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“…and never have to work a day in your life.”

My drive to work today found me taking a bit of introspective inventory. Odd, since I usually have a hard time focusing on the road in front of me that early. Having worked every shift imaginable in the course funding my freelance career, none were more challenging than waking up at 7AM. This self-evaluation began when a radio announcer restated this old adage. Maybe it’s Confucius (or maybe I’m full of it) that says, “do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day of your life”. I may have heard it before, but this morning it had a particular resonance.

I have always looked at my entrepreneurship as a bit of an anomaly; I was the last person that I would expect to start a business, let alone be successful at it. So, why do I love my job the way I do? Attention to the rest of the day gave me my answer.

8:30 AM: I’m in the office. My eyes are tired as I try to read my emails via telepathy so that I can keep my eyes closed. My mass of emails are downloading at a snail’s pace. Realizing that telepathy isn’t going to work, I notice an email from a client about a rush job that must be done by lunchtime. Unsure of whether I will have to shoot Red Bull into my arm to even dream of having it done in time, I take the job.  The files make their way over and the client is now at ease, which I just love to see happen for people.

10:12 AM: I get a phone call from a woman in DC that found our site online. She says that she wants a simple website  and has a very limited budget. “Well, you called the right place”, I announce with false bravado. A quick chuckle and she goes into what she wants.

Please note: a duplicate of, to mere mortal designers like myself, is seldom considered “simple”. Particularly when the limited budget is a couple hundred dollars. I suggest that she start smaller, perhaps with a micro-site to build interest, and then go for the bells and whistles when budget permits. The job may need to be done off-peak to recoup some hours, but it will keep her dreams moving forward, which I just love to see happen for people.

11:43 AM: I’m wrapping up the rush job when the phone rings. It’s a printer that I use pretty often. He asks if I could do a mail merge to a postcard in InDesign CS3. I will translate: he’s using an older version of the software and just can’t get it to work. Realizing that, not only will I be giving up my shot at a quiet lunch today, but this will also not help my bottom line…

12:24 PM: I finish up the mail merge for the printer and he’s off and running, happy as a lark, which I just love to see happen for people.

The sign says it all: "We are only in this business for fun."

The sign says it all: "We are only in this business for fun."

3:13 PM:  Though knee-deep in a brochure project that needs to be out by the end of the day, my designer gets a call from her fiance. He’s on the side of the highway, out of gas, as clouds roll in. I hear the call and rush my designer out, while taking on her project. I may be getting out a little later than I thought, but it made someone else’s burden a bit easier to bear, which I just love to see happen for people.

7:12 PM: I’m locking the office up. Walking through the alley to the parking lot, I pause. I realize why I love what I do: because I can help make things just a little better for a lot of people. Sure, I love design and the ability to create, but if it was just that, I would shoot for a job at a huge firm. I would soak up an obscene salary and produce only work that would get me awards. No, I love my job because of those around me – the clients, the partners, the team – that has their problems solved, which I just love to see happen for people.

Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.


  • evelyn grube says:

    Your “day” made me chuckle. I too have the “love of work” for the very reasons you outlined. If you can make enough people happy and satisfied, you will never want for anything. It’s a great way to live life to its fullest.
    Kind regards

  • I enjoyed this post very much! You are right the sign says it all– when you are doing what you love! I have not worked a day since I started my business!!—

    Congratulations on making a difference for people!

  • Deanna Deacon says:

    I wrote the quote “which I just love to see happen for people” and pinned it up on my wall at work.. thank-you for that!

  • You hit the nail on the head! It is enjoyable to help others. I mentor people with their real estate investoments. To see their eyes light up with apreciation does it for me. “I just love to see that happen for people.”

  • I feel best when I know I’ve helped someone. At times in the past, I’ve been in the position of having to fight for money, and the victory is shallow. It doesn’t last long, and it doesn’t mean anything. Now, the work that I do is not about me. When I’m working, it’s about my client. I want to contribute to the success of my client. When I do, I know I’ve done a good job.

  • Denise Gore says:

    Having your own business has many ups and downs but the best part is making clients happy — in a big company you may never really experience that as directly as the business owner. Loved the article and hour by hour update.

  • April says:

    Pretty good post. I just found your blog and wanted to say
    that I have really liked reading your posts. Anyway
    I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!

  • Edia Bruce says:

    I did not love the last job I held. I guess that is why they did not renew my contract. That is why I am taking over a year to sharply focus my dream so that next time the right company with the right job and I will happily find each other. What an example of that you are!

  • Mary says:

    I love helping people as well but when you work for a company that no one
    is happy at it is hard. :o( My dream job would be working with neglected
    animals but it doesn’t pay the bills.

  • Hi Patrick, really enjoyed the humour while getting across some excellent
    reminders about humanity in business. Most of us won’t be around in 100 years so
    why not make a clent’s day when we can. And we all have the tremendous power to
    make or break somebody’s day – well worth remembering.
    On the other side, I also have had some client’s who take advantage.

  • Michael says:

    Hey, have you seen this news article?
    New details about Michael Jackson’s Death Emerge
    I was wondering if you were going to blog about this…

  • Lisa Chau says:

    Ha Ha, I see you grabbed

    I hope I inspired you a little…JK


  • Very nice blog, your article is interesting, i have bookmarked it for future referrence

  • Pretty very good posts. I just came across your site and wanted to say i have really took pleasure browsing your web site posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I am hoping you post again shortly.

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