The Plus Factor: How to Turn Your Passion Into Your Day Job
This week on The Plus Factor, we’re zeroing in on women in wellness who have transformed their careers into their happy places—and how you can do the same.
From wellness rockstars (Wall Street dropout Lauren Imparato, now the founder of I.AM.YOU Yoga) to your Facebook friend who just left finance to launch an organic beauty line, it seems as if more women are making the leap from heavy-hitting corporate careerist to game-changing female entrepreneur.
The thread they all have in common? Turning their side hustle into a full-blown career, more and more often with a health spin. Which may have you thinking: "I'll have what she's having."
"I think entrepreneurship is very on-trend," says Kandace Hudspeth, founder of women’s wellness brand Nourish + Bloom. "People want to feel intimately connected to the work they produce and they want to see and feel the impact that work has on others...to work for, create, or support brands and businesses that are truly dedicated to a purpose."
"People want to feel intimately connected to the work they produce and they want to see and feel the impact that work has on others."
After almost a decade of analyzing consumer insights and brand strategy as the chief digital officer at New York City advertising agency McCann (and dabbling in personal training on the side), Hudspeth packed her bags for Boise, Idaho, to lead marketing at Bodybuilding.com—and two years later, took an entrepreneurial leap into the women's wellness game with startup Nourish + Bloom.
"I’m happiest and most successful when putting all of my creative energy in one direction," Hudspeth says of the switch. "My career shift was driven by my personal mission of inspiring women to wholeheartedly pursue their best life.”
With Nourish + Bloom, Hudspeth has surrounded herself with an all-woman team united around a singular goal: helping women achieve their full potential, through premium natural supplements (built for busy lives), recipes, fitness and mindfulness videos, and wellness lifestyle advice via the brand's app.
“I love connecting and sharing the lessons I've learned from coming into my own definition of success and wellness," explains the the lifelong athlete and former competitive fitness champ (seriously, check out her Instagram account). "As I’ve aged, and I’m 35 now, my fitness journey has taken me from a place of just purely focusing on aesthetic drivers and performance values, like getting stronger, to a place of wanting to feel good from the inside out."
Your IRL interests can be a recipe for career domination.
Key takeaway: Your IRL interests can be a recipe for career domination. Nicole Cogan, founder of the gluten-free menu navigator site No Bread, has a similar take. "I worked at JP Morgan for three years right after school in equity sales," she says. "I was always client entertaining, taking my clients out to eat. And I never knew what I could eat because I had a gluten allergy."
So in her spare time, Cogan began cataloguing meals that were safe for her to eat in an Excel spreadsheet. Soon enough, friends began asking her to share—and No Bread NYC was born. Today, she's expanded her city guides across the US and to London.
"When I left, my intention was to make that bold move and leave finance for a passion project," she remembers. "I wasn’t happy in my old job, and I knew that I had this creative energy. If you love something enough and you devote your everything to it, you will make it work."
Itching to make the switch yourself? Read on for 3 crucial steps to turn your passion into your full-time career.
1. Get to know yourself
Sure, living out your dream job every day sounds grand—but being an entrepreneur doesn't mean you get to leave the office every day at 3 p.m.
"Beyond passion, you are going to have to enjoy the hunt, the networking, and have no problem talking to anyone and everyone about [it]," Lauren Handel Zander, co-founder of life coaching company The Handel Group and author of Maybe It's You, says. "If cooking is your passion, cook every night. Invite people over. See if it becomes a burden or the best thing."
"The people who can look in the mirror and figure out their passions, strengths, and most importantly their weaknesses, those are the people who grow and achieve the most."
Hudspeth agrees. "You have to evaluate: ‘Who am I as a person? How do I function best? Is that purpose and that spark the thing I want to dedicate 150 percent of my energy to? Or is it better served as a hobby, and I can balance it with the other things that are important in my life?'"
If you're landing more on the hobby side, that's cool, too—it's all about finding a balance that will make you happy. "The people who are self-critical and self-aware, the people who can look in the mirror and figure out their passions, strengths, and most importantly their weaknesses, those are the people who grow and achieve the most," Hudspeth says.
2. Make a game plan
Zander estimates that about 75 percent of her clients are looking for more satisfaction in their careers, and want to figure out how to make that happen. One of the first steps she recommends is also the most obvious: Come up with a business plan.
"You have a vision for how to do it, and if you don’t currently have a ‘how to’ then you [have to be] willing to figure it out, no matter the fear," she advises.
And be prepared to tackle the twists of starting a new business. "Building a startup brings new hurdles every hour," Hudspeth says. "I have a very small team, and we make every decision from formulation, to manufacturing, package design, website, app, fulfillment, customer service…It’s part of the process, and I love every test."
3. Create authentic connections
Once you check off steps one and two, it's time to go public—at least on your Instagram feed. "To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to tell anyone and everyone about your passion, and test it publicly," says Zander, adding that you have to actually like networking.
"It’s more than just talking to people, it’s about documenting your experiences and sharing those experiences in a genuine way that creates the grassroots of a successful business.
"People always connect to the things that are most authentic versus those that create an idealized story of themselves through social media channels," Hudspeth notes. "So when you’re self aware and you know your spark, find the most compelling ways to document and share those daily successes and failures as you achieve the journey. Then you’re able to have more influence and authentically grow the audience for the business that you want to create."
And social media success is no small feat, according to Hudspeth: "That’s a powerful tool, because you end up developing your customer base—and a very loyal one at that."
In partnership with Nourish + Bloom
Top photo: Stocksy/Katarina Radovic
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