When Passion Turns Into Work

When Passion turns into workOver the last few weeks and months, there has been a lot of talk lately about pursuing your passion.  Some of my fellow bloggers have left their jobs or are thinking about leaving their jobs to pursue making money online and doing what they really enjoy.  I think this movement is awesome and I applaud them.  It is extremely difficult to take the leap from being employed to being self-employed.  There are only a handful of individuals that can handle being self-employed.  Most think about the dream of self-employment, but have no idea what it is all about.  That being said, I want to talk about one thing and then ask a question.

Pursuing Passion

As I indicated, there are only a handful of people that are built to succeed with self-employment.  You are fully responsible for your own actions and how much money you can make.  You make your hours (which tend to be many more than a regular job), you handle all of the work, and you find new clients.  The only thing that you have control over is everything!

I have pursued my passion and it was awesome.  I enjoyed building and growing my business by my own two hands.  I had all of the control, but I also absorbed all of the stress.  I ran my business for around 4 years and then I decided something.

When Passion Turns Into Work

One thing that I didn’t talk about in my post about shutting down my profitable business, is that my passion started to dwindle.  I was so excited in the beginning and for about 3 years.  In the fourth year, my passion started to fade.  My passion started to turn into a h0-hum job. It has just become work.  I was dreading turning on my computer, firing up my email, and jumping on live chat.  Everything I did was just to keep the business going.  I didn’t want to be there anymore.  I just lost my passion.

So, here is my question (or questions).  What happens when your passion turns into work?  What happens when the things you enjoy start to turn into just another job?  What would you do?  If you are self-employed, do you continue because that is how you make money?

This is something that I talked about on Michelle’s post about pursuing what she loves or what makes her money.  This is one of the hardest things to ask yourself.  Do you jump the employment ship and go out on your own?  The one thing that I asked was what she would do if her current passion just turned into another job.  I think it is a legitimate question and one that many should ask themselves before jumping into self-employment.

As I stated, I am all for people pursuing their passion.  I think it is important and one of the things that drives entrepreneurship.  If no one had passion, then there would be no small businesses.  Follow your passion, but make sure you know what to do if you stop having passion for it.

I want to know what you think about this.  What would you do if your passion started to turn into another job?

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Grayson Bell

Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a WordPress maintenance and support company, along with another blog. It is Empowered Shopper, which helps people get information about products they want to buy. You can also check out Eyes on the Dollar, which is a great blog that I co-own.


  1. May 29, 2013 at 6:58 am — Reply

    Even passion has its ups and downs. There are reasons why there are weekends. All work, all the time, leads to burn out. So take a break and reflect on what’s really important. You’ll find renewed energy and the passion to keep your dreams alive.

    • May 30, 2013 at 12:11 am — Reply

      The good old weekends. Mi wish I would have followed this advice when I was running my online business.

    • momolele
      June 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm — Reply

      In my opinion, it is a good thing to change your passion into another job. Every new thing comes from the related passion. Same as iAbrasive, it comes from the passion of a united work team.

  2. May 29, 2013 at 7:12 am — Reply

    I honestly TRY to make my passions turn into income. I’m certainly passionate about a few causes that are totally “not for profit” and would never be “for profit” so I don’t worry about that, but blogging is a passion of mine that I have been able to turn into kind of a “side job” and I’m very happy about it.

    • May 30, 2013 at 12:11 am — Reply

      I purposely try to find passions away from money. It provides a great outlet.

  3. May 29, 2013 at 7:35 am — Reply

    We have some friends that really loved photography. They loved it so much that they quit their jobs to do it full time. The problem now is that after about 5 years they never do it for fun anymore and they don’t have that passion anymore.

    • May 30, 2013 at 12:09 am — Reply

      Sorry to hear that Glen, but I appreciate the story.

  4. May 29, 2013 at 7:45 am — Reply

    Honestly, I’ve pursued several jobs because of passion. Passion ALWAYS fades away to some extent. Everything becomes a job at some point. However, I also think believe that you should try to find something that you love and then find a way to make money at it. Just realize that it will eventually become a job – perhaps not all of it, but certainly parts of it.

    • May 30, 2013 at 12:09 am — Reply

      I have as well, but most of the time the passion fades. It is a constant search.

    • May 30, 2013 at 11:24 pm — Reply

      Well put. I followed my passion (writing) to build a career, and I love it, but it’s still hard work and it’s not always fun.

      • May 31, 2013 at 9:25 pm — Reply

        There are always times when it is not fun. As long as the fun is still there, you will be good.

  5. May 29, 2013 at 8:31 am — Reply

    I would approach this in the same way I approached turning my passion into income in the first place. As the initial passion dwindles, you work to keep up your income while trying to find other avenues to pursue a new passion. That may only involve small tweaks to your current business, or it may involve branching out in a totally new direction, much like you did when you initially jumped into self-employment. I don’t think the fear of losing passion should stop you from pursuing it in the first place, though I do think it’s smart to understand that self-employment doesn’t necessarily mean roses and sunshine for the rest of your life.

    • May 30, 2013 at 12:08 am — Reply

      Nice method. i work on finding passions outside of the work place in order to have an outlet.

  6. Yuen Tuck
    May 29, 2013 at 9:44 am — Reply

    I think you’re right, passion is incredibly important and if you have the opportunity to make money from something that you are passionate about – you should go for it.

    However, passion is not as important as competence. Let’s face it, if you were a passenger on a plane taxiing down the runway and the captain announced over the intercom that you could have a choice of co-pilots: one competent, with twenty years of experience; the other, passionate about flying and just got his license, which one would you pick?

    OK, that’s an extreme example. The point I’m trying to make is that before you take the leap to self-employment first please check that you can actually make a living following your passion. Weigh up the pros and cons, test your business model etc.

    • May 30, 2013 at 12:06 am — Reply

      Awesome example Then. I never thought of it this way. Nice work thinking outside of the box.

  7. May 29, 2013 at 10:08 am — Reply

    Great & insightful post Grayson! I think you’re on to something here, of course, largely because of your experience. I think this is something that if “you” are considering pursuing that you must be mindful of. If it just turns into another job then it can get dull and tedious awfully quickly. There will be ebbs and flows to be certain and I find that it’s key for us to keep our vision ahead of us and being real with ourselves. I have found over the last year that I have been more introspective and making sure we are doing what we should be. I think introspection is beneficial in most cases and have seen it more lately. I have found that it helps me be more real and looking for ways to keep it from just being a “job” but following our vision. Sorry for the rambling, Lol. 😉

    • May 30, 2013 at 12:05 am — Reply

      My best posts come from experience John. Being cognizant of the possibilities is very important.

  8. May 29, 2013 at 10:41 am — Reply

    I agree that in most cases, passion fades away after time, and this should definitely be considered when making the move to self-employment, or even when you’re going after your “dream job.” It could turn out to be completely different than you expect, and you should have a back-up plan.

    If I ever ended up self-employed, I think it would be essential to try and keep work hours scheduled as best as possible, so that I wouldn’t be working all the time every day. That’s probably where most burn-out happens, since there tends to be a lack of work/life balance. If need be, I would step away occasionally and just take a moment to breathe. I think this is good in ANY job where you get too overwhelmed. It helps to have some perspective, and like John said, introspection is great too. You need to be honest with yourself – ask yourself if doing what you do really makes you happy.

    • May 30, 2013 at 12:04 am — Reply

      Having a balance is very important, but it can be very hard to achieve. When you control your own fate, then you just find yourself to keep working day in and day out.

  9. May 29, 2013 at 11:02 am — Reply

    Great post! And thanks for the mention. I’m hoping that I won’t dread my self employment, but I don’t think I will. I am aiming to stay very diversified, and have meaning with my work also.

    • May 30, 2013 at 12:02 am — Reply

      Make sure to keep the diversity Michelle.

  10. May 29, 2013 at 11:17 am — Reply

    People always talk about making money from your interests and how having knowledge or skills in a niche area can be profitable, but there’s definitely a risk that you’ll no longer find enjoyment in it when it becomes all about the money, some things are best left untouched. That being said if you really need the money, then you do what you have to do to earn it. I suppose that’s the part of life it’s tough to get away from.

    • May 30, 2013 at 12:02 am — Reply

      Being driven by money can easily lead to burnout.

  11. May 29, 2013 at 11:25 am — Reply

    For me, I took a “passion” job right out of school – and within 3 years the passion was dead. I know there are various factors that led to this, and don’t want to sound too pessimistic, but there is the chance that this can happen to anyone, as pointed out in the comment above.

    • May 30, 2013 at 12:01 am — Reply

      Did you have an exit plan or just find a new job?

  12. May 29, 2013 at 11:31 am — Reply

    I think passions are subject to change regardless if you are making money from them or not. So if you turn your passion into self employment but it is no longer fun, then hire someone else to run the business (if it’s profitable) so that you keep the income and have time to discover a new passion!!

    • May 30, 2013 at 12:00 am — Reply

      I like your attitude about it Alexa.

  13. May 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm — Reply

    Yeah, it sometimes comes to that. That moment when you feel exhausted even though you love what you are doing. And when things start to get out of hand, you also start to lose control.

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:59 pm — Reply

      Perfectly stated KC.

  14. May 29, 2013 at 12:20 pm — Reply

    In the last couple of years, I find that I am burning out occasionally . I work on reigniting my passion. Since I am dealing with human beings as students, a new class comes in every semester. During the semester, I can change things up with a new lesson or two. In the business world, it is up to you too.

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:58 pm — Reply

      Sometimes in business you can only change to a certain extent. If it affects your earning potential then the change will be detrimental.

  15. Girl Meets Debt
    May 29, 2013 at 12:37 pm — Reply

    Like others have already mentioned, passion will always fade, self-employment or not. I pursued my “dream” job after university and it didn’t work out after a few years. I am now in a job, that I like, but I’m not too passionate about and you know what? I’m ok with that. Sometimes in real life, we have jobs that are just ok but we make other aspects of our life fulfilling 🙂

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:57 pm — Reply

      Solid points GMD. I do think that some feel that you should always be passionate about what you do, but I don’t think that is really possible.

  16. Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide
    May 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm — Reply

    There is NO job out there so full of fun that there isn’t a lot of mundane or even unpleasant work involved. As a novelist, I had to deal with line edits, copy edits, aggravating editors, and proofs. I had to do promotion and advertising, because my publishing company sure as heck wasn’t. I had to write when I was stuck and when it wasn’t fun. And I had deadlines for everything. Yes, I enjoy(ed) it immensely, but there were tons of things that sucked, too.

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:56 pm — Reply

      True. Nice work taking charge and getting things done Jenny!

  17. May 29, 2013 at 2:07 pm — Reply

    Great insight, Grayson. There are many bonuses to being self-employed, but it’s not all rainbows and lollipops either. I feel fortunate that my work is my passion, but some days it is also incredibly frustrating and draining. When this happens, I know I need to step away and get my perspective back so I can remember why I love what I do. I also think it’s natural for passions to evolve and anyone planning to make a living off their passion should have an exit plan in place too.

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:55 pm — Reply

      Regaining perspective is extremely important. I lost my perspective when I was running my store and couldn’t get the passion back.

  18. May 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm — Reply

    One thing experienced entrepreneurs do before they start a project is figure out their exit plan. Having a plan to, say, sell your business off in 3-5 years helps shorten the horizon and keeps you motivated. If it seems like an endless treadmill, I think most people will lose interest.

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:53 pm — Reply

      That is always important. I think many forget about the exit plan. Great point Nick!

  19. May 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm — Reply

    Great point, Grayson. Way to look at it from the other side. And I think there are a lot of good points here about work most always turning mundane sometimes, passion or not. I feel this way about being a stay at home mom, sometimes. I SO love it, it is definitely my passion, but sometimes, like Shannon said, I just have to step back and get some perspective, and remember why it is that I’m so passionate about it. Not losing your passion is sometimes all about choosing to look at things in a positive way.

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:52 pm — Reply

      A positive attitude is a necessity in anything that you do.

  20. May 29, 2013 at 3:46 pm — Reply

    I’d ask myself if it potentially could be a sustainable career and like others mentioned the pros and cons. I certainly wouldn’t jump ship just for the money because money is important but should never be the sole reason for a huge decision like leaving a career although some people enjoy risk and go with the flow. I think as long as one is keeping their skill set up and realize that in x amount of years if things flop they will be out on the job market again that they better have the skills to get into a career they want to or they face heading back to school or picking up a job they don’t really care for but it pays the bills. Self-employment is not for me, but for others it’s their dream, and can be lucrative, but sustainable who knows. I always say good things come to an end unless you have something that the world needs. Great post.

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:51 pm — Reply

      Perfect comment Mr.CBB. I totally agree with you. You should always keep your skills fresh just in case you need to get employed again.

  21. May 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm — Reply

    I currently work in a field that was my passion when I started doing my job. Then, after awhile it became work. But, now it slowly is becoming a passion again. I think that it’s possible to have ebbs and flows in how you feel about what you’re doing. But, if it creates personal dissatisfaction and unhappiness, then it’s time to reconsider what you’re doing.

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:49 pm — Reply

      Right on Michelle. As long as you can get the passion back, then you know you are in the right place.

    • May 30, 2013 at 11:31 pm — Reply

      Great point – I definitely have ebbs and flows in my passion.

  22. May 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm — Reply

    About 2 years ago, I quit my job and moved from DC to LA to be with my fiance. I was blogging full time, but really I was watching a lot of tv and I was still making some money by blogging.

    I got bored pretty quickly and ended up getting a job after about 2 months of self-employment. It wasn’t as glorious as I thought it might be, but if I had something that had more potential and it was something I had a personal stake in, maybe it wouldn’t have gotten boring? The problem with blogging for me was that I blog about my experiences, and when every day is the same and uneventful, it doesn’t give for many situations to write about.

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:48 pm — Reply

      Thanks for the story Daniel. I get where you are coming from and glad you were able to figure it all out.

  23. May 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm — Reply

    I am one of those people that will never try to make money off of my passions because, knowing myself, I will lose my passion for the thing.

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:46 pm — Reply

      I like your style Daisy. At least you know how you would handle it.

  24. May 29, 2013 at 11:11 pm — Reply

    I feel this way when it comes to my blog. I love to blog and share my stories and even earn a little income from it but when it comes down to writing 5 to 6 articles a week because you have to and when something that was once fun becomes a job I often end up rethinking my plan and adjust accordingly.

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:46 pm — Reply

      You and me both Chris. I like the freedom of my blog and like having the ability to change where I take it.

  25. thepotatohead
    May 29, 2013 at 11:37 pm — Reply

    I definitely plan on keeping my full time job. It has so many benefits that I couldn’t imagine giving up to take my shot at self employment unless I was financially able to just retire and not work if i didn’t want to. I’m trying to build up blogging and other sources as a side hustle, but with the knowledge I can quit at anytime if they stopped being fun. Doesn’t make it worthwhile to spend all your time doing stuff you have no passion for.

    • May 29, 2013 at 11:44 pm — Reply

      I am with you there. I love the benefits of a full time job.

  26. May 30, 2013 at 5:46 am — Reply

    If you can make it happen, the Tim Ferris methodology makes sense to me. Create a “muse” or an income generating vehicle that requires as little work as possible. Then pursue your passions outside of work. If that were easy everyone would be doing it, but I do see what you mean about the danger of passion ebbing away from your work. When that happens for me in my full-time position I know it is time to look for a change. I have also been able to remain passionate with my online endeavors by constantly diversifying and not focusing too intently on one project.

    • May 31, 2013 at 9:39 pm — Reply

      That is a great method. I work in a job that I really enjoy, but my passion is outside of work. It is not my career, but I love cars and working on them, so that is what I like to do. I keep my passions away from my job the best I can.

  27. May 30, 2013 at 8:47 am — Reply

    Well I suppose that you’re always passionate about something else. If working on your passion becomes a job, who’s to say you can’t sell your business and move on to something new. I think people’s passions shift every few years and that’s ok. That might just be because I’m young, but I see myself as always changing priorities.

    • May 31, 2013 at 9:36 pm — Reply

      You got it. The reason why I talk about it is because people should have an exit strategy to make sure they don’t get stuck.

  28. May 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm — Reply

    I believe that passions change as our life circumstances change and that’s OK. I’m really passionate now about taking care of our children. I wasn’t like that 15 years ago. If I didn’t believe in my work anymore I would move on. I couldn’t go through the motions of showing up at a job day after day that I didn’t care about.

    • May 31, 2013 at 9:34 pm — Reply

      I agree with you Brian. You should follow your passions, but make sure you can survive when you follow them. I am glad that I had an exit strategy when I was running my business, but I didn’t really think about it when I started the business.

  29. Jake Erickson
    May 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm — Reply

    I think that even if you’re doing something you’re super passionate about it will sometimes feel like work. It is important to make sure that you can make it through these times where it feels like work and realize that it is still a passion of yours. I’d like to think that I’d just jump ship if I ever lost my passion for my job, but I don’t know for sure.

    • May 31, 2013 at 9:31 pm — Reply

      That is why I wrote this post. I had a great passion for my online business, but after 4 years, I completely lost it. I went back into regular employment and it was worth it for me. I am glad that I did and that was my exit strategy.

  30. May 30, 2013 at 9:19 pm — Reply

    I think my passions are more enduring than my joy of working (or not). Definitely agree that being passionate about your work helps along your career when the going gets tough. Thanks for the great article.

    • May 31, 2013 at 9:27 pm — Reply

      That is good that your passions are enduring. It is always important to be passionate, but always have an exit plan.

  31. May 31, 2013 at 1:14 am — Reply

    Excellent post and a valid concern. I’ve had a few moments where my passion has faltered. Usually, that means I really need to take a break. I forget that I am human and that most people don’t work 3-4 hours after they work an 8 hour day. So, when I get really run down, and my brain is fried and I can’t think of another PF topic to save my life, I just take a break. When I recently went home for a week, I came back so refreshed. Sure, I missed commenting on other sites, but I needed to step away for a little while. I know that my passion is writing. I’ve tried a few different careers, and I’ve always come back to that. I know I’m an introvert and can handle being in my house all day. I know that it won’t be easy. But, when I make the jump on Jan 1 to full time blogging/writing, I’ll go into it with two years of experience and full knowledge of my quirks and downfalls in certain areas. I’ll also have a much better schedule once I can lose the 9-5, which will help with the burnout.

    • May 31, 2013 at 9:25 pm — Reply

      It seems you have a good plan Cat. If you keep coming back to it, then it is right for you. There will be times when you passion will fade, but as long as it comes back. Good luck!

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