People like me were supposed to grow up and work a corporate job, working 9 to 5, or so I was led to believe. Straight A’s, Student Body President, Most Likely to Succeed—people like me did not become artists, actors, or hairdressers.
This line of thinking kept me from even considering a more creative profession right out of high school. I started college without any idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’ll figure it out when I get to school, I thought. Well, I never did.
It was also drilled into me over the years that to find happiness in what you do, you need to find your passion. Well, what the hell do you do if you don’t have a singular passion? Typical to the traits ascribed to me as a Sagittarius, I want to do everything, learn everything, and experience as much as I can before that final curtain.
Author, Elizabeth Gilbert, used to preach passion until someone attending one of her lectures wrote to her later that preaching passion made people like her, like me, without a passion, feel like a failure. After considering
this for a long time, she came to the conclusion that it is better to stay curious, than to be passionate, or singularly focused.
Kudos to those who always knew what they wanted and went after it, but I have a feeling they are in the minority. Most of the entrepreneurs I’ve met are multi-passionate people, their real passion being curiosity and creation, abstract concepts. They are the music makers, the dreamers of the dream, as Willy Wonka put it. What if I did this? What if I tried that? What happens when you put these two things together? They have big ideas, and they want to share those with the world, and hopefully find a way to make money at it..
When it comes to running a business built on ideas, the most exciting part is its creation. The hardest part comes after the birth of something, the sustainable part. Creative entrepreneurs get bored, and when our creation becomes routine or monotonous, we may become resentful, and we may even consider abandoning this thing that once brought us so much hope and joy. It’s even harder when it has been a success and it keeps making us money but has become like a gilded cage.
Here are some key strategies you can employ to sustain and thrive as a multi-passionate business owner:
Keep it fun! We spend the greatest chunk of our lives working, so it better be enjoyable, or it’s a waste of precious time. We often get so wrapped up in the expectations and the minutiae of running a business that we abandon the parts that made it fun. Spend a day or a week writing down the parts of your business that bring you joy as they occur, and the parts that don’t. How can you do more of what you like, and how can you outsource the stuff that you don’t? If you’re freed up to do more of what you like you will likely make more money to pay someone for the other stuff. Only six years into my salon career, I started apprenticing new hairstylists who also worked as my assistants, offloading the parts of my job that I didn’t enjoy in exchange for education, combining my passion for teaching with my need for help.
Make time for your other passions and pursuits. Who said you need to work 5 days a week to be successful? I recently attended a beauty business conference in which several big corporate suits lamented the “lazy” young professionals who only wanted to work 20-30 hours a week. Lazy?! These same industry leaders lamented the rise of the self-employed professional. Whose interests do you think they were trying to protect? There is no reason you can’t build a thriving business working a few days a week, in order to have more time for the other parts of your life that bring you joy. For most of my salon career I made well over six figures working three days a week. Doing so even gave me the freedom to finish my bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah, graduating in 2020.
Ain’t no shame in being a hack when necessary. Not everything you do is going to be a masterpiece or change the world. As a hairdresser, I always joked that I could only perform one or two hair miracles in a given day. The rest of my day was going to be playing my greatest hits. And at Christmas time when the pressure was intense to get everyone in, I made a rule that I didn’t do makeovers or take new clients. It was only the classics for the holidays. As multi-passionate and creative people, we want to do great things, but we need to cut ourselves some slack on the days when our best is simply good.
Move forward. If you don’t know which direction to take, pick one and move forward. Sometimes to know the right way is to take the wrong one first.
Prioritize. As multi-passionate people we can get lost in ideas and possibilities. One strategy for me is to write down everything I want to do, every idea that I have, and begin the process of consolidation and elimination. I had a coaching client who liked to keep sticky notes of everything she felt she needed to do, but the number of sticky notes adorning her office never stopped growing. It became overwhelming to the point that she couldn’t move forward with any of them. I asked her on the call if there were any she could throw away right now. She looked at a few, nodded, and started then and there. She then scheduled a time on her calendar to go through all of them and consolidate them into categories of priority. When I saw her next she felt liberated from the tyranny of the ever-growing Post-its.
Hire a coach to help you take action. As a coach, I have the benefit of being coached by other professionals on a regular basis who help me get unstuck and overcome the mindset challenges that prevent me from moving forward in my personal life and in my career. There’s so many paths to take that having someone give me that little nudge when I need it has been invaluable.
If you're a multi-passionate entrepreneur looking for a little extra help with your next direction, or struggling to find ways to keep loving what you're doing, check out my coaching offerings here and schedule a free 30-minute consultation call."