Here’s a dirty little secret: I fell into this career by accident.
Personal finance wasn’t something I ever imagined I’d do for a living. Money wasn’t something I loved as a child. It’s not even something I thought about in college. It wasn’t until I graduated and had to live on minimum wage with $30,000 in student loans that I started focusing on personal finance. I knew I had to help myself and others fix their finances. It was something I became good at, and it was something that I eventually got paid to do.
Personal finance paid the bills. Personal finance was what I became known for.
But my true child-hood passion? Cartoons.
The 5-year-old me knew what I was born to do – and then adult life fought back
Growing up, I dreamed of being an animator. I watched Looney Tunes on repeat, sketching out Bugs Bunny and Marvin the Martian in front of the TV over a bowl of popcorn. I own every single Calvin and Hobbes comic book ever published, and would spend hours mimicking Bill Watterson’s careful lines and water-colored backgrounds.
In elementary school, I won regional and national awards for my drawings. I was named “Best Artist” in my senior class in high school.
Then I went to college and my art died.
In school, I felt obligated to focus on a career path that made money. I spent less time on my art and more time figuring out what would make me money. By the time I graduated school, I’d hardly sketched a thing and only painted two pieces.
After graduation, I thought I’d find time to rekindle my passion, but I found plenty of excuses not to do art. I was finally earning money, living an “adult life” and I wanted to grow my career. My art became a hobby, and my hobby took a back seat to my job.
It was a conversation at a party when I realized I’d given up on my passion for my career.
Someone casually asked me what I do for work and what I do for fun. I went into passionate detail about my job helping families save money for college. Then I told them about my art hobby. They asked what I’d created lately. I paused. I couldn’t come up with a single example. At that point, it’d been over a year since I’d created something.
My whole life, I’d said I was an artist. But for years, I’d been saying that I was an artist, but I wasn’t actually doing any art. I’d been saying that I love to draw and paint and do art, but I hadn’t created a single thing.
I realized that I’d stopped doing what I loved in life because making money had taken over.
I’ve always been a career-oriented girl. Fast forward to today, and I’ve created my own business. I’m a financial empowerment consultant who helps businesses, nonprofits and blogs educate millennials and low-income families about money. I’m grateful and tremendously blessed to be able to run my own business, be my own boss and create my own career.
But when I launched my own business, I heard a voice deep down inside of me telling me that there was an artist inside of me still waiting to come out.
“Make art, Steph. This is what you were born to do.”
I used to think these were two opposing forces in my life: my career and my calling. But in the past few months, I’ve realized they could be one and the same. In fact, this could be an insanely powerful combination that would drive both my career and my calling.
This magic combo is helping me stick out from the crowd, bringing my work to life and allowing me to do what I love while getting paid.
And I get to doodle every day
The Magic Combo to Get Paid to Do What You Love
It took me eight years to get back to doing art regularly. EIGHT YEARS. That’s a long break from something that I claimed was my passion and love since childhood. But here I am, drawing and doodling and creating cartoons every day – and getting paid for it.
It took awhile, but I now get paid to do what I love. And it feels incredible.
So how do you get there? How can you realistically find a way to bring your childhood passion, the thing you were born to do, and get money to do it?
Even if you don’t want to start your own business, it’s totally possible to bring your passion into your work.
Here’s the magic combo I’ve found for earning money and doing what you love:
Step 1: Master a unique, valuable skill. It doesn’t have to be your passion, but just get really good at something in-demand or incredibly unique. These days, this usually involves something online: blogging, programming, etc. But it could be something totally out of left field… like financial education for me. Milk your current job for whatever it’s worth to build your skills and your expertise in an area of value. Go all in and hard in one area.
Step 2: Infuse your passion into everything you do. Once you have a mastered skill under your belt, the possibilities are endless. And that’s when you can really start having fun and bringing your passion front and center. There are so many creative ways to combine the thing you love with the thing that makes you money. Add your personal flair and passion into your everyday work whenever possible. You’ll be surprised by where it takes you.
Introducing the Crush Your Debt Comics
So I’ve come up with the ultimate hybrid between my career and my calling to make cartoons:
In a few weeks, I’ll be publishing the “Crush Your Debt Comics” – an illustrated story about how I paid off almost $35,000 in student loans in less than four years. Here’s a sneak peak:
I’m so ridiculously excited for this comic book – it’s the culmination of everything I love and do in life And guess what? I’m giving it away to all my readers in the month of May. Even though I love getting paid to draw comics about money, I also love giving things away.
And be sure to leave a comment telling me about your passion or calling – what would you love to get paid to do?