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Hi. I'm Laura.

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Can You Combine All Your Passions Into One Business?

Can You Combine All Your Passions Into One Business?

In the search for a career that feels like home, people often start with their passions. They look to things they love, and then try to figure out a way to monetize them.

I’ve gotten many emails that go something like this:

“I paint and make soap and am into aromatherapy and think I want to be a life coach. Can you help me combine my passions into one business?”

No. No, I can’t.

THE PROBLEM WITH THE COMBINE-YOUR-PASSIONS MODEL

Imagine trying to cook a meal by using only your favorite foods as ingredients.

I would end up with an apple/ice cream/dinner roll/nacho mess. I wouldn’t want to eat it, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to sell it.

The problem with the Combine Your Passions model is that the focus is on individual activities that please you. They don’t always mesh well when it comes to providing something valuable to potential customers.

When is the last time you bought a painting from an renowned aromatherapist? Or sought life coaching from someone who was known for their handcrafted soaps?

When we have a problem, we go looking for the best possible solution for that one problem. Our aromatherapist-painter-soap making-life coach? What problem is she solving? She’s trying to solve her problem of wanting to get paid for doing everything she loves.

When people complain that they have too many passions, what they really mean is that they have too many passions to cram into one business and can’t make a decision about which ones to pick.

AT SOME POINT, YOU DO HAVE TO PICK

But…there are still ways you can access multiple passions through one business or career. It probably just won’t look like you thought it would.

When I went through my own career crisis several years ago, I considered being a coach, an acting teacher, and a web designer. You see which one I picked.

However, there are aspects of teaching and web design that are present in my coaching business. I made and maintain my own website and do all of my own design work, and I draw analogies from acting and art in my coaching.

What I don’t do is bill myself as an acting teacher/coach/web designer. Who would hire that person? My clients aren’t actors, and I don’t offer web design as a service. I’m a coach. A coach who her brings aspects of her other interests to her one, singular, focused business.

Have you struggled to combine your passions? Let me know in the comments.

  1. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Curious to hear your about your experience!

  2. tara@taraleaver.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Beautifully put! I see this a lot and I know that for me, I like it if the person I’m considering hiring has one very specific and clear focus. Then I know they’re going deep and long rather than wide and shallow, so I feel confident they will know what they’re doing and do it well.
    I’m aware while writing this that my own focus also needs a little refining! I’m working on it, but similar to you I have mostly one focus {art} and then my other interests/passions {energy work, writing, various other things} inform that without necessarily being part of how I earn money. It also helps give variety to blog posts, to be able to bring in other areas to illustrate points etc, so I still get to talk about or use what I love under the umbrella of the main area.

  3. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Yes, it’s true that other passions give you a unique perspective and bring some diversity to the single thing you do.

  4. bitra.tejaswi@gmail.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I too am going with this same problem. I have eliminated a few options where I am not good at, but I still haven’t made the decision. I hope your series of “Getting Paid for being You” will help me to choose the exact niche.

  5. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Keep in mind that it’s not just about WHAT you do, but WHY and HOW you do it, too.

  6. in2ition.inc@gmail.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Always struggling with this…these words help a bit to try and define where to market yourself in order to get paid for all that you bring to the table. This is one thing that is difficult in a world with too many “rules” 🙂 about defined careers. Luckily we have you to teach us how to create a career and define it clearly!

  7. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Yes, lots and lots for rules. Some are helpful, and others are waiting to be broken!

  8. hello@cailenascher.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    LOVE this post, Laura! I’m a multi-passionate entrepreneur, and it took me a looong time to figure out exactly what I can contribute of value that also serves me. After a good 5 years of trial and error, I finally combined two of my passions into a business that is now growing and thriving — I teach biz+marketing to yoga teachers 🙂
    Thanks for this wonderful reminder!
    Cailen
    http://www.CALMbiz.com

  9. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Brilliant! Great example of combining 2 passions that serve a single audience.

  10. quarterlifelady@gmail.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    I actually don’t have this problem, as I believe I’m pretty focused and my passions actually do line up in a way that makes sense. But I what I love about this post is that you bring the focus away from us and onto the world…the people we want to help. I’m all about service…I’m a social worker, for goodness sake…so that REALLY resonated with me. Grazie.

  11. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Akirah, my whole focus is about starting from service. Yes, it’s nice to help other people and it makes it easier to earn an income when you put service first, but it’s also the most rewarding way to go. Win-win!

  12. shil22@gmail.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Insightful post, thanks Laura! I really like the apple/nacho/dinner roll analogy.
    What has helped me with defining my career goals is the idea of service. Thinking about who I’d like to serve, where I’ve made the most meaningful contributions in past roles, and where I’ve had most fulfilling and mutually beneficial relationships in my career (and life!) . I’m still not sure where I’ll end up next on my career path, but I’d really like to be of service.

  13. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Great place to start. Service and contribution is where all Your Career Homecoming clients start.

  14. lorgler@iastate.edu

    October 10th, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Laura- This is my exact problem. I am a food illustrator and garden designer. I have been trying to overlap them and have done it successfully at times, but still feel scatterbrained at other moments. I especially feel crazed when trying to think of a tagline for my business. Most of my income comes from my food illustrations, yet my highest blog traffic comes from my garden design posts. Ugh. I’m still trying to think of a happy medium.

  15. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Lisa, think about who you are most excited and qualified to help. What can you do for them? What problems do they have, and what they want to talk about?

  16. jordan.potter1@gmail.com

    October 10th, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Such a great post at a time when I needed to hear it most!
    I recently graduated college and am having trouble narrowing down what I want to do in my life…I keep thinking about how I can best combine everything I love (quite a few things). Clearly, I need to rethink this and FOCUS. It’s just so hard to pick one path! Of course I know that I have the rest of my life ahead of me, and I can change my mind, but I’m a determined and hard working gal and I just want to do it all right and feel somewhat settled in my decisions. If you have any more suggestions for choosing the right path in a career, I would LOVE any advice!!

  17. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 11th, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Hi, Jordan. The first places I’d send you are the Get Paid for Being You free training (http://yourcareerhomecoming.com/freebies/) and The Purpose Paradigm (http://yourcareerhomecoming.com/the-purpose-paradigm/). Both are great intros to doing purpose-driven work.
    I always tell clients that you don’t have to decide what you want to do FOREVER, you just have to decide what you want to do NEXT.

    Best of luck!

  18. hello@kaceycrawford.com.au

    October 10th, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Great post Laura. Passion is a logical starting point for business ideas because – as we both know – you’ve seriously gotta love what you’re doing in order to sustain it as a business. Lukewarm liking won’t cut it. Ultimately though it comes down to so many things; picking something that plays to your natural strengths, aligns seamlessly with your values and is truly compatible with the lifestyle you want to lead. And of course, knowing that those things all change over time. I work with a lot of multipassionate clients and always encourage them to seek out low cost, low risk opportunities to try their many (and varied) career ideas out in the real world first. Often our perceptions of a particular career can be so far removed from the day to day reality of that job – the only way to know for sure is to give it a go and/or talk to other people who are doing it. If nothing else, the thought process involved will help separate the pursuits you’re seriously interested in vs the “bright shiny” ones – because we always manage to make time for the things we’re seriously into.

  19. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 11th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Kacey, agreed. I think I feel another blog post coming on about how staring with “what” you want to do is not the best route.
    Dating a career before gettin’ hitched is a great idea.

    Glad to see you here and appreciate your comments!

  20. sage@sagegrayson.com

    October 14th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    This is great advice! We need to solve a problem for our clients and customers, not just focus on what we want. I draw on my past experiences and jobs for funny/informative stories for my blog. I’m still “using” all my passions, but in a way that is helpful and serves my clients.

  21. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 15th, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Sage, sounds like you’ve figured out the recipe just right.

  22. watchmanrd@yahoo.com

    October 15th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Laura, you are so right on with this; loved this post. I spent quite awhile trying to figure out how to squeeze all my ‘loves’ into a potential business. Finally, I realized I could use a few, as they would fit well, but had to set aside the rest. Making this decision was actually a relief, truth be told, and eliminated a lot of stress as I continue to hone my idea for a future blog & biz.
    Thank you! 😉

  23. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 15th, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    A letter from the trenches! It’s so refreshing to hear that narrowing things down was a relief. Happy to hear this perspective.

  24. caelan@puravidamultimedia.com

    October 15th, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    If you don’t create a business that has all of your passions in it, you can never give it your full attention.
    Something I discover every couple years, which means I have to widen my sandbox once again….

  25. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 15th, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    I’ll have to disagree with you there, Caelan. I don’t want to give my business my full attention; I want hobbies and friends and family and time for other things. Businesses certainly evolve, but I don’t think they have to (or should) suit all your interests.

  26. roshini_dominic@hotmail.com

    October 19th, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Great post, Laura!
    Being a ‘multi-passionate’ entrepreneur myself (I am an Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) practitioner, bellydancer, pole dancer, circus acrobat and fantasy artist), I went through so much angst about what to include in my offering to clients and what not to.

    Eventually I settled on ‘EFT for acrobatics’, as in, I help circus acrobats, pole dancers etc with releasing fears and anxieties about injuries, falling, heights, performing in front of an audience etc. I’ve only just recently made this decision and I did have some hesitation about whether there would be a big enough market for this (as opposed to, say, ‘EFT for releasing your fears about business’ or ‘EFT for great relationships’). I chose ‘EFT for acrobatics’ because that is my passion. But does passion ensure a market?

    Now, I’ve just decided to ‘date before getting hitched’ as you say, and try this ‘EFT for acrobatics’ out and see how many people I can help and whether they value it enough to pay etc. I guess the only way to find out is to do it.

  27. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 19th, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Roshini, I love this idea. Passion does not ensure market, but it sure does help. I think it’s brilliant of you to give it a try. It’s always an experiment, and it’s best when we treat it that way. Wishing you all the best!

  28. paintinglucy@gmail.com

    October 23rd, 2013 at 3:10 am

    How well said, Laura!
    I think I’m on my way to combining my passions into one business. I’m an artist and I paint. I sell paintings and prints. That is what I charge for.
    Apart from painting, I also love writing, and building my business, and it is working well together. I’m just starting out, but I think I’m on the right track.

  29. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 23rd, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Those sound like a nice, tight grouping of passions to combine. Congrats!

  30. paintinglucy@gmail.com

    October 24th, 2013 at 2:46 am

    Thanks, Laura.I’m still finding my ways and better ways, but it is quite empowering to find your “dream job”, your passion and mission.
    When I was working in finance, I was feeling very lost and even depressed…

  31. sarahsequins@yahoo.com

    February 16th, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I think it’s possible to combine all our passions into one career, but it really depends on what those passions are. Some interests really do mesh as well as ice cream and nachos, but others are more like bacon, cheese, avocado and sour dough bread. When they’re combined in a sandwich, they’re amazing!
    I’ve always loved collecting Barbie dolls and styling their hair. I also love painting, bead embroidery, fashion design, jewelry making, and making up stories. I never thought there’d be a career that featured all these things… until I saw what Sharon Zuckerman does for Mattel, designing dolls. And while I’m definitely not on the way to becoming the next Robert Best or Sharon Zuckerman, I can at least do this on a smaller scale. I recently made some gorgeous dresses out of my hand-painted fabric. 🙂

  32. perera@ttmail.com

    October 28th, 2014 at 7:37 am

    I take your point Laura but I want to ask what you think about this:
    I am a qualified teacher who teaches adults study skills and English for Academic Purposes at University level in the UK and I have been running websites about psychology (especially about self esteem and confidence) and also do some Life Coaching as I enjoy it and this allows me to earn some money in my spare time.

    I am trying to combine Teaching and Coaching as I think they are very similar. What do you think is the best way to do this or is not possible? I wonder about people coming to my website needing to see a clear answer to the question – who is Karl Perera and what does he do?

    Thanks, great site!

  33. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    October 28th, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Hi, Karl. I think the best question to ask is if people who want to hire you think the teaching and coaching are very similar. You may be using similar skills, but what are your people searching for? There may be a way that you can tie things together under an umbrella concept. For example, I have worked with entrepreneurs and people who want to change careers. The umbrella concept is meaningful work, because that’s something the people I want to work with have in common. Does that help?

  34. cecilia@consciouscareerist.com

    November 6th, 2014 at 9:53 am

    “Our aromatherapist-painter-soap making-life coach? What problem is she solving? She’s trying to solve her problem of wanting to get paid for doing everything she loves.”
    This made me laugh 🙂 Because I have totally been there. I have a tendency of trying to put as much as I can of what I love to do into the work that I do. For me, it’s a continuous process to keep things simple and focus on who I’m actually helping.

    Awesome post! Thanks for writing 🙂

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  38. Kelliicuss@yahoo.com

    February 2nd, 2015 at 2:26 am

    I have an issue… Need help bringing my two worlds together to make one cool business. I am a veteran licensed nail tech AND own a small decorating business. I LOVE doing spa pedicures and acrylic nails. I have roughly 12 clients that have been with me for 20+ years! I recently remarried s contractor and left my “beauty business” world… I opened a small decorating business that was based on smart shopping. The local economy is tight in our hometown so being financially aware and sensible for my clients was very crucial. Business was crazy good…… However I miss my old profession and people/ clients/ friends. I’m thinking of opening a one chair pedi and nail shop that is decorated in the refinished and color washed furniture that I like to make. What do u think? I can work on my clients , while they view my furniture … I can retail a few furniture pieces and flower arrangements… And not have to run around and physically go in clients homes. That was the part I hated!!

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  41. nyfoodgasm@gmail.com

    August 12th, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    This makes a lot of sense, but I am gonna have a hard time with this. I am known for being that chick that really know her food and beer that lost a bunch of weight and kept it off. To my friends this is how they know me.
    To people that just started following me I am known as the chick that really loves food and beer and knows a lot about it.

    I often recommend the best places to eat, how to prepare food as well as what beer will someone like if they never drank beer…

    Soo many skills and they are sorta involved, but not really, LOL.

  42. mariewriter@gmail.com

    September 14th, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Recently widowed after a move for my husband’s job, I have found myself rebuilding my life. Who was I? is a big question, but who do I want to become, how do I want to live my life? The endless possibilities are wonderful and yet, bone crushing. What if I make the wrong decision? What niche do I want to dwell in? Will it be a niche or a black hole??

  43. rks221@gmail.com

    December 18th, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I understand your point however some of those things can go together in your example. Aromatherapy and soap making can be combined obviously in making soaps that also have an aromatic component. Painting and aromatherapy can be combined by calling yourself as a mood therapist where your business uses a combination of art and aromatherapy to help people to regulate their moods and stress levels.

  44. Jana K. Naman

    July 8th, 2016 at 7:01 am

    Hi Laura! Thank you for your beautiful article. I am struggling with my passions mix which I would love to turn into a successful career. I love coaching and helping people, I like teaching, I am good in marketing and business analysis and I like positive home design. Would you help me to find a common factor? 🙂

  45. laura@laurasimms.net

    July 8th, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Hey, Jana! Try this: http://www.yourcareerhomecoming.com/blog/find-your-through-line

  46. emily.d.bauman@gmail.com

    July 14th, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    This post is so relevant! It was important for me to hear a well-reasoned ‘no’ amidst all the craze about how we ‘multi-potentialites’ can and should be able to combine all our interests into one mega business. Thank you from the depth of my Haitian-Canadian bohemain soul. Going to find my through-line now…

  47. laura@laurasimms.net

    July 14th, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Glad this was helpful, Emily!

  48. emily.d.bauman@gmail.com

    July 14th, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    This post is so relevant! It was important for me to hear a well-reasoned ‘no’ amidst all the craze about how we ‘multi-potentialites’ can and should be able to combine all our interests into one mega business. Thank you from the depth of my Haitian-Canadian bohemain soul. Going to find my through-line now…

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