What Everybody Ought to Know About Making a Living From Their Passion

What you ought to know about making a living from your passion

'If you don't build your own dream, someone else will hire you to help build theirs.'
- Tony Gaskins JR

This blog post is the second in a series of three. Much like the Star Wars saga, I wrote them in a confusing order. The last one was published first. Then came episode one. Finally, I conclude with today's offering. 

All of them explore the stranglehold The System has over our lives and how to escape. 

The means to escape is presented in the first of the three-part series - discover something you are passionate about and develop an understanding of how to be successful at making a living from it.  

Today, I give further advice on this subject. I'll also explain how to cope with the inevitable setbacks you'll encounter when launching a business, following your own path or changing the world.  

I'm working on the assumption that you have some notion of a job, project or idea you are passionate about and would like to make a living from (if you have no idea, read the first article for help). With this in mind, I'm going to share with you some 'must know' practical insights.

Let's begin.

The Training Phase

There are three things you'll need to develop to make a living from your passion.

1. A product or service
2. A skill
3. Contacts/Audience

All of these require one, all-important, resource - T.I.M.E 

How much of it exactly?

My calculation, based on the 10,000-hour rule, is that you will need to dedicate a minimum of 20 hours a week. Anything less, and it becomes difficult to build the momentum needed to make a dent in your project.

What are the implications of dedicating this amount of time to your passion?

First off, you must consider whether it's possible while working full-time. After all, a 40-hour working week is rarely 40 hours. Typically, you're expected to stay later than your contracted finish time, whether you're paid for this overtime or not.

Then there's your commute. Journeys of an hour each way are not uncommon. When it's all added up, that 40 hours a week can easily turn into 60.

Now, factor in the very likely possibility that you'll return from work drained, either wanting to switch off by watching TV, heading to the gym or socialising with friends, and it becomes difficult to find any time during your week to work on your passion. 

This leaves the weekend. However, if you have a family, girlfriend or boyfriend, or even just friends, it can be difficult to ignore them to work virtually non-stop on your passion.  

So, what's the solution?  

Freeing Up Time for Your Passion

You must consider, very seriously, whether you can continue to work full-time at your present job. However, this doesn't necessarily mean quitting.

Could you work part-time? This might mean working only 4 or 3 days a week, or asking your boss to reduce your working hours to 30.

Do you ever get the opportunity to work from home? If so, perhaps you could use this time more constructively and spend most of it working on your passion.

If neither of these options work, then, at a minimum, you must only work your contracted hours. Gone are the days of seeking to impress your boss or gain promotion. Come 5.30, or whatever time you're scheduled to finish, you're out the door.

Of course, this is easy for me to say. However, whenever you are faced with hostile looks from colleagues or the disapproval of your boss, then you must ask this perspective giving question, 'What's more important, my dream or my job?' and do the right thing!  

If none of the above suggestions are going to work, then you might need to consider the option of freelancing or consulting. Do you already possess skills that you could hire out for an hourly rate? Or, could you change working practices so that you work on a project, rather than permanent, basis?

If the answer is 'yes', then you could have found a more enjoyable method of freeing up 20 hours a week. With the greater rate per hour that freelancing and consultancy work commands, you may only have to work 20 hours a week to cover all your expenses. With this minimum achieved, you'll have plenty of time to commit to your passion.  

Whichever option, of the four outlined above, you chose, it's likely that by freeing up time to work on your passion, you will experience a short, to medium, term loss of income. The implications of this will now be explored. 

Managing The Initial Loss of Income

When I mention a short-term loss of income, I'm not implying that you will become destitute. In fact, the consequences of this reduction are purely psychological. They will affect your ability to consume and, perhaps, you may feel, your standing amongst your peers.

Will you be distressed if you have to make cut backs on your food budget, can no longer afford to eat out or buy takeaways on a regular basis?
How would you feel about downgrading your car?
Can you cope with only buying the clothes you need, instead of want, and cutting down on the amount of beauty products you purchase?

These are the losses that you are most likely to face. They may seem inconsequential when presented in this manner, but for many, the ability to purchase consumer items is important. How could it not be? We're raised in a society which conditions us to see the accumulation of goods as a route to happiness and a yardstick by which we measure our value.

Will you be able to see through this and understand that you are actually richer than your peers and friends who, although boasting larger bank balances (for the moment), lack the meaning and motivation you have now gained by working on your passion?

Determining the Value of 'Expert' Advice

When developing a product or service, mastering a skill and building contacts or an audience, there is a strong temptation to look at the high flyers in your field and think, 'What's the one thing that these guys and girls know or do, that if I also knew or did, would guarantee me the success they experience?'  

So-called experts make a great living out of this question. They set up websites, write books and sell courses, all promising the latest, ultra-quick method of bypassing all the hard work by explaining the 'industry secret' that no one else knows.

While I don't denigrate all their knowledge, there's something I want to make you aware of. There is no one single tactic or strategy you need to use, or path you need to follow, to be successful. Instead, you must learn on the move. Experiment. Find out what resonates with your audience. Be prepared to learn through trial and error.

This is the way to becoming a master in your field. Spending thousands of dollars on different courses and expensive mentoring can lead to information overload and the overlooking of one fundamental principle to success - energy is more important than tactics.

Part 2: How to Overcome Adversity

The adversity that a new business owner, adventurer or potential world changer faces typically presents itself in five forms.

1. Other people. This could be your parents, friends, colleagues, boss, careers advisor etc. telling you that what you want to do is not possible.

2. Lack of money. See discussion above.

3. Lack of contacts. Breaking into an industry is often about knowing influential people. As an unknown quantity, it can be hard to make these contacts.  

4. Lack of skills. This refers to the difficult learning curve of mastering a new profession. 

5. The experience of failure. Possibly the greatest adversity of them all. How will you cope when presented with the seemingly real evidence that you are not good enough to achieve the goal you have your heart set on?

When facing these adversities, you'll have to learn to see them as a means to growth. In fact, you'll have to embrace them.

Everyday day, you must look for two opportunities that masquerade as adversity.

1. The Comfort Zone. By doing the things, and putting yourself in the situations, that make you feel uncomfortable, you are forced to grow, adapt and learn new skills.

2. The Pain Barrier. By pushing beyond your perceived limits (whether they be physical, by running an extra mile, or mental, by working when you want to rest), your body and mind are exposed to a level of stress that makes them grow stronger.

These two practices are the ladder by which you climb from where you are now, to where you want to be. It may be a difficult climb, but what waits at the top will wash away the pain of the struggle to get there. 

Are you Interested in the 'How to Escape The System' Course?

As I mentioned earlier, today's blog post is part two of a three-part series. In the next couple of months, I'll package them together and create a course. This course will also contain action points and questions, that if completed, will provide a blueprint on how to escape The System. 

To sign up to this course (it's FREE) just click on the blue subscribe button directly below and enter your email.  

(image taken from BillSmith photostream flickr.com)

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