How to Pivot to Find Your Passion (and Get Paid): Interview with Mignon Fogarty

The path to our life's work is rarely linear. I studied Spanish and Religion in college, and now I write books and create digital content that has little to do with either topic. Perhaps it's not what we learn, but the journey of learning that leads us to our passions.

How to Pivot to Find Your Passion (and Get Paid)

Our guest this week on The Portfolio Life, originally graduated college with a degree in English, and went back to study science where she ended up in a PhD biology program at Stanford. While there she took a leave of absence to join a startup, survived the Dotcom boom as a freelance technical writer, and launched a top-rated grammar podcast that led to a book deal and a full-time career as an entrepreneur.

Listen in as Mignon Fogarty (aka Grammar Girl®) and I talk about her journey as a lifelong learner, launching a podcast network, how she wrote seven books in six years, and became a professor.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, Mignon and I discuss:

  • How Grammar Girl started as a hobby and took off unexpectedly
  • What it's like to get invited to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show
  • The mechanics of building a podcast network and finding sponsors
  • Deleting the first 8 episodes of her podcast because they were so bad
  • Repeating the cycle of learning and mastery with new skills
  • Finding the right partner for a collaborative business
  • Why it’s never too late to break into the writing industry
  • How her business venture with Macmillan works
  • Conflicting advise about social media from publishers
  • Why you don’t have to be an expert at something to write about it
  • Recognizing your limitations and embracing your inherent strengths
  • When to incorporate your writing business


  • “I don't think I could ever be content doing just one thing.” –Mignon Fogarty
  • “Consistency and frequency are more important than the actual platform itself.” –Mignon Fogarty
  • Prioritize creating over content distribution.
  • “Just stick with it.” –Mignon Fogarty
  • Produce content regularly over a long period of time.
  • “You don't have to be an expert. You just have to be good at finding information.” –Mignon Fogarty
  • Putting yourself in the position to help others causes you to become an expert in order to serve them.
  • Your readers are looking for you on social media. If you're not there, they can't find you.

Just because you're not good at something doesn't mean you can't be good at something else.

Jeff Goins

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What are you learning about lately? How has learning something new helped you pivot? Share in the comments