How to Turn a Passion Into a Paycheck


submitted by Joe Beckford

We all know that one person. They loved painting or writing or gardening, so they decided to turn that love into a full-time professional pursuit. Every time you talk to them, they’re trying to convince you to follow your passion. You tell them it’s not practical. They insist that it is. As with most things, the truth is usually in the middle. While you might not be ready to quit your current job and go it alone, there are some small steps you can take to begin turning your passion into a paycheck. 

Start Consulting 

If you already have a lot of experience in your current area of work, look for opportunities to work as a consultant or a freelance contractor in your area of interest. Maybe you have a background in accounting, but wish you could pursue software development full-time. Search for a local tech start-up where you can leverage your existing expertise in a part-time role, while also honing your budding talent. Surrounding yourself with people who love what you love will also accelerate your learning. Even if you discover that you’re not cut out to be a full-time full-stack developer, you’ll be working in an industry that aligns more closely with your interests. 

Start a Small Business 

In some cases, your after-work hobby can easily become an after-work side hustle. If you really like tying fly-fishing lures, partner with a local bait shop or open an online store. While you’re unlikely to replace a full-time job with the income you make from your hobby overnight, it’ll help you scratch your itch and reward you for doing so. 

Start Volunteering  

Sometimes, there’s not an obvious path from passion to paycheck. If that’s the case, look for opportunities to volunteer. Maybe you’ll find a cause that lines up with your passion. Maybe you’ll find a find a volunteer opportunity where you can practice your craft. You won’t get paid, but you will be doing what you love. Over time, as the organization recognizes your value, you may be in a position to inquire about compensation as a part-time or contract employee. When you can clearly demonstrate your worth as volunteer, the organization may decide your time is worth the investment. 

Money isn’t everything. However, that shouldn’t stop you from finding a way to get paid doing what you love. Your bigger, better future is worth pursuing, so get after it.