Surviving and Thriving as a Multi-Passionate / by Amy Cherie

It can be daunting to measure up to the marketing-savvy, content-developing, self-proclaimed Multi-Passionates who seem to be killing it on Instagram. We all take interest in a range of subjects, creative pursuits, and career paths, but what’s the first step in making all of your passions work for you? What does your elevator pitch sound like? How many job titles will (or should) fit on one business card?!

Get advice on these topics and more at our Multi-Passionate workshop series by career experimenter and collaborator Baily Hancock. We spoke with two of the multi-passionate women in the upcoming Confessions of a Multi-Passionate round table event to learn how they create balance and fulfillment in their work life. Continue the convo at the following workshop, What to do When You Want to do it All!

Calling yourself multi-passionate is a bit like calling the sky blue. It’s not news to anyone that we all have more than one thing we like to do, regardless of it being for business or pleasure. Identifying as a Multi-Passionate is a bit different. It means you’ve decided to embrace more than one of your passions and make a single or multiple careers out of them. For content developer Julie Bensman, treating her passions as separate businesses allows her the freedom to communicate openly and clearly with her different clients. Julie is a travel host, writer, and producer who splits her time between LA and New York. Her interests vary as much as her client list, which includes household names likes BBC and Teen Vogue.

Julie Bensman

Julie Bensman

“I treat them as separate businesses but I'm transparent with both sets of clients about my other interests and obligations,” she says.

“If I need to rearrange my schedule or am out of office on another project, I think honesty is always the best policy. Ultimately, it's about mutual respect and doing the best job for clients that I can.”

Jan McCarthy, another panelist in the upcoming workshop, takes a different approach. As a fine artist, business coach, and podcast host, she started out keeping her businesses separate and quickly found that each vein was a connecting theme in her business, so she rebranded her website and her business model to offer all her services more efficiently.

“Look at how the passions intersect with each other,” says Jan.

“Step away from the business as the doer and try to see it through the eyes of the consumer. What would make their experience with you and all your passions be extraordinary? For example, I provide an art experience that masters some of the challenges we encounter in business.”

Rainy Kumar, another panelist at Confessions of a Multi-Passionate, embraces her love for code, mathematics, and project management by using them in artistic digital production projects like Netflix Sense8, in which her team created music from brainwaves, and a full fledged art installation for Diet Pepsi. Working on one large scale, high-profile project at a time keeps her from getting totally overwhelmed by her clients’ needs.

After deciding whether to keep your passions separate or combine them into one business model, the next hurdle is coming up with your elevator pitch.

“If I know a little about the person ahead of time, I say whichever occupation I think will interest them on a personal or professional level,” says Julie.

You don’t want to overwhelm or confuse someone with your laundry-list of capabilities, but leaving any of your skillsets out may cost you a contract! Figure out how to say the most about what you do in the fewest words possible, and be ready for follow up questions.

So by now you might have a few different ideas on how you could combine your passions for, say, whale watching and yoga, but how do you keep your multi-faceted business venture afloat without going nuts? Julie lets her clients dictate her work life priority list, and that makes it easy for her to know what to do, when, and for how long.

“Balance is what it's all about. For me, it really comes down to money and contracts - whomever is paying me most and to whom I've promised the majority of my time, that's the client that gets it,” says Julie.

“When I have an opportunity that isn't paid (yet) but has the potential to become something big, I usually reserve a few nights each week on which to dedicate my time. I also love working on a Saturday or Sunday when it's easier for me to focus without other emails streaming in.”

Jan McCarthy

Jan McCarthy

While it’s crucial to keep things organized and stick to your deadlines, be careful not to deny yourself the fun and freedom that comes with dictating what, when, and how you get to live your passions.

“It is fashionable and in this day and age of multimedia to be and do more and more and more… It can come with obligation, stress and burnout, so engage all your passions only if you love it,” says Jan.

Ideally, embracing your passions means loving every second of your work. Make time for loved ones, adventure, and self care, because passion is an active energy, and it will take just as much out of you as it gives back.

Still nervous about taking the plunge to follow your passions? Julie offered this little gem as a word of advice on how to let the universe know what you need:

“The question ‘What do you do?’ is so often confused with ‘What do you get paid to do?’ Next time you hear this, reframe your thinking to answer the question ‘What do you love to do?’ Putting that energy out in the world will manifest your dream in some way.”


Written by Monique Boileau

What to do When You Want to do it All
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