When did we decide that our hobbies and passions should be somehow removed from our “real lives?” Who decided that there should be some imaginary line in the sand between projects that ignite our souls and jobs that are realistic and financially stable?
Why can’t they be one and the same?
Good news: they can! And whoever told you otherwise was just flat out wrong (seriously, that guy’s a real crook—we’ve met him before). If you want to pursue your passion project for real, follow these three simple steps and you’ll be well on your way.
#1 Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Yet)
One day soon, you’ll be able to turn your life’s passion into your livelihood (don’t ask us how we know, but we’ve got a good feeling). Until then, you have to make that time for yourself without sacrificing a sufficient paycheck:
- Take a chance by simply asking for some flexibility. You might be surprised at how well your boss responds to such a request. If they like the work you’re doing, they won’t be opposed to you doing it on a slightly different timeline.
- Consider reducing your hours if that’s a feasible possibility. Gaining a few more hours throughout the week can make all the difference when building something from the ground up.
- Find opportunities to work as a contractor rather than a full-time salaried employee as you transition out of your current career and into a new one.
Word to the wise: When you finally decide to leave your current job, you should stockpile at least six months’ worth of savings. As you work to get your new startup project off the ground, you’ll have a financial crash-landing pad if your initial launch isn’t as successful as you’d hoped.
#2 Follow the Money (and the Industry)
The best thing about pursuing a passion project full-time is the flexibility it affords you. You aren’t constrained by a nine-to-five schedule, you don’t have to follow orders from some stingy higher-ups, and best of all, you can live and work wherever you want (sometimes, without even leaving the house!).
As you look to the future to solidify your passion plan (much like a business plan, but without the dreary connotations of the corporate world), consider where in the country (and even world) you’d like to live while following your dreams. There are two important factors to take into consideration:
- Income vs. expenses – If you live and work in California, let’s say, then your salary probably reflects the higher cost of living. But is that still a viable option when you could really work from anywhere, and the California income tax rate is the highest in the country? Are those sandy beaches and ocean views worth it?
- Industry and connections – Is your passion project location-specific, like a surf shop, snowshoe brand, or film production company? Can you relocate to a city that thrives off the service you’re offering, or do you have connections to certain industries that could help you turn your passion into profitability?
#3 Monetize Your Passion
When you’re no longer able to give both your profession and your project the labor they require, your passion has to become your career. Find ways to monetize your hobbies so you never have to work another day in your life (at least, that’s how it’ll feel):
- Market yourself – Until you’ve built yourself a solid reputation, you’ll need to get your name and work in front of the people who need to see it. Create an online portfolio using a website builder like Wix, print business cards, and offer your services on a trial basis as a risk-free way for companies to get to know you.
- Find freelance opportunities – Working as a freelancer is a great way to earn money for your work, whether it’s web development, copywriting, graphic design, or photography. Eventually, the company you’re freelancing for may even offer you a full-time position!
- Create a small business – There are plenty of eCommerce platforms that make it insanely easy to start selling products. Make an Instagram page with your work, start an Etsy shop or build your own online store with complete eCommerce functionality.
Time is Money, But Passion is Energy
If you don’t love what you do then no amount of money will make you truly happy. But if you can turn your greatest joy into your primary source of income, you’ll always come out on top.