Some people scoff at the idea of turning their passion into a career, although this may have something to do with the niche or unusual nature of their preferred pastime. After all, it is hard to monetize a passion for stamp collecting or forge a long-term career from a love of Russian dolls.
But some passions can easily be translated into successful and profitable careers, particularly in an age of digital media and innovative, online income streams. Take a love of travel, for example, which enables individuals to tap into a diverse industry that accounts for an impressive 9.8% of the world's total GDP and opens up a wide range of potential career opportunities.
Recognising this not only enables citizens to monetize their passion and achieve a superior work-life balance, but it also has potential benefits for employers too. A recent study from the Deloitte University Press suggested that 87.7% of the U.S. workforce is unable to achieve their full potential due to a lack of passion that they have in their jobs, and this is a trend that is evident across the globe.
So, by pursuing your passion and identifying the ways in which it can be transformed into a lucrative career, you can achieve your full potential in the workplace while also enabling employers to access a more motivated pool of talent. For those with an innate passion for travel, here are some initial ideas and tips to help you on your way:
1. Become a Travel Photographer
This is perhaps the dream career for anyone with a love of travel, primarily because successful practitioners can earn huge amounts of money while traversing the length and breadth of the world. It also drives a competitive industry, however, while placing huge demands on those who aspire to make a significant living.
These demands are diverse too, as travel photographers must have a unique set of psychological and technical skills if they are to succeed. In terms of the former, it is imperative that you are patient and determined, while also willing to scale your career over time. You will also need mental stamina and agility, as because travel photographers often struggle with hectic schedules they cannot afford their creative mind to be compromised.
The most successful travel photographers also possess a certain amount of business acumen, which enables them to produce innovative images that are commercially viable over time. The same commercial understanding should also underpin the technical proficiency of your photos, as you look to create images that are original.
Although these attributes can help you to succeed, it is also important that you can forge a viable and scalable career path. While the design and advertising sectors may offer the best wages, for example, they are extremely competitive and only accessible to proven practitioners. As a beginner, you should, therefore, start by targeting calendars, cards and image libraries, while also selecting a defined niche that allows you to build a reputation.
You can then begin to build an impressive collection of targeted images and create a personal brand. Over time, this should build a foundation and enable you to target more lucrative opportunities.
2. Share Your Experience and Expertise With a Travel Blog
We have already touched on how the digital age has introduced a host of innovative income streams, with blogging one of the very best examples. This is also one of the most popular, with more than 6.7 million people publishing content on blogging sites (and another 12 million sharing work through their social networks).
But, the nature of blogging has changed for both businesses and individuals in recent times with Google's algorithms placing a greater emphasis on the contextual and topical relevance of content. This means that blogs with a single-minded focus (such as travel) are more likely to succeed and evolve into platforms that can be easily monetized over time.
The question that remains, of course, is how to translate your passion for travel into a popular and accessible blog that can generate a viable income stream?
Once again, this process starts with establishing a clear niche and narrative (such as actionable travel advice or tips for extreme adventures), and one that offers a value proposition to targeted readers. This gives them a defined reason to read and share your content, while also cultivating trust and building a loyal audience.
By publishing content that is insightful and inclusive of relevant keywords (which should relate to specific queries and phrases that travellers are likely to search for online), your blog will quickly grow in terms of influence and accessibility. It is only then that can truly begin to monetise your travel blog, as its loyal audience and burgeoning online visibility continue to drive significant volumes of traffic.
At this stage, you can begin to consider your blog as an advertising medium to brands and sell space to potential partners. You can also leverage your audience by selling affiliate goods and services for partners in exchange for a fixed rate of commission (usually between 5% and 15%) of each transaction. You may even choose to sell guest publication spots for an agreed fee, as long as all posts remain relevant to the tone and nature of the site.
3. Teach English in Various Locations Across the Globe
While travel bloggers may not necessarily have to travel the world to create great content (they may already have enjoyed a lifetime of overseas adventure), other careers require you to continue your journey of discovery. Take life as an ESL (English as a second language) teacher, for example, a role which remains in high demand and is rewarding on a number of different levels.
Despite the relatively small size of England, the nation's native language is the third most commonly spoken in the world. 360 million people speak this as a first language, while a staggering 500 million use it as their second language. This shows the importance and influence of English across the globe while highlighting the growing need for those who can teach it to students.
While the nature of this role and its prevailing level of demand is easy to understand, building a career as an ESL teacher is far from simple. Not only must you have a desire and a willingness to travel, but you will also need a bachelor's degree from an English-speaking University and an ESL certification.
This can enable you to leverage your passion for travel in a way that delivers a great career and genuine job satisfaction. If you initially struggle to find overseas roles, it is important to note that you can seek out opportunities at home to gain practical experience.
By using these tips, it is possible to leverage your passion for travel and translate it into tremendous career success. But, as you can probably tell, the secret lies in identifying a clear niche within the travel market, before ensuring that you possess both the skills and the strategic mind required to achieve your goals.
Have you used any of these tactics to turn your passion into a career? Let us know in the comments section below…