Q&A with Michael Asimos on Turning Passion into Money
Wine connoisseur Michael Asimos has carved a pretty rewarding career out of something most people would consider a sought-after holiday. He spends his days visiting vineyards and tasting the latest wine collections or talking to clients about the best pairings if he is not enjoying all the travelling that comes with his job. We sat down with Asimos to talk about his passion for wines, what his tested strategies are, and what he thinks is the key to success in any business. Read on.
How did you get into the wine business?
I’ve always been interested in wines and the whole process ever since I could remember. For a time I thought about studying to become a sommelier and making a career out of it, but I realized that I wanted to work with wines in a much broader sense, and that’s when I got into import and export. It allows me to travel and at the same time indulge in my passion, which is to try out new wines, rediscover old favorites, and share these discoveries with friend and clients.
How did it become a profitable venture for you?
Not very long, actually. I just focused on making it enjoyable for myself and I learned from people who knew so much about the trade. Having the passion for this job is what kept me going and helped make it easier for the business to take off.
You speak often about bringing passion into your work. Why is that so important to you?
Passion is perhaps the key to why I enjoy wine the way I do, and why I’m relatively successful in this trade. Turning to wine as a hobby is one thing, but when you decide to create a career out of it, being passionate about it means that you care enough about it to spend the majority of your time pursuing it. And that’s what happened in my case. Being passionate about wines makes giving your 99% so much easier. The remaining 1% is everything else that you do with any venture, like marketing and salesmanship which, thankfully, also came easily for me.
What’s one of the ways you’ve found for translating a passion into a career?
I think the only way to successfully transform a hobby or any passion into a career would be commitment. When I started out, I didn’t have this mindset of having a fallback in case I failed. I knew that this is what I wanted to do, I knew that there was no other option but to succeed at it and so I focused all my energies into learning about wine, the fermentation process, bottling, what the best climates are, building a network of distributors and clients and everything that comes with this business. It helped that I loved every minute of it (laughs).
What’s one of your favorite business strategies?
Being bold and confident enough about your skills and understanding of wine is pretty important. Confidence is a primary requirement when selling wine to a client and everything flows from there. If you have confidence, you can communicate information better and you can engage better with clients, which is very important in this business. Another important thing is to learn all you can about the wine you are selling, from its profile and pairing options to price point. Having all the right information ready can be a huge confidence booster, especially if you are just starting out.
Finally, what advice do you have for those who are pursuing “less traditional” careers?
Be sure that it is your passion and decide to fully commit once you know. Being able to turn your passion into your day job is perhaps one of the most rewarding things anyone can do in life. However, you need commitment to make it work so you have to be sure that this is what you should be doing with your life. Passion takes the drudgery out of work and makes doing even the most mundane tasks enjoyable. If you are passionate about what you are doing, commitment comes naturally.