Dream Believe Create is an online magazine for women entrepreneurs, creatives and change-makers. It’s for women who want to start sustainable, mission-driven businesses or creative practices without sacrificing their principles and avoiding the profit-at-any-cost / business-as-usual model that we’re all so tired of.

Valerie Khoo: Creating a Multi-Passionate Career

Valerie Khoo: Creating a Multi-Passionate Career

{3 minute read}

The idea that we should seek a specific vocation, or find our one and only passion, has become ingrained in our culture. It’s a concept that has been romanticised as the ideal way of approaching our working and entrepreneurial lives.

While this focused model works well for most, others are at their happiest and most productive when they do different things, either simultaneously or sequentially, rather than sticking to a narrowly defined career path. For those of us who don’t fit that narrative, those who don’t relate to the concept of having only one true passion {and I’m putting my hand up here!} it can sometimes feel that our diverse interests are a burden rather than a benefit.

Although being multi-passionate often goes against the grain of accepted ideas about how we should approach our work, for some, embracing all of our passions can be liberating and fulfilling. Following the direction of our curiosity can lead to opportunities that aren’t immediately obvious and can open us up to life-enhancing experiences.

As CEO of the Australian Writers’ Centre, a successful abstract artist, podcast creator, speaker and more, Valerie Khoo is a case in point.

After thirteen years at the helm of the Australian Writers' Centre, Sydney-based Valerie decided to add to her role and create a multi-passionate career by expanding her love of storytelling from writing to images. It’s an approach that allows her to pursue two loves simultaneously and that has turned out to be not only personally fulfilling but also sustainable.

Since making a serious commitment to creating visual art just eighteen months ago, Valerie has sold numerous works. Her compelling abstract pieces are infused with movement and energy and are underpinned by stories and intentions that inspire her clients and serve as a daily reminder of their positive goals and visions.

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She has also found success in the art world beyond the immediate environs of her studio. The City of Sydney has appointed Valerie as the Curator of the 2019 Lunar New Year Festival. It’s an arts festival that attracts over one million people and is the third largest annual event in Sydney, after the NYE fireworks and Vivid.

Also, just this year, Valerie's work was selected as a finalist at an exhibition in Aspire Gallery in Brisbane and was recently announced as a finalist in the prestigious Kangaroo Valley Art Prize {in a competitive field of over 400 entrants}.

For all its rewards, creating success across two careers is not without its challenges. For Valerie, the biggest issue is time management. Not only does she regularly work over a hundred hours per week, but she has simultaneously undertaken a Diploma of Design, which after dedicated study is now close to completion.

Valerie has had to put in place good systems to ensure her businesses run as smoothly as possible and she’s made sure to have a great team of people around her for support.

Preparation is also a critical ingredient. For example, Valerie plans ahead of time which painting she will work on while another is drying, and ensures that all the tools and paints needed are to hand, so she can start work immediately when she arrives at her easel.

Another strategy is to ensure all of her key files are accessible on every device she uses. Whether it’s on her iPhone, laptop or tablet, Valerie can be productive whether she’s in her workspace, at a cafe, an airport lounge or even at the beach.

It’s not unusual for her to work late into the night either, often until 3am, so self-care is crucial. Valerie counters her regular long hours by ensuring she gets good quality sleep throughout the rest of the week.

For Valerie, managing two successful careers, and numerous projects, comes down to good scheduling, focused attention, and managing sleep deprivation!

She subscribes to the theory that if you pursue the things you love, the things you’re passionate about, then you will never work a day in your life!


You can contact Valerie Khoo, view her beautiful artwork and listen to her podcasts at www.valeriekhoo.com

Welcome to Issue 02

Welcome to Issue 02

Sandiswa Qayi: Making A Difference in Tech

Sandiswa Qayi: Making A Difference in Tech