Ask most people what their dream occupation is and they’ll usually mention one that involves a particular hobby or passion of theirs. The perceived satisfaction of being able to make money whilst working in a field that you’re passionate about is an elusive one, and also one that remains theoretical for most.
I’m lucky enough to report that it is indeed wonderful being able to go to work and also follow your passion, but the road that took me to this point was by no means easy.
I first started gardening for other people as a hobby. At the time I was working a in a lifeless office job, getting paid an OK salary but feeling like I was wasting my time nonetheless. I would spend most days hungrily looking forward to the weekend which would usually involve a trip to the garden centre, followed by hours of gardening. I loved the little garden behind my terraced house. Although it was small, I spent all my time packing it with as much life as possible, however it wasn’t long until I felt that I was running out of space. This is when I decided to offer my services to my neighbours.
I was fortunate enough to be on good terms with most of my neighbours, our walls were so thin that we were often able to hear each other through the walls, so it helped to know each other on a personal level. After reaching out to my neighbours on either side of me, my weekends became focused on planning and transforming their little gardens. Each space offered it’s own challenges which made the task all the more interesting and I soon found myself doodling designs in my spare time at work.
The first garden I tackled was Marjorie’s a sweet old lady who unfortunately is no longer with us. Marjorie had been quite the gardener during her youth, but as her mobility had faltered in later life her little garden had begun to get quite overgrown with some nasty invasive plants. When I first started hacking back the mass of plants, I was alarmed to discover a huge patch of Japanese knotweed. This bamboo like plant can ruin the value of a house, not mention bring up serious legal implications for the owner of the property should they allow it to spread to neighbouring properties.
For the sake of all of our house prices I stopped all my other projects and started focusing on systematically treating all the Japanese knotweed in the neighbourhood, a service that many were more than happy to compensate me for. Today I own a business that specialised in removing invasive plants and weeds from people’s gardens. I get real satisfaction on a daily basis from finding overgrown properties and turning them into spaces with potential.
Despite having no professional experience in this field I’ve been able to carve out a niche for myself that I wouldn’t have been able to do without my passion for gardening. My recommendation for those who are stuck in jobs that they do not care about is to ask what really makes you happy and how you can incorporate that into a career.
Just be prepared to put the time in and take a few risks!