How to Make a Career Pivot And Get Paid for Your Passion
Some people dream about winning the lottery, dating a wealthy celebrity or acquiring a badass super power. We hate to break it to you, but these are all clichéd and unachievable.
However, there is one acceptable fantasy that most men have: slamming down a resignation letter on their boss’ desk to pursue a passion they truly love. And we’re here to tell you that this is definitely achievable.
Rather than aim to be wealthy, we should aim to be life-rich—a term inspired by The San Miguel Rich List, which profiles career-driven people who are living their dream, from guitar craftsmen to solo explorers.
If you’re unhappy in your 9-5, chances are you’ll also be unhappy outside of your 9-5. But how exactly do you quit your job and without falling into a pit of despair? We spoke to Sam Crosby, a once metals sales manager turned self-taught furniture designer. Sam left his full-time job to turn his hobby into a sustainable money-maker. Here's what he had to say.
What is it you actually do?
“I'm a furniture designer. Customers get in touch with me to discuss what they want; I put pen to paper and design them something based on their ideas. Then I make it from scratch.”
How did you get into woodwork?
“I saw a pallet in a field, dragged it out and put it into the boot of my car. The rest wrote itself...”
When did you realise that this was what you wanted to do full-time?
“Woodwork is my passion and I always wanted to take it to the next level and have it be my career. It took me a solid four years of learning, making mistakes and investing in equipment (plus a lot of late nights) to get here.”
How did it feel handing in your notice to pursue your dream job?
“Ah, handing in my notice. Rightly (or wrongly), I didn't play by the rules. I was designing on the side when I got the go-ahead on two of my biggest orders to date—one being kitting out an entire new restaurant - and decided it was now or never. I emailed my boss on a Sunday night saying thanks for everything, but I won't be back in on Monday. I didn't work my notice period. It's been full steam ahead since that day. I've never looked back.”
What's it like—working on your passion full-time?
“Amazing. I love nothing more than starting my day sat at my workstation (a bit of chipboard on some fold-up legs), listening to the radio, planning the day ahead and drawing up designs for my customers. Everything I have dreamt of over the last however many years is slowly becoming a reality. You get out what you put in."
What does an average day look like for you?
“Every day is different. My wife and I now work the same shifts so I get to sit down with her in the morning and have breakfast, then off to work we go. I go out and buy wood, then spend a lot of time in hardware stores as well as operating power tools and making things.”
Are there any downsides?
“Juggling multiple projects and being afraid to say no are two major challenges for me. Over the past month I've been overseeing three substantial builds, all of which should have taken a month each. In the early days of any business you're wary of where your next paycheck is coming from. Nearing the finish line of all three projects, I can now look back and see this as a learning curve. In fact, people are willing to wait - quality over quantity is key.”
Did anyone warn you this was a bad idea?
“People are always quick to think about the what ifs and the worst case scenarios, but if you want it enough it will work. It really is that simple. It might not always be plain sailing but that's what keeps you focused and determined.”
Did you have to get financial help to start your business?
“Over the years, any money that I made on the side, I reinvested back into my business, be it for tools or for my workshop. I was fortunate enough to start the business off the back of some lucrative orders, which allowed me to take the jump and go full-time.”
Any plans for the future?
“I want to start moving more into metal work while continuing to grow my brand. I'd also like a bigger workshop (maybe one with windows) and to take on an apprentice. The future is bright, hopefully—I'm sure the windows will help."
What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career change?
“Be realistic, but not too realistic – and have total belief in yourself.”
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.