Polymath Entrepreneurs: The Hidden Costs Of Loving More Than One Thing You Do

You’re probably the kind of person who loves to create. You’re often on the run, rather than sitting down. You’re restless when idle for too long. You have the creative itch, the powerful inner drive that gets you going day in, day out. This is both a blessing and a curse sometimes, but you make it work. Great!
But. You might also be devoted to more than one project, interest, or even person. Your head buzzes with a bunch of possibilities and you fall madly in love with each of them… before you even start doing them. You’re smitten with the potential of what could be — and you can’t pick just one thing to do. All of them entice you equally.
Well, you just might be a polymath.

Polymath Entrepreneur - Creative digital media and marketing agency - Los Angeles, California

What’s a polymath?

A person of wide knowledge or learning. At least that’s what you get when you Google the word (saved you a click, you’re welcome). The word comes from early 17th century: from Greek polumathēs ‘having learned much’, from polu– ‘much’ + the stem of manthanein ‘learn’.
Turns out this word wasn’t used that much before. And who could blame it. The industrial revolution required that all kids should be taught the same consistent skill set, so they could work in factories and drive the industry forward.
But something happened during the end of the 20th century and the word exploded — people started using it, a lot. Guess which word was also rarely used 50 years ago and exploded, too?
Coincidence? We don’t think so. Because it seems that we’re slowly waking up to the notion that you can love more than one thing. That you can be interested in a wide range of topics, and like them all. You can like both writing and motion graphics design and making really good cocktails. You can be a musician by vocation and an SEO expert by passion. Like Dan Shure.

The pitfalls of having a creative affair.

Dan Shure is a polymath entrepreneur, because he’s a musician, SEO expert, CEO, host of a podcast… you name it. The guy’s a natural shapeshifting creative chameleon and he was a guest on the Branch-Out Podcast. You should check it out because he talks a lot about how he got started, and all the ways that life, in general, intervened with his plans.

The trouble with doing what you love is that, once you love a lot of things, it’s easy to lose track. And it’s even easier to fall out of love. There’s a great article you might want to devote some time to – get a cup of coffee, sit down in a comfy position, and start reading how to continue doing what you love. It was written by a millennial for millennials, but the amount of research and thought that went into it is spectacular.

Polymath entrepreneurs: biggest pros and cons?

Funny you should ask. That’s the same question we posed to several successful entrepreneurs who have multiple passions and interests.
Take Tammy Cannon, for example. She teaches the creative community how to style their social presence, build an email list and grow their handmade businesses. She’s also a writer for the Social Media Examiner. Thanks to her multiple interests, and expert knowledge she garnered online and offline in the past 20 years, she’s *the* person to talk to about social media and online advertising. So, we did.
We asked Tammy the same question. Here’s what she said:

“Entrepreneurs with multiple passions have an advantage in that they can draw inspiration, insights, education, etc. from many different places. This means curating content and turning it into something tangible (blog, podcast, etc.) is easier and faster.

It’s also an opportunity to cross-promote if the different passions compliment each other.
The downside is a lack of time. Growth can be slow when trying to work on each passion at the same time. You can also get sidetracked and stuck when things get overwhelming.”
So, there’s an honest danger of getting derailed from your goals by loving too many things at once.
But the secret is to combine them in a powerful and harmonic way. Take Jacob, who’s an economy major. He earns his bread and butter as an app developer – a job which he loves doing, too! He’s also a really passionate gamer, loves playing games, excels at them. The best. So, what happened when he combined all his three interests? He landed a project where he’s tasked with developing a game about world economy. That’s the triple-passion threat — and he executed it perfectly.
And you can, too. Just note down all of your key interests, as well as the other stuff you want to get into or learn. It’s going to be difficult to instantly see the bigger picture, but try experimenting by combining some of your key interests into a logical, broader “interest” group.
And then see where that takes you.
If you need a little help along the way, we’re always here for you.

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Tatiana Ivan

Originally from Romania, Tatiana Ivan combines operational prowess with creative flair to produce smart and visually stunning brands. With degrees in neuroscience and psychology from Brandeis University plus experience working with start-ups in the biomedical and pharma industries, Tatiana knows first-hand that the most powerful way to persuade people to get behind an idea, concept or product – no matter how creative, technical or complex – is by telling a compelling story. As the COO and Creative Partner of Waverley Knobs, she combines powerful cinematography and compelling storylines for clients so they stand out and shine in the market.

In addition to turning visions into reality and running the daily show at Waverley Knobs, Tatiana is a twice-published poet. She’s also a certified InsideOut® Coach, able to unlock the knowledge, skill and talent already within people and teams so they can improve performance and results.

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