How To

5 Steps: Make Money Doing What You Love

Phrases like “starving artist” and “golden handcuffs” portray the harmful message that getting paid for doing work you love is not the norm, nor is it a realistic goal. What these hackneyed phrases do is thwart ambition and dreams. The reality is that success for anyone requires determination, hard work, and extreme persistence. According to Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, “The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.” I couldn’t agree more, and when it comes to making money doing what you love, it’s no different. You need a plan and persistence to reach unlimited success.

Here are 5 steps to start making money doing what you love:

1. Get clear on how much money you need versus want.

This is a big one. Most people don’t realize how little they can live on and still cover all of their bills. Knowing this information is key to determining your flexibility with your salary.  Also, if you are able to divorce your sense of success from you bottom-line salary, you will have more bandwidth to focus on other aspects of success, such as fulfillment. If you have a cushion of savings, figure out how much of your savings you are willing to invest into a business you want to start or supporting you through a job transition that may involve some time without a salary. For example, when I started building my own business I realized I had a lot of extra expenses that I didn’t need. In fact I stopped having a personal trainer, got rid of my big clothing budget and went out to eat less. To my surprise, I never felt happier. What I learned was that the things you think you need, usually are short-term antidotes for the feeling of dissatisfaction you have from not loving your work.

2. Assess your situation.

Figure out where you are on the “loving your work dimension.”  Take this quiz if you need some help. What major change would make you absolutely love the work you do? As you think about this, remember that you may not need to change your job or salary in order to start enjoying your work more. You may just need a re-shaping of your role or a transition into a different department in your existing company.

3. Create a vision. 

You can’t figure out how to get paid doing something you love without having a clear vision. What does your ultimate career look like? Make it aspirational, but realistic. Once you know what your ultimate goal is then you can better navigate if what you’re currently doing is a good stepping-stone to that vision.

4. List your fears.

What is keeping you from having a job you love and getting paid for it? Do you lack confidence? Do you feel that you don’t deserve to achieve your dreams? Do you lack the support from others that would help you step outside of your comfort zone? Write down and review these fears. Are they valid? Working through these barriers is an essential part of being able to achieve your dreams.

5. Take 3 actions a week to move towards your vision.

Start now. List three things you can do this week to achieve your ideal job. Next week, do three more. Before you know it, you’ll be getting paid doing what you love.

Laura Garnett is a performance strategist, TEDx speaker, and the creator of the Zone of Genius Assessment. She works with CEOs and executives to identify their unique talents, skills, and purpose, and crafts an actionable plan to leverage these strengths in their day-to-day work. She has consulted with organizations including Capital One, Conscious Capitalism, Blurb, and MTV. Prior to launching her company, New York City-based Garnett Consulting, Garnett honed her marketing, branding, and mission-refining skills at companies like Capital One, American Express, IAC, and Google.