I never thought I'd really be quoting Confucious to anyone. :)
Most people have jobs they can't wait to get free from for even a moment. We're always counting the mintues until 5:00, and asking "Is it Friday yet?" That being the case, wouldn't it be great to have a job that actually consisted of something you love, that you didn't have to feel the need to escape from?
It used to be that "vacation" meant taking a whole week off and getting away. That is a rarety when you have a Monday through Friday schedule, kids, pets, and other countless obligations. I've learned to be completely satisfied with 2 days away from home, or even ONE, as long as it's away from the routine. It doesn't matter where I go... I'm happy if it's out where the air is clear and there are friends to see and fun to be had. "Stay-cations" and single over-nighters have become some of my favorite times.
Making a living out of a hobby or talent has long been the working person's dream. I have friends who are artists, writers, and musicians. And almost all of them have "real" jobs, too. SAD. Why is it so hard to find success in doing the things we love? Shouldn't creative skills be worth more? I think so.
Finding your niche and marketing yourself to the extent that you develop a lucrative business, is the key, of course. There's no fool-proof way to do any of it. Giving up a bill-paying day job is not an option for most of us, unless we have stockpiled our savings and moved in with Mom and Dad. :)
Here is the run-down on a few things I've tried in the past, in additional to a full-time "regular" job, with the idea in mind that it could grow and become my amazing new "fun" job, doing something I love...
Stampin' Up Demonstrator: Similar to Creative Memories, crafty, scrapbooking workshops. Business Plan - Invite a group of ladies and demonstrate instruction on several cute, hand made items, and offer discounts on their purchase if they book an additional party. Additional parties generate more customers, more sales, more parties, more customers, etc, and you end up raking in the dough by making crafts all day. Actual Result - Booked a few parties, spent all my free time at home prepping for the demos, made very few sales, booked fewer than expected parties, spent all income on more craft supplies for my own personal use. Decision - Sold all supplies on Ebay, went to Lake Tahoe for the weekend and bought a new refrigerator. NEXT!
Melaleuca Distributor: Similar to Amway, as much as I was determined to prove everyone wrong. Environmentally safe household products that are so amazingly great in quality and value, they would naturally sell themselves to anyone you know. Business Plan - Purchase the starter kit, get to know the product line, refer your friends, explain the awesomeness, and start collecting orders. Note *you must personally purchase a minimum order per month to retain your seller status. Actual Result - Spent more than I should have on things I didn't really need, discovered I am not a sales person. Decision - Cancelled my membership and eventually ran out of the really awesome shower cleaner. Sad face.
At this point, you can see how keeping the day job was a good idea....
Massage Therapist: MASSAGE! Who does not love massage? Well, I loved it so much, as well as having a knack for giving a great back rub, naturally I knew this would be my calling in life. At age 30 I took out a student loan and committed to 18 months of night and weekend classes to put myself through massage college. Business Plan - Offer great massage including Deep Tissue, Acupressure, Reflexology, Sports Therapy, and Swedish Relaxation for un-heard of prices. Build clientele, eventually reduce day job hours and open my own salon. Actual Result - 9 years later, I still have the same 5 regular customers, all of whom have become wonderful friends. :) Still paying off student loan. Business has gone up and down, varying between 8 and 45 hours per month. It never quite became steady enough to justify quitting the day job, thankfully, as now I have early arthritis symptoms in my hands and I know I could never do this full time. Decision - By the end of next year, I will no longer be a Masseuse. :)
Finding something I love to do and finding a way to make a full-time living doing it, will always be my ultimate goal. At this point in my life, that "something" has begun to take shape in the outdoor, health/fitness, and off-roading arena (if there is such a combo). :)
As the ideas pour in and the brainstorming begins, it's fun to imagine the possibilities. I hope this write-up has a part 2 down the road, in which I will share the newest venture and it's successes.