According to Forbes magazine, combining your passion and career is a fast-track path to the poor house, and with understandable reasoning. For starters, most potential clients expect people to follow their passions for free. After all, that’s what free time is for right? The experts from the worlds largest money magazine also suggest that most passions aren’t profitable, and it’s true, it takes a certain marketing genius to bottle a passion and turn it into an in demand commodity.
However with such subjective measures of success, perhaps the potential financial risk of passion-hunting is worth the trade off, especially if you really can monetise your hobby. One Aussie entrepreneur to smash these rules and proving the most serious of experts wrong, is photographer Eugene Tan. Although (in a superb example of his genius), you probably Uge by his business name, Aquabumps.
For 18 years shooting at daybreak has become Eugene's morning ritual, initially capturing images of Perth’s beaches for his mates before work and emailing them all, most likely to inspire a hint of jealousy.
"Photography was kind of dorky back then, before new media, but I just thought it was the best; I had the lab to myself. It was a beautiful darkroom, in the admin building hidden underneath a staircase," Tan told The Huffington Post Australia.
Since his humble beginnings, combining passion and career has taken Uge from Perth, to Bondi, to Rio, and Italy, all in the name of photography. He now sends out a daily email of his morning captures, to hundreds of thousands of subscribers world wide. The business model has allowed him to open his own gallery, and has attracted the attention of some serious sponsorship dollars.
And although the growth has been organic and he’s built a phenomenal business off the back of his skills, it wasn’t a quick journey to success.
"A lot of people say to us, 'Oh wow, haven't you guys gone great guns in the last couple of years'. But it began 17 years ago, so really, it's been very slow," Tan says.
Anyone that’s ever laid eyes on an Aquabumps piece knows the power of imagery, and in particular Uge’s creative eye. His artworks immediately transport you to another, usually tropical, world. It's no wonder business is booming for the photographer.
And perhaps that's where the secret to success when it comes to combining passion and career; a pure skill in your chosen hobby or passion. Something that Mr Tan has perfected in spades.