How to Find Your Creative Passion & Go All in on One Thing

Finding Your Creative Passion

Do you struggle with finding the kind of work you’re passionate about?

Right now you might take on client work, and it’s really anything you can get.

I’m sure you’ve heard about “niching down”, but how do you niche down on the right thing?

This is a very common situation to be in. It’s a struggle to first find what type of work you’re passionate about, but to then curate it to be the only work you’re accepting in your freelance business.

It’s scary to only offer one or two services as a freelancer. But it’s what you need to do to in order to grow.

If you want consistent work – work that you truly enjoy – then it’s time to find your creative passion and to go all in on one thing.

Digging deep to find your creative passion

What is it you love to do more than anything else that you could see yourself doing forever? Not what you think would be an easy life, but what you’re truly passionate about?

If you dig deep into your story – when you were younger – what interested you?

For me, I grew up skateboarding. I used to look through the old CCS catalogs at all the skateboard decks and t-shirt designs. I’d circle items, pretending this was an order I was going to call-in and place. (This was before online shopping was a thing.) The designs of these products and the different brands fascinated me. This is why over the past year I’ve been niching down and going back to my roots to design brand logos and t-shirts.

I know I’m not going to get rich from t-shirt designs, but I chose to specialize in it because I’m passionate about it.

I love everything about the process of t-shirt design, from designing them all the way down to the hem tag, and how they make you feel every time you put them on.

Compared to other design work like websites, t-shirts are low pay, high volume. Most designers would stick their nose in the air to work like this, because you can’t pay your mortgage with one project. That’s fine with me. I’ll gladly take this work because it excites me. I’ll just have to work harder to make it a livable income.

Following my passion is paying off, because I took the risk to niche down my services, and most importantly, I stuck with it. Because of this, I currently make a livable income from my design work (and with the help and support of my fiancé of course.)

Whether you’re stuck in a job not doing creative work, stuck doing creative work you don’t want to be doing, or you feel like you’ve hit a ceiling in the work that used to feel fulfilling — It’s time to find your true creative passion.

If you have a certain type of work in mind that you’d love to go all in on – give it a try. Even if you’re unsure of the type of work or if look up to a certain artist that does work you’d love to be doing one day yourself – give it a try.

Start validating ideas. See what sticks and what doesn’t. When you do find something you’re passionate about, go all in!

Sticking with one pursuit

Whether you know what your one thing is or not, it’s good to understand what to do once you’ve found it.

As scary as it’s going to be, it’s time to niche down and go all in.

If you must, pull all the work off your website that doesn’t fit your focused direction. If you’re no longer designing websites, remove them, because they’re no longer relevant to what you do or what your ideal client’s are in need of.

All irrelevant work and content on your website – gone. Now create or rework your brand around your niche.

Call yourself whatever you want, but when you focus and find the right words, you find opportunities.

When I rebranded my freelance business, I went from listing a paragraph of services to simply specifying, “I’m a freelance graphic designer specializing in logo and t-shirt design.” All my blog content, portfolio pieces, and online accounts reflect this. It’s what I want to be known for, so it’s important to curate my content around it.

Since I focused my portfolio and brand around logos and t-shirts only, I started landing more of that type of work – the work I enjoyed doing most!

It only makes sense. If I’m not displaying websites in my portfolio or if I don’t say I’m a web designer, why would a client come to me for websites?

Having the courage to turn around

After months, maybe even years of going all in, that passion you once had is now starting to fade. Before you feel like you’re stuck, know this too is a common struggle for creatives.

If you feel like you’re headed in the wrong direction with what you’re doing, you need to shift your focus immediately.

This is part of niching down, and it’s part of why it’s so hard to do.

You’re likely already working at what you love, or you’re in a tight situation that you’re afraid to tamper with (e.g. your day job.)

I started my freelance career by designing websites. That’s where I thought the money was made. But after years of pursuing it, I became less interested – to the point where I was hating the projects I had.

This realization scared me, because I’d come so far. I didn’t want to start over after years of building my brand as a website designer.

However, you can’t let your fear of starting over keep you from doing what you love.

We think when we’ve gone the wrong way for so long, we have to travel the giant distance back to the start. Don’t think of it like a “walk of shame.”

I believe if you take the leap of faith to do what you love, and if you choose to turn around, everything you’ve learned along the way will give you the head start on your true path to success.

The worst thing for you right now is to continue pursuing the wrong thing. Whatever it is you love doing most, don’t be afraid to shift and go all in again.

Stop messing around. Stop pursuing the wrong thing. Stop generalizing yourself.

Do everything you can to become known for what you want to do in life.

So what are you waiting for?

It’s okay to experiment and try different things in order to find your passion. Once you do find your one thing, throw yourself at it 100%. Brand yourself around it, create content around it, curate your social posts around it, and you’ll become known for it with time.

You get to define the box people put you in. Are you taking advantage of this opportunity?

It takes courage to niche down. You may be afraid of losing potential clients that are in need of a skill you have. But just because you know how to do something, doesn’t mean you have to showcase it.

The payoff for being hyper focused is well worth any risk.

If you have any particular questions or fears on finding your passion, niching down your services, or branding your freelance business, leave a comment below and let’s work through this together! I’m here to help as best as I can.


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  • Great post Brent! I suffered from this heavily upon starting my freelance careers not long ago. I wasn’t sure how to specialise when I can do a lot; graphic design, 3D modelling + rendering, web design and product design. I knew my passion was for two things though: Graphic design & product/engineering design; the first I was passionate about since I was a young boy (Making banners, logos, posters etc.) and the second I discovered during my studies at university, which taught me how to innovate and design professionally.

    I knew I had to choose between the two and then niche it down to one or two things. What I did was combine the things I was passionate about in both categories: using engineering design methods to innovate logos and identities. Thus specialising in logo design & branding and adopting a ‘design thinking’ methodology as my main process. Even now I’m not sure if i made the right choice, but this is what I niched it down to and I’m running with it and see how it goes.

    Thanks again for the post!

    • Thank you for taking the time to read and share, Zeyad! It’s awesome to hear you take a unique approach to design with the “design thinking methodology.” Keep with it! :)

  • Keith

    Aww Brent, there you go again. You always seem to put out the right content right when I need it, and it makes me have to think hard again! I offer too many things (some I’m good at, others…er…not so much maybe). I would say I am an artist/illustrator first and foremost, but I really dig creating tangible, print materials. So…here I go having to think again. (I believe as a result of your post, I have ruled out web design, cause it is what I would still have to learn the most which I realistically wouldn’t have the time for, and so many other folks do it already). Thanks Brent. Keep the sound and tried content coming!

    • Thanks for taking the time to share, Keith! I’m glad it got you to think about what you want to focus on. A big thing people need to realize that I shared here is, just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you have to promote it. Stick to what you’re best at – or even better – stick to what you want to be known for.

      Continue thinking and pushing yourself to grow! :)

  • Very helpful post. I’m actually in the process of rebranding myself along with building a business plan for 2016 (both ideas from you!) and this has made me realize that niching down should be a part of that process.

    Unfortunately, I have no clue what I would want to narrow myself down to. I’m a web designer by trade but I don’t get to design and code new websites often simply because I can’t seem to find new clients and also because in my free time I don’t do it “for fun”. My current clients are those who just need help with their current site, fixing problems or updating something.

    Thanks for all the great information in this article; hopefully it will help me reflect and decide what I enjoy doing and what I want my business to revolve around. But I’m also afraid that maybe none of this is what I’m passionate about anymore since I don’t do it as a hobby apposed to when I was younger and making new websites/graphics all the time.

    When you decided to niche into logo/t-shirt design, was it something you were already good at? Or was it just something you really loved but weren’t quite an expert in?

    • Hey Shaylee, it’s awesome to hear you’re applying what I share here. I too am working on my end of the year review of my freelance business! :)

      When I started to narrow my services, I had a bit of experience with designing logos and t-shirts. At the time I was a jack of all trades, so I took on any design work I could, but I wanted more logo and t-shirt projects, so I focused my brand around that to attract it. With that focus and persistence, I did start to land more logos and t-shirts until it became my primary focus. It was certainly a slow transition, but without the focus on my brand, portfolio, and content, it wouldn’t have happened as easily.

      I suggest you stick with any current work you’re doing and any future work you land, even if it’s web design. But once you figure out the type of work you really enjoy, begin transitioning over to it. Your new clients will start to find you and eventually your old (unwanted) work will fade away.

      Stick with it and continue the good work! It’s been awesome seeing you grow and refine your freelance business! :)

  • Susie Hosterman

    I’m very glad I came across your site! I just officially started my business (Graphic Design and Photography) in July and have been getting advice from friends to narrow my field. As you mentioned in your journey, web design offers more moolah and so I’ve been accepting those clients to pay the bills. But I mainly enjoy designing logos and directing photo shoots. The web is always changing and difficult for me to learn all the new coding! It’s more stressful than enjoyable. I’d love to narrow down, but having a decrease in funds is not ideal. I’ve currently been working on a relaunch of my website so reading this article comes at a great time.

    • Hi Susie, I was in the exact same position you were a couple of years ago. If web design isn’t your true passion, then I recommend you do what I did, and slowly make that transition to your true passion. If web design is what’s paying the bills, then don’t drop it all at once. Rather, start refocusing your brand piece by piece, and transition your efforts to doing more of the work you love doing until hopefully you can fully commit to it. It certainly takes time, so start making that transition sooner rather than later if you can.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! :)

  • Catriel Poletti

    Hi Brent, I’m really glad of having found so useful information! I’ ve been working for many years in jobs I didn’t like at all just for paying bills, and I never let my real passion go out and express itself.
    Since I was a very little child, I loved writing, creating stories and reviewing texts from others. But then, when I grew up, life took me over different paths that were really far away from that inner passion. Now I think It’s time, once at all, to develop my potential and start doing what I love most, and what I think I’m really talented for.
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and knowledge, it’s really worth for me at this moment, I’m just about to launch my own website to offer my services as a proofreader and content creator. I hope I will keep getting useful advices from you that will help me built myself as a brand in order to succeed. Have a nice day!

  • I think that is great advice with regards to choosing something to niche down on. I have recently started a graphic design and illustration business, and I find it difficult to say what I specialise in. Partly because I feel like I can cover a number of areas and I don’t want to feel like Im cutting my potential market short and missing out on potential clients. However, creating a list of services then means Im not specialising anything. I like what you said in a reply to a previous comment about sticking to what you want to be known for and I think that is great advice.

  • Manish Pishey

    Hi Brent, good to read your post. I just quit my high paying night job as a clerk at a back-office, l was stuck and totally lost interest. Now I started working on Upwork since last week were I won 2 small jobs in Data entry. I am preparing portfolio samples too. But my childhood passion was alot into outer space and working for NASA. Maybe my dreams are too high and out of this world. I do have a Mechanical engineering degree. Can I work as a freelance scientist and where do I start? Are there scientists who give out freelance work?

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  • Antigone

    GREAT post!!! Thank you very much for the inspiration! I’m still struggling with the niching down-focusing 100% on what i love and do only that. Everything seems to be distracting, but reading your story and insights i already feel inspired and more clear on my vision. Your words are exactly what i needed right now to feel unstuck and follow my passion path! Thanks again :D

  • Hi Brent,

    What a great post!

    A mentor of mine once explained to me that we find our “business mojo” when three things intersect:

    (a) What are we good at?

    (b) What are we passionate about?

    (c) What will people pay us to do?

    If our ideas meet all three of those criteria, we’ve found our business mojo.

    I was just doing some reading on your story about getting started with t-shirts before going through this post. What a great story! Something you just don’t hear every day…

    Also, I believe this is my first time commenting on your blog.

    I plan to return in the future, so allow me introduce myself. :-)

    My name is Brent Jones and I’m a freelancer. I offer writing and social media management services and have earned my full-time living that way for the past year or so.

    I’ve also spent the last year building an audience through my own blog…

    But it’s only in the last month or so that I’ve really figured out who I want to serve through my blog — other freelancers!

    There are a ton of people in the exact same spot I was just over a year ago… people wanting to leave their full-time career positions to begin building online service-based businesses. And I want to help.

    So I guess you could say that my own blog is going through a bit of a transformation at the moment.

    In the meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to start connecting with other freelancers, such as yourself. Pleased to virtually “meet” you and I intend to keep in touch!

    All the best,

    Brent

    • Thanks for taking the time to read through everything and introduce yourself, Brent! I certainly hope to see you around online more, whether it’s here on my freelancing blog or elsewhere. :)

      • I’m sure you will. Just something about people named Brent, I guess. Generally good guys, I’ve noticed. :-)

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  • Hi, Brent! I would love to hear your perspective on this:

    A lot of creative professionals struggle for a long time – sometimes years – with finding/picking their niche. When you just can’t find your niche (even if you put time and energy into it)… Common mistakes? What are we doing wrong?

    • Great questions, Tomas! I’d say a common mistake is not focusing enough on what you want to do. I know how scary it can be to try and go all in on one specific thing. A couple of years ago I had no idea how I’d make t-shirt design my one thing. But once I really drilled down on the market and figured out what I needed to do and earn to make a living with it, I made the commitment and I made it happen. I couldn’t just mentally commit, but I also had to redesign my entire brand around it. This is how I’m able to make a living as a t-shirt designer. Now people come to me for it, because it’s what I put out there. It’s the one thing I love to do most, and that shows in my brand.

      I think the only thing you can do wrong when finding your niche would be to remain stagnant on what you’re currently doing, even when you know it’s not what you want to be doing. As long as you’re actively working towards your goals and/or experimenting with different niches (so you can find out what your’s is), then you’re on your way.