Perhaps you’ve had an idea for a “passion project” burning in your heart for months now, but you’ve never gotten around to starting it.
It may be something you openly share with other people, or something you keep a secret. But despite all your excitement, you still haven’t taken the first step.
Well, wait no longer! We’ll show you how to finally start working on what you love.
What Is a Passion Project?
A passion project is a venture you pursue for your own benefit, most often during your free time. You might start working on a passion project just for the pleasure of it, or because you want to make a difference in the lives of others.
For example, IBM programmer Craig Newman started a passion project that involved sending out an email newsletter detailing a list of social events around San Francisco as a way to help his friends find them. From this list, he ended up creating a web interface which later became known as Craigslist.
Generally, passion projects are centered around things that you:
- enjoy doing
- find a lot of value in
- consider important
- can’t stop telling other people about
- love doing in your free time, even if you have to lose out on rest or sleep
- don’t mind doing without pay (but might potentially earn money from)
Why Are Passion Projects Important?
Passion projects are important for several reasons. They can help you to:
Fulfill Your Purpose
The human heart comes with a natural desire to find purpose, and one thing that can help you determine your life purpose is looking at the things that capture your heart.
So starting a passion project is one great way of weeding through possible vocations you may want to consider.
Enrich Your Life
When you work at something that you love, you’ll find yourself coming alive. Because of this, a passion project can help enrich your life.
Because they are generally things you enjoy, pursuing a passion project actually lets you have fun while also exploring your own creativity.
Studies have even shown the importance of play for adults, as it can improve your energy levels, creativity, and even your relationships. So use your passion project as a productive way to have fun doing what you love!
Because a passion project can be a large challenge, working on it over time and finally completing it will give you a deep sense of accomplishment.
Improve Your Portfolio
Passion projects are also a great thing to include in a college application, because they help you show the prospective university gatekeeper your strengths and your interests.
Develop Your Strengths and Talents
Exploring passion projects also helps you push yourself and put your strengths and talents to the test.
Develop Commitment and Grit
The process of pursuing a long project will help you build up your endurance and ability to commit to something.
It may not always be easy, and if you have other jobs and responsibilities, you may be tempted to just let it go, but hanging in there will make you stronger and tougher.
Create Opportunities for Yourself
Starting a project by yourself will train you to find and create opportunities on your own, instead of just passively waiting for opportunity to show up. This is an important skill in life, which can help you get ahead in your career.
Earn Extra Money
If you’re looking for extra income, pursuing one of your passions is a great way of starting a side hustle.
The good thing about this is that, if you are truly passionate about your project, you will have fewer chances of getting bored or tired. This means you stand a greater chance of earning a little extra from your effort.
Test a New Career Path
You may be working at a job that doesn’t excite you. When you think about your passions, you feel like you can give it your all.
But instead of resigning from your job and jumping in right away, a passion project can help you test the waters and see if this is something you can work with in the long run.
The important thing to remember is that you pick a passion project that you already want to pursue, not something you feel like you have to do.
What Is a Good Passion Project?
From the definition of a passion project being something that you are naturally inclined to, this means that a good passion project will vary from person to person.
How to Pick a Passion Project
Here are some tips to help you find the right passion project for you:
1. Choose something that you are truly passionate about.
This one may sound obvious, since we’re talking about your passion project, after all.
But sometimes you may think you’re into something just because everyone else is into it. Look closely at your life and experiences, and see whether this idea is something that has stuck with you for the long haul or is just a passing interest.
If you happen to be passionate about adoption and fostering, you can’t expect everyone else’s passion project to look like yours.
If you have a heart for community work, such as building homes for the homeless, your passion project might be something along that line.
2. If you are planning to earn extra income, consider the demand for your work.
If you want to work on your passion project just for the fun of it, you will not really need to consider this step. But if you’re hoping to eventually quit your day job and work full time on your passion project, you have to find one that at least has some existing demand.
For example, you may be super passionate about indigenous weaving, but if demand is too low for it, consider something else from your list.
If your dream is to write a book and you hope to get published and earn a steady income from it, you have to consider the market and whether the book you want to write would be in demand.
3. Consider the time commitment.
When choosing your passion project, take inventory of how much time you have to spare and how much time you will need to invest in the project.
Although you probably will not be counting the hours doing what you love, it’s still good to be realistic from the get-go.
Starting with a smaller passion project and finishing it will inspire you to keep going for bigger ones.
4. Think about your end goal.
When you think about your passion project options, what are the final outcomes you’re looking for? Do you want to just get your ideas out? Help someone? Learn a new skill?
Determining the final outcomes you want to see will help you decide which passion project idea will best meet those goals.
5. Look at similar existing projects.
We don’t want to operate out of a comparison mindset. But taking a look at what other people have done can do one of two things:
It can give you more ideas on what you want to do. Or, it might help you conclude that you don’t want to add to what’s already on your plate.
When you see a final product that someone else has undertaken, you can have a clearer picture as to whether you want the same thing or not.
Passion Project Example
In the video above, you can learn about how one 8th grade student spent months researching and writing survey questions to create a website that can match you with the perfect adoptable dogs for your lifestyle.
This is just one example of how passion projects can do good for you, as well as your community.
Start Your Passion Project Now
After considering these tips, you can choose a passion project to devote your extra time to. Schedule a day to start, and create a schedule for working on your project consistently.
The hardest part is getting started, so once you take the first step, you may be surprised how time flies!
What’s your passion project? Tell us about it in the comments below!