take what you might call a more organic approach to organizing. The good
thing about being "filing flexible" is that putting together this week's
list of unique ways to make a living without a job meant looking no farther
than the foot high pile of newspaper and magazine clippings on my office
here's the fascinating part. Despite grabbing a dozen clips, I only got as
far as the first one. That's because when you are an "Opportunity Analyst"
like I am, one opportunity invariably leads to another. This is especially
true when you start tuning into trends because they are ripe with profitable
ideas. Let me show you what I mean.
the very top of the pile was a section of The Old Farmer's 2007 Almanac
called Tastes & Trends 2007. One such trend to watch for is what are called
"ethical wills." According to an unnamed survey, to some benefactors, gifts
such as morality, faith, and religion are more important than money. "Think
of it as a love letter to family and friends," says author of Healthy Aging
Andrew Weil. "This makes you take stock of your life experiences and distill
from it the values and wisdom that you have gained."
editors at the Old Farmer's Almanac instruct us to watch for Web sites,
books, and consultants to teach us how to create ethical wills. They were
right. A quick Internet search led me to
It was there that I found a listing by state of professionals and
organizations using ethical wills.
more clicks and I discovered that in nearby Longmeadow, Massachusetts,
attorney and personal historian Marian C. Broder of Memories Recorded has
created multiple income streams around ethical wills. In addition to leading
"workshops on writing ethical wills, transmitting values and telling family
stories for community centers, synagogues, book clubs, libraries, support
groups and individuals," Marian also "works with individuals to craft
statements that can be presented at life events and works with parents to
draft documents of values and beliefs for children's guardians to accompany
Then there is documentary film maker Carlyn
YourStoryMatters.com. Carlyn lives and works
in the even more nearby village of Turner's Falls. This fascinating woman
combined her training as a holistic counselor, hospice volunteer, and
award-winning documentary filmmaker to help clients create ethical wills on
Video, DVD, paper, or all three. As interesting as I found the idea of
videotaping an individual's ethical will, I was even more intrigued to
discover that Carlyn has also tapped another huge trend – pets.
For Carlyn, producing pet videos was a natural
outgrowth of videotaping people. She explains that, "pets usually get into
the act in the course of filming a memoir or portrait documentary of their
humans. They are family members, too, and they usually know it. Sometimes
their unconditional love enriches our lives as much as our human
relationships do. So it's no wonder that beloved pets are popular subjects
in their own right." This is yet another great example of one income stream
very naturally leading to another.
literally on the same Old Farmer's Almanac page as the ethical will piece
finding about cat lovers. If you happen to be a cat lover seeking to change
course though, this finding equals opportunity. According to the American
Pet Products Manufacturers Association, not only do five percent of cat
owners hold birthday parties for their cats, cat owners also splurge more on
gifts than dog or other pet owners spending on average $30 per year. Imagine
offering cat or dog birthday packages in your area complete with sirloin
cake, hats, pet photo sessions, and party favors!
talk about trends! A quick hop over to the Association's site (APPMA.org) led me to a much longer list of pet related trends and statistics. The
information aspiring entrepreneurs will perhaps find most interesting is the
2007 Pet Products Trend Report. Now I already knew that Entrepreneur
magazine had designated pet owners as one of the top 10 markets. But I had no
idea that big name companies like Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks, Origins,
Harley Davidson and Old Navy are now offering lines of pet products ranging
from dog shampoo, pet attire, and name-brand toys to gourmet treats and
Another more well-known trend is for big chain
hotels to promote themselves as pet-friendly. In addition to pet pillows,
plush doggie robes, check-in gift packages that include a pet toy, dog
treat, ID tag, bone and turn down treat, some higher end hotels even have a
licensed dog masseuse on staff.
So where's the opportunity for the pet-loving
entrepreneur? My guess is that a lot of the smaller chains,
independently-owned hotel and motels, and Bed & Breakfasts would like to be
pet-friendly but don't want to go to the fuss of pulling it all together.
So, why not create a pet-welcome package where you provide the hotel owners
with all the necessary products? Throw in a dog walking service or
doggie-care package so guests can go out on the town without worrying about
a barking Fido back in the room, and you'll really distinguish yourself from
But I'm not done yet. The Opportunity Analyst
in me definitely perked up when I saw that film maker Carlyn Saltman has
wisely seized another opportunity – teaching what you know. Much to the
displeasure of financial planners and realtors, baby boomers are avid
do-it-yourselfers. So for people who have video skills and equipment and
want to complete a personal history project of their own, Carlyn will set up
a schedule of telephone and/or in person consultations to guide them through
what she says can be a daunting undertaking. Even if you are just starting
out in your business, make the addition of teaching others what you know a
part of your longer range income stream plan.
Finding interesting and
profitable ways to make a living doing what you love is easier than you
think. All that is required is an inquisitive mind, the willingness to be
open to the ways that one opportunity may lead to another, and faith to act
on a good opportunity when you see one.
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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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