Pursue Your Passion…with a Safety Net

Pursue Your Passion…with a Safety Net

I work with a lot of clients who express a desire for “something more” in their careers. As we delve deeper, I find that they have a passion that isn’t being addressed in their current job.

Think of it as an “itch that isn’t getting scratched.”

These individuals typically fall into two categories: either their itch is to be an entrepreneur, or to pursue the non-profit sector.

Let’s take that a step further: the entrepreneur wanna-be’s are either passionate about their passion, or they are passionate about being an entrepreneur. The former group have an area of expertise that can best be served by being an entrepreneur (such as business coaching or resume writing). The latter group lead with their desire to be an entrepreneur, and seek the best-fit opportunity for that desire.

As for the non-profit sector, many people have a cause they are passionate about, such as abused women or the arts. Others don’t have a particular cause in mind, but believe their skills will translate into the non-profit sector in a way that would allow them to be more altruistic.

Here, then, are five ways to pursue your passion while keeping your safety net (AKA “Don’t Quit Your Day Job”):

  1. Volunteer.

Particularly for the non-profit sector, volunteering can be a great way to get your altruistic itch scratched. It can also be a great tool for determining if this is something you would eventually like to do full-time…and can open up the necessary doors for that to happen.

  1. Side Hustle.

Many true entrepreneurs are what I call “serial entrepreneurs” – their lives have been a series of entrepreneurial ventures, often dating back to childhood.

What might this look like as a grown up? Multi-level marketing (think Amway or Mary Kay), evenings and weekends spent pursuing your entrepreneurial passion, using vacation time to do consulting work.

  1. Help a Friend.

If you think you want to be self-employed and you want to step inside this world, ask a friend who is an entrepreneur if you can help in his or her business, either on a paid or volunteer basis.

Especially with the volunteer option, I promise you the answer will be “YES!!!”

This gives you an insider’s vantage point to self-employment without any risk on your part.

  1. Reduced Schedule.

I realize this is not an option for everyone, but it is for some of you. I don’t recommend this right off the bat, but if you are building your own business and finding it difficult to keep all the balls in the air, consider the option of discussing a reduced work schedule with your full-time employer.

This will work particularly well for those of you who are in high-demand fields, because your employer will likely prefer to keep a part of you rather than lose you entirely.

You, meantime, have the opportunity to pursue your entrepreneurial venture more fully.

If it’s the non-profit world you are considering, a reduced work schedule will allow you to volunteer on a more regular basis, or perhaps work for a non-profit on a part-time basis.

  1. Create a Fund.

If you know what you want to do and are fully committed to moving forward, begin setting aside your safety net fund today.

You can’t expect to fully replace your full-time salary on day one of your own business, and you may be taking a pay cut to move into the non-profit sector. At minimum, you’ll have some startup/transition costs.

Talk to a trusted financial or business adviser to determine how much you should have in the bank before you move forward with your plans.

Then DO IT!

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