Fun to Full Time: 5 Things to Consider Before Turning Your Passion Into Your Work

Turning your passion into your work can be an amazing feeling, when executed properly! While being your own boss can be thrilling, it can also be stressful, and can sometimes sour you on what you once loved. As a mentor to female business owners, nothing is tougher than talking with someone who was once passionate and is now disenchanted and floundering. Before deciding to go full throttle and turn what you love into what you do, take a deep breath, and take the time to do it right to ensure your experience is as stress free as possible so that your business has the best shot at success!

Do Your Homework

If you have no idea who your ideal clients are, aren’t sure what to charge, haven’t quite decided what your process will be, are completely clueless about marketing… you have a lot to learn before you declare yourself a business owner. So often, I talk to creatives who have a story like this: I wanted to do what I loved, so I started a business, but now I’m working my tail off, making no money, and I feel like I’m just taking shots in the dark and nothing I try is working. Talk about stressful! Running a business is a science, it takes strategic planning, and usually, it’s about 80% business and 20% of what you actually love!

Similarly, take the time to learn how to set up your business properly when it comes to the legal aspect. Talk with your local chamber of commerce and find out what your state requires of you. Speak with an accountant to be sure you’re handling your finances properly.

Find out how much your business will cost! Even if you work from home, your business will have some sort of overhead! Plus, your time is worth something. Figure out what it would cost you to operate your business on a month to month basis. Not sure what you’ll need on the business end? Talk to other business owners in your industry. You may be surprised how many people are happy to help!

Be Clear on Your Why

There are a few reasons people decide to start their own businesses, that aren’t necessarily the right reasons.

Running a business is HARD. It takes a giant commitment, and a lot of work. It is not an easy solution to thoughts like: my boss is a jerk, I want to make some quick extra side cash, the whole boss lady movement seems super fun, I have something to prove to someone….you get my drift!

Building a successful business has a lot to do with your story, so if your why isn’t properly aligned, it can be hard to sustain growth. Even worse, some business owners find themselves feeling like what once was their passion is now their chore, and what they once loved now provides little joy.

If you’re not passionate, it will likely shine through in your products, or your services, and in your customer service game. Dig deep and be sure your heart and your head are both all in!

Have a Plan, Plus Reserves

If you’re struggling to put peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the table as is, deciding to throw caution to the wind and becoming a business owner can be VERY stressful. Sometimes, the hardest conversations I have with potential clients are ones that revolve around them needing to stabilize their finances, so that they can comfortably go after their dreams.

It’s not always what people want to hear. But truth is, a business isn’t necessarily profitable overnight, especially if you’re not an expert when it comes to the business end. While being your own boss can be amazingly fulfilling, there also is something to be said for earning a steady paycheck.

When the stress of running a business is compounded with thoughts of oh my gosh I can’t pay my bills, and you’re constantly giving discounts left and right in a desperate attempt to attract new clients (hint- those won’t be the RIGHT clients!), life won’t be very joyful. Sometimes, following your passion means being patient. If your finances are strapped as is, consider beginning to build your business on the side until you’ve built a little traction up, and feel secure leaving your current position. Sure, that might mean late nights, early mornings, and working weekends to balance both gigs. But, the peace of mind you’ll have can far outweigh working 24/7 on your business, wondering how on earth you’re going to pay your bills!

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Check Your Pulse

Does the idea of starting your own business strike a balance between thrilling and terrifying? If not, you might have a rough road ahead of you.

In order to run a successful business, the ability to change, grow, and look at your business with an objective eye is key. If you’re not at all afraid, and you feel 100% I’ve SO got this, easy! you may be setting yourself up for failure.

Yes, it’s great to be confidant. But, being cocky, that can prohibit your ability to see the real picture. You need to be willing to adapt to changes in your industry, if you want the best shot at success!

A healthy dose of fear can be an amazing motivator, because it pushes you to keep going when you’re tired and encourages you to be on your toes, always ready to pivot if you need to, so that you’re not knocked off your game. A lot of drive, mixed with a touch of fear, can be powerful!

Find a Tribe

Sometimes, being a business owner can be lonely. When you work for yourself, the social aspect of an out of the home “day job” is often removed, and the stress is often magnified.

Unfortunately, you may find that venturing into business ownership results in a barrier of sorts between yourself and the people you love. It’s hard for people who are not business owners to understand the stress, struggle, and dedication that it takes to be in charge of your own show!

Before you decide to make the switch, consider if your friends and family will support you in the way you need. Is there anyone who will understand, and be willing to lend an ear when you need one, and give you feedback when necessary? If you don’t have anyone in your life who has owned a business, consider taking to the internet (or looking for some local networking groups!) to find a tribe of people who understand your journey. Having supportive people in your corner can be extremely helpful when things get tough!

Having little to no support can greatly effect your business, so when it comes to building a tribe of people who GET it, the more the merrier! Sometimes, the best way to learn about starting a business, is by talking to business owners about what they wish they knew before they took the plunge! Check out these resources for some tips from people who have been in your shoes:

17 Start-Up Founders Tell Us: What I Wish I Knew

15 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Blogging

Mark Cuban’s Top 10 Rules for Success

15 Important Tips for New Business Owners

Businesses are built by taking a leap of faith and diving in feet first, hoping for the best! When I started my first business (I was a portrait photographer) that was exactly what I did. I made up my mind, quit my day job, created a website that same day, and HUSTLED. I was a single mom, so success was my only option, and my need to provide for myself and my little girl fueled a fire inside me. It paid off. But, it was STRESSFUL! I was constantly having to go backwards, because the more successful I was, the more I realized I neglected to setup properly in the beginning. I was ill-prepared, and I would have saved myself a LOT of sleepless nights, tears, and calories (I stress-ate PB M&M’s like nobody’s business) had I taken the time to create a strategic plan before I started my journey!

Do you have a passion you’re considering turning into your work? I’d love to hear about it! Share your stories, your struggles, and your dreams, in the comments!

Author: Kimberly Haydn

Kim is a business and branding strategist determined to help female business owners run successful, profitable businesses that are not only stress-free, but fun. She is passionate about finding ways to work smarter, not harder, so she can spend more time with her growing family. Kim is a self-proclaimed organizational queen that couldn’t live without Lip Smackers chap stick, fresh flowers or dark chocolate. Her true obsession lies in branding; she is every business owner’s biggest cheerleader!

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  • Great post, Kim! Love this tip: “Speak with an accountant to be sure you’re handling your finances properly.”

    While an accountant may seem like a big expense, they can actually save you so much money! Most people don’t realize that once you become self-employed, you can write off a ton of things you might not have known. Things such as meals and entertainment, computers and cell phones, plus even a portion of your rent + utilities! Sometimes seeking the advice of a professional can be incredibly valuable, and save you a lot of headaches down the road (like that year I didn’t keep any of my receipts for things I could have written off… woops!)

    • Thanks, Mike! An accountant is SO huge! I don’t know what I would do without mine; I just filed my taxes a few weeks ago and he made something dreadful actually be a great experiance because he knew every single write-off, ones I would never know about on my own had I not invested in him. I wish more business owners made that investment early on!

  • I like your point about starting a business from your passion for the wrong reasons. I recently wrote to someone that reasons like “I wanna be my own boss, set my own schedule” can be accomplished in a traditional 9-5. Sure I set my own schedule but I usually keep regular hours and I’m not going on vacation left and right. Those reasons are really the icing on the cake and shouldn’t be the foundation of starting a business. Great post!

    • Thank you so much for sharing that, Aimee! Those are certainly awesome perks (just this week I took Monday off to spend the day downtown with my family- it’s nice to be free to set your own hours!), but I’ve seen a lot of people burn out when those are their only reasons for venturing out on their own! Vacation left and right does sound glorious ;)