All Posts By

Violeta Nedkova

Creativity

In the Age of Entrepreneurship, Being Multipassionate Is Your Greatest Advantage ft. @VioletaNedkova

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Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

Everyone wants to have their own business nowadays, but not everybody stays in business. Startup founders, app makers, solopreneurs, coaches, etc. Only a small percentage of us make it to the second year and that’s not because of stamina or savvy or luck or timing. I think many of the ones who make it are multipassionate creatives.

Correct me if I’m wrong but…

Running your own business is like having five full-time jobs at once – copywriting, marketing, design, etc. That’s a lot of roles for a single person!

I had the pleasure of meeting a founder the other day who – in his words – has a new obsession every other day. That doesn’t mean he changes his job or anything, just that he alternates between things in his free time. Now, I bet my hat he has original ideas every other day because those come from unusual combinations of different elements.

Multipassionality used to be sort of strange and shameful, but now it’s a faunt of amazing ideas and creative businesses. Why “choose” one career path when you can pursue all of your passions and bundle them up nicely and call it a business?! It’s not enough to have a “fun business idea” anymore; a lot of people crave for lifestyle businesses today.

Being a Multipassionate doesn’t just mean having many passions and skills. It also means coming up with original ideas that get you ahead of the competition. It’s great to be able to take care of multiple aspects of your business at once, but it’s even better to create a UNIQUE lifestyle business that is conceived from various passions.

You can literally take your knowledge from every industry you worked in and every hobby you ever had and apply it in your current venture. If I hadn’t learned to use Photoshop in high school to make fan fiction banners, I wouldn’t be able to make my own graphics now. If I hadn’t been interested in photography and life coaching and UX, I wouldn’t understand my people’s needs. And if I hadn’t been passionate about a lot of things, I would have never thought that marketing could be as creative as we are

Multipassionality can be your greatest asset if you allow yourself to look at it that way.

Perhaps a story will portray my point better…

There was a girl who loved to buy vintage clothes. She was at the thrift shop every other day, rummaging for hidden gold. On the surface she was too big a rebel to ever amount to anything – she couldn’t keep a job, she didn’t believe in institutions, and her friends were low lives and bikers and hippies who thought were better than everyone else.

But she had so much passion for things! She was into photography for a while, which then morphed with her passion for vintage clothing and compelled her to start an eBay store. She had been bored with every single job before that – nothing was every stimulating enough to keep her interested for long, but this time, she had found her match.

A true Multipassionate would relate to that instantly – nothing ever being challenging enough, but then you find that one thing that is always stimulating and that allows you to grow beyond your personal ceiling, and you’re in love and committed to see it through.

So the girl grew her store, selling vintage clothes, working tirelessly and learning as she went along. Her love for photography came in handy and her passion bled into customer feedback and styling and social media. She started the store of necessity, but the work was so fulfilling and challenging that she ended up transforming it into a fashion empire.

I am talking about Sophia Amoruso: CEO of Nasty Gal, author of #GIRLBOSS, and role model of every woman who’s starting her own business today.

What did you think of the story? Did you feel sorry for the girl or did you relate to her? I bet you thought it would end up being inspirational – coming from me – or maybe you know the story by heart already because it’s truly a modern inspiration.

My point is, one passion will not give you the skills you need to start your own business. A few passions, on the other hand, will give you something that’s much more valuable, something that could one day become your greatest ally…

Something called CREATIVE CONVERGENCE.

Multipassionality doesn’t just give you a competitive advantage, original ideas, and the ability to do a thousand jobs at once. It mostly gives you a chance to design a business and a lifestyle that is uniquely yours. Successful entrepreneurs like Marie Forleo, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Regina Anaejionu are great examples because the only way you can copy their businesses is to become them! I call it “personal business” because it springs from the life and work experience of the creator. That’s what we are – CREATORS!

You don’t have to write fiction novels or screenplays or make custom jewelry to create something new. Your “art” can be your business.

Now, over to you –

Whether you’ve been scared to unleash the full force of your Multipassionality because you’d be mocked or ignored or called a flaky dabbler, I hope you’ll reconsider. As Marie Forleo puts it, Only you have that special gift that the world needs.

We are not outliers! There are more of us than you know. If you look at One Woman Shop’s interview series with Multipassionate women, you’ll realize some of the women you love and admire are just like you! Women like Jess Lively and Sarah Von Bargen. I bet my hat that Kathleen Shannon is one, too. You can tell someone’s a Multipassionate by the uniqueness of everything they create and put out there. 

It can be scary to take on the world, but you don’t have to do it alone either.

There are people out there who encourage Multipassionates to take a stand and accept our Nature as strength, not weakness. Emilie Wapnick’s TED talk speaks to every one of us when she says we don’t have to choose one thing. Barbara Sher’s book Refuse to Choose really hits every heart string with her Scanner’s theory. (Basically, she says that being a Scanner, as she calls it, is nothing wrong. It’s an advantage!)

Whether you’re a Multipassionate or you’re friends with one, please join us. We need acceptance and to be more outspoken and confident about this issue. Because there’s another thing I’ll probably leave for another article – women are generally less confident than men. As a result, a lot of Multipassionate women stay hidden while Multipassionate men – called “polymaths” – have taken all the credit throughout the ages.

Fellow ladies, let’s be LOUD and PROUD about all that we are. Let’s show the world how diverse and passionate we can be. OK?

Are you Multipassionate? What’s your take on Multipassionality?

Let me know in the comments! 🙂


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Content Marketing

5 Ways to Hack the Blank Page by @VioletaNedkova

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Image created by Yasmine Sedky (‏@yazsedky).

This is a guest blog entry by Violeta Nedkova.

Whether you’re writing a report or an article or a short story, you’ve most likely encountered the irrational fear of the stark naked page before you. You might be envisioning a ton of people expecting you to fill it a certain way or you might fear that the well of inspiration is running dry.

Whatever your reason, I’m sure you know this fear is ungrounded. And those of us who have to produce a certain amount of words every week (for money) know that when “the muse” is hiding, you have to hack your way through it. Eventually those hacks become habits.

So let’s see how we can “hack” this…

Take a Walk

I’ve already written about the benefits of walking — it clears your mind and refreshes your memory system. It also gives you fresh ideas and helps you focus. This is why walking meetings are quite productive.

But what if you’re not * required * to take walks? What if — like me — you’re working remotely? Then you have to make walking one of your priorities. Like my friend Carl Hamlet, who walks 3 times a day, every day.

Habits form and settle in a 3-step process called “the habit loop”:

Briefly, the cue is you feeling stuck and staring at the blank page. What’s your response? Probably distracting yourself from your failure, which brings you temporary satisfaction.

Science says, replace the routine for better habits.

So next time you feel stuck, go for a walk and revisit the page once you’re refreshed. That way, the bad habit you previously had becomes a healthy one. Plus, you don’t only get temporary satisfaction, but also a dose of inspiration.

Find a Writing Buddy

A couple of weeks ago I had trouble coming up with content, so my co-founder — Mike Sutton — suggested co-writing every other day. The mere knowledge that someone else is struggling at the same time you are is somewhat comforting. Not to mention at the end of the session you have to report what you’ve managed to accomplish, which motivates you.

It’s mostly necessary for people who struggle with managing their own time. For example, because I’m a remote worker, I work alone at home and sometimes I get carried away with unimportant tasks. There is nobody to “monitor” and guide me, so I end up getting lost.

In this case your writing buddy becomes your compass. It’s even better if they live in the same town and you can arrange a meetup over coffee.

If you’re not that good at meeting people, try an online community. People there are actually very friendly and willing to pair up on projects, so why not check out some Slack groups or create your own!

The image on the left is a list of my favorite slack communities (left) and the channels in my own slack (contentheroes). I created it because I wanted to invite my favorite people and be able to reach out to them anytime.

It goes beyond twitter and skype. People say it’s even replacing IRC at work. I’m not surprised. I can’t even remember what it was like before Slack becoming a part of my every day routine. You won’t either if you try it.

 

Light Yourself On Fire

Just choose a topic that lights you on fire.

It’s virtually impossible to stay silent when you really care about something. If you get me started on gay rights or genetic engineering, forget it. I’m going to yap until the Sun comes down, and then back up.

When you do something with a lot of passion, you don’t stop to think about what you’re doing. Most importantly, you’re not overthinking it. 

Here’s a quote from Stephen King I just love:

You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair–the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.

So psych yourself up and write about what moves you. Something controvertial or personally challenging. Even topics that seem dull to others can come alive before you if you feel something.

Make It Visually Appealing

Sometimes you need a little extra to really focus your efforts. For example, when I wrote my first novel (yet to be edited) I had to use multiple methods of outlining, like colorful sticky notes and cork-boards, and so on. The colorful aspect added a fun side to the process and it gave me additional motivation to soldier on through the hard parts (like editing and writer’s block).

Another example is Belle Beth Cooper’s content calendar. She says it helps her visualize how much work she has for the week and how she’s progressing. Not to mention it looks way more fun than regular scheduling.

Indeed, they say visualizing facilitates processes such as memory and learning, so why not use it in your writing process? You can even treat it like a project.

If you don’t have a white board, Trello comes pretty close and it has colorful labels — the digital equivalent of sticky notes. Most of us use it for work anyway, but it’s also useful for side projects and just gathering your thoughts on a subject. Not everyone will want to (or have time to) outline articles, but if it could help you fill that page, it’s worth a shot, no?

See It As It Could Be

I was going to say something cliched like “recognize the blank page for what it is: an illusion of the mind that stands in your way”, or something.

But then I realized it’s not enough to see what it actually is. It’s also important to be able to see things as they could be.

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The most amazing innovations in history were things that somebody imagined before they even saw them. They were products of rich imaginations; of minds that could not settle with the way things were, but seeing thing as they could be. This is why we have computers and planes.

Now apply the same logic to the blank page. What could it become?

It could become a thrilling story or something that helps someone. It could reach people you never hoped to reach before. Or it might just reach the right person and before you know it, your vision has become reality.

And that’s the power of the blank page — it holds potential, promise.

Recognizing the blank page as something positive will definitely get you out of your rut because it is only the fear that stops you. When you acknowledge that, you’ll be able to accomplish your goal, which is not just filling the page with words and paragraphs. Your goal is to convey a message. And if that message is understood and maybe even acted on, you’ve succeeded.

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Good luck, I know you can do it justice! ☺

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Violeta Nedkova is a writer first, marketer second, and entrepreneur overall. She’s the co-founder of Amazemeet and fan of all communities, especially creative ones. She tweets a LOT, consults some, and blogs about startup marketing.


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.