Could you transition your work?

Part-Time Passion or Full-Time Gig?

by Alex J. Coyne

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Do you have a part-time passion? Maybe your passion is painting or maybe you dig writing. Whatever it is, maybe it's time to think about turning it into your full-time job.

James Patterson was a part-time writer. He left his career in advertising to continue chasing the dream of being a writer. According to, in 2015, he topped their list of top earning authors with $89 million. I'd say that wasn't a bad career choice!

I'm far away from those sorts of numbers, but writing earns a living. Here's how I took writing from a part-time thing to a full-time gig.

I've always been a writer at heart. The first short story I ever wrote was even before puberty hit and was called simply The Vampire. At about 500 words typed out, I sold copies to family members that were signed, of course. The love for writing grew over the years, but it moved to the back of my head for a while when a break from writing became a career as a guitarist.

Writing didn't become a full-time thing until several years ago when my wife and I hit a rough patch and things had to change. It was time to step off the stage. For a while, I did house-to-house guitar lessons. It was decent money, but the travelling schedule took its toll.

My wife suggested I go back to writing. It was a long-time passion I had drifted away from over time. Writing? What if it was a complete disaster? Then harder times forced us to sell our last guitar.

Writing it was. Hey, it didn't work out too badly for Stephen King when he listened to his wife Tabitha to finish writing Carrie. We literally had nothing to lose. We were out of options, and life forced our hand. It was the blues for real.

Tony Blair was a band promoter. Madonna was a waitress. Harry Truman sold shirts for a living. Jeff Bezos walked away from his job to found Amazon.

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What are you doing to earn a living now? What do you enjoy doing when you're not doing that? It could be possible to turn your part-time passion into a full-time career.

  • Can my passion turn into cash? If you want to turn it into a career, pick apart your passion and see where the earning potential lies.
  • What's the market like? Knowing the market is essential for success. Is anyone else doing what you want to? How are they doing it and where can you improve?
  • What do I need to start? Set up a proper business plan. Mixing business and passion can be tricky, and success means keeping the business aspect in mind.
  • Start slowly. It's not an overnight leap by any means. Do your research, and if you can start making money through your passion part-time, it could be a safer way to transition to a full-time career.

Related: How to Decide What Business Form Your Side Gig Should Take

One of my first articles was for the Afrikaans women's magazine Vrouekeur. I'd be lying if I told anyone it happened overnight. It took months of research, thousands of pitches, a lot of work, plenty of stress, and a lot of help from friends and family. Looking back, it was worth it.

I went on to become a regular contributor to national and international blogs and publications, including the South African incarnation of People magazine, The Investor, and a bunch more than I can name here.

In addition to her own businesses and writing, my wife remains my editor, soundboard, and first critic. If you read something good, then you know it's got her stamp of approval. And, thanks to the wonder of Skype and the net, I still pick up the guitar from time to time for a lesson or seminar.

Have you thought of turning a passion into a career?

Reviewed June 2017

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