Start Earning Money From Your Passion

Seven entrepreneurs share their lessons, strategies, and mistakes.

Sydney Owen skydiving

Sydney Owen parlayed her hobby of skydiving into a marketing business.

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While still employed at her firm, Moynihan started taking one day off a week to work for outside clients as well as pitch new ones. She started meeting potential clients through friends, and now has left her firm to pursue full-time self-employment.

6. Get help from friends. Erica Sara, 34, was working full-time as a consultant for Coach when she started designing her own jewelry and spreading the word through friends. As a runner herself, she created "race bling," jewelry to commemorate races such as marathons or inspire the wearer to run harder. She also created "mantra jewelry," featuring inspiring words or phrases, as well as jewelry for mothers, including the popular "generation necklace," which features the names of multiple generations of family members.

"I had friends hold trunk shows," says Sara, of her early days, before she turned her creations into a full-time business. She also built up her customer base through her own running blog, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. "Being able to sell my own designs felt more gratifying and more real," she says, even though she continues to work 12-hour days (or longer).

7. Seek help online. James Mundia, 27, had been reading Ramit Sethi's blog, IWillTeachYoutobeRich.com, since he graduated from college, and decided he wanted to follow Sethi's advice and figure out a way to earn money on top of his job as an information technology coordinator for a small association in the Washington, D.C., area. So he signed up for Sethi's Earn1k.com class, which teaches people how to start earning $1,000 on the side.

Now, Mundia offers private soccer lessons for young players in the Arlington, Va., area, which has helped him pay down his credit card debt and save up for travel. The Earn1k program, Mundia says, helped him realize that he could earn extra money on the side by making use of the skills he already had. One day, Mundia hopes, his soccer-training program will become his main source of income.

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