Multi-Passionate Business: How to Fuse the Things You Love into a Rewarding Entrepreneurial Lifestyle
I am a career and fitness coach for moms.
I never set out to start a business. I worked part-time as a Fitness Instructor Specialist through university. I fell into my first career when an Executive Search firm hired me as their Receptionist. It didn’t take long to work my way up to a Search Consultant - screening resumes, attending client briefings, doing interviews and handling the entire recruitment cycle on my own. I expanded my Human Resources experience when I landed an HR Generalist position with Cadbury. I kept my Fitness Instructor certification valid and taught classes part-time. (A good thing, with all the chocolate I was eating at work!)
These early experiences developed my deep curiosity about careers and how people transition throughout their professional lives. I also felt so completely fired up when I was leading and motivating people in their workouts. And then I got pregnant with twins.
My perspective on career shifted after our twins were born. I stayed home with my daughters beyond the one year maternity leave. I couldn’t figure out how to balance the intensity of caring for twins while working full time, plus paying for two infants in childcare on my salary was cost prohibitive.
So I recreated my own career. I started teaching fitness classes at mom’s groups. I met other moms who were also in career transition and offered advice on transferrable skills, resume writing and interview preparation. When my girls were 2 ½ things felt more manageable at home. A new-mom friend, who I helped during her career transition and who attended my exercise classes, suggested I start a business where I offer both career and fitness coaching for moms.
From there, CareerFit Mom was born. For close to eight years, I have blended my passions for fitness and career development into a successful business. For me, offering both fitness and career services to moms brings me huge personal fulfillment while also delivering multiple streams of revenue.
Here are four questions that may help to consider as you add a new, distinct line of business into your existing entrepreneurial venture or if you want to create a business that combines your multiple passions:
1. How do your passions connect?
Career and fitness intersect for me around confidence. Confidence comes from taking action. Exercise is entirely about action! Pushing ourselves physically demonstrates what we are capable of. Fitness teaches us goal setting and accountability that is necessary in our careers and I use similar motivational techniques with all my clients. When we find success in our fitness goals, we can take those skills to our workplaces as well. Workouts let us rehearse the perseverance, grit and hustle we need in other areas of our life.
Brainstorm all the ways your multi-passionate self connects to the things you’re interested in. It could be as simple as they’re both really fun for you! Your personality, communication style and value system might be the method you combine your passions. Even the ways you enjoy working can provide clues. I like project based work (writing a LinkedIn profile, for example) but I also need regular, in-person interaction in a community where I feel belonging (teaching a class to a group of moms).
Do you participate in, study or talk about these topics completely independently or are there times/places where they intersect? Write down all of your thoughts and observations to help you solidify your business offering and value proposition.
2. Is your target market interested in both topics? Do they have a need?
I looked at my own life and my desire/need to change my body and career after having babies and was inspired to help others do the same. Some of the most successful mompreneur businesses grow out of a woman’s own experience.
Really know who your business will best serve. I decided to niche down to a narrow audience of mothers. I could do fitness and career development work for anyone, but I felt united with clients like myself or who were going through something I had also experienced. Over the years I’ve had fitness clients who’ve turned into career coaching clients and vice versa. I speak with numerous moms in my group exercise classes about their professional lives and can offer advice, introductions and job resources as a value-add. It’s something I love doing because again, it fills me up on both sides of my interests.
3. How will you tell your story so it makes sense to your target audience?
Create your business narrative and marketing strategy around any personal experience you’ve had with both of your passions. Again, discuss how they connect for you and for others. I tell my personal story and also describe how my individual clients found success with their fitness and/or career goals. It makes my services very personal and relatable, even though each client’s experience is unique.
The fact that I do both fitness training and career coaching for moms sets me apart from other service providers who only offer one modality. Make the duality of your business your unique selling proposition. You may already be working a portfolio career, a combination of multiple part-time jobs that make up full-time hours. Describe how those various sources of income are connected and you will see the beginnings of your brand story.
4. Do your service areas provide flexibility to explore new offerings? To ramp business up and down?
There is a great benefit to bringing in multiple streams of income. The more diversified our service offering, the more opportunity we have to make money. There’s also a personal fulfillment of changing focus from one to the other as your interests and needs change. For the past seven years, the fitness side of CareerFit Mom accounted for about 70% of my revenue. I’m now working to balance it with the career coaching offering as I’ve built a team who can take over the fitness side while our family circumstances change.
I ended up structuring my fitness classes and personal training services to my daughters’ school schedule. It sort of naturally happened as I could only work when they were in school or with the part-time nanny. Because I’ve attracted clients who also are on the same schedule (we’re all moms!) I can spend a lot of time with my girls. Summer is slower and my income is lower then, but that gives me a wonderful opportunity to have adventures with the girls. As they’re growing up (10 years old now) and are starting to develop independence, I found I can ease into working more as they need me less and less (sob!).
Over the years I’ve tried new service offerings just to see what resonates with my target market. Working in this way allows me to be creative and find custom solutions for clients. My clients really are the best teachers!
A multi-passionate business is incredibly rewarding. I learn something new everyday and no two days are the same. My business also provides the flexibility I need as a mom. Diversify and live out your multiple passions. I know you’ll find multiple sources of happiness!
Beth Yarzab is the founder of CareerFit Mom. She is a long-time member of Mamas & Co. and sits on our council.