“Follow your heart. Chase your dreams.” We hear this all the time, especially during university commencement speeches delivered by luminaries like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and former US President Barack Obama.
For those who thought about quitting your day job, or for fresh graduates, here is what you should do before you take the plunge to turn your passion into your profession.
#1 Ask Yourself: Is Your Passion Just A Hobby?
If you enjoy drawing and have a particular talent for it, you might be encouraged by your friends and loved ones to make it your full-time career. You imagine yourself spending your days in a Starbucks, creating masterpieces while sipping on a double shot mocha latte.
However, any time you make a hobby into a profession, know that you would have to accept and deal with the other things that come with the job.
Once you accept a commission, you need to produce work, whether you are in the mood or not. You will no longer be at liberty to create work that pleases you, but instead need to cater to the requirements of your clients. You have the stress of having to keep up with the latest trends and evolving tastes of customers, otherwise you’ll be quickly overtaken by the next batch of art school students. You need to network and answer calls from prospective clients. You need to do bookkeeping and file taxes. The list goes on.
Work is not play. So while you might enjoy an activity for the fun, you need to do some serious soul-searching and ask yourself: will you still love it when it is what you do for a living?
#2 Identify Your Goals And Needs
There are no ‘wrong’ hobbies to pursue, because as long as it is something you enjoy, that’s all that matters. But before making a hobby into a profession, you need to critically assess your needs and career goals.
For instance, if you have a student loan to service, a mortgage to pay for, or a family to feed, then one of the criteria of your job needs to be a level of financial stability. If you are a mother who needs to knock off on time to pick your child up from school, then proximity and regular working hours is important.
Read Also: Leaving your desk bound job to set up a cafe
#3 Do Your Research
After determining that you want to make your passion your profession (Step 1) and this move is in line with your life and career goals (Step 2), the next step is to research into the viability of making this move at this time.
Assess if you have the requisite skills and qualifications, or whether you would require some time to build up your capabilities before making it your full-time career.
If you are planning to make a business out of your passion, you need to study the market to determine if there is a demand for your service or product, and whether you have the contacts and networks to ensure your passion can succeed as a business.
For instance, if you’re looking at opening a cafe, you have to start by understanding your target market, such as whether it would be office workers, students or friends looking for a quiet conversation. You need to find an ideal location and a concept for the cafe that makes sense for your target group. These include your menu, décor and ambience.
#4 Adopt The Proper Mindset
Going into a new field is exciting but it can daunting at the same time.
You need to expect and have a plan for hiccups and make adjustments along the way. Embrace any setbacks as stepping stones that can help you learn and grow.
Stay humble and remain open to receive advice and criticism from your loved ones, customers and others in the industry.
Seek out inspiration. And as those commencement addresses mentioned at the start of this article: “Follow your heart. Chase your dreams.”
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