peer to peer lender (this Lending Club review covers one such lender). But without taking action, your dream job remains just that...a part of your dreams and ongoing hopes. This seems obvious and intuitive, but many people never realize their goals because of inaction. You have to make time to make change. By taking these steps, you can validate and turn this career into a reality for yourself.

3. Find ways to support your new career.

As you start establishing yourself in your area of work, find other ways to support your passion. Teach lessons in your chosen field and grow your knowledge in this area. See if you can become an expert in this field. Join networking groups that could use or refer your services. Continue to research and learn what you can about your profession or career on a regular basis, as it's important to keep abreast with the latest developments in your field.

4. Continue to promote yourself professionally.

Join related professional groups that are financially feasible and realistic. Promoting yourself online has never been easier than it is now. On the web, you have many free avenues that allow you to keep marketing yourself (e.g. Craigslist is free; blogs are usually free to create; there are free classifieds in online local publications; you can advertise in your local paper, etc.).

5. Gain an online presence.

You may be interested in creating an online presence or joining specific online interest groups or forums to help you enhance your learning and grow your professional network. Build a website that becomes your calling card (e.g. put your website on your physical business card as well) and put samples of your work on your web site. Make sure that you supply sufficient contact information so that your customer base can easily get in touch with you.

And finally, share your aspirations with the people you know — who knows, someone in your own circle may turn out to be someone who could help you with your endeavors. Word of mouth is and has always been the best way to build a business or career, and if you’re not capitalizing on this, you could be losing out. Make sure your family, friends, associates, etc. know about your business or employment position. When you love what you do, it will be obvious, and you’ll see that people will notice.

Have fun getting there! It can be a very fun journey.

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Guest's picture

That's what I am doing now.  Working on things that I am passionate about, and at the end of May, I am saying bon voyage to my 9-5 job to pursue my dreams

Guest's picture

Great article.  I'm currently doing what I love - working on a website, writing, blogging, using my brain and being creative!  The internet has so much potential for people who want to do their own thing.  But it's not easy.  I'd say Tip #1 is super important: if you're passionate and committed, then it's easier to go through the ups and downs to make your dreams work.  You sort of have to unite what you DO and who you ARE when you're living out your passions.

Guest's picture

Great article!  The Start Small and Try is some of the best advice.  I find I have 4-5 things going on at any one time, just to learn, trying, and discover the next big thing.

Guest's picture
Michael

We started our website two years ago - a website about cool independently owned places to stay.  and we've invested hundreds of hours into building it and now helping it grow.  We do it because we love to travel and finding out about original places to stay.  Maybe we'll make some money one day, but we certainly cannot quit our day jobs yet.  Nor do we want to, really - we both work in education and love what we do with the other part of our lives.  In some ways, starting our modest internet business has added another dimension to our careers, but it hasn't completely become our career.  It seems like it's all about patience and hardwork, and sticking to what we love without trying to make a quick buck. 

Check us out at http://www.darngooddigs.com - Darn Good Digs! 

Guest's picture
Jedrzej

I am currently of turning my passion into a living and I gotta say, it feels great!

And while it's definitely a lot of fun, it's also hard work. Determination and perseverance is key.

Guest's picture

Love it... great write up.  I push this mindset on as many people as I can because I think everyone should have the opportunity to love what they do.

The problem most can't/don't, as I see it, is because their debt hinders their ability to leave their current positions.  To this I say, GET OUT OF DEBT, then go find and work in  your passions.  :)

Guest's picture
Guest

I'm going to play devil's advocate. I think that this ubiquitous advice is potentially very harmful. If work was supposed to be fun, they would call it vacation and you would pay them to go there.

Guest's picture

Danger! Danger! There usually comes a point where you have to begin to associate your passion with deadlines, angry customers, the need to make a living, the need to be passionate full time and then doing that for years. This can easily turn the passion into the exact opposite. The "I love my work" statement and it's cousin (If you don't love your work find some work you love) seems predominately to be made by those who have only worked in the field of their passion for a couple of years. Being passionate for 15 years or more is pretty rare, so you gotta have an exit plan. In particular, once you're no longer passionate about your passion, what's your passion going to be; obviously it'll be hard to leave your career at that point. So good advice in the short term, but it has some undesirable long term consequences.

I'd say, find some work which you're not necessarily passionate about but which you do well and which does not require you to be passionate about it to work with it. In other words, if passion is a required ingredient for success, don't do it.

Guest's picture
LindaLee

I soooooooooooooooo agree with this post!

Guest's picture
Erwin

Living your passion is a daily pursuit. As you evolve,it will evolve and you will be pushed to expand yourself. There are no easy answers but it such a worthy pursuit. Start by making ONE move and the road will reveal itself. By the way, it will be dark at first. Keep walking anyway.

Guest's picture
Clayton

I think everyone should give this a shot.  It's a lot easier for me to find things that I don't like by trying new things all the time.  I have a blast and I know I might not like it, so I don't put lots of money into it to start with, enough to give me the chance to figure out if it's something I like, or if it sparks a new interest in that same field.  The best advice I can give is kinda like the Nike slogan.  Just do it.  Just get out there and give it a shot. 

Guest's picture
Steve

I am already doing this and having the time of my life! More people should really follow their dreams and not be afraid of taking the risk.

Guest's picture
Heidi

We need apprenticeships again! Instead of going to college for 4 years for a vague "bachelor of arts" degree, each of us should test out real-life applications of careers. I used to work at Safeway, and I don't know how many cashiers were still paying off their psychology or English degree.

Guest's picture
Jennifer

Persistence is key, but honestly it is harder than what you can sum up in a blog post. That's what I'm trying to do but it is definitely an uphill battle!

Also, I don't think your JOB has to be your passion. You can do your job and be passionate in other areas of your life. I'm doing my blog because I'm passionate about frugal living and what I've accomplished, but I'm not quitting my day job (actually a night job). I'm also passionate about traveling and about my family!

Guest's picture

Great suggestions. I will definitely start on step 1, creating a list of my skills and passions, as soon as possible. I have lots of passions though, so I hope I come up with a nice, narrowed down list.

I've also been reading a book lately called "How to Stop Self-Sabotage", it as pretty good advice too on the steps that I need to take in order to reach my goals in life.

Wish me luck! :)