There’s a Japanese word called “Ikigai,” which means “a reason for being,” and which aligns perfectly with the idea of passion projects.
The concept is to find meaning in life, a purpose that guides and directs you, and a cause that makes your existence worthwhile. Of course, this entails plenty of things, including the ability to do something you enjoy while providing a benefit to society and those around you. The big question though is where and how can I find passion project ideas?
Naturally, you’d need to make money to fund yourself and have the needed financial independence to manage something of this magnitude. And this is where passion projects come in.
What Is a Passion Project?
A passion project is a project you work on that aligns with your interests or hobbies, makes money for you, and benefits people around you. It could be your main business or a side hustle, but most often, it starts out as something small that requires a few hours (maybe only one) every day and grows little by little into something big and beneficial. a Passion project is a bit more involved than a usual hobby, but look at these 13 hobbies as some of them might actually resonate and align with your passion.
What Are the Advantages of Passion Projects?
You might be wondering why someone might want to add just another task on their to-do list with all the ones we can barely keep up with. Well, passion projects are definitely worth it if you pick the right ones. Here is what makes them worthwhile:
1. Boost Happiness
Everyone feels happier when they have a higher sense of control over their life, and that's exactly what a passion project does. It enables you to pick what the project will be, its goals, its size, the deadlines, the standard you want to live up to, the plan to complete it, when it's done, and the metric for its success.
2. Keep Yourself Creative
If you only finish work-related tasks throughout your day, how would you be able to think in different ways that aren't shaped by your job? A passion project keeps your mind active and continuously provides you with fresh perspectives, which, in turn, help you achieve more in your everyday life and possibly your primary job as well!
3. Add Accomplishments to Your Portfolio
This is especially important for people who work in fields that require practical projects, not only certificates and degrees. For example, someone who wants to get a tech job would definitely need a portfolio of all the projects they worked on to prove the experience they've gained.
4. Stay Curious and Learn New Skills
If you pursue new ideas, you’ll need to learn skills that enable you to continue working on them and bring them to life. For example, if you want to enhance your writing, you might be looking for a program that collects synonyms and displays them in exemplary sentences.
Well, you could look for one, but a passion project would be to create your own! The possibilities are endless and are all quite promising.
Ideas for a Passion Project
Starting a Blog
Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind when discussing passion projects ideas for students is to start a blog. There’s a high chance anyone reading this already knows someone who has their own blog, and these are pretty easy to start on different hosting platforms like Blogspot/Blogger, WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and plenty more.
All you have to do is to find the topic that interests you the most, like psychology, programming, or fashion, and write everything you know about it. The way I started was by using the “Launch your blog biz” course from the team at CreateandGo.com . This course helped me to build this exact blog you are reading. It's a simple to understand and comprehensive step by step course. Can't recommend it highly enough.
Launch a YouTube or Vimeo Channel
I can bet on the fact that almost all of us have thought about becoming YouTubers at a point or another in our lives. If you’re into fashion, you can do “haul” videos, gamers can upload walkthroughs, and book worms can upload videos of their book reviews.
There’s pretty much something for everyone and every interest. As long as you have something you love and find some free time to get creative about it, you’ll do quite well.
If you’re super talented with artistic work like animations or short films and have storytelling skills, you should totally opt for Vimeo.
Start a Podcast
Podcasts are the new hype. After all, they fit the modern person's needs: get a lot of information quickly and compactly. Having your personal podcast is like having a YouTube channel, but it's all audio, so you have to be a vocal and well-spoken person. But most importantly, you have to be really passionate about the topic you're going to tackle.
You could tell Greek mythology stories, discuss your favorite books, review movies, or talk about trips and tricks to learn a certain skill that you’re good at.
Have an Online or Physical Store
An excellent way to make money would be to sell things. I’d recommend an online store for students, but you can still have a physical one if human interaction is an important pillar for you.
There are so many free websites and apps that allow you to run your store such as Etsy (for handmade crafts), Shopify, Amazon, Carousell, or others. I’d recommend that you go through the subscription fees and the rules/regulations to start selling before you venture into that, though.
Run a Facebook or Instagram Page
An excellent way to make use of your free time doing something you love would be to post on social media, such as Facebook and/or Instagram. All you have to do is post useful and meaningful content, which would be easy for you if you’re writing about topics you’re passionate about.
It’s a great way to build a community with likeminded people, and if you want to get some money out of it, you can definitely do so with some ads, especially if you curate good traffic.
Hold a Workshop
If you're good at something, like pottery, coding, makeup, you name it; you can definitely make a profit by teaching others how to do it. Holding a workshop is a fantastic way to share your knowledge as well as make some money on the side.
Launch an Online Course
If you don’t have the time, place, or means to hold a workshop, you can replace it with an online course. It’s the same project idea, but you’ll be doing everything online. This means that you need to have incredible social and communication skills.
Create an Online Gallery
You can use Instagram (or any photo-hosting website) to start an online gallery of your drawings, paintings, or art. Of course, you can take it to a real-life gallery, but an online one would also be just fine.
Create Your Own Product
This is the most creative of them all. Whether you want to solve a problem by creating something that doesn't exist yet or modifying an already popular product, bringing your own unique idea to life would be one fantastic way of enjoying and monetizing your passion.
Passion Project Ideas by the Niche
High school students probably have the best head start when it comes to starting a passion project. This is because they have a suitable amount of time for a side project, don’t have something to do full-time, and can spare some effort for a genius hour project.
Middle-schoolers and kids can also benefit from how much free time they have, though their skills are probably still taking shape. So what are some passion project ideas for high school students? Do they differ from passion project ideas for middle-school students? And what about passion project ideas for kids?
I'd recommend online projects like Facebook pages, online stores, or YouTube channels for anyone. And if you want some creative inspiration, here are profitable niches that could serve as a compass and guide you to your future passion project:
Makeup and Beauty
For anyone interested in makeup and has a sense of color coordination and beauty, starting an Instagram page that shares tips or a YouTube channel with tutorials would be the perfect side hustle.
Fashion and Hairstyling
Are you a fashionista that knows all about the latest trends? Always flaunting your OOTD (Outfit of the Day, for those who aren’t into fashion)? Or perhaps, you were able to reach the perfect balance between being fashionable yet preserving the environment by dressing vegan? These are all perfect ideas for blogs, vlogs, or content in general.
Love testing new games and reviewing them? Want to help other people by walking them through the toughest parts of the gameplay? Then, you have excellent content to share online and benefit from in the long run!
If you've built an incredible set of skills when it comes to a craft like pottery, knitting, crochet, or anything similar, then you've got a lot to share! People love to check out tips and tricks from passionate and experienced people. If you have those two, you should definitely start a YouTube channel or a blog to share what you've learned.
Art could entail creative writing, paintings, illustrations, animation, calligraphy, videography, or photography. It could also refer to performing arts like dance, music, spoken word poetry, and theater.
If you’ve got tips to share regarding these topics, like step-by-step tutorials or recommendations for the best equipment, you can build a strong community and benefit people as well as benefit yourself from this knowledge.
Do you love trying out new restaurants? Cooking unusual recipes? Taking aesthetically-pleasing pictures of your favorite plates? You can make use of that by starting a page for it on Instagram, a blog, or a YouTube channel for cooking tutorials.
Do you love camping? Going on hikes? Taking day trips? Do you know all the places, secret spots, or hacks for backpackers of people on a budget? Make use of this information by sharing it online or by becoming a part-time local guide. There are online websites for that, like showaround.com.
Health and Fitness
Are you a gym rat with fun and engaging workout plans? Do you know the best tips to follow a diet religiously? Have you been through a successful weight loss trip? You can’t imagine the number of people who would love to hear what you have to say about it!
If you’re a thrifty shopper with a good sense of interior design, you will definitely do a good job in terms of home improvement. Plenty of people would love to renovate their room/house but don’t have the budget for it, so if you can give them tips on how to do it, you’ll have an incredibly wide fan base.
DIY (Do it Yourself)
Just like home improvement, a lot of people are into DIY jobs as they provide more affordable alternatives to everyday objects. If you’re talented when it comes to building things using cheap materials, this is the niche for you.
This is one topic that everyone needs tips with. So, if you’ve already been through the ups and downs of raising a baby, you can definitely share your experience, tips, and things you’ve learned with other parents that are going through this satisfyingly life-changing journey.
Personal Development and Self-Care
Self-care, mental health awareness, and improving oneself are all incredible topics that aren't as tangible as others, which means they're harder to tackle. If you've managed to do that, you can definitely use this knowledge to influence people and help them become better versions of themselves.
Though many people might limit this to career coaches, I think anyone could give career advice, especially those who have managed to shift careers. I think this is one of the most sought-out topics, so if you have information and experience, you can benefit from them.
Do you have advice on how to increase savings? Manage money? Be more thrifty? A lot of people have trouble with their finances, and they could definitely use your two cents!
From product reviews to tech-savvy how-tos and explanations of tech-related topics that aren’t as easy to grasp, the tech niche has endless possibilities, and focusing on a certain concept would widen your base and gain you lots of traffic.
3D printing is the new hype. If you're into model building and 3D modeling, you can share all the tips and tricks with your audience. And since it's a very skill-focused hobby with intricate details and complicated processes, it would definitely help that you're passionate about it, and you'll have an advantage in this field.
How Do You Write Down Your Passion Projects?
If you’re not sure exactly where to start, here are the general steps you need to follow to bring your passion project ideas to life:
1. Decide the Benefit You Have to Offer
You should prepare a list of benefits that someone could derive from your passion project. How would it help people? Try to think of all the possibilities.
2. List All the Project Possibilities
When you decide on a benefit, set a timer of around 20 minutes to come up with all the ideas you’ll filter through. Keep filtering them until you get to the top 3 ideas.
3. Don’t Divide Your Energy
You might be tempted to start more than one project to have backup options in case one project doesn’t work out. However, I would strongly advise against that. Choosing one thing and committing to it would be a much better route.
4. Set Milestones and Goals
For a project to be fruitful, it has to achieve something and make progress. That’s why you have to decide on short-term goals and long-term ones. Plan on the goals and how to reach them, how to stick to them, and when to decide that you’ve achieved them.
5. Commit to Your Genius Hour
Though deciding on a passion project is pretty hard, it’s only the first step. The tough part actually comes with setting an amount of time per day to work on it and grow it. So, make sure you’ve planned this out really well. Don’t overwork yourself, even if your passion pushed you to do so. Set one hour per day (The Genius Hour) and stick to it.
6. Document the Process
Even if your passion project is not a blog and doesn’t involve journalizing or writing, work on documenting the process. This gives you more credibility and serves as proof of experience and knowledge if you need to use it for future purposes like applying to a college or a new job.
7. Take the Leap of Faith
Most of the time, people are afraid of starting their projects because they think it’s not a suitable time or that they don’t have the means. However, in life, the best time to start something is right now.
Don't stress yourself with something big or grandiose; just pick something you're passionate about and love. Stick to the genius hour rule and make sure you're making progress no matter how small. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
When all is said and done, a passion project turns out to be as simple as it sounds: having a passion for something and then having the consistency and commitment to stick to a project. These two qualities together can guarantee massive success to the idea you’re considering.
Don't let other commitments or a full-time job weigh you down or stop you; all a passion project takes is an hour of progress per day!