While most of us would love a career we are passionate about, too many employees are stuck in jobs they don't even like, let alone love. Finding a way to do what you love for a living benefits both you and your employer, but how do you turn your dream into a reality? Here are 10 ways to turn your passion into a career.
Steve Zeitchik, founder and CEO of Focal Point Strategies, said that to do something you love, you have to first spend time thinking deeply about things that bring you enjoyment.
"Take a step back and figure out what it is that you enjoy doing,” including as many specifics and details as possible, Zeitchik said. "Don’t categorize it into a specific career or industry."
Only after you come up with the list of things that bring you joy should you think about the careers that each might fit.
Make time to make it happen
Once you’ve determined which of your passions you want to shape into a career, Deirdre Maloney, business consultant and president of Momentum, said, it is critical to take the steps necessary to turn that idea into a reality.
"Once we pinpoint ideas, we need to do something decidedly not passionate: schedule time in our calendars to come up with our plan to get there," Maloney told BusinessNewsDaily. "The plan must be written down, even if it’s broken out into tiny, baby steps."
Figure out how to profit from your passion
Executive coach Melanie Connallee said that to turn something you love into a business, you of course have to determine how to make money from it.
"Spend some time brainstorming," said Connallee, president of the MLC Group. "Look at it from several avenues – from your perspective, from the buyer’s perspective, the end user’s perspective and the audience perspective."
She said, for example, people who love art could fund their passions in several ways, including by teaching art, working in a gallery or doing portraits.
Talk to others who have done it
As someone who loves what they do for a living, Alan Kong, founder of Big-Hearted Furniture, said you should find other entrepreneurs already working in your area of interest.
"If you start to spend time and really talk to the market, ones who may have the same passions as yourself, then you will start to uncover hidden pains that will help you figure out how to launch a business model," Kong said.
Surround yourself with supportive people
Sara DiVello knows firsthand what it takes to make the switch to a true passion, having left her corporate public relations job to become a yoga teacher four years ago.
She believes the key is surrounding yourself with supportive people.
"Because your colleagues may feel just as trapped and scared, a dynamic can evolve where they can actually contribute to holding you back," DiVello said. "Some coworkers were overtly discouraging, telling me I'd be back, that I'd miss it."
Divello said the support of friends can make people feel less alone — and much braver.
Making a career change can be a scary prospect, but Jim McKeeth, chief developer-evangelist for RemObjects Software, said you can't be scared to take the plunge.
"Too many people I talk to are afraid to try doing what they love, because they are afraid they are no good or will make a mistake or that they're not ready yet," McKeeth said. "Experiment in your quest for greatness, and when you make a mistake, just keep going."
Don't wait around
Chryssa Zizos, founder and president of Live Wire Media Relations, said she believes that the longer people wait to make a career switch to something they love, the less likely they are to ever do it.
"If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, then you should act quickly," Zizos said. "Open the business you have been dreaming of, because as you get older, you are less likely to take risks."
Before jumping in with both feet, however, Ben Seidel, president of Igniting Business, says those interested in switching their careers to something they love should take some classes or get some professional instruction on the industry. That way, they can make sure the career that truly suits them.
"Invest in some coursework or professional training in that area in order to gauge your talent and endurance," Seidel said.
Don't try to do it all on your own
While many may think doing something they love requires that they start their own business, Joe Weinlick, vice president of marketing of career network for Beyond.com, said this doesn't have to be the case.
“An easier path is to find a company that does something related to your hobby, and try to get a job there," Weinlick said
For instance, Weinlick said a friend of his loves dogs and that her dream was to start a non-profit that cares for canines.
"She found a job working at an Internet site that provides pet advice and sells pet meds, which is a great fit," he said
Yeosh Bendayan, owner of Push Button Productions, said people pursuing a passion must ready themselves for the early struggles that will inevitably occur.
"Be patient," Bendayan said. "It took us nearly two years between the start of business and being able to comfortably afford our salaries, so we could quit our day jobs."