Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
~ Langston Hughes
Opportunity Knocks: Creative Ways to Make a Living Without A Job
When it Comes to Your Dreams, Sometimes the Best Advice is to Ignore Everything YourParents Told You
Valerie and her shelter dog,
By Valerie Young
When Robin Williams told his father about his desire
to become an actor, his dad advised him to study welding – "just in case." My own parents urged me to become a teacher, but it wasn't because they noticed the early signs of a gifted educator. My parents' dreams for me were far more practical. Going into teaching was a Plan B – in case something happened to my future husband, I'd have something to "fall back on."
Most of the time my parents did get it right. But everything I learned about achieving career bliss I learned by actually ignoring my well-meaning but cautious parents. That's because, if you aspire to find work that you truly love, some of what your parents taught you could actually work against you.
Here are three childhood lessons every adult career changer should ignore as well as some exercises to help you achieve your goal.
Old Advice: Grow up
New Advice: Don't
If you were still throwing tantrums at 12, be thankful your parents told you to "grow up." But, if you want to recapture the experience of getting deliriously lost in a favorite pastime, growing up isn't all it's cracked up to be. Lots of people, director Steven Spielberg among them, knew from a young age what they wanted to do when they grew up. Your own childhood may well contain clues to a new career direction.
Make a list of all the things you were really into as a kid. Did you love to build forts? Sing? Compete in science fairs? Draw? Do magic tricks? Learn about dinosaurs? Tell jokes? Watch scary movies? Play sports? Play dress-up? Play video games? Play school?
What do your answers tell you? How might you build on these childhood interests today?
Old Advice: Follow the straight and narrow road
New Advice: Wind your way to happiness
You probably got the message growing up to always follow the straight and narrow road. Good advice for staying on the right side of authority, bad advice for coming up with "outside the box" career options. That's because it is often the wide road with lots of detours that lead to the most interesting places. Say you wanted to turn your love of astronomy into your vocation, what career destination would you most likely wind up at, if, vocationally-speaking, you took the straight and narrow road? Astronomer. Right? A fine occupation, but it is just one of many options.
Here's where what Patrick Combs calls his "Super-Simple, Unique & Weird Job Idea Jogger" can help. Even though his book, Major In Success, is aimed at college students, his idea jogging exercise can help anyone looking to chart a new course.
To start, fill in the blanks in the following sentence: A great job would be [verb] in the [your interest] field. The astronomy-lover who also enjoys reading would write: A great job would be reading in the astronomy field. This might lead to such off-the-beaten-path careers as: Editor of an astronomy magazine, NASA researcher or author of books about the latest astronomy developments. Change the verb to drawing, says Combs, and see what ideas get jogged. You could: Illustrate astronomy books. Design observatories. Map star systems. Create science fiction paintings, murals, or coloring books.
Old Advice: Never talk to strangers
New Advice: Talk to lots and lots of strangers
"Never talk to strangers" is good advice if you're approached in a dark alley, bad advice if you need encouragement to quit your programming job to become a park ranger. In fact, if the choice is to seek out support from a group of total strangers or from your own family, go with the strangers. The reason, says career counselor Barbara Sher, is that "almost any stranger would respect your dreams more easily than our family does." To prove it, try this assignment from her book I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was.
Tell a group of strangers the most offbeat dream you can think of – like raising Dalmatians in the Himalayas. Tell them, however, that you don't yet have any contacts in Tibet. Not only will they be interested, says Sher, "they'll even try to solve your problem."
Now, she says, try the same experiment with your family by announcing that you're going to quit your corporate job and sign on as crew on a clam boat off Rhode Island [or the reverse]. Observe whether they "drop their forks before or after they scramble to talk you out of your ‘folly'."
If you're ready for a big career change, maybe it's time you actually do get bigger than your career confining britches. It can be as simple as re-igniting your childhood passions, exploring a more creative career search path, and seeking out the right people to encourage your dreams.
Oh, on the wearing clean underwear thing in case you're ever in an accident – your mom was right.
If you'd like a little help thinking "Outside the J-o-b Box," join me for my monthly Teleclass, "Turning Interests into Income Opportunity Hour." Learn more atChangingCourse.com/courses.htm
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.
To read more articles about how to work at what you love without a job go to ChangingCourse.com/articles
Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking. ~ William B. Sprague
A Step-by-Step "Blueprint" to Online Business Success: Please Don't Miss This Last EVER Chance to Attend
You may have heard me tell this story before, but a few years ago I attended Alexandria (Ali) Brown's (a.k.a. the Ezine Queen) Online Success Blueprint Workshop. Over the years I'd hear about all these big time Internet marketing gurus who make big promises. But I'd never actually been to any one of their seminars. Since I know money is an issue for a lot of my readers, I was curious to see first-hand whether these high-priced Internet marketing seminars delivered enough content to justify the cost.
Don't get me wrong... I knew that any workshop being run by a woman who has managed to build a business that generates $50,000 in sales… a MONTH was bound to contain at least a few nuggets of wisdom. Right?
Well I was wrong. The workshop contained hundreds of them. Instead of dangling exciting "magic pill" solutions in front of you, or selling "the next big thing," Ali tells it like it is. Over the course of three full days, she shares her step-by-step, Internet-based plan for dramatically increasing your business while working LESS.
If you are a coach, consultant, writer, speaker, or other solo entrepreneur and are ready to learn what it takes to build your business online, you'll want to jump on this FAST, because this is the LAST Blueprint Workshop Ali is going to do - EVER.
During three powerful days, Ali will help you unlock your Infopreneur potential by:
1. Transforming your current Web site into a lead-generating and sales machine.
2. Turning your current knowledge and expertise into simple information products that will sell themselves on your website 24-7... even while you vacation.
3. Putting these together in her simple system that will allow you to WORK LESS while you maintain, double, or even triple your current revenues!
This year's event will be held November 13-15 in Los Angeles, California. I can honestly and confidently tell you - there is NOTHING else out there like this. And "blueprint" is not a figure of speech. You actually get a big blueprint mapping out every step that you can hang on your wall.
On a personal note, I feel really good about everything I've managed to accomplish before attending this workshop. But the reality is, it took me years before I could rely solely on my online income. I know a lot of you need or want to move a lot faster. Having seen how this course can accelerate your success I'd like you to be aware that this is a way to move a lot faster than I did. And, I'm not alone, just go toChangingCourse.com/recommends/blueprintworkshop and watch the video from people who attended this workshop and listen in as they talk about the impact it made on their business... and their bottom line!
As you can imagine, because it's her LAST one ever, it's selling out in RECORD time. So, if you're ready to leverage your business and increase your potential, go read more about this program at ChangingCourse.com/recommends/blueprintworkshop
We are still masters of our fate. We are still captains of our souls. ~ Winston Churchill
It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves. ~ Francois De La Rochefoucauld
Starting a New Business? Make Sure You Understand This Very Important "Golden Rule"
By Tim Kerber
As a business owner, I understand how important it is to never stop learning. That's why I make it a point to attend at least four major internet marketing seminars a year to learn from people who are at the forefront of their fields. Even though my expertise is very specific to creating profitable membership sites success strategies are easily transferable across niches. That's why I never fail to come back with a notebook crammed with ideas from experts who expand my mind AND profits.
About a year ago I had the pleasure of learning from an extremely successful Internet marketer named Jeff Johnson. Over the course of two hours Jeff covered an incredible range of business strategies and topics. The one that really got my attention though was what Jeff called the Golden Rule. It's a Golden Rule that I see too many startup membership sites totally miss.
Unfortunately a lot of people who want to start a membership site – or any kind of business – get scared off because they see a lot of competition figuring, why bother? This idea that someone "got there first" and therefore there's "no more room" keeps a lot of people who could be successful from ever getting a business off the ground.
But as Jeff pointed out, the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who look at the fact that there's a lot of competition as actually being a good thing! He points to three benefits of competition:
1) The fact that there is competition means people are making money in that niche. Think about it… if no one was making money in a particular kind of business then no one would be doing it.
2) Competition keeps you on your toes. If you sell pet vitamins and your competition offers free delivery, then offer free delivery PLUS a free doggie treat. If you run a membership site and your competition offers their members access to a free articles archive, then give your people a bigger article archive PLUS access to free audio recordings. Part of the fun of being an entrepreneur is that you get to constantly grow and adapt your business. Ultimately competition makes your business better and your customers (and bank account) will be the beneficiaries.
3) Competition is a great source of free marketing research. Watch what other businesses in your niche do. If they seem to be successful using a new promotion technique, distribution channel, or by partnering with other businesses, these are ideas, channels, and partners that you can tap into for YOUR site. Like Jeff said, "People don't compete in order to lose money."
What To Do
As you start researching your business idea or topic for your membership site, begin by asking, "Are there competitors out there?" If so, it is a strong indicator of a profitable market. Next, study what they're doing well. From here, your goal will be to position what you are offering in such a way as to differentiate yourself from the competition.
When I work with membership site owners, I encourage them to explore different ways to differentiate themselves from other membership sites in their same niche. Three places to look at right off the bat are:
Offering better quality. This might mean offering higher quality materials or providing information that is of greater relevance and therefore value to your members.
Featuring more unique offerings. These might be videos, exclusive downloads, Teleclasses.
Coming up with a price point that is either higher or lower than the competition. Obviously the higher you go, the better quality and more unique offerings you'll need to provide.
If you were going to open a gourmet food store, you'd want to actually walk around other gourmet food stores to see what they're doing. It's the same with a membership site. The way you "walk around" here is to actually join those competing sites so you can experience first hand what they are doing right, what they may be doing wrong, and how you can make your site better.
Another thing you'll want to do is pay attention to who is promoting those other sites. Approach those people or companies and offer them a better deal, to get them on board with you.
Bottom line: If you are serious about becoming a successful small business owner then you need to learn to adopt the Golden Rule and embrace the competition. Instead of being threatened or discouraged, consider competition to be a very good sign that there is money to be made in that particular niche. Just be sure to differentiate your offering and you'll find you stand a much better chance of being quite profitable.
About the Author
This article reprinted with permission from Tim Kerber, the editor of
MembershipSiteOwner.com. For helpful advice on how to start and run a very
profitable membership web site visit MembershipSiteOwner.com
Note from Valerie:
At the risk of sounding like a broken record… One of the key reasons I am such an enthusiastic fan of the membership site model is that the recurring income stream they can generate solves a huge problem for people who want to replace their salary with a steady flow of income. It's also a great way to turn a passion into a viable business by reaching out to and providing useful information, resources, and networking opportunities to others who share your same interest.
Tim and his partner Ryan Lee (Ryan is the former physical education teacher who is now earning seven figures running a number of membership sites in various fitness niches) have once again teamed up to offer their Membership Bootcamp to people who are serious about discovering the ins and outs of launching their own membership site.
I talked to Tim this morning. After closing their doors over the holiday weekend, they have opened up the program again. But the program is close to filling and it looks like they'll be closing the doors to new registrations sometime tomorrow, Tuesday, July 8. If you're seriously considering a membership site, this training program may just be what you need to jumpstart your dream. Learn more at ChangingCourse.com/recommends/membershipbootcamp
If you know what you love to do but haven't figured out how to turn that into a viable topic for a membership site, I may be able to help. On July 24, I'll be dedicating a portion of my monthly "Turning Your Interests into Income Opportunity Hour" Teleclass to brainstorming ways to turn your interests or ideas into a viable income-generating membership site.
I expect to be joined by several Changing Course certified "Outside the Job Box Career Experts who have volunteered to jump in to do a little creative brainstorming as well. To learn more, or to register go to ChangingCourse.com/courses.htm. I expect we'll have time to brainstorm with half a dozen people. If you would like to be one of them, sign up for the Teleclass and then send an email to [email protected] with any preliminary ideas and we will put you on a first-come, first-serve brainstorming list.
Believe that you have it, and you have it. ~ Latin Proverb
Upcoming Workshops and Teleclasses
Turning Your Interests into Income:
The Opportunity Hour Teleclass With
"Opportunity Analyst" Valerie Young
There really is no shortage of creative ways to get paid to do work you truly love. The problem is most people don't know how to profit from their passions.
Viable and fascinating business ideas are literally all around you. You just need to know where to look!
Listen in as serial "Opportunity Analyst" Valerie Young delves into her vast Opportunity Files to reveal some fascinating ways that regular people – just like you – have turned their interests into income!
You don't even need a lot of money. All it takes is a little creative thinking, which is a good thing because Real Success Without a Real Job author Ernie Zelinski calls creative thinking "the poor man's wealth." Ernie was spot on when he said, "There is nothing quite as exhilarating as coming up with a brilliant idea, putting it to good use, and eventually being rewarded handsomely for my efforts by the marketplace."
So join a community of dreamers and dream doers for an exhilarating hour of creative thinking, opportunity angling, and possibility-provoking fun! The rewards could be enormous!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
| Morning Session |
12:00-1:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Free for Fast Track Members*
$19.00 for Non Members**
Click Here to Register
7:00-8:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Free for Fast Track Members*
$19.00 for Non Members**
Click Here to Register
Note from Valerie: It looks like several Changing Course Certified Outside the Job Box Career Experts will be on the July 24 Turning Your Interests into Income call to jump in and do some creative brainstorming on how you can turn your interests into a Membership Site, so be sure to join in the conversation!
*This series is free to current members of the Fast Track Your Dream Community. **100 percent of Non-Members registration fees go to the non-profit micro-grant organization TrickleUp.org**
The Ultimate Travel Writer's Workshop
Over Three Power-Packed Days, you'll...
Learn the secrets of writing travel articles you can sell from a group of the best editors and writers in the business...
Discover little-known techniques travel writers use to land concert tickets... meals... vacations... and more... without paying a dime...
Walk away with a short publishable article in hand... and the contact information for editors we know who are happy to work with you, even if you've never sold a story before…
See for yourself how you can have the time, adventure, and freedom you're looking for as a freelance travel writer…
The Ultimate Travel Writer's Workshop
San Francisco, CA
July 24 – 26, 2008
Go to ChangingCourse.com/recommends/travelconf for more details about this event, or contact Terry Frank toll-free at (866)415-1425 or local at (202)370-6459 from
8:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain
The View From theOther Side
"Don't worry if you don't have all the answers. People will try to poke holes in your ideas from every angle. Regardless
of your answers, you can't convince everybody it's
the greatest idea in the world. Just keep working and executing. The answers will come or you'll learn
to make adjustments on
~ Craig Walker,
co-founder and CEO of GrandCentral, a unified communications service that was recently acquired by Google.
Resources for a Change
Business Plan and Idea Generator A friend who needed help thinking through and planning a pet wellness center she wants to start bought this business planning software loves it. What I really like about it is that they offer over 500 sample plans on such wide ranging business ideas as a karaoke bar, a laser tag gaming center, a men's salon, newsletter or magazine publishing, horse training, global event planning, pet photography, and interior design – just to name a few. They also have a version just for eBay sellers. Even if you're not quite ready to start your own business, browsing the various sample plans will help demystify the process of planning a business, might generate some ideas you hadn't thought of, and will definitely start building those entrepreneurial muscles! ChangingCourse.com/recommends/BusinessPlanPro
Imagine Living on the Water Living Aboard magazine is dedicated to people who dream of the life and live the dream of living aboard watercraft. Written by fellow "liveaboards," it offers tips on how to live comfortably on your boat, advice on choosing the perfect liveaboard boat (houseboat, sailboat, motorboat, etc.), real-life cruising adventures, how-to information on maintenance and repairs, and lots of personal stories from people living their dreams on the water. Learn more atLivingAboard.com
The Center for Social Innovation Most people can get where they want to go entrepreneurially without having to invest in an advanced degree. However I was pleasantly pleased to learn that Stanford Graduate School of Business has a Center for Social Innovation designed to teach current and future generations of executives in all sectors not only to be effective managers and leaders but also active agents of positive social change. From the pandemic of AIDS, to challenges posed by climate change, to substance abuse and global poverty, the Center builds and strengthens the capacity of individuals and organizations to develop innovative solutions to social problems for a more just, sustainable and healthy world. http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/csi/
Note: Changing Course does not accept paid advertisements from any of the resources listed here. This list is provided to expand your thinking about just how many interesting ways there are to make a living without a job!