Success stories: turning passions into paychecks
In these uncharted economic times, wouldn’t it be great if you had a way to make some extra cash — or walk away from that full-time ball and chain completely?
I’ve put my ear to the ground and been following some fascinating folks online who have ditched their 9-5 grind to make money online with their passion project. For some, it’s a lucrative side gig, while others have been able to turn their hobby into a full-time business.
Now it’s time to share the success stories and reveal the top cases I’ve uncovered online. So here they are… everyday people who have grown an original concept into a flourishing new career without a lot of training or investment.
Bento box art
It all started with “Let’s make some lunch for my kids.”
Just for fun, Las Vegas mother of three Jessica Woo started posting videos on TikTok of bento box meals she packed for her kids. When one of those videos hit the big time, racking up millions of views overnight, she knew she had struck gold. Now she posts videos regularly, with creative presentations that turn humdrum kid meals into works of art. She features a variety of dishes from pasta to pancakes, and as a finishing touch, adds little inspirational notes for her kids.
Her TikTok channel now helps support her small business, a digital art studio called Booshkababe as well as a handmade accessories line called Love Juliet.
What do you do for a living?
I can’t get enough of 20-something Daniel Macdonald (aka Daniel Mac). He’s a guy who boldly approaches strangers with fancy cars to ask a simple question, “what do you do for a living?” This creator’s enthusiasm for talking to strangers and learning about them is hard to beat. It’s also fun to learn what success looks like on the street, so to speak. He’s built his community of over 13 million people by being fearless and using his insatiable curiosity to find out more about people that the rest of us might aspire to become one day.
Leave a positive mark on the world
Imagine making a video every day for 1000 days. That’s almost three years! But that’s exactly what Nuseir Yassin did. After quitting his job, he traveled the world making videos. At first, he funded it all out of his own pocket, but eventually, it caught the attention of a company that wanted to sponsor his videos. From there, he grew his Nas Daily brand (‘Nas’ is Arabic for ‘people’) into a huge international hit. With the mission of “Leave a positive mark on the world,” Nuseir now has offices in Dubai and Singapore for his two brands. Nas Academy and Nas Studios.
Color me… happy
Before she became the ‘Color Queen,’ Courtney Quinn wanted to work in corporate fashion. She started her blog Color Me Courtney to get attention — and then one day she nabbed her dream job at Coach. But that wasn’t enough for her. She kept building her brand, expanding her website and Instagram to be all about her “embracing my curls and curves, celebrating color in a city where everyone wears black, looking on the bright side, and being unapologetically myself.” I don’t know about you, but I’m hooked!
Fishing for trash and treasure
Back in 2011, Jake Koehler, also known as DALLMYD, started off with a small YouTube channel featuring two of his hobbies — gaming and fishing. On a whim, he started snorkeling and scuba diving in the Chattahoochee River in Georgia and posting videos he took with his GoPro. When he stumbled across an iPhone and then returned it to the owner, he realized he had struck gold. Over the past five years, Jake has become one of YouTube’s superstars, gathering over 13 million followers who eagerly join him on his dives for treasure — and all the trash he picks up along the way.
You can’t help but be swept up in Jake’s passion for cleaning the waterways and finding lost items.. Trust me, you’ll love following his adventures on YouTube, and you can read more about his backstory in Men’s Journal.