We have all heard some version of the old saying, “find something you enjoy doing and make your living in that field”. For most people that would seem to be easier said than done. Millions of these working Jane’s and Joe’s go to employment that is not physically, psychologically or financially particularly rewarding. They toil to earn a basic living and count the days until Friday, Holidays and vacations.

Clients, students and entrepreneurs often ask me how to they can find a career that is fulfilling, exciting and lucrative. I do not believe there is a road map that one can follow to workplace happiness. However, I do know this; the happiest people I know are self-employed, own small businesses or are extremely entrepreneurial. Often the basis for their success is that they are providing others with a product or service that they themselves created to satisfy a need in their life.

Here is an example of a fellow that is doing exactly what he wants, in the environment in which he is happiest and earning a lucrative income to support his family and a number of social services to which he is committed. Several years ago, a Spanish accountant (that is exciting work) was introduced to my marketing consulting firm. Carlos lived on the Costa del Sol in Andalusia and his passion was sailing. He hit the sea almost every day after work in his Morgan Cutter and spent almost every weekend and holiday on his boat. Carlos often sailed to Morocco, across the busy and treacherous Strait of Gibraltar.

For many years Carlos was an active contestant in sailing regattas (races). He loved the speed, the freedom and the competition. Like most sportsmen that pursue speed he was always looking for an edge to wrench more speed from his Morgan. He raced the boat with as much weight removed from the hull as he could safely risk. He bought specialized sails and endlessly practiced his tacking skills. The faster the boat cut through the waves the faster Carlos wanted her to go.

One morning while sitting on the deck of the Morgan, sipping Spanish Espresso, dark and thick, he observed a flock of birds gliding overhead. He began to process the sight of the graceful birds whisking by, actually bursting into the wind. Immediately he saw the opportunity, maybe, hopefully, to add a feature to improve the performance of his boat in races based on these bird’s wing angles. He took the boat to berth and rushed to his home workshop.

It took months of tinkering, testing, fitting and retro-fitting before Carlos perfected a design for a stabilizing wing that could be easily attached the hull of his boat. Finally the day was at hand when he would test the wing in a regatta. His result was stunning. He came first and won Best in Class with his newly enhanced Morgan. He had never experienced such speed.

Initially, Carlos was happy just to enjoy the additional speed and stability in rough water that his wing provided. However, one day he invited a friend aboard. The friend knew sailing and was amazed and thrilled by the performance he experienced on the day sail on the Morgan. He began to nag Carlos about taking the product he had created to market.

This was when we met Carlos. He had a production quality prototype and 3D CAD art for his perfected stabilizer wing and wanted to market the product. He made all of the right moves in choosing a manufacturer, customizing a marketing strategy utilizing a guerrilla strategy, building a realistic business plan and test marketing the product.

The product was initially demonstrated at sailing regattas on the Mediterranean and Atlantic costs of Spain. Orders started to come as word of mouth about the product spread from racer to racer. Soon Carlos had a choice to make: concentrate on selling his product or continue with his number career as an accountant. Easy choice!

Today Carlos life is centered on sailing to marina’s, ships chandlery’s and regattas in Spain and France to demonstrate and sell his wing. He is making as much money as he made as an accountant and is having a whole bunch more fun tacking his boat than punching a calculator.

This is only one anecdotal example of “making your living doing what you love”. We believe that more people could enjoy similar success and happiness by seizing opportunities available in their personal universe. It is a realistic goal for most!

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, Inc. (www.duquesamarketing.com) has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.