How to Make Money by Breaking the Rules
Too many people who want to work at what they love seem to suffer under
the misguided notion that there are certain “rules” that must be
followed. Let me give you a quick example. At the beginning of every
career consultation, I ask clients to describe their ideal life. To
prompt their thinking I pose a series of questions such as what time do
you want to get up in the morning, would you like to work at home or
outside the home, do you want to work with other people or do you prefer
to work alone? The question that gets the biggest reaction is, “Would
you like to have summers off?” Invariably someone will say, “Oh, can you
I’m always tempted to say, “I don’t know, let me consult the official
Work-Life Rule Book.” The thing is I don’t know if you can have summers
off or not. But what I do know is this – if the desire to have your
summers free is not consciously on your mental radar screen, then the
likelihood of it happening is next to nil. If, on the other hand, you
were crystal clear that you’d love to take summers off, then you’d be in
a better position to make a conscious effort to come up with ways to
generate income that would allow for a lengthy work break.
This self-limiting belief that you somehow have to do things a certain
way also hampers to a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs. For example, this
week alone I’ve spoke with two people who had considered taking the
American Writers and
Artists Institute course on how to become a freelance copywriter.
The reason they decided against it was they didn’t want to have to write
promotional copy for products and services they don’t believe in. Who
would? I know I certainly wouldn’t want to pitch Dr. Zildo’s amazing
watermelon diet or some shady work from home program.
But where is it written that you HAVE to take on clients you don’t like?
Just yesterday I worked with a client named Donna whose idea of heaven
on earth is to have some kind of a portable income so she can spend
months at a time with her daughter in England. Donna enjoys writing and
even has a background in advertising. She’d considered the copywriting
option in the past but again rejected it because she didn’t want to
write about products she didn’t believe in.
Instead of letting this values clash be a show stopper, Donna needed to
ask herself, “So, what do I believe in enough to promote?” For Donna
it’s the whole mind, body, and soul connection. In fact, her dream job
is to organize events for motivational speakers. Because it would be
difficult living in a relatively rural area to make a full time living
organizing events, we had to come up with a supplemental – and portable
– income stream.
This meant challenging the idea that to succeed as a copywriter, or for
that matter, in any business, you have to do things a certain way. What
if Donna intentionally structured her copywriting business to focus
entirely on motivational speakers and authors of mind, body, and soul
type books? This kind of niche marketing offers a whole host of
For one, Donna would genuinely enjoy doing the research on topics she
finds interesting. She’d also get a great deal of satisfaction from
helping spread the word about concepts and practices she believes in.
Another highly practical advantage is that people in the same field tend
to talk to one another. In football terms it’s known as going deep and
wide. In my small world, I get to talk to like-minded souls like Barbara
Winter and Barbara Sher. I’ve recommended good copywriters to them and
they’ve steered me in the direction of great web masters and other
vendors. In other words when you niche market, ultimately you’ll have to
do less self-marketing because your business becomes primarily referral
Okay, so what misguided rules are you operating by? Do you think you
have to come up with just one way to make a living? Think again. Go read
my article on the
multiple income streams. Think you can’t turn your hobby into your
career, get paid to work with animals, or that changing course means
having to choose between money and happiness? If so, check my articles
on these and other changing course related topics at
Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new
idea, never regains its original dimensions.” How can you stretch your
mind today? Once you realize that some misguided rules about work and
life can, and should, be broken, it can open up a whole new world of
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About the Author
"Profiting From Your Passions®" expert Valerie Young abandoned her corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at ChangingCourse.com offering resources to help you discover your life mission and live it. Her career change tips have been cited in Kiplinger's, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today Weekend, Woman's Day, and elsewhere and on-line at MSN, CareerBuilder, and iVillage.com. An expert on the Impostor Syndrome, Valerie has spoken on the topic of How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are to such diverse organizations as Daimler Chrysler, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Harvard, and American Women in Radio and Television.
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