Getting Paid for Your Passion

I met Lauren Hom in Montevideo, Uruguay, on February 1, 2016 as we started our Remote Year together. Soon I heard whispers that she was not only a talented creative artist, but a well-known one.

Lauren started working on a chalk illustration in the entry of our coworking space with one of the Sinergia Cowork employees. I took her Intro to Lettering workshop, and I had no idea it was the first time she’d ever taught until last week when she told me about the evolution of her teaching career.

Lauren collaborating on a chalkboard illustration at Sinergia Cowork, and my lettering pieces from her workshop.

I admire Lauren because she has such creative skill *and* work ethic (because she really does hustle) combined with a very authentic and friendly personality. She’s genuinely enthusiastic and supportive, and the reason she’s had so much success at a relatively young age (25) is that she makes things happen & she’s smart about her process.

When Peter and I started writing The Digital Nomad Survival Guide together, one of the first things we said was that it would be really cool if Lauren designed the cover. Peter asked if she would, and she agreed (and we paid her).

I wrote a case study about our cover design process, but the short story is that we love the cover — she joked that we could make it the background on both of our phones when she revealed the final design to us in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, but we both actually did it once she sent us the artwork. I love looking at it every day.

Lauren’s initial sketches & the final cover design for our book.

While I was in Vietnam, I saw Lauren’s announcements about her new online course, Passion to Paid. I signed up, sitting outdoors at an alley cafe in Hoi An. Then I texted Lauren about my giddy excitement to learn more about her effective process for making projects happen.

Why do I believe in the power of passion projects?

As a freelancer myself (for 3+ years so far), it’s easy to only do work that directly gets you paid. Most of what I do is billed hourly, so my time spent working directly correlates to my income & survival.

But a passion project has no immediate economic benefit — usually. So why is it worth doing and making time for? There are two main reasons:

  1. You enjoy working on it.
    I like to write and share my experiences & things I learn, so I documented my Remote Year experience on Medium and post images from my travels on Instagram.
  2. You want to showcase a skill — and the project becomes a portfolio piece so you can get hired to do more work like it.
    Because I was already writing about my travels and working remotely, a friend asked me to coauthor a book giving advice on how to become a digital nomad. I haven’t yet earned any money directly from it, but now I’m a (self) published author & that has led to me getting more writing & editing work.

So what does the Passion to Paid course include?

  • Inspiration
  • Ideation
  • Creating your passion project
  • Revamping your portfolio
  • Launching your project
  • Business basics (aka freelancing 101)
  • Getting press & recognition for your work

I worked through the classes while I traveled + worked remotely in Bali, Berlin, and Paris.

Lauren had created a private Facebook group, and I’d contribute production / project management advice as I saw questions pop up on my feed.

Lauren and I would text about the course, and after a few weeks, she hired me to consult with her on improvements for the course, using my background both as a producer for design projects and (before that) as a teacher.

I wrote a 50 page audit of the course and the materials, I suggested additional content for the classes & exercises for the worksheets, and we had a couple calls.

I outlined questions & a content plan for her About story and project case studies, and then she sent me 2+ hours of audio recordings that I transcribed and edited for our drafts.

Speaking as both a student of the course and someone who’s worked on it behind the scenes, I can attest to the quality of instruction that Lauren provides and the amount of time & expertise that goes into it. And after listening to hours of her story & experience, I am even more impressed and inspired by her work and strategy for success.

A few of Lauren’s lettering quotes in her journal from her No Pictures Please project while traveling last year.

If you know you want to grow an online following around your work + start getting paid for it, you should check Passion to Paid out.

Should you take it? That’s up to you!

But if you have goals of working on a creative project or getting hired for different skills than you currently use, then I would strongly advise you to consider it.

Personally, even though my only real creative skill is writing (vs design / illustration / lettering), I still found the course inspiring and helpful for my process, both for ideas and press & growth strategy.

Even if you wanted to showcase a not-so-creative skill, I still think aspects of Lauren’s approach would be effective because she gives such clear and logical advice on how to spread the word about your skills.

Based on her experience with the first round of P2P, she’s now offering multiple tiers for students to join so that there’s options for course-only as well as with personalized feedback from Lauren on your ideas & portfolio.

Passion to Paid enrollment is open until August 11th!

Enrollment is only open until August 11th & this is the last session for 2017, so if you’re ready for that creative push, don’t miss your chance! Hope to see you in class — yes, I’ll be in there again!

Because I so appreciate what she’s doing and have enjoyed working with her & taking this course myself, I agreed to be an affiliate for this course. That does *not* impact what I’ve said about the course or Lauren — my opinions are always honest & my own.

If you do decide to purchase her program, I may receive a commission in the future, which helps me afford time to write (and share my writing for free!) — so I really appreciate your support!


Katherine works remotely while she travels the world — on the road since June 2014. If you liked this piece, please give it a ❤ and share it. Thank you!

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