There is this D.J. who is getting quite the attention lately. People clamor to see him and hear his unique mixes and signature synth-pop. He regularly performs for venues full of fans in places like New York, Miami’s South Beach and the Bahamas. He has thousands of followers, is on a record label and streams on Spotify. My boyfriend discovered him and played one of his songs for me last night and I was blown away. His goes by DJ D-Sol and here’s the thing, he’s also the President of the world's most revered investment bank, Goldman Sachs.
I did an interview with an online news station and was all prepared to talk about how I started Bloomers, my product development process and my background growing up in the country. The interviewer sat down and asked me basically one question: “How did you get your books published by a major publishing house?”
After a few moments to collect my thoughts, I gave her the answer: I built a brand first.
As any marketer will tell you, building a brand is a difficult undertaking that takes enormous amounts of time and effort and money and knowhow and luck. I thought about all the things I’ve had to do to build my brand. In some ways, that I’ve been able to accomplish what I have, has been miraculous. How did it come together?
There’s been a lot written about the 10,000 hours, first popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, “Outliers.” The concept is that you have to do something for 10,000 hours to really become an expert, and common wisdom states that you have to become an expert at something to really make a go of it as a career or business. But here’s the thing I always struggled with, if I am focusing all my time on that one thing, how do I do the other things I love doing? I have actually felt guilty talking about the myriad of skills and talents and different careers I have had because I thought people would think I was a dilettante or worse, a braggart. I was also concerned that they wouldn’t take me seriously in my chosen field. I’ve wrung my hands thinking that I’m not focused enough. Then I found an article about being a polymath and I immediately knew that that is what I am. A Polymath is a person that is good at many things and more and more research is coming out that shows being a polymath can actually help you in your career.
Here’s the thing, I’ve done a lot of cool stuff and I’ve been really successful at it. My fields of study have included agriculture, sociology, economics, computer programming, music, foreign languages, animation, editing, computer design, graphic design, writing and painting. My jobs have included, door-to-door saleswoman, horse trainer, investment banker, adjunct professor (economics and statistics), product designer, real estate investor, Chief Financial Officer, financial consultant, typist, researcher, entrepreneur, artist with both group and solo art shows and installations, C.E.O. and perhaps most importantly, a mom.
Back to the D.J. I’m sure his music and his performances helped him in his job at Goldman Sachs. There is much evidence that supports the positive effects of music on one's ability to do math, a necessary skill in investment banking. And if nothing else, I’ve got to think that performing in front of thousands of screaming fans probably helped him in the boardroom.
How did all my diverse talents and skills help me in my career?
I don’t think I could have started Bloomers without all my talents, and as I mentioned, starting Bloomers first and designing and securing distribution of really cool products is how I got my publishing deal. My advice to myself is don’t hide and apologize for my diverse talents. They don’t detract from my success. They add to it.
My advice to you is, don’t hold back. If you want to paint, paint. If you want to D.J., then D.J. You never know what skill is going to come in handy when you’re starting your business or building your career. Maybe one of the skills that you love will be your career.