Deciding on a Passion Project: 5 Questions that Helped Me Get Started


Some of you may be wondering, what exactly is a passion project?

I like to think of a passion project as a creative side project that brings you joy, satisfaction, and purpose. It also provides you an opportunity to learn or improve a set of skills, create new connections, and propel your career in new ways.

Lauren Hom is a freelance letterer who has built her entire career by doing one passion project after another, and it was after taking her Passion to Paid course that I decided to start one for 2019.

Dear Ethan is the title of my passion project, and it’s a daily sketch journal where I paint a watercolor illustration and write a short letter to my son, Ethan. I’ve been sharing my posts on Instagram since January 1, 2019, and it’s been one of my favorite personal projects so far.

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 8.25.08 PM.png

The main purposes of my project are to:

  • Document my day-to-day memories with my son in a creative way

  • Start a habit of consistently creating something every day

  • Stretch myself as an illustrator and draw things outside of my comfort zone

  • Let go of perfectionism and allow myself to make mistakes and create/share things that I might not always be proud of

  • Make connections with new moms and other motherhood-related brands

So, how did I come up with this project?

Here are five questions that helped me get started:

1. What are the creative skills that you want to improve or promote?

Is there a new skill you want to explore? A current skill you’d like to improve? Whether it’s lettering, painting, crafting, or sewing, choose a skill that you’re excited to work on for the duration of your project.

2. What are some of the things that you feel strongly about in your life?

This is an important one, because whatever topic you choose, you want to make sure it’s something you’re passionate about. It’s called a passion project after all.

Think about the things that make you feel intense emotion in your life. A family member? A pet? A certain type of activity, food, or location? Jot down everything that comes to mind on a piece of paper and look for the things that really stand out.

3. Can you make a lot of content from your idea?

Make sure to choose something that you’ll be able to produce a decent amount of content for. The more content you can create, the longer your passion project can go. If you have trouble coming up with more than 10-15 potential post ideas, you may want to reconsider your idea.

4. Is your project manageable within your current schedule/lifestyle?

For me, I knew I couldn’t take on anything that required too much time, especially since I was planning to post daily. Ask yourself how much time you can dedicate to your project and how frequently you’d like to post. Daily? A few times a week? Once a week? This will help you figure out a project that fits into your current schedule. The more practical your project is, the higher the chance that you won’t abandon it halfway.

5. What is the end goal for your project?

If you’re planning to start a passion project simply to explore a new passion or curiosity, awesome! But if there are other purposes you’d like it to fulfill, then think through those carefully. Do you want to eventually monetize your project? Sell products from it? Book client work? Keep these goals in mind and ask yourself if your project will fulfill these needs.

A few additional questions to consider once you’ve landed on some potential passion project ideas:

  • Does a similar project already exist?

  • What platform will you use to share the project?

  • Will the project be relatable/interesting to your target audience?

In the end, whatever you choose as your passion project, the most important thing is that it’s something that you feel excited about and look forward to working on.

Happy brainstorming!