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! 🙂
I love, love LOVE this article! I have read Barbara Sher’s books and another one is Margaret Lobenstine’s Renaisssance Souls (thats what she calls Multipassionates) and it’s so good to know that other people are the same. I used to get so frustrated at not being able to decide what to do, and how disappointing it was when I did pick and it wasn’t enough. I started my online biz because of that, and as well as blogging I’m doing web design and branding, photography and have dabbled in freelance writing too. I still have doubts everynow and then about niching down, but then I just figure it’s just one of the many facets of my skills and interests so if people don’t like it, oh well!
Again, thanks so much for the inspiring and supportive article!
Hey, Jessie! I am so happy it inspired you.
Yes, my journey has been similar – I have always been frustrated when I’ve had to pick and whenever I did, it just didn’t last, so I finally found a way to incorporate my interests into my brand, and I have to say – I have never been happier. All the best to you, my friend! Keep at it. 🙂
Excellent and I can relate. Proud to be a creative rebel. Thank you!
Thanks for reading, Barbara! 🙂
Great article. It’s so fascinating because this is absolutely true…and yet corporate HR teams are so focused on finding people that are hyper specialized.
Thanks, Drew! 🙂
Well, we just end up leaving the corporate world, don’t we? It doesn’t appreciate our breadth of skills or challenge us enough or give us enough room for growth. I think everybody starts off trying to fit into that world and later find out they don’t have to.
A lot of potential is squandered in the meantime, though.
I agree with that statement 100%! Great read. 🙂 Thank you!