Pursuing Your Passion: Meredith Hannon

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pursuing your passion

 

My wife read my post about trying to monetize your passion and immediately thought of my sister, Meredith.  A few years ago, my sister quit her lucrative job working in the corporate world to become a full-time artist.  She’s the perfect example of someone who monetized her passion.

 

So readers, today I bring you my talented sister, Meredith Hannon.  She’ll never share this information, so I’ll share it for her.  Let me begin by saying that my sister is way smarter than I am.  She grew up going to the gifted and talented school and had a great worth ethic.  I’m pretty sure she crushed her SATs, but I have a feeling I never found out the score because she didn’t want me to feel bad about myself.

 

In my opinion, her credentials don’t fit the typical artist stereotype.  She was the president of her high school and also the homecoming queen.  She was popular, smart, and pretty.  Plus, she’s an extrovert, and everybody likes her.  

 

pursuing your passionSo basically, she’s everything that I’m not 😉

 

In college, she decided to major in Biotechnology and then went on to get her Masters at Georgetown in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  After school, she started working and decided that she liked marketing and worked for a huge firm before she decided that what she actually wanted to do was pursue painting.

 

The Birth of a Passion

pursuing your passionOne summer while she was home from college, she asked my parents if she could paint her bedroom.  I’m not sure what my parents expected, but when it was complete, they were amazed.  She had painted a mural that covered all four walls.  My mom showed it off to the neighbors like a proud mom would.  Quickly after that, my parents’ neighbors hired her to paint different types of murals in their homes.

 

Over time, she began to branch out from murals.  After she graduated from her Masters program, she started to enjoy painting with oils on canvas.  She began to take on commissions by the day until she was basically working two full-time jobs.  She would work her corporate job during the day and then paint until she passed out at night.

 

Rising Demand

pursuing your passionIt then got to a point where she was in such demand that she was barely seeing her husband, and she thought, this has got to stop.  She needed a better work-life balance.  As much as she enjoyed working at her company, she had always had a strong desire to be an entrepreneur.

 

She read through Tim Ferriss’s The Four Hour Workweek to learn as much as she could before she took the plunge.  She was convinced that she needed a business plan and most importantly, to identify three different income streams in order to diversify herself.  

 

Creating a Plan

Meredith determined that she would be able to earn a living and pay the bills if she could do three things: commission work, get her paintings in galleries, and sell at various art shows.

 

pursuing your passionShe and her husband talked it over.  After they had prayed through the plan, they decided that it was time she pursued painting full-time.  She was afraid that if she didn’t take the leap before she had kids, that she may never have enough time to hustle and build the relationships that she needed in order to become a successful artist.

 

Meredith was fearful at first taking the leap, as she was afraid that painting as a business may take some of the fun out of it.  But she was more afraid to not give it a shot and regret it.   

 

Full-Time Work

pursuing your passionSo with the safety net of her husband’s job, Meredith took the plunge into painting full-time.  This was right as the recession was ending, which was perfect timing.  If she had started before that, she feels like she may have become frustrated at the lack of sales due the tight budgets most had.  On the other hand, if she had waited much longer, she was afraid that she would have fallen into the routine of motherhood and not be able to dive into the field.

 

At first, she was putting in 50-hour work weeks, doing everything possible to produce quality pieces as well as tons of admin work beating down doors and forming the relationships that she needed to become successful.  

 

Her Current Status

pursuing your passionI am happy to report she is now an internationally-known artist as she has forged relationships with galleries outside the U.S., further expanding her reach.  

 

Now that she is a mother to two small children, she has cut back on some of the hours.  I asked her if she has any regrets about jumping out of the corporate world.  She said she didn’t.  She believes it was the perfect springboard into the lifestyle that they now enjoy.

 

So, I asked her what was next.  Does she have any new goals?  Is she complacent where she is?  She said she’s content where she is right now, but she re-evaluates her goals regularly.  She does hopes to license out her work one day, but at this point, she is taking it one step at a time.

 

If You Are Interesting In Seeing Her Work…

Click here, and prepare to be amazed!

pursuing your passion

Readers, would you work two full-time jobs to get the business that you are passionate about underway?  What do you think about the fear of monetizing a passion and potentially hating it?  Share your thoughts below.

 

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53 Comments

  1. Very cool story and great art work. The art world always fascinates me as an outsider simply because I can’t identify what makes a good painting good in most styles of art. While I like the pictures on the website for example I can’t personally see the difference between amateur and world renowned, except that both are light years better then my stick figures…

    Anyway, back to passions. I still feel there is a great deal of risk in making your passion your primary job. There are exceptions of course, but let’s go back to the photographer example. For every world known National Geographic photographer there are thousands more taking pictures of technical parts and other boring things day in and day out for user manuals. My guess is not being able to choose an interesting subject is not fun. Similarly if your sister was moderately successful rather then greatly so, would she be happy painting charactures at the mall and advertisement for something dull full Time to pay the bills.
    Fulltimefinance recently posted…Credit Score ImportanceMy Profile

    • I have to admit that I don’t have quite the art eye either. I remember walking through the Picasso Museum and I had no idea why the art work was considered good. It’s all in the eye of the beholder I guess. Or wealthy people that are willing to spend big bucks on that stuff.

  2. Wow. I’m not really into art but those paintings are amazing. Your sister is one talented artist.

    I would fear monetiazing a passion. There is a lot of stress that comes with work that is your main source of income. You hear it all the time. When people turn a hobby into their job, it becomes just that. A job. That’s why you see a lot of professional athletes no longer love the game as much as they once did.

    It sounds like your sister is doing really well. Does she enjoy painting now as much as she did before she made it a full time job?
    Go Finance Yourself! recently posted…Do You DIY?My Profile

  3. I agree with Green Swan, I fell for it too….I thought the featured image was of a European city. Her work is amazing! When you have talent like that, and it’s in demand, you walk away from corporate life with not so much as a blink. Definitely the right call, congrats to your sis!
    Max Your Freedom recently posted…Max Whisky GuideMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Max Your Freedom!!! She definitely has a talent that is in demand. It never ceases to amaze me how busy she is and how much people are willing to pay 🙂

  4. During the tail end of 2016, I was really working on two jobs trying to get my blog and real estate business going. It was tough. With two kids that also have extra curricular activities, it’s a tough act to try and balance your work, passion and family. After a couple of months, it’s causing a bit of friction in the family so I had to cut back on my passion. I really admire the entrepreneurs that are able to pursue their passions and make it through.
    Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k recently posted…How Far Can You Stretch Your Dollar?My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Leo!!! It’s always interesting to see the entrepreneurs that can stick with it and the ones that have to scale back in order to balance everything that they have going on in life. It would be interesting if people got a paycheck to pursue their passion and what they would choose to do 🙂 I think that would be an interesting exercise.

  5. Absolutely gorgeous…

    It’s not all about the money. Corporate America isnt for everyone and if you can make enough in your other work, why slave away? Thor are my thoughts as of late.. I’m looking to leave my job within the next 2-3 years… wish it could be today!

  6. Your sister has some major talent! Wow–I always wish I am more artistic.

    I am lucky, my career matches up with some of my passion. I feel fulfilled from the work I do, and enjoy it! Although it’s not as flexible schedule wise as I would like, it is working pretty well for me right now. I do have the option to drop down to part time whenever I want, which is definitely something I may consider if we have another kid.

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing Katy!!! That’s awesome that your job aligns with your passion. I feel like that’s pretty rare these days. Sounds like you have a great work if you’re also able to drop down to part time whenever you want. That’s awesome!!!

  7. These pictures are truly amazing; what a great talent! I guess those neighbours made a great investment too by having an original Meredith Hannon on their wall 🙂
    I think monetizing your passion obviously takes a bit away from it’s fun side (especially if you rely on that income), but isn’t it still much better to make a living from something you truly enjoy then something that you do only for the money…?
    Roadrunner recently posted…Achieving Financial Independence is Not About the Amount of Saving But the Saving RateMy Profile

  8. Wow good stuff! I’m still trying to take blogging seriously and if I can earn enough to sustain myself full time (no hubby or anyone else to fall back on I’m afraid) then I could see jumping ship. I do think there is a little fear it takes the fun out of it when it’s a business. Right now I can write whatever I want and now worry about “is it SEO-friendly” or “will it attract pinterest users.” Right now at my full time job, that is EXACTLY what we do! I’m glad Meredith found the balance to still love it and make it a business!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Zooming Out: A Way to Gain Perspective on So-Called ProblemsMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Tonya!!! I am in the same boat that I write whatever I feel about and don’t worry about trying to attract an audience. I hope over time I can attract the right people but if not, I’m having fun 🙂

  9. Those paintings are incredible. Even more incredible is that she gave up so much to pursue her passion instead. I feel like there are many people that don’t feel like they can make such a drastic change because they have spent so much time (and money on school) in their current career path. I absolutely loved reading this today :)!
    Making Your Money Matter recently posted…What Having It All Taught Me About MoneyMy Profile

    • I’m so glad that you enjoyed the article. It was fun interviewing my sister as I felt like I learned a couple of new nuggets of info…i.e. I had no idea she read Tim Ferriss 🙂 Thanks as always for stopping by!!!

  10. your sister has some serious abilities. It’s funny to me how often a person with such talent kind of discovers it by chance at one point or another in their lives. Like another post pointed out, what if your parents had never let her paint her room?

    • That is so true. I wonder what would have happened. I always feel like the talent would come out somehow but you never know. Maybe she would have waited until retirement and become the next Grandma Moses 🙂

  11. Your sister’s paintings are BEAUTIFUL! If I could afford one I would buy it. 😉 In many ways I’m working two full-time jobs as I try to monetize the blog into being a full-time gig. I think it’s important to start monetizing a passion while you have the safety net of your existing full-time job. That way you can prove that it’s a viable form of income as well as something you love.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…Moving Tips On A BudgetMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Mrs. Picky Pincher!!! I’m in the same boat as you. I’m trying to hustle outside of work and see if I can turn this thing into anything. If not, I’m still having fun but we’ll see how long the amount of hours I put in lasts 🙂

  12. Having that safety net of a second working spouse is pretty key for sure. The great thing is, if they were making due on one income, you can definitely have a second spouse go after their passion business.

    And the great thing about pursuing this type of passion is that it seems like it has pretty low start up costs. You’ve got cost of art materials, but otherwise, you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get started. I’ve always been a fan of that, since it means you won’t go bankrupt if things don’t work out.
    Financial Panther recently posted…What’s The Most You Could Save In Tax Advantaged Accounts?My Profile

    • Great thoughts Financial Panther!!! I love low barrier entries into markets. While anyone can do it, if you are truly talented you will standout. If you’re not as talented as you thought, it doesn’t cost you too much to bail 🙂

  13. Amazing artwork! Your sister is very talented! I can understand the fear of monetizing a hobby that you’re passionate about. But I would much rather deal with the risk of my passion turning into just another job than the regret of not taking the leap. I think the regret would haunt me more.
    SomeRandomGuyOnline recently posted…Blog Update: Six Month Blogiversary!!My Profile

  14. Thanks so much for sharing that story (and your sister’s artwork, which is amazing!). I admire people who are able to step away from conventional jobs and pursue their dreams. I hope to take a sabbatical in the future (before 2020) to take a break from my day job as an engineer, so I love hearing inspiring stories like this!

    • Thanks for sharing Unconventional Sustainability!!! That’s awesome that you’re looking to take a sabbatical here in the future. I would love to do that even for six months 🙂 But we’ll see what the future holds.

  15. Cool story and awesome artwork! Kudos to Meredith!

    Back when I was young, I was afraid of turning my passion into a job because of the fear that I would start hating what I love. But now, I would rather take the dive and try and do what I love and see how far it’ll take me instead of letting fear hold me back.
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  16. Love the pictures! I most certainly would work two full time jobs if I needed to, but have no desire to make my hobby of painting into a business. I’m no where near as talented as your sister is, but I do enjoy occasionally creating a painting. Heck, I’m planning to make my kids playroom into a mural once I tear down that wallpaper, but I’m sure it will take forever. It’ll be fun, though! 🙂
    Liz@ChiefMomOfficer recently posted…Frugal Isn’t Cheap- Spend Less, Save More, and Live BETTERMy Profile

  17. This is an inspiring post and happy for your sister. of course as another reader pointed out, wonder what would have been had your parents not given her the freedom.

    Also, there are times when people know they are good at something but just don’t know it completely yet. In that instance, while it takes a while to figure this out, getting the support is essential and critical.

    • Thanks for sharing Ranga!!! I feel like my sister could have pulled the trigger earlier from my outside prospective. She definitely needed a little push over the edge. But all in good time 🙂

  18. Very interesting article! You are a very good brother! I’d really like to have a brother like you! Good luck to you and your sister!

  19. Your sister is gifted indeed and the paintings are amazing! If you are truly passionate about something, then doubling down on it almost comes naturally.
    In my career, I was passionate about going into management in the server hardware industry. Typically it takes 8 to 10 years of solid engineering work to get into the “good old boy” club. I was able to get into it in ~4 years straight out of school and I am so glad I was able to accomplish it.
    Those 4 years I doubled down and worked twice as hard as my peers – those were 12-16 hour days of work in my life and it paid off well.
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    • Wow Michael you can definitely tell by your dedication that you were bound to move up quickly. That’s awesome that you had a goal and you quickly made it there. Awesome job!!!

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