Have you ever dreamed about what you could achieve by focusing on doing what you love? This is my personal story about how I learned to turn my passion into a business.
I’ve had many crazy ideas throughout my life, but I never thought I would find passion in becoming an entrepreneur.
Our lives are almost always shaped by the status quo of our inner circles. We grow up thinking that our next step will be similar to the steps our friends are taking or determined by what our parents tell us to do.
Maybe you’re that person who went to college and thought you had it all figured out
At least, that’s who I was. At first I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I remember looking at all my options and trying to discover what my passion was. I had no idea.
Studying biomedical engineering was intriguing because I’d get to contribute to the world of medicine and technology. I considered musical engineering because I thought I had a hidden passion for music and creativity. I was also curious about cinematography, commercials, and creating artistic content to inspire the world.
My father studied engineering, and my mother studied fashion design. This is probably why my brain functions in a structured way, but at the same time, I trust my gut and lean into my emotions.
In the end, I decided to study marketing because it felt like the right balance between numbers and creativity.
In college, I was motivated by what the outcome of my life could be. I loved listening to my college professors’ success stories about all the things they learned at large corporations. I wanted to be like them someday.
When the last day of school came, I realized adulthood was just around the corner.
Maybe you get that dream job — but then realize it’s not making you happy
During college, I participated in projects to build houses in Mexico and took several green marketing and social responsibility classes. I had small insights into working in the human part of marketing, but I wasn’t sure how that would bring me a steady income because you can’t really live off helping others. Or at least that’s what I thought.
After several internships, I started to look for a full-time job. I felt that I had to choose between making money or working at non-profits.
At the time, one of my best friends was working for my dream company. I loved their marketing campaigns because they inspired people to live happily and share their happiness with others. I sent her my resume, and I managed to get a job offer.
I was so excited. This is where my life starts, I thought to myself. I was eager to start learning and scaling the corporate ladder.
I got promoted after one year, and then switched to a different mass-consumption company because I was offered more money. These companies taught me a lot—I owe most of my business and marketing experience to them—but something didn’t feel right.
As time passed, I realized that working for a mass-consumption company wasn’t making me happy. It contradicted my inner passion for sustainability and helping others.
I was building a career working for companies that sold products made out of plastic and metal that polluted the world. I was implementing marketing strategies to encourage consumers to spend more money on repeat purchases to increase the business’s revenue and planning financial strategies to increase consumer prices. I was thinking strictly about profit over people, despite the unifying global marketing messages of these companies.
Not all businesses put profit over people. I felt that what I was doing from my computer didn’t align with my values. I didn’t want to be a part of the mass-consumption culture anymore. Most importantly, I wasn’t happy.
So how can you turn your passion into money?
Our lives can take many different turns. Passion is a feeling that some are born with, but finding my passion was difficult for me.
My personal life brought me to a situation where I had to stop working for two years while I moved to a different country. This time of getting to know myself was crucial for understanding my purpose. Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do. And that’s what I did during this time.
If you didn’t have to work but could still receive a paycheck every month, what would you be doing?
Tough question, right? How many of us are caught in the 9-to-5 routine without feeling fulfilled? If someone told you today that you would still get a monthly paycheck by doing anything you wanted, what would you do?
I bet living permanently on vacation would get boring at some point, which makes this question tricky.
With your expenses taken care of, what would be your purpose in the world? Fantasizing about a luxury lifestyle is fair, but does that make you passionate?
There is a difference between enjoying life and knowing what your passion is
Passion is a feeling that drives you to do things. It can push you to accomplish what you never imagined.
Enjoying life is important; slowing down and practicing mindfulness can make you feel happy and complete. But discovering your passion requires you to do something more with your life, besides enjoying it.
It’s about pouring your energy into something.
After investing in myself during my spare time for two years, I realized that I love writing. I truly enjoy the feeling of putting my thoughts into words, hoping that they impact other people’s thoughts and lives in some way.
This led me to start a blog and eventually grow it to 80k yearly visitors.
Why most people never find their life passion
When you let yourself get caught up in routines, you could miss out on life-changing opportunities.
Fear is the main barrier to success. But unfortunately, there is no growth without fear. It’s okay to be scared.
While working my corporate jobs, the digital business world intrigued me more and more, and so, I started Green Studio, my own ethical content marketing agency.
The first six months were great, and I loved what I was doing. I helped people with their websites, branding, and copywriting. When I least expected it, the pandemic impacted my household income. My husband and I had to start over in a new city, embracing the uncertainty that came with this economic crisis.
Meanwhile, I was offered a job at a mass-consumption company. I decided to take the job because my fear was bigger than my passion at that moment. I let fear get in the way of chasing my dreams.
A part of me wanted a stable income again, even though that meant giving up on what was making me happy. A part of me also felt terrible about slowing my business down to part-time.
Life will present you with tough choices, and you won’t always know which is the right path.
Once you find your passion and do your best, money will come
Even though I was working full time at another company, I kept getting emails and messages from people who wanted my services.
During these months when I was juggling a full-time job and my side business, I learned the most important lesson of my life:
A salary alone can neither fulfil you nor make you happy.Natalia Gomez
Now back in the corporate world, I was making a steady income but wasn’t happy. I was working 24/7— 40 hours each week at my full-time job and weekends catching up on my agency’s projects.
The thing is, when I considered the time and energy my full-time job required to earn my salary versus my work and the people I was helping with Green Studio, things started to become clear for me. I had a choice to make, and it was simple.
Green Studio fulfilled me. Even though I was working long hours through the weekends, my energy was different. It felt better than sitting in my chair during the week, working for a company I no longer felt passionate about.
I knew I was fortunate to have two streams of income at a difficult time, but the extra money was taking from my happiness and work–life balance.
As I went through this phase in my life, I really started to understand things. Even though I wasn’t looking for new clients at the time, I was getting inquiries. It was eye-opening. I started to believe in myself once again, and I knew I had to build my self-confidence to the next level.
The money was coming in because the people I was working with felt my passion. And as a result, they were recommending my services.
When you are passionate about something, everything you do will reflect your positive energy and talent. Passion can come in many forms. The important thing is that you discover it so you can take action and pursue your dreams.
You need to get to know yourself to be truly happy
After struggling with a heavy workload for a couple of months, I decided to make a life decision. I drummed up the courage to quit my full-time job—this time by choice, not due to life circumstances.
It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made in my life. Over the past couple of years, I’ve learned who I want to be. I learned about my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve learned that every choice has a consequence, whether good or bad.
I could have kept my 9-to-5 job, climbed the corporate ladder, and brought home a steady income for years to come, but the consequence of not having enough time for my family wouldn’t have been worth it.
Instead I took a leap of faith and focused on building my business. The consequence is not having a stable income, but I am passionate about what I do every single day. I’m in charge of my own schedule and can make the time I want for my family.
Could continuing down the corporate path have taken me very far? Maybe. But I decided to choose my passion first.
I know that not everyone has an easy opportunity to do this. But in some way or another, it is possible.
With determination and confidence, your business will grow
When thinking about pursuing your passion, you will come up against plenty of barriers and self-doubt. What will my friends think? What will my family think? What if everything goes wrong? What if I lose money? What if I can’t support my family?
The other day I was listening to a podcast about fear. The speaker recommended that listeners write down their fears on a piece of paper, and then for every fear, write down the worst and best possible outcomes.
What if your business fails? Maybe you’d lose money or wouldn’t be able to support your family. But if this worst case scenario came to fruition, you could ask for a loan or look for a full-time job to get back on your feet again.
The fun part about this exercise is thinking about the best possible outcomes. What if your business succeeds? What if you out-earn your previous annual income and hire employees? What if you expand internationally? What if your story inspires others?
Never forget your purpose
Once you start making money by pursuing your passion, never forget who you are and what you stand for. A brand that has no purpose doesn’t really make an impact on people.
Many people start businesses without really taking those first baby steps of understanding what they stand for.
Someone might have the opportunity of becoming a fruit vendor because their family has a farm, for example. And so, generation after generation, they keep selling fruit without knowing the purpose behind everything they do.
Knowing what your brand stands for is the main thing that will differentiate you from the rest. Define your brand values and go deep. Think about what your business can do to address each brand value.
Your purpose is similar to your passion. It is the energy that will drive people to buy your product or service. It will bring life to your brand and it will inspire.
Get your hands dirty
In my experience helping small businesses start out, I’ve seen that many want a quick path to success. If you are passionate about your business, you have to be ready to get your hands dirty. No excuses.
You can’t have a fully operating business without putting in hard work. In most cases, the most passionate people in a business are the ones who started it, because of all of the hard work they put in to get things done. But once you get started, your passion will spread to others around you.
If you are not willing to get your hands dirty, you might not be as passionate about your project as you should be. It may be a red flag that starting that business might not be a good idea.
Great leaders get involved in the good and the bad. They work side by side with others to achieve their shared goals. They teach, motivate, and help people along the way.
Surround yourself with like-minded people
The power of community is amazing when it comes to starting an entrepreneurial journey. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt more inclined to talk to my husband rather than my friends about my crazy ideas.
Not all of your friends and family will be going through the same feelings as you when you are starting a business. Some of them may even feel negatively about your business. Maybe others aren’t used to taking risks, so they just won’t understand. Don’t let their fear bring you down.
There are many communities you can join to learn from others in situations similar to yours. The energy of connecting and speaking with like-minded people can make a world of difference for keeping you motivated and determined to succeed.
There is no overnight success
Pursuing your dreams requires passion, sacrifice, commitment, and patience. There is no overnight success.
I bet just about anyone who has started a business will agree with me. Those who say differently are probably lying.
To succeed, having a team or working with mentors, coaches, agencies, or consultants will never be a bad investment. There are people who have already made mistakes when launching their own businesses. Take the time to learn from them and plan ahead so you can avoid making the same mistakes.
Everything you learn through your personal journey is important. Use this knowledge constantly to analyze and improve your strategies.
“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”—Henry Ford
I look at inspiring quotes every day to make sure I don’t forget my passions. Creativity is always there if you open your mind to explore it.
The other day, a representative from an oil company reached out to me requesting my services. I decided to say no to this client because working for the oil industry does not align with my values. Having the extra income from that project would be nice, but not everything is about money.
Not every choice in your personal life or business should be strictly about making money. If it were, you’d risk losing your purpose or even employees who don’t align with your business decisions.
Every big decision you make will change the course of your life. Resigning from a job, starting a business, closing a business, taking a year off, studying for a second career—you name it.
There are no right or wrong ways to live your life. No one but you can be the judge of what you choose to do. Our beliefs are a part of how we make life decisions. The people we surround ourselves with often play key roles into helping us with these life decisions.
Passion is everywhere. It’s in our minds, music, art. Don’t miss the opportunity to follow your dreams. Life’s too short to worry about all the what if’s. If you are not brave enough today to turn your passion into money, time will pass and you may regret it later.
It takes courage to follow your dreams, to say no when the easy answer is yes. Not everyone has enough strength to confront their fears, but I’m pretty sure you do since you’re reading this article!
For me, following my purpose has been a journey I haven’t done alone. My family has always been a foundation for all my life choices.
Passion is a powerful energy, and it’s in you.
How will you turn your passion into a paycheck?