Jo belongs in the side-hustle hall of fame. She is a writer by passion but a teacher by profession. One day while awaiting a train, an idea popped into her head that consumed her and changed the course of her life. The idea was a series of books that took seven years to develop, write, and publish. In the interim, Jo survived a failed marriage and raised a daughter alone. She described the experience as, “Being as poor as anyone in modern England could be without being homeless.”

From that day in 1990 to 1997, Jo wrote every spare moment and believed her stories would captivate young readers. She penned 500-page tales of mystery, intrigue, and sorcery. Jo is better known as JK Rowling and her stories are about a young wizard named Harry Potter.

JK Rowling doesn’t belong in the hall of fame because she turned welfare into wealth although the achievement is monumentally impressive. She belongs because she endured hardship and doubt while transforming a passion into a livelihood. Imagine conversations with her friends and loved ones about how Hogwarts, quidditch, and Harry would hypnotize young readers for days, perhaps weeks. Imagine the scoffs and well-meaning suggestions to pursue more sensible endeavors as she struggled financially. But she stayed focused.

There is no way Rowling anticipated the books’ appeal but she never stated that was her goal. Instead, she knew their mystery and wonderment would engage young readers the way childhood books captivated her. 

Like many creative endeavors, the idea of Harry Potter materialized from thin air. Rowling had probably been contemplating what to write for some time when her subconscious surreptitiously assembled the pieces. When her train was delayed, the image of a young student completed the puzzle. But this one wasn’t leaving for just any upscale boarding school. This time the school taught much much more. Rowling’s accomplishments are more significant than others but the path she chose is not. 

Passion creates a path to livelihood. It won’t be logical or practical in its early stages which means you’ve got to hold onto the day job for dear life until it does. Your former interests will enthrall new devotees now so guide them the way others should have guided you. Prepare for ideas that may pop into your head from nowhere. They are seeds that your subconscious feeds and waters. You need to plant them and anticipate blossoms at unexpected times. Power forward and dream on impassioned entrepreneurs! And when you write the forward to your Harry Potter, remember the first name is spelled with a “C” and not a “K.”