Many of us are working at jobs that aren’t exactly horrible but they’re not quite our dream job, either. We might be harboring our own secret goal or ambition, but put it aside for the sake of a steady paycheck, benefits, and a sense of reasonable security.
But the more we ignore that persistent little tug that might be pointing us in a different direction, the stronger it gets. Eventually, you’ll have an important decision ahead of you—continue on the path you’re traveling, or at least consider pursuing that long-suppressed goal that’s never totally gone away.But really? There’s no reason why you can’t do both—at least initially. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start your own landscaping business. Or maybe you’ve been working in finance for a decade but always wanted to be a pastry chef. Or maybe you’ve always dabbled in art and want to turn it into a serious hobby and try selling some of your paintings. Go for it. You may not be ready (financially or otherwise) to jump right in and pursue your passion full-time, but there’s no reason why you can’t do it at all. It takes time to build up new pursuits, especially if you plan to launch a business. It takes time to build up a customer base, marketing efforts, and of course, profit.
Your true passion can bring a sense of peace and satisfaction that you may not be getting from your day job. Many of my fellow bloggers talk about finding a good work/life balance or making the most of your free time. Relaxing and unwinding are important, but it’s just as important to make time for the pastimes that truly bring you joy, whether it’s a serious hobby, side business, or taking steps toward a career change (i.e. going back to college or some other kind of re-training). If you’re bored in your job or generally feeling uninspired, think about why. It might be a good time to dust off those old ambitions and see if you still have the same passions that you once did. If you do, don’t wait—what do you have to lose?
Start slowly if you need to. Below are a few tips for including your true passions into your everyday routine:
Give yourself permission to pursue what you want to do.
One of the first things you need to do is to convince yourself that you deserve something just for you. It’s so easy to get caught up in all of the demands on our time—work, family, volunteering, friends, etc. But where do we fit in? When is it okay to just do what we want to do? When is the last time you made time for really working in your garden or baking those yummy cakes all of your friends raved about? You might be dismissing your pursuits as “silly” or a waste of time, but if it’s something that really makes you happy (and is potentially lucrative), what makes it a waste of time?
Once you’ve ‘fessed up to the fact that you’ve wanted to try clowning for years and you’d love to perform at kids’ birthday parties, your next challenge is doing something about it. What can you cut back on (or cut out of) your currently jam-packed schedule so you can spend more time improving your juggling and balloon-animal-making skills?
Do some research.
Find out what you need to make your venture a reality. Get online and dig in. Talk to the professionals. Get prices for anything you’ll need—supplies, equipment, office space, employees, etc. Find out how much time this type of venture will take to get off the ground. Will you need any kind of training or additional education? Do some serious homework before investing a substantial amount of time or money.
Take your pursuit seriously.
This ties in with giving yourself permission to do what you want to do. If you take your venture seriously, others will follow your lead and take it seriously, too. It will take some time for your friends and relatives to stop thinking of you as an accountant and consider you a web designer, but keep it out in front of them and they’ll come around. Of course, it might not go over so well if you ditch them completely so you can focus solely on your new venture, but again, finding an effective work/life balance is important.
Spread the word.
Marketing time! Even if you plan to keep working full-time as an accountant and have your web design business on the downlow, you still need to start getting your name out there so potential clients can find you. Get some business cards printed and start a website. You’re taking your painting hobby one step further and looking for commission work? Start entering art shows or contact galleries to ask about displaying your work.
Don’t forget to include your spouse in your decision-making process, especially if you plan to invest a considerable amount of money into your project. They need to know what to expect if you’re planning on shaking up your regular schedule.
What about you? Is your true passion a serious hobby or side business? How do you incorporate it into your everyday life?