Are you a multi-passionate creative with multiple passions within your photography industry? Or do you enjoy gardening and are trying to tie the two together? Maybe you feel you have to pick one or you’ve been told you need to niche down. Here’s how to run a multi-passionate business.
With D’Ana Joi, a business coach for multi-passionate creative entrepreneurs, we will unpack and uncover everything about being multi-passionate.
About D’Ana Joi
Joi is a life coach for multi-passionate people. She fell into this role based on her experience of being highly multi-passionate. And constantly feeling that was to her detriment. Or that was a hurdle she would have to overcome before she could ever be successful.
Joi chose herself instead of selecting the more linear path of becoming a specialist in one specific area. That manifested in her creating a blog because she knew she could choose and figure out what that looked like.
She started blogging and wrote on every topic. Eventually, she wrote an article about being multi-passionate, and there was something different in the quality of her experience.
She realized she could talk about this all day. She became empowered and felt confident for the first time in her life that she had given herself this freedom to express herself creatively.
That wasn’t enough; she wanted to empower others to be passionate, so she started coaching, and that’s how her business started.
Figuring out if you’re multi-passionate
Varied interests don’t have to be things that are related. As long as you’re interested in different things, put one finger down if you have these interests and are also a fast learner. So you have varying interests, you’re also a quick learner; you can go down the rabbit hole on something and pick it up quickly because you have the raw talent to combine those two things.
You’re already well on your way to identifying as multi-passionate. Then put one finger down if you have this inherent desire to share your gifts with the world, as many of them as possible as you can in this one lifetime. If you have any combination of those three criteria, if all your fingers are down right now, you are a multi-passionate creative.
There’s something to be said about hobbyists who have a lot of interests. Many people dabble in a lot of different subjects and have many interests. But there’s a difference between a person who has plenty of interests, maybe many hobbies and doesn’t have raw talent. Because when you have a natural talent match with interest, you have many opportunities.
The options start to reveal themselves for the multi-passionate, and that’s where that third part of how to share as much of this in one lifetime comes in. That’s where that question gets asked, and many people begin to figure it out and realize they can’t figure it out on their own.
And especially if you are going to people who tell you, you need to pick one thing. That answer will not sit by you, which is the fourth criterion when people tell you that you need to choose one thing, and that makes your skin crawl. You’re multi-passionate.
Can people have different multi-passions?
Underneath the surface, there will be a line between everything you’re interested in, whether you realize it or not because you are what connects every single thing. Think of your passions not as just frivolous interests but as representatives of your values. So if you’re passionate about home decor, what value does that represent? Maybe you value creating a nurturing environment or being able to influence your environment, right?
If you are passionate about collecting crystals, then maybe that’s more of a curiosity about other worlds in the metaphysical in your spirituality. If you are passionate about nature, that could be a value of peacefulness, of inner peace in your sanctuary.
Sometimes it might feel like you have disjointed passions, but there is a storyline that connects, and you sometimes have to look deeper. It’s okay if, on the surface, they feel entirely disjointed. There’s no right or wrong way to be multi-passionate.
When it comes to niching down, there’s a theory about this. Many people think of this as you’re a photographer and it seems you specialize in everything, and you want to pick one. Niching is like an arrival point. So after you give yourself time to try things out, what do you keep returning to?
What is it you can’t help but keep doing and can arrive organically? And when you allow that arrival point to emerge organically in your creative process, it’s easier to get behind it than just making an arbitrary choice.
For example, you’re a photographer, and you’re doing senior photos, you’re doing high school portraits, you’re doing infants, you’re out there, and you’re trying everything. And let’s say the thing that you keep coming back to is suggesting that you take your photos in the woods; there’s something magical about the woods for you.
There’s something magical about the trees, the sunlight coming through them, the shadows they cast, and the wildlife. There’s something in there, so you realize no matter who you take a photo of, you want to be in the woods.
Finding a niche naturally
And now what you’ve done is you’ve created your niche. You’ve arrived at a place where you are a woodland photographer, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a newborn or if it’s a senior or if it’s a high school portrait. Because people are coming to you for something that only you can deliver, which is this unique relationship that you have with the location that you’re in.
There’s an opportunity to enjoy this organic arrival point of niching if you look at it differently, and allow it to be something that emerges. Allow yourself to explore, give yourself that time. With Joi’s blog, when she started writing about creativity and being multi-passionate, she allowed herself to write about other topics but kept coming back to write about being multi-passionate.
Eventually, that was a niche, and she submitted to it. That is a different experience than just choosing. So be careful there. Don’t choose and let it be an arrival.
This is called the fro yo method. Think about a hot day you’re craving some fro-yo. You walk into your local frozen yogurt shop and the first thing you do is grab a little taster cup, the little tiny cups. You would take that cup and go all around the yogurt shop and try out different flavors, right?
That’s a little cup phase. That’s the trying things out stage, the figuring it out phase, the tasting of the different flavors. When you can have a whole cup, you taste some flavors, and you’re like one taste is enough. And there’s no way you could eat an entire bowl of this.
There’s the trying it out phase; what happens is there’s something that goes off. Then there’s a switch that clicks in the frozen yogurt shop where you are ready for your big cup. And you are willing to grab that big cup and then fill it up.
You’re adding toppings on the bottom layer first to make it more interesting. And then you’re putting more than one flavor in that curve. That’s you starting to create this unique combination of elements that will end up being your niche, that you are making and defining based on what you have figured out.
Adding your branding and personal touches
And then, you add your toppings to the top, and that’s your branding. Those are your personal touches. Then you leave the yogurt shop, sit outside on the bench, eat that yogurt, and that’s you living it out with marketing, and being in the business. And then maybe eventually going back in to try some new flavors. This is what we’re talking about: being willing to reinvent, being ready to explore, and expressing your creativity in different ways.
There are many examples of places in our lives where we’re allowed to try things out. But when it comes to business, we’re expected to choose right away; it’s pretty backward. Embrace that little cup phase, and you will create your combination of things organically. That will be your niche.
Prioritizing as a multi-passionate business owner
The first step is cultivating clarity because a mistake that people make is just saying, “Okay, let me figure everything out.” Figuring out what you want to do first and skipping the part where you figure out who you are and what you want. You want to make sure that the choices that you’re making are not based on some arbitrary measure of success that you’ve seen someone else do.
You want to make sure you are getting to know yourself and understanding how your energy operates in the world inside of the party mapping method. The tool that Joi uses for cultivating clarity is human design.
This is a modality for getting to know who you are specifically, that isn’t a personality test. So your human design is based on your birth time, date and location, much like your astrological chart, but the nuances of it go so deep into how you exchange energy with others, how opportunities may come to you, and even how much rest you might require daily.
You can get information about what it means to create your ideal life and your ideal version of what it means to be successful. So whether you use the human design or a different modality, you want to start with clarity first. Clarity about who you are as a person: if you don’t start there, you’ll have to reverse engineer a million times because it won’t fit or work.
Second step for prioritizing
The second step is creating a priority stack. That means answering this question: what can I start with first? That will make everything more accessible and enjoyable. Think about the specific criteria of that project. Think about the skills you need and then ask yourself, do you have those skills, or do you need to go out and learn those skills?
Do you have the resources to outsource for those, or is that something you’ll have to do yourself? Think about how much energetic bandwidth it will require; if you know your human design, you’ll know immediately. Think about it, is it ongoing? Or is there a completion day?
You want to have a process for evaluating what you are working on. And this can be where it’s helpful to get support. So if you already have a coach to work with who can help you, that’s great. Make sure they understand the multitasking in it because if they don’t, they’ll roll your eyes when you bring them a new idea.
It is important to note that it doesn’t mean you should choose one thing.
Joi’s second analogy
Think about a painter, an oil painter painting a beautiful landscape. The most beautiful oil painting of a landscape that you’ve ever seen. And you’re standing in a museum, and you’re looking at this painting, and you’re almost in awe that a human could even produce it because it looks so realistic and gorgeous.
And then think about the process that the painter went through. First, they painted the background right, a beautiful background that made the sky. Then they started adding elements on top after they let that dry a little bit.
Then they added more elements and more elements until finally, they reached the foreground. What made the painting a masterpiece was the ability to choose which color came first and what came after that.
The painter could not have just dipped their paint brushes in a bunch of different colors, did a few strokes at one time, and come out with that same beautiful, nuanced, breathtaking landscape.
Think about your life as that masterpiece. You’re the artist; you’re not choosing one thing. You’re just choosing which order to do something, so that’s how you priority-stack.
The third step to prioritizing
The third is to focus for a long time. If you are focused on something, but you’re not sure whether or not it’s a priority, then it doesn’t even matter because you’re going to second guess yourself so often that you’ll never be able to get behind it fully.
On the other hand, if you choose priorities, but you don’t have a plan for focusing on following through, you’ll feel great that you’ve made choices. You’ll celebrate that all day, but you won’t see any evidence of the needle moving, anything happening, or any momentum being gained.
Learn how to focus in a way that works for you as a multi-passionate, and there are so many ways to do this. What’s your desired outcome, and what focus can you use to create the desired effect? Do you need to focus in a way that will bring you more clarity?
Do you need to focus in a way that produces completed tasks and moves the needle? Or do you need a break?
If you can learn a method and internalize a way and a process to help you create priorities, and then get your planner and your project management software, it works much better.
When to take a break
This is why starting with the clarity piece is essential because you know who you are in your human design, and you can plan for what it means to give yourself a break. Because everyone is different. What will it take for one person to take a break and feel nourished? That’s going to be different for other people. If you can or already have, check on your human design.
So, managing rest as a generator or a manifesting generator, it’s actually about working on the things you are committed to in the first place. If there are things that excite you, you can go go go, and you’ll be able to rest at the end of the day, and you’ll finish the day feeling so satisfied.
You may not need these long breaks in between, but knowing that you are doing things that light you up in the beginning, is essential. So to manage the quality of your rest, it’s about what you are committing to in the first place, so it differs for everyone.
Learn more about yourself
You need to learn your human design. Figure out what quality of rest requires based on your human design and build your life around that; make it a goal for yourself to live your “design.” Observe yourself and observe your patterns. Is there a particular time of the day? You call it nope, and clock out. I’ve got nothing left to give.
And you’ll learn that, or maybe you realize that Mondays, you need to ease into the week because it’s tough for you to get up and go on a Monday. Don’t be mad at yourself or try to change that. Observe that and use that as information, and you can tailor your life to fit that; maybe Monday is your slow day, and you start the week slow.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you push against it, that’s how burnout starts, and you don’t want that.
Not all traditional advice, especially business advice, will apply to you. And you’ll hear a lot of advice about niching down, being very decisive, having a minimal, small number of offers, and having only one offer.
There’s so much advice out there that isn’t for multi-passionates because, unfortunately, multi-passionates are still the underdogs’ specialists. Those who put in their 10,000 hours are still on a pedestal. Being multi-passionate, you often hear someone in an interview say, you know, you can be multi-passionate in your personal life, and your business should be very focused.
When you figure out that you’re multi-passionate, make it a point to find resources, mentors, coaches, and communities that are there for multi-passionate. Because if you go into some of these more traditional business circles, just hoping people are going to understand you, you might feel let down. You might be tempted to start hiding, make yourself small, and put yourself back in that box.
More from D’Ana Joi
Joi’s podcast is called Multi-Passionate Mastery. And it is there to provide tips, tools, and practical advice to help you thrive as a multi-passionate person.
She also has a free training, How to bring your ideas to life on an utterly stress-free timeline. That training goes into more of the priority mapping methods that she teaches. And her coaching program is called Prioritize and Thrive. It’s a program designed explicitly for multitasking to break free from the pressure of doing everything simultaneously.
It is a beautifully designed course to keep you engaged as a multi-passionate person. While also getting a year of coaching with her and the community for $89 a month.
Be sure to check out more Gold Biz Podcast episodes here!