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Learn from Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter, and me…

Finding Interesting Ways to
Make a Living Without a Job
is Not as Hard as You Think

By Valerie Young

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 or paint
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 word.

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  for my step by step guide.

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 [email protected]. 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 eyes.

Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at what you love on your own terms.

Did you like this article? Read more free articles about Changing Course.

About the Author

"Profiting From Your Passions®" expert Valerie Young abandoned her corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at 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 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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