5 Things You Need to Know Before You Pursue Your Passion

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Pursue Your Passion


No one wants a corporate job anymore.

Today’s kids want to pursue their passions and become writers, filmmakers, singers, and actors. You can either blame Disney or your parents, who both urged you to become whatever we wanted. As a result, no one wanted to become stuck behind a desk from 9 to 5.

I am one of those people who have rejected the norms of working in an office. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I imagined myself growing up to be the next literary genius, or a witty columnist who gave out relationship advice while I struggled with mine (I watched too many episodes of Sex and the City). Instead, I ended up with a degree in psychology and nowhere to go. It turned out that life as a creative is not as easy as our idols have portrayed it to be. It’s not as easy as entering the office of a magazine or newspaper, announcing you want to write, and the editor-in-chief falling in love with you.

I should know, because I tried pursuing my dreams full time (writing for The Philippine Star) and have sold out (doing human resources work for a BPO). I even compromised and did editorial work for a public relations agency.

A creative is torn between two things. Money and independence. He wants to earn lots of money yet still maintain his creative freedom. Unfortunately, it is rare to have both so many are forced to pick only one. That’s the thing creatives have to deal with. Options are polar opposites – you either become a creative in a corporate and stress-inducing setting, or you become an independent creative, free of stress and of course, security. 

But what should you know if you decide to pursue your passion? 

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Pursue Your Passion
5. You’re okay with being broke for the next few months
The great part about being a freelance creative is that you get to control your own schedule. The problem with that is, you’re going to be broke for the next few months. At the beginning, you’re supposed to establish yourself as a writer / actor / singer / artist. You can either do that through word of mouth or websites dedicated to connecting businesses with freelancers. And don’t think you can charge a lot right away! Your rates should depend on your experience, so if you’re a newbie, better not be demanding. But I learned later on not to underestimate myself. When you’ve established your portfolio, don’t accept low-paying projects (or free) just for the sake of having a gig.
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4. You have friends or contacts who can support you

The most important thing to a creative is his contacts. The more friends you have, the higher your chance to getting a paying gig. Make sure to explain you’re doing this for a living to avoid “presyong kaibigan” (or a discount given to friends). But if you don’t have a portfolio, better take on pro bono works at first so you have something to show to future clients. I remember applying at Star without knowing anyone inside. As I gained more friends in publishing, it was easier for me to write and contribute to other spaces. It wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t go out of my way to make friends with people. One of the best ways to expand your network is to join groups or like-minded people. You can learn from them and you might even score a gig or two!

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3. You’re willing to work harder and exert extra effort

People think that freelancers are lazy people who don’t want to work hard. What they don’t realize is that freelancers work really hard, maybe even harder than corporate drones! The thing is, freelancers and creatives have to sing for their supper. If they don’t work, they don’t get paid. Those working in offices can spend the entire day refreshing Facebook and still expect to get paid every two weeks (including a bonus, 13th month pay, benefits, and paid leaves). If you want to pursue your passion, you have to be willing to put in the hours. When I quit my corporate job to pursue writing, I found myself working longer. I took on other writing gigs which ate up most of my time. But I had fun doing it that it didn’t matter because I was doing what I love. But remember, never bite more than you can chew. Don’t take on so many projects that you forget to do the other things you love – like sleep.

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2. You’re okay with working weird hours

The problem to being a creative if you don’t have set hours. Because you don’t work the 9-5, sometimes you’ll need to work at night, or even weekends. But you know what they say, do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life!


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1. You’re okay with doing your passion for a living

Perhaps the hardest thing about pursuing your passion is that it becomes a job. And if it’s a job, chances are, you’ll get sick of it soon and suffer the dreaded B word: burnout. The thing that used to bring you happiness will become the thing you hate, which will intensify if you have unreasonable or demanding clients. I still love to write, but I see it more as work. Now, whenever someone asks me what I enjoy doing, I always think if I could still say writing because I now do it for a living. To make sure I don’t burn out, I still maintain the schedule of those working in offices: eight hours each day, and no work on weekends

Right now, I have a steady source of gigs that helps me earn money. The key to living life as a creative is to have a steady source of income. It takes a while to get there, but once you do, you’ll feel your passion growing stronger and your future getting more stable. The cliche “starving artist” is only romantic in books and movies, not when you have bills to pay.


Are you pursuing your passion? What other things should newbies know? Share your tips in the comments below!


5 Things You Need to Know Before You Pursue Your Passion