young professionalA few weeks back I wrote a post here at Under30CEO about why networking doesn’t end just because your job search does. As you can imagine I’ve been spending quite a bit of time at networking events over the last month. At each event I have only a few goals in mind:

1. Make a new friend or two

2. Learn something new

3. Have fun

I’ve even once said the best way to work a room is to not work the room. Don’t be the douchebag who is always looking for somebody more important to talk to. You never know who people know and who they’ll connect you to. Let’s move on to what this post is really about. For years, when people pursued artistic ventures such as writing, singing, etc, we jokingly used the phrase “don’t quit your day job.” Times have changed quite a bit over the last 2 years.

In fact at this point, we should be telling “Don’t count on your day job.” I’ve noticed almost every single person I’ve met at any event I’ve gone to seems to have two careers. They have their day job, which puts a roof over their head, pays the bills, and provides some semblance of a stable life. Then they have their passion project. Seeing how common this is becoming has made me realize that a day job is no longer enough.

Why You Need a Passion Project

Self Actualization: At the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is self-actualization. In fact those who are most evolved as human being seem to have an inherent understanding of this. A passion project whether it is for profit or not is likely to help us evolve into self-actualized human beings. Now that I’m done with the esoteric psycho-babble let’s go on to what a passion or entrepreneurial project does for you.

Insurance: When I interviewed Nicole Crimaldi at MsCareergirl, the most valuable thing she told me was that she saw her blog as a great career insurance policy. Does that mean a blog is your only possible career insurance policy? Absolutely not. You can start any kind of side business or passion project which will serve as a great insurance policy. Many of the entrepreneurs profiled here at Under30CEO have started their businesses on the side and eventually left their day jobs to pursue their passions. Imagine the difference between those who work on something on the side and those who do nothing when a company they work at announces lay-offs. Who do you think is going to be more prepared for that transition?

Personal/Professional Growth: Passion projects/entrepreneurial ventures provide us with a ridiculous amount of personal and professional growth. When I look at the network of entrepreneurs that the guys here at Under30CEO have built, I have no doubt that they’ll be connected to some of the movers and shakers of the next generation. I believe a passion project helps you evolve into the Linchpins that Seth Godin talks about. A passion project allows you to test the limits of what you are capable of. In fact, if anything a passion project will make you realize that all your limits are self-imposed and that you can do almost anything if you are willing to sweat a little.

Opportunity: In my recent interview with Matt Wilson, one of the co-founders here at Under30CEO he gave me a run down of all the opportunities that have opened up to him because of the things he’s done at MattWilsonTV and at Under30CEO. He’s ended up on the front page of Businessweek.com and he even gets flown out to go and speak to college students. This is less than a year into this project. Think about how much your life will change after spending a few year’s on a passion project.

I’m not saying you should quit your day job, throw caution to the wind, and join this impulsive group of 20-somethings. Hell I’m 31 and writing articles for a blog called Under30CEO. I don’t think everybody needs a blog. But, I do think you need a passion project of some sort. A blog is just a platform to get you started. What I am saying is that your day job is no longer enough. There’s never been a better time in history than today for you to pursue a passion. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it won’t hurt to get a head start.

Srinivas Rao is an avid surfer and personal development blogger at The Skool of Life. He is also the host and co-founder of BlogcastFM, a podcast for bloggers where profiles bloggers and picks their brains for advice on successful blogging and entrepreneurship.


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