At 30 years old, Jokke Sommer‘s zeal for life is contagious. Each day, he risks his life to do what he loves and lives like it’s his last—literally.
Sommer is a professional BASE jumper, one of the few thousand brave souls on the planet who attempt the most dangerous sport known to man, with approximately one death every 500-1,000 jumps.
If you don’t know what BASE jumping is, it involves squeezing into a skin-tight, full-body nylon wingsuit and gliding over the jagged edge of a mountain at 160 MPH.
Sommer has been responsible for making basejumping popular on youtube and is one of the best flyers in the world, sponsored by GoPro and RedBull, whose daredevil feats have earned him millions of video views and hundreds of thousands of followers across social media.
Unlike most extreme sportists, Sommer doesn’t have a lifetime of experience in his craft. In fact, just years ago, he used to be a Kindergarten teacher and base-jumped whenever he could make time.
This week on Unconventional Life, I interviewed Sommer about how to make your side-hustle your full-time job.
Growing up in Son, Norway, Sommer says he always had a taste for life’s greatest thrills. He was fascinated with all things that could fly and dreamed of flying one day.
Though he graduated college with a degree in graphic design, Sommer became a Kindergarten teacher because of the flexibility and the lifestyle it afforded him. As a teacher’s assistant, he was able to take days or weeks off at a time to go BASE jumping.
“That was always the number one thing for me… not getting a job that paid big money but getting a job that was flexible,” Sommer says.
Sommer started BASE jumping as a side hobby, a “getaway from the office.” He never anticipated it would one day become a fruitful source of income. In fact, he lived a very lean lifestyle just to be able to afford the equipment—at times sleeping out of his car or camping in tents.
Sommer got his big break when he decided to post a video to YouTube of one of his jumps. The video went viral and sparked the inspiration for a YouTube series called Dream Lines, which follows Sommer on his exhilarating flights down the mountain.
Some millions of video views later, Sommer began getting sponsorships from big-name brands like RedBull and GoPro. Soon after he quit his job teaching and was getting paid to BASE jump and travel to the world’s most exotic jumping sites.
Below, Sommer shares practical advice for how to make your side-hustle your full-time job.
Success Is Not Always Obvious
The income from BASE jumping enabled Sommer to quit his job as a Kindergarten teacher and pursue flying full-time. “I guess I got rewarded by actually daring to chase something that’s not an obvious success. It was not something that I knew was going to go well,” Sommer says.
Though Sommer’s success is an anomaly, his story is relatable. How many of us feel like we have a yearning to do something more with our lives, to take bigger risks and experience more of what life has to offer?
Though your side hustle may not seem promising, if you love it and do it well, stick with it. When you’re the best at what you do, it doesn’t matter what it is—people will pay attention, and attention is today’s most valuable online currency.
Prioritize Freedom Whenever Possible
Sommer says to chase what you love because in it you will feel free. Let your drive be living life on your own terms, free of being told what to do or how to spend your time.
“It is scary to jump off a cliff but to me it’s way scarier to not be free. To be told every day you have to do this, you have to do that, is way scarier than possibly dying young,” Sommer says.
Be Willing To Take Risks
The trade we make between giving life our all and playing it safe may actually be keeping us from a life well spent in the long run. Be willing to take risks—share the time you spend in the office with an activity that makes you feel alive and like you are fully tapping into life’s well of joy and enthusiasm.
“This concept of living life on the edge, you grab life in a different way. Every day you’re always excited and happy and then it’s gone. People ask me, ‘aren’t you afraid of dying young?’ No—I’m already 500 years old. In order to do all the things I’ve done before I was thirty the average person would have to live to be 500,” Sommer says.
Sommer shares more about taking risks in his chapter of the upcoming book, 3 Billion Under 30.
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com