Like many 20-something college grads, I moved to New York City two years ago ready and eager to start my first real-life job and launch my career. From the outside looking in, I seemed to have it all: a fantastic job straight out of college at a world-renowned publication in the best city in the world. My friends and family kept telling me how lucky I was. But the truth was, as grateful as I was, I didn’t feel like I had it all. In fact, I felt like something was fundamentally missing from my life. I felt trapped, unmotivated and completely disenchanted. For about a year, I convinced myself that this was just a phase—just an adjustment from college life to the “real world.”
About a year into my job, I decided to start my own network marketing business with a holistic beauty and wellness company called Arbonne as a way to make some extra income alongside my full-time (poorly paid) job. My Arbonne business sparked a passion for entrepreneurship within me that I never before knew existed. I honestly never considered myself an entrepreneur until I experienced the true fulfillment that comes from owning your own business. I loved creating my own success. I loved having my own clients. I loved scheduling my work around my life and not the other way around.
Unfortunately, this entrepreneurship-fueled passion further emphasized how unhappy I was in my corporate job. I wanted more than anything to quit my job and focus all of my energy on my entrepreneurial dreams: starting my own blog, turned website, turned book, turned business. Sound familiar?
My extremely logical boyfriend graciously reminded me that my dreams would not turn into my reality overnight. There were many valuable skills and much experience to be learned in the corporate world before completely jumping ship. I didn’t quit my job, but I did change it by leaving the global business publication for a world-renowned fashion and beauty media company. I realized that having an “all-or-nothing” mentality is kind of dangerous. So many new entrepreneurs’ businesses fail, mainly due to inexperience, and I had the opportunity to learn valuable business skills and expand my professional network in my corporate job. It would be naïve to throw that all away. So I have become a professional, part-time passion-pursuer; I’m growing my blog and my personal brand outside of my day job. While I’m careful to separate the two, I’m definitely learning so much in my job that I know I will eventually be able to apply to my own business—when the time is right.
I won’t lie and say that it’s a perfect balance. It absolutely takes a ton of focus and determination to make it work, but by sticking to the following keys to true success, I know that you too can pursue your passion on the side and become your absolute best self, the one that the world needs you to be.
Decide to be your best self and create your best life. No matter what. Are you excited to go to work every day? Do you love what you do? Does it keep you up at night and make you jump out of bed in the morning? If you answered no to any of the above questions, decide to never settle for anything less than your heart desires. Give yourself permission to dream and get crystal clear on what your true purpose is.
Create and Grow Your Personal Brand
If, like me, you’ve discovered that your true self and true purpose lie not in the corporate world but as an entrepreneur, focus first on growing your personal brand before leaving and starting your own business. First, determine who you are, what your passion is, and what makes you unique. What do you have to give to the world that no one else can? Next, promote your personal brand through social media and blogging. Tap into and cultivate a community of like-minded individuals that you can learn from and grow with.
See the Silver Lining
Think of your full-time job not as a waste of time, but as a collaboration between your personal brand and the company you work for. As long as you’re financially dependent on your day job, you need to find a way to get as much out of it as you can. Make sure you’re interested in what you do, that you like the people you work with, and that you’re continuing to learn and grow, gaining new skills and experience that you can later apply to your own business venture. If you hate your job, change it! As trapped as you may feel, know that you are ultimately in control of your life. You have the choice to find another job that is more aligned with your interests and passions.
The number one excuse to not pursue your passions alongside your full-time job is, “I don’t have enough time!” Sorry for the unpleasant wake-up call, but you do. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Decide how you spend each hour wisely. When you’re not at your job, are you watching a TV show? Or are you working on your blog?
You don’t have to always sacrifice fun and friends to pursue your passion project, but you may have to sometimes. Be diligent about scheduling your passion project time and sticking with it. For example, commit two hours Sunday through Thursday toward your passion project. You’ll be surprised how much time you have once you make your passion your number one priority.
Be a Proud Work in Progress
This tip comes from one of my role models, Adelaide Lancaster, co-founder of In Good Company. I’m a recovering perfectionist so I know how hard it is to strive for progress instead of perfection, but this is critical to pursuing your passion part time. Once you accept that you and your passion project are a beautiful work in progress, you will be able to fully enjoy working on your project each day and eliminate the poisonous feeling of “not enough.” Set attainable monthly, weekly, and daily goals for yourself and reward yourself. Maybe it’s a piece of chocolate (my personal favorite), a relaxing massage, or a night out with your girlfriends. Make the little things you love rewards for your progress. You so deserve it!
Decide to Never, Ever Give Up
We all experience the highs and lows of pursuing our passions. It’s not always easy, but when you keep your eye on the bigger picture—creating a life you love full of passion, love, beauty, and true success—and commit yourself to being consistently consistent, you won’t be able to help but turn your passion project into your life.
Do you have a side passion project? Tell us about it!
Watch Kim Keating’s office hours to learn about how she followed her passion in her career!
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