I once had a friend who loved to yo-yo. He was a computer security specialist by trade. But, when he had some down time or wanted something fun to do or just needed to get out of his own head for a while, he’d whip out his yo-yo.

Working through a problem? Yo-yo. Bored? Yo-yo. Frustrated? Angry? Yo-yo. No date on Saturday? Yo-yo.

This had been his “thing” since he was a teen. And, over time, he started to pick up ious tricks. He, in fact, became quite good. He’d show up at parties and people would ask him to yo-yo. Mesmerizing the crowd for an hour. He then decided to enter a competition or two. He won these handily. Other lesser skilled yo-yo enthusiasts happily paid him for learning tricks and tips.

Pretty soon, he built a business around this. He’d hire himself out for parties, sell instructional videos, win cash prizes at competitions. Not too long after, Duncan offered him a paid sponsorship. They gave him more money than you can imagine for playing with a kids toy and flew him around the world doing something he loved.

Now, he did not set out to become a professional yo-yo expert. All he was doing was passing the time in the era before Facebook and social networks and all of the other things so many of us “pass time” with existed. Yet, the passion for the skill and fun of the play he had was so deep that at a certain point he couldn’t not build a business around it and find some way to do it full time.

Now, I’ve lost touch with him and he is not coming up on my searches. I don’t know what he is doing today. Maybe he is still doing yo-yo professionally or maybe not. But…

Oh, I forgot to mention, do you know how it was he became a computer security specialist? He loved to hack into people’s systems in the early days. Big companies, small ones, banks, etc. You know, just for fun. He was a kid. He didn’t do anything to them. He did it just to see if he could. He’d leave a backdoor sometimes, maybe. Not always. He was easily bored once he got in and generally just moved on to the next.

But then, once day he got caught. Some savvy IT guy at one of these companies tracked him down and asked him how he got in. He told him that they would have to pay to find out and that he would be happy to fix it for them. At that moment, he realized that he could build a business around that for every single place he hacked. That he could offer to hack people and fix their problems and not risk getting arrested for it. At a certain point, for both his level of skill and own personal safety, he couldn’t not build a business around it and find some way to do it full time.

My point being that, basically, freelancing ultimately boils down to this:

  1. Discover who you are and what you love to do.
  2. Build a business around that.
  3. Repeat.

Anyways, where was I? Oh, yes. I don’t have any idea what that guy is doing right now. But, my guess is it has something to do with these three steps.