Global Leadership Blog

Management Development

Do What You Love, NOW!

When Tara Paleg was meeting with a potential wedding cake vendor, the vendor offered Tara a cake pop. She was immediately smitten.

Since that first bite, Tara has viewed innumerable hours of YouTube videos, whipped up more batches of cake pops than she can count, and endured hours of trial and error as she learned how to make cake pops.

As a successful sales executive with a proven track record in the corporate world, Tara’s creations were sweet “extras” presented to top tier customers in an effort to provide excellent customer service. She shares: “My drive to delight expanded to bringing in cake pops to treat my team and brighten their day. Soon I was being asked bring treats in for birthdays, team events and then send to our customers for the holidays.” Her passion for two-bite confections had become a bona fide business.

Tara is not alone. Many Americans (as many as 35%) do additional work “on the side.” Many others dream of “someday” when they can spend more time doing what they love. I’m hoping this blog post will inspire you to take control of the reins and start living your passion today – or if not today, someday soon. If your “someday” still feels too distant, consider these points:

Where does your mind go when it wanders?

Perhaps your thoughts turn to jewelry-making, skateboarding, or writing novels. Maybe you spend all day traveling to visit clients and long to steal off to a quiet corner to write short stories. It could be that you’re at a computer 9-5 and can’t wait to guide tours at the local aquarium after work.

You commit yourself day in and day out to your work. You have solid accomplishments behind you. You’ve paid your dues and saved your money. But something you love lies neglected and unfulfilled. Ask yourself the following questions:

What am I passionate about?
What do people say I am good at?
What kind of value do I bring people outside of my regular job?
What would I do for free, just because it makes my heart sing?

Incorporating what you love into your life is does not have to be an “either/or” proposition. It is not easy to integrate what you love into a demanding life, but doesn’t your spirit deserve a chance to soar?

Tara says, “The thought of starting my own business was scary and exciting, but one day, I finally decided to take a leap of faith and create Tickled Pink Cake Pops.”

If you decide to integrate your passion into your life, the next step involves specifics.

Do Your Homework

Discover what you’ll need to do in order to move forward. These include filing with your Department of State, organizing finances, procuring patents and trademarks, and putting together the details of your approach. Know your employer’s stance regarding your side gig. Some employers take a stance of “as long as you are getting your job done”; others are more rigid.

These resources may help:

10 Steps to Starting a Business from the US Small Business Administration

15 Creative Financing Methods for Startups from Business News Daily

7 Strategies to Prevent Burnout from Psychology Today

Tara describes her “homework” phase: “I had to learn the guidelines of the California Cottage Food Act to be able to legally make cake pops in my home kitchen. I had to get my food handlers’ license, register for a handful of permits and create my LLC. While I was taking care of this, I created my logo, website and all of my social media accounts.”

Once you are in touch with what you love and have done your research, there is only one more step:

Go For It

Rather than be paralyzed by the negative “what if’s,” be empowered.

You will be surprised at how much more motivated you will feel at your day job once you ignite your passion.

Tara has big dreams of finding herself on Oprah’s Favorite Things List! Until that day, she is excited about channeling her creative energies in a way that allows her to fulfill her dual goals of owning her own business and making her parents proud, while still continuing to knock it out of the park in her day job.

I call that a pretty sweet outcome, don’t you?

Melissa Lamson

About The Author

Melissa Lamson, Founder and President of Lamson Consulting, is an author, consultant, and speaker who accelerates the business expansion goals of today’s most successful companies by developing global mindset, refining leadership skills, and bridging cross cultural communication.
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