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Passion Projects

A lot of people are surprised at the amount of businesses and projects I have been involved in.  From starting a advertising company in college to a developing a segment leading classroom design website, I have been involved in countless projects!  I have included a list at the end of this post just for fun. 🙂

So what makes me different from the majority?  I don’t have better ideas.  I don’t have the privilege of an established family trust to pull from.  I simply Take Action on my passions!  A lot of people have fantastic ideas and are truly passionate about a multitude of things, but let their fears creep in to cloud the possibility of success.  I am going to make 2 bold statements in this post that will change the way you talk and act on your passions!

1. Passion Projects are the Key to Your Career Success.

Career success isn’t money, power, or defined by how others perceive you.  Career success is when you are making a living in a job/business that you truly enjoy!  So the next question is, “How do I get a career that I like when I am not qualified?”  The answer is Passion Projects!

The beauty of Passion Projects are that they require extra work, but if you are truly doing something you are passionate about it doesn’t feel like work at all.  It will be as enjoyable as a hobby and 100x more rewarding!  (I literally just broke into dance listening to Uptown Funk at 5:30am while writing this post,….. because I enjoy what I do!)  

When choosing a Passion Project, I always pick something that will be beneficial to others and in most cases has the opportunity to make money although that is not the only goal.  Most of all, I find things to work on that will help me develop my skill set.  If you know what you want in a career, then look through LinkedIn for people with that desired position to find what skills they have.  Then find outside projects to develop those skills.

 2. You Can’t Fail!

Not to be cocky, but I have never failed at ANY Passion Projects.  Failure can be defined as many things, but you can’t say developing a new skill or improving on an established skill is a failure.  I have lost money on several projects (thousands on one), but I was able to use what I learned on those to get a job I enjoy more and making a lot more money than what I was.  It is hard to call that a failure!  Instead, I say it was a very inexpensive education!  When the average year at an in-state public college costs $18,943, risking a few thousand on a Passion Project to gain real world experience that could turn profitable is a smart decision!

This post was supposed to be a simple paragraph or two on how doing work that you like on the side can help you do work you love full time, but it has ended with me getting fired up!  The more I think about this the more I want to share.  Look for many more posts on this subject in the near future!

Take Action Today

Are you interested in a specific career or industry? Search LinkedIn for 5 people in that career path and see what skills and background they have.  Combine them in the list to see what the similarities are and then develop a side project to learn those skills!  You don’t have to have a master plan or spend much money at all.  Just start the process and begin to learn what you need to become successful!

My non-exhaustive Passion Project/business list:

  • Started an auto-detailing business in high school
    • Spent more time developing marketing materials than actually washing cars!
  • Ran for and was elected state president for DECA
  • Started a lacrosse team at my college and raised enough funds for travel and equipment
    • I had never played lacrosse before I helped start the team with friends! HA!
  • Started an advertising company while in college with $200 and earned enough to pay for all remaining college expenses
    • Grew to over 20 clients
  • Created a website for work to train dealerships on how to market effectively on social media (a lot has changed since then!)
  • Created a website for teachers to share classroom design ideas through pictures
    • Grew to #1 in the segment
    • It was Pinterest for teachers before Pinterest grew big!
  • Opened a Etsy shop to sell graphic design and multi texture art
    • Made enough to help my wife quit her job and focus on the business and being a mom
  • Started Speaking
  • Started a social movement called Random and Kind to track generosity and spread it anonymously
  • Started MyDailyMark!
  • Working on a few other fun projects…..
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