Does Having a Diverse Background Make You More “Specialized” Than Even… A Specialist?!
Photo courtesy of M Yashna.

Does Having a Diverse Background Make You More “Specialized” Than Even… A Specialist?!

Written by Emilie

Topics: Coaching, Self-Employment

I had a major epiphany the other day.

As I sat down to revamp my coaching page, I suddenly realized something: my particular brand of coaching is highly specialized.

(Specialized? Blasphemy!!)

See, while I’m a total multipotentialite and have a ton of different interests, those interests all come together in one extremely customized service.

I mean, working with scanners to turn all their interests into one Renaissance Business? How many other coaches do that? It’s way more specialized than simply “life coaching” or “blog coaching” or “creativity coaching”. It’s all three, and more.

Mashing Up Your Interests into One Package

My particular brand of coaching is a total mishmash of my own background and interests. For instance, I use my love of creative brainstorming and idea synthesis to come up with overarching themes that bring together my students interests in a cohesive way. My design and marketing background helps when thinking up branding, titles and taglines. My web design skills and tech knowledge absolutely comes into play when I walk a student through actually building their site.

What’s more, my love of personal development comes through when we address any fear and resistance that arises throughout the process (it almost always does). And teaching, collaborating and empowering others? Love that stuff. And all a big part of coaching.

That’s like everything I enjoy in one activity! No wonder it’s so much fun.

The crazy thing is that when all these interests of mine come together in a neat little package, I’m left with an offering that is extremely specialized.

Whoa… Specialized… me?!

This got me thinking…

Are Multipotentialites Better Positioned to Provide Specialized Services than Specialists?

Think about it. Someone with an interest in both yoga and music could provide yoga instruction to musicians. Someone who’s into finance and feminism, could provide financial advice that empowers women. Someone who likes video games and romance, could provide dating tips to nerds. These offerings are all far more “niche” than simply “yoga instruction” or “financial advice”.

It stands to reason, that the more interests you have, the more customized an offering you can make.

Bundling Your Interests and Articulating Your Offer

The difficult part of all this is crafting your offer. How do you bring together all your interests in a way that provides a specific benefit. And how do you articulate that benefit?

It took me three attempts at writing that darn coaching page and a whole lot of soul-searching, but I think I’ve finally got my offering– my “niche” service that is both specialized and involves everything I enjoy doing.

Making it Impossible for Anyone to Compete with You

Another great thing about mushing together your interests to provide a specialized service is that it makes it really really hard for anyone to compete with you.

Specialists can fight amongst each other to their hearts content: who’s the best social media expert out there? Ouu mee, no me, lower prices, more knowledge, 10,000 hours, blah blah blah…

Let ’em duke it out.

When your business is based on your unique multipotentialite background, it becomes impossible to duplicate. No one can be a better you, than you.

What “specialized” services can/do you offer by smooshing together your interests?


If you’d like to learn more about turning all of your interests into one business, check out Renaissance Business.


  1. Michelle says:

    Like I said over on G+, this is why I think that people who think we’re doomed on the internet are silly. I think I remember expressing a similar concept (much less eloquently than you ;) ) in the comments on my guest post. If we focus on the intersection and overlap of our passions and skill sets, we’re likely to end up with something totally unique and niche-able. My website is focused on action-oriented organization for creatives with an emphasis on great aesthetics – now THAT’S pretty specific.

    Great great post Emily!

    • Emilie says:

      I know, right? All those “you must pick one thing” gurus are fools for pushing us in that direction. Multipotentiality = biggest asset!

      Thanks, Michelle.

  2. Brian Gerald says:

    I feel the same way. I’m a film/video producer, a web designer, a programmer. I have gobs theological training. Queer theory. Direct action activism. Intersectional justice (class, race, gender, nationality, religion,…)

    Some people could say “Jack of all trades, master of none.” But I say, “If you want to change people’s hearts and minds on pressing social issues, I can figure out exactly how to make that happen. And execute.” It also means that I routinely get referrals that say “You are literally the first person I thought of.”

  3. Benny says:

    I don’t know what unique service I can provide, but I’m trying to figure that out. I think that the hardest part of it all is being patient that something tangible will come out of all the “dabbling,” because I feel like, chances are, if you want to mush your interests into something specific, you will. The idea of merging your interests is not an uncommon one- some colleges are specifically based around “mushing” (rather than following a laid-out “major” as a path). But I think that the mushing often takes longer than we expect, and often ends up excluding some things that we initially might not want to exclude, so I try to be very patient.

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Benny,

      Very true. It does take some time to figure out exactly what all this scanning is all about. In my experience, it’s best to just start and refine your offer as you go, rather than just brainstorming forever. I think taking action (even imperfect action) is really important. It moves the process along much faster.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

  4. Love this!

    YOU ARE SO RIGHT. The way a scanner finds focus is by creating a magical potion using their most important skills + strengths + interests. There is always a common thread. Your interests are never as random as they seem!

    I have recently found the magical mix of ingredients that make “my thing”. I’m a writer + I want to work with people, so I am blogging at The Rule Breaker’s Club, and I am starting an online writing tutoring service for high school students. BINGO.

    Will I do this forever? HELLZ no. But right now it’s fabulous!

  5. Radhika says:

    Hey Emilie,

    Love Puttylike and love your work! :) I have only a small comment. More than “specialised” I’d say diverse interests, multipotentialism makes us “unique”. Each one of us IS unique, its just that most try to get “uniform” with others :) … I hope that makes sense.

  6. Debi says:

    Hey guys, I definitely feel at home here as I continue to read. I’ve read the blog on how ridiculous it might be to get a job working for someone else. As for me it provided an education as well as much needed criticism. I have worked as a nurse, a waitress, worked in retail, hospitality, have always done well with art projects. It has all been educational which I value for its mind jolting curiosity to know more and thankful to realize I will never know it all and will forget a lot along the way. Most recently I have experienced a sort of resurrection if you will. I am amazed at what inspiration brings to us. My personal experience has been in understanding the art of letting go. All that I am and all that I ever could be is dependent on what I do not know. This is very humbling for me and very real. This connects me to a life of gratitude and thanksgiving. Living a life of inspiration. It is not something we search for rather something wait for. No longer a sense of longing for rather a confident expectation of its arrival. The word faith comes to mind. It gives meaning. I have in my humble hallway a collage of photos and tid bits of art that I’ve pinned up to dress my home with this remarkable sense of gratitude that resonates with me as I pass,just to glimpse at this wall journal. Just a year ago I could not drive a car, be in a public place for too long without fear of making a dramatic scene of involuntary seizure like movements. Specialist, absolutely, we are specialist in conquering our fears with whatever means necessary. Whether we have come face to face with how others identified us or how we have identified with ourselves somehow we have learned to give up the identity and accept the self. It is from this perspective we become connected in a more holistic way and become a life together through inspiration that comes to us as needed. It does feel strange when we are viewed as an ARTIST or LEADER when we see ourselves as just trying to understand what is missing and trying to be what is missing in order for all to sense peace at least for a moment. Beyond peace is that place of joy. Once experienced it becomes our focus, our reward, our value, our existence. I’m just so amazed to have stumbled upon so many who are willing to risk everything to ‘become” rather than to ‘conform’. It is in considering what ‘we are not’ that we take our first steps to becoming what we are….beyond gender,race,education,then have the courage to live as is. This surely is childlike ,don’t you think? Ok…That felt inspired….by what…. I don’t know..,,. yet can clearly see its development through open communication,self awareness, and accountability expressed on this website.

  7. Alejandro says:

    In academia, what is now known as “complexity science” is the specialised version of mixing up several fields. Usually, great minds that manage to mix a couple of different fields that initially seem disparate, like psychology and Economics, or biology and engineering, create a new field and become the specialised experts in that field (Behavioral economics or biotechnology are two examples). In medicine there is the overall expert, “the internist”, a specialised field analogous to say, and expert in one part of the body, such as a neurologist.

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