While you're pursuing your passion, it's a good idea to stick with your day job. This will allow you to build a healthy business while earning money to pay the bills. You shouldn't be relying on your passion to make your living right away, it's a process that needs to play out. However, the challenge is striking the right balance between your day job and your passion.
Keeping Your Day Job Out of Your Passion
Maybe you're taking evening classes, or maybe you're at the point where you're making contacts with potential clients or employers. Whatever the case is, you'll need to be dedicating a lot of time to your passion. Is your day job eating into that time unnecessarily? Are you working overtime when you don't really have to? Can you afford to, or are you even able to, cut down on your hours? It's important to be making enough money to support yourself, and a family if you have one, so you really have to figure out how much you can afford to scale down.
If you're already working in a part-time position, and it's supporting you, then you're ahead of the game in a lot of ways. You already have the free time built into your schedule to devote to your passion. I really wouldn't recommend cutting down your hours in this case, especially if your employer doesn't give you a regular schedule. It's better to just work around what you already have.
Even though you may have no desire to move up in the organization where you work, you still need to play "The Game" a little bit. The truth is companies want people who are going to stick around, so even though you may not have any plans to stick around much longer you shouldn't let your employer get wind of that. You'll be first in line if there are any layoffs, and you'll probably miss out on that raise they were going to give you at the end of the month. This job may not be your idea of a career, but you have to think of it as a tool you need to start one.
Keeping Your Passion Out of Your Day Job
There can also be the problem of your passion seeping into your day job. I can say this now, I often found myself responding to emails, and doing other small administrative tasks on my employer's time. One of my jobs was to maintain a small network of computers, and I took advantage of the time I had waiting for progress bars to do these tasks. Was this healthy? I'm not sure, but the way I see it most people probably spend some of their company's time on Facebook or Twitter, so why not do something productive instead? I'm not condoning this sort of thing at all, do this at your own risk.
I'm going to be completely honest though. The time for your day job should be dedicated to your day job. The time for your passion should be dedicated to your passion. Ideally, neither side should creep into the other. I wish this was something I had done more strictly while I was working my day job. I did feel some level of obligation to sacrifice some of the time I spent building my business to make up for the time I wasn't focused at work. It didn't really even out because I wasn't committing the attention to the work. While I was at my day job I was running my business in spurts, and when I was working at home I really had no desire to be doing any day job-related tasks. You need to be able to commit your full attention to work most effectively.
Photo by Graham Hall