Imagine waking up every day excited to go to work. You leap out of bed, sing your way through a hasty shower, grab a cup of Joe and a bagel, and hit the ground running. Those people who love their work that much are in an enviable position. To them, work is a joy, so much that sometimes it doesn’t even feel like work. In those rare cases, it’s not really work. It’s a passion.
If you think you could never find yourself in this position, think again. Thousands of people have taken what they love to do – or what they naturally excel at doing – and turned it into their career. Whether your passion is baking, sewing, snapping photos, fixing things, antiquing, acting, or making music, opportunities abound for you to make a living doing what you love. You just have to go about it the right way.
Here are a few tips for turning your passion into a career:
1. Find Your Calling – If you truly have a passion, this step should be relatively easy. The tough part is determining whether you are truly good enough at that particular endeavor to make a go of it. Take music, for example. If you love playing the piano, but even your closest friends never ask you to play at their parties, weddings, etc., it may be time to reevaluate just how accomplished a pianist you really are. This is where you need to consult a professional. Call your local music store and schedule a time to meet with their best piano teacher. Play your best piece for them and ask for their honest assessment. The same approach holds true for most any passion. Just figure out where your interests lie and then consult a local expert.
2. Don’t Quit Your Day Job – Unless you are in a position to live without much of an income for an undetermined amount of time, you’re probably better off starting your passion-based venture on the side. In some instances, your new career may remain a “moonlighting” type activity for quite some time. Granted, working one job while trying to get a small business off the ground can be exhausting. You must be prepared to dedicate evenings, weekends, and holidays to building your new venture. If you are married, be considerate of your spouse and ask them to share their feelings about your plan.
3. Take a Professional Approach – Whatever your passion, it’s important that you present yourself as a professional from the very beginning. Order business cards, establish a web presence, and market yourself aggressively. Network with friends and colleagues who may be in a position to help you build your business. If cupcakes are your passion and you have a friend who manages a conference center, see if he would be willing to serve your decadent treats at their next event. If you love taking artistic photos and your friend runs a small restaurant, ask if she would hang some of your best matted and framed shots around her establishment – with a sign advertising your photography business, of course.
4. Be Realistic – Your hobby may be the great passion of your life, but you must be realistic about the likelihood it will provide enough income to support you or make you a star. That’s not to suggest you should leave your dreams behind, just that you temper your expectations. Lots of people love to act, but there’s only one Angelina Jolie, for example. Likewise, cooking is a huge interest for many, yet few ever reach the heights of a Julia Child, Bobby Flay, or Rachael Ray. Set realistic expectations and then do your very best every day. You never know what fate has in store for you.