Don’t just sit there Follow your passion and chase your dreams!

Thinking of a career change? Need to find the courage to finally go back to school, or create a business. We have a few tips for you:

Always follow your passion. Your passion will help you get out of bed when you don’t feel like it. Passion will get you through the 12 hour days you might have to work. Passion will give you the strength to stand up against someone who tells you your product is inferior. Passion will help you seal a big deal because when you talk about your product, people will see that you truly believe in it.

Listen your heart. Everyone and their mama will have advice for you on how to run your business. At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for you. If someone tells you something that doesn’t sound quite right, make a decision based on what your heart tells you.

Find others like you and share ideas with them face to face. Meetup.com is a great resource. I have made good friends and business contacts via Meetup.com. But be genuine, networking simply does not work without a personal connection. Give people a reason to help, buy, believe in your product

Money will come. Have patience. Sometimes it may take a few years to make a profit. The first 5 years of a business are the most difficult ones. You are creating a brand. Let people know about your product. Many people give up on a good idea because it didn’t turn a profit the first year or two.

Stay true to yourself. There are tons of ways to make money. At the end of the day, you have to stay true to your beliefs. I could tell you 1 million ways to make money, but if it doesn’t fit your work style, you might earn a quick buck, but it probably won’t work for you in the long run.

It is okay to fail. Most people start a few businesses before they find the one that works best for them. They try different techniques, different styles, different colors, different mission statements. As cliche as it sounds, failure is the truest (and most painful) learning experience. We all have to learn somehow. Some people learn by going to school. Some people learn by buying and reading books. Some people learn on the job.

Letters to myself: Have you ever wanted to start all over again?

I have and it’s not a good feeling. I’m not talking about baking the cake again because I forgot the eggs. I’m referring to feelings of regret. I wish I had done this and not that. Can we start over? The answer is almost always “no”.

When I was in high school, I thought acting, singing and dancing were fun. I was pretty good at all of them, and so pursued this area as a career. Problem was, a lot of other people were doing the same, and they were far more talented and disciplined than I. Rather than stepping up my game, I wandered and allowed my efforts to be half-baked. For years, I waited tables, went to the occasional audition and wasted a lot of time. When I finally switched focus and began working in a field for which I was more well suited, I wasted time mourning the loss of those years. Again and again, I yearned for the chance to start over. Couldn’t I just go back, to after high school, choose a college where I could study journalism, and become the next Christiane Amanpour or Arianna Huffington? If I could start over, everything would be perfect.

I can’t start over and it’s only recently that I’m forcing myself to accept this and move on, to not make the same mistake over and over of wasting present moments – moments of opportunity – on regret. I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano. “I wish I’d started lessons ten years ago”, I’ve thought. Now, I try and tell myself that if I begin now, in ten years I’ll be able to sit down at the Christmas party and wow the guests. Those ten years will come to pass anyway (God willing), whether I’m practicing my scales or not.

The bottom line is we can’t start all over again, much as we’d often like to. I wish I’d realized it sooner.

– Althea