How To Turn Your Passion Into A Career (And Not Be Totally Broke!)

Whether it’s writing books, teaching yoga, or making the best bliss balls this side of Los Angeles, many of us have a secondary skill that isn’t our primary vocation — but could it be?

Could you turn your real passion into your full-time career, and if so, does it have to mean making a salary sacrifice?

As the founder of The Collective, a magazine for entrepreneurs, I constantly meet amazing, creative, innovative people with amazing, creative, innovative ideas and skill sets who have so much potential yet aren’t stepping into their purpose.

Financial security is a very real concern. We all need to keep roofs over our heads and we all have responsibilities to maintain (and green smoothie addictions to finance). But the truth is, you don’t necessarily need to choose pursuing your passion over making a profit. It's totally possible to turn your passion into a career without becoming a struggling artist.

No expense is unnecessary if it’s necessary for your emotional well-being.

I’m not saying you should stroll into your boss’s office and quit tomorrow (I am a dreamer, but I’m also a realist). But, if you have a nagging feeling that you’re ignoring your true vocation, here are eight ways to take the first step toward making it a reality:

1. Set your intention.

I am a big believer in the power of visioning, whether it’s imagining the relationship you want, the work culture you’d like to be a part of, or how much money your future self has in the bank. A lot of people make the mistake of being far too airy-fairy (“I just want to be rich”) when visioning. Instead, ask questions like, “What does this really mean to me?” and, “How much do I need to be happy and fulfill my life purpose?”

2. Make money a motivator and name your own price.

Although I am not driven by money, I accept that I need it to enable me to do the work that inspires me. I believe it’s time we all stop seeing money as evil, because subconsciously this means we push it away. The faster you learn to see money as a friend, not a foe, the faster you will attract it.

It can take a lot of courage to price your worth in our bargain-hungry culture. But don’t make the mistake of setting your fees too low, or it will set a precedent for the future. I’ve heard about an entrepreneur who, when pricing a new product, looks at its closest competitor and then adds a 20 percent "innovation tax" to get to his recommended retail price.

3. Get your geek on.

A lot of creative people say, “I’m just not good with numbers.” The good news is, as a modern entrepreneur it’s easier to keep track of data than ever before thanks to data-for-dummies technology. Once you try accounting software, you might find you actually start to enjoy it!

4. Bank on other people.

Don’t try to find all the answers on your own. If you’re just selling cupcakes out of your local café, you probably don’t need a bank manager or bookkeeper (yet!), but it could be useful to ask advice from an accountant or find a mentor who has been there and done it before you.

5. Pay your own way.

What do you have to barter with? How can you pay for your outgoings with a different currency? I know a tech entrepreneur who was also a keen hiker with expert knowledge of the Australian bush. He needed a lawyer to help him write a patent, but he couldn’t afford the fee. Instead, he offered to take a group from the law firm out on a team-bonding day in a national park, and taught them how to forage for food in exchange for their services.

6. Piggyback on power.

If you’re selling a product, don’t wait until you have the funds to build a website. Instead, leverage the ready-made community of sites like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. They’re the perfect places to road-test your product and collect data on your demographic — such as the countries where most of the people viewing your items live — so you can tailor your marketing accordingly.

7. Invest in yourself.

No expense is unnecessary if it’s necessary for your emotional well-being. I recently met a tech entrepreneur who told me he puts aside 8 percent of his salary aside every year for self-development, whether that means doing a course, booking a yoga retreat, learning a language, or even — as was the case last year — using the money to pay for a meal-delivery service. Don’t cut yourself off from happiness!

8. Do look back.

Even those of us who’ve pursued our passion still have tough days at the office (or wherever you do your thing!) But is it really tougher than working at a job that doesn’t fulfill you? I didn’t think so…

Want more advice on how to turn your passion into a lucrative career? Check out my new book, Money & Mindfulness.

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