How To Pursue A Passion Project Outside Of Work

Did you know that Google encourages its employees to use 20% of their time on side projects? As one of the most innovative companies with some of the happiest employees across the globe, they must be onto something. Another Google fun fact: Did you know that Gmail started as a side project? Now it’s the most used email provider in the world.

Typically hidden under the guide of a “side project”, a passion project is that one idea you’ve always wanted to pursue. Maybe it’s the book you’ve always wanted to write, an app you wish existed so you want to build it, starting a blog on a topic you’re passionate about, or the dream home you’ve always wanted to design.

However, if it’s a passion project, then it probably doesn’t pay (or doesn’t pay much), so a lot can get in the way. Time, energy, priorities, your actual full time job. If you’re always finding yourself at your desk, counting down the minutes until clock out, then it might be a good time to pursue a project that’s for you.

Why You Need A Passion Project

There are many benefits in pursuing a project schedule, despite a busy work schedule. While it may sound like another to-do on an already full list, having a passion project can be both personally and professionally rewarding.

    • You’ll learn something new. Pursuing a new project is sure to become a learning experience. Whether it’s a new technical skill, such as a programming language or financial management, or something less tangible, like enhanced problem-solving skills, working on your passion will enable you to learn things you wouldn’t have in your full time job.
    • It can keep you from feeling burnt out. It’s easy to get in a rut when you’re working 40 or more hours on something you don’t exactly feel passionate about. If you are able to do something that you find meaning in and keeps you excited throughout your day, then that’s bound to impact your motivation and productivity.
    • You have full control. If you’re working on the project on your own, you will have complete autonomy over it. Not having to worry about other people will make the project a less stressful and more enjoyable endeavor for you.
    • You may discover opportunities. Some passion projects turn into full-time ventures and that in itself is an opportunity that wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t start the project. And even when they don’t become a full-time gig, working on them can lead to new connections, new skills, and other opportunities.

If you’re ready to start your passion project while keeping your full-time job, then it’s time to get moving. It might be a challenge to work on your project while holding down a day job, but if you are committed, there are ways to do it.

Love Your Full-Time Job

This may sound counter-intuitive, but it needs to be emphasized that your full-time job should still be a priority. If you don’t have the job that pays the bills, you probably won’t have the capacity to even work on this passion project.

Always absorb as much as you can from your day job. How do they acquire customers? How do managers run teams? What is the recruitment process like? The knowledge can potentially be useful to you later on, especially if you decide to turn your project into an actual business.

Consider your professional life as a collaboration between your day job and your passion project. As your full-time job provides you financial stability, your project feeds your passion.

However, if you are truly feeling disengaged and unmotivated with your job, then you should start considering looking for a better one. 

Also read: How To Know When You’re Ready To Become A Full-Time Freelancer

Make Time For Your Project

Time is probably one of the biggest roadblocks to starting a passion project. If we’re being honest though, how are we really spending our time?

Take a long, hard look at your schedule. Are there things you can cut down, or cut off completely? What about delegating tasks to someone else? 

Additionally, think about your time before work and after work, because that’s completely yours to schedule. Consider waking up an hour earlier to put in time for your project, and maybe even setting aside another hour in the evening for it. If you’re committed enough, you will make time.

Save Money

The benefit of running your passion project while holding a full-time job is financial security. But if your ultimate goal is to turn that project into a full-time gig, then you need to save and build a financial cushion.

Have a savings target every paycheck so you can avoid making bad business decisions out of fear of going bankrupt.

Check Your Progress

Make a list of goals you want to achieve on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Planning to write a book? Maybe set a goal to write a chapter every 2 weeks—you’d have a full-length book after a year. Want to pursue your passion as a baker? Start joining farmers’ markets and set sales goals per weekend.

Aside from tracking your project milestones, it’s also very important to check your emotional and mental state throughout your project. After all, this is supposed to be a passion project, and an important goal to set is to make sure that you find meaning, fulfillment, and happiness in what you’re doing.


You don’t need to wait around for the perfect job or your full-time job to hand you projects you’ll love. Take charge of your professional life and pursue something that you truly love and enjoy, and see how that positively impacts all aspects of your life.


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