I’m a freelance writer and owner of a small content creation business. While it feels good to declare myself as both, advancing into a position where I received payment for my contributions hasn’t been an easy journey. Everywhere I go, I see articles and e-books and vlogs advertising how to successfully seek your passion. The idea is certainly inspiring, but what exactly is the first step?
Many of us live with the entitled mentality that opportunities are simply expected to present themselves to us. We may describe ourselves as “go-getters”, but at the end of the day, we are still sitting in the same position as we began: hoping for a lead but unsure how to find it. We spend hours upon hours Googling “how to find your passion” when in reality, even the most advanced search engine isn’t going to bring us any closer. The World Wide Web is not Buddha – plain and simple. In order to figure out what fuels you, you’re going to have to put in a little work.
Dig Yourself Out of Drudgery
Like so many of the other 40 million echo boomers, I attended college with the belief that a higher education would open hundreds of doors of professional opportunities and my biggest challenge would be selecting one from the masses. Unfortunately, my graduation fell in line with a failing economy and the only door I found myself opening was the one to my mother’s house, where I resorted back to living after college. I was fortunate enough to land a writing position for a local newspaper in my hometown, but the opportunity to advance was painfully slim and after only a couple of months, it was evident that I was very much off the path to achieving my dream of writing creatively for the digital world.
Recognizing that your current career lacks fulfillment is the first step. You’re unlikely to land your dream job right out of school, but as financial expert Suze Orman states in The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke, “If all you can think about on your way to work every day is how close it is getting to Friday, you clearly aren’t loving the job.“ You may be optimistic in the sense that your current position is at the very least paying the bills, but how do you expect to figure out what it is that ignites your passion if you’re pouring all of your time and energy into a lackluster job?
Here is the fun part. Entrepreneurship is on the rise. A 2010 study conducted by the software company Intuit predicted that more than 60 million individuals in the workforce will be freelancers by 2020. This professional forecast is exciting and intimidating, because with each new freelance position created comes an added dose of competition. How are we to stand out in a room if we’re up against hundreds of thousands of others equally as qualified? The answer is simple. Create your niche. Grab a pen and paper and begin jotting down what it is that excites you and gives you energy. What do you look forward to doing in your time off? What topics of discussion are you most engaged in? From there, create a web and begin combining your ideas, hobbies, and topics of interest until you come across even the most obscure connection. What you come up with isn’t necessarily going to be your niche, but if it has you thinking, then it’s a start. Every successful business began as an idea on a scratch pad of paper. The key to figuring out your professional motives, passions, and goals is to pinpoint what sets you apart and act on it.
Success Is What You Make It
It wasn’t until I had made an invigorating move across the country that I realized the dream of self-employed wasn’t such a lofty goal. I built connections and established relationships with individuals who were succeeding in the industry I desperately desired to be in. I conducted an endless amount of research, invested a tiny bit of money into registering my own limited liability company, and began the shameless climb of marketing my skill set.
I’m not afraid to admit I’m only a few steps off the ground, but the important aspect is that I chose to ascend in the first place. Figure out what ignites you and make your first step today.