6 Steps to Turn Your Passion Into a Career
Are you tired of showing up for work day after day just because you’re supposed to? You go not because you want to, but because you have to in order to put food on your table and keep a roof over your head. You’ve clearly lost that loving feeling for your job and now you don’t know what to do about it.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. A study from the Deloitte University Press reported that up to 87.7 percent of America’s workforce is not able to contribute to their full potential because they don’t have passion for their work. Furthermore, less than 12.3 percent of America’s workforce possesses the attributes of worker passion.
If you fall into these demographics, maybe it’s time to find out what you’re really passionate about and turn that into your life’s career. Here are six steps to help.
1. Discover your passion.
Your passion should be the thing you enjoy and for which you are naturally wired to excel. There is a huge difference between a hobby and a passion, and it is crucial that you differentiate between the two before quitting your day job. For instance, just because you enjoy painting does not necessarily mean you should make it your profession. You might be better at graphic design, which uses some of the same artistic talents as painting. Keep an open mind and explore all of your options.
2. Determine the demand.
After you have discovered your passion, determine the level of demand for your skills and choose a field. It’s risky to plunge into a career with a very low demand, or one with a large number of competitors even though you love it. However, the number of competitors should not be the deal breaker. If you are confident in your skills, it is very possible to establish yourself and compete quite comfortably, as long as you have a strong marketing strategy.
3. Do your research.
Conduct a detailed search on what it would take to launch your career in this field. You may need to acquire specific machinery or equipment, or earn a certification, degree, or special training. You may even need to hire employees or solicit funding. To save headaches later, find out all you can now.
Interview people who have or are in a similar business to the one you’re considering. Learn what they did to succeed and follow their path, especially if you choose to work in a niche market.
4. Make a plan.
Make a detailed plan of the steps you need to take to make your passion a realistic career opportunity. Include what you need to do and how much you need to spend before you launch into your new venture. If possible, always have a back-up plan in case Plan A doesn’t work out.
5. Become qualified.
To be taken seriously, you must first become a professional. Having a special skill may not be enough to deem you an expert, so acquire the training necessary to become marketable. Take a night, weekend or online class while you’re in your current job, or a sabbatical to attend an intensive training or internship. As the saying goes, “The more you learn, the more you will earn.”
6. Be flexible.
Your road is not always going to be smooth, so plan for hiccups and make adjustments along the way. Be open to advice and criticism; other people’s insights may open your eyes to something new. No one can succeed alone. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with talented individuals or to form an advisory board to help you make the right decisions.
Turning your passion into a career requires motivation. Be proactive and take a step every day that gets you nearer your goal. The fruits of your labor will eventually pay off and you’ll be well on your way to doing what you love.
Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).