Why You Don’t Need Passion to Start Freelancing

Why You Don’t Need Passion to Start Freelancing

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Struggling to pick a vocation? Here’s why passion is irrelevant when starting your freelance business, and what to focus on instead. The saying goes, “Follow your passion. Passion will set you free.” I call bullshit. Passion is great. But it can also leave your spinning your wheels and jumping from one area of interest to another. To succeed as a freelancer, you need to build a set of skills that will help you attract clients and projects you love. Passion will come about organically. Here’s why. Choosing the right field can be challenging. Log onto Instagram, and you’ll probably come across a photo of the ocean from your favorite travel blogger’s Airbnb view in Maui. Meanwhile, you’re staring at the dregs of autumn and yesterday’s coffee, and it makes you wonder what your passion is. You don’t know the exact answer, but it sure doesn’t look like this. Besides, Maui is beautiful this time of year. That’s where Mary finds herself on a grey Thursday afternoon. We’re sitting at a low-traffic coffeeshop talking about networking when Mary leans over and asks, “What are you passionate about? Would you rather do marketing or go off and do something else more fun, like tours in wine country?” I pause, midstory. “Wine tastings would be fun, and I love to travel, but I’m sure there are people with way more experience than me doing that,” I answer. “Besides, I’m good at digital marketing.” She leans back. Her eyes twinkle as she confesses, “I’m trying to figure out what I’m passionate about.” She goes on: “I’m a curious person. I like to try things out. So I tried sales, and I was good at that. Customer research, advertising — good at that, too. And this week, going through a whole bunch of life stuff, I’m stuck. I wanna find what I’m passionate about.” We stare at each other. I can relate. Mary assumes that if she can nail down her passion, she can create a business that aligns with what she loves. She’s hoping that her passion will give her an edge as she builds the business of her dreams. It’s a question that almost drove me mad in trying to answer it. “I think you should be asking a different question, then,” I respond. If you, like Mary, are stuck on the passion train, jump off before you hit a wall. Focusing on passion puts the cart before the horse. I liken it to asking the universe to tell you what you should be doing — before you’ve built the skills and experience necessary to do it. You want to jump into something that feels exciting — but you also want to be sure before you leap. So, you sit and stew on questions like: “What’s my meaning?” “What’s my purpose?” “What’s my calling?” These types of questions lead you to analysis paralysis. The reality is passion comes from doing, not from a strike of lightning when you are sitting on the […]

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