YOUR MULTIPASSIONATE BRAND
Two years ago, I felt like I would never be able to hold onto anything for long enough to be happy.
But then the most amazing thing happened.
I developed the so called "brand galaxy" method, which I now call "the multipassionate brand," which is basically a brand that is both flexible and lasting, since it is based around things that are always true about you, but also contains a few of your passions, so it has that novelty element that you need to keep going and stay interested. It's the best of both worlds.
And today we're going to build yours...
First things first.
what's a multipassionate brand exactly?
A multipassionate brand is a brand that lasts through all of your interests and ideas, that has enough breathing room for you to add things and pivot as much as you want, without losing people and momentum, and it evolves naturally in time just like your passions do. Phew. Sounds like a dream, right?
I assure you that it’s very possible, and I can give you many examples of this, but before I do, let me acknowledge the elephant in the room-
What if your passions don’t go well together???
I’ve heard this many times, and my answer is always the same:
BIG DEALZ. Do you think that someone who is now living the life of their dreams is thinking, Aww man, I love my life, but I sure miss that one passion that got away. PUH-LEAZE! Do you think that doing everything you love all at once is fun? Uhhhhh, it’s actually exhausting, scattered, and just crappy.
And do you really want to smush together everything you love into some kind of Frankenstein business and leave nothing for your free time and enjoyment???Not everything is meant to be monetized, we are not robots. I enjoy writing poems, but I won't be sending them to my subscribers. I like selfies, but I won't be promoting my brand with them. I like my cat but I’m not gonna sell it...
You need to keep some stuff for yourself, and then all you have to do is find a tiny bit of time in the week for it. Instead of bingeing on Netflix, open a book. Instead of making something “perfect” on Photoshop, grab your journal and do collage. Instead of complaining and whining, do that thing you wanna do just for you. And enjoy it. Don’t worry about smushing things together literally.
It’s not about smushing them together, but making it possible for them to evolve naturally in time and sustain whatever lifestyle you’ve set your heart on.
How can you create a brand like that? Is it even possible???
Yes, munchkin, it is, and I – and some other rebels – are proof of that.
What’s more important is, even though it’s a similar process for everyone, we are all different individuals, so the question isn’t, How can it be done? The question is, How can you do it for yourself so that you’ll love it?
Let’s break this down into:
- Your passions
As you can probably guess, the foundation is everything.
If you build a house on straw, it’s not even going to go up before it crashes back down. And I can’t think about all the ants and tiny people that are going to get crushed in the process. A strong foundation is even more important for a Multipassionate Brand because most of the time you feel so scattered and indecisive, so your brand has to be strong enough to withstand and last through all that madness. Your foundation has to be your CORE.
What do I mean by core???
Anything that almost never changes about you is your CORE:
Your personality, your name, your values, your strengths and weaknesses, your underlying themes and ideas, your temperament, and so on.
Here’s how you do it:
- Don’t start from an idea. Don’t build your brand on something that will last until the next shiny thing arrives. (Unless you want to keep jumping from one thing to another or doing 100 things at once.) Instead, build your brand around core elements that never change, like:
- Your purpose
- Your core message
- Your values
- Your strengths
- Your people
- Once the foundation is there, you can add anything else you want and you can change it around as much as you want because people aren’t interested in your ideas as much as they’re crazy about YOU. (Have you noticed how you’ll always follow certain people, whatever they do, you just love them because of who they are and what they stand for.)
- Ta-da! That’s the process in a nutshell.
Think you’re up for that? :)
If you are, let's move onto making this happen...
- To get your purpose, just take it from your Action Book #1.
- To get your core message, make a list of all of your content - blog posts, podcast episodes, etc., and mark any recurring themes and topics. Then put those recurring themes and topics in another list and start thinking about how they're all saying the same thing. Maybe there's something you keep repeating. My message was "do it your way," so my core message became "everything you do should be as unique as you."
- To get your values, just take them from your Action Book #1.
- To get your strengths, just take them from your Action Book #2.
- To get your people, just make a list of your favorite people you have worked with or communicated with, from your own audience, and then think about WHY you love them so much. Which of their qualities are your favorite? The first thing I ever put in my CORE was "creative rebels" because I realized my favorite people were nonconformists who did not just do what they were "supposed to" and they were WHY I was doing this whole thing.
- Is there anything else that matters to you and hardly ever changes?
Don’t create any brand or business before working on those.
It is my experience – through all of my work with fellow creative rebels – that if you don’t align yourself first to your CORE, whatever you build next is not only going to be not that strong but it’s also going to end up being boring and just another temporary idea and/or abandoned project.
Trust me. I’ve been there.
I know it’s not the most natural thing to look within before you start doing things, but introspection and self-awareness are the first step to your dream. Knowing yourself is a non-negotiable part of progress.
2. YOUR PASSIONS
Hopefully, by this point you’re clearer about your brand’s foundation and you’re ready to add in your passions. Wheeeeeeeeeee.
Just watch out for this mistake:
Most people would start with an IDEA and build everything around that. So maybe Sally’s decided to be a designer… for now… so she builds a design agency, and when she decides to pivot to consulting or expand into a niched business that provides more services and products that may not be all about design… she’s wondering how to make the transition. Yikes.
It’s a headache to make such huge transitions. The multipassionate brand will make your transition smooth and easy. You’ll just evolve and add things, and there will be no earth-shattering changes or uncomfortable expenses.
Now that you have your foundation, you can add your passions!
Your first step is to put them all in one place in some kind of order, and you know what I'm going to suggest - a mind map! I created the one below using Canva, it's really easy. Or you can go old-school and use paper and sharpies.
Here are most of my interests in one place:
You can see that there's a lot of overlap - thank God - but there are also things there's no way I can integrate in my brand, and I wouldn't want to anyway.
Once you can visualize your passions, you'll be able to see the big picture - is there any overlap between the passions, could any of them be blended together, and finally, which passions will be your brand's temporary focus and which will be the tools that propel your brand forward. Basically, your temporary focus tells people WHAT you do, and the passions you use as growth tools are the HOW.
- Make your own mind map of everything you're passionate about.
- Make your current obsessions brighter, because they’re more urgent in your mind, and see if there are any passions that fit well together.
- Brainstorm possible combinations, not just between your main passions but from all of your passions. This one time I put all of them in a hat, pulled out different ones, and then mixed them in fun and unexpected ways.
- Set a temporary focus for your brand, whether that's one thing or a combination of a couple of things. (My first temporary focus was creative marketing, and now it's multipassionate brands & businesses.)
- Brainstorm how your other passions can be used as tools to help you spread your message and grow your audience. (In a way that's not sleazy or makes you feel bad, but in authentic and fun ways. The passions I use to grow my brand are writing, social media, podcasting, creative projects, branding and design, and coaching/psychology.)
- Finally, visualize your brand in a structure that you like.
- Leave some things for your free time! You don't have to monetize it all. In fact, some passions are only meant for your enjoyment.
I added #6 because it really helps to visualize your brand just as you visualized your passions. When you visualize things, new perspectives and ideas can emerge, so think of a structure that you like and apply it to your brand.
For me it's always been a solar system (not a galaxy, Violeta, duh):
(To get your own .psd and .pdf documents, click here.)
When you look at the image above, you have your CORE in the middle, the Sun, and then the planets are your passions and they revolve around the CORE. Think about it, if the Sun dies, the whole system dies, so the metaphor carries.
The key understanding here is that you can’t put a passion in the middle because moving it from the middle to the outskirts of your solar system is nearly impossible. It has to stay as a planet because you can move and scramble planets, but not the Sun. And since the Sun is your CORE, aka everything that makes you… you, that won’t ever have to happen.
The other key understanding is that since most of your passions are not the focus of your brand, they can be the tools that help you grow your brand.
Finally, don’t worry about weaving everything together in your brand. It’s OK to keep a balance between work and hobbies (even though sometimes it seems a passion brand is supposed to contain it all, that’s a total myth).
And remember, if your passions don’t seem to go well together, just think of the Global Table Adventure woman and the Fit Men Cook guys, who took two unrelated things and put them together to create something original.
Now go ahead and draw your multipassionate system!
If empathy and design are your main focus right now, you can decide to make "Empathetic Design" your temporary focus. It's really cool when you make a combination of two passions, especially if you end up creating something new because people love new things. We are all bored with the same old things filling the Internet, and we're looking for innovative ideas and methods.
Back to the example...
If you have things like hand-lettering and collaborations on your mind map, you can probably use both of those to spread your message and reach more people. You can do challenges, you can hand-letter your brand messages, you can work together with fellow empathetic designers to create products and put them together in bundles, you can go in people's homes and hand-letter beautiful messages on their walls, so they can share it on social media, and you can do crazy stuff like start weird projects like 40 Days of Dating and 12 Days of Kindness, which are both design projects by Timothy Goodman and Jessica Walsh, who really wanted to get out of the box and create new things that made people think, laugh, and just wake up from the daze we're all in.
You may be passionate about branding right now, but you’re also passionate about guerrilla art and collage and maybe even music.
You are wondering how you can put these together…
EASY. You just pick whatever is strongest to be your temporary focus, so branding (you can position this as Planet #1), and then use your collage to make your branding extra special or to create fun marketing campaigns (and place it in another planet), and as for guerrilla art, use it to create fun campaigns and attract some local businesses or professionals to your business!
What about music??? You ask.
Farideh Ceaser is a launch strategist and the queen of facebook ads, and it’s great to be known for something specific because then you’re on top of everyone’s mind and sought after for that specific thing. It’s called nicheing down, which is something multipassionates are not so crazy about…
Anywho, Farideh also sings business songs! They’re hilarious!
She just decided she was gonna throw this passion of hers in there and whatever happened next, at least she tried, and she was happy doing it. And if it doesn’t work, she’s going to leave ukulele hour for her friends, who gather up every Thursday for movie night, but the viewing doesn’t start until she jams with her best friend Tom with his flute and their friend Mary with her tiny drum.
I totally made those people up. Farideh is real, though.
My point is that you’re not going to lose your passion for music if you don’t want to lose it. Just keep it as an extracurricular on a specific day of the week or a specific hour of the day, and you’re set. Or maybe set aside a whole month of the year to jam with your music friends in some kind of artist retreat villa in the mountains. (I’m actually setting November aside for novel writing!)
Or just see how your music fits into your brand, and maybe it’ll work or maybe it won’t, but at least you would’ve tried and had fun. :)
Obviously, you’re going to try a LOT of things until your brand starts working the way you want it to work for you. It takes a lot of time and effort to grow something from nothing, to grow an audience (organically), to become known for your expertise (or crazy projects), and to just start feeling comfortable in your brand like you would in your well-worn shoes and your favorite clothes.
Whatever you do, don’t fall in these traps:
- Trying to choose a “niche” too soon in your brand’s life; it’s actually better to stay vague and open at the start, so you can try lots of different things without being limited by this imposed focus before you're ready.
- Putting too many things in your brand and overwhelming yourself, it’s OK to leave some things out, just let them fit naturally and let your brand evolve naturally in time as you try different things.
- Becoming too uptight about your processes and plans; in fact, the more open to experimentation and out-of-the-box thinking you are, the more likely it is that you’ll build the brand of your dreams.
- Being too rigid with your planets, or even with your CORE; you’re multipassionate, so accept that you’re not supposed to do things like other people and start trusting your instincts, dammit.
- Using other people’s definitions as your guiding stars; it’s better if you make your own definitions based on your own values, and use those definitions as guiding posts for your creative work, and life.
Let’s see what other rebels have experimented with:
- Caroline Kelso Zook experimented with creating and selling one Abstract Affirmation print every day for 10 months, and she ended up making $10,000, but most of all, she taught herself the habit of consistency and developed her artistic style. A major win in my book.
- Jason Zook decided to experiment with selling his future, and now it has morphed into his and Caroline Zook’s future, which brings them crazy amounts of "moolah" and affords them a good life.
- Maria Popova of Brain Pickings experimented with writing long-form emails that encompassed all of her curiosities, and sending them to her contacts, to end up building one of the most iconic blogs of all time.
The only limitations exist inside your head.
The world around you is abundant and ideas are flowing everywhere, ready to catch some unsuspecting creative in the shower or as they're falling asleep. These ideas can only come to those of us who are open to them, and the craziest ideas can only enter the minds of nonconformists, who do not limit themselves with rules that are imposed on them by anyone else.
Open your mind and let the flow happen, my friend. :)
A year ago, I had a client, Inga, who has an Etsy shop where she sells linen sheets and clothes, and when she came to me, she wanted to work out a marketing strategy that didn't feel icky or took her forever to implement and took her focus away from creating. And she was so creative and multipassionate that the thought of doing boring stuff like promotions and ads made her sick.
In our very first conversation she told me she was interested in so many things, too bad they couldn’t help her sell linen…
UUH, I BEG TO DIFFER.
Then of course I made her do the mindmap exercise with me, and we discovered a bunch of things she could do to sell her product AND be herself and actually enjoy what she was doing. (If you’re gonna spend every day all day doing something, you might as well have some fun, no?)
We ended up coming up with a bunch of creative strategies, some more common ones and other downright crazy, but all the strategies matched her passions perfectly, and you know what? She was so happy and incredulous that she could do marketing in a fun and authentic way!!!
My point is, you can have a business that is not a multipassionate brand, and STILL you can find ways to incorporate your passions.
Just think of your passions as tools that can propel you forward.
And this is the story of how I came up with this exercise...
(It starts with a multipassionate dream and ends with another one.)
In the end, you need to do what feels natural. Otherwise you might suffocate your brand before it has had a chance to blossom.
Now the only remaining question is:
What happens next???
Next, you create that brand, find that perfect-fit job, or start that dream business you always wanted. Just do what feels right.
I am so proud of you for doing this entire course, for doing the work, for showing up for yourself, your dream, and your future. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and share your own "creative convergence" story. We can even put it up on the rebel blog, to inspire other multipassionates.
See you on the other side of convergence!