The Dichotomy of Being a Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur/Young Professional
For most of us, the holidays and New Year is when we reflect on the last 365 days, set new goals, put the past behind us and evaluate the core pieces that make up of our life: family, friends, career, health, etc.
For me, the first week of October for the last two years has held a special place in my heart as it marks the first week I officially left my job at Rutgers University to start my journey as an entrepreneur.
For me, this week is my “New Year” and a time to reflect.
To be candid and honest with you (and myself) the last 30–45 days leading up to this week has been stressful, chaotic, and required a lot of soul-searching. Recently, I spent several moments thinking about how I can put myself in situations that make be happy (personally and professionally), keep me motivated on a daily basis, and instill enough discipline through the high’s and lows that comes from being your own boss — all while being practical. Being my own boss hasn’t been easy and I don’t have all the answers even after I look at all the opportunities that have come my way.
It’s been two years after writing my first book and organically growing The Niche Movement from a passion project of mine into a grassroots community across the country. Then, turning my digital storytelling skill-set into FYN Creative. Lastly, I have balanced both of these two initiatives while continuing to build my personal brand that allows me the opportunity to speak, teach, consult, and mentor a variety of individuals and organizations that see the importance and value of the areas mentioned above.
During my time of reflecting, I have had periodic thoughts come into my head on whether it would just be easier to throw in the towel and go back to working full-time. However, the thing that I keep coming back to is what I talk about through The Niche Movement: “You know you have found your niche when you feel like you are thriving, are challenged, and feel invincible — willing to do whatever it takes to keep moving forward.”
Each day since October 6th, 2014 (day 1 on my own) has been different; met with varying levels of motivation, happiness and discipline. And when I take a step back, I know I can’t trade this in for a full-time job. The fact that I get to be multi-passionate and able to play in three major arenas as founder of The Niche Movement and FYN Creative, and ability to speak and teach on entrepreneurship, social media, and career happiness is what keeps me challenged, feeling invincible, and thriving.
So, let me share what I have learned about becoming a multi-passionate entrepreneur* — a term I picked up from Marie Forleo.
*substitute entrepreneur with young professional if you’d like.
- It’s ok to be multi-passionate. Earlier this year in March, I met up with my good friend Dave who I haven’t seen in a while. He has been following along through social media on what I have been up to but didn’t realize all the areas I have been dabbling in. I remember walking away from the conversation thinking that if my good friend Dave is confused on what I’ve been up to professionally the last 18 months then what must potential clients or my existing network think? Do people understand who I am? Do they know how to utilize my skill set and services? Do they know these other areas exist? Does it matter? Basically, it took several months before I settled down, focused on some personal re-branding and most importantly became “ok” with being multi-passionate.
- Make time for the areas you are passionate about. As my own boss, I realized that if I want to make this work I need to balance being deliberate on how I spend my time while also leaving a small percentage up to chance. What I mean by this is that as much as my three areas are starting to overlap (in a good way) you must pick and choose. Choose when you work on each area, when and how you want to communicate your areas, and choose which areas need the most attention as well as bring the most value to you to stay practical — aka what will keep you afloat and grow you and your business financially.
- Multi-passionate means more opportunity. As long as you can define your areas into 2–4 segments and clearly communicate them (in-person and on-line) then you just may have more opportunities that come your way. There is a saying out there that the average millionaire has seven sources of income. By being multi-passionate it can sometimes open itself to several sources of revenue streams. In addition, the areas you are passionate about may fluctuate as it relates to revenue and opportunities — based on exposure, the market, or just straight up luck. For example, when I wrote my first book, even though we had a successful Kickstarter campaign, that money was used to help write, edit, and self-publish the book so we basically broke even. However, now 14 months later, the book has led to many speaking engagements and workshops and other organizations buying the book.
Lastly, I will close by saying being multi-passionate is not mandatory and it’s not for everyone. Because if you don’t approach it the right way and aren’t dedicated, you sometimes could be viewed as being flakey or too much of a generalist.
However, for someone like me, I need to have a bit of chaos and change in my work because I can’t work in a mundane and repetitive environment. This work-style excites me and keeps me challenged. Also, because I am an entrepreneur, I am thinking in the long-term of how fine-tuning and storytelling my three areas will only continue to position myself and my businesses to grow into more than a side hustle. For those that are working full-time being multi-passionate is certainly a bonus. It can work out in your favor as long as you make time for it and understand that you have to be patient, especially if you are looking to make a living off of all or some of your passions.
Thank you for reading.
I have blogged since 2012 on my personal site and The Niche Movement, however it has been infrequent. Consider this blog post #001 and keep an eye out for frequent posts on digital storytelling, entrepreneurship, and innovative career exploration.