A 6-Step Guide to Turning Your Passion Into a Profession

Techniques/ Tips

A 6-Step Guide to Turning Your Passion Into a Profession

There’s nothing more rewarding than doing what you love for a living. When you look forward to waking up for work every day, life goes from monotonous to magical.

For creative folk – photographers, artists, designers, writers, etc. – there are clear advantages and challenges in terms of your ability to turn your passion into a profession. On one hand, your skills are unique and your work speaks for itself. However, creative fields are highly saturated with millions upon millions of people just like you. How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd?

Converting an affinity to a livelihood is a process, much of which takes place before you ever make the leap. Understanding that fact alone will put you miles ahead of many. Use this six-step guide to go from hobbyist to pro in whatever your passion might be.

  1. Identify Opportunity

We’re going to assume that you already know what it is you wish to pursue. That’s great, but it’s not going to be enough to catapult you to a livable wage. Plenty of people love to travel; only a select few are able to succeed as travel bloggers. Virtually everyone loves to take photos; only a handful can support themselves as full-time photographers.

In order to take the next step with your passion, you’ll need to first take a step back and observe the opportunities out there. Do companies hire in-house positions? How well do they pay? Would you be better off starting your own business? These are all questions you need to ask and seek answers to.


  1. Ask Yourself: Is it Viable?

Not every hobby lends itself to a viable full-time business, and there’s nothing at all wrong with that. There are plenty of people who happily earn modest extra income off of their hobby while holding a full-time job. The combination of financial stability and self-fulfillment is a perfect balance.

After exploring the opportunity landscape, ask yourself if your passion truly has the potential to become a profession in some way, whether full-time, part-time or freelancing. If the answer is yes, your confidence will be more profound. If it’s no, then you simply go back to the drawing board and consider how you might be able to take a different angle.

If you’re a photographer or artist, visual platforms like Your Art Gallery can help you determine whether there is a market for your work and perhaps even make your first few sales – all with little to no overhead.


  1. Build Your Brand

Whether it’s a personal brand or an actual product, the brand you create will determine the types of opportunities you’re able to chase. A brand is more powerful than any skill, sales script, services list or resume could ever be. When you have a brand that people connect with, the results practically take care of themselves. Collaborate with fellow creatives to develop your image, web presence, messaging and strategy. And most importantly, remember that a winning brand is much more than an outward presence; it is a clearly defined mission and purpose that gives some form of value to the world.


  1. Market, Save, Invest

“Paying your dues” is a fluffy term that is defined differently in every industry. In some sectors it means working your way up the corporate ladder. For musicians, it means doing shows and making just enough to break even while building a fan base. In the art world, it is synonymous with being a “starving artist.”

When it comes to turning your passion into a profession, “paying your dues” is a three-part balancing act consisting of 1) marketing yourself, 2) saving money, and 3) investing money into your business or career. Do those three things consistently and you’ll soon find yourself in a position to succeed.


  1. Believe

The human brain has a way of talking us out of risks and steering us away from uncharted territory. Once you’ve come this far, the challenges will become bigger. With bigger challenges come higher stakes and, subsequently, magnified doubts. The doubts should be acknowledged, but not dwelled upon. Believe in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it!


  1. Stay Inspired

The caveat to all of this is that once your passion becomes your livelihood, your perspective will change. For a photographer, instead of taking photos for Instagram, you’re now taking photos to pay your rent. There will be pressure, and things will be much different than your novice days. In order to preserve your passion and avoid getting burnt out, make a conscious effort to do things that keep you inspired. Take on a personal project every once in awhile, and never stop having ideas.

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

– Theodore Roosevelt