Turning your Passion into a Profit (or Non-Profit) with Amy Uptgraft

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15ish Minute Coffee Chat with Anna + Selena


Season: 6       Episode: 55  

Do you show up every single day ready to engage, connect, and sell? Welcome to season six of the 15{ish} MINUTE COFFEE CHAT – where business owners and entrepreneurs share best practices. Amy Uptgraft wrote her first full-length play in 2015 and knew she wanted to build something bigger around her passion for theatre.  Join hosts Selena of Hauoli Socially Inspired and Anna of NomadAbout to discuss how you can turn your passion into a profitable business or a non-profit to support a bigger mission.

Guest & Bio:

“I just realized there was a point in my life where I didn’t want to live without my passion .”

Amy’s Bio:

Amy is the founder and artistic director of the Veteran’s Spouse Project and playwright of the plays, “I Will Wait” and “Ridge Where They Cry.” After graduating with a BA in theatre performance, she spent several years acting in New York City where she starred in numerous productions.

She also has taught hundreds of students and directed shows all across the country! Amy was a proud military spouse for 21 years before her husband retired from the Army.

She currently resides with him and their four children in Oak Ridge, TN where she is working on a new play based on the story of the famed military spouse, Julie Moore.


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Espresso Shot:

Q: 1. How would you identify a passion vs something that just seems like it would be a lot of fun?

2. When did you know that your play was going to be bigger than just an idea or singular effort?

3. What are the next 3 steps in turning your passion into a profitable or non-profit business?

4. How hard is it to be open-minded and flexible about your vision for something you feel so strongly about?

Amy says her passion is a lot of fun, but she realized there was a point in her life that she didn’t want to live without her passion. She wanted to focus on theatre performance and she majored in it because she knew it was what she was meant to do, even if she didn’t make a lot of money or if others didn’t approve of it. If it really fills your cup, you should do it!

During her husband’s fourth deployment and after having her fourth child, Amy found herself really struggling with depression. She didn’t understand how she got there and decided to put all of what she was feeling into a play, and that with interviewing other military spouses she knew, “I Will Wait” was born.

The moment she knew this was going to be bigger than just an idea was during their first workshop with a live audience and seeing the way the audience reacted and resonated that she needed to try and make it happen.

How did she make this happen? She followed the next three steps:

  1. Find people crazy enough to think your idea works and want to be part of it
  2. Find someone that thinks your idea is worth investing in and secure finances
  3. Give yourself a chance to test things out, listen to your audience, and continue evaluating!

When it is something you feel strongly about and someone wants to suggest changes, she says to work through the initial defensive feelings and take a step back to really evaluate what is best for your work. Amy says you will always want to protect your work, but find a balance by being willing to listen to others, too!

Find our Guest:

LinkedIn: amyuptgraft/

Facebook: @veteransspouseproject

Instagram: @veteransspouseproject

Website: www.veteransspouseproject.org

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