your passion, job or not
You'd love to have a career pursuing
your passion, for example, being an artist, athlete, musician or
Yes, if you're very talented and driven it's probably
worth going for. But my rule of thumb is: If after a year of trying
to get paid for your passion it's not earning you enough to pay
the rent, it's time to look for a day job.
Don't worry. You can probably achieve
your dream -- as long as you don't insist on making a living at
it. For example:
Volunteer to be an assistant
coach at a high school or small college.
Ever thought of officiating? Perhaps your next
vacation should be at the Florida-based Jim Evans Umpiring Academy,
Many high-school leagues are desperate for officials. They even
- Do community theater. It can be as rewarding,
except financially, as professional theater.
- Write, or get someone to write a play for you and
perhaps one or two fellow actors. Perform it for friends or in
a rented-out space, for example, a church or school stage.
- Get paid to play patient at a local medical school.
- Colleges hire people to read books for visually
or learning-impaired students. Or try organizations that serve
- Be a reader during a children's library story hour.
- With your work in tow, drive
from gallery to gallery showing your wares. It's much harder to
refuse a request from an earnest artist with his canvas in hand
than a disembodied e-mail or letter.
- Have a show at a local bank, restaurant or rented
space, perhaps with another artist or two.
- Rent a booth at a local street fair.
- Give a speech on art, using your work as examples.
Need to find a group to talk to? Try the groups listed under "speakers"
- If your music appeals to young people, volunteer
to perform at a junior high school or high school dance.
- If your music appeals to older adults, do a concert
at a senior center or convalescent hospital.
- See if a local municipality will allow you to do
- Rent a recording studio for a few hours, burn some
CDs and use them as holiday gifts.
- Host a talk show on public access cable TV. Many
communities welcome anyone with the desire to do a show.
- Host a talk show on a local radio station. Surprisingly,
many radio stations, especially university-based radio stations,
rent out air time to the public.
- Volunteer to give a speech at the public library,
a religious organization or service club such as the unfairly
belittled Rotary, Kiwanis or Lions clubs.
- Teach a class at the local adult school or at the
Annex, which offers a few several-hour courses in hotels in
most major cities. They pay the speakers.
- Teach a "teleclass," a class you teach
by telephone. People call in to a special phone number so everyone
can hear everyone else. You can receive online training and marketing
of your teleclasses for a fee at courseregistrationsystems.com.
- Write what you'd love to write. Pull no
punches. Write what you find important and believe in without
worrying what anyone else thinks of it. A client of mine is passionate
about getting more African American single women to adopt more
African-American babies. She wrote an op-ed about it. If it doesn't
get published, she'll send it as an e-mail to everyone she can
think of. Most of the pleasure of writing comes not from its getting
published but from the process of writing it, rereading it and
showing it to even a few people.
- Can't get your book published? Publish it on your
Web site and sell it as an e-book (doc2pdf.net
converts MSWord files to the required pdf format) or get your
book printed on demand through xlibris.com
- Weblog. You get to write your thought of the day,
short or long. Set up your blog using the easy and free blogger.com.
It even helps direct traffic to your blog. You'll probably find
that people will actually visit your blog, read your stuff, and
- Want to make your opinion known? Write reader reviews
on amazon.com, epinions.com or shopzilla.com.
- Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
- Create stage sets or costumes for high school,
college or community theater productions.
- Sew Halloween costumes. To get customers, put up
flyers around your neighborhood.
- Sell your crafts on craigslist.com
- Decorate homes for Christmas.
- United Inventors Association offers plenty of advice
for inventors: www.uiausa.com.
For more ways to achieve seemingly long-shot dreams,
see Barbara Sher's Idea Book (available only from geniuspress.com).
Advice I'd give my child
Keep knitting. Give away everything you knit.