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It is a firm belief of mine that a vast majority of us would rather pursue our passions compared to working the day-to-day grind. Ideally, we would love to get paid to do our passion to the point where we don’t need to worry about money. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and only a small (yet growing) percentage of the population have been fortunate enough to live out their passion.
But today, I want to speak to those that have found their passion and want to pursue it. Is it possible to follow your dreams and be successful? Is there a right way or a wrong way to go about following your passion? Should you go all-in and quit your job to live out your dreams? I want to answer those questions.
Everyone has their own set of day-to-day challenges so I wouldn’t take this article super seriously. File this article under ‘food for thought’ and let’s dive in!
Assess The Risk of Going “All-in” On Your Passion
I moved to Nevada in 2009 to become a full-time comedian. I was completely consumed with stand-up comedy growing up and throughout college. There was nothing that was going to stop me when I made the decision. But before I made the decision I wrote down the ‘risks’ of going down this path.
- I won’t get paid for comedy in awhile
- I had several thousand saved up
- Alternatively, I could lean on my poker skills to make some side money
- If I ran out of money, I could always end up moving back home and try again down the road (although not ideal)
- I had at least a year+ to get some momentum going or I would consider quitting and then find work or move back home.
Turns out, I was pretty terrible at stand-up comedy. On top of that, I pivoted after 2 months because I enjoyed playing poker much more. I never got a job during this phase because I wanted to try the “all-in” approach.
Looking back, even though I want “all-in”, I simply didn’t take my comedy path seriously enough. My 24-year-old version of “all-in” is much different than my 32-year-old version.
It makes sense to take more risks when you are young, but as you get older the amount of ‘risks” you take tend to get bigger as you start gaining assets, worry about loved ones, have a family, etc.
How Bad Do You Want It?
I’m a perpetual failure but I’ll be the first one to say that I’d rather fail 100 times MY WAY compared to working a job for 40+ years only to make enough money ‘retire’. Is it financially responsible? Not at all. But I am absolutely terrified at growing old enough to where I can’t enjoy my day-to-day life. This is just my personal belief.
As for you, you have your own goals, morals, ideals, and passions. You need to ask yourself what truly matters to you and if it’s in-line with your end goals.
If you feel like you want to try being an artist, start drawing/painting in your spare time as a hobby. If you start becoming obsessed, look towards meetups & groups to hone your skills and save some money to invest. If art becomes your life, then it’s time to consider taking the dive into pursuing it full-time.
Should You Quit Your Job To Pursue Your Passion?
I’m a very “all or nothing” type of guy. While that’s great in following through at my job or hobbies, it can be limiting at times.
That said, I don’t think you should quit your job to pursue your passion full time unless you have a plan to sustain yourself. If there is one thing you take away from this article it’s this, you cannot be 100% in your passion if you are compelled to react to money.
I’ll use a practical example: We are in 2018, one of the top ‘careers’ that most teens/young adults would like to do is become a Twitch Streamer or a Youtuber (FYI – This is part of my ‘full-time content creator passion as well).
Here’s the thing, in order to become successful you need:
- Understanding your niche
- Talent, amazing talent
- Good marketing prowess
- 4+ hours a day commitment (realistically, 8+)
- At least $2K for video/lighting/streaming/PC setup
- Be really good at what you do and hope it resonates
Imagine quitting your job and giving yourself 6 months to be a “star”? Unless you live with your parents and have no expenses, you’ll soon realize that by month 3 your funds are running low.
You start stressing about how you will make money. You begin doubting yourself on if you’ll be a success. It starts showing in the work you produce. A once ‘passionate’ version of you is now becoming a ‘jaded’ version. No one wants that. Don’t put yourself in that position.
What’s the “Right Way” to Pursue Your Passion?
I don’t know (I bet you didn’t expect that). The only thing I can tell you is that you need to hedge your bets. Take this blog, for example, I’m spending at least 50+ hours each week on top of my consulting.
I make enough on my consulting to sustain my current living situation without dipping into my emergency funds. My ultimate goal is to replace my consulting money with blogging/content income and dive into podcasting + video.
This is a hedge. Instead of giving myself 3-6 months of blogging and then kicking myself if I were to fail, I can be proactive instead of reactive with my blog.
I get to write what I want to talk about instead of trying to spam 500 affiliate links in every article.
I’m doing what I can to keep my financial situation afloat while following my passion. For me, that is the bare minimum requirement. Find out the bare minimum amount of money you need to keep afloat.
For some of you, it might be $1,000/month to sustain. If you don’t want to work for others, you can also side hustle your way for $1,000/month. If you want to go down that route, take a look at a couple articles I wrote about making some extra money on the side.
Build A Cushion Before Following Your Passion 100%
This tip is more for the people that can’t take as many risks. I absolutely hated working for other people when I got my first ‘big boy’ job after quitting poker back in 2011.
I was making $8.25 back then and I had one goal in mind: build myself up to where I make enough money to eventually stop working for others and to do my own thing.
If you look at my debt story you’ll see that even though it took me several years, I was patient and waited until I saved up enough money to follow my passion. I’m 32 now, still young but much more grounded in my expectations.
As what Gary Vaynerchuk would say, “save up enough money before you go on the offensive”.
I want to be clear, you can always start your passion out as a hobby. It’s when you want to transition into making it a full-time deal is when you need to make sure you have the right systems in place.