I am so thrilled to welcome Terri to the show so we can dive into the essential conversation of creating a business that supports your life and actually matters to you.

Terri Trespicio (“Tress-PEE-shee-o) is an award-winning writer, speaker, and brand advisor, and the author of Unfollow Your Passion: How to Create a Life that Matters to You. Her TEDx talk, “Stop Searching for Your Passion,” has surpassed 7.5 million views, and Hubspot named her one of the “Top 18 female speakers who are killing it.” A former magazine editor and radio host at Martha Stewart, she has appeared on the Today show, The Early Show, The Martha Stewart Show and The Anderson Cooper Show as well as being featured in Oprah magazine, Business Insider,, and, to name a few.  A top-rated speaker, she has also performed stand-up all over New York City. 

Welcome Terri!

The sign of success in business is being able to get paid for doing the things you want to do.

– Terri Trespicio, Brand storyteller. Keynote speaker. Author.

Here’s what you can expect to hear in this episode:

  • How Terri created a business that supports her life
  • Challenging the common belief that following your passion is the key to unlocking happiness and success
  • How “passion pressure” can be harmful to an entrepreneur
  • Why the importance of finding a problem to solve is more more effective than following your passion
  • Niching for an industry actually neglects other parts of your brand
  • The myth of competition and finding collaboration instead
  • How Terri ties happiness to passion and creating a life that matters
  • How to look at growing and scaling as a business owner

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I would love to hear a bit about your background in entrepreneurship and how you ended up where you are today

Doesn’t it always start with a layoff? Because that’s usually where it begins.

But, I spent many years kind of on the track of wanting to be a writer and editor of some sort, I had no idea what that was, I was incredibly just cowed by the whole idea. I did all the things delayed and went back to school, just didn’t know what to do with myself. But I knew I loved the writing. No one tells you how to be a writer because there are a million roles for it.

So I ultimately got a job, essentially a copywriter at a catalog company years ago. And then, which was where was that going? I don’t know. I just loved it. I loved being able to have my job fill this space with copy. I said, that’s pure joy.

Then from there got a job at a magazine. I don’t know how I got it, because I certainly did not have extensive experience there. But, you know, I believe that people hire who they think could be a fit for them, regardless of what’s on that resume, because I certainly didn’t have tons of stuff.

My point is this. I worked at a magazine. As an editor, one magazine, most editors jumped around to a million magazines, but I was in in Boston, like, it was like one consumer publication left. I worked there, that job moved me to New York, I was with that job for almost, I’d say, seven years or something. I’ve lost track now, but it was a long time at one job.

All I ever wanted to do was move to New York, I didn’t know how. And when I moved with my job. I was like, cool. Now I’m here. And then, two years later, that job was gone. Then the magazine was gone, which is about the most normal thing you can imagine is editors getting laid off. And then I didn’t want another job. So that’s essentially where I got to be.

I said, I already know how to do a bunch of things, I can write, I can do video, I can do TV, I can edit, I can do so many things. Someone’s gotta need these skills, without having to be an employee somewhere. And this wasn’t like, I’m gonna be an entrepreneur, I didn’t even use that word. I had no idea. So anyone who looks at my bio, or my resume going, Oh, she knew exactly what she was doing. No, she did not.

So I basically took every opportunity I could to get to do what I was good at and to learn something new. So the past 10 years now, I’ve worked for myself with every title you could give yourself as a writer who works for yourself. So I was never hung up on a title. I was never locked into an industry. I never niched in an industry. I just was sort of like, who do I want to work with? And what do they need? And how can I help?

I also loved speaking; I just really always wanted to do more of it. I had started to do some in a small way. And thought, oh, would be so cool to give a TED talk. But do you have to like work for NASA or something like that? Does it have to be a really big deal? Or like Anna Wintour or something? And turns out no, you have to be in the right place at the right time when someone drops out of a deadline, which is how I got my spot—and basically got on a call with TED.

Basically, someone said, oh, someone’s dropping out of this TEDx lineup. These TEDx events are run for free by organizations who want to look really great and have other tools for networking themselves. So I threw my hat in the ring, and the guy was like, who are you? And what topic would you do? It’s not like I had a topic in my back pocket. I just had a few ideas.

I had been turning around in my head for a while about what I didn’t like about the way people talk about careers, and that was one of them. I said I hate this idea of fate. I hate this idea I have to follow my passion, and I just went through all the things I hate. And he goes, What about the passion one? I said, I don’t know. And he goes, Why do you hate that? So I just don’t think it’s helpful advice, and yet everyone says it, and it’s not great. And I think it’s a bad idea. So he was like, why don’t you work on that one?

So in six weeks, because I was a last minute add to the program, I created a talk that is now the crowning achievement, the only thing I’ve done that they want to see, and has almost 8 million views called stop searching for your passion. That’s how I got there, which was hardly premeditated. It was called “There’s an opportunity, why don’t I try it?” And that’s how I’ve pretty much gotten everything.

How can we find our thing? What inspired you to challenge the common belief that following your passion is the key to unlocking happiness and success?

What really gets me inspired is thing are things that really bother me. Like, I’m angst driven. Things irritate me, I have no patience. These are what make for ideas. And also a great stand-up, I wouldn’t say I’m a great stand-up. But what allows you to be a stand-up comedy, you’ve got a lot of things to complain about. And this, the things that I’ve joked about on stage as a stand-up are also things I’ve talked about in talks, it’s always what makes me nuts.

And how have I changed the way I see the thing? And why do I think other people should too. And the whole thing about stop searching for your passion was not because I thought the world wanted that idea. It was some kind of tested idea. I just knew that it bothered me. And I don’t think I’m special. That belief has served me because since I’m not special, probably what bothers me probably bothers a lot of people. And turns out, it did.

Can you explain the concept of “passion pressure” and how it can be harmful to an entrepreneur?

My biggest problem with it, which is the same problem I’ve always had, I can’t stand when people say, I wish I could do that. But I can’t do this. Because I think it’s a deep intolerance of anything victim that’s like, oh, I can’t because I didn’t do this yet. And you do that? Why? Because we teach what we most need to learn.

I had my own fears about why I couldn’t do things. So when I was like, it doesn’t really matter,  the same thing happens with passion. They think, well, you have to know what you’re passionate about so that you can then pursue a career in that thing. And people say, well, you should just kind of figure out what you’re passionate about.

I just, maybe if that works for you, you pick, great, congrats and have a great life. But for the rest of us, we think we pick the wrong one. Some people, people told me everything, I’ll pick the wrong one, or I don’t have enough passion, or there’s no way to make money at my passion; there are a million things.

I’m trying to uncouple this idea of passion from the idea of work, only because it presumes you must know what you will do. I have never known what I was going to do. I think that has allowed me to both pivot when I need to stay flexible and see opportunities where I’m someone else might not see them.

That’s so hard to tell yourself that I don’t have any passion. I guess I’m like void, and I’m dead inside. The irony is that anyone who I have the pleasure to know and work with, if you ask them, they would say that I am incredibly passionate. I am not anti-passion. I feel like I need something I don’t get rid of. I need to say this, but I’m gonna say it. I’m not anti-passion.

I’m just saying if you’re waiting for it like a bus ticket before you go anywhere, you’re going to be waiting a long time or you’re procrastinating because you’re afraid, I get it. So why do you do the same thing, but I’m realizing that this order this presumed order that you need to know this thing first. I mean, some, because someone had said I love people, try to like catch me out.

They’re like, oh, weren’t you passionate about writing? So clearly, you followed your passion? I go, yeah, I love writing. I got an MFA in poetry. Do I think that was going to make me any money?

In fact, when they said in the essay to go to school, they said, what do you think? You know, why are you applying to do this now, I said, I have no idea what this will mean for me. But I know I want to be there studying this. Now, I want to go deep into this and experience it and see what happens. I think that’s a big part of it is not I don’t know if trust is the right word. But also knowing that I wasn’t like, maybe I’ll also be an accountant, I wasn’t going, I don’t care, I’ll do anything because I make a really bad accountant.

It’s just not that I’m not passionate about it, it’s not that, it’s that that’s not where I feel like I can give the most of what I can give. We all want to do that. We all want to feel good about giving something that feels easy and wonderful to give, you know, and that is not easy. Like we don’t work hard. I work pretty hard, you work hard. But that work should feel worthwhile.

It feels worthwhile when we know we’ve learned something doing it and when someone else benefits from it. That feels really good. Whether they pay for it or not. Yeah, so I just don’t think you have to know first.

In your book, you talk about the importance of finding a problem to solve. Can you elaborate on this idea and explain why it is more effective than following your passion- specifically for entrepreneurs building a brand?

You have to find the problem first. I think that what I have done when I was I was essentially like, I was a content creator, I was an editor, I was consulting, I was doing all kinds of things that, and I didn’t even know I go I’m clearly doing a lot of different things. But there has to be something tying it together. Or else why am I doing it all.

And I realized I loved helping people figure out how to say what they wanted to say, how to really communicate with power and precision what they want to say. That took a long time for me to figure out, but I realized I just kept getting drawn to the same kinds of problems.

But I didn’t say let me first conjure the problem that I got and solve it. It was more like I looked at the work I kept asking for, kept seeking out, kept doing, and said why do I like that? Like all problems are scratching some kind of itch, right? Every business scratches some itch.

It’s called pick a problem. What problem was I picking? So rather than go, what will I pick? I don’t know a problem; I would have drawn a blank. But when I looked at the people I most enjoyed helping, I saw what problem I was solving. Because they would say oh my gosh, thank God, you helped me with that. So I said, well, what is that thing?

I was forever looking at it and saying, aha, I’d like to help them find that clarity to nail that messaging to really get it. That was the problem. Once I realized I saw, oh, I love doing that. Then I could lead with and say, hey, do you wish you could say what you want to say more clearly? I can help with that. But I wouldn’t have known any of those things. First, I just kept taking notes on myself, essentially.

And then what is the brand? The brand is where you announce to people; you make it clear what it is you can help them with. I don’t have an accounting brand; no one’s looking for me to do their books, right? But the brand is intentionally saying over and over again what it is you want to and can help people with. 

Alot of people will say, because we both now worked in the branding kind of world for a bit in different respects, you and me. Me mainly in the brand messaging, getting into words and language trying to figure out who they think they are and saying it. And it’s kind of like they worry that they have to do the one thing and that they have to only do that one thing. I need to only be a copywriting a copywriter for health professionals?

Well, if you have a lot of work in that area, that’s great. But what happens when you know someone else wants your help? And you could give it, but you’re like, but I said I would only do health and wellness. You don’t have to limit it. As a business owner, why would you ever limit how you can get paid? You don’t have to do that. You don’t have to do everything, but you do not have to limit the way that you think.

And so the brand, even though like I do a million things, I’m not even going to waste your time kind of talking about all the random weird things I do for all different companies. No one cares. What they care about is the person who needs someone right now. I make sure that when I’m talking about what I do, I put it in that slant, right?

So for like, you know if I’m going to be teaching people as you know, how to craft their 10-minute talks or something because I’ve worked with a lot of speakers. If I’m talking to a bunch of people who are interested in that, then I talk about that. But if I go and work with people who I have in the financial industry about how to communicate what they do in a unique way, which they do not know how to do, then I don’t bother them with only speaking so they don’t care about that doesn’t matter. It’s just another part of my business.

It’s like I know the mall. I don’t need everyone to know what every shop is. So I only walk people to that store; I say, this is what you need; I can help you with the messaging for your financial firm. But over here is the consultant who wants to do a TED talk, she doesn’t need to know that I’m doing branding. So don’t worry so much.

I think I don’t know if you agree with me on this, but you can’t be on your main website. But you can have different channels of work and just lead with the thing that you want, don’t lead with everything you do, because they’re gonna be so annoyed when you’re doing jobs you don’t want. You can’t say you’re doing the money well; stop putting signs up for streets you don’t want anyone to drive on.

It is important if you love and have all of your spirits in the health and wellness space. And you love that. You’ve done all different kinds of work with them. Great. I’m not saying you can’t do that. But I had to understand what I was even doing because I would work with anyone.

Now to your point, I wasn’t doing what other people wanted me like, Oh, I’ll write a press release. I don’t want to write a press release. Don’t do this just because I can do it.

And the sign of the success in business, I think it’s not that you can get someone to pay you for something, but that you can get the people to pay you for the things you want to do. You don’t mean not like I could do this, I could do that. And, you know, in the beginning, yes, I was doing pretty much everything I could and the first few years, and I loved it because I got to try. I said never doing that again.

Let’s talk about niching. How can niching for an industry neglects the part of your brand that is about the final transformation that you are really providing for people?

I think we tend to think of it as an industry niche, or I only do sales copywriting, or I only do this big job if I feel like I don’t know any one thing. I don’t know anything. Everyone I work with, I end up working in industries I know nothing about. I used to be really afraid. I was like, well, how that I won’t know anything. And they’ll think I’m stupid, or I’m not relevant.

In fact, it’s been a huge advantage for me to work in industries where I know nothing about it; I had to use this to my advantage because I could not limit where I had income. I knew that by creating a brand story, I could do it for any product or service. It doesn’t matter that I’ve never worked in fashion or something.

When I started working with financial advisors, I didn’t know anything about that. And I was a little bit like, oh, God, they’re gonna know I’m ignorant. Then I decided to start telling them I was ignorant. I was like, listen, Bob, I don’t know anything about this. And if you can’t explain it enough for me to understand it, how do you expect to explain it to anyone else? Because I can easily be your client.

I always say, I’m ignorant, but I’m not stupid. Explain to me, and I get to ask a lot of questions. Not trying to, if you pretend you know something, you’re done, because then no one explains anything to you. So I’d say great. I don’t know if I understand what that means. Can you tell me more? And my ability to unpack with letting go of trying to look smart, and just say tell me, what does that mean, though?

When they would tell me, then I could do what I’m good at. But I couldn’t do it if I was pretending to be smart. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work in finance. I just started working with someone who’s in the electric car industry. I was like, okay, well explain, what do you mean, what are some of the challenges there? I get to learn so much because I get to ask good questions. 

After getting to work with some of the top financial advisory firms in the country, like the irony is now it’s become, oh, you should work with her because she’s worked with now I get to brag that I’ve worked with them. But before, I was bragging that I didn’t. And I would say, hey, it doesn’t help if you could go find anyone who specializes in this stuff, the way you do it, you know, corporate marketing, whatever. The reason I’m able to provide a fresh perspective is because I did not come up the way you did. I didn’t study what you did. So I’m going to ask different questions.

I’m a personality-led business; it’s just me right out there doing that work, I may have a team, but it’s me doing the work. They’re hardly buying me, and that’s okay. Because there’s a million people who do what I do, and it doesn’t matter because when I meet them, they’re like, okay, well, we like your style. We don’t like your style. You know, I’ve worked with firms, they’re like, she’s a little too little to extra. Who cares? Okay, you’re not for me.

But other people are like, oh, that’s why we really liked her. I think there’s also this idea that everyone should want to hire you. I assure you, you don’t want to work with everyone now. You want to be very selective; you do not have to be limited by what you did before. I think that’s critical. I say I’ve worked in all industries, but then when I’m pitching myself to health and wellness, I make sure they understand I’ve worked in publishing for a health and wellness magazine for years. So leverage it as you need to.

We need to all be able to do that comfortably only because where’s the work coming from? You have to continually present yourself as a solution for a problem that they have, and five different consultants or five different businesses will look at that problem in a different way. I find that once I’m talking to someone, it’s not hard for me to help them decide if they want to move forward with me or not.

It’s not hard to do because so few service providers will listen to the potential client and just go, well, what do you think, like, where were you feeling stuck or whatever. When they talk about it, and then you repeat back to them what they said, they already like you because everyone else, all these other agencies, come in, and they just blow hard all these big things. Look at our resume; look at all this stuff.

It’s like, okay, but they really just want to be heard. They don’t want to feel like they’re a tiny client and you’re a huge bucket of super impressive other people. I’ve always been able to have that work for me, even when you might think, how can I compete with a big agency? I’m not trying to; I’ve had people hire me while they’re still paying an agency. Because I’m like a scalpel, I can get in there and do some stuff quickly that maybe a larger firm can’t, and I’ve used that to my advantage. There is always an advantage to what you’re doing. You just have to find it.

Niching is one myth that is commonly sold, and another one frequently sold to entrepreneurs is constant competition. How do you find collaboration rather than competition?

Feeling like you’re going to battle daily is so tiring. I don’t want to have to go to war. I’d rather find ways to work with odd people and ignore basically 99% of everyone and everything else. I’m not interested in it. Maybe I should, but I don’t study competition where they do, because then I’ll just look at what am I missing?

I don’t want to see my work or my life that way. The way I do stuff, I kind of made it up. And it’s fun. I can’t believe I made up a process and did the thing that works for me. Why would I think I have to compete with someone else? I just don’t want to do it. It just makes me tired.

There is so much more opportunity for collaboration that we’re missing when we see everyone as an enemy. And there is just no point in doing that.

For instance, I was introduced to a woman who kind of does sort of what I do. I could tell she felt a little jumpy. She was like, well, I’d love to work with you. I don’t know how, because I think you’re doing what I do. And so I tried to show like, I didn’t go, yeah, I do exactly what you do. Like that’s gonna make someone afraid. I don’t want someone to feel triggered.

So when I found out what she was doing, I said, well, here’s how I might build to help you; this is something else I do—so showing the facets of how people can fit together as puzzle pieces and create a picture together. Rather than having like a shoulder-to-shoulder trying to muscle in and be better than someone else is just, it’s unnecessary.

There are so many people who tie following your passion to happiness, And creating a life that matters to happiness. You talk about passion and creating a life that matters. How would you tie that to happiness?

Happiness is such a tricky word. Because happiness for a lot of people seems to be the goal as if being in a state of happiness, where the goal that’s like saying, well, I would love ecstasy all the time, I’d love to feel ecstatic at every minute. That’s exhausting. Or I would love to feel content every minute. I think, again, this is from my brain, generalized anxiety disorder to brain where I get nervous at weird times and again, I never really wanted the goal to be like, I just want to be happy. I just want to be happy all the time.

This is just me; that’s not saying everyone has to feel this way. For me, I like to feel like every effort I’m making is moving me forward, that I’m going somewhere. I’m not going up. I’m not in a corporate ladder structure. But I want to feel like that the efforts I’m making count, they feel good. I’m learning things. I’m forming strong relationships.

I feel at the end of the day, tired in the best way that I have wrung out as much as I can from that day. If that’s happiness for you, then maybe it is, for some people happiness is I don’t work. I sit on a beach. I drink margaritas. Like, that will never be me. I will do I can handle that for like maybe three days out of the year. And that’s it. I don’t know how you define happiness.

But I’m about as happy as they come. I feel that this is the life I chose on purpose. And I think that is a privilege. I think I would know I was given tremendous privilege in order to create that life. But I don’t think that you have to be me to be able to do that.

And I get happier every year because I never associate youth with happiness. I wouldn’t go back if you paid me. I never felt really secure in myself young I felt even more anxious. As a squarely middle-aged woman who chose not to get married, not to have kids, and to be able to do the work that only I could do in the way I can do it. This is as good as it gets.

I feel buoyed up by connection and relationships, not by invoices. I’m lucky to have those and have them been paid, but it’s up and down all the time. And so you have to be happy enough, I guess, to be resilient. But here’s the difference between choosing happiness and passion, happiness feels blissed-out kind of Starry Eyed in a way that I don’t relate to.

But passion feels great. There isn’t a person who doesn’t want to feel it. But it doesn’t mean you pick it like a major; I feel good when I feel like, what passion is, for me, is I’m channeling energy through me; I’m not dragging it out of me and giving it to the world. I’m channeling it through me in a way that feels right. And it feels good. And I can give it freely and also get paid for it. And that, to me, is about as good as it gets.

What I wish for people for business owners, and especially for women, business owners, and women in general, is to ask yourself, have you given yourself all the choices possible? Have you put those choices? First, meaning, what do I really want, because you’re of no help to anyone if you are resentful and living a life you didn’t choose. So women have no choice.

And women on many levels means the most. And when you’re a business owner, you do get to make more of the choices. And I would just think that if you want to feel good, make sure that the choices you’re making are yours and you’re doing them with intention. I don’t know how it gets better than that.

Sometimes when I’m the most passionate, I’m pissed off. And that feels good to be like, you know what? Sometimes righteous anger is underrated. I mean, it’s okay to feel really alive. And that is why the passion thing is so big. I don’t mean to totally poopoo it. But it is often used as a safe answer for how someone got where they are.

You asked me how I got to get to write a book and work from home and do all these cool things I get to do. I can tell because that was so passionate. That’s a cop-out. I got here partly because I was lucky. Partly because I was born into the right situation where I had access to things a lot of people don’t. But people who will sell your passion will not let you know that because they want to think everyone just had the same thing to start with. And we did not. So there’s that.

But also the opportunities I was given. I use the hell out of like I gave him everything I had. And I think, yeah, we can have that. You have passion. It’s something you’re capable of, not something you pick.

With all of the things that come with being a business owner, such as the pressure to continue to increase revenue and expand your impact, how do you look at growing and scaling?

I used to think, why would you want to be a CEO and have an office and a bunch of people? It seems like a lot of headache, and a lot of work. I don’t know that I want that. So I did pursue it as a solopreneur.

For a while, I was like, I’ll just do what I need, and that’s fine. When I wanted, when I got to a place at a tipping point where I was finally earning a good living as a consultant, way more than I made as an editor, I was like, oh, this is really great. Then I got overwhelmed. I said, I can’t do this on my own. I never haven’t took any pride and doing it all myself.

I hired one person, well, wasn’t an employee, was hiring a contractor years ago, like five years ago, and she changed my life because I realized I didn’t have to have my eye on everything. I never wanted to do everything alone. I don’t get why someone would want to do that.

And today, I have this woman who I’ve worked with for years. Plus, now we have, you know, essentially a coordinator-level person who’s helping us with the admin stuff. I have a marketing person, but this will happen in the past year. So my scale is coming from the act of growing just enough that I can handle and making sure I have plenty of support underneath it because it really was just me and Kate for years.

And Kate was burning out, and I was burning out, and here’s why in terms of the scale thing. I love to come up with new stuff. I love to create new courses and new things. And so, over the past few years, I’ve run us both ragged, coming up with new ideas all the time. And like just leaving all these abandoned things behind me, like, let’s do this, let’s do this.

I was shooting from the hip and having success with it, but not repeating anything. It’s exhausting. Every time you’re trying your branding, I was branding every new thing. So I wised up, I invested heavily in a consultant who knows more than me, and this is what you do. You get people who know more and can do things you can’t do. And he has shown me the error of my ways.

So what he’s doing is helping me be what I’m great at, but in a scaled way. What I mean by that is having systems in place, posting regularly, which was not something I was doing, writing articles regularly, having a strategy in place, which was not my forte. So I made a good amount of money by just Bono, and I can’t do that forever.

So in terms of scaling, for me, it’s my own goals are at least to double my list size in the next year. You know, it’s been kind of hovering around the same number for a long time. And I felt like I’ve been treading water here. So now it’s time for a big push. And it’s a huge investment of time. It’s a huge investment of money. And it’s worth every penny because I finally feel like I’m gonna be able to do something a little more sustainably.

Like I was joking, people, like, I want to make money when I’m sleeping. I’m like, I pay people when I’m sleeping. Everyone’s getting paid. But I’m asleep. I don’t know. But it’s really exciting. And it’s really; it’s happening. So what does that look like? I have a book.

By the way, it wasn’t on the heels of that TED Talk. It wasn’t like, oh, the next day, I got a book deal. Yeah, seven, eight years later, no, seven, about seven years later that I was writing. I didn’t know what it was. And then I, you know, I finally see the whole thing; I want to drag you through it, but was able to have a book published was not the book I thought it was going to do.

But they were like, hello, you’re gonna have to write about that TED talk. I was like, oh, oh, okay, that whole thing. And so now I have the book. Now I’m creating courses that are connected to it to do what, just to make money?

No, yes, I would love to have a consistent living, of course, but it’s to make sure that what’s in the book gets taken out and allow people to experience what it is. And what it is, is writing your own rules, giving yourself, you know, a license to create and to make and to innovate and iterate.

And one of the ways I do that is, you know, my thing is helping people tap their creative genius because not everyone wants to give a TED talk or write a book. People want to do all kinds of things, podcasts, they want to create things make things they don’t even know what they want to make, but they’re dying to create something of their own.

So that’s my new passion, if we will, that is what I’m doing is I love to get people in a room and offer them quote, and I’m doing courses that you don’t need me in a room for. That’s how you scale. It can’t be in every room. That’s exhausting. So that I can reach people who might not have the resources to work with me in a smaller group, which is obviously more of a premium experience.

So I’ve had to change the value. I was doing a free workshop here, a free workshop there. I’m not doing free workshops anymore. I did that for years. And now I need to grow in a way that makes sense from a business standpoint. So that’s the lesson I’m learning now.

Things do flow, but you have to swim. It’s not just a lazy river. Right? You need to be swimming and putting effort in. All I wanted growing up as a writer, like dreaming of what it would mean to be a writer. Would it be, could you ever publish a book? I have ever published my own stories. And that book, it looks like a how-to self-help up. It’s basically stories with some somehow, too in it. And I did it. Oh, my God.

And guess what? I’m still sitting on the couch eating takeout and worrying about what I’m going to do my laundry like; your life does not change as dramatically as you think with any one achievement. Like, wow, you have a book out. What’s your life like now? It’s like; it looks exactly the same. I think that that expectation that each you think like kind of up levels. I’m really proud of that book. And it’s the first book.

Now I think about what the next book is like; pick a problem. What problem do you want? That’s a business, that’s a book, that’s whatever you’ve you’re looking for life without problems. You’re in the wrong area—the wrong business. I’m probably on the wrong planet.

But if you want to have fun, pick your favorite problems to solve. And that is what I do; you could solve lots of problems, you don’t want to solve them all, and you don’t want to solve more for everybody. Because most people are terrible and annoying is only a few, you’re gonna want to stand for very long. So work with those people and find ways to serve those people.

And I again, I think I’m incredibly lucky in a lot of ways. I think I work hard, but I’m not special. There’s no reason why someone else can’t do a thing and make a thing and be proud of a thing and have a life full of passion, whether you are single, or married or whatever. But if you looked at any one thing to make it that happy, boy, are you in for disappointment.

Where can folks connect with you, and what you have to offer? 

What I’m excited to share is a little thing that will cost you zero dollars. It’s something I just created that is essentially part of this lesson is a short video series. It’s called The Passion Trap. Five half-truths, keeping you from living a full life, things like passion, confidence, motivation, talent, all these things, we think we need to have amazing have an amazing life.

And I’d like to deconstruct that for you at no charge, because I really believe in it. So you can find me on pretty much any platform. But the best way is to reply to an email of mine. And the best way to do that is to go ahead get the get the course and then the hop off if you hate it. It’s just my name,

It’s brand new, I would love to know what people think and what they find helpful, and that’s probably the best way to stay in touch with me.


Terri Trespicio bio

Terri Trespicio is an award-winning writer, speaker, brand advisor, and the author Unfollow Your Passion: How to Create a Life that Matters to You (Atria/Simon & Schuster, December 2021).

Her TEDx talk, “Stop Searching for Your Passion,” has surpassed 7.5 million views, and she was named by Hubspot as one of the “Top 18 female speakers who are killing it” (she came in at #2—Oprah was #8), and one of the world’s leading creatives by Creative Boom magazine.

A former magazine editor and radio host at Martha Stewart, she has appeared on the Today show, The Early Show, The Martha Stewart Show and The Anderson Cooper Show. Her work has been featured in Oprah magazine, Marie Claire, Prevention, Business Insider,, and Certified in the Gateless method for capturing creative genius, she leads workshops and retreats all over the country to help professionals of all stripes take their stories and ideas from page to stage and beyond.

An in-demand speaker who presents at conferences across the country, she was rated the #1 speaker at Barron’s Top Independent Women Advisors Summit and How Design Live. On the heels of her first TEDx talk, she was invited to give a second, “It’s About Time We Rethink Happily Ever After.” Terri is also a stand-up comic and has performed at famous Manhattan venues including Caroline’s, Dangerfield’s, Gotham, and New York Comedy Club, and was a quarter finalist in the She Devil Comedy Competition.

Terri earned her BA in English from Boston College and a MFA in Creative Writing in 2002 from Emerson College, where her thesis, a collection of poetry, won the Graduate Dean Award. A finalist for the Iowa Award and Glimmer Train, her literary work has appeared in The Greensboro Review, New Millenium Writings, and The Baltimore Review, where she won first place in their 2016 creative nonfiction contest. Terri lives in Manhattan. More at

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