3 Steps to Getting Paid To Do What You Love

March 16, 2015

Connect Member

Adda designs and teaches classes on digital job skills


It seems like we’re bombarded by career mantras to follow your passion: “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” But how can you find a way to make money doing what you love?

I now run a fast-growing company that teaches people the skills they need to change their careers. And over a few years, I’ve identified a pattern in the success stories — those who quit the uninspiring job to follow their passion and get paid to do it.

Follow these three steps to turn your passions into a reality:

1. Assess your experience
First, get a pen and paper, and write down what you are good at.

You have gained valuable skills from all of your career and life experiences, from your first internship to your miserable temp job.

If you’re stuck on where to start, try out personality assessments and career profiles. There are excellent options that cost just a bit of money like Fascinate and StrengthsFinder, or free assessments like Pymetrics or Myers Briggs.

Spending time defining your unique skillset is an investment that will pay off fast. You’ll better be able to introduce yourself with an elevator pitch at networking events, play to your strengths in interviews, and act confidently in your current role.

To illustrate these steps, I’ll use Rose as an example, a school librarian turned full-time mom. With three little ones at home, she is excellent at multi-tasking and prioritizing. From her professional years, Rose mastered organizing information and creating efficient systems. Impressive when you write it out, wouldn’t you say?

2. Hone in on your passions
After a few (or several) years working in jobs you don’t love, it can be tough to even remember what you like to do. So how do you start identifying your greatest passion? Career performance strategist Laura Garnett recommends thinking of “an activity that you could do for countless hours with joy.”

If you can’t think of that off the top of your head, keep a journal of when you feel like you are in this “Zone of Genius” for 2 weeks, and then look back at patterns. Are there certain problems you are working on? A type of working you are doing?

Your passion doesn’t have to be a noble mission statement. Just be honest with yourself about what you love to do. (And psst! You probably have many passions, not just one. That’s a great thing!)

Write down your passions and keep them in a safe spot, to refer back to when you need a reminder.

Let’s get back to Rose. With her background in education, Rose is deeply passionate about literacy in the United States. She also loves drawing, a lifelong creative outlet.  

3. Learn the tech skills you need.
When I say “tech skills,” I know what you’re thinking: a group of beards in hoodies coding in a basement. Let me tell you, that’s SO not what it means to have technical skills! The people who designed this DailyWorth website, your favorite lifestyle blogger, that entrepreneur you read about who is creating a jewelry e-commerce site – they all have technical skills and are putting them to work.

If you can add digital skills to your resume, it instantly makes you more hireable and more valuable at any company in today’s digital world.

And, when you are armed with tech skills, it becomes easy to follow your career passion. You don’t have to wait for someone else to build you a website. YOU can build it!

So what could Rose do, knowing her passion for literacy and drawing and armed with new tech skills? She can create and illustrate an interactive app to teach people to read on the go. Or she could launch a book trade non-profit to connect kids in low-literacy environments with books and readers in high-literacy environments. The possibilities are endless for how she can pursue her passions!

Put this formula on repeat. With a solid handle on the value you bring, a clear vision of your passions, and the secret sauce of tech skills to turn your dreams into a reality, you’ll have your choice of career options in front of you. And all you’ll have to choose is which to pursue first!

Adda Birnir is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.