Work is a major source of stress for many people. According to the American Institute of Stress, “Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.”

Unfortunately, work is a reality of everyday life for most of us. We can’t simply get rid of it, but there are some things we can do to reduce that stress and make life a lot more enjoyable.

Turning something that you love into a job may seem like an unrealistic dream, but many people are able to actually do this by starting their own business. I’m a hobbyist photographer, and I was able to turn that hobby into a full-time income through an online business, without having the skills or experience of a professional photographer.

If you want to enjoy your work and reduce work-related stress, starting a business around one of your passions can be a great way to do it.

Step 1: Start a Side Hustle

Although I believe that starting your own business around your hobby or passion can be a great way to get more enjoyment out of your work, I don’t recommend quitting your job today without anything already in place.

The safest way to do it is to start your business on the side, and make the transition to full-time when you are ready. There are countless side hustle ideas that you could pursue, but not all of them are ideal if your goal is to grow it to a full-time income.

For example, taking online surveys is a popular way to make some extra money. It’s a good option if you need to make a few hundred dollars per month, but it’s not going to give you the potential to replace the income from a full-time job. On the other hand, freelancing or starting an online business offers plenty of potential to grow.

Step 2: Schedule Your Time

You’ll need to treat this side hustle like a legit business if you hope that it will grow to a full-time income. It’s not a hobby at this point.

Think about your existing schedule and how you will be able to fit in the time to work on your side hustle. For most people, evenings and weekends are the best times. Whatever is best for you does not matter, but schedule that working time into your calendar. Treat it like a job with regular working hours and stick to that schedule as much as possible.

Your schedule may also impact the exact side hustle that you choose. Some options may require more flexibility or hours that simply aren’t available to you. Regardless of your schedule, there are options. There are a number of weekend jobs that are ideal even if you only have time to dedicate on the weekend.

Step 3: Find Your Unique Angle

Regardless of what type of business you are starting, it’s important that you stand out from the competition. This is especially true if you are starting a blog or some other type of online business where there is loads of competition.

What makes you unique? Find your strength or specific experience that you can use to stand out.

Step 4: Leverage

One of the reasons business owners tend to make more money than employees is because of leverage. A business owner is leveraging the time of employees. Online businesses are also able to leverage the exposure that is possible. A single-person online business can reach millions of visitors all around the world, which would never be possible with a traditional business. Also, the online business can generate money around the clock, 24/7.

One of the keys to growing your business is to use leverage. You can start doing this by outsourcing some of your work to freelancers. Instead of trying to do everything yourself, hire others to do the things that you’re not good at, or the tasks that aren’t worth your time.

Step 5: Save Up

Any money that you are not re-investing should be saved at this stage, while you still have a full-time job. If your job provides enough income to support yourself, you can afford to save the money that you’re making with the side hustle.

Saving up will allow you to build a cushion that can provide extra security when you decide it’s time to leave your full-time job.

Step 6: Make the Leap

When the income from your side hustle is to the point where it can almost support your living expenses, you may want to consider the timing of leaving your job. Of course, there will be some risk, but if you’ve been steadily growing your business and saving to build up that cushion, you can minimize the risk.

Once you’re ready, make the leap. But remember that this is not the end. You’ll need to continue growing the business, but you’ll be able to enjoy the work that you do, and you’ll see the rewards as a direct result of your effort.

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