We read this quote the other day ‘Follow your passion and success will follow’. Attributed to anthologist, Terri Guillemets, it is not the first we’ve have seen or heard this shared or uttered by various people to motivate their audiences. Whilst in theory it sounds good, is it a given that following your creative passion automatically leads to success?
The quote implies that passion is all that is required for success to happen, but we know all too well that following your passion can be ridiculously hard, and success at any point, let alone automatically occurring, is elusive. It is the messy, meandering bit of the journey to success that is missing in between that statement. Another version of that quote is from Apple founder Steve Jobs, who is quoted as saying, “People with passion can change the world for the better.” claiming that his passion for his work made all the difference.
We agree with Jobs’ sentiment, but being passionate about your work isn’t an automatic path to success. Having a passion for what you do is just the start. You can’t just get up to write a book, design a chair or weave a basket then expect to become an overnight success, without having put in the foundation work. And, the reality for designer-maker-artists is that it usually takes several years to become established, no matter how passionate you are about your craft.
The journey between taking the first step of following your passion to achieving success is often paved with frustration, uncertainty, obstacles, and setbacks, alongside the rewards and treasured wins. This is why defining your purpose, planning, having a strategy, and investing in resources is vital, in addition to working with people who can help you along the way, because success is rarely achieved in isolation.
When following your passion to forge the career of your dreams you would be wise to consider and answer the following 3 crucial questions:
1. Does your passion have the potential to form the basis of a sustainable business?
Not all passions suit to being turned into a business. You might choose to dabble in your passion for a few months or pursue it as a hobby. It is, therefore, important to make the time to explore your passion. You want to see if it is something you really want to turn into a business, keep as a hobby, or let it go. It is also essential that you research the market connected to your passion. You want to know if you can earn a living from it. Do this by looking in areas such as: is there a thriving industry; who would be your competitors; pricing at different levels; who are the typical customers, and so forth.
3. How much will it cost to transform your passion into a business?
Turning your passion into a career requires financial input, so get a handle on your finances before you start. Take into consideration what equipment and materials you require, administrative costs such as insurance, renting studio space, getting a website, the costs of craft fairs and so forth, as well as your monthly personal expenditure. How much do you need to live on? The amount you need to invest may be large or small, but you won’t know until you create a budget. That budget will be impacted by your findings from question 1.
3. What activities do you have to do to transform your passion into a business?
Following your passion by creating your work is one aspect of running a business. Administrative tasks will take up a significant portion of your time. In the early days at least, you will wear all the hats required to successfully manage and grow a business. These can be passion killers, because who wants to spend their time updating spreadsheets or planning a content marketing strategy when you could be making. These tasks, however, have got to be done. The question therefore is are you willing to do them, or outsource? If your answer is yes to the latter can you afford to do so, bringing you back to question 2.
Building a business is hard work, but we do believe from personal experience, that when you follow your creative passion there is an element of effortless, that softens the edges, keeping you motivated and making the journey bearable.
It is the messy middle that shapes us as creatives entrepreneurs. It makes us understand just how passionate we are about making what we do work no matter what is thrown at us. Passion gives you that drive, that ability to find solutions, to get up when you stumble. And, if you stick with following your creative passion as the fuel for your purpose and plan, it can eventually lead you to success.
If you are ready to have a go at following your creative passion by transforming it into a business, or have just started a business and want to strengthen it’s foundations we invite you to join The Well-Crafted Start-Up, our signature course that helps you answer the 3 questions and more by guiding you through the essential steps needed to get your craft business up and running, the proper way.
– The Wonderfully Well Made Team
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