Episode 250

Being a Multi-Passionate Creative Entrepreneur with D’ana Joi Spencer + Dana Kaye

January 19, 2021

Two multi-passionate creatives, D’ana Joi Spencer and Dana Kaye, join Emily in a conversation that navigates through the definition of being a multi-passionate creative entrepreneur, whether or not you should be focusing your endeavors, and the pros and cons of being our kind of boss.

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Discussed in this Episode

  • What does "multi-passionate creative" mean?
  • Whether or not you should be focusing your endeavors
  • Understanding and working through the different phases
  • How to deal with the overwhelm
  • Pros and cons of being multi-passionate


More from D'ana Joi Spencer

More from Dana Kaye

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Emily Thompson: [00:00:00] If I had a dollar for every time I heard of a creative who wanted to pivot my life would look quite different. Here's how it usually goes. You start your business from a promotion, but along the way, an idea or an opportunity comes to you that feels bigger and better than the last. So before you know it you're pivoting or diversifying and wondering if you've lost your mind, um, maybe, but isn't that what makes the best creatives. Jokes aside, the branding messaging of the world encourages you to niche, focus, get specific, and that can leave multi-passionate creatives feeling like they're doing something wrong.

Welcome to Being Boss, a podcast for creatives, business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host, Emily Thompson. And from one multi-passionate creative to another, there's nothing wrong with you. You've just got to know how to work with what you've got, especially when what you've got is a lot.

And today's episode, I wanted to talk with you about being a multi-passionate creative business owner. And to help me have this conversation to either fuel you on your journey ahead, or maybe even talk you down from a couple of big ideas, I invited to multi passionates along for the ride. You'll hear from D'Ana Joi Spencer, a being boss, community member who you'll hear us referring to as both D'Ana and Joy throughout this episode, who's a multi-passionate educator, community builder and content creator who believes having many passions is a gift, not a burden.

Her mission is to rewrite the narrative around choosing one thing, being the only path to success through her content live workshops and online community joy teaches multi-passionate how to make friends with focus, craft, impactful personal brands, and live a life of creative abundance BS. She also designs and sells products.

And I'm a proud owner of a couple of her shirts, which you'll love two of your creative, which I'd assume you are. You'll also learn from a seasoned career creative and multi-passionate Dana, a lifelong entrepreneur who believes in the power of storytelling and authentic personal branding in 2009, Dana founded K Publicity, Inc.

A boutique PR company specializing in publishing and entertainment, known for innovative ideas and knowledge of current trends. She coaches her clients on how to identify and establish their unique personal brands in 2016, Dana launched murder and mayhem in Chicago. A one day conference dedicated to crime fiction with mystery author, Lori Raider Day. In 2020,

she co-founded bouquet stock photography, a curated library of diverse and inclusive stock photos with Felton Kaiser. She is also the author of two books. Your book, your brand: The step-by-step guide to launching your book and boosting Your Sales and The Personal Brand workbook and serves on the advisory board of propel PR.

As a current member of the Being Boss suite and vacation and mastermind alum, I've had the pleasure of spending years watching Dana grow and diversify on her entrepreneurial journey and between her and Joy you're in for quite the treat

Dana and Joy. I am so glad that you have both joined me today. Welcome to Being Boss. 

Dana Kaye: [00:03:36] Thank you for having me. It's I'm a long time listener. First time interviewee. So I'm excited to be here. 

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:03:44] Same, so excited to be here. This is literally a dream come true. I manifested this experience that I am going to soak every single second of this end. So thank you for having me as well. 

Emily Thompson: [00:03:56] Perfect! I will try not to disappoint them for both of you. 

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:04:00] No pressure!

Emily Thompson: [00:04:01] For both of you. Well, I have brought you both here today to talk about being a multi-passionate creative. I find that this topic,can be kind of heavy with people who identify as being multi-passionate.

I feel like so often we hear this, you know, idea that we should be niching down, that we should, you know, have one dream customer. We should just focus on one thing. And though, like, I am quite a proponent of that. I also like to break rules and I think that multi-passionate are definitely here to break rules.

So. I want to hear from both of you. I would first like to just do a simple definition of how you both think of being a multi-passionate and I want to get really sort of narrow here with not just a multi-passionate creative, but a multi-passionate creative entrepreneur or business owners. So Joy, I'd like to start with you.

How do you define this and what does this look like for you? 

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:04:59] So when it comes to being multi-passionate for me, the differentiation of someone who just has a lot of interest and maybe a lot of hobbies or a lot of creative outlets versus someone who is a true multi-passionate, is that a multi-passionate creative almost feels burdened at times by their level of interest in various topics.

Because along with those interests, there's raw talent. And a desire to share these gifts with the world at some point in some fashion. So there's a lot of time spent trying to figure out how can I merge all these ideas into one business model? What should I focus on next? Am I focusing on the right thing?

 Am I going to confuse my audience? If I have a new offer, is it too soon to have a new offer? So there's all of this kind of internal conversation about how to start to bring these interests and these passions into a space where you feel supported by them instead of confused by them or conflicted by them.

So not to kind of set up on a negative foot, but a lot of those,  mental cycles of working through exactly how are you going to figure this out? If you're in that space? It's likely because you're multi-passionate because if you just have a lot of interests in a lot of hobbies, there's a little bit more clarity about.

What's working now, what fits in. And, you know, you can just make time for the other elements later and do them as extra curricular activities if you will. So the way that I like to define being multi-passionate is someone who not only has a lot of creative outlets, but has raw talent to go with those creative outlets and an inherent desire to share those passions with the world.

At some point, when it comes to being a multi-passionate creative business owner, it basically means that you are constantly coming up with new ideas, new things you want to implement in your business. And there's this sense of wanting to figure out exactly how that looks for you, knowing that it's not going to look like anyone else, but there can often be a lot of tension, which is why I'm glad we're having this conversation, because there's often not a lot of permission to figure out what that looks like for you.

And there's more of an inclination to follow a more structured business model. So that's how I would describe it. 

Emily Thompson: [00:07:30] I feel every bit of this, the whole time Dana is here, like shaking her head right now. Right  and I feel like you have really nailed it on the head with the idea that it's not just, you have all of these interests and hobbies, but there really is a mad skill in there that needs to come out and manifest itself in whatever creation it is there to create.

I resonate with that and I love that you've made that distinction that it's not just you can, but it's like I can tile a bathroom probably if I want to do, but it is not a raw talent of mine to tile a 

bathroom. And so there is that really important distinction between just like general skill and like mad skills, basically.

Dana, what about you? How do you define this? 

Dana Kaye: [00:08:21] Well, what really resonated with me with what D'Ana said is this idea of you are burdened by these ideas. This is a burden. It's not just a, Oh, I have an idea for a business that could be fun. It's like,  if I don't start this business, I am something is missing the world.

Won't be right. And you get obsessed. And I think that's really, I think that's really, for me personally, key of, I have lots of ideas. My family calls me the peddler of pipe dreams because whenever we're at a dinner party or when we went, remember dinner parties, remember we went to those sites. 

Emily Thompson: [00:09:00] Do I dream about them.

Dana Kaye: [00:09:03] People would say, I've always had this idea to do this. And I will pull them aside and said, here is how you get to this from where you are now, and just outline their business plan and their business model and talk to them about what they need to do. And also get really personally, emotionally upset when they don't do it.

And I start to realize that I, that when people then more people have ideas, lots of people have ideas and interests and things that they just make, or like D'Ana said, have hobbies, right? And so this idea that you are burdened by this thing that is not going to be in the world, if you don't move forward with it, I think that's really what defines the multi-passionate entrepreneur.

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:09:50] And so the, the skill that most of us need to have to stay sane and productive and launch great businesses is the filter of what is for me. What is for someone else? Can I do this in a different way? Has someone else already done it? Can I partner with them? Like I don't have, I don't necessarily have to start everything and putting everything through that filter of what is really the idea that keeps nagging at me that won't go away.

And why is it coming back and putting everything through that filter is really what separates people from the successful multi-passionate entrepreneur and the person with shiny object syndrome that starts a bunch of stuff that they don't finish. 

Emily Thompson: [00:10:35] Absolutely. I find that as the, as a huge differentiation as well, and I use the same tactic and Joy, I'd like to hear from you too, as to what it is or how it is that you,  you feel about that distinction because I also, I like.

Like raise your hand here. If you're a multi-passionate creative, like this is why I've called you all here. Right. All praising her hands.  I use this, this sort of tactic too, of like, I know I have a million ideas and I'm like you at Dana, I'm like soaking up everyone else's and business modeling them out and also feeling all the feels when they don't like, what do you mean you're not going to do it.

I just told you exactly what you need to do. Anyway. I try not to try not to go down that,  down that rabbit hole too terribly often. But for me, it is that test of, if I let it go, will it come back and will it continue nagging at me and nagging at me and nagging at me until I finally,  until I finally take the step, I experienced that very much.

So with Almanac, that's why I started Almanac for years. I had this desire to start a,  to start a product business. And I was like, God, that's gonna, that's awful. Why would I want to do that? Except it was a calling I had and had the mad skills for it that. And it kept showing up for me over and over again.

And every here's another little test for me as well, because it's not just does the idea show up time and time again, but does it evolve? Like does it evolve into being more and more real every time if it's the same idea over and over is probably just a weird little obsession or like weird habit that's caught itself in my brain.

But if I see it growing, if I see the idea growing over and over and it becomes more and more real, I know that I am, Joy talking about manifesting a minute ago. I know I'm manifesting it into existence. Like I know it is my path and I'm going to do it. So I feel like both of you have just uncovered so many little tales of how to tell if you are a multi-passionate creative entrepreneur or business owner, or just someone with some hobbies.

Dana Kaye: [00:12:49] It's also when it shows up, like when the idea shows up what's going on in your other businesses that, what's going on in your other businesses to make the show up. So my wife works in corporate. Her job is not always super rewarding and fulfilling, and I laugh because I know how well her corporate job is going to what she says she actually wants to do with her life.

So she'll come home. I think I want to go to business school, or I think I want to buy this coffee shop, or I want to do this. And I ask how's work going, and it's clear that something's not happening there and she's seeking. So if I'm getting ideas for other businesses or other things, when my foundational businesses are not doing well, or there's some transition or something I'm not happy with, that's a grass is greener situation.

So I also think about when these ideas were coming to me, what else is going on in my, in my life and in my business. So I know what the pandemic. Lots of people got some new ideas because all of a sudden their life was turned upside down and some of them were good. Some of them were not so good. Some of them are just trying to deal with what was right in front of them.

So I also think this filter of what else is going on when this idea shows up. 

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:14:07] Yeah. So what I think is so beautiful about this conversation is that as a multi-passionate creative, you become curious about your ideas and you take the time to pause and say, okay, what is this idea trying to tell me? Does it feel like a distraction?

Does it feel like a diversion from what I'm doing? Is this my subconscious that just really is afraid for me to follow through on some things. So it's trying to pull me away and start another side project so that I don't fulfill what I'm currently working on. Or is this idea? I sent an email to my list recently, call it in the subject line was what shiny object syndrome is trying to tell you, because I do think that even, like you said, Emily, it could just be like that nagging thing.

I think even that nagging voice is trying to tell you something and it might not be that there's a brand new idea for a business, right. To. Start, but it might be, maybe you want to finally add a community element to your business because you keep thinking about, you know, all these communities that you're in, or you keep thinking about this Facebook group that you've been running in the background and it's doing so well without you really putting effort.

So you starting to think about it more, or, you know, maybe you don't need to start a full blown product based business, but maybe every year you want to really curate some client gifting and you want to really spend some time making gift boxes for your clients and making them feel really special. So even those nagging ideas, if it doesn't feel like you can take action on them, are they trying to tell you that you can integrate something new into the structures that you've already built?

Another thing I noticed about multi-passionate creatives is that we always want to start something new and it's beautiful and it's exhausting. So we it's like getting into the habit of thinking, okay, this idea seems really great. I'm going to write it down. And I'm going to think about first of all, is this truly a new idea or is this something I can integrate into a structure that I've already built?

But I say all of that to say, this all comes from being okay with the fact that you have a lot of new ideas and being willing to step into conversation with those ideas, becoming curious about them, what are they trying to tell me? Can I integrate something? If you are in a state where you just think of your passions as distractions or these things that come into your life that are only pulling you away and, Oh, I'm just so all over the place and everyone else has the one thing and I'm a hot mess, then you don't even enter into conversation.

And so that's why whenever I work with the multi-passionate community, I always say it's this is okay. It is okay to have a lot of ideas. It is okay. This is something that you are meant to lean into this and become curious about it. So I'm glad that we're having this conversation because there's someone listening.

Who's like, I actually don't even think about my ideas. I just, they run through my mind and they distract me or I act on them and that's it. So I'm really glad that we're discovering what's in the middle of all that. 

Emily Thompson: [00:17:12] Absolutely. Because the conversation with yourself about your ideas also gives you perspective as to how it is that, or as Dana was saying, like, what else is going on and deciding if those.

If those ideas are based on a true desire, like a true, like overarching desire or just a desire based on some circumstance in this moment, right. Because I've found for myself and this awareness as naturally, probably I will never forget the day Kathleen told me this. The I was sharing an idea and she told me, she was like, I think that you are having this idea and feeling so compelled by it because everything else is running smoothly.

So even like a juxtaposition to, you know, something being difficult in your business, and you thinking about how you can go off and do something else for some people it's that maybe you just love the adrenaline of starting something, right. And I know that I can get into that. And so even having, for me, it was having that conversation with a business bestie and having that reflected back to me.

But it's also given me so much more context around whenever I am having ideas.  What is happening? What is the conversation? What are the circumstances?  And I completely agree that the, that clarity of the relevance of your ideas absolutely comes with time and space. I think, if anyone is finding themselves, you know, just immediately acting on each and every idea that you have, pause, hold your horses a little bit, because so much more,  so much more goodness can come from, from giving it space.

And, you know, we always talk about, you know, launch before you're ready and like all of these things. And there is still some relevance to that, but, give your ideas some time and space. One of the things that we do, and I've talked about it here before we do this at Almanac, especially because there are three people on the team and we're all having all kinds of ideas for all kinds of products and, you know, marketing campaigns and markets we want, well, maybe not markets anymore, all these things that we want to do.

And with three people ideate, ideate constantly in one business. Like we go in a million different directions on any given day. And we will constitute times where like no new ideas, like we're just going to drive the bus forward on the road that we've already chosen. And then in the future, if we decide to,  or when we decide to open up to new ideas, we keep all of those ideas that we're having all along the way in a notebook.

And we'll go to that new nut, new idea notebook. We go through those ideas. And we pull out any that still resonate. It also shows us that if we had acted on those 500 ideas that we had in those six weeks, that we were taking note new ideas, we wouldn't have succeeded at anything. It's a really powerful exercise to give those ideas space and then come back to them whenever time has ripened to them.

Dana Kaye: [00:20:20] And I don't think people realize that that is the work. I think people see the execution as the work, but actually it's this, the execution part, like the making the landing page, the email marketing campaign, whatever it is, that's just that tip of the iceberg, everything else that's what takes the long that the ideating, the marinating, all of those things.

That's what takes a lot of time. I, I share the story of, I have a book out and I wrote it in eight weeks. And when I tell people that they're like, what's, it w like, how'd you write that book in eight weeks. But the fact is I had been outlining and note taking keying and jotting down and thinking about that book for a year.

And then the execution part, when someone gave me a book contract and said, can you have it in eight weeks? That's what did it? And that's what I mean, able to run through it, or excuse me, run with it. And so I think people don't see all that other part, and they don't necessarily think of that as work.

They don't think of the walking around the block, thinking about what this would look like, who this would be for. They don't think of that as work they think of as daydreaming, but daydreaming is so much of what we do. And it's so necessary in order to actually execute. So you may think that the, putting the things into the machine and doing the work and launching it as the work, but actually.

It's just the tip of the iceberg. 

Emily Thompson: [00:21:45] And I will say too, that I feel like the work of the entrepreneur is the discernment of those ideas, right? It's about choosing the right ideas or choosing the best ideas are the most relevant or the most impactful or whatever. It's not implementing all the ideas or who can implement the most ideas, the best or anything like that.

It's about implementing the best ideas. And I feel like that's what really differentiates between just the multi-passionate creative. Who's like a hobbyist and, you know, traveling, trying, and fiddling a lot of things and someone who was like making an impact in every sort of decision or business or whatever it is that they decide to discerningly.

Is that a word choose and run with. 

Dana Kaye: [00:22:31] And not reactionary, right? Like you're not just having an idea. I think we saw this with. I'm in the publishing industry. We saw this in publishing with when the rise of black lives matter and all of a sudden, every publisher and author, and everyone wants to create more equity and diversity in publishing and they needed to be quick about it.

And they didn't take the time to ideate and think about how are we going to, how are we going to change the system and not just make people feel good or not just be performative. They just reacted. And so that take we as entrepreneurs. Sometimes we're like, this needs to get out now. This needs to be, we are very reactionary sometimes.

And I think that taking that time to do it right to make the best impact is, it's going to save you a lot of headache later, but also it's going to create the change and create the impact that you actually want to make. 

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:23:25] So like to be a little bit of a contrarian here and offer a different perspective. 

Emily Thompson: [00:23:31] Please do.

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:23:31] I actually think that there is room for both. I think there is room for the picking up the pudding down the fiddling around the not knowing what you're doing, the trying things out, seeing what fits, starting things stopping in the middle, because it didn't feel right. Moving on. I like to call this, the Joy knows how philia method, Joy Knows How  the name of my business.

So,  because remember frozen yogurt shops, there was like this thing in the rubber, you could walk into a frozen yogurt shop with like other people. It was amazing if you recall. And the first thing you do when you go into a Photoshop is you grab your little taster cup. Most people do not charge into the frozen yogurt shop, grab a big cup, go straight to their flavor, fill it up, go to the register and walk out.

Because a part of the experience of being there is you have this little taste or cup. You're trying different flavors. You're trying combinations. You're seeing like, Oh, this tastes really good, but okay. After a minute, like I know I couldn't eat a whole bowl of this or this tastes really good, but it has a weird aftertaste or this tastes really good, but I should pair it with something else to offset the tangy flavor or whatever.

And then you just kind of intuitively know, okay, I got it. I'm ready for my big cup. And then you go and you grab your big cup. And even in that cup, Usually it's a combination of a couple of things to make your special froyo. And then you go to the toppings and that's like your brand voice and like, you know, your personal branding and the parts of yourself that you're putting into your business.

So I just fear that someone listening to this who isn't maybe at the stage where they're really clear on what they want to do, and they haven't figured out what might listen and be a little bit discouraged and go like, Oh, am I doing something wrong? Because I'm still like playing with all these ideas.

No, that's not wrong, but there's like an awareness of, okay, I'm in little cup phase right now, right now for the next three months, I'm just going to allow myself to pick things up, put things down, try things out for the next six months for the next year. Everyone's experience is different, whatever that looks like.

It can be helpful to put a timeframe on it. So yeah, you don't stay in that phase so that you do move forward, but it's okay to be there. There's nothing wrong with that inherently. It becomes wrong if you judge it and you feel like you should be in a different space. And that is something from coaching multi-passionate having my own community full of multi-passionate creatives, not being okay with where you are in the journey is a huge part of our experience.

And it's really unfortunate because we miss out on so much of the learning and the becoming and the understanding who we are as multi-passionate and being a multi-passionate creative is a noun and not a verb right. So, I could have one offer, a very clear business model and still be a multi-passionate creative.

And even though my business may be very focused, but arriving to that focus point looks different for everyone and can take time. So I just want to make sure that anyone listening is hearing both sides and knowing that if you're in a state or a stage rather where you're picking things up, putting things down, maybe even getting frustrated with yourself, because you're not sticking with anything, you may not have found your big cup moment.

You may not have found that combination of flavors that truly speaks to you. And that's fine. That's fine. But you know, it's recognizing that there are different phases and not everyone's going to come out the gate having that clarity and that's okay too. So I just want to offer that perspective as well.

Dana Kaye: [00:27:18] How do you coach, I'm curious, how do you coach people who are in that phase? For too long, or maybe not for like, not for the, I wouldn't say not for the right reasons, but sometimes that phase of trial and error and testing things is comfortable before actually having to make the leap. I'm curious of how you coach people through that.

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:27:38] Yeah. So if someone feels kind of stuck in that phase, like they'll just try things out and not committing, then it's kind of like, okay, let's stop and think about what is your, why, what is it that you're passionate about? What are the values that are attached to each of these ideas that you've been trying?

So what I noticed and what an actual exercise that I'll do is say, okay, what I want you to do is take all of your passions and write them down because a lot of people don't even do that because they're not allowing themselves to even accept that they have all of these passions. So first of all, name it.

Write them all down. And then as you write them down, I want you to smile while you write. I don't know. It's like a brain hack. It just it's like, Oh, this is okay. And so smile as you write them down, start to be okay with this. Start to love that this is a part of who you are, that you have all these passions.

Then it's looking at each of these passions. Emily, you'll love this and attaching a value to each one. There is no, there are no empty interest because again, we're not talking about hobbyists. We're talking about multi-passionate creatives, right? So there are no empty passions. There was some kind of value that's attached to each of these ideas.

Each of these passions, each of these, each of these things that you've maybe picked up or put down. So don't look at the surface layer. Let's go one layer deeper and look at what values are attached to those passions. So if you look through every single idea you have and each one of them is like, Wow. In every single idea, I'm helping someone get to the next step or I'm connecting people or I'm sourcing something that someone else couldn't find on their own, whatever that is.

And there typically is some kind of golden thread that someone cannot see themselves, but when you coach them and you are able to offer that mirror, right, which is the beauty of consulting, coaching, and working with people as you can be that mirror, and you can say, okay, so I just want to say, looking at all your passions to me, you are someone who really values creating a team setting where it doesn't exist.

I'm just making up examples or something like that. And so once you land on what that golden thread is, then you can start to go from that place and say, okay, how can we create a business model or an offering that feels really aligned to what your core value and this golden thread between all these passions is.

And I never ever, ever say to a multi-passionate creative, let's choose one thing. If you ever hear me saying that it is a secret politics as a cry for help and come and help me, because I will never say that because that will not land for a multi-passionate creative. You're essentially telling them I need you to not be yourself.

Do the opposite of what your intuition is telling you and just choose one thing. So I don't use that language instead. I'll say let's create a season of focus for the next 90 days. We're going to be in a season of focus where we're going to put together these elements and see what this looks like for you in a business seasons change.

It feels a lot less, a lot less daunting, right? It feels less finite. It feels more moldable, more shapeable. So seasons of focus, which I typically like to say is a 90 day container, right? And it's kind of like what Emily said, no new ideas for that season of focus. There are no new ideas we're dedicated to this.

We created this together. It links to your values. I honor you as a multi-passionate creative for the next 90 days, let's create a 90 day container, a season of focus and really bring this idea forward. And when you go through that process and it's more holistic, the chances of a multi-passionate creative going with you and going through that, and maybe being finally ready to move forward and stick with something a little bit longer are a lot more likely.

So that's how I approach it and what I've done for myself.

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I like that too. And I especially love this failure thing. I also, in that moment, I wanted to see what, like all of our like ideal fro-yo scenario would be. 

Dana Kaye: [00:32:57] I was laughing cause I'm the person who gets the same thing and doesn't taste in the cup and just goes right in. 

Emily Thompson: [00:33:02] I bet that makes sense to me. And what I really like love here though.

And what I feel like you've illustrated even through what you just spoke about is this idea that you can, it's twofold. I'm like forming this, as I'm saying it, two fold in that one, there is this point of commitment, right? Like there's a point when you put down the taster cups and you get the big cup because you know what you want and you're going to do it.

And, there's this acceptance of a long-term perspective or vision, whereas like I'm going to choose this flavor this time, but I know next time I come, I can get a different flavor. Right? So it's it. And it's knowing that you can sort of layer on your experience, your business, your offerings, your whatever, not by doing everything all at once, but by choosing these seasons of focus too, as your point of commitment to this skill or this like couple of skills or whatever, get those that foundation built.

And then you can start layering on top of it with this long-term vision, because one of the struggles that I. Most often find beyond the mindset of I'm a multi-passionate creative and that's probably a problem is this,  is the great sense of overwhelm that comes from being multi-passionate from having all of these ideas from having this desire, to make them all, you know, physical or whatever right now, but that doesn't leave open that perspective for that long-term vision or implementation to layer on because whenever I even think, and I'd love to hear your experience too, Dana, around this, whenever I look at my job and career, now I have finally 10, 12 years later created a job for myself that really does hit on all of those passions.

Right. But it took a decade. It took a decade to build. All of the pieces of the puzzle that has me working in a scenario where no two days look the same, where, you know, one day I'm art directing a photoshoot. And the next day I'm planning out content for creative business owners, right? Like where I have the ability to really show up and fill each of my multi-passionate cups.

 But it was a long-term build that allowed me to get here. And Dana, I'd love to know from you too, like, what is, you've been your experience because I think you've had a pretty similar timeline and trajectory. 

Dana Kaye: [00:35:46] Yes. So I launched K Publicity in 2009. So we're going, coming up on 12 years as well. And I think what, when we talk about passions, I think we are also constantly iterating what that looks like to us.

So in the beginning, when I was first launching my company, when I was a baby, it was, I was at the time a freelance writer and a book critic. And I knew this was 2009 recession. Newspapers were filing for bankruptcy. Everything was feeling a little unstable. And I was like, okay, I need to make a switch, but what am I going to do?

And so I went through this process is like Joy was describing of what do I like? What don't I like what's, what's pulling me here. And I said, I really, as a book critic, really love telling people what to read. Like really love matching people with books. And so of course, book publicity and book marketing

melded and that's how K Publicity was born. And then as I grew and I started meeting other small business owners, other freelancers, I was like, wow, I really like telling people how to run their businesses. And so then there's comes into, you know, business coaching or peer masterminds, things like that. And then now that has now manifested into, I serve on the advisory board of a company.

So I receive equity in exchange for me telling them how to improve their products. So like, this is a dream scenario for me. And so other than my wife will tell you, I love telling people what to do, but because that's kind of the umbrella passion. If we look at it, if we honestly look at this thread of telling other people what to do and not actually doing the work because the work isn't necessarily my first love the details.

I'm a it's good enough person or done is better than perfect person. Whereas the team I work with is way more detail oriented than I am. And so what's really great about that is I can have this one overarching passion and it can manifest in different ways, but it does take a long time to really iterate.

What do I really like? And what do I what's really what's that what's that nugget that's really pulling me and it can take different forms, but there tends to be some sort of overlying, you know, umbrella, passion that shows up in each of these different businesses. 

Emily Thompson: [00:38:17] For sure. For sure. Then I would love to hear from both of you then, like, how do you deal with the overwhelm of like all of

of all the ideas, all of the things. And I think we shared a couple, no new ideas, like having seeds into focus, but whenever it comes from maybe even those really early phases to even like 10, 12 years into it, like you have a, we have couple of businesses under our belt. Like still have ideas. They don't turn off at three businesses, you know, that's not how it works.

How do you deal with the overwhelm or other ways? Just like, get it all done. And Dana, I will start with you on this one. 

Dana Kaye: [00:38:55] So,  D'Ana, I'm going to call D'Ana Joy. It's like now interchangeable in my mind because of the Joy, frozen yogurt for Joy froyo,  analogy.  So for me, I, I firmly believe that to have success multiple successful businesses, they cannot be all in the same phase.

Like I think they can't all be in a growth phase,  for the Being Boss book club or reading fix this next with Maslow's hierarchy of needs. That can't all be, they should not all be in the same phase. So that's one key area that I think leads to burnout. If you're in a growth stage of all your businesses or you're in a sales, the sales hierarchy or the profit higher, or the organizational hierarchy, whatever it is, if you're trying to increase profits, build a team with multiple businesses, that's just going to lead to burnout.

So, each of my com I would say, let's talk about the two companies,  K Publicity and bouquet stock photography. Bouquet is in its infancy. We launched as of this recording two weeks ago. So it's very new. And so, whereas K Publicity, as I said is now 12, almost 12 years old. And so I think that's how we balance that the needs of one company are very different than the needs of the other.

And then I also have there's this really handy thing called the CEO Day Kit. 

Emily Thompson: [00:40:22] I love it, Dana. I love it. 

Dana Kaye: [00:40:25] I think it's available at beingboss.com slash CEO, but there's a two sheets that I have. I'm looking over at my bulletin board. There's two sheets of that, that I have on my bulletin board. One is the year of intention.

And having intentions for each month and if possible, having the same intention for all your businesses, even though they're at different stages showing up and how it manifests. Because for example, if your focus, my focus for this month is connect. And so if that's my focus for all my businesses, then I can create this ecosystem.

If I'm connecting with people, I can talk about both the businesses at once. I can try to combine customer basis, you know, it's all this ecosystem. And then the other one is the marketing and revenue sheet with the blocks. So I see every month, these are my main focuses and there's so many other things that come my way, like, you know, new clients or publicity opportunities or marketing opportunities.

And if it's not in my focus, I can filter that out in that same way that we filter out the no new ideas things. So I try to create a focus for all of my businesses so that I can just streamline things and say, Nope, this isn't the time to do that. This isn't the right time for that. And that's how actually things progress.

I think it was in our mastermind group that I decided, I said, what would it look like if bouquet was my full-time job? Because at the moment, K Publicity pays the bills and I have a payroll to make, and there's all these other things. So it's easy to just coast on that and do bouquet as a side hustle.

But if bouquet was my full-time job, I'd be showing up differently. And it was when I decided to show up as if it were my full-time job, that bigger things started happening. 

Emily Thompson: [00:42:26] It's a good one. It is that there is a shift that has to happen there, right? Like whenever you are juggling multiple things, I mean, your focus can really only be in one place at a time.

And you have to sometimes mindfully switch that focus from one thing to the next things. Don't just take care of themselves. You have to do it yourself. And I also love that. You're saying that you see your CEO Day Kit. In this way, um, because I do the same thing and I do find that it is just as helpful for a business that is two weeks old as it is for a business that is 12 years old.

Um, and so the fact that you're using it in that way and have it pinned up on your wall makes me very happy. So thank you very much for making me giving me some warm fuzzies. Joy, I would love to hear from you. What are your advice or what is your advice for dealing with the overwhelm of ideas or otherwise actually implementing all the ideas and getting it all done?

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:43:18] Yeah. This is such a valuable space for me to be in because I'm a baby boss.  I started my blog in 2017 and it was just a blog. It was like, all right. I'm multi-passionate. I have a lot to say about a lot of different topics. Don't really know what that means, but I'm going to give myself one place to do it.

And that was where it all started. I was like, let me just start a blog. At least I can just dump myself onto the internet and see where it goes, where it leads me. And it kind of snowballed into a business. As I started writing about the multi-passionate experience and started getting all of these emails from people like in tears who had never heard anyone saying these things.

And I was like, Oh, okay, let's keep talking about this. Let's see if anyone wants to work with me one-on-one, let's see what this looks like. And I have actually kind of been in my little cup phase for a time. I did coaching one-on-one work, then that stopped feeling aligned. So I stopped doing that. Then I launched a Facebook community.

All the while kind of seeing what it would look like to start to monetize content by creating a membership and then having the membership feel really weird and disconnected because it didn't have a community attached and then launching an apparel shop for fun, like, Oh, you know what? I have some ideas that would go great on t-shirts and launching that for fun, kind of having that be in the background and not really having a clear idea of what my business structure would be.

Actually think I'm still in a state where I am figuring out how do I build a sustainable and energetically sustainable business. So I am working a support job as a way to allow myself some of the freedom to truly figure out what an energetically sustainable business looks like for me without. Having to make any sacrifices to bring in cash because I have cash coming from somewhere else.

So that's a choice that I've made. It's something I would love to transition out of,  when the time is right. So it's interesting for me to listen in on you, Emily, and you Dana, because you are bringing this experience in this like very grounded energy of speaking about years and years. And I'm just like sitting here, like, Ooh, interesting.

You know, I wonder what that's going to feel like one day, because I do feel that I'm very much in the beginning of all of this, but that's a great thing for your listeners, right? Cause I'm in the trenches right now. And you guys are a little bit more like on the mountain top, if you will, and you can look back, 

Emily Thompson: [00:45:59] we've chosen multiple big cups of froyo tasted it all.

Now we are sitting in front of us with multiple big cups and a lot to eat.

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:46:11] Okay. This big cup is better than my last big cup. All right. I'm getting somewhere.  But what I will say, what I've learned so far from being in the trenches, if you will, are just being in the fro-yo shop, like you guys are like outside on the bench, I'm like in the shop still.  Great analogy. 

Emily Thompson: [00:46:28] We still go taste. We still go taste sometimes not gonna lie. 

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:46:32] Good, good. 

Dana Kaye: [00:46:33] And there was like other people eating our froyo now. Like we have to shoot to get enough fro-yo to share with people. There's a lot to think about with that. 

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:46:45] But the one thing that I can say that I have learned, and I learned a lot of this from understanding my human design better, actually, which is a whole nother conversation, but I pay attention to when I start to get my energy back.

So for example, I just launched my online community. The Joy Knows How Collective, which is a community for multi-passionate to come connect, engage with one another in a space that's completely safe to be multi-passionate and then learn from me as a mentor and,  work through content together.

And I have have a lot of other ideas of things that I've want to do. I want to build out a small group coaching. I want to create a course. I want to do all these things. And I had to stop and say to myself, I haven't gotten that energy back yet. My, the collective is a month old. At this time, we're recording this.

So I literally wrote a post-it,  not a post-it, but like a, a piece of paper. I got a piece of printer paper, and I created a, kind of like a jumbo checklist. And it literally says, make your bed every day, go for a walk every day, enjoy your morning coffee, maintain the collective, use Instagram and email to market.

Save up some money, move out to your new apartment. And it's just, that's on my wall. And it's like, that's it, that's it. That isn't right now. And every single day I walked by and I go, Oh shit, let me go make my bed. And I go, okay. I went on my walk. Okay. I'm maintaining the collective. All right. I posted on Instagram and I sent an email this week.

I'm saving money. I'm looking at apartments because I'm about to move. So I just think that it's, uh, it's about having a very honest conversation. With yourself about where you are in your life and asking yourself the question, do I have the energy or is there room for this? Is there space for this? And like you said, having an idea notebook, writing things down and understanding, again, that being multi-passionate is a noun, not a verb.

So not attaching, choosing not to do something right now that maybe didn't make it on your checklist or right. Or isn't in your focus of the month. Does it make you not multi-passionate that's what's helping me right now, as I figure out what all this looks like. As I figure out how to build a self-sustaining and energetically sustainable business model, meaning.

Once I'm in a space where I have content going out in the collective, my community manager needs a little bit less handholding. Everything's running a little bit more smoothly. I'll get some energy back then I can look into, okay. I think it's time to start doing consulting again or, okay. I think it's time to do a small group coaching experience again, but until I feel really grounded and I have that energy back, I won't do it.

And I've learned that the hard way, because there's been many times where I didn't wait until I had the energy and I just did it because it felt so exciting and shiny, and it's extremely exhausting and discouraging because it's not sustainable. 

Dana Kaye: [00:49:59] What I love about that is this. You have like these non-negotiables and I feel like there's this, you're protecting yourself from your future self, because I think we all drop into this tendency of,

okay I can just power through this for a week. I can just grind this out. I can just hustle this out, but when you have these, non-negotiables like, I think Emily, you still, you don't do an alarm clock, right? Is that correct? So it's like those sorts of things where I will do this. And  if things are required  that you're not going to get your coffee, that you're not going to make your bed that day, you're not going to do this, then it's not on the checklist and you have to,  you just can't do it.

And so I think keeping that in mind of  where your boundaries are and sure those are energetic, meaning they could change. So at the height of the pandemic, my boundaries was no more than 20 hours a week. Cause I am homeschooling a small child and dealing with everyone in the house. And now that he's for the time being back in school, now I'm like, okay, I can do 25 to 30 hours.

But I will still have breakfast with him. I will still have dinner with the family. I'm still not going to work at night. All of those things, those are my, my boundaries. And so I think that as you add more to your plate with all these different projects, you have to think about what am I taking off what's being sacrificed and is both your personal wellbeing and your health.

You're not, you're going to start resenting these other projects 

Emily Thompson: [00:51:27] We've been talking in the C-suite Dana a lot lately, about how, when you say yes to something you're saying no to something else and vice versa, when you say no to something, you're saying yes to something else. And I feel like that's a very powerful mindset.

For anyone who identifies as being multi-passionate to accept is like, you can say yes to a lot of things, but for everything you're saying yes to, you're actually saying no to something else and vice versa. I also want apply again. My,  one of my, like very one of my very tactical things that I do

and that is, I use time-blocking in order to work on both businesses. So I have Being Boss and I have Almanac and, even just like went and scrolled through. I also track my time obsessively because that's what you do when you're paying attention to how you're spending your time. And,  my days are almost every single day is about two-thirds Being Boss and one third Almanac.

And I come in, I usually come in and hit Being Boss first to get all the things done. And then I spend the evening on Almanac. Sometimes they'll switch and it'll be Almanac first and the other way around, but I'm not hopping between two things consistently. Like I have one chunk of time where I'm focusing on one and then one chunk of time where I'm focusing on the other.

And that really allows me to get a lot of things done in any given week for both businesses. Okay. It's time to start wrapping up, but I do want to do a quick, like a little quick fire. I want you both to think of one pro. And one con that you can identify as,  within your experience of being a multi-passionate creative.

So one pro and one con Joy, I'll get you to go first. 

D'ana Joi Spencer: [00:53:14] Sure.  One pro I would say is being an inherently inclusive thinker. I hope that makes sense, but multi-passionate creative sense to be very inclusive. So we are thinking less about the black and the white, and this will work in as well. And we're thinking more about the possibilities of all the gradient colors in between.

We're thinking about, is there a way that these can talk to each other? Is there a way that I think connect this? Do I know someone, like you said, Dana, do I know someone already doing this? There's these questions and there's this curiosity,  that I  really love and value and see in all the multi-passionate send me set inclusive thinking and that curiosity.

So that's definitely a pro a con I will say, is entrepreneurship in itself is not linear, but multi-passionate entrepreneurship can feel like a shit show and fact, right? Like for real and a con is, it can be really hard to be okay with where you are in your journey, especially if you're in the, figuring it out, or you're in the like, Oh my gosh, I don't want to do this anymore again.

I thought I'm like, I thought I figured this out last time. There can be a lot of just. It can be painful at times, trying to sort through what feels correct. What feels incorrect and moving with confidence. When we live in a society that truly does favor the specialist,  and truly does kind of put on a pedestal.

Anyone who can niche down as far as humanly possible, like out of the womb. So that would be my answer. 

Emily Thompson: [00:55:07] I resonate with both of those a hundred percent. Dana, what about you? 

Dana Kaye: [00:55:14] So I think at least from  my businesses, I think the pro is creating that ecosystem. Is that when you have multiple businesses, even if they're different, if they can serve multiple purposes, That's really beneficial.

So for our PR company, I represent authors and books. I also found it a writer's conference. So guess what? I can get my clients on that writers conference. I can get new clients from that writer's conference with the site, with the stock photography company. A lot of that was bred out of our clients who have blogs and newsletters and websites, not being able to find diverse and inclusive photos.

And so now my one of our clients is launching an eCourse and she just sent me the slides, guess whose photos she's using, she's using bouquet's. And so that I can create this ecosystem of moving people back and forth through the different companies. And so even though there is a distinct audience between bouquet soft photography and K Publicity, There is some overlap that I can, it can serve multiple purposes.

And even the company I'm on the advisory board for propel, it's a CRM software for PR professionals. So we use it as my PR agency.  And so there's, it's, I like to create all of my businesses. I like to think of how it falls within the ecosystem, because there's been other ideas for companies. And for things that like, even I had told Emily, we were thinking of buying a bookstore, which is nuts, but it would fall into this ecosystem.

So I think that's one of the pros is when you're, multi-passionate, when you're really clear on what you're passionate about, these different business ideas and different services and products tend to fall within this bigger, this bigger ecosystem. So that's the pro. For the con, D'Ana, I fully agree with that.

I'll just second that,  I also think it is, it can be to kind of tweak that a little bit for me. It can be as someone who is responsible for coming up with taglines and elevator pitches and personal brand messages for people, it can be tricky when you have multiple businesses. It's not impossible to get to the core of what you do, because I do believe we have some core values that resonate, but when people want to know who you are and what you do, it can be difficult to lead with something.

I try to only, I think you mentioned this on an interview that you think about the audience. So whoever you're talking to that elevator pitch may change, but then you may not realize  that person actually is more of a bouquet person and more of a capable or a capable person. And so I think that first introduction, and I think a lot of us will.

Get lazy. I just might be open the party of like, what do you do? I'll be like, I'm an entrepreneur. Or I default to, like,  I have a PR company. That's what I say. And it's like, that's not descriptive. That's not that interesting. And it's alienating like someone who could be interested in these other things.

So I think that's some of the challenges. How do you introduce yourself? How do you present yourself? How do you show up?  That encompasses ideally most of your, most of your businesses. 

Emily Thompson: [00:58:48] I resonate with all of that too, 100%. I don't know what I do. I still don't have an elevator pitch 12 years into it and it's fine.

It's fine. All right. I want to share two of mine as well. So my pro is infinite possibilities times infinity. Right. Which is like, not even real basically, but one of the great things about being your own boss is that starting your own business is that, you know, infinite possibilities, you can do whatever you want.

Whenever you can do that multiple times over it's infinity times infinity, right? There's like, there's no stopping you. And especially with some of that raw talent that you were talking about joy, like there really is just so many things that you can do, but I'm also, I didn't even think about the ecosystem.

Dana, I'll say bosses are some of our best crystal buyers at Almanac, for sure. For sure. And then my con I'm actually going to go back to something that,  that joy was talking about earlier for me, it's, it's feeling frayed. It's feeling that diffusion of focus it's,  it's juggling all of the things.

There is an extra, extra level of energy management that you have to be in control of if you are going to, I think successfully,  pursue multiple endeavors.  And that requires a lot of hardcore self-discipline and boundaries and all of the things. So those are my pros and cons.  I appreciate both of you so much coming and having this chat with me.

I do have one question to wrap us up for each of you.  Joy, I'll start with you. What makes you feel most boss?

D'ana Joi Spencer: [01:00:36] Sorry. I'm like just chills all over because I've been listening to your podcast for years. And so. Wow. What an honor, to be able to answer this question.  What makes me feel most boss is having a day where I can just do whatever I want to do and where I'm in control of my time. I say that because I am still working a support job.

So there's a whole lot of conflict that comes with that of just where my time is going. So on those days on the weekends, I can wake up and live out my ideal day. Be it, you know, maybe it's only happens once or twice a week. That's when I feel the most boss, because it gives me a glimpse into what my life will be like when I do step into being my own boss.

Emily Thompson: [01:01:26] Hmm. Good answer. Good answer. You were ready for that? You were totally ready for that. Dana, what about you? 

Dana Kaye: [01:01:34] I think the days where I am wearing my CEO hat all day. I think the days when I am working on my business, having calls with propel, having calls with the team and just working on the business and not in the nitty gritty and wearing my visionary CEO hat all day or the days that I feel most boss.

Emily Thompson: [01:01:57] I love it. 

Thank you both so much for coming in here, hanging out with me. I hope that all the multi-passionate that have been listening to this one, know what you're in for and two, feel like you have everything you need to pursue all of the relevant ideas and dreams that you have. 

Dana Kaye: [01:02:16] You got this. 

Emily Thompson: [01:02:19] There you have it bosses at primer for anyone looking to embrace the multi-passionateness.

In this episode, we mentioned a couple of Being Boss things that I want to make sure you know how to find. First, you heard how both of these fabulous bosses are members of the Being Boss community, a place for creatives and business owners and entrepreneurs to connect and talk shop. You also heard reference to the C-suite and exclusive group within the community offering peer masterminding to bosses, making six figures in their business or businesses.

And you heard about CEO day kit, a collection of tools bundled together to help you plan 12 months of your business in just one day. And like Dana will help you stay on track along the way. And if you want to learn more about time-blocking, we have some free time management training to help you learn the basics of time blocking.

You can find links to all of this and more on the show notes at www.beingboss.club. And until next time do the work, be boss .