How to Create Your Dream Job

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 02/18/22 •  9 min read

How to Create Your Dream Job was originally published in December 2011. It was was updated in February 2022.

It wasn’t until recently that I really figured out what my dream job was.

I wrestled with this back in the days when I was a financial analyst.  I knew I wanted to be doing something different than that, but I couldn’t really tell you what it was.

I found that the first step towards figuring it out was simply a matter of doing more stuff that I liked doing. When you’re kicking it in a cube for 50 hours a week, there’s not a whole lot of extra time to explore hobbies and interests.  In other words, it’s very difficult to figure out what you’re dream job really is.

However, there are certainly some steps we can take in order to get closer.

Reframing Your Perception of the “Dream Job”

What do you think about when you’re daydreaming about a better life?  Perhaps it’s skiing the wide-open back bowls of Vail with a foot of fresh.  Maybe it’s spending your free time researching and reviewing the latest tech gadgets.  Might even be something as simple as sitting down with a notebook and paper and being able to write to your hearts content.

Whatever your version of that is, I’m willing to bet that your dreams don’t involve a job.

No, you dream about the stuff you love doing, and usually that doesn’t involve work.

If you love what you’re doing you can’t really consider it a job, especially if it’s something you’d do without getting paid.

It’s time to get rid of the term “dream job”.  Whenever you’re at the mercy of someone else and stuck adhering to their rules, it takes even the best jobs and demotes them from the “dream job” category.

Thus, the concept of the “dream job” is more of a fantasy.  It might exist somewhere, but if anyone has a dream job, I have yet to hear about it.

So, instead of creating your dream job, we are going to go about creating your dream life.

The beauty of doing that is then you have full control.

You have a much better chance of creating your dream life than finding your dream job.

So how do you go about that?

My Dream Job Life

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I didn’t really know what my dream job was until fairly recently.  That’s because I didn’t get to experience it until recently, and it’s hard to confirm what you really want until you experience a taste of it.

Before I decided to go to school for finance, I’d always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to get a degree in hospitality.

My dad’s best friend used to be the GM of the Hilton in Downtown Salt Lake City.  Every year after Christmas we would take a ski vacation to Utah to go see him and get some runs in.

Because of our connection, we’d live the high life on those trips.  Three bedroom suites at the hotel, comped lift tickets, complimentary meals.

Ever since the early days I had a skewed vision of what being in the hospitality industry meant.  I always thought my dream job would be working as a GM of a big fancy resort.

Then I learned about the hours those jobs involved – 16 to 18 on some days. What about the stress? Both of dealing with your employees and your guests – this only gets worse as the property gets fancier. More stars = more stress.

No it wasn’t the allure of being a manager that excited me, I simply wanted to be able to explore luxury hotels and restaurants at my leisure.

Sweet now I know what I want, I’ve just gotta find someone to pay for me to stay in fancy hotels all the time and perhaps write about them.

Note from future Sean: I wrote this originally in 2011. It’s now 2022 and I finally found a way to get paid to stay and write about fancy hotels 🙂

Laptop and ocean view

Getting some work done in my hotel room at Pueblo Bonito in Cabo San Lucas.

Ummm. Yeah right. Maybe one day after spending years working up to that level.

So what was left to do?

Create my dream job.

Step #1: Establish What It Is

For some this will be easier than others, as like I said, it wasn’t until I got more experience outside of my vacuum of a day job that I realized exactly what was important to me, as well as what I found enjoyable.

My dream life looks something like this:

  1. Live a life of adventure where I’m constantly creating new stories
  2. Help as many people as possible find happiness and do the stuff they want in their lives.
  3. Experience the “high life” in a way that is affordable and doesn’t break the bank
Note: I know some of you guys may look at that last one and think that’s a little self-serving.  Well the fact is, that’s probably true.  But hey, I can’t help what I enjoy! And I do a lot of good, and help a lot of other people in different aspects of my life, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

This is going to evolve, but the more I go through life and the more I accomplish the more clear things become.

Two years ago I started living my life of adventure.

This year I’ve begun to help others achieve their goals.

It’s been over the last few months that I’ve realized how much I do enjoy being around the hospitality industry.  I’ve realized that I love to write about luxurious locations and open up a world that many people only dream about.

So what have I done about it? I’ve set to work creating my dream job.

Step #2: Search for Mutual Value

So if I want to create a “dream job” of high end hospitality writing, how can I do that?

First off I have to figure out what I have to offer. Why would anyone want to give me complimentary rooms, meals etc. that would allow me to live out my dream?

There has to be something in it for them.

Ok, what’s important to them?

Exposure for their brand to a targeted demographic.

Well hey, I can provide that.  I’ve already got a community here at Location Rebel that is full of people who want to travel and read about cool places.

Well that’s a start, but it’s probably not quite as big of an audience as they’re looking for.

Alright how can I expand that?

I can build a partnership with a travel company that can amplify my message to an even more targetted audience.

Now we’re talking.

What else?

Oh, what about building a specifically tailored brand around people who want exposure to that market? Enter Breaking Eighty.

It doesn’t matter what your version of the dream job looks like, the central tenet of it is going to revolve in one way around providing value to others in order to get what you want.

Each of the three things I outlined revolves around providing value for others in one way or another. The more value provided, the easier it is to create the dream.

Step #3: Ignore the Haters

Anytime someone disrupts the status quo, there’s going to be haters. People are going to hate you for chasing your dreams and tell you it can’t be done.

Why? The answer to that question I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand, I believe it all stems from jealousy that they aren’t pursuing it in their own life.  You will face opposition in your quest to create your dream life.

Anytime you try and do something that doesn’t involve going to work for someone else, people will most certainly question your judgement and/or your sanity.

Step #4: Just Do It

So how do you start?

The best way I know of to start, is to just start.

Until you take action no one is going to do it for you.  That said, the best part about this is once you take that first step, as simple and insignificant as it might seem, you will be on the path to having your dream job – and that’s a path very few people ever step foot on.

Penelope Trunk talks about how you have to put in your 8 hours. Everyone has to put in 8 hours a day. While I don’t completely agree with this, the fact that everyone has to do something to make a living I do agree with – and more often than not, it will include 8 hour days.

The way I look at it, if I’m going to invest that much time into work, it better damn well be something I enjoy.

Other people will advocate why you shouldn’t turn a passion into a business.  Also, in many instances I believe this is true. However you have to have passion about something in order to be successful creating any kind of business.

I learned SEO in order to live life that allowed me to explore my passions of travel, adventure, helping others, and hacking the high life. Was I passionate about SEO? Not particularly, but that was the vehicle I used in order to experience my passion – which naturally evolved into a business.

Quit trying to find your dream job – it doesn’t exist.  Go out there and start creating your dream life.  It’s easier than you think, and once you take one step down that path, you’re never going to want to turn around.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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30 comments on "How to Create Your Dream Job"

  1. Lee Knowlton says:

    Great post Sean. Incredibly motivating post to keep moving forward. One caveat that I’ve often run into is actually making it past the “what kind of lifestyle do you really want?” part in step 1. I think it’s tough to really commit to some things you’ve never really tasted before (adventure, travel, programming, etc.). At least for myself, if I don’t get out there and actually experiment with something to find out how it really it, I’ll alternate between dreaming myself into a balloon of hype and being disappointed and depression.

    Any thoughts on this discovery part?

    P.S. Put the wrong info into the previous comment. Would you delete it for me? Thanks.

    1. Sean says:

      I totally get what you’re saying, and I think part of the discovery part is just discovering it. You already have an idea of what you like and don’t like, and what you are interested in and not. So take the things that are appealing and just start doing it. If you like travel, then analyze it more. What type of travel do you like? What aspects of it do you like? Do you like guiding people? Writing rreviews? Being a foodie? Those are all things you can relate to past experience or you can do on your next trip.

      Programming is even easier, you can go out and buy a programming language book and get started right now. It’s mostly a matter of making a conscious decision to figure it out.

      1. Lee Knowlton says:


        Thanks for the reply. I’m in the process of doing the experimenting and analyzing. It just takes time and can get disheartening when everyone but seems to seems things set or, even worse, to have some elusive “passion.”

        I appreciate the guidance and will continue to work, experiment, and improve myself. Looking forward to joining the dream job/life group.

        Take care!

    2. Eric says:

      Lee, I just checked out your blog, and I really like the idea of sending someone a note of gratitude every day. Some good ideas going on there.

      1. Lee Knowlton says:


        Thank you for the complements on my blog. I checked out yours as well and will be back again for sure. What kind of editing do you do?

      2. Eric says:

        Many thanks, Lee!

        I do all kinds of editing, from basic proofreading to substantive overhauls, depending on each person’s needs. I’m in Europe, and most of my customers are non-native speakers whose work (theses, sales copy, websites) needs a professional, native voice.

  2. Dave Stokley says:

    Sean, haven’t talked to you in a while, but I’m still following along. Straight up, this is the best post you’ve ever written. Lots of good insight that clearly shows you’re speaking from experience. I could probably write a comment as long as your post agreeing with and providing elaboration on and examples of everything you’ve said, but i’ll abstain. Instead I’ll just say that you’re right to focus on creating the Dream Life and not the Dream Job. Unfortunately no company is hiring someone to play golf and drink beer all day, or we’d all be applying. BUT, it is possible to create this opportunity for yourself…

    You probably remember the blog I started a few months back. I was trying to get started writing lifestyle-type posts, but that wasn’t really what I was interested in, and I didn’t really have any experience with what I was trying to do. What I’m really into is craft beer, so I’ve recently started a beer review blog, and it’s going great so far. Before you even wrote this post I did exactly what you are recommended and pitched my blog as a way for small breweries around the country to get exposure for their beers, and voila, I’m now receiving free samples of beer in the mail. I’m not making money from the site, yet, but I’m having fun, learning a lot, and making a name for myself in the craft beer industry, all of which puts me one step closer to that Dream Life.

    Folks, it’s really that simple. Listen to this guy, he knows what he’s talking about.

    1. Sean says:

      Thanks for the kind words man. Usually what I’ve found is the “dream” really has very little to do with money. Yes, you want to be able to make a living, but that’s not why you do it. When those are the motivations, it makes everything you do so much more successful, because it’s coming from the right place.

      Also I need to get you in touch with my friend Jenna, she runs a homebrew blog and is the most craft beer obsessed person I know.

    2. Terrisa says:

      Hey Dave, I love the journey you described to your craft beer blog! It came so simply to you “what I’m really into is craft beer” so you started a blog and made the connections!

      The simplicity of some people’s stories makes me smile because my journey to figuring out the “shape” of my business was really about a year. It just kept morphing over and over again the more I learned. Thankfully, in the end, a lifestyle biz really is a simple concept. I’m grateful for folks like you and Sean to do a great job of boiling it down!

  3. Sean:
    I love your exhortation to “just do it”! I’ve been “frozen” in fear, apprehension, and hesitation before, and the fact that I just had to put myself out there has freed me! When I grow up, I want to be like you! You inspire!


  4. Kevin Wells says:

    Hi Sean,

    I’ve been following your blog for about a year now, this is the first time I’ve commented on your site.

    I think you make some excellent points here. Especially about just getting on and doing it and also about the need to create value for other people as you do so.

    The need to just get on and do it is I think actually what holds a lot of people back. It’s that great fear again: “the Fear of Uncertainty” that most of us have, (maybe even all of us – myself included).

    But I’ve found from my own experience that once you’ve got started with something then the fear actually melts away. It hardly matters what it is – it could be learning a new sport, travelling to a “third world” country, migrating to another country, starting a new job or profession, starting a business, public speaking, whatever…

    I agree that it tends to be the case that there are no real “dream jobs” out there in the majority of cases. Jobs as offered by employees tend to be configured in such a way that they easily become boring.

    But I think most people can probably find their “dream activity”, or “dream mission” if you like. And this can be a form of work, although perhaps not the 9-5 employee type of work that you find on offer in most cases. More likely something you might do as a freelancer or running your own business, or some other outfit. It could also be a charity, a pressure group, an interest group or whatever…

    And as you say, the dream has very little to do with money. The money will come by itself. Even if it’s not riches, you will almost certainly get enough money coming your way to life at at least the average level or so. For that matter, it will even come to you if you set up a charity or something like that (because even for a charity you’re entitled in most cases at least to draw a modest salary if you’re running it full time).

    Finally, about the 8 hour a day thing… that’s just because 8 hours tends to be the standard “unit of employment” by which work is traded in our economy. I certainly don’t think you have to “put in 8 hours” if you are setting up by yourself. You should be putting in at least twice that 😉

    But seriously, you don’t necessarily have to stick to a fixed 9-5 anymore. Just make sure you do invest the necessary hours that your business or venture needs, whenever and however you do it.

    Thanks for your inspiration Sean and good luck with all your ventures in the new year!

  5. Ash says:

    Most Valuable Post I’ve read all year. There is enough “…so, when are you going to get a real job?” rhetoric going around in the world. I wish I knew more entrepreneurs and digital nomads in my real life to reinforce it sometimes. Nice work.

    1. Turner says:

      I get that ALL the time Ash. It can be frustrating. I started my blog a few weeks ago, about to set out on my biggest travel job search yet, but you always will find haters. There is just no way around them. Also surprising as well is the number of people you think are fully on the same page as you, but once you get going are fairly muted. You just never know until you go. That said, this piece struck a note with just trying something and taking action. You never know how it will pan out, but sometimes along the way you find what you don’t want to do as much as you do what to do.


  6. Greg Freeman says:

    Man…. whenever I just started like that…. I ended up broke. I’m still recovering. Whenever I read posts like this, I just cringe. Here’s my story, Sean.

    What did I do wrong? You’re not the only person who’s told me I just need to quit this and start that…

    1. Sean says:

      Hey Greg, I’m sorry for the trouble you’ve had in the past. I’m not saying you should go out and quit your job right now. Most people can’t and shouldn’t do that. However if you’re motivated to do something better, or at least different, then you can start taking steps to make it happen. Spend more of your free time developing a business or as I say in this course your dream life – whatever that may be.

      So I don’t advocate quit this, start that. I’m advocating “continue this, create that, then quit when the times right” – but no one but yourself can tell you when that is.

  7. Eric says:

    Sean, you’ve written a couple of posts in the last month that have found me at just the right time. Lots of thoughts on passion and commitment recently. I’m doing some freelance editing now that, while not a passion, keeps me mobile and not in some job back in the States. More importantly, it’s a necessary step on the way to the bigger things I want to do.

  8. Sarah says:

    Great timing with this one, like Eric said. This concept finally struck me earlier this week, and life has been vibrant and interesting now that I’m clear. Get streams of income that I don’t hate, even if they’re not my “dream”, continue to talk to cool people I want to work with, stash money away, pick a date to leap, and then go. I love how you started with SEO, expanded into the Location Rebel stuff and are now doing this new site. I realize it’s sort of a “duh” thing, but sometimes it feels like if you don’t pick the RIGHT thing RIGHT NOW then you’ll be doomed for all eternity, which is clearly not true. Thanks as always for being a good example!

  9. Nice Post, some good reminders – the essentials, the organic nature of why we do what we do. Thanks Sean.

  10. Curt says:


    The whole first part of your post is exactly what I did. I was going around digging all kinds of half dug holes and not finding any gold as brendon burchard says. Then had to focus and do the self-discovery process, basically narrowed everything down and how I want my life to look like. The hardest part is the transition income though and still focusing on one thing since I’m a massive generalist and have so many ideas.

    Most people have the opposite problem I have. They have a job and are making money but don’t know what they want. I know what I want but don’t have a job or the transition income to help assist me. I could also do SEO work very easily, but it doesn’t interest me to do it. Do you have any frameworks for approaching freelancing work or any great resources on transition income, or insights to the transition income process.

    I think your hacking the good life project might be very similar to what I’m doing with my adventure projects. Be interesting to see what your doing with hacking the high life.

    1. Sean says:

      Curt, Thanks for the note!

      As for good resources on transition income – I think absolutely Location Rebel would be a good fit for creating some income while you figure out whats next. If you’re looking for something without the investment, I’d take a look at this post I wrote way back in the early days, but is still really relevant:

  11. Good stuff Sean. I’m curious to know how you sell your audience to the luxury resort places as well. Isn’t your audience mostly a younger crowd, with therefore less money, who is looking to save money and go a slightly cheaper route? I enjoy travel too, and I’m thinking about doing something similar with cruises and some hotels. Gotta figure out my audience’s demographics more thoroughly first.

    Also, any follow up thoughts on the SEO comment?



    1. Sean says:

      Well there’s a few different ways I look at it. First off, most people, even those who backpack or can’t afford it, would totally stay at a luxury resort if they opportunity was given to them. Hacking the High Life is aiming to make places that are ordinarily unaccessible to the average person, attainable. Both through finding the places with the best deals, and learning some hacks to ideally get it for free. We’ll see how the brand evolves, I’m still figuring out where I want to take it.

      Really interested to hear your take on the cruises/hotels – let’s catch up on it soon.

      Responding to your other comment now…

  12. Grace says:

    Hmm, I like these kinds of posts that really make you think and consider, what your dream life would look like.

    I’m not sure if dream jobs exist or not, because too much of a good thing can turn bad…but I always (secretly) wanted to be a movie critic. 🙂

  13. Chas says:

    Like so many things we are programmed to believe, even the idea of a ‘Dream Job’ has become a cliche’, when it is actually a ‘Dream Life’ that we are seeking. Thanks for pointing that out and once again changing the Mind-set.

  14. Martin says:

    Got that Lee. My only disagreement is with the dream job. I bet there is a dream job because some jobs just suck. The other time, my friend who really have knack for sweets got a job at his favorite sweet manufacturer as a “tester.” Can you believe that? All that is involved is that he will taste the sweet and give his opinion. He is paid thousands for that.

    Apart from that, I agree with all the other points that you raised.

  15. Agree with @Dave above, I love a lot of your stuff, but I think this is the best post I have read – or maybe the best post that has resonated with me. Too long, I have been searching for that elusive dream job and now the “passionate” thing to build an online life around, so I’m glad I’m not alone when I’ve been striking out on those ideas. Just like SEO isn’t your passion, it’s a way to get the job done to live the life you want. Like @Lee said above, I have a really hard time finding things I love and sticking to it, but maybe this new way of looking at things will help.

  16. terrisa says:

    Hey Sean, so glad to have run across your site this evening! I’ve been writing all day about similar topics . . . only I take a bit longer to say them 🙂

    My favorite part of this post – besides your analysis of your interests to find out just WHERE and FOR WHAT that illusive “passion” of yours existed. [This is what most of my own work is centered on.]
    (Ok maybe I had two favorite parts 😉

    My other fav was your argument for the “dream job” fallacy. Dream lifestyle is much more appropriate. I’ve encountered some negative attitudes toward using the word “lifestyle.” It usually comes in a statement like “Lifestyle says to people “no work.”
    I’m an artist and I also hear that statement a lot in relation to art. “An artistic lifestyle is an excuse for artists not to work.”
    I have to try hard not to get angry when I hear statements like these and remember that those folks are more than likely doomed to a life of drudgery, absent of inspiration.
    Then I feel sad for them.

    What more divinely or universally intended work can there be besides what inspires love, purpose and pride in one’s work? A “legend” built on experience instead of a resume?!

    Thanks for the great post!

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