As a young child, I dreamt of becoming a veterinarian. In fact, I had never even considered a career in anything else. I was so sure--until I got to college. Even though I enrolled in pre-vet, I never finished. Why? Because I dropped out to become a designer.

It might seem like a far stretch, but after taking several art and design classes, I realized I had found a deep passion. That passion eventually led me back to pursing an MFA in design at Savannah College of Art & Design and then led me into co-founding my branding agency Motto in my early twenties.

There is an old saying that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. While that mantra could be argued, the sentiment behind the phrase is definitely worth pursuing.

If you want to start doing what you love, pursuing your passion should be at the heart of that decision. Entrepreneurs who focus on their passions tend to be more successful than their less passionate peers, and there are plenty of ways to find your passion and turn it into a thriving business.

Here are three of the most effective ways:

1. Bet On Your Strengths

Turning your passion into a thriving business may not be as daunting as you think. You may not think you have the relevant training and expertise, but many skills, including soft skills like communication and being a natural-born leader, can help.

Look for ways to harness your existing strengths and use them to pursue your new passion. Your leadership skills can help you build a great team, while your people skills can make it easier to round up funding for your new enterprise.

2. Focus On a Vision

If money, time, energy were no obstacle, what would you do? While most people think, "Well, time, money and energy are my obstacles" this type of thinking limits your ability to think big. By articulating your vision without constraints, you are able to picture what you truly desire and take the necessary steps to move your business towards that vision.

Ask yourself, would you travel the world? Would you spend your time exploring little-known coral reefs and swimming with the sharks? If travel is your passion, perhaps a job as a travel writer, nature photographer or tour guide is in order. Do you love to cook, and do you long to spend your days in the kitchen instead of the office? A career as a food blogger, restaurant reviewer or café owner can help you achieve that vision and turn that passion into a business.

3. Look Before You Leap

All kinds of enterprises, from show business to restaurateurs, can look far more glamorous from the outside. Before you pursue your passion full time, look for ways to get an insider's perspective.

If you find yourself just as passionate after getting an inside look, you will know you are on the right track. If not, you will have avoided a costly mistake. There are many different ways to check out your passion from the inside without giving up your full-time gig or putting your current income at risk. Doing volunteer work can give you an insider's perspective and help you make contacts that will be important in the future. Taking a part-time job in your chosen field will allow you to learn about the industry while making some extra cash. If you are already a business owner and entrepreneur, getting appointed to various boards can give you a unique perspective and help you fuel (or dispel) your passion.

Whether you are fed up with your current career or just looking for a new challenge, doing what you are passionate about is a great way to make a new start. Many men and women go through their careers in search of a new opportunity, but they are too fearful to make the leap, but you do not have to succumb to the same fate. Always seek passion, but follow the money. If you have the expertise and the dedication to see it through, you can turn your passion into an exciting, thriving new business.

Published on: May 23, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.