The ideal is to do what you love. In reality, you may have fallen into an opportunity that pays the bills and keeps you busy, but you may be looking for something on the side to make your heart sing. Enter a passion project: the do-it-for-yourself, totally fulfilling activity to take on in your spare time. Even if you’re madly in love with your 9-to-5, having a passion project could make you love it that much more.
Take it from life coach Kelly Lynn Adams and eat.sleep.wear blogger Kimberly Pesch, who cultivated their own passion projects while working full-time jobs. We asked them to break down three important steps for getting your own passion project off the ground.
1. Find Your Passion
First, Adams suggests embarking on a period of self-discovery. To find her ultimate calling (advising women on how to rock it in their lives and careers), she used her weekends to explore hobbies she enjoyed as a child, from pottery classes to dance classes to volunteer work. “Be gentle on yourself and make it like a journey,” she says. Pesch agrees. “Don’t force anything,” she tells us. “Do what you love and love what you do. Always keep moving forward and you will find your way.” Trust that one activity will eventually emerge from the pack. “You can have multiple passions,” Adams says, “but to make an impact, focus on getting one thing up and running.”
2. Make The Time… No Excuses
“A passion project is something you can’t help but spend any extra moment on because you believe in it so strongly,” explains Pesch, who turned weekends into adventures and lunch breaks into photo sessions to keep her blog moving forward. Feeling like you just don’t have any time to spare? For one week, Adams suggests using your phone or a piece of paper to diligently record how you’re using every minute of every day—sleeping, commuting, and social media scrolling not excluded. She says that you’ll likely be amazed to find you have more free time than you realized.
3. Reap The Benefits
“I do see women who get out of corporate jobs through their passion project,” says Adams. Case in point: Pesch blogged for two years in her spare time before brands started reaching out to her about partnerships, which was the turning point that inspired her to finally take the leap. Even if you love your career, a passion project might just give you a solid Plan B or provide a second source of income. And in the same way that the skills you’ve gained in your professional experience can help in your passion project, your passion project will help your performance in your day job. “My passion project gives me fire, excitement, and positivity that I bring back into my job every day,” Adams says. Pesch seconds that notion. “Having a passion project outside of work helped energize me in my full-time job. Sometimes, you just need to get the juices flowing!”