Finding Interesting Ways to
Make a Living Without a Job
is Not as Hard as
As far as I can see, there is no end to the fascinating ways there are to
earn money without having a j-o-b. In fact, I find it utterly impossible to
get through even one day without running into a creative income stream. Here
are three creative alternatives to the 9-5 world that I’ve run into in just
the past week alone. Each offers a lesson to the aspiring entrepreneur:
1. “History Suppliers and Educators”
The reason this particular job title is in quotes is I’m not too sure what
to call what it is that Lorina and Gary Stephens do.
The Stephens run 5 Rivers
Chapmanry in Neustadt, Ontario. Among other things, this unique company
offers reenactment supplies, cooperage, embroidery, and historical patterns
and costumes from eras ranging from medieval to Edwardian to Elizabethan to
the American Revolution.
What I find most fascinating about the Stephen’s business though are their
weekend workshops. Lorina is a historical cook (great
title!) and in addition to showing students historic cooking methods she
also teaches how to interpret historic recipes. They also offer a course on
“discovering the secrets to constructing a Victorian corset.” Lodging and
meals are included.
The fact that I stumbled on this site totally by accident offers a valuable
lesson for anyone seeking to change course. Even when you think you know
where you want to go, or for that matter the best way to get there, you
never know where you’ll land or how – so pay attention. You may just find
where you really need to be.
The other lesson is more of a business and marketing nature. I really wanted
to learn more about this historically-minded couple and how they came to
start their unique enterprise. Since I know nothing about their world, it
also took me a while to figure out what their site was all about.
The lessons here are 1) if you’re thinking of starting a small business, try
to give customers the big picture about what you do right up front and 2)
don’t forget to share a little about your story – it can only make you and
what you have to offer more appealing.
2. Cereal Bar Guru
David Roth took a simple fact – 95% of all American’s love cereal – combined
it with the late night eating habits of college students and came up with
the brilliant and amazingly simple idea of starting a campus cereal bar
housed in a “Seinfield-esque”
kitchen setting staffed by “cereologists” wearing pajamas with United Flakes
of America, with televisions tuned to, what else, the cartoon channel.
According to an article in USA Today, the hugely successful Cereality Cereal
Bar & Café at the University of Pennsylvania offers more than 30 kinds of
cereals, more than 30 toppings, and all kinds of milk (including soy),
juices, and coffees. The article also touts the concept as quite likely
being the next big thing.
Did you find yourself saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?” (The other one I
hear a lot is “Hey, someone stole my idea!”) If so, the lesson here is a
pretty simple. Stop wasting time focusing on the brilliant idea you a)
failed to come up with or b) thought of but never lifted a finger to
implement. Instead, do what Roth did. Take something you like to do (for
Roth it was eat cereal, for you it might be read home decorating magazines
murals) and find an interesting way to bring it to others.
3. Sake Consultant
I first heard about John Gauntner on CBS Sunday Morning – a must watch
television program for anyone who wants to be inspired by unique people
doing unique things. This former electrical engineer is now recognized as
the leading non-Japanese sake expert in the world. He’s published several
books on the subject, leads sake seminars for expats in Japan where he
lives, writes a column about sake in a leading Japanese newspaper, runs
Sake World, and
speaks on sake internationally.
John is living proof that you really can turn yourself into an expert on
just about any subject. Notice how he did it. He began learning as much as
he could about a subject he found interesting. Then he started writing about
it, put together a workshop on it, and launched a website to spread the
Not a writer? You can always co-write it with someone who is or find
yourself a good editor. Don’t know how to put together a workshop? Find
someone who does and ask if you can pick their brain. Don’t know how to
start an on-line business website? Hop over to
http://ChangingCourse.com/ebusiness.htm for my step by step
I’m also a big fan of Bob Bly’s book, Become a Recognized Authority in Your
Field in 60 Days or Less (available for your convenience in the
Changing Course Bookstore). Bob knows what he’s talking about. Also a
former engineer, he went on to write over 50 books. I’ve seen him speak at
the American Writers and Artists Institute annual Fast Track copywriting
program and he’s an entertaining and highly informative speaker.
Finding these three livelihoods was virtually effortless. I did it by
watching a little TV, picking up a newspaper, and surfing the net. You
probably have little to no interest in becoming a historical supplier,
launching a cereal bar, or being a sake expert, but here’s my challenge to
you. You have one week. I want to see how many interesting ways you can find
to make a living without a job. Send them to
The person who sends in the most examples will get a free copy of my newest eBook, Yes You Can: The Inspirational Kick in the Pants You Need to Take
Control of Your Life and Go After Your Dreams.
Opportunity is literally all around you. All you have to do is open your
Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at
what you love on your own terms.
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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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