Here’s Your Plan to Turn Your Passion Into Your Career

Doing my dream job part time, still working full-time with full dread! How long did it take your confidence to make the jump? Should I set a time/deadline for myself?

How do you get money to come to you? To do what you want to do because you love it and not for the money.

So if someone said to you that they love to write and have always thought they were going to be a writer but found themselves always working in the Defense Industry, what would you say to them…  especially if you saw their written work and writing potential …?

A lot of people want to turn what they love to do into what they get paid to do. It was a common question in last week’s AMA, and I often get emails from folks looking to quit their job. Usually they’re asking permission, but sorry, not-sorry, that’s not how I roll.

Test Your Mindset

Since it comes up so often, I want to be very clear about my philosophy on dream jobs:

You probably can’t make money doing what you love. Writing, for example, is a good example. And I say this not because you’re not a tremendous, dedicated and talented writer, but because you’re not a good marketer. And to make money, you have to be good at sales. Most people who are good at writing aren’t that great at sales, or simply don’t put in the time and effort to sell. But making money on what you love requires you to sell what you love. Do you think you can do that? Here’s how to check. Finish these sentences:

“Sales makes me feel…”

“Business makes me feel…”

“Marketing myself makes me feel…”

If you answered anything but “excited,” “creative,” “energized,” or “awesome,” to those three statements, you can’t sell what you love. Not yet anyway. It will require a major mindset shift, and a good dose of coaching and knowledge.

You can use your full-time job to support your passion. We put a lot of weight onto our passions to support everything in our lives. We want what we love to do to give meaning and purpose to our days, and add money to our bank accounts. But it doesn’t need to be that way. We don’t have to do what we love for money. We can make money in a different job to support what we love. There’s a tremendous freedom in that, actually.

Try a mental mindset shift where you think of a full-time or part-time job as the catalyst and support for your dream work. Instead of thinking of it as something you have to do and dread, think of it as this great thing that allows you and pays you to do what you love. Because a regular paycheck isn’t anything to sneeze at!

When you’re able to align money as something that enables you instead of prohibits you from doing what you love, I guarantee you’ll be in the position to make a lot more of it.

The Plan

If you can make both mindset shifts above, you pass Go, and can proceed with the following plan to turn your passion into your career:

1. Make some money. If you can’t make money now, you probably won’t be able to make money later. You already know how to do what you love, but do you know how to make money? Get a raise. Get a side job. Build a side hustle. Rent out your extra room on Airbnb. Sell your old stuff. However you choose to earn more money, make a lot of it and store it away like a squirrel would store acorns before the worst Winter of his entire life.

Shoot for a six to twelve month emergency fund, and max out all your retirement accounts too. With a full-time job and extra income coming in every month from just one of the activities listed above, this will go much faster than you think. Depending on your hustle, you could be good-to-go in three to four months. 

2. Make some more money. Now that you’ve made enough money to support yourself for awhile, should you quit your job? HELL NO. Now you start making money with the-thing-you-love-to-do. If you think you can’t start your passion on the side, please stop reading right now. I hate you. For the rest of you, now is your chance to use all the sales and marketing lessons you learned in step one and apply it to building your passion business.

The goal is to make enough to cover your expenses when you quit, so that you don’t have to dip into your emergency fund at all. I also like to make enough to continue saving a bit too. Just depends on your risk tolerance. This is made much easier if you have a partner or spouse and their income can help support you both.

3. Reassess your goals and dreams. If you’ve gotten to this point, f*ckin’ amazing work. I’m beyond proud of you and I don’t even know you. But now I want you to look around and assess what a suh-weeet situation you’ve got. Because I always advocate for folks to have multiple burners running hot. Why? Because it’s when you have the most control. You don’t have to take shitty clients because you don’t need the money. You don’t have to stress out about your maniacal narcissist of a boss because you don’t need the money.

Anytime you don’t need the money, you’re in a better negotiating position for your life, your goals, and your dreams. It may be more work, but it’s less stress. And it leads to the greatest financial security. Which is what keeps most of us from pursuing our dreams in the first place.

4. Leverage your network. Before you replace your dread-job with your dream-job, reach out to your existing network and ask them if they are looking for the services you provide, have contacts that might be useful, and any other ways you need help. Be specific about what you’re looking for. When I took my consulting business full-time a few years ago, I was able to replace my full-time salary within one day of sending emails out. That’s the power of weak ties. I didn’t email a bunch of my best friends. I emailed folks I had met a few times and kept in decent touch with.

I’m not trying to be a debbie-downer here, but I want you to be realistic about what it takes to succeed since so many people are not. Most emails I get from people are from folks who love to dream. And if that’s your jam, dream on.

But if you really want that-thing-you-love to make you money, go through this plan step-by-step. I’ve seen people skip a step here and there, but only because they have super advanced mental capacities. I know that seems weird, but most of us aren’t ready to do what we love. We’re just ready to quit doing what we hate. If you change your mindset and follow this plan, you can do both.

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