So you want to turn your passion into a paycheck? You're not alone. After all, you know what they say: If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.
Okay, well, as someone who does do what I love, I'm here to be honest with you that sometimes work does feel like work — whatever it is that you're doing. But that's OK! Work is supposed to challenge you, and that can be exciting and inspiring, especially if you generally enjoy the work that you're doing. Turning your passion into a paycheck, after all, is not necessarily going to come easy. If it did, everyone would be doing it, right?
Maybe you love animals and want to open up your own pet-care center, or perhaps you're a savvy traveler and would love to work for an established travel agency helping clients to plan their own trips. Whether you're hoping to turn your passion into your own business or work for a company getting to do what you love, you're going to have to put in the elbow grease to get there.
Here's how you can do just that.
Turning your passion into a paycheck is not going to happen overnight. But that doesn't mean that it's not going to happen at all! If you're willing to put in the time and effort, with these six steps in mind, you can achieve your goals.
First things first, you have to decide on your passion. Most of us have plenty of passions; after all, we're all human with many different sides to us. I love writing, traveling and playing my ukulele. But I choose to be a writer because, ultimately, it's the most feasible passion to turn into a career — and I get to travel and play my ukulele while I do it.
So pick one of your passions to hone in on — preferably one that you think could make you some money down the line. Maybe that passion is drawing, too, as you love to sketch and are always doodling as a hobby. Or maybe that passion is baking since you're always doing it for friends and family. Both creative design and baking can be lucrative careers!
Before you can ever make money doing what you love, you have to do a lot of what you love. Let's take a reading passion, for example. Say you want to write a book. You'll want to read a lot of books before ever attempting to write your own — this way, you get a better sense of the writing style you enjoy, as well as of what sells and what readers want because you are a reader. Or maybe you want to write articles for a magazine like I did. Starting off writing for your own blog or contributing articles for free is going to help you, as it helped me, build up a portfolio that you can use when applying to paid writing gigs down the line. The point is that you have to start somewhere! And besides, how will you know if you're truly passionate about it if you don't spend a whole lot of time doing it before someone pays you to do it?
Here's the tricky part. You might absolutely love baking, but if there are tons of bakeshops in your area, the demand for more isn't there. Unless, however, all of these bakeshops are offering up cakes and you're going to be the first or one of few to offer up pies. Or maybe you have a special recipe that sets your baking apart from the rest — and there's a demand for that specific recipe. Your pies or your special recipe would be your USP (unique selling point). Likewise, if you come up with a business idea that seems genius to you but, in reality, no one would probably ever use it, it's probably not going to turn into a booming business.
In other words: You need to be realistic about what is going to sell or, regardless of how passionate you are, it's not going to sell. Sorry to break the bad news.
Turning your passion into a paycheck probably means taking a real risk in order to really see your dreams to fruition. After all, if you're spending all of your time and energy on another job, you won't have the adequate time it takes to pour into your passion — enough to start making money from it, anyway.
A friend of mine is passionate about comedy. She's taking evening improv classes and doing standup on the weekends while she works her full-time job to afford to live in Los Angeles, where she needs to be to pursue a comedy career, for example. But, at some point, she's going to have to take the leap into doing it full time — as are you with your passion! (Unless, of course, you're just looking to make extra income from your passion!)
Set small goals for yourself to keep yourself motivated along the way. Maybe you set up your social media pages for your business and want to reach 1,000 likes by the end of the first month. That's totally doable! But if you expect to go viral immediately, you're likely going to be crushed, and low morale isn't going to get you anywhere. Setting small, feasible goals along the way to reaching your ultimate goals can keep you inspired and chugging along.
Turning your passion into a paycheck is hard work — especially if you're planning to start your own business. So don't be afraid to ask for help. As your clients or customers for their feedback. Talk to a financial advisor. Hire a career coach. It's easy for you to see why your passion should make you money (you love it, after all!), but it's always wise to have other pairs of eyes on your work and other perspectives to help keep you levelheaded and moving forward.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.
Our employer partners are actively recruiting women! Update your profile today.