Use Your Summer Vacation to Start Working at What You Love

Remember writing those How I Spent My Summer Vacation essays way back when?

Summertime may not be the endless carefree season it was when you were a kid but it’s still a great time to jumpstart your dream of working at what you love.

Here are three ways to use your summer vacation to grow a dream:

1. Become a Dream Detective

Imagine yourself a Dream Detective… someone who has an uncanny nose for scoping out unique business ventures. Like any good detective, you’ll want to take lots and lots of notes. Whether your vacation plans take you to the beach, the mountains, or the city, make sure to pack a small notebook along with the sunscreen and maps. But this isn’t any old notebook… it’s your Dream Notebook!

The idea is to use your Dream Notebook to capture as many cool business ideas as possible. If you’re traveling with kids you might even want to enlist their help by making a game of it. Maybe you’ll spy an interesting business in the airport terminal or along the roadside. Or perhaps you’ll find an existing business that’s come up with a unique income stream like an outdoor cafe that, for a fee, will walk patron’s dogs while they dine.

If the business itself is nothing new, but they’re using some neat marketing tactic to get customers in the door, add the marketing idea to your list as well. For example, I read about a CPA who partnered with a hotel to offer weekend guests a completed tax return by checkout. Two unlikely business partners who profited from a creative idea.

The purpose of capturing cool business and marketing ideas is to shift your thinking away from the more limiting idea of “job’ to the more option-expanding concept of “livelihood.” But that’s not all. Even if you have no interest in starting your own soft serve ice cream-kids bookstore (with a fun hand washing area dividing the two of course), a summer camp for Star Wars fans, or an antique stove repair business, just by paying attention to the wonderfully vast number of ways there are to make a living without a j-o-b can help fuel your own creative thinking.

2. Use The Longer Days To Start Working On Your Dream

Even though there’s still only 24 hours in a day, the extra hours of sunlight somehow make the day feel longer. Use the “extra” time to start actively working on your dream. For example…

If you still don’t know what you want to be “when you grow up,” read a book about tapping into your calling. A personal favorite of mine is Barbara Sher’s Wishcraft (available in most bookstores) and of course, Changing Course’s own Find Your Calling.

If you’re in the exploring stage, consider taking an adult education course through your local college. I did a random search for courses at the Boston Center for Adult Education and found such intriguing topics as How to Write and Sell Movie Treatments, Leather Bookbinding, and Opening Your Own Bed & Breakfast.

If you have a business idea in mind, you could spend the time researching your business, building your website, or working on your marketing plan. The point is to find a way to shine some of that extra sunlight time onto your dreams.

3. Invest in Your Dream

One way to invest in your dream is to start spending less and saving more. If you need to save money to put toward your new home office or to purchase inventory, consider vacationing at home and stashing away the money you would have spent on a costly vacation into your “dream fund.”

The other way to invest in your dream is to make a conscious decision to spend money in the service of your dream. Sometimes the smartest (and quickest way) to start working at what you love is to invest in the skills, training, experiences, materials, or other resources you’ll need to launch your dream.

Having consulted with hundreds of clients, I’ve found THE biggest stumbling block for most aspiring self-bossers is not knowing how to market themselves or their business idea. I’m not alone. When Mark Victor Hansen sat down with his staff to plan out their 2004 calendar of MEGA events he began by asking the question:

“What’s the biggest challenge you hear about from our clients and event attendees?”

The list varied from “I don’t have enough customers” to “I can’t compete with XYZ Company” … from “I’m sick and tired of having to justify my price all the time” to “I want to systematically grow my business – but I don’t know how.”

Understanding that all of these challenges can be overcome with effective marketing, Mark decided to put together what he’s calling his Mega Marketing Magic event. Over three information-packed days in August, industry giants and marketing icons will reveal their latest strategies for finding and keeping your perfect customers… on- and off-line.

If you believe as I do that marketing is the key to building your business and your personal time and financial freedom, I urge you to seriously consider investing in yourself and your dreams by attending Mega Marketing Magic.

Read all about it in the Workshops & Teleclasses section of Changing Course at

Coleman Cox asks, “Now that it’s all over, what did you really do yesterday that’s worth mentioning?” Looking ahead instead of back, the question will become how did YOU spend your summer? Hopefully the answer will be, “Launching my dream of working at what I love!”


A New Direction

I decided to take the Work @ What You Love Workshop and also work one-on-one with Valerie. The workshop explored so many unusual and unexpected solutions to my specific questions. I made so many new connections to what clearly works for me in crea...

Julia Raymond
Curvology Studio

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