In an era of hyper-specialization, one soulful musician, storyteller, investor, and multi-entrepreneur spreads her branches to explore various streams of talents.

The Chinese-born double-immigrant XiXi Qian has called many places home. At the age of 3, she had moved to Sydney as a first-generational Australian after the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre in Shanghai of 1989. XiXi had begun to form her hybrid identity early on, fusing the Bohemian and artistic inner-city cultures of vibrant Sydney with her traditional Chinese heritage, followed by her arrival to the US which ironically initiated at the Last Frontier of Alaska. It was here in her mid-twenties that she co-founded, built, and ran a multi-million dollar medical center and outpatient surgery facility. If you’re wondering, yes, she still has an Aussie accent.

female entrepreneur xixi qian

“I’ve always had an identity crisis and I’ve learned now that it’s my secret weapon”, she exclaims. “I’m a citizen of the world. I never felt like I fit into any category so I was naturally inclined to create my own destiny. Now, I feel most comfortable when I’m outside of my comfort zone.”

Aside from her business accomplishments, XiXi is also a classically-trained concert grade pianist who has played at Carnegie Hall and with Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. I was afforded the opportunity to listen to XiXi play her wondrous piano repertoire on her Bosendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. After being treated to the works of a Chopin Ballade, Schumann Kreisleriana, Ravel Gaspard de la Nuit, and a late Beethoven sonata, I would comfortably say that I felt slightly intimidated. She is an excellent pianist, and her talents showcased a sensitive artistry with deep passion.

“I feel most comfortable when I’m outside of my comfort zone”.

female entrepreneur xixi qian

“I play with the right-hemisphere of my brain.” She says. “And that’s my modus operandi in life. We are already trained at school to be analytical, systematic, and methodological. We need to hone our feminine sides of spontaneity, intuition, and being with the moment. Once you can witness your life experiences as living art, you are emboldened to enliven the creator that exists within us. And that is the foundation to any entrepreneur.”

The 33-year-old now refers to her status as “retired but restarting”.

“Retirement can sound terminal. However, I only see a new beginning every day. I use the term “restarting” as I need and enjoy challenge. By reinventing myself, I am witnessing a re-birth. I want to continue drawing on my paradigms of success and build from scratch in unexplored territory. This means living in a state of active creation, and not in passive survival mode.”

female entrepreneur xixi qian

– What is it about your professional and personal identity that you are most proud of?

“I’m proud to be a hybrid. Hybridity is a liminal state where the magic of transformation and growth lives. The most powerful creatures in Greek mythology capture that threshold. They were neither lion nor serpent or goat; neither man or horse like the Centaur. Or Vedic gods and goddesses who were half human, half animal. Their power comes from defying boundaries. My hybridity represents a fusion of artist with capitalist.”

XiXi holds a Masters in Consciousness & Transformative Studies which shaped her heart-centered philosophies to life. It was here that she integrated her ideas of a “career” with a “true calling” or “soul purpose”.

“I could never understand why there is a split in society between work and play. I am often confused when people ask me what I do, or what I do for fun, because being aligned to my true purpose means not seeing work as work, and everything becomes fun.”

female entrepreneur xixi qian

– What led you to making the bold move from Sydney, Australia to Anchorage, Alaska? They seem to be two, extremely unrelated places.

“At the time, I was 24 and began my career working in a corporate role in marketing. Already, I didn’t feel as though I fit in with the rat race and wanted to do something wildly different. I didn’t understand what the term “entrepreneur” truly meant at the time. I had never planned to be an entrepreneur –I stumbled into it. It was only in retrospect that it dawned on me that that is the essence of who I am. My vision in life was being open to taking risks and catching opportunities when they fortuitously presented themselves. And I followed that inclination. When I moved to Alaska, I saw a golden opportunity in healthcare. I jumped right in to building the business and wore many hats. I did everything from setting up the infrastructure and systems, managing human resources, driving the marketing and PR, helping patients, to the bigger picture of business development and syndication of the facility.”

female entrepreneur xixi qian

“I had never planned to be an entrepreneur –I stumbled into it. It was only in retrospect that it dawned on me that that is the essence of who I am.”

– What does a restarting phase comprise of in your entrepreneurial career?

“I don’t define myself as just a musician, or a writer, or a business-person. I am leveraging off my adaptability and agility in multiple fields. I write articles about entrepreneurship on Breaking 9 to 5, and my book Soul vs Soullessness is a blueprint of the heroic journey to entrepreneurship which entails our inner battles and cognitive dissonances that every entrepreneur faces when deciding whether or not to embark on this road less taken. I am also an algorithmic trader in stock options and futures, and an investor in crypto and real estate. I am leveraging my musicality by recording and composing albums, and creating NFT projects with new talent in Arizona. I am constantly working on a diverse set of projects and goals. I like to expand my repertoire in life and always challenge myself to greater heights and depths. It’s important to always be curious.”

female entrepreneur xixi qian

– What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurship is less about a process as it is a state of being. It is a journey of personal development for the brave-hearted. It is a heroine’s journey. In my opinion, there’s nothing more exhilarating and fun. If you’re a first-time entrepreneur making moves and taking risk, one day, you will arrive at a place and realize that all of the sacrifice, time, sweat, blood, and tears were worth it as you live the dream you created.

Entrepreneurship is a journey of personal development for the brave-hearted. It is a heroine’s journey.”

Entrepreneurship needs to be internalized, not externalized. It is awakening your intuition and living aligned to your higher purpose. It is heeding that call buried deep in your subconscious mind that you’ve fervently ignored. It is listening to your inner voice. And when life blooms from this place of soul, that’s when you meet heaven on earth in all your endeavors.”

You can connect with XiXi and her “Her Forward” journey at @msxixiqian or on Twitter.

Photo credits: Maria Camila Photo