Running more than one business? How to avoid the ‘multiple hat’ trap

Just to be clear, this article isn’t about whether running more than one business is a good idea – it’s about how to best promote yourself if you are involved in more than one venture at any one time.

Two challenges that multiple hat wearers face when trying to build trust

  1. People think you can’t be successful at more than one main job (regardless of whether this is true)
  2. Others (including you and I) make judgements about people based on their occupation. This becomes tricky when someone meets someone who does more than one thing. Eg “You’re an Accountant and a PE teacher? What the heck!?’

How to avoid falling into the multiple hat trap

It’s usually at a networking event when you have that awkward conversation about what it is that you do. According to an article by Live More Awesome, asking people ‘what they do‘ is a silly question – but let’s put that to the side for now.

So here’s what to do at your next encounter

  • Introduce yourself using only your most appropriate position. If you don’t know which hat to wear – just pick one randomly and stick with it. Tip: encouraging the other person to talk about themselves first will help with this, and this is good networking practice anyway.
  • Avoid talking about other hats on your first encounter. If you absolutely must, list anything else that you do as a ‘project’ rather than yet another business that you run.
  • Never, Never, NEVER give out more than one business card. People use their brain like a filing cabinet – and they just can’t cope if your info needs to be stored in two (or more) different places.

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