As many of us are, I was under the impression that I had to choose one thing.
I had a really hard time deciding what to do with my life. I didn’t want to choose one thing. I just wanted to stay in university and take all the electives and learn about everything.
Most of my life, society dictated that I had to choose a “career” which meant a job where I would start at the bottom of the corporate ladder and work my way up. This held me back for a long time. Getting more and more education was a form of procrastination against choosing a career.
Then, when I just couldn’t justify any more school, I hopped around between different jobs and business ideas, but never REALLY committed to any of them. Why? I had FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) on all the other opportunities. The problem was that I thought I had to choose one thing and stick with it forever. I thought that choosing one thing would mean saying “no” to everything else.
I have been indecisive – unmotivated, not wanting to choose. I felt held back by the idea that I had to pick one thing. **The thing that makes my happiest is trying new things.** My resistance to choosing a career was always “I don’t want to be bored.”
What was I doing?
To really give you an idea of how “all over the place” I really am, here are some of the things I’ve done in my life.
I have 3 degrees: A double minor in Linguistics & Spanish, Bachelor of Environmental Design, and a Master of Architecture. I travelled around Australia for a year on a working holiday. I worked in a solar panel & eco-goods store; I WWOOFed on a permaculture subsistence farm. I was an AirBnB Superhost for 4 years. I’ve been a draftsperson, a swing dance teacher, a barista, a plasterer, a food blogger who did workshops on fermentation in Farmpunk costumes, an office manager at a hands-on environmental educational community, a communications manager at a small college of herbal medicine. I did an architecture internship in India, and volunteered in construction of mud-brick houses. Now I’m a brand and web designer, and forager (@wonderandwilder), and now I’m branching into coaching and consulting.
To say the road is winding is an understatement!! It has been a series of hairpin turns up a mountain, but all of these experiences have added up to where I am today. Many, if not all of these experiences have led to profound realizations, even if all I learned was another thing that I don’t want to be doing.
I was excited about so many potential businesses I could start, but not excited enough about any one thing to choose it as my “forever” career. What a dilemma. Sometimes I thought, there was something wrong with me. My peers who had chosen jobs seemed so much farther ahead than me. I started thinking that maybe I was lazy, or afraid of success, or afraid of failure, but I didn’t know which. I felt so unmotivated to move forward, but I was still struggling to make a living.
And while I was doing all of these things, one thing that always stuck in the back of my mind was that if I had my own business, I could at least delegate tasks I didn’t enjoy, and make my own schedule. So I was always learning about online business, and started more than one (teaching dance, plastering, food blogging). But I still couldn’t decide on one to stick to, because what I had learned about business was wrong. I was told that I needed a really specific niche – that I could only choose one topic, and I needed to stick to it.
But current online business is a whole different game than previous business models, or brick-and-mortar businesses. Choosing one thing that you do is no longer important. There are many business models that allow multipassionate people to do many things they enjoy and have multiple streams of income. And maybe there will end up being one signature thing you love to offer, but in any online business these days, the magic comes from trial and error, so actually being multipassionate is a great asset.
So if deciding which thing to do is not important, what is important?
- Building a relationship with an audience
- Choosing the immediate focus (not the forever focus)
- Choosing which activities to combine and which to separate
- continue learning business & marketing skills
So while I was still endlessly trying to decide which business I really wanted, I started using my skills to help other businesses. I did graphic design for a new coffee shop, I started doing freelance web design, and I brought all my business skills together for a couple of small businesses who need a range of support from admin, social media, graphic design to office management. I was really enjoying what I was doing, but I knew I would never make the income or have the financial security and freedom that I wanted.
Finally one day, at my wits end, determined to figure out THE PERFECT path for myself, I brainstormed all my interests and hobbies, and things I love to do and help people with, and I wrote them all down on individual cards. This was the beginning of a process I now call Passion Pathfinding, that I developed into a part of my signature coaching program so I can help others find clarity.
Other than the Passion Pathfinding process, now that I am a few years further along in my online business path, here’s what I would tell my past, struggling self:
Trust in yourself. Be yourself online, and you will find the people you want to work with. The important thing is to get started. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to feel like a complete, established business for you to start selling or teaching something online. Just launch one product. Teach something for free and see who’s interested. Creating anything is better than creating nothing because of indecision. If you are authentic from the start, many people who appreciate your work will also be interested in other things you’re offering. So be genuine and nurture your audience. Build your personal brand, and don’t hide behind your product. You can always pivot. It’s a winding road and that’s ok.