Turn Your Passion Into Profit: Make Money Without Getting a "Real Job"


Written By: Taylor Rao

There’s a common misconception that money = happiness. As much as it feels like a big bank account could solve all your problems, you can probably imagine that isn’t actually true. Happiness can find its way into your life in many forms, and even though money can’t always buy it, the reality is, you do need to make a living doing something to survive and to thrive.

For some of us out there, a high paying desk job might pay the bills, but doesn’t meet the criteria for maintaining happiness in our daily lives. Luckily, the common workplace has evolved so much over time, especially within the last few years, that the phrase, “real job” doesn’t mean much anymore.

In 2016, 43 percent of Americans reported working from home in a survey of 15,000 adults, and non-traditional careers, work spaces and workplaces are becoming more desired and accepted by employers and employees alike.

So, what does that mean for you? Now’s the time to be bold; if the career for you doesn’t exist on its own, create it. In a time where we’re not all expected to report somewhere at the same time, and “every day is different” is an exciting thing to hear during a job interview, there are more ways now than ever to turn your passion into profit, ditch the “real job” talk and make money doing something you love.

Ask yourself: can your passion make you money?

It’s a toss up for the oldest phrase in the book when it comes to entrepreneurial, motivational quotes: “Find something you love and find a way to make money doing it,” or “If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

The former is a legitimate question to ask yourself when it comes to figuring out what it is you love to do. Chances are, your passion can make you money if you’re educated in the field and smart about how you put your talents to use.

In this case, your passion could be a trained talent you have, like photography or graphic design, or it could be a special skill like leadership or motivating others. What are some ways you can use those skills to make money? If you’ve been creating your own handmade jewelry at home, open up an online shop (low cost, low risk) on a site like Etsy and start to see the orders coming in. If motivating others is in your DNA and you have a passion for fitness, look for personal training jobs or join a coaching staff at a gym to teach classes and inspire others on their fitness journey.

Build a brand

For the social media savvy, there are a lot of new opportunities to earn money simply by being you on the internet and attracting, entertaining and building a following for your content. It’s free to start a YouTube channel, Instagram page or Twitter account --and if you bring something unique to the table for a niche audience, you can use these platforms to build your personal brand.

When thinking about what it is you could do to build a brand online, think about who inspires you on the internet and what you like about their content. It’s OK to borrow some tips from the top social media influencers out there --from food to fashion to fitness--to model your page or personality off of. If you see your follower count rising, your comments and DMs exploding, see if you can strike a deal to promote a brand’s product and blast it out to your audience.


Have a side hustle

Let’s say your day job isn’t something you can so easily walk away from, but you’re still not feeling fulfilled from 9 to 5. Or --what if your passion is more of a hobby in terms of how much cash you can realistically bring in from doing it? It might be wiser to turn that hobby into a side hustle for the time being.

A side hustle is a more lucrative term for your creative outlet --you can pick up gigs here and there to play your music, design a logo for your friend or create content and write for a blog. If you have a special talent or skill that you love to do, start charging to do it for others and build connections that’ll get you referred again and again.

If you’re hesitant about putting yourself and your work out there, but could really use some extra cash doing something fun, consider getting a second, part-time job with a social element to it like bartending or retail.

And if the real job isn’t out of the question

If you’ve spent too much time (and money) earning your college degree or preparing for a job in a specific field, you might feel like you still need to pay your dues in a more traditional workplace to keep your skills fresh and put your degree to use. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice being unhappy in your work environment to have the job that’ll make you money and make you happy.

Before settling in on a job, spend time getting to know the company culture to see if it’s a good fit --and if it’s not, keep on looking. Does the company do group outings or team building activities? Does their website look fun and inviting, or corporate and stale? What’s the average age of the staff? During the job search, it can sometimes feel exhausting interviewing for companies who you hope want you, but don’t settle for the first offer you get. It’s perfectly OK to have standards of your own and to search for the right, fit work environment.