They say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. When I graduated from my Masters program in 2015, I knew three things: 1) The office life isn’t for me 2) I really, really love to write online and create content 3) I don’t really love having a boss, or the thought of having only 2 to 3 weeks vacation a year. It was pretty clear that I needed to do my own thing. I needed to turn my passion into a career.
My Story on becoming an entrepreneur
I’ve had a knack for entrepreneurship since I was young. My aunt and uncle have always owned their own business and I’ve always admired them and their lifestyle. What I didn’t know is what I would do. I had a million ideas growing up: Opening up a dance studio, owning a spa, starting a tea shop, and having a clothing boutique, to name a few.
I always loved to write, but the thing is, blogging wasn’t a job when I was younger. We didn’t even really use the internet until I was in high school and I mostly used it to chat with my friends on MSN (Oh, the old days).
From the time I was in high school, I always thought of going into fashion, but I wondered if fashion was something I really wanted to make into a career or if it was just a passion of mine. I wondered this same thing all throughout my years in University and finally decided to enrol in a Fashion Communication Masters program downtown Toronto.
Through this program I got the opportunity to intern at three major online fashion publications and it was at these placements that I realized my love for online writing in the creative sphere. I also realize that what I didn’t love so much was going into an office every morning.
I started doing some research and found that people were making livable income writing for different publications on the web. And even better? I also soon realized that bloggers (and not just the famous bloggers with millions of followers on Instagram) were monetizing their blogs in a BIG way.
Fast forward three years and I know make a full time income writing online for lifestyle publications, as well as through my blog and Instagram account. I get to work from home and cafes around the city, write and create content, and travel any time I please.
It hasn’t always been easy, but I wouldn’t change my path for anything else. If you’re wondering how to do what you love, here are my 7 best tips for turning your passion into a career.
1. Decide what you want
Not everyone wants to turn their passion into a career. You can love to knit but not want to create a six-figure Etsy shop to sell your pieces. You can love photography, but not want to make a living taking photos of other people’s weddings for the rest of your life. Or maybe like me, you have a passion for style but you’re not exactly sure what aspects you can use in your career.
Some people like to keep their hobbies/passions and careers separate. It allows them to not stress about making an income from something they really enjoy doing. And that’s totally fair.
However, it’s totally possible to turn anything you love (within reason) into a viable career. You just have to decide you want it. Once I decided I wanted to turn blogging into my career, I started learning everything I could about making money writing for other blogs, as well as turning my blog into a business.
If you want to read more about my freelance writing journey and how to make it in this industry, check out my post on 7 tips for new freelance writers!
2. Treat Your Passion Like a Business
Freelance writing has been my main source of income for the past few years, but my main goal is to turn my blog into my full-time career one day! And I’m finally taking big strides to do it.
But for a long time I treated my blog as a passion/hobby and wasn’t thinking of it as a business. I would post whenever I wanted to (and inconsistently, at that), I didn’t really know how to grow my page views and I wasn’t using the right strategies to turn it from my passion into my career.
It’s hard to create a career out of something you’re not treating like a career.
If you want to turn your passion into a career, you have to do the following (and I’m probably even leaving some stuff out):
- Create a business plan
- Devote a dedicated amount of time to your passion every day
- Invest in branding and marketing
- Get your name out there (attend networking events, grow your social media platforms, etc.)
- Funding your business expenses (these will depend on your business but may include email marketing software, photo editing tools, graphics, product materials, and so on.)
- Hire an account
- Find a graphic or web designer
- Outsource tasks you’re not strong at or don’t have time for
These are all things you need to start thinking about as your passion transforms into a career!
3. Put in the work
If you want to create a career out of your passion, you have to work hard. Really hard. You’ll probably work more in your first few years as an entrepreneur than you’ve ever worked before. You’re going to have to put in a lot of hours, especially if you’re still working another job in the beginning.
People say it won’t feel like work if you’re passionate about it. But truth be told, it will. If you’ve already worked a 9 hour day, coming home to bake or write or knit will still feel like work, even if you enjoy it. It’s going to be tough, you’re going to want to pull your hair out sometimes, and you’re going to want to quit at points.
But if you’re committed to making it happen, quitting isn’t an option. I wholeheartedly believe that the reason some people succeed and others fail is that the people who succeeded didn’t quit when times got tough. They failed 8 times, and got up 9. They learned from their mistakes instead of throwing in the towel. They tried other strategies when the first ones they tried didn’t work for them.
That’s really the only difference between the ones who succeed and the ones who fail. Keep that in mind!
Related Post: 9 Creative Side Hustles to Boost Your Income
4. Embrace Failure
I’ve been reading the book “You Are a Bad Ass” by Jen Sicero this month and the latest chapter is all about accepting failure on your way to success. Here are some quotes that I wanted to share with you guys:
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill
“The only failure is quitting. Everything else is gathering information”- Jen Sicero, I believe.
I love these quotes so much. Never forget that failure is a key stepping stone to success. So many people are afraid to fail, but what they don’t realize is that failure is absolutely necessary to reaching your goals. Trying and failing and trying again is what it’s going to take you to the next level.
If I gave up after I got one no from a prospective freelance writing client, or when my blog page views didn’t hit my goal one month, I would have been stuck in an office job years ago.
You’re going to hear a lot of no’s; things aren’t going to go as planned; it’s probably going to take longer for you to get off the ground than you thought. You’re going to get a lot of excuses, so it’s up to you whether you choose to indulge them.
As Jen says “everything else is gathering information”. I love this way of thinking of failure. Once you figure out everything that doesn’t work, you’re that much closer to figure out the way it does work.
I’ve heard many entrepreneurs say that the most enjoyable part of their business journey is when they were learning how to make it work.
Embrace failure, it’s a necessary part of success.
5. Be Financially Smart
It can take time to start making money from your passion. Don’t quit your job with no savings funds if you’re not sure if you’re going to make money yet. Everyone’s situation is different, but a good rule of thumb is to have at least 6 months of expenses in your savings account before making the jump to a full time entrepreneur.
If you’ve been side hustling your passion and are already making six figures a year, you can be pretty sure you’re going to be okay. But if you’ve been struggling to make sales and can’t yet cover your monthly expenses with your passion biz, then make sure you have a good chunk of savings.
6. Invest in Online Courses and Education
Online courses, ebooks and workshops on your passion and business are so helpful. It’s really important to continually be learning and educating yourself. If there are offline opportunities in your area, that’s an option too! Especially if your passion is something more hands-on like photography, in-person workshops are key!
Online or offline, continued education is key. It will ensure you keep learning and are always updated on the changes going on in business and your industry.
7. Believe in Yourself
As I mentioned above, times are going to get tough. You HAVE to believe in yourself and where you’re going. You need to be able to visualize where you want to go with your dream career and believe with all your heart that you’re going to get there, no matter how long it takes. Here are a few things you can do:
- Create a vision board
- Take time every day to et in the zone and feel what it will be like once you’ve turned your passion into your career
- Act like you already have the life and career you want
- Create a 1-year, 5-year and 10-year plan for your business
- Write out exactly where you want yourself and your business to be in 5 years and read it every morning and night (get specific! Include things like where you’ll live and what your home will look like, how much income you’ll be bringing in, what your day-to-day looks like, where you’ll be vacationing, etc.
It’s never too late to start doing what you really love. Turning your passion into a career can be a long (and frustrating) road, but it’s also one of the most incredible journeys you’ll ever go on. Use the tips in this post to get started and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!
And if you’re interested in starting a blog and turning it into a business, check out my step-by-step guide on how to start a successful blog from the ground up!
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Very helpful and informative! I’ve been thinking about getting into freelancing, so I’m going to check out the other article that you linked 🙂 thanks!!
That’s awesome Tiffany! I hope you find the freelancing post helpful! Xoxo
Love all of the tips! Especially the last one!!! Believe in yourself can get you so far!
Thanks Tray! And it’s so true, we’re the ones who believe in ourselves most so we always need to keep pushing forward!