Want to know how to make money doing what you love? These 22 inspirational ideas will help you grow your business – all while doing work you’re crazy passionate about.
Are you stuck on the hamster wheel of trading your time for (pretty measly) money?
When I first qualified as a mindfulness teacher, I was so freakin’ excited.
Finally – a one-way ticket out of corporate life, and the opportunity to share work I deeply believed in.
Once I started teaching, however, I quickly realised that it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.
That’s because being a successful healer, a teacher, or a coach also means being an entrepreneur.
And being an entrepreneur is hard ass work.
I worked harder than ever before – researching venues, securing spaces, negotiating, writing copy, advertising my classes, planning the content, posting on social media – and that’s before I even got around to delivering my sessions.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adored it (and I still do).
But it didn’t take long for me to see that my ‘business model’ just didn’t make financial sense.
How to make money doing what you love
I started to get curious about how I might be able to bring in the dough using my expertise – with a little less time investment.
I tried a bunch of different strategies, but here’s what worked well for me:
- Offering 1:1 coaching and consulting sessions
- Teaching courses and workshops in my local area
- Creating live group coaching programs and static online courses
- Freelance writing for yoga and mindfulness publications
This evolved as I discovered 1) what worked, and 2) what I actually enjoyed doing.
And that’s key – start where the joy is.
Most soulful entrepreneurs struggle to turn their passion into a full-time career not only because they never treat it as an actual business, but because they limit their income streams.
When it comes to business, it’s best to focus on one or two income streams, and evaluate your results as your business grows and/or your interests and skills develop.
Get ready to learn how to make money doing what you love and turn your passion into profit!
1. Coaching/consulting: offering a 1:1 coaching or consulting service is perfect if you have specific expertise, experience, and strategies to help your clients transform their lives and reach a defined outcome.
2. Group coaching: this involves putting together a package of sessions to help a group of people reach a defined outcome. It’s similar to individual coaching, with the added benefit of group support.
3. Mentor others: if you’re experienced in a particular discipline or healing modality, consider mentoring new healers in the skills they’d need to teach or offer this service too. Put together your own curriculum, and pass on the knowledge and wisdom to the next generation.
4. Teach a class: offer regular classes if your expertise allows for it, with a new theme or topic each week. Pitch your ideas to local event spaces who cater to your ideal client, and they can help spread the word about your offer.
5. Teach a course: this is similar to teaching a regular class, except you’ll teach for a limited period of time (such as my 8-week mindfulness program) which helps you to structure your content around a specific subject.
6. Teach a workshop: take a deep dive into a niche topic by applying your skills and knowledge to a goal your clients want to achieve, such as yoga for mastering handstands.
Gather the email addresses of your participants – bring a paper sign-up sheet or iPad if it’s in person – and send them a thank you message the next day. Your email list is the lifeblood of your business, and it’s never too early to start building it up.
Remember to ask for reviews! Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool available, and this can come in the form of testimonials, case studies, and Google/Facebook reviews. People usually won’t do this unless they’re prompted to, so make sure you ask.
Talk about it
7. Freelance writing: if you love writing and know a little SEO, check out freelance writing job boards and/or pitch to websites related to your passion, charging by the word. My go-to job board is Problogger (it’s also where I landed my very first gig, writing for a yoga accessories company).
8. Speaking gigs: if you’re a skilled speaker and can talk about your passion ’til the cows come home, consider gaining speaking experience, building a portfolio, and then pitching to events where it would be appropriate for you to share your message. I haven’t personally gone down this route, but I may do in the future – and you can bet I’ll be getting my butt to Toastmasters to sharpen my skills!
9. Podcasting/blogging/vlogging: if you’re media savvy, it’s possible to make money through advertising and affiliate links by creating a blog, podcast, or vlog on your topic. Be warned – this is a super long-term strategy. If you do choose this route, remember that your reputation is hard to build and easy to destroy, so investigate the companies you work with thoroughly to check they’re in alignment with your brand.
10. Pro influencer: if you’re a total social media maven, the ‘influencer’ model could work well for you. Try pitching to companies related to your passion (again, do your research!) and ask them if they’d like to collaborate. Always be upfront with your audience about your sponsored content, and follow the guidelines set out by the social platforms.
Unless you already have experience, it can be tricky to get these particular income streams off the ground. The key is to take it slow and commit to the long-haul.
Simple is beautiful; choose one strategy which suits your skillset, have patience, and expect to work for free in the beginning (e.g. to offer writing samples, to build a showreel, to receive products for free for sponsored posts). This builds momentum, and eventually, you’ll have people coming to you – then you’ll be able to charge a premium.
Build a community
11. Run a local retreat: most people would love to go on a luxury retreat, but can’t; so why not offer one locally? Find a beautiful venue, set up special conditions (e.g. silence), and host your own mini day, weekend, or week-long retreat.
12. Create a monthly meetup group: if bringing people together is a skill of yours, create a ‘networking’ group around your passion – this could be for people who want to come together to learn it (i.e. students) or for professionals (i.e. your colleagues).
13. Start a membership: if you’re ready to create your own online community, and you have enough ideas to share content consistently, consider starting an online membership or Patreon platform. This is a great way to offer exclusive access to trainings, content, and resources, but you’ll likely need a list of engaged clients/students before going ahead with this one.
14. Set up your own event space: if you have the funds, resources, and vision for your own space, you could start your own studio, or create a pop-up event space at an existing building by renting it out for a short period of time.
Ask for referrals – if you’re trying to build a community, you want people to tell their friends about it and invite them along, right? So ask them to…
… And encourage them to spread the word by offering an incentive to do so, such as a free session, a discount, or a bonus gift in exchange for recommending a friend.
15. Offer a 1:1 service: this is where most of us start out – working with clients on a 1:1 basis, such as teaching private yoga or offering Reiki treatments. You can do this out of your home or theirs, online via Zoom, or rent out a local treatment room.
16. Go corporate: if you have flexibility before, during, or after working hours, consider offering your skills to corporate companies. You can send out pitches tailored to what the company needs (hint: it’s probably stress reduction!), offer the first session for free, then let them know about your packages/rates.
17. Create an online course: if you have taught a class, course, or workshop offering which proved to be popular, consider scaling this by turning it into a digital product, course, or audio album.
18. Write and sell an eBook: if you love writing and you know you have something to offer in your field of expertise, consider writing a book and self-publishing it. I’m planning to write my own book this year and will document the process on the blog!
19. Create a physical product: if you’ve identified an unmet need in your industry, a flaw in the status quo, or you think you could come up with a better version of what already exists, why not create an original product? If funding is an issue, you could crowdfund using a platform such as Kickstarter.
20. Try e-commerce: if you have storage space, a passion for products, or experience in retail, you can sell your own and/or other people’s products on your own website using a platform like Shopify, or on an established online marketplace like Etsy.
Believe in what you’re selling, 100% – whenever you talk about your offerings, don’t shy away or worry about being ‘salesy’. You’re simply sharing your work; if it’s aligned, people will buy, and if they don’t, it’s not for them (and that’s okay).
Selling isn’t scary if you know with absolute certainty that what you have to offer will add value to another person’s life. This is how to make money doing what you love. Add more value than anybody else.
21. Get a new day job: maybe entrepreneurial life just isn’t for you – that’s totally fine! Keep your passion as a hobby or side hustle, and look for jobs that align with your passion, such as working for your local yoga studio, crystal shop, or organic vegan cafe.
22. Go freelance: alternatively, if you have other useful skills (such as accounting, digital marketing, or graphic design), consider freelancing for companies in your industry.
Final bonus tip
Your work doesn’t equal your worth – it’s not necessary to be an entrepreneur or for your passion to pay the bills. Collaborating with other companies in the industry can mean you get to contribute to the growth of your passion in the world, without having to be the one calling the shots!