The advice in the entrepreneurship realm is an interesting dichotomy. It is both the biggest possible harm to a business, or the most pivotal improvement possible. One piece of tactical or strategic insight can completely change a business’ trajectory.

On a rolling basis, we’re challenged to sift through the proliferation of information immediately accessible or fed to us by “influencers”. With that in mind, we need to discern what is useful and what is not. Alas, the internet is the biggest blessing and the biggest curse to new and existing business owners.

One common notion you may have heard is “if you choose a job you love you will never have to work a day in your life.”

While this quote holds true for those of us who are fortunate enough to be in a role like this, many others are not. Most of us are trying to find this balance and it usually helps to look at people who have already achieved their dream lifestyle.

You may have also heard “only take advice from those who have succeeded in what you want to do.”

One of those people you want to open your mind to is Blake Jamieson.

You’ve probably heard Jamieson’s name before. He is an incredible digital marketer, a previous world record holder on Tinder for the most matches, and is now a man who spends his days working as a full-time artist.

Jamieson shared with me how he used the skills from his day job to produce and sell incredible pieces of arts to some of the biggest corporate companies around the world and get his work hanging on the walls of VaynerMedia, while getting paid to do it.

1. Find Out What You Love

The issue many of us face when we’re trying to identify our ideal lifestyle is that we don’t know what that actually looks like. We have an idea of attaining more money and so we work towards a nebulous goal of if I have more money I’ll have fewer problems.

The issue with this is that we’re usually trading our time for money and Jamieson shared his insights on how he identified what he loved doing.

What really resonated with me about making art was how easy it was for me to get into a flow state. I was completely consumed by making art, often losing track of time and spending hours on a project, but feeling like time was just flying by.

That was a strong indicator to me that I was doing something I really enjoyed. So the decision to go all in on art was just prioritizing something that I could get completely absorbed in”, said Jamieson.

How many projects, jobs, tasks or hobbies have you been involved in where you lose track of time and you have looked back and smiled? For me, I can do this when I’m coaching clients. I know I don’t feel like I’m trading my time for money but I’m trading my time for something I love.

To identify some of the things you love doing ask yourself:

  • What am I willingly trading my time and money for outside of my work?
  • What is something that when I start I can’t stop?
  • If this was the only thing I did today would it make me happier?
  • What are the things that those around me tell me that I am really good at?

These type of questions prompt you to find out what it is that really drives you to get up and go to work in the first place.

2. Start Finding Ways To Progress

Jamieson didn’t drop everything to become the coveted artist he is today. When we’re wanting to create a living around the things we love doing it’s going to take some elbow grease.

You’re going to have to find time outside of work to progress in your chosen area so that you can figure out how you’re going to make a living doing what you love.

Jamieson shared his insight for those of us wanting to make the transition:

“If a creative hobby starts on just nights and weekends, I think that is totally fine. A far as monetizing, I try to steer away from what everyone else is doing. This is something I tried to do (for my clients) in digital marketing, and something I continuously try to do as an artist”, said Jamieson.

Too many of us hit road blocks and give up the first time when we’re trying to find ways to monetize what we love. Reverse engineer the process and find new ways to create value for others through your passion.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the other people in my industry already doing?  
  • If I had to find a new way of making money tomorrow through this project how would I do it?
  • Who is currently doing what I love and how are they living while doing this?

The questions outlined above provide a framework for identifying who the industry leaders are and how can you learn from them to begin monetizing your passion.

3. Analyse and Niche

Once you’ve begun to figure out how to monetize your ideal lifestyle you need to differentiate yourself from others. In a world where there is a number of incredible artists, creatives, and individuals who are all wanting to get paid to do what they love you need to be different.

Jamieson has emerged as an industry leader and he did this by finding his niche.

“A far as monetizing, I try to steer away from what everyone else is doing. This is something I tried to do (for my clients) in digital marketing, and something I continuously try to do as an artist.

This is what ultimately led me to focus on office art, rather than selling to art collectors, or targeting galleries. It’s tricky because when you try something new, you never know if it will work or not. But when you finally find something that *does* work, there is very little competition.

I made a decision to focus on LinkedIn for my market place and it was completely based on my 80/20 analysis of my art sales for the last year. I realized that nearly all of my art was ending up in offices, and not homes or galleries. So it just made sense to me to pivot that direction.

I think any artist would be wise to reflect on all their sold work, who it’s been sold to, and where it’s ended up. To track this, I keep a google spreadsheet of every piece of art I paint and include information like who it sold to, the sales price, where it’s ended up (home or office), etc.

Every so often I take a look to see what art pieces are resonating with my audience the most,” said Jamieson.

Take a look at what you already know, where people are paying you for your time and apply this to the lifestyle you want.

Ask yourself:

  • What have I been paid for previously and can I use this to contribute to my ideal lifestyle?
  • Who are the customers of my competitors and what are they paying for?
  • Where is a marketplace for my ideal lifestyle that others haven’t found yet?

When prompted with these questions you will quickly pull together a picture of what makes you different, how you can utilize skills that you have already developed and you will find a way to niche down.

Like Jamieson, if you can find a way to do what you love permanently you will never spend a day at work. To learn more about Blake or get some of his art for yourself you can find him here or follow his work on Instagram.
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Kale Panoho

Kale Panoho is a digital marketer, personal trainer and growth hacker in the startup and health industry. After leaving his role in a rapidly growing start up, he has merged his sales and management experience to launch a shared business, Central Fitness. Graduating from Otago Polytechnic in exercise prescription and currently studying biochemistry at the University of Otago he is using these experiences to consult with startups and clients in the health and fitness space.