How to pursue your passion without quitting your day job

Expat Interview

Today Federica is telling her story.

She is an Expat, lives in Barcelona, and is addicted to art.


A little background:

I come from a small town in the south of Italy, called Trani, on the Adriatic coast.

Upon finishing my studies, I went to London to improve my English. Soon after I joined a worldwide known company in the education field. I was experiencing life as an expat, constantly re-discovering London, its local art scene and after getting the Sales and Marketing know-how from my 9 to 5 job, I decided to follow my passion for art and started working on my side project called Art Lover Ground.

It is an organization that showcases various artistic exhibitions. Basically serves as a platform that offers artists a community to showcase their works, talents and share their ideas with peers and spectators alike.

Then, in 2015, the company that I worked for, relocated me to Barcelona. I thought I would have to start everything from scratch, but in reality I was not aware that this time around I had more experience. Even though it is a completely new environment, I was more confident in the project.

Perception vs. Reality

At first, I thought ALG would not have half the success it had in London, because Barcelona has a much smaller population and I, myself was new to the city. To my surprise, it was actually because the city was smaller, it had much less awareness for art events of this type and my concept was fairly new, which was really fascinating to Art Lovers in Barcelona. Many people were intrigued by the concept behind such an event.

Proof? In the very first ALG event 400 tickets were sold and the venue had a capacity of 80 people!Expat job Expat Art

Proves to show how low my expectations were!

Moral of the story – do not discourage yourself, to turn a side project into something meaningful takes time and a lot of patience. Do a market research to the best of your knowledge and resources about the area/industry that you want to work in. Especially, if you are new to it, take into consideration cultural differences, level of local awareness, tools available and laws (quite important).

Time management

The secret is to dedicate 1 or 2 full hours to your project per day every week day and take the weekend to network, do public relations activities and liaise with people in the industry (no matter which one it is). The weekends are perfect as you are more relaxed, and have more energy to work on your passion project.

Don’t lose hope!

Do not pressure yourself – if you have a side project, put it into perspective that you are following your dreams and passion and let it be a fun moment of your day and not to make it seem as extra work! This will not work for you long term.

When you are tired and you need fresh air, go outside or listen to your favourite songs!

The day after, or when you will have more time you will catch up on the important tasks bear in mind, nothing is VITAL except you! You always come first!

My advice

Delegate! Tell your friends and family about your project and ideas, most of them will be happy to help out in some way to make your life easier! My advice is – accept any help you get offered. In a way they will also earn something in return, whether it is experience, networking or just some fun time after work!

However, we are all human – when you do feel like you are losing hope, find the initial reason that made you start or talk to the people who made you believe it in the first place.

Some nice memories or supporting words can always help!

If you are in Barcelona and available on May 25th, you are welcome to come and support us at the next ALG event, find more information here


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