How to profitably follow your passion through a second career

Wendy Raizin, Founder & Designer at Raizin Design

How to profitably follow your passion through a second career

While working as an investment banker within New York’s famous financial district, I made the bold decision to pursue my creative eye through interior design. Since launching my business, Raizin Design, LLC, in 2002, I have turned my passion into profit by making a name for myself as a “designer for the stars,” creating and executing high-end home designs for the likes of Hollywood director Judd Apatow.

Having pursued a “second career / second act” in life, I can offer some tried and true advice to aspiring entrepreneurs when it comes to following your passion(s) while ensuring significant profits – both financially and emotionally.

Define and visualize your passion.

It’s one thing to know what you’re good at or even what you like, it’s another thing altogether to understand what you’re passionate about. Start with identifying your interests – not just your skills – in order to create a path that drives you.

Since extraordinary success requires many hours of labor and repetition to develop a brand, you must be fueled by your passion.  It’s hard for a business endeavor not to succeed when incredible drive is behind it.

To keep the drive going when I lose my direction for a moment, I created a "future board" highlighting the areas of interest to me – where my passion exists.

Educate yourself; be your business.

Once you know what you want to do, immerse yourself in everything you can possibly know about your industry. It sounds trite, but people concentrate so much on the doing they forget the learning. The more knowledge and experience you have, the stronger your business will be. I subscribe to Malcolm Gladwell's thinking that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in a field. However, it’s how those hours are used that are key.

Make it official.

After you’ve determined that your business is a viable one, be legit and commit. Create a business plan and brand your company in such a way that captures the attention of your target audience(s). Get help, hire professionals, or find advisors. Don't be led blindly, but do not be blinded by hubris to think you can handle everything alone. All companies need and rely on preparation, guidance and determination.

Solve and serve.

You know what drives you, but what drives your clients / consumers? Be very specific in pinpointing exactly who will benefit from your business and how, and be sure to customize your services to their needs. Listening and watching are far more important than talking. It's a lost art that many entrepreneurs ignore while they attempt to "sell" themselves. If you can tap into their passions the same way you connect with your own, success will be found. 

Be efficient. (Money and time are both assets.)

Unless you are running a non-profit, your business exists to make money. When it comes to time management, be lean and efficient. Determine which tasks add to the bottom line and which tasks are a waste of time or better outsourced.

Always watch your financial statement and scrutinize all decisions, as each has an effect. Never spend to impress others or your ego, only to drive the business forward.

Each of these tips are irrelevant without application. Above all, the most important tip to pursuing your passion through a second career in the form of your own business, would simply be to try. It may take a while before you can cut the cord from your current career and focus on your own business full-time, but it will be a hard-earned win that was worth the effort.

About Wendy Raizin

In the world of contemporary design, Wendy Raizin is known for her fresh, clean-lined approach to redefining space. Born and raised in New York City, Wendy has always had an affinity for elements of structural design and aesthetics. After attending Oxford University, Wendy had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Europe and Asia, providing her many design inspirations found throughout the world.  In 2002, Wendy founded Raizin Design Group, Inc. a boutique design consulting firm specializing in high-end residential and commercial interiors. Guided by the principles of simplicity and integrity, the company is focused on seamlessly blending classic elements with today's modern environment. For more information, please visit