How to Make Money with Your Passion

by Jillian Beirne Davi

“If you do what you love, will the money follow?”

Ahhh the elusive: “Make Money Doing What You Love” thing.  Everyone wants it. We admire those that achieve it and we secretly doubt if it’s even possible for us. Can you really do it?  Yes! I say enthusiastically.   Yes you can make your first chunk of change with your passion!  But it requires a change in your thinking and a loving dose of reality.

First you have to think in terms of what inspires people to buy and what does not.  Next, you must decide if your passion is more of a hobby, or something that can truly generate income.  Finally, you must be willing to start small, right where you are to start helping people.

Rule #1:   People buy things that are useful, that solve a pressing problem they will pay money to solve.

Unfortunately, no one will pay you for something just because YOU love doing it.   Because it’s YOUR passion. You may have the greatest product or service in the world! But if it doesn’t solve someone’s immediate needs, you most likely will not make any money.  People buy solutions to their most pressing problems.  Your passion is what creates raving fans and keeps them coming back for more!  So, you’ve got to think about other people’s needs first, ahead of your own. Your passion is the cherry on top, but that’s not why people plunk down the ka-ching.

Let’s take Steve Jobs for example.  He’s widely admired for building an empire doing what he loved.  But the money didn’t come FROM his passion alone.  The money came through other people because his products solved some really nagging problems they had.  Let’s take the iPod for example.  Yes it was sexy when it came out. Yes Steve Jobs nearly combusted onstage with passion as he revealed it to the world.  But remember, at the time it came out, people had tons of music on their computers. But they couldn’t take it with them.  The iPod solved all of this. His products are all designed to be intuitive and solve pressing problems that his consumers have in real time.

Your passion is great but when you combine it with a solution to a need people have, you start to earn income from it.  Ask yourself:  What are some problems people have that I’m really passionate about solving?  What problems have I solved for people in the past that got great results?

Rule #2:   Know the difference between what is a passion/hobby and a passion/income generator. 

I have a few passions.  One of them is coming up with creative solutions to tough money problems and helping people set up simple systems to get out of debt, save more and start living abundantly. That’s a passion of mine. ANOTHER passion of mine is vegging out in front of the couch with a Costco size bag of Nestle chocolate chips and watching an eight hour marathon of Housewives on Bravo.  One is a passion/income generator. The other is a shameful, shameful passion/hobby.  So, before you set out to make your first chunk of change doing what you love, take a moment to decide if your passion solves a pressing problem for people.   Or, is it something that’s really more of a stress relief or creative outlet for you?

Make a list of your passions.  Then decide which ones are truly hobbies that are strictly for you own enjoyment. Then identify if there’s anything on that list that solves a pressing problem people would happily invest money with you to solve.  Ask Yourself: Of all the things that I’m passionate about, which one solves a problem that people have right now?  Which of these passions are more for my own personal enjoyment?

Rule #3:   Start small and leave the Magical Thinking behind. This is a nod to my dreamers out there. (I know because I happen to be one.)

Sometimes dreamers get a great idea to create income using their passions.  Then something snaps in their brain and they begin to have delusions of grandeur fantasizing about creating the next Facebook, Apple or Pinterest.  And then they start thinking about who they could partner with, getting investors in on the ground floor, trademarking logos and agonizing over business cards.  They spend time on all this extra “stuff” that keeps them busy without moving them forward.

But it can be much simpler.   The key to making your first chunk of change is to start where you are and do the obvious:  Get out there and tell people in your world what you’re doing!  Tell them with enthusiasm and passion what you do and who you help! Tell people what problems you solve.   Ask them to keep an eye out for anyone who might need your help.   You will be amazed at how many people want to help you and refer you to friends.  Then, once someone raises their hand and says:  “YES!  I need your help!” feel free to charge a little bit of coin.  (Note:  You might be tempted to give it away for free.  Don’t do this!  Charge a little bit since people don’t value what they don’t pay for!)

Finally, revel in the fact that you were just PAID to do what you LOVE.   You’ve actually done it!  Let that feeling just overwhelm you for a bit.  Now, you won’t be able to support yourself just yet but you have crossed a huge milestone. You just experienced what it’s like to get paid to do what you love.

Many of us feel really uncomfortable receiving money for doing something we would do for free all day long. We’ve been taught that the only way to make a living is to do soul-crushing work.  But that doesn’t have to be the case. In the beginning, just having a handful of people pay you to use your gifts to solve their problems is a huge validation that you can do what you love and earn money at the same time.  Ask Yourself: Who can I tell about my product or service? Who do I help?  What could I create right now to help these people immediately ( A class? A program? An App? A Website? A service?)

So, your three step plan to making your first chunk of change doing what you love:

  1. Identify which of your passions solve a pressing problem for people.
  2. Get out there and offer it to the people in your immediate circle.
  3. Charge a little bit of coin to validate the work that you do (you can always increase this amount later).

It is absolutely possible to make money doing what you love, so long as what you love is also useful and necessary for other people.  Remember, people buy things that solve their problems.  Help other people get what they want with enthusiasm and passion and you will be well on your way to supporting yourself full-time doing what you love!

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