How to Live Well When Your Passion Doesn't Pay Well (part 3)

By in Make Money, Saving | 23 comments

How You Turned Your Passion Into Cash

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Welcome to Part 3 of this series.

If you are just joining us, don’t miss Part 1; “Why I Freelance

And Part 2 of this series; How to Live Well if You Work in a Low Paying Field

A commenter from part 1 asked this question:

I’d love to hear stories of folks who monetize passions that people think “don’t pay.”  It might be a great “part 2″ (or 3 or 4).

:) Nick from Step Away From the Mall


The integration of “doing what you love” and making money is a popular topic. There’s lots of advice about doing what you love and the money will follow. Is this always true? What if the money doesn’t follow?

What if you are doing what you love and the money isn’t following. Need some motivation? Read on about how others are are making money from their passions.

Readers, let’s hear about your experiences about “doing what you love, and making money as well.”

We are particularly interested in those experiences which started without monetary expectation, and turned into a cash flow stream.

I’ll begin by talking about my story. I began blogging to educate others with my decades of personal finance and investing experience. I had no idea there was a possibility to make money from a blog. Initially, I assumed if enough people liked my work, I would get a book contract, and then I would make money.

Well, I’m still working on the book contract…. Any publishers out there? 🙂

In the meantime, I found a love of blogging, educating, interacting with others and lo and behold, I’m making some money. The income streams come from ads, freelance writing, and hosted content. I’m lucky, as my passion and work in the investing field is lucrative and my money habits have allowed our family to grow our net worth.

Yet, there are many stories of folks with average salaries who amass great sums through their passions.

What are your stories? Write in and inspire and learn from others.

Here are a few more success stories to get you started:

I’m currently in Seattle for a work trip. While strolling along the waterfront at Pike’s Market I met Pixie, an inventive vendor. She and her husband have taken a love of creating art and crafted a full time cottage industry. They make large artwork and sell it at their booth along the water. After sold, they shrink the image, encase it in plexiglass and create smaller pieces to be used as wall art, magnets, coasters or other. Their business is simple, creative, and supports their family of 3 (without a website).  Jr. Carino and I bought 4 small pieces to use as magnets and other decoration. Her shop is on the side of the water (west). Stop by when you’re in Seattle. The art is affordable, one of a kind, and really cool!

Pixie-Pikes Market, Seattle

Mark Riddix is studying the on line world and building quite an empire. He has a wealth of resources for you. Mark is a perfect example of determination.

Crystal of Budgeting in the Fun Stuff was so determined to become a full time blogger she quit her salaried job months ahead of schedule. Read about her strategies at How I Make Money Blogging.

Jessica Streit wrote about a fascinating opportunity as a “Sample Passer Outer”, over at Budgets are Sexy. She’s one of those friendly folks who gives out free yummy samples at supermarkets; and gets PAID FOR IT! It sounds fun and diverting. Maybe this could be your passion!

Need some ideas about how to find your passion? Check out LifeHack’s Susan Baroncini Moe’s article, How to Find Your Entrepreneurial Passion and Purpose.

Ordinary Traveler talks about his big break came, in spite of the naysayers. He never believed photography, surfing, traveling, and writing could become his livelihood.

Don’t miss Part 1 of this series;Why I Freelance

And Part 2; How to Live Well if You Work in a Low Paying Field

image credit; Ayham Al-Hamwi

Now, it’s your turn, write in and share HOW YOU MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR PASSION.

Forward this link to others for their input!! Let’s make the comments a huge list of SUCCESS RESOURCES.


  1. I am a total Newbie and I came across this site by accident. I have bookmarked it and will be a regular visitor. I am sure I will learn a lot here. Keep up the good work


    December 13, 2011

  2. I started my blog about a year ago and I am not sure where it will take me. I started earning money from it recently. I have many ideas how I want to use the blog as a platform for other opportunities.


    December 13, 2011

  3. Thanks for the great stories Barbara! I just wish someone would invent a new expression to replace ‘passion for what you do’!!

    Marie at FamilyMoneyValues

    December 13, 2011

  4. @Hamzie-Keep us posted on your money making attempts.
    @Krantcents-There is so much fun in the journey.
    @Marie-Agreed. “passion for what you do” is kind of overdone. Any ideas for a replacement?

    Barbara Friedberg

    December 13, 2011

  5. I guess I am still discovering my passion. I don’t know that it’s any more specific than helping others in any way I can. I’d like to look around me and see those that were just starting out with me achieve the same level of success that I would like to achieve.


    December 13, 2011

  6. I am still deciding “exactly” what I will be using my blog for, but I am narrowing it down and am making progress towards my short term goals. Also, I love to teach, and it’s a fabulous way for me to do that. I am fortunate that I am also perfectly happy with my real jobs and am compensated commensurate with my education and experience. BTW, thanks for pulling in some case studies. Those are always helpful!

    Roshawn @ Watson Inc

    December 13, 2011

  7. My worry is if my passion becomes my main income I will lose my interest in my passion. Anything that comes with a pressure to make money is bound to lose some magic. Blog and any other work unless it is bringing in so much more than a regular job is difficult to be considered as a living. At least I like it as much as I do now because I don’t care how much money it brings. If I am dependent on that, I will be forced to write certain content that brings more revenue or be very very careful to not speak my mind in certain topics.


    December 13, 2011

  8. I started my website as a way to each people about managing their finances – especially when it comes to getting out of debt! I love being able to help people, no matter what stage they are in, so it’s been great to be able to make a few dollars from it as well.

    Khaleef @ KNS Financial

    December 13, 2011

  9. @LaTisha, I love the focus on helping others. It’s the best way to get out of our own heads and make a difference!
    @Roshawn-I love how you are dedicated to such exemplary work in real life and so candid about your deliberations regarding your blog.
    @Tony-I’m so impressed that you are only 15 and have the discipline to maintain a blog and get on board with Yakezie. You are destined for greatness.
    @Khaleef-You are definitely helping people and entertaining as well. You deserve to be compensated for the good work you’re doing 🙂 (btw, I live near a CVS now and am hoping to capitalize on your great strategies!)


    December 13, 2011

  10. I too hope to build a significant income through writing. The ultimate goal would obviously be a book deal, but I’m taking baby steps. I know write for a few blogs, and am looking to release an ebook in a month or so.

    My University Money

    December 13, 2011

  11. I will let you know once I accomplish my goal. I think I will be there by the end of 2012! It’s going to be an exciting year!

    20's Finances

    December 14, 2011

  12. @My university money-Baby steps are the way to go. Remember the turtle in the tortoise and the hare?-
    @20s-I’m waiting for updates.
    @Tushar-Building websites is a truly marketable skill. Lots of folks pay for someone to help building and managing websites.


    December 14, 2011

  13. I have to admit that writing is not my “real” passion, but because of my wild imagination and also because I could not walk as well, I planned to just try writing and setting up a blog. Right now, I am quite happy to what I chose and with what I’m earning.

    Cheryl Redwine

    December 15, 2011

  14. I always like trying new things. I think that is my passion actually- trying new stuff. I find doing new stuff so enjoyable. This is why I started a blog. I wanted to try it out. It is making some income but not enough to quit the day job yet.

    Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    December 15, 2011

  15. @Miss T-I agree, trying new things makes life spicey and interesting. Keeps one from getting bored.
    @Cheryl and Benson-Thanks for the visit.

    Barb Friedberg

    December 15, 2011

  16. Can’t say I’m cleaning up from my passion but the site does offer an outlet that I previously didn’t have. Sometimes the writing feels like a homework assignment. Other times I can barely sleep from all the ideas rattling in my head. The key, it’s fun even after a year.

    JP @ Novel Investor

    December 16, 2011

  17. @JP- Thanks for your honest 2 cents worth. I guess, like every activity, there are pros and cons. And making a few bucks from blogging is a nice bonus for a hobby.

    Barb Friedberg

    December 16, 2011

  18. I love being a full-time freelance writer, although my goal for 2012 is to transition into “running a business” (hiring employees, growth) rather than trading my time for money (through writing).

    Paula @ Afford Anything

    December 19, 2011

  19. @Paula, I will be interested to follow your progress. You are a talented writer.


    December 19, 2011

  20. I had a successful career in London but I quite, moved to Canada and started washing up in a pub kitchen! During that time I discovered the possibility to earn online freelancing and blogging and I built it up and gave up the kitchen job after 8 months. That was about 4.5 years ago and I have been full-time online since :). It was a struggle at first as I gave up the day job too soon but I wouldn’t change anything. Struggle makes you strong.

    Forest Parks

    January 3, 2012

  21. I like what Forest says. Struggle does indeed make us strong! The funny thing is, blogging for the pure sake of just writing leads to great things imo!

    Financial Samurai

    January 15, 2012

  22. @Forest, 4.5 years to supporting oneself online is quite impressive!!! What paths are you taking to create your income?
    @Financial- Your efforts have benefitted an entire community!


    January 16, 2012


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