Monetizing Your Passions – Episode 5 of Undeclared for Life

Image by Caitee Smith, available under CC BY 2.0.

Monetizing Your Passions – Episode 5 of Undeclared for Life

Written by Emilie

Topics: Lifestyle Design, Podcast

Alright, lets see a show of hands… Who’s ready to brainstorm some creative ways to finance their many pursuits?

(I’m imagining you in front of your computer, waving your hand, just so you know.)

STEP 1: Identify Your Passions

Hopefully you went through last week’s worksheet and filled it out. If you haven’t, go do that now. Seriously, this won’t work if you don’t have a really solid sense of who you are. And I mean, solid, like staring back at you on the screen.

(At the very least, go do the “ideal day” exercise. Otherwise, this simply will not work.)

STEP 2: Slot Your Passions into Your Ideal Day

You know whats amazing? When your real life begins to match up with your ideal life. I mean, when you can literally pick up a piece of paper you filled out months or years earlier called “My Ideal Week” and you find no distinction  between that piece of paper and your current weekly schedule.

So lets draw up this perfect schedule. Think of it as a present to your future self, for Future Self to hold up against reality and grin at.

1. Download and Print Out the Worksheet

  • Ideal Week Worksheet: DOC, PDF

2. Use Your Perfect Day Exercise to Colour in Some Blocks

Colour in any blocks of time that you want to save for something special. For instance, if you wrote down that you wanted an hour in the morning to go for a jog or write, slot that in. If you wanted 3-4 hours in the middle of the day to work on your novel or business or to paint, slot that in. Keep going.

You can get specific about the activities like Abe (“film directing” from 9-5) or keep it open like me (“creative project” from 9-12). I like to keep mine open because then I can cycle in different projects, depending on my mood and where I’m at. But if you have a main focus in your life right now like Abe, you can definitely get specific.

Track Your Energy Levels

Keep your energy levels in mind throughout the day. When are you most productive? Make a note and relegate your most meaningful projects to those times.

Similarly, if there are any hours in the day when you are utterly useless and/or exhausted, mark those down. I’m usually dead to the world between 2-5pm for example, so I don’t try to force it. Instead of working, I watch DVDs, tweet, hang out with friends, run errands, or take a nap. Resting up or doing something mindless during your down time will help you focus better when that next boost of energy hits.

Finding a Balance Between Routine and Flexibility

You can fill out as much or as little of your weekly schedule as you like. You can also derogate from it regularly. It’s meant just as a baseline, and nothing is set in stone.

In fact, you might not want to print your schedule out at all. The point isn’t to set up rules for yourself, but to simply spend some time consciously thinking over how you want to spend your days. In other words, the value is in act of completing the exercise, not in the final product.

STEP 3: Brainstorm Monetization Strategies

Which of the activities and interests you came up with in step 1 would you like to monetize, and how? Here are a few ideas (note: these are mentioned, along with other possible revenue streams, in the Manifesto. A must-read):

1. Blog-Based Business

The blog-based business is a good model for multipotentialites because it allows you to combine many interests and skills on a regular basis. It’s especially great if you like writing, speaking, multimedia, teaching, collaborating, and community building.

Remember that blogging isn’t  synonymous with writing. A video blog, podcast, or even drawings, will make your site stand out, so don’t sweat it if writing isn’t your thing.

2. Freelancing

Got any skills you love applying and could leverage? Web design, video editing, WordPress installation, cooking, guitar, speaking a foreign language, speaking a not-so-foreign language like English, a passion for organizing? I could go on.

For info on charging exorbitant rates through freelancing, check out Ramit Sethi‘s stuff. Hands down, the best. (The key is understanding the inner psychology of your clients.)

3. Other Forms of Online/Passive Income

Here I’m thinking mostly of affiliate marketing, niche sites, and other forms of passive income. There are some great resources (and some not-so-great ones) out there. I’d start by pointing you over to Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income. Really nice, helpful guy– one of my early inspirations upon entering the world of digital self-employment.

The Podcast

Have you come up with some possible revenue streams to match up with your ideal life? Need some inspiration, or just want to see how it’s done? We’ve got part 2 of our case study for that!

In Today’s Episode of Undeclared for Life…

Can you fill your week with only the activities that light you up, and still live comfortably? “Coach Emilie” continues to guide Abe as they design his ideal life and discuss possible revenue streams through which to monetize his passions.

Listen to the Episode


Your Turn

What does your ideal week look like? And who wants to see Abe start a blog about time travel?

Stuff Mentioned in the Episode


  1. Hey Emilie!
    THis is awesome! My #1 goal right now is to not just dive deeper into my passions and embrace them more, but to also find a way to make a living with them as well.
    I really want to explore other options for blog based business!
    Keep motivating us!!! THANKS!
    -Laur :)

    • Emilie says:

      Hey Laur!

      Right on! I’d be thrilled to help be a part of what gets you there. You are part of that for me too. I love this “business” because everybody wins. There’s no competition, just partners, and we all want to see each other succeed! It’s super awesome.

      Thanks for the comment! :)

  2. james says:

    that whole ideal week is a big deal for me. I’ve been working on transitioning towards something like that for months now, but I’ve always been really resistant to scheduling. Something in my personality just seems to want to stay in the flow state until I pass out… maybe because I struggle to get there, and sometimes waste more time than I should while getting down to business.

    Being able to rapidly start and shift focus would be a massive step forward for me. I really do know what my ideal week would look like, I think it’s time I tried to live it. Definitely beats working on something (even a passion area) until 4am.

    • Emilie says:

      Hi James,

      Yeah, it can be a hard transition to make. I also didn’t mean for it to seem like you’ve got to take all the spontaneity out of your day. To be honest, I probably derogate from my schedule far more often than I stick to it. But for some reason, it’s still useful to have as a baseline.

      I also think that it’s a shame to disrupt a good flow state. If you’re lucky enough to get into one, I’d say stay for as long as you can… Unless of course it harms you in other ways. I don’t know, finding the routine/flexibility balance is tough. There’s no one solution that will work for everyone.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. TheSavvyGRAD says:

    Great article and I love the worksheet. It is true that great minds think alike cause this is a worksheet I have used for the past year or so and have seen amazing results. At the end of every month I devote an hour to monthly planning which includes updating my calendar, revising my ideal schedule, and a start-stop-and continue (SSC) worksheet. In the SSC I write what i want to start stop and continue in the month to come. Thanks for always posting quality content!

    • Emilie says:

      Right on, thanks! I’m loving the concept of your site by the way. Tips for recent grads, that’s a great idea. I see so many of my friends floundering, totally lost and unsure of what to do next. Very cool.

  4. You both sound like you’re having a great time in this episode. Found myself giggling along. I’d like to see a blog on time travel. Perhaps you can take the perspective of someone from the past for a fresh look at some of the more popular blogosphere topics.

    This podcast hit on something I wrestle with: earn directly from my passions or support my passions with something else (that happen to be reasonably engaging). Right now I’m doing both but haven’t quite found the balance I’d like.

    My ideal week seems pretty common: do high level creative stuff in the morning, family/cleaing/life/routine stuff in the afternoons, and more creative stuff in the evening. Weekends are reserved for totally unstructured social & fun time, with usually Sat or Sun a digital sabbath.

    • Emilie says:

      Thanks Seth! We’ve definitely started getting more comfortable on the mics and having more fun with these podcasts. :)

      I agree, that’s a tricky question. It’s something I’ve battled with as well. I think it’s about finding a balance you’re comfortable with, like you said. But many of us grow up with this notion that we need to make money doing what we love or else it doesn’t count. I think it’s just as valid (and often a much more workable solution) to make money doing something ELSE that you also enjoy, and using that to fund those hard-to-monetize super passions. At least till they begin taking off on their own.

  5. Holli says:

    I am really excited about this – just wanted to share the enthusiasm.
    My Hubby is doing Ramit’s earn 1k program and we have both read Escape from Cubicle Nation.

    This series you’re doing is nice and easy with chunks of things we can accomplish in the midst of a busy life. I look forward to working these next steps.

    Right now I have a 2.5 Princess ready to dance for me, which is a distraction I must take.

    • Emilie says:

      Your husband’s doing Earn 1k?! That’s awesome! I wanted so badly to take that, but I just couldn’t afford it this time around. How is he finding the course? Ramit is incredible.

      And yeah, Pam Slim is like Abe’s honourary ‘auntie’. More on that later… :)

      Enjoy the family time. I had a nice moment like that just this morning that I’ll be turning into a post actually.

      • Holli says:

        Yeah, he got in during the first offering of Earn 1k, so it didn’t cost him so much (plus that was during a more lucrative financial time for us). He has enjoyed it, and says that it is more about the mental blocks and hurdles one would face in evaluating their services or product worth. He is also doing a marketing e-course right now that he finds more applicable. He likes the check lists and actual action steps. Earn 1k has work sheets and the like, but they are more loose with things to think about. Regardless, we still think Ramit is The Man (kidding), but you get the idea.

        Super cool for Abe! I really enjoyed reading Escape from Cubicle Nation even though it was while I was breastfeeding (which you do a lot of if you choose to during a baby’s first 6 months). So, I didn’t have a direct need for her info, but my cubicle dwelling husband did. In short, he’s gone freelance as of Jan 1st and I’m his sounding board. It helps that I eat up business books like a Vampire fan reads Twilight Books. And, I’ve always worked for start-ups or small businesses.


  6. Angela says:

    The ideal workweek worksheet is awesome! I’m totally printing it out and putting it on the wall above my computer. Schedules for me are usually just goals, because the unexpected happens all too often, but it’s still good to write out what all I want to do so I don’t forget about something or get too off track of my goals.

    I need to put myself out there like Em & Abe say, and start finding more work doing what I love to do and getting paid for it. Like Abe, I have a full-time job and lots of hobbies & projects I would love to spend more time on. I need to figure out how to shift my time toward the things I would rather be doing than sitting in a cube.

    • Emilie says:

      Oh good! I’m glad you found the worksheet helpful. And yeah, those sound like great plans Angela. The more fun projects you take on, the more fulfilling life becomes. I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

      I’m also super excited that you’ll be joining us at the #WDS. :)

14 Comments Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Pro Blogger News

Leave a Comment