Post by Amarilis Sarango

As cliché as it may sound, it’s true—do what you love and you never have to work a day in your life. However, I’ve always thought this saying is a little misleading and can allude to the idea that working on what you love is easy or that no hard work is involved. That cannot be any further from the truth.


Although I do feel like once you can make your passion your career, working takes on a new meaning. Unlike working in a job that makes you count the days, you don’t dread Monday. In fact, you look forward to it. Wednesday isn’t hump day. It’s just another day doing what you love. The week flies by—is it really Friday already?! And if you own your own business, you may actually take no days off because you love what you do so much. Sometimes the line can get so blurred between achieving a work-life balance, it can be a challenge. Although I’ve learned that it’s unrealistic to achieve a perfectly balanced lifestyle—you’ll always be focusing more on one part of your life at some point or another depending on what season you’ll be going though (i.e. career, family, health, etc.)—I still believe its important to create space for yourself and take a break from work even if it is your passion. It’s crucial to allow yourself some down time otherwise you run the risk of burn out and getting so overwhelmed that your passion turns into something stressful. It’s also healthy to have something your passionate about that is not tied to money or your way of living, such as a hobby. The point I’m making is that once your passion is your career, you are bound for success because you will be more dedicated than ever.


For some, discovering their passion is not so obvious. I found asking these questions can help clarify what that passion might be:

  1. What do you love?

  2. What do you find exciting, inspiring, and motivating?

  3. What do you like to do on your spare time?

  4. What is your strength? What do people compliment you on the most?

  5. What do you know the most? What advice do you give?

My passion has always been to be creative. If you’d ask my 10 year old self what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say an animator. Although I dabbled with animation and had fun with stop-motion clay animations, I soon discovered I really didn’t have the patience for it. Neither was I an amazing illustrator. I was, however great at re-producing and drawing what I saw. So I would re-draw Disney characters in blown-up poster size and sell it to my 4th grade classmates for 50 cents a pop. Little did I know, that was the beginning of my love for entrepreneurship. On my spare time, I was always setting up my own little make-shift photoshoots, videos, and designing my own websites. That’s what I was good at. But what I noticed was that the subject matter was always fashion or beauty related. That was my passion. I grew up learning how to sew and design my own clothes watching my grandmother and my mother who were both seamstresses. I also played with my mother’s Mary Kay and Avon makeup kits. I designed my own clothing, did my own hair and makeup, and photographed it as if it was for a magazine editorial shoot. Looking back at some of those photos and videos are pretty embarrassing, but it showed I had potential. I was a very shy person, so fashion and beauty empowered me to break out of my shell and express my sense of style. It gave me a confident identity that I couldn’t otherwise express with words.



In my college years, however, I first earned my associates in Psychology before realizing that it wasn’t my preferred career path. As much as I loved studying it, I noticed much of my energy was being spent on being creative. I thought, why not spend all my energy on what I’m truly passionate about and see how it goes. I switched my major to pursue a bachelors in Visual and Performing Arts - Interdisciplinary Studies (Graphic Design, Film/Video, Modern Dance). It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles that I started working with fashion & beauty brands—I found my world and niche. Similarly, Balmain’s creative director, Olivier Rousteing, explained to Alexa Chung in a Vogue documentary that he didn’t discover his passion until he went to law school. He wasn’t happy with what he was doing and decided to pursue his passion for fashion design as a career. Sometimes what you do on the side is where your heart is at.

Fast forward 25 years later, I still continue to do what I’m good at — creative branding & design — and work with clients I love — luxury lifestyle, fashion, and, beauty brands. My hobby is blogging and building my own brand, Black Velvet. It’s a vegan lifestyle, fashion, and beauty brand with a sophisticated edge. Black Velvet fuses my love for fashion and beauty with my values and love for animals, people, the environment, sustainability, wellness, and living a minimalist lifestyle.


Once you’ve discovered your passion, starting an inspiration board, folder, or journal that captures the things you love can help get the creative juices flowing. I like printing out images to build a physical collage on a magnetic board, but Pinterest is a great digital alternative (and more eco-friendly). Before gathering visuals for my agency inspiration board, I wrote down some key words and phrases to guide my board:

Audience/ Niche: Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle

Presence & Style: Elegant, High-Fashion, Minimalist

Personality: Sophisticated, Professional, Confident

Principles: Less is More, Quality over Quantity, Style is eternal

Don’t be afraid to look outside of visuals for inspiration: Music that moves you, a movie you’ve watched over 100 times, your favorite perfume or candle scent, an article or poem you read, or an amazing experience you had. It literally come from anywhere. But it can also be abstract and not so literal.

What inspires you? I’d love to hear about your story about finding your passion and any methods you used to define it. This is one of the steps in the brand discovery phase of my process for helping clients find their passion and vision. I hope you found this article helpful. Please let me know what you think in the comments below!