Last Wednesday evening I stopped by Powells Books for Chris Guillebeau’s $100 Startup Book Tour. Chris is an awesome speaker. I love how genuine he is up there. Not showy or verbose– just himself. It’s nice to see an introvert rocking the stage and captivating the audience like that. (Especially as I prepare to tackle my own speaking goal in the second half of 2012…)
Anyway, there I was, snuggled nicely in the middle of the enormous audience, sitting next to my friend Mike, when towards the end, someone on the left side of the room raises their hand and asks a question:
“I really want to start a business, but I’m having a hard time choosing between my interests. There’s so much that I love to do. How do you choose?”
My ears perked up. Mike looked at me.
Chris began scanning my section of the audience…
“Great question… Is… Emilie? Are you here somewhere?”
Gulp. I raised my hand.
“Do you want to take this one?”
I stood up, turned a very dark shade of red, and gave it my best shot. My memory’s a little fuzzy, but I think I said something like:
“Yeah so instead of choosing one of your interests, you want to combine multiple interests. That way you find this neat little intersection that allows you to talk about many topics in the same space. It’s more like having an overarching theme than a niche, and that theme allows you to focus on several areas within one business.”
That was about the best I could muster up on the spot like that, but I answered a few more questions after the event ended.
Some Thoughts on the Renaissance Business
“Renaissance Business” is the term that I use to describe a business that allows you to focus on multiple areas and use multiple skills within that one entity. RBs allow multipotentialites to integrate many of their interests into their work, such that their multipotentiality essentially fuels their work. They’re also a fantastic way to avoid getting bored.
Last week I mentioned that I appreciate learning from specialists. But truth be told, a great number of my interests are “smooshes” of several fields, and I really do learn better from multipods. For instance, I go to Bollywood dance class every Thursday night. Bollywood is a combination of many different styles of dance: hip hop, Indian folk, “pop-and-lock”, ballet, etc. My teacher is also a total Renaissance woman, who runs a clothing shop, and does facials, threading, nails, etc. I’m just drawn to multipotentialites, and I seem to find them everywhere.
A “Smooshy Business” Feature
Since this is such a popular topic, I thought I’d spend some time over the next few weeks featuring a couple great projects that I’ve discovered recently. Who knows, this may even turn into a regular feature. “Smooshy Thursdays,” anyone?
Have you discovered any amazing Renaissance Businesses recently?
I’ve already got a few Renaissance Businesses in mind that I want to feature, but I’d love to hear any suggestions you might have.
I’d especially like to hear about lesser known, possibly offline businesses or multipotentialite entrepreneurs who are offering services that combine skills that they’ve acquired through their various endeavors. Please share your finds in the comments.