I often hear "You get paid to do what you love. You are so lucky" but it's not true.

When I left university with a degree in product design engineering there was no career path for a designer with a social conscience. If I had wanted to weave tapestries or make beautifully printed wallpaper then resource and recognition would have been straightforward. I wanted to use design to solve problems so I had no choice but to start building the organisation I knew was needed to tackle some of Scotland's intractable problems.

Together, with the extraordinary Sarah Drummond, I created Snook, a social service design company, where we use design and digital to tackle big problems. Not First World problems, but "whole world" problems like reducing youth unemployment, our ageing population and Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.

Despite never having led a team before or been managed by a boss, I leapt into the unknown.

The first year was one of ageism, sexism, bureaucracy and sleepless nights. The resources and support for start-up businesses, women in tech and local enterprise were difficult to access and often invisible. Prejudice dominated my days. I work in a male-dominated culture. Men, and specifically white, middle class men, have a strong hold over where money goes and why: they make up 78% of MPs and 95% of FTSE 100 chief executives. I had to learn the realities of the tradition and hierarchical structures embedded in Scotland's public sector before I could begin to challenge them and, hopefully, change them.

So to do what I love, I've had to break some pretty firm barriers. But in a way, that's still doing what I love: changing things. Just don't think that loving it makes it any easier.

With any business, you often need to do things you wouldn't choose to do. Certainly, I love creating a vision, trying to inspire others and developing new ideas. But I don't think I'm very good at managing people, and I'm not a big fan of spreadsheets. These two things always feel like, well, "work", as do the many day-to-day tasks that keep Snook running and growing. It's not all love.

There's immense pressure to turn our visions and ideas into business. A real pitfall of doing what you love is the pressure to monetize it and this often takes the magic away and corrupts your work when you are not paying attention. If you're not prepared to see wonderful ideas die because they won't pay for themselves, don't "do what you love". You need to pay your own wages, never mind other people's.

There is such a thing as doing what you love, but it’s not luck, it’s being flexible, resilient and just rolling up your sleeves and getting on with it (even when you don't feel like it). For a love affair to be long lasting and rewarding, you can't ignore the bits that don't interest you.