It may be a lack of self-confidence, but most people don’t think they can make a living by doing what they love. They tend to separate their day job from their passion projects when the two can be one and the same. Doing that is no easy task, but then again, what is?
In order to turn your passion into a career, you first have to visualize what pursuing it looks like. If your passion lies in reading, break it down and tease out the part you’re really interested in. Is it reviewing books (think editor or publisher), writing them (think author) or recommending them (think librarian) that sets your soul on fire? Once you figure out exactly what you like, you can then plan to make it your reality.
Here are four ways in which you can turn your passions into a career:
a. Work for someone
Get this, you don’t have to be your own boss to pursue your passions. It’s common to think that only entrepreneurs get to really do what they love. You can be fulfilled working at a company and also living your dreams. Growing with a company can be a valuable experience as you get hands-on knowledge and training to perfect your craft and reaffirm that an industry is still right for you.
If you love writing and dream of becoming the editor-in-chief of a magazine someday, you can start as an editorial intern. Slowly but surely, you’ll work your way to the role of an associate, manager then director. The essential thing is that at every stage, you’re doing what you’re passionate about and still learning.
If you don’t like the corporate environment, freelancing might be a better alternative. You’re in control of your schedule, but you’re also in charge of how much you make. Freelancing isn’t very hard to get into, but it comes with incredible pressure to maintain a certain level of income.
If your dream is to become a wedding videographer, doing it on your free time for your family or friends would be a great start. That can lead to more clients through word-of-mouth marketing and eventually generate enough money to make a full-time living. The challenge then is to maintain a solid clientele. With enough practice, strategic networking and perseverance, you might not have to pitch clients anymore because they’ll come to you instead.
c. Start a business
There is no better way to master a skill or live out a passion than to start a business and build a product you truly care about. If you’re an animal lover, perhaps you can build an organization that rescues lost dogs and finds them a home in a new family. The best way to come up with business ideas is to be observant. Stay on top of the news and anticipate trends. If you notice a flaw in an industry you’re interested in, think about how you can align your passion with creating a solution.
d. Create a side hustle
For those of us who want to do more with our career than just climb the corporate ladder, having a side hustle can bring us satisfaction. If you have both a side hustle and a day job, your time management skills will be put to the test. Ultimately, it’s a rewarding experience that allows you to explore your potential, work on something you’re passionate about and maybe eventually, diversify your income.
e. Take classes
When I was in college, I felt like I had several careers. I was studying to become a neuroscientist while working in communications and socializing with people in the fashion or beauty industry. It was probably the most challenging task to keep up with all these different activities, but I felt fulfilled because I was catering to all my interests. I was on track academically and I used my free time to explore other options. Although I stopped pursuing neuroscience after graduation, it’s still a career option for me.
A more traditional way of turning a passion into a career is to go to school for it. You’ll earn a degree or certificate, which will give you credibility should you choose to pursue it further.
The most important thing to remember is to not limit yourself. If you have different interests, make time for them until you figure what you enjoy doing. The time of having a traditional 9 to 5 job is almost gone so don’t try to fit in a box. You can experiment with different options and carve your own path. Identify your passions, assess your skills, leverage your experience and spend your time wisely.
Are you currently working on a passion project? I would love to hear about it in the comments.