How to pursue your passions without quitting your job

If there is one complaint we hear more often than any other from those on the come up in music it is this: I wish I had more time to pursue my passions.

It is easy to understand why this complaint is so popular, especially in today’s fast-paced world of entertainment. Once someone choose the path or career they wish to pursue they are taught to pour everything they have into that one goal, to sacrifice as needed in pursuit of something bigger than what they have now. This logic was pushed onto our team members when they were starting out more than a decade ago and it is still being taught to aspiring industry newcomers today.

Here’s the thing: While it is important to focus your energy on chasing the things you are most passionate about it is foolish to assume anyone is passionate about just one thing. Most people are passionate about many things, and more often than not those things are all related. Musicians, for example, are often interested in production and publicity. Likewise, many folks working on the business side of music have an artistic side they wish to further explore.

The problem is, the current industry culture does not promote pursuit of passions that lie outside what pays your bills. Some could argue it actively promotes against them, urging professionals at any level to be constantly connected to what’s happening minute to minute all over the industry. This forces people into believing they have to put in forty hours a week, if not sixty or even eighty, if they want to succeed. That kind of daunting commitment makes considering other, non-paying projects very difficult.

If all of this rings a bit too familiar to you we have a solution. It is not exactly a groundbreaking notion, nor is it guaranteed to help you make your side hustle a full time gig, but it will promote further creativity outside the confines of your job.

Here’s the trick: Make time.

It’s the simple! Make time every day to do the things you want and do not allow yourself or anyone else to tell you such things are frivolous because they are not. Whether you only have five minutes each day in between jobs or an hour before bed, find time to do something for yourself and own it. Stake a claim to your own finite amount of time and do not let anyone take it from you. The industry will still be there when you are done, always. It is not going to leave you behind just because you thought to do something for yourself instead of refreshing your feeds for the thirty-first time.

If you want to express yourself beyond the scope of your current career then it is on you to make that happen. No one is going to make time for you, nor is anyone going to ask if you would like to do less so that personal projects can get more attention. In fact, most are going to actively try and consume your free time so that they can hopefully make time in their lives for the things that interest them beyond the confines of their office. You’re not the only one who wishes they had more time, but you can be the one who makes a decision to find the time and keep it for themselves. You have that power.

Will it be everything you need? Probably not. At least, not at first. Your goal right now should simply be starting, and once you do that then you can refine your focus further. Don’t look to write a novel next month if you cannot find time to write a poem today. Setting unattainable goals will only make it harder for you to follow through on chasing dreams because they will always seem too out of reach to be worthy of attempts in the first place. Follow your passions one steps a time and slowly, but surely you will make progress. I guarantee it.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.