Dave Rodrigues had always dreamt of being his own boss, but it never seemed like the right time to start his own business. Days dragged on as kept going to work, feeling trapped in the corporate world, he so badly wanted to leave. With each passing month, Dave felt like his dream was moving further away from him, as though it would never materialise into anything. Until one day, he took a shot at something new, and Dave hasn’t looked back since then!

Dave’s not the only case; there are a lot of Dave’s out there, and you might even be one of them. As per a survey by State of the American Workplace, less than 33% of the people said they were happy with what they were doing. The corporate world has a way of sucking you in, making life seem dull and monotonous. But the fear of failure keeps us hooked, too afraid to make a move. Things don’t have to stay the same because there are ways you can make a living out of your passion. Here’s a look at how to do it, and at some people who made the switch successfully.

From Express to Expedition

Rodrigues worked at American Express for over twenty-two years. While le lived comfortably, the corporate grind left him uninspired and exhausted. That was until he decided to re-ignite his passion for travel! This led him to Cruise Planners, who was the US’s most extensive travel advisor network. So, in 2012, Rodrigues bought a Cruise Planners franchise and started working on his business part-time. Eventually, by 2015, his part-time job made him feel so happy that he quit his full-time corporate job, and started focusing solely on his venture. Soon enough, his business took off, and now, Rodrigues is a part of a  Millionaire’s Club, who sell over $1 million travel packages.

This was how a travel enthusiast who was stuck at a job he hated, made a living out of his passion. Many of us want to be Dave but don’t know how to get there. So here’s a look at how you can escape the corporate grind and actually follow your passion!

If Not Now, When?

The most important question is whether you should just quit and pursue your passion full time. Over 62% reported to CareerCast that their jobs were highly stressful, and 61% mentioned this led to health issues while talking to a Monster survey. Fear makes us want to stick to our routine, our safe and secure desk job. Being an entrepreneur definitely isn’t easy, but if it were, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

When to Call it Quits?

If you have the courage to go for it without any qualms, then without a doubt, follow your passion. In case you want to have some financial security, stick to your job and work on something in your spare time. Skip a few unimportant dinners to make some time for your passion, and soon enough, you will fall into a work-life pattern that makes you happy and financially stable. Leverage that freedom to work on your passions and start preparing yourself for the day you will make this your first priority.

Pick up a Few Tricks

If you have a keen interest in business, make sure you follow start-ups and their journey so that you pick up something from their mistakes. You can do everything from identifying market needs to calibrating your strengths and weaknesses through such analysis. 

Learn to Grow

Sometimes you need to develop a passion, rather than follow one. Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You is a mind-boggling read that explains how slowly people develop a passion for things they have expertise in. This reverse-engineering hack allows you to fit your career and lifestyle around a vision. Developing a passion might seem like a lot of work, but then again, wasn’t your first fall from your bike steep as well? That was until you got the hang of it, and started cruising at 30 km/hr with the wind in your hair. The best thing about this method is that it guarantees more financial stability than leaving your desk job for a very niche field you have no experience in.

Interact, Explore and Analyze

Mary Clavieres left a 14-year long career in pharmaceuticals to set up Brief Transitions, which sells maternity-wear. Similarly, Rachael Arthur left her 10-year career in teaching to start The Free Fall Project, which provides a platform for people to share their journey of finding their true passion. It isn’t easy to go against the current, and hence, finding like-minded people becomes more important than ever before.

Last, but not least, be sure of what you want before you set out to do it. As per Stanford Professors William Burnett and David John Evans, a vast majority; roughly about 80% of people don’t have a singular passion. Working at a company you don’t like may make you feel like you need to quit, but make sure you really think about it before acting on it. In a Commencement speech, Ben Horowitz talked about how, rather than following our passions, we need to follow our contribution. Find out what you are absolutely great at, study how you can put that to use, make it happen and see how that contributes to others. Honestly, that sounds like a blueprint for a successful career, and more importantly, a satisfying life.