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Don't Keep Your Day Job: How to Turn Your Passion into Your Career

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The pursuit of happiness is all about finding our purpose. We don't want to just go to work and build someone else's dream, we want to do our life's work. But how do we find out what we're supposed to contribute? What are those key ingredients that push those who succeed to launch their ideas high into the sky, while the rest of us remain stuck on the ground?

Don't Keep Your Day Job will get you fired up, ready to rip it open and use your zone of genius to add a little more sparkle to this world. Cathy Heller, host of the popular podcast Don't Keep Your Day Job, shares wisdom, anecdotes, and practical suggestions from successful creative entrepreneurs and experts, including actress Jenna Fischer on rejection, Gretchen Rubin on the keys to happiness, Jen Sincero on having your best badass life, and so much more. You'll learn essential steps like how to build your side hustle, how to find your tribe, how to reach for what you truly deserve, and how to ultimately turn your passion into profit and build a life you love.

256 pages, Hardcover

First published November 12, 2019

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Cathy Heller

2 books23 followers

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5 stars
339 (32%)
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355 (33%)
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289 (27%)
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61 (5%)
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15 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 187 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah.
351 reviews150 followers
December 31, 2019
I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that this is a business book, and not just intended to help navigate your practical realities with your other passions, but that’s me. For instance, I personally was distracted by the little picture of pointe shoes on the cover. Not just any pointe shoes but Gaynor Mindens, which are the shoes I currently wear! (Either they’re Gaynors or they’re just wrong – all pointe shoes have drawstrings that you tie at the top, except for Gaynors which you tie on the sides – the shoes on the cover of this book have no drawstrings in evidence and also have that Gaynor sheen to the satin.) But I digress. The book isn’t really about all that. Don’t Keep Your Day Job, also a podcast, is about turning your side hustle into a viable business, and most of the advice here comes from the standpoint of valuing engagement above all and giving yourself radical permission (ugh sorry, I hate that phrase – I get it, but can’t we just get on with the actual radicalness so we don’t have to render yet another word meaningless). Basically, pay attention to what your customers really value, and don’t let perfectionism get in your way. Solid advice, and I buy the underlying premise, which is that people who are working their passions can serve the world better.

Things I took away:
- Don’t take it personally
- Serve your actual customers instead of chasing exponential growth
- Do the work
- Do it with heart
- Be generous, but value your work and ask for compensation accordingly

Advice that wasn’t for me:
- Cold call people and purport to be able to add value to their day
- Create a heavily moderated Facebook group where you provide detailed life advice to your followers
- Be emotionally vulnerable on the internet
- Become an influencer

I read a free copy from work that enticed me because of the pointe shoes on the cover.
Profile Image for Dawnie.
1,159 reviews124 followers
January 27, 2020
3.5 stars

it’s defiantly a motivating book in the sense that you get a huge amount of people that took their jump and actually managed to achieve what they set out to do and they share small snippets of that journey and how those could possibly help other also achieve their dreams.

what i found for almost all of them can be said in this:
- they had the opportunity and decided to go for it
- it took a lot of hard work
- a huge amount of luck and being at the right place at the right time for most if not all of them and most of the successful people in this book said so themselves.
- dedication, passion and persistence is key

learned anything new from that?

of course not!! we all know what it takes to follow our passion!
the biggest issue for us “normal” folks is the money to actually make that happen followed right by time to actually be able to do it consistently.

and the book does touch on that for a little bit not actually in a helpful way.

this book does share a lot of people that managed to build things up from nothing and do share a lot of good advice for how everyone else can do it too.

but for most of them they didn’t start out already broke so there is that little tippet to remember! most of them had successful jobs before they decided their passion was somewhere else and to follow that instead of their high paying career.

or even if they didn’t have a huge success and money to fall back on they had already build some kind of network that was enormously helpful to them.

now i am just saying all that because while this book is easy to read and very inspiring. it’s also unrealistic for most people to actually do it in the way the book talks about.

i mean i would LOVE to review books for money and be able to live off that. who as a passionate reader wouldn’t?
but realistically? even if i started a blog, podcast and youtube, did all the right things on all the social media outlets... how long would it take me to actually make so much money that i could live from that?
a long time!
years at least! and i am not talking about a year or two but at a minimum five to ten years of maybe making some money but not enough.

and i am NOT saying that for your actual passion and dream life years is too long.

but realistically to be constantly present and working in and on all those platforms? that has to be the full time job.

and even more realistically? how many of us can afford to work more than full time ours for a few years without making any money from it?
as a side job? sure!
but as your one and only passion? mhm.
maybe i am too negative or skeptical or pessimistic or all of it together! possible. probably!

i just have a hard time believing that everyone really just needs to work hard towards their passion and the rest will fall in place.

so while i really enjoyed this book and think it’s a great read. it’s also a bit of a dream itself and not necessarily targeted towards the everyday normal human.

it is still filled with good tips so if you want inspiration and ideas? it’s a great read!

but as with most/all self help books don’t expect to come out of it completely changed or filled with all the answers!
1 review
January 5, 2021
A profoundly evil work of fiction designed to justify why some people live with abundance while others live with scarcity. It was so hard to quantify what was so wrong with it until we reach chapter 11 "Align with Abundance". In this chapter there is a quote that actually floored me. "There are people with millions that are generous and kind and people in poverty that are selfish and mean". After reading this line I had to put the book down and pace around my room for a couple minutes. It is so painfully reductionist, and so emblematic of the authors vision of people in poverty that it crystalized every issue I had with this book.

When the author breezed over the struggle of paying for health insurance with a side hustle as an issue, I thought that was an odd missed opportunity, but an understandable one, since that's not the topic of the book. When she talked about saving 8 months worth of rent to start your own business, I thought "that's quite a leap, and not possible for people living paycheck to paycheck" but I trying to push past that too. But when she said that people in poverty could be selfish, without considering that being selfish is instrumental to survival to someone in poverty, I knew what we were dealing with. At best, Cathy Heller is unaware of the material circumstances that impoverished people live under in America, and across the world. At worst, she is a grifter who's business is making wealthy people feel justified in having a great deal of wealth while those around them starve.

Either way, appreciate a quick read. I do believe the author believes what she's selling and is not coming at this from a point of bad faith, doesn't make the work any less destructive, but it's nothing against her personally.
Profile Image for Alicia Bayer.
Author 6 books178 followers
October 14, 2019
I didn't find this book as inspirational as I'd hoped. The people profiled pretty much gave up their lives 24/7 and went to extreme lengths for years in order to make a living in the fields they desired, but at such an extent that I guess I would prefer to keep my day job and just do my passion on the side if I needed to go to the same lengths. :) I actually found it more depressing than motivating. My own passions are writing and mothering (okay, along with a hundred other things), and I've managed to find a way to do those and not need a day job. I don't make millions (the author likes to tell you a LOT about how much money she and the others she profiles make) but I'm able to write and spend my days with my kids -- while still having a life and other passions -- so I guess I'm good without that dream career and all those millions.

I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for the purpose of review.
Profile Image for Isabelle | Nine Tale Vixen.
2,028 reviews113 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
August 29, 2019
I received an advance review copy through Netgalley; all opinions are my own and honest.

DNF @ 51%

There are some interesting ideas, a few of which are even original and insightful, but the bubbly writing honestly made me feel exhausted (maybe it reflects the podcast's style? I wouldn't know) and some of the "advice" was a little too out there for me:

After all, what you seek is seeking you.

So the writing isn't the best, and the anecdotes / examples were hard to take at face value when I couldn't stop thinking about survivorship bias (i.e., we only notice the people who "make it"; we don't hear about those who don't, even if they followed the exact same path but for whatever reason found failure instead of success). But it was easy enough to just keep reading ... until it wasn't.

Native Americans have repeatedly asked that people stop referring to their network as their "tribe," and in this case it's particularly problematic since this is the specific context:

As soon as you've identified the tribe that you'd like to grow, it is important to set down roots, plant some trees, or build a teepee where those people can find you.

I may jot down and apply some of the insights and action steps I picked up, but I just can't continue reading past this point.

Prose: 6 / 10
Characters & Relationships: N/A
Emotional Impact: 4 / 10
Development / Flow: 2 / 10
Setting: N/A

Diversity & Social Themes: N/A
Intellectual Engagement: 2 / 5
Originality / Trope Execution: N/A
Rereadability: N/A
Memorability: 1 / 5
Profile Image for Genevieve Trono.
594 reviews95 followers
May 24, 2019
Don't Keep Your Day Job appealed to me as someone who has turned my hobby of portrait photography into a career in a more unique way. I now worked a digital photo editor for other photographers which has allowed me to use the parts of photography I really enjoy without going the more traditional route of having my own portrait photography business.

Don't Keep Your Day Job really resonated with me in so many ways. The book was super engaging and read like a Jen Sincero book which, I personally, really connect with. It is encouraging but also a kick in the butt when you need it, and I think that is the perfect balance for a self-help kind of book in this particular genre.

I loved how Heller alternated between advice and personal stories of people who have taken this advice to heart and have had great success. I found her writing style to be relatable and also realistic. This book helped me feel motivated but also didn't make me feel alone with some of the struggles you might encounter along the way.

A big thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Chrystopher’s Archive.
529 reviews32 followers
May 12, 2020
Much more practical than I was expecting. Also, less "if you don't like what I have to say you're beige!"

I liked that there was a section on personal finances and further resources. While some of the profiles seemed both a bit too niche and a bit too aided by luck more than anything else, the overall settled, down-to-earth tone of the book read better than other "quit and follow your dreams" books I've read lately.

Definitely worth a read for anyone yearning for a life-change, if only for a dose of perspective.
1 review1 follower
October 28, 2019
Truth is hard to take sometimes. It's far easier to criticize others' work than it is to get in the arena & do the hard work of building your life into the life you choose & love. This book is full of truths. Some are really hard to deal with because they require us to do the tough work on ourselves, on our perspective, on our choices, on our passion(s).

Some of this book will delight & inspire you, and yet other parts will be a call to action in your own life. Some of it will give you stark contrast to your current existence & experience to assist you on your journey.

Yes, there is wisdom from very successful people in this book - Seth Godin, Amy Porterfield, Emily McDowell to name a few - but that is NOT the brilliance of this book. The brilliance of this book is, quite simply stated - EMPATHY. Cathy cares about you. She wants you to have something to hold onto, something for you to reference, a sort of guidebook if you will, to help you navigate the waters she had to swim alone. No one swims alone if Cathy can help it & it shows.

Business, much like life, doesn't travel in a straight line. There are ups & downs. There are victories & challenges. This book will help you to make sure you have the right perspective to weather the tough moments on your journey. Does it have all the answers? No book or person does. However, Don't Keep Your Day Job is going to provide actionable information to get you started on the path you so desperately want to travel. It will be there for you along the way to offer encouragement & inspiration.

I love that Cathy included actionable exercises in the book to help get you going, thinking, and most importantly - doing! This is far more of a workbook than it is a knowledge dump. There is a lot of knowledge for sure, but the action - the doing of the thing - that is where the magic happens. No journey starts without a step in a direction toward your goal & Cathy brings herself & a host of very successful friends along to keep you motivated, inspired, & moving.

I was provided an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly, this book was worth far more than my time & money with the insight it provides.
Profile Image for June.
571 reviews20 followers
September 3, 2019
There are a lot of self-help/ career advice books on the market, plus a constant stream of positive, inspirational web content on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. I have about 10 unread Muse emails right now, as a matter of fact. So a book would have to be really special to set itself apart. This book really does not.

The author tells you her story pretty much right off the bat, plus brings in some other successful people. Yet there's a bit of tone-deafness and maybe a lack of appreciation for their sheer luck and support networks and lack of hindrances that prevent many people from achieving their dreams. It made me want to read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell again. And those Muse emails.

I have never heard the podcast, so maybe regular listeners would get more out of this than I did.

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the digital ARC.
Profile Image for Carey’s Reviews.
478 reviews17 followers
July 8, 2019
3 Stars! This book is a little inspirational but also a bit depressing too! I liked all the inspirational stories of people that turned their passions into their career, but it also made me feel like I haven’t done my best in life since my dream career is still just that... a dream! If you’re looking for real guidance and steps to follow, this isn’t the book you want. Maybe it gets better though- I didn’t finish the whole book.
*I received this book to read and review at no charge from the publisher and I gave my honest opinion.*
Profile Image for Sarah.
263 reviews4 followers
July 25, 2020
I read Elizabeth Gilbert's, 'Big Magic' and was content with creating for the sake of creating. I was disheartened on a deep level that I didn't want to admit that Gilbert's book popped my bubble dream of making my passion project into a career. Heller resurrected and made my dream bubble even bigger. I felt like this was a mixture of 'The Secret' and business advice. I've since followed Heller and social media and appreciate her free advice and tips for creating and building my dream career.
Profile Image for Laura Samson.
6 reviews1 follower
January 22, 2020
This woman has changed my life in more ways than one. Started her podcasts in January and have listened almost every day since. I have gained confidence back within myself and have noticed a dramatic change in my overall outlook on life.
This book is no different except it’s more of a “guide” - something in black and white to refer back to....in case you need a reminder that you have what it takes to kick ass- just forge forward!
Profile Image for Katie.
Author 1 book134 followers
November 2, 2021
I listened to this on audio- the best part is it really motivates you to start projects before they’re going to be perfect. If you need a good kick to make the beta version of your thing, definitely check this one out.
There’s a few weird chapters about like being afraid of money which is not a problem for me! I think money is just fine, just putting that into the universe!
Profile Image for Felicity.
109 reviews5 followers
December 13, 2019
I think this book was published under the wrong genre.

It says it will help your career/ how to manage/ build your dream job into reality ..

But it's more of an "Inspirational" book or Hope speech telling you you CAN have your dream job ..not HOW to..

So it wasn't helpful to me.
Profile Image for Toni.
1,323 reviews39 followers
November 15, 2019
4.25 Stars

This book might say “ don’t keep your day job,” but it isn’t telling you to quit your current job. It suggests that you “try out” your new endeavor and when the time feels right to quit your day job. Do that. Don’t quit your job before you know if your idea is going to sell and make you money.

This is a very inspiring book based on a podcast series created by Cathy Heller. There are a few workbook questions to answer but not really enough to get any of us to bound forward in our purpose. I think you have to go into this book already knowing your passion and purpose and this book wants to help you capitalize on that. It is not a book that will help you define and figure out what your purpose is. I think this is really for those few who want to start a business and make money using their purpose and passion as a guide. If that is what you are looking for, then this book is for you. If you are searching for your purpose, you won’t find too much help in these pages. But the lady does know how to motivate herself to get things done and that is always a great thing to learn.

If you are wanting to make your dream job come to fruition for you, check this book out. But if you are just looking for your purpose, look elsewhere.

This is a really quick and easy read. It is not a mind-bender. It is pretty straight forward giving advice based on her own experiences. I enjoyed it and am thinking of looking up this podcast to learn even more.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
1 review
October 25, 2019
Honestly, since I’m in love with Cathy’s podcast, I expected to like her book, but I also thought it would likely be redundant for podcast listeners. I bought it as a thank you to Cathy and received an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. I’m still working through it, but so far I have been so pleasantly surprised! It’s definitely not a rehash of the same content from the show, but it enhances it so well! Reading it has felt like watching the pilot episode to a grand adventure where I’m the heroine looking to set off. Cathy shares a quote about how Hagrid isn’t coming to tell you that you’re a wizard, and we need to be our own Hagrid. I LOVE this idea, but honestly, reading this book feels a lot like how I imagine having Hagrid turn up would feel like! It’s especially exciting that she has the podcast because it gives me peace and excitement knowing that I’m going to get off to a great start thanks to her book, but then I won’t be left after finishing it to get through the wilderness on my own, because the podcast can help and encourage me along further. In summary, this book is like real life magic and I’m super excited to share an extra copy with a friend. :)
Profile Image for Scott.
264 reviews11 followers
March 8, 2020
This was the perfect time for me to read this book. Cathy's suggestions and words of encouragement are as realistic and they are practical. Fortunately, I can relate to many of the chapters, and Cathy's text is reassuring that my steps are correct and that I am doing them correctly. There are also several offerings as to what to do next. There is more to life than doing things you don't want to do for a job you do not like, and Cathy provides permission to get out and to get out now.

And it is always now.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
13 reviews2 followers
January 14, 2021
I was really impressed with the balance between personal insight and business strategies this book contained. The author uses her work within the music industry, which in itself was extremely interesting; especially in regard to licensing her music for television shows. She showed a good understanding of how you can spot a gap in the market and use your skills to solve the problem for the consumer. I left the book feeling like I had some good ideas for my own creative work, whilst being inspired by her case study of success.
Profile Image for Kylie Holliman-Rivera.
52 reviews1 follower
January 31, 2021
4.5 !

This book. You know those audibooks that just turned out SUPER GREAT that you just want to go and buy the actual book? Well this is that book for me! (And Things to Save in a Fire; And The $100 Startup)

5/75 #2021ReadingChallenge

Don't Keep Your Day Job is Amazing! Can I just quote it all for you? HAHA Here are some of my ABSOLUTE-FAVORITE quotes that just really struck a chord with me:

"You don't discover your passion, you develop it by living and being curious."

"Dance with the fear."

These two struck me! (heart emoji) I may already work for myself...BUT this book lit a fire under my a** and made me feel revved up again. Plus I have been able to help aspiring individuals and current small business owners in the pet industry get their pet business of the ground and work on scaling it. So this book didn't just give me energy, but also gave me great feedback I can provide to my coaching clients.

Here are a few more of my favorite quotes from this book:

"The new American Dream isn't about becoming famous, it's about making a living doing what you love"

"The opposite of depression is not happiness. It's purpose."

"Clarity will follow action. We get clues of what to do next at each stage of the process."

"There's nothing wrong with looking out for number 1. You got to be in charge of your own happiness, because there is nobody put on this earth whose job is to do it for you."
Profile Image for Amy.
610 reviews1 follower
August 24, 2021
The opposite of depression is not happiness. The opposite of depression is purpose

The only way to get rid of anxiety and fear is to take action

Rejection is simply redirection
Those are 3 quotes I liked in the book. I definitely liked the 1st half of the book better.
Profile Image for Naomi.
4,679 reviews138 followers
February 27, 2020
I have mixed reviews about this book. The first part of this book started with what I call the "Rah-Rah" section, which was focused on inspirational garbage on being your own boss. Nothing that was practical on the how to of doing it. Then Ms. Heller got down to the nitty gritty of the how to. Unfortunately, towards the end, she wandered back into the "Rah-Rah". Most people going into business for themselves already know they want to do it. The practicality of the how to navigate a side gig is what is needed...
1 review2 followers
August 22, 2019
Cathy Heller knows about career breakthrough. Anyone would be ultra blessed to have the kind of career breakthroughs she has strategically orchestrated for herself. But this book is about more than that. This book is a risky beautiful leap on Heller's part because it's her real heart and her real path and everything she really believes in. Although I'm often scared to boldly share my opinions on "walking your path" as Cathy does here, the ideas in this book really affirm so much of my experience and I find it deeply encouraging. Thanks Cathy for what you do!!
76 reviews3 followers
August 22, 2019
Interesting, inspirational book for anyone who is trying to find their passion or feeling a little uninspired in their day to day life. I really enjoyed reading about how others built their success by finding their passion.

The author alternates between stories, inspiring quotes and short activities. This made the book interesting and impactful. I really enjoyed reading this book.

I received an ARC copy of this book and have provided my honest review.
Profile Image for Jamie Jack.
Author 1 book81 followers
May 17, 2020
Imbalance and Not Actionable

Written by popular podcaster Cathy Heller, this book purports to help you turn your passion into your career. Implicit in the title and subtitle is that this is an actionable book. I feel like the book failed to deliver on that promise. It is really mostly stories about people who have had success, but their stories haven't really been analyzed to give universal truths that the reader can consider and implement as they work on a more purposeful career. There are Journal prompts, but I didn't find them enough to really move someone from a day job to a passion-inspired career. The book lacked balance: too many stories and not enough analysis or action steps. I didn't take away what I was hoping I would from the title, subtitle, and the book's description.

I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review.

My book blog: https://www.readingfanaticreviews.com
Profile Image for Nicole H. .
82 reviews24 followers
May 23, 2019
Interesting. Very interesting. Unless its about archaic history or dead languages or mythology, I don't typically read nonfiction ... but I was drawn to this book for some reason and I'm ultimately glad that I took a chance on it. Now ... will I ow it in hardback? Paperback? Probably not. The ebook version will suffice because while I liked it, it wasn't mind-alteringly good and I'll probably never reread it.

That being said, I feel a little wiser and ready to make a move toward stabilizing my future, which is what this book is all about, yeah? So ... I think it succeeded in its purpose. ^_^

It was formatted well and relatively easy to follow.

Would I recommend? Yep, if I thought someone had entrepreneur potential or if I knew someone who reads this genre. <3
Profile Image for Layne.
Author 3 books1,008 followers
November 7, 2019
Cathy's podcast has been life-altering for me, so I was extremely eager to get my hands on this book. If you're a podcast listener, most of the concepts here will be familiar, but having everything laid out in an organized, easy-to-digest format like this is invaluable. I read DON'T KEEP YOUR DAY JOB in just a few days, but I know I'll be returning to it often for wisdom and inspiration. This should be required reading for anyone with a creative passion, whether or not you want to kick your day job to the curb.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review (though I've also preordered several copies to share with creatively-inclined friends!).
472 reviews11 followers
May 11, 2019
Cathy Heller is a songwriter and she has a podcast with the same name of the book. I was worried that this book would be another generic self-help book or geared more towards Millennials and Gen-Z. I was pleasantly surprised to find that neither was true.
This book will fire you up to find what you're passionate about and do something that you love. There are interviews with people from many different worlds as well as journal prompts at the end of each chapter that are very helpful.
July 25, 2019
Cathy's wisdom and passion comes through in this book. She truly cares about helping people and she has brilliant ideas. Great read!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 187 reviews

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