The 5 biggest mistakes creatives make when choosing a passion project

Passion Project Zig Zag
Passion Project dots
Ashley wearing a cartoon fedora surrounded by question marks, over thinking puzzle pieces

Ahhh, that new side project smell…

Nothing beats the flow-y aligned feeling of swan diving into a passion project that’s ALL YOU.

But, before you can reap the surprising benefits of having a passion project, ya gotta pick one first! Duh!

Unfortunately for overanalyzing creative types, the process of picking your perfect dream project might be more belly-flop than swan dive.

Here’s a few mistakes creatives make when choosing a side project. (I know they’re true cause I’ve made them too) 👍

Mistakes choosing a passion project

1 Waiting until they are sure

One of the most common mistakes creatives make is waiting until they are 100% sure of what they want to do before taking action.

In a perfect, non-messy creative world you receive an ultra-clear vision of where you want to go, and see all the exact steps it will take to get there.

But instead of waiting around on a mythical visit from the Clarity Fairy🧚🏻, why not make your best intuitive guess on what you’d like to try out and just give it a shot.

Often the best way to find whether you’ve found the thing is to actually do the thing!

2 Comparing your idea to someone else’s

So I hate to burst your originality bubble, but someone out there has already done something similar to your idea. AND they are further along than you. AND their project is probably totally drool-worthy.

Don’t worry! That doesn’t mean you have to scrape your idea. If someone out there is kicking-ass down a similar road congratulations! That means it’s a viable idea. Why not use their success as inspiration that you can succeed too!

Now think what can you bring to that world that makes your version different? What unique twist or weirdness can you bring to your work? How do you make it uniquely YOU!

3 Focusing on money at the start

Let’s be real. Turning your passion into a moolah-making-side-hustle is probably glue-sticked at the top of your vision board — right next to sidewalk Parisian croissants and those over the water huts in the Maldives.

We LOVE to hear stories of people who went all-in on passion and ended up making tons of money as a lucky by-product.

However; if cash is your primary incentive when choosing a project, you’ll skimp on the passion part and are likely to get burnt-out right outta the gate!


So lead with the passion first. And see what happens. Often those stories from successful people who followed their passion got their income in unexpected ways they could’ve never dreamed-up in the beginning.

4 Making it harder than it has to be

When you’re choosing your first passion project instead of learning an entirely new skillset why not make it easy on yourself and choose something that shows off a skill you already rock at?!

I really liked this Seth Godin tidbit: “if you think about how hard it is to push a business uphill, particularly when you’re just getting started, one answer is to say why don’t you just start a different business, a business you can push downhill?”

Play to your strengths and get in the habit of creative practice. Then keep rolling down the hill learning along the way!

5 Shying away from the scary

One of the benefits of following your passion is expanding and showing up as the best and bravest version of you. And that version of YOU might be on the other side of something scary. Like starting a podcast or sharing your journey (even when it’s not perfect!)

So when you’re choosing your project and there’s a choice on the table that will push you outside your comfort zone, don’t shy away from the scary. It might be the best decision you ever made!

“Where your fear is, there is your task.”- Carl Jung

+ Bonus tip! Forgetting that you can choose again!

Don’t worry! This isn’t your only shot at this. If you give your idea a shot and realize it’s a dud, you can always pick something else and try, try again!

All that “fail-fast” talk is good advice. When you take imperfect messy action today, you’ll learn so much about yourself and where you want to go so much faster than dwelling in indecision mode.

So eeny, meeny, miny, mo … just pick one and start creating already!!

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