Is it time to pursue your passion?

Whether we love to draw, make jewelry, show people how to thrift, or how not to kill their plants, we feel happy and fulfilled when we do it–whatever our passion might be. And if we pursue it outside of our job, there might come a time when we ask ourselves, is it time to do it full time? Can I solely do this as a career or business? Common Room’s Roma Agsalud-Agsunod and Maan Agsalud admit that this is one of the most frequently-asked questions they get from many creatives and makers thinking of pursuing their passion–Am I ready?

First, let’s clear one thing. Developing one’s passion takes time. You don’t typically just stumble upon it and get great at it overnight. According to research cited in Harvard Business Review, if we think passion simply means following what brings us joy, you’re more likely to quit when it gets challenging, as opposed to those who believe passion is about focusing on what you care about, which means aligning “passion with your values and the impact you want to have.” Once you know what that is and have started investing the time to develop it, find out how to pursue your passion professionally from some of Common Room’s successful makers.

1. Ask, discover, learn, repeat.

Before you take the leap, take the time to do some research, especially on the things that are holding you back. Yes, address your fears–are you scared you won’t be good enough? Are you scared you won’t make enough money (or even not have enough to get started)? 

Look into investing in yourself. Nike Nadal-Reyes of Nyuki believes that if you want to turn your passion project into a business, you have to treat it as such. “Take the time to learn. There are many resources now. If not paid workshops, there’s a lot of free content. If you add value to yourself, then you’d have more value that you can put out into the world.”


If your fears are more practical–hey, we all have bills to pay–find out how much money you’ll need to cushion the impact of losing a monthly salary. What are the costs of materials, workshops, or software? How much monthly survival money will you need if you’re not yet earning from your creations or business ventures? Then, set aside the money for it. 

This is what Roma tells creatives and would-be entrepreneurs who ask if it’s time to pursue their passion or open that business they’ve always wanted.  “If you’re always thinking about it, or you’re not satisfied with your [current] work and you know that someday you will leave your job, then save.” 

Look also into crowdfunding. The couple behind Gouache, which makes waxed canvas bags, turned to crowdfunding. It’s also a great way to concept-test your work whether there’s a demand for the type of bag you want to make (or pins, jewelry, pottery, etc.) you want to create. 

Get more business and creative tips at Common Room PH’s YouTube channel, here

2. Take the leap.

You’ve saved, taken lessons, even shown off your creations in your social media pages, are you ready? 

For Roma, a good indicator is if your idea is already earning. If you’ve been doing it as a side hustle “and you’re already losing opportunities to grow it because you have another job, then it’s time to take the leap. The only reason it’s not growing is because your commitment to your business is not growing as well.”

According to Roma, it’s not just taking the leap into the unknown.  “We risk it, but we try to be smart about it,” says Maan in their Meet the Maker interview. As how the sisters did it–they’ve had years of data and hustling in bazaars to know that there was a market for local makers. 

While the idea of Common Room, a shared space for artists and makers, was for them still a bit experimental, their experience in consigning, doing pop-ups, and meeting different fellow makers through the years meant they had seen the potential of the business.

3. Find your tribe.

For many makers Common Room has interviewed, one thing that has helped them make the leap and keep at it are fellow makers, artists, and entrepreneurs who inspire and share their same values. 

“That’s really where you’ll get your confidence, from the people around you, those that push you [to be better],” says artist and illustrator Cheryl Owen, who stresses the importance of surrounding yourself with equally passionate people in her Meet the Maker interview.


Kimberly Tiam-Lee of Pulseras by Kim agrees. The success in pursuing what you love has a lot to do with finding your tribe. “We chose to consign with Common Room, to stock there since we have the same values. A lot of pieces [there] are handmade, the items made were very passion-driven,” shares the jewelry maker in her Common Room PH YouTube interview

“So you look for the people and the communities that speak to you, that emulate your brand.” When you do find yourself second-guessing yourself or wondering if you made the right decision, you can always turn to people whose journey in their own pursuit of passion inspires you to create your own path.


–written by Mabel David-Pilar

Mabel has been a writer and editor for many publications including a teen fashion magazine and a book on the most endangered Philippine trees. She spends most of her time writing, illustrating, stalking Common Room’s online shop, and making ferments. Together with her sisters, she co-created a space to celebrate fermentation and eating healthy. Visit her at or @startersistersph