When Passion turns into workOver the last few weeks and months, there has been a lot of talk lately about pursuing your passion.  Some of my fellow bloggers have left their jobs or are thinking about leaving their jobs to pursue making money online and doing what they really enjoy.  I think this movement is awesome and I applaud them.  It is extremely difficult to take the leap from being employed to being self-employed.  There are only a handful of individuals that can handle being self-employed.  Most think about the dream of self-employment, but have no idea what it is all about.  That being said, I want to talk about one thing and then ask a question.

Pursuing Passion

As I indicated, there are only a handful of people that are built to succeed with self-employment.  You are fully responsible for your own actions and how much money you can make.  You make your hours (which tend to be many more than a regular job), you handle all of the work, and you find new clients.  The only thing that you have control over is everything!

I have pursued my passion and it was awesome.  I enjoyed building and growing my business by my own two hands.  I had all of the control, but I also absorbed all of the stress.  I ran my business for around 4 years and then I decided something.

When Passion Turns Into Work

One thing that I didn’t talk about in my post about shutting down my profitable business, is that my passion started to dwindle.  I was so excited in the beginning and for about 3 years.  In the fourth year, my passion started to fade.  My passion started to turn into a h0-hum job. It has just become work.  I was dreading turning on my computer, firing up my email, and jumping on live chat.  Everything I did was just to keep the business going.  I didn’t want to be there anymore.  I just lost my passion.

So, here is my question (or questions).  What happens when your passion turns into work?  What happens when the things you enjoy start to turn into just another job?  What would you do?  If you are self-employed, do you continue because that is how you make money?

This is something that I talked about on Michelle’s post about pursuing what she loves or what makes her money.  This is one of the hardest things to ask yourself.  Do you jump the employment ship and go out on your own?  The one thing that I asked was what she would do if her current passion just turned into another job.  I think it is a legitimate question and one that many should ask themselves before jumping into self-employment.

As I stated, I am all for people pursuing their passion.  I think it is important and one of the things that drives entrepreneurship.  If no one had passion, then there would be no small businesses.  Follow your passion, but make sure you know what to do if you stop having passion for it.

I want to know what you think about this.  What would you do if your passion started to turn into another job?

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  1. Even passion has its ups and downs. There are reasons why there are weekends. All work, all the time, leads to burn out. So take a break and reflect on what’s really important. You’ll find renewed energy and the passion to keep your dreams alive.

    1. In my opinion, it is a good thing to change your passion into another job. Every new thing comes from the related passion. Same as iAbrasive, it comes from the passion of a united work team.

  2. I honestly TRY to make my passions turn into income. I’m certainly passionate about a few causes that are totally “not for profit” and would never be “for profit” so I don’t worry about that, but blogging is a passion of mine that I have been able to turn into kind of a “side job” and I’m very happy about it.

  3. We have some friends that really loved photography. They loved it so much that they quit their jobs to do it full time. The problem now is that after about 5 years they never do it for fun anymore and they don’t have that passion anymore.

  4. Honestly, I’ve pursued several jobs because of passion. Passion ALWAYS fades away to some extent. Everything becomes a job at some point. However, I also think believe that you should try to find something that you love and then find a way to make money at it. Just realize that it will eventually become a job – perhaps not all of it, but certainly parts of it.

    1. Well put. I followed my passion (writing) to build a career, and I love it, but it’s still hard work and it’s not always fun.

  5. I would approach this in the same way I approached turning my passion into income in the first place. As the initial passion dwindles, you work to keep up your income while trying to find other avenues to pursue a new passion. That may only involve small tweaks to your current business, or it may involve branching out in a totally new direction, much like you did when you initially jumped into self-employment. I don’t think the fear of losing passion should stop you from pursuing it in the first place, though I do think it’s smart to understand that self-employment doesn’t necessarily mean roses and sunshine for the rest of your life.

  6. I think you’re right, passion is incredibly important and if you have the opportunity to make money from something that you are passionate about – you should go for it.

    However, passion is not as important as competence. Let’s face it, if you were a passenger on a plane taxiing down the runway and the captain announced over the intercom that you could have a choice of co-pilots: one competent, with twenty years of experience; the other, passionate about flying and just got his license, which one would you pick?

    OK, that’s an extreme example. The point I’m trying to make is that before you take the leap to self-employment first please check that you can actually make a living following your passion. Weigh up the pros and cons, test your business model etc.

  7. Great & insightful post Grayson! I think you’re on to something here, of course, largely because of your experience. I think this is something that if “you” are considering pursuing that you must be mindful of. If it just turns into another job then it can get dull and tedious awfully quickly. There will be ebbs and flows to be certain and I find that it’s key for us to keep our vision ahead of us and being real with ourselves. I have found over the last year that I have been more introspective and making sure we are doing what we should be. I think introspection is beneficial in most cases and have seen it more lately. I have found that it helps me be more real and looking for ways to keep it from just being a “job” but following our vision. Sorry for the rambling, Lol. 😉

  8. I agree that in most cases, passion fades away after time, and this should definitely be considered when making the move to self-employment, or even when you’re going after your “dream job.” It could turn out to be completely different than you expect, and you should have a back-up plan.

    If I ever ended up self-employed, I think it would be essential to try and keep work hours scheduled as best as possible, so that I wouldn’t be working all the time every day. That’s probably where most burn-out happens, since there tends to be a lack of work/life balance. If need be, I would step away occasionally and just take a moment to breathe. I think this is good in ANY job where you get too overwhelmed. It helps to have some perspective, and like John said, introspection is great too. You need to be honest with yourself – ask yourself if doing what you do really makes you happy.

    1. Having a balance is very important, but it can be very hard to achieve. When you control your own fate, then you just find yourself to keep working day in and day out.

  9. Great post! And thanks for the mention. I’m hoping that I won’t dread my self employment, but I don’t think I will. I am aiming to stay very diversified, and have meaning with my work also.

  10. People always talk about making money from your interests and how having knowledge or skills in a niche area can be profitable, but there’s definitely a risk that you’ll no longer find enjoyment in it when it becomes all about the money, some things are best left untouched. That being said if you really need the money, then you do what you have to do to earn it. I suppose that’s the part of life it’s tough to get away from.

  11. For me, I took a “passion” job right out of school – and within 3 years the passion was dead. I know there are various factors that led to this, and don’t want to sound too pessimistic, but there is the chance that this can happen to anyone, as pointed out in the comment above.

  12. I think passions are subject to change regardless if you are making money from them or not. So if you turn your passion into self employment but it is no longer fun, then hire someone else to run the business (if it’s profitable) so that you keep the income and have time to discover a new passion!!

  13. Yeah, it sometimes comes to that. That moment when you feel exhausted even though you love what you are doing. And when things start to get out of hand, you also start to lose control.

  14. In the last couple of years, I find that I am burning out occasionally . I work on reigniting my passion. Since I am dealing with human beings as students, a new class comes in every semester. During the semester, I can change things up with a new lesson or two. In the business world, it is up to you too.

    1. Sometimes in business you can only change to a certain extent. If it affects your earning potential then the change will be detrimental.

  15. Like others have already mentioned, passion will always fade, self-employment or not. I pursued my “dream” job after university and it didn’t work out after a few years. I am now in a job, that I like, but I’m not too passionate about and you know what? I’m ok with that. Sometimes in real life, we have jobs that are just ok but we make other aspects of our life fulfilling 🙂

    1. Solid points GMD. I do think that some feel that you should always be passionate about what you do, but I don’t think that is really possible.

  16. There is NO job out there so full of fun that there isn’t a lot of mundane or even unpleasant work involved. As a novelist, I had to deal with line edits, copy edits, aggravating editors, and proofs. I had to do promotion and advertising, because my publishing company sure as heck wasn’t. I had to write when I was stuck and when it wasn’t fun. And I had deadlines for everything. Yes, I enjoy(ed) it immensely, but there were tons of things that sucked, too.

  17. Great insight, Grayson. There are many bonuses to being self-employed, but it’s not all rainbows and lollipops either. I feel fortunate that my work is my passion, but some days it is also incredibly frustrating and draining. When this happens, I know I need to step away and get my perspective back so I can remember why I love what I do. I also think it’s natural for passions to evolve and anyone planning to make a living off their passion should have an exit plan in place too.

    1. Regaining perspective is extremely important. I lost my perspective when I was running my store and couldn’t get the passion back.

  18. One thing experienced entrepreneurs do before they start a project is figure out their exit plan. Having a plan to, say, sell your business off in 3-5 years helps shorten the horizon and keeps you motivated. If it seems like an endless treadmill, I think most people will lose interest.

  19. Great point, Grayson. Way to look at it from the other side. And I think there are a lot of good points here about work most always turning mundane sometimes, passion or not. I feel this way about being a stay at home mom, sometimes. I SO love it, it is definitely my passion, but sometimes, like Shannon said, I just have to step back and get some perspective, and remember why it is that I’m so passionate about it. Not losing your passion is sometimes all about choosing to look at things in a positive way.

  20. I’d ask myself if it potentially could be a sustainable career and like others mentioned the pros and cons. I certainly wouldn’t jump ship just for the money because money is important but should never be the sole reason for a huge decision like leaving a career although some people enjoy risk and go with the flow. I think as long as one is keeping their skill set up and realize that in x amount of years if things flop they will be out on the job market again that they better have the skills to get into a career they want to or they face heading back to school or picking up a job they don’t really care for but it pays the bills. Self-employment is not for me, but for others it’s their dream, and can be lucrative, but sustainable who knows. I always say good things come to an end unless you have something that the world needs. Great post.

    1. Perfect comment Mr.CBB. I totally agree with you. You should always keep your skills fresh just in case you need to get employed again.

  21. I currently work in a field that was my passion when I started doing my job. Then, after awhile it became work. But, now it slowly is becoming a passion again. I think that it’s possible to have ebbs and flows in how you feel about what you’re doing. But, if it creates personal dissatisfaction and unhappiness, then it’s time to reconsider what you’re doing.

  22. About 2 years ago, I quit my job and moved from DC to LA to be with my fiance. I was blogging full time, but really I was watching a lot of tv and I was still making some money by blogging.

    I got bored pretty quickly and ended up getting a job after about 2 months of self-employment. It wasn’t as glorious as I thought it might be, but if I had something that had more potential and it was something I had a personal stake in, maybe it wouldn’t have gotten boring? The problem with blogging for me was that I blog about my experiences, and when every day is the same and uneventful, it doesn’t give for many situations to write about.

  23. I feel this way when it comes to my blog. I love to blog and share my stories and even earn a little income from it but when it comes down to writing 5 to 6 articles a week because you have to and when something that was once fun becomes a job I often end up rethinking my plan and adjust accordingly.

  24. I definitely plan on keeping my full time job. It has so many benefits that I couldn’t imagine giving up to take my shot at self employment unless I was financially able to just retire and not work if i didn’t want to. I’m trying to build up blogging and other sources as a side hustle, but with the knowledge I can quit at anytime if they stopped being fun. Doesn’t make it worthwhile to spend all your time doing stuff you have no passion for.

  25. If you can make it happen, the Tim Ferris methodology makes sense to me. Create a “muse” or an income generating vehicle that requires as little work as possible. Then pursue your passions outside of work. If that were easy everyone would be doing it, but I do see what you mean about the danger of passion ebbing away from your work. When that happens for me in my full-time position I know it is time to look for a change. I have also been able to remain passionate with my online endeavors by constantly diversifying and not focusing too intently on one project.

    1. That is a great method. I work in a job that I really enjoy, but my passion is outside of work. It is not my career, but I love cars and working on them, so that is what I like to do. I keep my passions away from my job the best I can.

  26. Well I suppose that you’re always passionate about something else. If working on your passion becomes a job, who’s to say you can’t sell your business and move on to something new. I think people’s passions shift every few years and that’s ok. That might just be because I’m young, but I see myself as always changing priorities.

    1. You got it. The reason why I talk about it is because people should have an exit strategy to make sure they don’t get stuck.

  27. I believe that passions change as our life circumstances change and that’s OK. I’m really passionate now about taking care of our children. I wasn’t like that 15 years ago. If I didn’t believe in my work anymore I would move on. I couldn’t go through the motions of showing up at a job day after day that I didn’t care about.

    1. I agree with you Brian. You should follow your passions, but make sure you can survive when you follow them. I am glad that I had an exit strategy when I was running my business, but I didn’t really think about it when I started the business.

  28. I think that even if you’re doing something you’re super passionate about it will sometimes feel like work. It is important to make sure that you can make it through these times where it feels like work and realize that it is still a passion of yours. I’d like to think that I’d just jump ship if I ever lost my passion for my job, but I don’t know for sure.

    1. That is why I wrote this post. I had a great passion for my online business, but after 4 years, I completely lost it. I went back into regular employment and it was worth it for me. I am glad that I did and that was my exit strategy.

  29. I think my passions are more enduring than my joy of working (or not). Definitely agree that being passionate about your work helps along your career when the going gets tough. Thanks for the great article.

    1. That is good that your passions are enduring. It is always important to be passionate, but always have an exit plan.

  30. Excellent post and a valid concern. I’ve had a few moments where my passion has faltered. Usually, that means I really need to take a break. I forget that I am human and that most people don’t work 3-4 hours after they work an 8 hour day. So, when I get really run down, and my brain is fried and I can’t think of another PF topic to save my life, I just take a break. When I recently went home for a week, I came back so refreshed. Sure, I missed commenting on other sites, but I needed to step away for a little while. I know that my passion is writing. I’ve tried a few different careers, and I’ve always come back to that. I know I’m an introvert and can handle being in my house all day. I know that it won’t be easy. But, when I make the jump on Jan 1 to full time blogging/writing, I’ll go into it with two years of experience and full knowledge of my quirks and downfalls in certain areas. I’ll also have a much better schedule once I can lose the 9-5, which will help with the burnout.

    1. It seems you have a good plan Cat. If you keep coming back to it, then it is right for you. There will be times when you passion will fade, but as long as it comes back. Good luck!