How to Get Paid to Explore the World

How to Get Paid to Explore the World

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Emilie Wapnick of Puttylike.

Last weekend I got paid to make art, take my dog to the farmer’s market, play the violin, brainstorm with my friends, cook a new Paleo meal, and open an investing account.

None of these activities generated income directly (well, except maybe the investing account), but they all added to my experience on this earth as a multipotentialite, which is the foundation of my business.

I’ve set up a system for myself whereby I must explore multiple fields and report back, or my business doesn’t run.

If I’m going to speak to a community of multipotentialites, I had better be a shining example of a multipotentialite or I lose all cred and have nothing to talk about. In other words, my income is reliant upon me being the biggest, boldest multipotentialite I can be, and then using my experiences to help others do the same.

This, I believe, is the key to getting paid to exist. You create a business that not only grants you permission to step into a bigger version of yourself, but requires it.

We Teach What We Most Need to Learn

We’re fascinated by the things that are, or have been, personal challenges for us. When looking for a theme for your business, consider the deep, scary, personal issues that you’ve you’ve struggled with. What values, if you allowed yourself to truly embody, would make you feel free?

My inability to settle on one path used to cause me a lot of anxiety. I felt ashamed, I felt like a quitter with a serious commitment problem, and I felt like there was something wrong with me. Creating Puttylike was me putting a stake in the ground and saying, “Enough! There is nothing wrong with me.

In redefining my inability to choose as a good thing, I gave myself permission to be myself. By accepting myself in this way, I also gave permission to other multipotentialtes to do the same.

Take a Look at Your Personal Challenges

Whatever your drives and values are, they will most likely scare you at first. Not only will they be deeply personal, but the idea of building a career around them will feel impractical and unrealistic, since they won’t match up with traditional job titles like “doctor” or “electrician.”

Your identity will be something more all-encompassing and representative of the many sides of your personality. It might be something like Image Maker, Health Detective, or even Day Job Crusher.

Or perhaps you won’t have a title. You don’t need one. Maybe you will just create a business that focuses on spreading love or helping people tell their stories.

As you begin designing a career that allows you to get Paid to Exist, think about the types of feelings and activities that you would like to experience on a daily basis. Your overarching theme will not be a skill or specific medium, but rather a drive, philosophy or world view. It will be something that matters deeply to you and likely something you’ve struggled with yourself.

Q: Have you given yourself permission to step into a bigger version of yourself through your work?

About the author: Emilie Wapnick is a writer, coach, violinist, filmmaker, and law school graduate. She works with multipotentialites to help them build lives and businesses around ALL their interests. She’s the author of Renaissance Business and the troublemaker behind

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I guess we are the modern day version of Renaissance men and women. Personally, I am a financial analyst, classical/jazz pianist, pistol & rifle marksman, future problogger, liberty advocate, extraordinaire!


Yeah! I love it, Jonathan. Those are some seriously awesome titles.


Love this Emilie, especially the final question – and you’re doing a great job representing and encouraging all of us multi-passionate people! I’ve had a similar experience with my own blog. I was a little daunted by the name and concept when I started it. I wasn’t sure if I could live up to it. I had quite a few long dark nights of the soul wondering if I was fooling myself. But it’s definitely driven me forward. This year I’ve left my full-time job to become a freelance copywriter,written and published 3 ebooks, travelled to Portland for the World… Read more »


Very cool, Milo. I like the idea of strategically taking on roles that you want/have to “live up to.” It’s like turning the multipotentialite plight of feeling pigeonholed on its head, and using labeling in your favour.

And I love what you’ve built. You’re definitely a shining example of what your digital home stands for. :)

Joel Zaslofsky

Hey Emilie, It’s fun to see you pop up here. If this post just said nothing but, “You create a business that not only grants you permission to step into a bigger version of yourself, but requires it”, I’d say it would have been a successful one. There’s a lot of power behind that. I try to embody that statement each day. I thrive off of knowing that I’ll only be as successful as how big I can grow into the version of myself I’m projecting. That’s why I did the Continuous Creation Challenge. That’s why I get so much… Read more »


Hey Joel!

You absolutely embody this idea in everything I’ve seen you do. I love the way you always challenge yourself. You have such drive and you’re constantly trying new things. It’s really inspiring to be around.

Heh I’ll email you about that investment account situation. May still need some help there, but I have more free time now that the seminar is over.

Chase Night

Hi Emilie, I really enjoyed this post. I’m really only trying to be one thing career-wise – a storyteller – but in order to do that I have to be a multipotentialite so I can create interesting characters from all walks of life! Still trying to figure out how to get paid to exist so I have the time to write and explore. I floundered in my online existence for a while, but I’m determined to get back on track! I just discovered Paid to Exist a few days ago and I’ve been really impressed so far. It was nice… Read more »


Thanks Chase! One of the things I talked about in my seminar last week was how some multipotentialites use one medium to explore multiple ideas. Storytelling is your medium. The lens through which you view the world and are able to explore the many sides of yourself. It’s great. :)


This needs to be my new mantra: “We Teach What We Most Need to Learn” – I love sharing what I learn, because it helps me better understand it – and have known this for a long time. But, Doubt keeps me holding back, because I don’t feel qualified to do or write about certain things…this is a good reminder post for me! As for your questions, yes, I have with one aspect of my Multipotentilite self: Doing a juried Art Show this summer was one such step, and it has been amazing to see that this creative work is… Read more »


Holli, I have to remind myself of this sometimes too. Also, I try to remind myself that you do the scary thing first and then get the confidence. Not the other way around.

You’re doing awesome work. I’ve already seen you grow so much in the few years I’ve known you. Also, I think you would make an incredible teacher! I really mean that. You’re so kind and easy to relate to, and you have so much more wisdom than you know.

Erin OK

I have given myself permission to step into a bigger version of myself. . . and setting myself up for the step! I also think “we teach what we most need to learn” is so insightful and empowering. I’ve many many times shied away from suggestions that I should teach something because I didn’t feel like I knew enough, didn’t feel like the definitive expert. I think that block is behind me now, and I’ve designed a course that I may just have been born to teach, but I’m moving forward on terrified quivering tiptoes as the start date approaches!… Read more »

Kyle Richey

Thanks for the post Emilie!

Your point about how we teach what we most need to learn reminds me of a quote on a lighthouse decoration my Mom always had in the basement:

“You can’t bare a torch to light another’s path, without brightening your own.”

It sounds like what you’re doing as a multipotentialite is just that.


[…] was until I came across a blog post on Paid to Exist by Emilie Wapnick titled How to Get Paid to Explore the World. She has a site called Puttylike which focuses on helping people to unite their diverse interests […]



Great post! This is something I’m wresting through right now. I started by business already but I feel there is something missing in my overarching theme. I felt the best way to figure it out was to just begin. This post will def give me some stuff to think through, thank you.

Sal Vasquez


Hi Emilie,

nice article, well written, but I found a small mistake in the text where it says “… that you’ve you’ve struggled with.”

best regards,

James Greig

You just labelled me… but I think I like it. (‘multipotentialite’, that is)


You know, I’m going to talk to you with the truest of ambitions that lie deep in my heart. I spent the past 7 years wondering what I want to do in my life. When I was young kid I loved to draw maps and just dream about places. So I got a degree in geography. I wondered what I could do with it in the countryside that I love, so I thought well…what about the city? That’s where the money is at. So with my geography degree I pursued a masters degree in urban planning. It was interesting in… Read more »

Breanna Gilbert
Breanna Gilbert

This seriously was what I needed to read. I am a 19 year old young woman who has more dreams and goals then I feel like I can handle, I recently quit my job so I could really focus on my career paths and college, but it has left me broke. I am using all this free time really studying up on business and to figure out everything I need to do to build my companies and to have every dream I have wanted come true. I am an artist, singer, writer,personal assistant, and model. I have 4 years of… Read more »


I see that this is a pretty old post and I should have been googling my questions a long time ago. I’m literally crying (*bawling) with a type of relief of my recent frustrations. Loved the TedTalk.. Still unsure how to move forth with what I have, but feeling slightly less alone in the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you for having this post/website.

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