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Doing What You Love For A Living

Inspiration / Photography / August 26, 2010

I found this blog post on Moku Studios, a Creative Design team based in Hawaii.  I thought that this sums the entrepreneur angle quite nicely.

I love creating design for a living. I love the aloha lifestyle. I love working for myself. I love being able to surf when the waves are perfect. And once you’ve tasted that freedom, it’s hard to consider doing anything else no matter how difficult times may get. It can be done. With some risk and sacrifice you can do what you love for a living. Here are a few tips I’d like to share to get you on your way:

1. You Don’t Have To Be A Starving Artist
Most people don’t believe they can be paid well to do what they love. This is simply not true. Unfortunately, it’s a trap many creative people fall victim to. They’ve been raised to believe that all artists are starving, and the work they provide isn’t of any value. There are hordes of people that prey upon this, sometimes unknowingly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard phrases such as, œIt will look great in your portfolio. Be wary of these words. It implies that they are doing you a favor, and it’s an attempt to elicit cheap work. Phrases like these are traps for artists not confident in their abilities. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Have Confidence In Your Abilities
If you want to be successful doing what you love, take pride in your work and be confident that your time and abilities are worth money. You are providing a skilled service that comes with years of education, talent and hard work. When is the last time you heard of an architect designing a house for $50? Just because your work might not be tangible doesn’t mean it’s not real. In most cases it took a great deal of time and energy to produce. Not only will you be doing yourself a favor by charging fair rates, but you’ll be helping the entire industry.

3. It’s 1000 Times Harder Than Doing What You Hate
But potentially 1000 times more gratifying. Doing what you hate for a living is easy. Essentially your entire life is a strict schedule. As long you color within the lines, your bills will be paid every month. If losing your job is the worst case scenario, you’ll still get unemployment. It’s a relatively risk free lifestyle. That’s what’s so appealing, and so difficult to sacrifice. Doing what you love takes a degree of motivation, dedication and responsibility rarely found in a day job. Not to mention the risk of going broke. You have to set your own hours and be your own boss. It’s easy to fall in to negative routines when you don’t have the constant threat of being fired. Also, your work load will increase 10 fold, and 90% of it will be completely unrelated to doing what you love. But when something you’ve created does get exposure with your name on it; man it’s a great feeling.

4. Always Be Productive
I love to surf, but I can’t do it all the time (as much as people think I do). Work takes priority. And if I don’t have any client work, I always stay productive with personal projects, marketing, promotion, updating my website and much more. In fact, I usually work at least 12 hours a day and most weekends. Although I’ve been trying to cut back on the weekends. I’m lucky if 2 hours a day are actually billable work time. When I do surf, it’s a meditative state for me. The place I go to clear my mind, stay healthy and reflect on what I’ve done and what I need to do. Which I consider to be productive and just as valuable as working.

5. You’re Crazy
The second you decide to give up a successful career to pursue doing what you love, you will be labeled crazy. It’s unavoidable my friend. Your family and friends probably will not understand. And people will secretly want you to fail. There’s a quote from The Pursuit of Happyness, œIf people can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. So, be prepared for opposition. If you’re like me, the corporate lifestyle and monotonous daily grind seems crazy. Personally, I think waking up at 6 a.m. to sit in traffic for an hour to sit in a cubicle for 8 hours twiddling my thumbs to sit in traffic again for an hour every day is insane. It’s such a weird concept to me, but to each his own.
When doing anything on your own there’s a potential for great success and great failure. The trick is to keep your head above the water. Don’t become too disappointed and more importantly; don’t let your failures make you bitter. Because you will experience failures. Clients don’t want to work with bitter people. Be proud and happy doing what you love. If you’re good at it, work hard and stay inventive success is bound to catch up with you sooner or later.

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Natalie Minh

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