It isn’t necessarily as easy as the kitty in the photo would have you believe, but it is possible to make a living doing work you love. It takes ingenuity and planning to make your dream career happen, though.
Start by asking yourself what you really want to do. The answer may not be as obvious as you first think. One client told me that he loved to surf, and his dream was to open a surf shop. At least until I asked him this: “Imagine that it is a beautiful day and the waves are cresting just right. A great day to surf. Where are you?” He paused for a moment and answered, “Uh, behind the counter at the surf shop.” Bingo!
Your dream career may not be one where you do the thing you love, but one that gives you the freedom to do the thing you love.
Instead of owning a surf shop, my client would be better off doing work that allowed him to live in a oceanside community, with the flexibility to take time off during prime surfing conditions. You may find that your dream job isn’t actually getting paid to do the thing you love, but having a career that allows you to do the thing you love. That brings us to the next issue.
It’s not just the work, it’s the environment. Where and how you work are at least as important as the type of work you do. Do you want to work from home? Live in a favorite place? Be able to travel and work from anywhere? Work with a friend or family member?
So once you know what you want to do and where you want to do it, you still have to answer one very important question:
How will you monetize what you want to do? Is there a market for the product or service you want to offer? How will you reach that market? Can you do so profitably?
To be profitable, a market must be:
- Identifiable (Who are they?)
- Reachable (Where are they?)
- Able to afford your product or service (Can they pay?)
It is not as simple as opening a store or an office, or setting up a web site, and watching the dollars roll in. You must fill a want or need, and you must be able to sell to the people who have that want or need. Even if you and your best friend think your idea is brilliant, if there are not people willing to pay you, you will not be successful.
Sounds like a lot of work to get going? It can be, but…
Often, a dream career presents itself almost by accident. When you are passionate about doing something, you may spend a lot of time practicing and getting better at it. Others will recognize your passion and skill, and will ask for your help. Providing that help can become a new career.
When you are able to make money doing work you love, it doesn’t feel like work.