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Why Following Your Passion Is Wrong

So you’ve been told to follow your passion, right? You’ve read all the blogs and books on how the key to truly living a fulfilling life is to do work you’re passionate about. So here you are, starting a freelancing business in hopes that the elusive “happy” life will come as long as you can“follow your passion”.

Well stop.


Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about enjoying my work and I think a key to that is doing something that I love everyday. And passion definitely fits into that description.

But making it all about passion is hindering your success.

You need to make it a business. A business you make money with. A business that gives you the ability to design your life the way you want it, including following your passion.

Freelancing is a business, not a hobby. Tweet that!

 At least the kind of freelancing that brings you freedom, and that’s what I’m all about here at The Freelance To Freedom Project.

Treat Your Freelancing Like A Business And You Will Find Freedom

(freedom to only do what you’re passionate about)

If you are like me, you started this freelancing thing on the side (unless you’ve inherited a nice chunk of change and do it to keep yourself occupied- in which case you are not in need of freedom and you don’t really need to read this blog).


  • Want to escape a job you don’t love.
  • Realize the skills you have are valuable.
  • Want to travel more and work from home.

But you don’t think you have the skills to charge high enough prices to survive or you don’t have enough connections to help boost your business or you don’t know where to find clients.

So what do you do?

You treat your freelancing as a hobby or a side-project or a passion. Instead of doing what it takes to get over those only-in-your-head blocks.

And what happens?

It stays a hobby or a side-project or a passion.

It's Time To Stop Following Your Passion

Treating freelancing as a business does 2 things:

  1. People around you take you more seriously. It’s your business, you must be a pro (and a pro is who most people want to work with).
  2. It forces you take it more seriously. This is your business after all, you have to make it work.

First steps to stop treating freelancing as just a passion:

  • Instead of saying to yourself and others, “I’m a kindergarten teacher, but I freelance on the side”, say “I’m a freelance web designer, but I teach kindergarten on the side”.
  • Update your social media profiles to list your freelancing career first.
  • Come back to the blog next week and start implementing (see below).

In the coming weeks on the blog we’ll be talking about all the aspects of starting (or ramping up) your freelancing business by doing the opposite of just a passion:

How To Go Pro.

So stay tuned!




P.S. Are you treating your freelancing like a business or a hobby? Let me know in the comments below.

P.P.S. Know someone that could use a little help going pro? Share this with them and help grow the Freelance To Freedom tribe!

Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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Yes, please!

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • A trully great post, Leah! I wish every freelancer read this post. You have our tweet 🙂

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Thanks PL! I hope to get every freelancer to read this post 😉

  • Rach G

    Definitely a hobby! I am not even really dedicated on the hobby side, hoping your posts will light my fire.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      I hope so too Rach- I’ve got more on the way just for you then!

  • I couldn’t agree with you more – – you are so right on. We build a business when we start acting like a CEO and we build a side gig when treat it as … well, just a side gig. Thanks Leah!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Yes Krista- I love that! Start acting like a CEO!

  • Hey Leah,

    I love this idea about keeping it about business. You’re so right! I quit my part-time job to be a freelance designer 9 months after I started freelancing. I’m in a place where I’m sort of craving another part-time job, funny how that works.

    Love your new project!


    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      That is interesting Melissa. Maybe thinking about what it is that you actually crave that you think a part time job would solve and you may be able to find ways to do that within your freelancing business instead.

  • Yes! This is such a good idea.

    The moment I started my business, I decided to (deep breath) make that the first thing I told people I do – even when I was making a LOT more money from “real” work than the business. I found it made both them – and me – take the business a lot more seriously!

    Loved this, thank you.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Exactly! It’s scary at first and we worry a lot about what other people will think of us. It’s not about where the majority of our money comes from but rather where we want the majority of our money to come from in the future!

  • I think my biggest problem is people who desperately want to have a conversation with me in my area of expertise, but I need to be more professional with boundaries and not wear myself too thin…I need to remember to forward them onto a future class or workshop I am offering instead of endless coffee conversations that are not moving me forward professionally. They are also probably discounting the value that I do bring and what I have to offer. Hmmm….things to think about : )

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Great point Court. That is definitely something that comes up a lot- all around the subject of feeling like we need to give stuff away for free in the beginning and when we do that we aren’t treating it like a business at all. And you’re right, it does discount the value and there are people that will pay for your expertise. Thank you for your thoughts!

  • Love this article, and only until recently, have I taken my passion for art as a real business. I’m a Professional Designer by trade, that’s my bread and butter, but as an artist at heart, I’m finally breaking my way through the idea that it’s just a ‘hobby’. Good stuff, Leah!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Great Desiree! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • Ha, Leah, this is great! When I started out with my Simply Live Better blog, I also told people about my regular job first before I went on with my blog. Thanks for the reminder to never make this mistake again!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      It was my favorite part 🙂 Although, like many people, when you’re in a corporate job you sometimes need to be careful about the language on social media. But when meeting people in person, it works wonders to how you show up to your business.

  • Leah, great advice. Everything is about how we look and talk about it. There’s power in words, so how you describe your side gig is a big indicator of when and if it’ll ever become you pro business.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Loved how you phrased that Silvia, thanks for visiting!

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