There is risk in pursuing a passion, but if you spend your entire lifetime never living your dream, you will be discontent in your job, and may end your career wondering “what if?"
Before making the big decision to chart your own route, set yourself up for success and complete the following steps:
1. Be Certain
The word “passion" is derived from the Latin verb patī, meaning to suffer. Ask yourself are you willing to suffer for your passion? Passion is also described as "an intense emotion, compelling enthusiasm, or desire for anything." Your passion is an intense desire, to the point that you cannot NOT do it. It means being willing to suffer (however temporarily, financially, physically) for what drives you. If you can say yes you are willing to suffer for it, and you have an intense drive to do it, read on.
2. Save Up
If you're going to take significant time off, have enough living expenses in savings for however long it will take to build your clientele. Don't live on credit. Also consider going part-time, or working hourly to gain a little income while pursuing your passion.
3. Build a Support Network
Breaking away from the traditional work force and culture can be very emotional and personal, and you will need the support and encouragement from your inner circle. Having a supportive spouse can stabilize you not only financially, but emotionally as well. If you are unmarried, seek support in your partner, parents, or friends. You will need it on the hard days that will inevitably come.
4. Think About How to Explain Your Venture on Your Resume
Be prepared to explain your sabbatical from "real work" for those who enquire, whether they be friends, previous co-workers or future employers. Work on your pitch and be able to confidentally point to the experience you've gained or the accomplishments you've made in your chosen field. Demonstrate your self-motivation and entrepreneurial spirit.
5. Make a Business Plan and Write Out Your Goals
Writing out your goals helps visualize them, and gives you benchmarks to reach. Having a timeline, however tentative, can keep you on track with your professional goals. If you're not where you need to be by a certain time, you can push harder or re-evaluate.
6. Have Healthy Habits and Routines
Since you no longer have sick days or vacation, your health should be a high priority. Exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep. Be an adult. It is so easy to slack off and waste your entire day, but you are in charge of your own destiny. Stay accountable to yourself and someone else. You must already possess good time-management skills, and now is even more critical to schedule your day on business hours. If the home becomes too much of a distraction, create a home office space solely for work. If you lack the space, consider going to a cafe with Wi-Fi, or the local library.
7. Utilize your Social Media Networks
Since you no longer have a professional network of co-workers, you must tap into your former business partners without crossing confidentiality agreements. Utilizing social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will help brand and market your business. Consider hiring a graphic designer to help you create a logo and brand your business. Be willing to think outside the box and attend networking functions.
8. Have no Regrets
Once you decide to break away from the cultural norm, don't look back and wonder if you should have stayed put. No regrets, no retreat. You are brave enough to pursue your passion because you can't afford NOT to.