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WEBINAR Cashing in on Parties and Events

FREE Webinar
Saturday June 25th
12PM Eastern

27 Ways to
Make Money at
Parties
& Events

Click Here to Register

jack russell dog as a surprise singing birthday song like karaoke with microphone wearing red tie and party hat isolated on white background

Join Profiting from Your Passion®
Career Coach Hillary Saffran and…

Discover Dozens of Fun Ways You Can
Make Much More Money in Less Time
Than You Could With a Part-Time J-o-b

See How a Fun Side Gig Can Easily
Be Turned into a Full-Time Income!

Hillary Saffran — AKA the Biz Mama — knows firsthand that you really can make good money at parties and events.

A gifted speaker, ventriloquist, singer, and actor she began her entertainment career over 26 years ago as a birthday party clown. Since then Hillary has entertained audiences from ages 2-102!

No “talent?” No problem!

You don’t need to be an entertainer to make money in the party and event world.

In fact, there are dozens of non-entertainment ways you can cash in on the lucrative party and event world!

Join Hillary and me Saturday, June 25th at noon eastern time and discover:

  • The pros and cons of working with agents and agencies
  • Types of parties you can specialize in
  • Little-known niche markets where you can cash in
  • Why you don’t need to be the least bit talented to make money in the party and event world
  • Party and event options for people who love to travel including getting gigs on cruises and selling at state fairs
  • How to create additional services to add to your bottom line
  • Painless ways you can promote yourself and/or your products or services to event planners
  • Food, craft, and other products that fly off the shelves that you can sell at fairs and other event
  • Fun ways you can make much more money than you could with the average part-time job – in far less time
  • How to make enough money from that fun side gig to turn it into your full-time income
  • And more!

bizmama logo

Biz Mama Hillary Saffran!

As a licensed Profiting from Your Passions® Career Coach and Global Career
Development Facilitator, the Palmer, Alaska-based career expert positively excels at helping people like you to discover your unique gifts and interests and then helping you turn them into a successful small business. Hillary 2

Career planning is nothing new to Hillary.

She began her career working in a personnel agency matching job seekers with jobs. From there Hillary joined a social service agency where she got to work with thousands of unemployed workers in workforce centers nationwide to obtain employment.

Today she’s turned her considerable expertise to helping people who want to be their own boss.

Whether you earn money in the lucrative party and event world or you feel called in a different direction, Hillary can empower and guide you to discover your unique gifts and monetize them so you can do what you love and love what you do!

Seats Are Limited

Bring a paper and pen and come prepared to ask questions on this LIVE Webinar!

Seats are limited and registration is required.

Click here now to register for

FREE Webinar
Saturday June 25th
12PM Eastern

27 Ways to
Make Money at
Parties
& Events


SELF-BOSSING IDEA #5: Make Your Own Cool Job Series

Lessons From a “Shark Tank” Winner and Canada’s Premier Craftsperson

You’re about to meet two people who made their own jobs.

They both make jewelry. Yet their stories are quite different.

And luckily for you, you don’t need to be a jeweler or in any way artistic to learn from these inspiring self-bosses how to make your own cool j-o-b!

Play Big

The first is an impressive young Canadian jewelry designer and entrepreneur named Rachel Mielke.

I met Rachel when I spoke at the Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan annual conference where she was being honored as Entrepreneur of the Year.

Little wonder… Rachel had successfully pitched her business on the forerunner of the CBS hit show Shark Tank, which in Canada is called the Dragon’s Den.

A year after getting that $200,000 investment, her company hit the million-dollar mark.

I had the chance to visit Rachel in her studio…. and pick up a few pieces for myself!

from old iphone 11 27 2011 377

from old iphone 11 27 2011 380

from old iphone 11 27 2011 381

Playing big allowed Rachel to outsource the actual making of her jewelry so she can focus on the part she loves – designing!

Clearly she’s doing something right because at 29, she’d been invited to attend a 2008 pre-Oscar Luxury Gifting Lounge in Los Angeles.

She went on to buy another more modestly-priced jewelry line to sell as a vendor on the famed Lilith tour.

And she’s even made jewelry for the Queen of England!

If you want to be self-employed, you need to understand marketing. Search for Rachel on YouTube and you’ll find countless examples of the brilliant ways this talented designer and her company continue to play big!

Get Help

Turns out Rachel didn’t just make her own job…

Instead she used her Dragon’s Den money to create jobs for other people including a head of marketing, an operations manager, and several other employees Rachel needed to scale her business.

There’s a huge lesson here for people who say they want to make six and even seven figures but then scoff at the idea of having a team.

I get it. I don’t like managing myself. But if you’re going to scale a business you can’t do it all.

In the beginning when funds are tight, you do need to be the creator, bookkeeper, administrative assistant, social media manager, head of sales, and marketer.

However, once you have some money coming in, you need to either hire people to do things that are not the best use of your time — or outsource these tasks to freelancers.

When I brought my Vision Implementation Manager Lisa on, it was the scariest financial decision I ever made. But having her on my team is what allowed my business to grow and to free me to focus on what I do best.

Position Yourself for Cool Things to Happen

Unlike Rachel, Natalie Austin didn’t start out to be an artisan. Rather she earned a degree in Folklore and Vernacular Culture.

Natalie picture

Fortunately, she comes from a long line of artists and craftspeople… so she knew it was possible to turn her creativity into her livelihood.

Today Natalie is a jeweler with a cause – converting household copper pipe used in plumbing into jewelry.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Every piece of material I can up-cycle is one less thing that ends up in the landfill,” she writes.  Adding, “Through jewelry design, I am making my own small daily cultural and environmental contribution.”

Natalie made another international contribution last week when she showcased her jewelry at the G-7 Summit in Japan!

Each of the seven major industrialized countries represented got to bring just one craftsperson to represent their entire country – and Natalie was Canada’s pick!

A remarkable achievement by any measure.  Astounding when you consider she only began making jewelry three years ago!

Natalie 2

She may be young, but Natalie’s advice to aspiring jewelers is deeply wise…

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes: sometimes they lead to the most incredible creations.  Art is not linear; I found my niche through trial and error.  I’m not afraid to try new colors or styles – it’s the best way to grow as an artist!

It’s tempting to see Natalie as an “overnight success.”

Rather, I see hers as a story of what can happen when, like Rachel, you see yourself as both an artisan and a business owner… and then act accordingly.

You see Natalie and I met when I spoke at the Newfoundland/Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) in April.

When I congratulated her on the big G-7 news Natalie was quick to point out that there are many deserving artisans who’ve been at their craft far longer.

She’s right of course.

I couldn’t tell you why the Canadian G-7 committee chose Natalie to represent the entire country over others.

What I do know is it all began with a nomination from the team at NLOWE.

Something that would have never happened if Natalie had stayed hunkered down in her studio.

Instead she made the wise decision to take her work seriously and seek advice from a local organization dedicated to entrepreneurial success.

If you’re in the U.S., do a search for the local branch of the Small Business Development Center in your state.

In Canada, search by province. In other countries, search for “entrepreneurial counseling in [country].”

Whatever you do, starting repeat after me: If I want to work for myself, I need to start acting like someone who wants to work for myself.

Then do it.

Join the Changing Course Community Discussion

I’m honored that you’re a part of this amazing community of change seekers.

I love inspiring you to be your own boss… but what I love even more is hearing from Y-O-U!

Were you inspired, encouraged, or perhaps discouraged by Rachel’s and Natalie’s stories?

If your first thought is, but I don’t make jewelry… or I don’t want to build an empire…  then you’re missing the point.

What lessons can you take from Rachel’s or Natalie’s story and apply to make YOUR own job?

What do YOU love to do and what do you need to do today to begin to profit from your passion?

I know you’re busy… but it would mean a lot to me if you would take a brief moment to hop over to the Changing Course Fan page on Facebook and share your thoughts and ideas with others in the Changing Course Community!

Then stay tuned for Self-Bossing IDEA #6 in our series Make Your Own Make Your Own Cool Job!

Don’t Want to Wait?

Click here to learn everything you need to know about scheduling your personal Work at What You Love planning session.

 

 


COOL BIZ IDEA #4: Make Your Own Cool Job Series

How One Woman Turned Her Dog into a $50 Million Empire

At 52, things weren’t exactly going Carol Gardner’s way.

She and her husband had invested in a high-end real estate venture. It failed.

Soon after, her nearly three-decade-long marriage failed as well.

Divorced, over $1 million in debt, and living on four credit cards, Carol was understandably depressed.

That’s when her divorce attorney gave her some advice: You need to either get a therapist or a dog. She chose the latter.

Carol got an English bulldog puppy and named her Zelda – so named because it started with the last letter in the alphabet and Carol “was hoping that what felt like the end might be the beginning.”

Zelda and CarolWith Zelda’s unconditional love, Carol began to heal. But she still had no income.

That’s when a friend told her about a local pet store that was sponsoring a Christmas card contest. The prize was a year’s worth of free dog food.

Carol sprang into action.

She borrowed a Santa hat from a neighbor, plopped Zelda into the bathtub and gave her a bubble beard.

The clever caption read: “For Christmas I got a dog for my husband… good trade, huh?”

She won! When Carol sent the winning card to her own holiday list, people raved.

Encouraged by the response, Carol decided to create her own line of 24 Zelda-inspired greeting cards with funny captions like “Go braless… it pulls the wrinkles down,” “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you get wet.”

The fact that Carol was still broke didn’t hold her back.

Instead she asked a professional photographer to work for free in exchange for getting in on the ground floor of her dream. He said yes.

Next she convinced a local printer to wait 90 days for payment.

Soon the cards were selling in gift stores across Oregon and Washington.

Six months later she’d sold a million cards.

Zelda Wisdom is now a global brand worth over $50 million in cards and merchandise including clothing, home goods, cell phone covers, jewelry, and much more.

Carol and Zelda have appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Martha Stewart, and dozens of other national and regional media.

There are seven Zelda books in print and Carol penned a re-imagined fairy tale called Princess Zelda and the Frog.

She’s also a motivational speaker whose signature talk, “How to Go from Underdog to Top Dog (Without Barking Up the Wrong Tree)” inspires audiences to follow their own dreams.

Carol is also a believer in giving back.

Zelda went on to represent the Zelda/American Humane Association Children’s Hospital Project as part of a co-initiative to train and certify rescue dogs to provide animal-assisted therapy in children’s hospitals and give the dogs a chance at adoption.

Are you inspired? I am!

Most media coverage of Carol and Zelda describes the process much as you just read.

A divorced, depressed, in-debt woman turns her adorable English bulldog into a line of greeting cards.

Six months later she’d sold a million cards and Zelda Wisdom, Inc. would go on to become a $50 million international empire.

The Story Behind the Story

Make no mistake about it: Carol Gardner and Zelda Wisdom Inc. IS a story of rapid, massive success.

But the real – and rarely reported story – is what transpired in those critical six months from the cards coming off the printing press and into the hands of a million happy buyers.

It’s a story that’s important to tell because most people have wildly unrealistic notions about what it takes to grow a business. As a result, they give up way too soon.

As importantly, how Carol went about going from idea to such mega-success in such a short time offers valuable lessons for you.

Lessons that, like Zelda says, can help you, “Think outside your cage”!

Zelda cage

For starters, Carol drew from the many years she’d spent working as a creative director in advertising – a job that gave her plenty of experience designing ads and writing one-liners for clients.

That’s also where she met and worked with a gifted photographer named Shane Young and a seasoned public relations professional named Sandi Serling.

Pros Carol would later tap to help launch the card company in exchange for getting in on the ground floor.

I learned too that a few years earlier Carol had written a book called Bumper Sticker Wisdom in which she documented the one-liner form of messaging and interviewed the people who sported them.

Sales were underwhelming.

But Carol says the experience taught her a lot about the publishing industry.

More importantly, that book helped Carol to connect the dots between…

Her previous skills and experience writing one-liners

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Wisdom gained living through her recent tough times

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Winning a holiday card contest

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The healing love of a pup named Zelda

Idea in hand, Carol’s success began with a combination of sound business start-up practices, a willingness to shoot high, and to go all in.

She did things like write a business plan that included the lofty but clearly possible goal of being licensed by Hallmark.

She researched the industry looking for untapped angles… like creating a line of cards around a single living dog with a name and a personality, photographing on a white background, and making blank cards – all things that were not being done at the time.

And she had enough faith in her idea, her team, and herself to tap the last remaining $40,000 available on her credit card to launch the business.

Time to Get Very, Very Busy

 

Zelda ducks

Right after Halloween Carol bought 24 costumes on sale and then proceeded to photograph “around the clock.”

Cards in hand, they decided to roll the line out locally to both test the concept and presumably to generate enough sales to pay their printer.

Personally shopping cards around to hundreds of gift stores in Oregon and Washington would be tremendously time-consuming

Besides, hiring a rep would take a big bite out of a small budget.

Instead they wisely put Sandi’s PR skills and connections to work ultimately creating so much buzz in local newspapers and TV (who doesn’t love an adorable dog prancing around in a bikini) that gift stores began contacting them to place orders!

Cards were flying off the shelves.

The local test met with such success in such a short period of time that the team knew they had to take a giant leap of faith.

So they rented a pricey booth at the National Stationary Show in New York City where Zelda Wisdom would be one of fifteen-hundred small greeting card companies vying for the attention of major licensing companies.

So they came up with three ways to stand out and thus maximize their investment.

First, ahead of the show they sent a press kit to the top licensing company.

They also further splurged on a full-page ad in the show catalog (something unheard of for a small company).

With this attention-grabbing picture you can see why that ad investment paid off!

zelda why bee normal

Once at their booth they ran a continuous video feed of funny clips of Zelda on local television.

The six months of hard work, creativity, willingness to risk investing in their dream even while broke, and massive hustle paid off.

The top licensing group signed them and within a few years Zelda’s Wisdom was Hallmark’s number one-selling greeting card line.

Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life

Every day you have the choice to act on your idea or your gift or to use that time in front of the TV or on social media.

At every step of the journey, Carol said yes to her dream and then took rapid, consistent action.

She began by researching and planning.

Then she reached out to people she knew, liked and trusted, and invited them to join her dream. She also had the guts to ask the printer to work on credit.

Had anyone of them declined, I have no doubt Carol would have kept asking until she found people who would said yes.

You might say Carol’s advertising experience gave her a huge advantage. And you’d be right.

However, I’ve had scores of clients with backgrounds and connections they could have easily tapped in the service of their own dream, but failed to do so.

Experience does of course help, but it’s just one of many ways to gain the confidence to pursue a dream.

Besides, the world is full of stories of complete novices with zero experience or connections who started from scratch and figured stuff out on their own.

I’m one.

If they (or I!) can do it, then my friend, so can you.
Zelda leapMichelangelo wrote, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.

Every day you’re presented with an opportunity to shoot high or shoot low.

Right from the start Carol thought big by setting her sights on Hallmark –then she backed up her dream with equally bold actions.

Media coverage is one of the best ways to jumpstart a business.

Luckily, anyone can learn how to creatively tap the power of local or even national media.

The problem is most people either assume it won’t work (I know from ample personal experience that you have a far better shot than you think) or are just too lazy or scared to even try.

There is no “secret” to success. Fundamentally it comes down to the one thing available to all of us – and that’s effort.

Something Carol herself understands all too well.

In an interview on Moneypants.com, Carol was asked where money comes from. I loved her response.

Unless you win the lottery or are born with money, hard work is the best source. Following my divorce, my ex-husband’s accountant put his arm around me and told me he hoped I might find a wealthy husband. That was probably the most insulting AND most motivating thing anyone has ever said to me. The good news was that it made me mad enough to go out, work hard, and succeed.

Join the Changing Course Community

If you had to pick just one take away from Carol’s story what would it be?

How will you use it to advance your own path to self-bossing?

Share below!

Then stay tuned for Cool Biz IDEA #5 in our series Make Your Own Make Your Own Cool Job!

Don’t Want to Wait?

Click here to learn everything you need to know about scheduling your personal Work at What You Love career coaching session.

 


Check Out IDEA #3 in our NEW series Make Your Own Cool Job!

Does the idea of spending the rest of your life sitting in an office all day feel like dying a slow death?

Are you the outdoorsy type?

Or maybe just have a keen passion for the environment?

If you — or someone you know, said yes to any of these questions…

Or if you just want to hone your Business Idea Generation (B.I.G.) skills… you’ll love this next idea in our series…

In a quest toward more environmentally-friendly and natural solutions to lawn care and clearing unwanted vegetation, over the past decade a number of goat rental services have emerged.

Three young goats standing on a green meadow and looking to a ca

Goats will eat nearly any plant, including thistles, brambles and poison ivy. Like cows, goats are ruminants – meaning they have four stomachs.

Which helps explain why Tammy Dunakin named her Seattle-area company Rent-A-Ruminant.

In addition to the usual residential gigs, Tammy’s herd of 120 goats has cleaned up areas underneath urban highways, along railroad tracks, and submarine bases.

Prior to turning them loose on a location, Tammy surveys the area to be cleared and puts up an electric fence to keep them corralled.

In addition to property owners, Tammy has wisely gone after local and state government contracts.

Running the Numbers

Rent-A-Ruminant charges $750 a day for an average assignment with a three-day minimum and a set-up fee/transportation charge of $350 to $500.

calculator

If you do the math, it looks like her goats need to work 93 days a year to gross six figures.

Interested in launching your own goat rental business?

Tammy is ramping up to sell franchise opportunities.

And get this – she’s working with Amazon as part of a beta trial for their new Home Services campaign! (Who says the “little guy” can’t play with the Big Kids?!)

Do It Your Way

Of course Rent-A-Ruminant isn’t the only goat game in town. Nor is it the only business model.

Obviously, not everyone has the space to keep goats. So, find another way!

That’s what Go Green Goat did.

Their business is run out of Duxbury, Massachusetts. But their goats live 20 minutes away at Colchester Farm in nearby Plympton – described as a beautiful 8-acre organic CSA farm run by New England Village with a mission of enabling adults living with intellectual disabilities to live with dignity and work at meaningful employment.

And unlike Tammy who stays with her herd during the day, Go Goat customers receive instructions on how to feed and water the goats themselves.

When my own neighbors needed some land cleared they brought in The Goat Girls.

Black Goat Isolated On White

In addition to brush clearing, the Amherst, Massachusetts company also offers on-site training classes for current or curious goat owners.

And unlike Tammy who is emphatic that she is not in the kids’ party business, The Goat Girls are all too happy to tap an additional income stream when they see one!

Next Steps For This — And All — Ideas

Have you noticed how when it comes to acting on our dream that the brains of otherwise intelligent, capable people suddenly turn to mush?

All the more so if you tend to become easily overwhelmed by lots of steps.

Here’s an exercise to “trick” the part of you that’s overwhelmed or afraid or just not sure where to begin.

Imagine your boss tells you to come up with a step-by-step plan for how an individual could start a goat grazing business.

Oh, and your boss needs your report ASAP!

Your first response might be, “OMG, I have no idea what to do!”

Yet, even with any initial brain fog or self-doubt (or both), the fact that your boss needs a plan, you’d figure it out to do it.

Am I right?

That’s when it can help to pretend you really were given this assignment and then figure it out!

To start:

  1. List all the things you’ll need to find out in order to complete your plan. Things like:

– the going price of a goat and where to find them

– what it costs to care for goats

– local ordinances for keeping goats

-local farms where you might board your goats

  1. Make a plan for how you’ll get these answers – will you look online? Start making phone calls?
  1. Next, list all things someone would need to learn or understand or do well in order to succeed in this business:

– basic bookkeeping

– customer service

– marketing

  1. Then make a plan for how someone could gain the required knowledge or skills.

– Take a class or seek free 1-1 counseling from your state’s State Business Development Center or comparable program in the province or country where you live.

– Check in to a Rent-a-Ruminant franchise.

– Read Raising Goats for Dummies (yes there is an actual book!) or check out their cheat sheet.

  1. Once you have all the information you need, list the steps in the order they need to be to.Hint: You don’t have to do everything all at once!

Turning ideas into action isn’t complicated. All you need is a plan and the effort to carry it out!

Stay tuned for Self-Bossing IDEA #4 in our series Make Your Own Make Your Own Cool Job!

Don’t Want to Wait?

Click here to learn everything you need to know about scheduling your personal Work at What You Love career session!

We’d Love to Hear from You!

If you had to pick just one take away from this story…

  1. What would it be?
  2. How will you use it to advance your own path to self-bossing?

 


Check Out IDEA #2 in our NEW series Make Your Own Cool Job!

Are you happiest when you’re in a kitchen?

Do you dream of having a little shop where the regulars know you by name?

Even if your interests lie elsewhere… do you still love discovering ways to work and live outside the job box?

If so then you’ll love IDEA #2 in our NEW series Make Your Own Cool Job!

Maura Glennon didn’t set out to be her own boss.

To the contrary. For the last 15 years she’s been a music professor at Keene State College.

Somewhere along the line – or the highway as the case may be – Maura got restless.

On her daily two-hour round trip commute from her home in Florence, Massachusetts to her job in New Hampshire, Maura would dream of opening her own little pie shop.

When an old general store-turned barbershop closed down, Maura saw her chance and she grabbed it.

Today she and her husband Justin (also a professor) are the proud owners of the super quaint Florence Pie Bar.

Pie 4

pie shop 1

pie shop 3

Being close to home suits Maura’s new non-commuter lifestyle.

Even though running a brick-and-mortar operation isn’t the most family-friendly business model, the mother of two boys told a local reporter, “My son can ride his bike to the store after school and help out with the dishes, do his homework here.”

Opening any retail enterprise is a gamble. Fortunately, right out of the gate the Florence Pie Bar was turning out 75 pies a day.

But with prices starting at $4.75 a slice… once you do the math you’ll see, that’s a lot of dough!

My 84-year-old dad L-O-V-E-S pie.

So I decided to surprise him with a treat. (I couldn’t decide between the lemon chess and the chocolate malted — so I picked both for him.)

If my dad’s expert- taste test is any confirmation, this pie is worth the price!

Find Your Niche

On the opposite side of the country in Portland, Oregon is the Pacific Pie Company.

Chris Powell and Sarah Curtis, also a husband-and-wife team, came at the pie business from a very different angle.

Chris missed the savory meat pies he grew up with in his native Australia, so Sarah experimented with making them.

Apparently she got the hang of it because today, in addition to fabulous sounding breakfast and lunch fare, their restaurant specializes in Australian-style savory meat pies.

Aussie Meat Pie

They also offer other Australian pub favorites like chicken schnitzel and something called pie floaters described as, “a crazy but delicious Aussie dish” that consists of “your choice of meat pie or vegetarian pastie floating in a big bowl of our house made pea soup.”

Like many other foodie entrepreneurs, Sarah and Chris started out small by selling at farmer’s markets. Today they have two locations.

Something else that stood out to me about the Pacific Pie Company was the great use of video – unusual for a restaurant.

Instead of just telling their site visitors that they do catering, they actually show the kitchen crew prepping for a big event.

In another video, Sarah shares the history of meat pies explains how wives of British miners used to make them from meat, potatoes and other leftovers so their husbands could easily pack lunch to eat in the mine.

Teach What You Love

Sarah also teaches a class called Pie Making 101.  The three-hour class costs $100 and is limited to six people. 

Again, if you don’t have your calculator out yet…you should!

calculator

At the current twice-a-month schedule, Sarah will profit from her passion for baking and teaching to the tune of $14,400 a year!

Turns out back at the Florence Pie Bar, Maura also plans to offer evening classes.

I found this out after Maura’s husband Justin said he was surprised at the brisk sales of their branded mugs and T-shirts (seen here above glass case).

pie shop 2

Create Additional Streams of Income

That’s when a light bulb went off.

Hearing about these other product sales prompted me to tell Justin about Self-Bossing IDEA #1 in our Make Your Own Cool Job!

If you missed it, I profiled a company that’s already sold over 300,000 high-fashion aprons.

And I told you how, for as little as $200, you can apply to buy these aprons wholesale and sell them for as much $49 each.

Justin loved the idea that aprons (these or their own branded ones) could be a great product to sell to pie baking students!

Literally a day after posting about how these aprons would be a great addition to a local food shop I happened to find the PERFECT place to profit from this idea!

That’s why it’s so important that you keep learning about different business ideas.

You never know when that idea might help you… or someone who shares your passion for working and living outside the j-o-b box!

Next Step for This–and ALL–Ideas

Have you noticed how when it comes to acting on our dream that the brains of otherwise intelligent, capable people suddenly turn to mush?

All the more so if you tend to become easily overwhelmed by lots of steps.

Here’s an exercise to “trick” the part of you that’s overwhelmed or afraid or just not sure where to begin.

Imagine your boss tells you to come up with a step-by-step plan for how an individual could make money selling pies.

Oh, and your boss needs your report ASAP!

Your first response might be, “OMG, I have no idea what to do!”

Yet, even with any initial brain fog or self-doubt (or both), the fact that your boss needs a plan, you’d figure it out to do it.

Am I right?

That’s when it can help to pretend you really were given this assignment and then figure it out!

To start:

  1. List all the things you’ll need to find out in order to complete your plan. Things like:

– wholesale price of Flirty Aprons in order to do sales projections

– the cost and logistics of getting a table or booth at various venues

– how to file for a state or provincial tax ID

  1. Make a plan for how you’ll get these answers – will you look online? Start making phone calls?
  1. Next, list all things someone would need to learn or understand or do well in order to succeed in this business:

– basic bookkeeping

– customer service

– marketing

  1. Then make a plan for how someone could gain the required knowledge or skills.

If you really do want to open a brick-and-mortar business, I urge you to do what Maura did and seek free 1-1 counseling from your state’s State Business Development Center or comparable program in the province or country where you live.

      Walk a local flea market, chatting with vendors about what it’s like to sell there.

  1. Once you have all the information you need, list the steps in the order they need to be to happen.  Hint: You don’t have to do everything all at once!

Turning ideas into action isn’t complicated. All you need is a plan and the effort to carry it out!

Stay tuned for Self-Bossing IDEA #3 in our series Make Your Own Make Your Own #&*!*# Job!

Don’t want to wait?

Click here to learn everything you need to know about scheduling your personal Work at What You Love career session!

We’d Love to Hear from You!

If you had to pick just one take away from this story…

  1. What would it be?
  2. How will you use it to advance your own path to self-bossing?

 


Check Out IDEA #1 to Make Your Own Cool Job!

You’re all decked out for a formal party at your home. Still you need to be in the kitchen preparing food while entertaining guests.

Do you put on a frumpy apron… or don a fabulously fashionable one?

The four entrepreneurs behind Flirty Aprons banked on a lot of women going for the latter – and they were right!

Originally started as a mall kiosk business in 2009, today the company has sold over 300,000 aprons.

With bold prints, sassy styles, and over 120 designs, these are definitely not your grandmother’s aprons!

 

The aprons like in the Tessi designer collection, are so fashionable, if you sewed a back on them you could skip the cooking part altogether and just wear them out to dinner!

The company also sells colorful over-sized toddler bibs, designer oven mitts, high-end kitchen gadgets, and a men’s line with sayings like “I Turn Grills On” and “Grill Sergeant.”

So would you like to cash in on this trend in high-end aprons?

Do you have a food-related or other on- or off-line store?

Are you a fan of the booming farmer’s market scene?

If you — or someone you know – said YES to any of these questions…

Or, if you just LOVE thinking outside the job box and want to hone your Business Idea Generation (B.I.G.) skills to see cool opportunities all around you – read on because…

Opportunity knocks.

Women’s aprons generally range from $35 to $45.

But you can apply to Flirty Aprons to purchase items wholesale and pocket the difference!

The only requirement is you purchase a minimum order of $200 over a 12-month period. How hard can that be?

Obviously if you already have a retail or online store or some sort of food-related business, you can do a test sale.

Or for as little as $200 you could get enough inventory to test at a farmer’s market, flea market, cooking/garden/home show, or other public venue.

If it goes well, stick with that location or go all out and open your own mall or holiday kiosk.

Most states and provinces also have large women’s conferences that include a tradeshow. The Massachusetts Women’s Conference happens just before Christmas and the times I’ve been there, items like scarves and jewelry fly off the shelves.

Don’t want to bother purchasing inventory? Sign up as an affiliate and earn 15% on anything sold via your affiliate link.

You’ll earn less than you would as a wholesaler, but if you already have a website and traffic, it’s an easy way to make some extra money.

Or build on the success of this product by coming up with your own!

What other products could you (or someone) create that would make mundane tasks like cooking, cleaning, gardening and so on a bit more glamorous or fun?

Next Steps for This — and All — Ideas

Have you noticed how when it comes to acting on our dream that the brains of otherwise intelligent, capable people suddenly turn to mush?

All the more so if you tend to become easily overwhelmed by lots of steps.

Here’s an exercise to “trick” the part of you that’s overwhelmed or afraid or just not sure where to begin.

Imagine your boss tells you to come up with a step-by-step plan for how an individual could make money re-selling Flirty Aprons.

Oh, and your boss needs your report ASAP!

Your first response might be, “OMG, I have no idea what to do!”

Yet, even with any initial brain fog or self-doubt (or both), the fact that your boss needs a plan, you’d figure it out to do it.

Am I right?

That’s when it can help to pretend you really were given this assignment and then figure it out!

To start:

  1. List all the things you’ll need to find out in order to complete your plan. Things like:

– wholesale price of Flirty Aprons in order to do sales projections

– the cost and logistics of getting a table or booth at various venues

– how to file for a state or provincial tax ID

  1. Make a plan for how you’ll get these answers – will you look online? Start making phone calls?
  1. Next, list all things someone would need to learn or understand or do well in order to succeed in this business:

– basic bookkeeping

– customer service

– marketing

  1. Then make a plan for how someone could gain the required knowledge or skills.

For instance, take a class or seek 1-1 counseling from your state’s Small Business Development Center or comparable program wherever you live.

Walk a local flea market, chatting with vendors about what it’s like to sell there.

  1. Once you have all the information you need, list the steps in the order they need to be to happen.

Hint: You don’t have to do everything all at once!

Turning ideas into action isn’t complicated. All you need is a plan and the effort to carry it out!

Stay tuned for Self-Bossing IDEA #2 in our series Make Your Own Make Your Own Cool Job!

Don’t want to wait?

Click here to learn everything you need to know about scheduling your personal Work at What You Love career session!

We’d Love to Hear from You!

If you had to pick just one take away from this story…

  1. What would it be?
  2. How will you use it to advance your own path to self-bossing?

 


Sadly, We Are a Nation of Occupational Sheep

You see it every year.

Local TV news reporting on high school kids scrambling for summer jobs.

studentsWe see young people submitting applications at the mall or fast food joints.

The conclusion is always the same. Some kids find jobs. But many more come up empty.

At which point I scream at my television…

MAKE A JOB!!!

These kids could wash windows… detail cars…. fix and sell bicycles…

They could help seniors or at-home business owners solve computer glitches… babysit…

They could do lawn care… run errands…. refinish and sell discarded furniture…

They could walk neighbors’ dogs or care for their cats…

They could create an app…or teach others how to do it… tutor other kids…

They could find free stuff on Craigslist and sell it…

They could approach local businesses and offer to sweep their sidewalks or or do other odd jobs…

The point is, there are all sort of ways to make money that does not require being anyone’s employee.

Don’t these teens understand that when you work for yourself there’s a direct link between effort and earnings?

Or that in addition to making more money than they would flipping burgers and getting to learn important lessons about marketing, customer service, money management, and resiliency, they’d very likely be a lot happier too?

Look, I don’t blame these kids – or anyone – for failing to think outside-the-job box.

After all, the media diligently broadcasts the government’s monthly jobs report. But we never hear how many small businesses were launched that month.

College career centers and traditional career coaches are job-centric too.

They excel at helping people do things like write a resume, conduct a job search, and ace the interview.

But showing people ways they can build on their gifts and interests to create their own job? Clueless.

It’s really little wonder that…

We’ve become a national of occupational sheep passively waiting for someone to give us a job.

As a society we’ve somehow lost the ability to see opportunities; never mind seize them.

Somehow as a society we’ve forgotten that we really can use a gift or interest as the platform to create a livelihood.

And that’s a shame.

Because when you work for yourself, you don’t need to depend on an employer deciding how much you earn… You don’t have the hassles of commuting or workplace politics…

When you make a job, you get to be the boss of you!

It’s why for the past 21 years the Changing Course Newsletter has introduced readers to ways people have done just that.

When we first began, being self-employed was a relatively novel concept. Today it’s more common to follow your own road.

Still, there’s millions more who, just like you, yearn to escape from job jail.

That’s why, over the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you a new series called…

billboard-MakeYourOwnJobSome of the ideas may draw a straight line to your own gifts or interests.

Others may simply offer a means to support your art or otherwise pay the bills so you can work when, where, and how you want.

Some of these ideas could replace your entire income.

Others may be better suited as one of multiple income streams, a part-time, or a seasonal thing you do to bring in extra cash… supplement your retirement income… or otherwise allow you to make money well outside-of-the-job box.

Some of the ideas will come in the form of full-blown articles.

Others require only a few paragraphs.

What I hope you discover is that you really can follow your own road.

And that Changing Course starts with a great idea!

So stay tuned for the new series and all the great ways you can Make Your Own #*!#& Job!

Don’t Want to Wait?

Click here to learn everything you need to know about scheduling a 1-1 Work at What You Love discovery and planning session.


Dilbert Creator Scott Adams Totally Blew Me Off (And I Have His Email to Prove It!)

I remember it like it was yesterday.

On July 14, 1999 I cranked up my dial-up connection to get onto the World Wide Web, excited to hear the now iconic AOL greeting, “You’ve got mail!”

To my amazement I’d received personal response from Scott Adams –creator of the enormously successful syndicated cartoon Dilbert.

In the early ‘90s, headlines were filled with stunning news that corporate giants like AT&T and IBM were laying off workers by the tens of thousands.

Perfect timing for Adams to step in and lampoon the sometimes crazy world of performance reviews, near constant re-organizations, and in his words, “evil pointy-haired” bosses.

It’s also what made 1995 the perfect time to launch the Changing Course newsletter.

I was doing what I loved and some money was following. But not enough to completely break me out of job jail.

If there were some way I could build on the Dilbert brand, I knew it would put Changing Course on the map in a BIG way.

So after reading an article about Adams in Newsweek I reached out to explore the possibilities.

To put it bluntly – he blew me off.

scott adams

I was CRUSHED!

But the line that stuck with me most was the last one…

“You don’t need me anyway.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes! Was he out of his mind?

OF COURSE I NEEDED HIM!

It took a while (okay, years…) but I finally realized Adams was right.

I already had the drive and vision I needed to make my business work.

And so do you.

The fact is, with most ventures you really don’t “need” anyone to endorse you, sponsor you, partner with you, or even believe in you.

However, there are important exceptions.

One of these exceptions takes us right back to Adams’ and my own roots in the corporate world.

There are some things that would take you and me years – if ever – to learn.

Times where we really do need a knowledgeable mentor to show us the way.

For you, that teacher just might be my friend and former corporate executive turned self-bosser Belinda Pruyne.

Belinda

When Belinda first hung up her shingle as a business and leadership coach she tried to put as much distance between herself and the corporate world as possible.

Then one day she had her Big AHA…

There’s still plenty of money to be made in corporate – and you don’t need to be an employee to do it.

Instead, Belinda realized that for a lot of people, turning a large organization into your biggest customer or client can be the absolute best way to truly profit from your passion.

Last week I introduced you to a number of non-corporate types who landed corporate contracts.

Contracts that allow them to both serve more people and make more money doing it – without compromising their values.

Like the photographer who loves photographing babies but couldn’t get enough babies in the pipeline to make it sustainable.

Photographer at work with newborn baby boy

He never knew where his next client was going to come from.

He’s now the photographer for the maternity ward at a huge hospital in New York City. So he’s there to capture all the moments surrounding many of the births in that hospital.

Or the health coach who was tired of trying to convince individuals to sign up as clients who didn’t always understand the value she provided.

Then she noticed that one of her friends from the C-suite in a big company was stressed beyond belief, exhausted, and wasn’t eating well. It gave her an idea…Employee Benefits placard isolated on white

Today, she has contracts with big corporations where she goes in, assesses all the employees in the C-suite, and develops a meal plan for the company chef.

If the company doesn’t have a chef, she creates individual meal plans and sits down with each executive’s assistant to help them support their boss.

She’s just returned from Paris doing this for a company. Before that, she was in Singapore.

Pretty cool right?!

If these people can earn $25k… $50k… $75k… from a single corporate client – then you can find a way to turn your own gifts and interests into a compelling win-win.

Like I said, my newsletter business was pretty straightforward; so I really didn’t need Scott Adams’ – or anyone’s — help.

But when it comes to knowing what it takes to sign a corporate client, you will need someone to show you the way.

That’s why I’m so excited that Belinda has agreed to put on this free online presentation called….

BIG Corporate Connections. BIG Contracts. BIG Cash

3 keys to snag BIG corporate gigs with the matching paychecks
(Even if you don’t know the first thing about the corporate world)
Tuesday, March 22nd at 1pm EST US

If you missed my announcement last week, there’s still time to jump in.

Click here to register BigCorporateConnections.info

In this powerful 1-hour presentation, you’ll learn…

  • How to turn YOUR expertise & services into compelling offers for corporations – without having to twist yourself or conform your beliefs to “fit in.”
  • The #1 secret to “get past the gatekeeper”. (Belinda has a brilliant example of how one outside vendor got past her own secretary back when she used to be the one hiring outside vendors.)
  • How to get decision makers to pay attention and take you seriouslyeven if you have no experience working in corporate yourself!
  • The BIGGEST thing you need to know about corporate decision makers BEFORE you try to connect.

… And more!

Go It Alone or Get Help?

For many of you, getting the answers to these three key questions will be all you need to hit the ground running.

Others will need more guidance.

Looking back, I so appreciate Scott Adams taking time out of his busy schedule to so nicely blow me off.

But what I really appreciate is the reminder that I didn’t need Dilbert to make my newsletter a success.

However, when it comes to corporate contracts, you definitely do want a seasoned corporate insider to at least take you through the basics.

If you’re curious to see how partnering with a large organization might help you profit from your passion in a BIG way – you do not want to miss Belinda’s free presentation Tuesday March 22 (tomorrow) at 1PM EST.

It costs nothing to attend, but you do need to register at BigCorporateConnections.info.


Want to Really Profit from Your Passion? Try This Unconventional Path

Whether you’re in business already – or you’re still trying to figure out how to profit from your passion – the key to making it remains the same:

You have to find people willing to pay you for your product or service.

In other words – you need customers or clients. That’s the obvious part.

Precisely because it IS so obvious, a lot of people make the mistake of thinking in terms of only the most obvious customer or client.

That’s a huge mistake. Because…

If You Really Want to Profit From Your Passion, You Have To Go Beyond The Most Obvious Client or Customer

Let’s look at how taking an unconventional path enabled these three people to profit from their passions.

A photographer who loves photographing babies but couldn’t get enough babies in the pipeline to make it sustainable.

Photographer at work with newborn baby boy

He never knew where his next client was going to come from.

He’s now the photographer for the maternity ward at a huge hospital in New York City. So he’s there to capture all the moments surrounding many of the births in that hospital.

It’s a win for the hospital because it gives expecting parents yet another reason to have their babies with them as opposed to a different hospital.

And he gets more work coming in than he could possibly drum up for himself.

Another great example…

A health coach who was tired of trying to convince individuals to sign up as clients who didn’t always understand the value she provided.

Then she noticed that one of her friends from the C-suite in a big company was stressed beyond belief, exhausted, and wasn’t eating well. It gave her an idea…

Employee Benefits placard isolated on white

Today, she has contracts with big corporations where she goes in, assesses all the employees in the C-suite, and develops a meal plan for the company chef.

If the company doesn’t have a chef, she creates individual meal plans and sits down with each executive’s assistant to help them support their boss.

She’s just returned from Paris doing this for a company. Before that, she was in Singapore.

Yet another example…

A LinkedIn expert who works with people on optimizing their profiles and upping their visibility.

One day, she realized that companies are now doing LinkedIn pages.

But there was a big disconnect between what the company put out versus what their C-suite executives put on their own profiles.

Ostersund, Sweden - August 1, 2015: Linkedin website under a magnifying glass. Linkedin is a business oriented social networking website.

Now, she goes into a company and handles its page, along with all the profiles of its C-level execs. So the company representation is consistent across the board.

In other words, what if you expanded your thinking from selling strictly business to consumer, and explored ways to sell business to business – aka “B2B.”

If you have no idea how to get a corporate contract – or maybe, you see corporations the same way I once did… as big huge mysterious places totally outside of your realm of experience or comfort zone – don’t worry.

Anyone Can Land a Big Contract – IF You Know How

According to Inc. magazine, companies spent 2 trillion dollars last year on outside vendors.

All you have to do to get a piece of these contracts is to package your services and expertise (the exact services and expertise you already have) in a way that shows a corporate decision maker that YOU have their solution.

Don’t worry if you have no clue how to do that.

Because in just a few days, my friend and colleague Belinda Pruyne is going to peel back the curtains and explain all of the above during a free online presentation…Belinda

BIG Corporate Connections. BIG Contracts. BIG Cash

3 Keys to Snag BIG Corporate Gigs With The Matching Paychecks
(Even if you don’t know the first thing about the corporate world)
Tuesday, March 22nd at 1 PM EST US
Go to BigCorporateConnections.info now to save your free spot.

Before she took the leap to self-employment, Belinda spent years as a corporate executive herself.

So she knows first-hand that when you’re pursuing BIG (or any!) corporate contracts – there’s 3 things you absolutely need to know…

#1 What you can offer corporate that they’re willing to pay for

Trust me – you DO have something they want. You just have to find it + know how to package it.

#2 The RIGHT way to “get past the gatekeeper”

Doing this the wrong way can ruin your chances of ever getting through to the decision maker.

#3 How to speak with decision makers in a way that’s relevant to them

Anyone can learn how to do this, even if you’ve never worked in corporate yourself and “don’t speak the language.”

Register for this free webinar at BigCorporateConnections.info

Because in this powerful 1-hour event, Belinda is going to show you…

  • How to turn YOUR expertise & services into compelling offers for corporationswithout having to twist yourself or conform your beliefs to “fit in.”
  • The #1 secret to “get past the gatekeeper.” (Belinda has a brilliant example of how one outside vendor actually got past her own secretary back when Belinda used to hire outside vendors for her company.)
  • How to get decision makers to pay attention + take you seriouslyeven if you have no experience working in corporate yourself!
  • The BIGGEST thing you need to know about corporate decision makers BEFORE you try to connect.

… And more!

Ready to get some of Belinda’s insider secrets on landing BIG corporate contracts?

Go to BigCorporateConnections.info to reserve your seat for Belinda’s online presentation Tuesday, March 22nd at 1 PM EST.

And see for yourself how landing a single corporate contract could change everything.

P.S. Belinda used to be one of the corporate decision makers who hired outside help.

But now she’s a small business owner that lands corporate contracts of her own.

Because she’s been on both sides of the fence Belinda has a unique advantage when it comes to helping other small business owners and service providers do it too.

If you’re at all curious about the world of corporate contracts, I highly recommend you listen in to what Belinda has to say next Tuesday, March 22nd at 1 PM EST.

RSVP at BigCorporateConnections.info now.


The Shockingly Simple Thing These People Did to Made Their Wildest Dreams Come True

Each of the three people you’re about to meet used a remarkably similar technique to achieve their wildest dreams.

This technique costs nothing to use.

And it takes no more than a few minutes a day to do.

In fact, you’ll be able to use this technique for yourself immediately after finishing this article.

All you have to do is take out a piece of paper and a pen right now. Trust me –you’ll be glad you did.

The Lou Holtz Technique

Lou Holtz is one of college football’s winningest coaches of all time.

He has coached teams at the Universities of Minnesota, South Carolina and Arkansas.

But he’s most associated with a long string of victories and championships at Notre Dame.

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 24: Manti Te'o #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the NCAA Football game against the USC Trojans on November 24, 2012 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In his book, Winning Everyday: The Game Plan for Success, Holtz describes a turning point in his life.

In 1966 his wife was eight months pregnant with their third child, and they’d just used every cent of their savings for a down payment on a house.

Holtz was an assistant coach at the University of South Carolina when he lost his job.

After being unemployed for over a month, he described his savings account as being down to four figures: $10.95.

It was a difficult time for Lou.

His wife took a job as an X-ray technician to keep food on the table while he looked for another coaching job.

She also bought him The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz.

In his chapter on goals, Schwartz says if you’re bored with your life, it’s probably because you have forgotten your dreams.

He encouraged readers to get back in touch with their dreams by making a list of everything they had ever wanted to accomplish.

Lou divided his list into five categories of things he wanted to accomplish:

  • as a husband and father
  • spiritually
  • professionally
  • financially
  • simply for excitement

It was this last category, “simply for excitement,” where he let his imagination run wild.

He wanted to do things like land a jet fighter on an aircraft carrier, jump out of an airplane and go on an African safari.

Also on his bucket list were things like…

  • attend a White House dinner with the President
  • meet the Pope
  • be a guest on the Tonight Show with then-host Johnny Carson
  • be the head coach at Notre Dame

South facade and South lawn of the White House in Washington DC in spring colors

Pretty lofty stuff when you consider Holtz was not the least bit famous at the time.

Over the years Holtz chipped away at his goals. And today he and his wife have achieved 102 of the original 107 goals – including the big ones!

The Scott Adams Approach

Former cubicle dweller Scott Adams is the creator of the enormously popular Dilbert cartoon.

The syndicated cartoon lampoons the corporate world and inept “pointy-headed” bosses.

Well before Adams made it big he’d read about a technique that also involved committing goals to writing.

But unlike Holtz’s lengthy bucket list, this one focused on one goal at a time.

First you visualize the outcome you want. Then you write it down fifteen times in a row every day until it happens.

It worked for Adams in the stock market and again when he passed his graduate school qualifying exam at the exact percentile he wrote down (94th).

Then There’s Me

I heard about Adams’ technique in 1998.

At that point I’d been publishing the Changing Course Newsletter for three years. I was making steady progress. But hardly enough to support me.

Fortunately, a couple of local newspapers profiled the newsletter as did the more far-reaching Boston Globe.

But I was shooting higher.

So I decided to give Adams’ technique a whirl.

Mimicking his exact phrasing, I wrote:

“I, Valerie Young, am going to be in The Wall Street Journal.”

Within weeks two reporters called me. Where do you think they were both from?

Yup. The Wall Street Journal!

Bangkok Thailand APRIL 20 2014: Photo of The Wall Street Journal Monitor homepage on a monitor screen through a magnifying glass.

 

I’m honored to say I did get into the WSJ. There was just one “tiny” problem…

The reporter never mentioned my newsletter!

That’s when I remembered something Lily Tomlin’s bag lady character said in Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe:

“When I was growing up I always wanted to be someone. Now I realize I should have been more specific.”

So the next time I got specific writing 15 times a day: “The Changing Course newsletter will be in The Wall Street Journal.”

Guess what?!

A year later Work & Family columnist Sue Shellenberger once again interviewed me for an article titled, The Tomorrow Trap: You Can’t Postpone Life. (Although Sue wrote this article 17 years ago, its message about not deferring our dreams is as apt now as it was then.)

My point is — Adam’s technique worked!

Why It Works 

There is nothing mystical or magical about writing down your goals.

The technique works, in part, because the process of committing something to writing makes it feel real – and therefore doable.

A phenomenon Adams spoke to in his best-selling book The Dilbert Future:

I used the affirmations again many times, each time with unlikely success. So much so that by 1988, when I decided I wanted to become a famous syndicated cartoonist, it actually felt like a modest goal.

The odds of becoming a successful syndicated cartoonist are about 10,000 to 1. I knew the odds, but figured they didn’t apply to me.

When I submitted my samples by mail to the major cartoon syndicates, I had a feeling of being exactly where I needed to be and doing exactly what I needed to do. I never once doubted it would work out the way it has.

Writing down his goals had a similar confidence-building effect on Lou Holtz.

Concept of woman hands with pen writing on notebook

So much so that before signing a coaching contract at the University of Minnesota, Holtz insisted on a clause that would allow him to leave at any time if offered the head coaching job at Notre Dame.

That day came two years later.

“From the moment we made that list,” says Holtz, “we became participants rather than spectators in life.”

Writing down your goals can definitely put you on the path to achieving them.

Unfortunately, you may still struggle with those inner voices that say things like…

“I don’t know enough.”

“I have no experience.”

And of course, “Who do you think you are?”

If confidence is holding you back, I’m working on a new program called 5 Weeks to Confidence for people just like you.

The program won’t be ready for a month or so… but if you want a heads up when it’s open, click below and I’ll give you a shout.

5WeeksButtonv2

We’ll talk about the action part of goal setting in another post.

For now I invite you to stop right now to think about a present goal.

Next get out your paper and pen and fill in the blanks:  “I, [name], am going to [goal]”?

Then every day, write it another 14 times until it happens.

For some instant accountability — why not post it here?

Who knows… a fellow Changing Course reader just may be able to help!

 


What the Lobster Man Can Teach You About Changing Course

In the 16th century Francis Bacon defined a wise man as one who “makes more opportunities than he finds.”

He could have been describing Dan Zawacki… aka the lobster man.

photo of a whole red lobster isolated on white background

The Chicago-based sales rep for Honeywell was tired of the same old holiday gift ideas for customers.

So he came up with the idea of giving each one a live lobster along with a stick of butter.

But Dan had a lot of customers and lobster is pricey. So he arranged a barter with a lobster fisherman in Maine.

When the lobsters arrived, he added a stick of butter and personally delivered boxes to his customer.

Dan was so bowled over by the response that he decided to open a small side business shipping live lobsters complete with pot, crackers, butter and bibs to crustacean-lovers coast-to-coast.

In the beginning, Dan worked out of his bedroom, storing his lobsters in a used tank in his father’s garage.

The first year he netted only $4,000.

Then one day his boss heard Dan pitching Lobster Gram, Inc. on a local radio station and promptly fired him.

I first wrote about Dan back in 1997. At that point he was a decade into his business and doing well.

Fast forward another decade and a half and Dan is doing very well!

In 2006 Lobster Gram opened an 18,000 square foot distribution center in Biddeford, Maine.

Five years later they opened a store in Chicagoland to serve the local lobster, steak and seafood lover market.

Closeup of delicious grilled lobster tails served with asparagus and bearnaise sauce

His company counts Macy Gray, Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman among their famous clientele. Fans who likely heard about Lobster Gram the same way I did – in the media.

The company has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC as well as in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Oprah’s “O” magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Readers Digest, TIME, Men’s Health, USA Today, and many more.

But it was a chance encounter with QVC buyers in New York that put Lobster Gram into the national spotlight in a big way. Today they’re one of QVC’s hottest products airing some 60-70 times a year.

The last sales numbers I could find were from 2007. At that point Lobster Gram’s revenue was a cool $12 million.

Maybe you’re not looking to make millions.

But if you want to create a livelihood that allows you to live and work on your own terms, then Dan’s example has much to teach you.

7 Immediately Usable Lessons from the Lobster Man

1. Pay attention

Creative ways to make money are all around you. Click To Tweet

Most people just aren’t paying enough attention to even notice them.

Dan saw his Honeywell customers’ reaction to their unique gift as the opportunity it was.

What About You?

Are you consistently paying attention to income generating opportunities.

If not, make a list right now of the kinds of things people around you — friends, family, co-workers — complain about, worry about, or get excited about?

Once you find a good example, ask yourself how could someone (it doesn’t have to be you) turn that into a small profit center or a full-scale small business?

Blueprint of bulb lamp. Stylized vector illustration.

2. Keep your current job — or get a new one

Seeing an opportunity is one thing – acting on it is quite another. The question of course, is how. Click To Tweet

Realistically, most people can’t afford to just quit their job to start a business. Which is why Dan kept his day job until he was forced out.

If you also need that paycheck take my friend Suzanne Evan’s suggestion and think of your job as your business loan.

Note: If you log 50+ hours a week, waste hours on a long commute, or work in a toxic environment, before you launch any business, you may need to first turn your attention to finding a new “business loan.”

What About You?

Is your goal of a better future worth toughing it out for a while at your j-o-b aka your “business loan”?

If your current situation allows no time to work on your business are you willing to look for a new job even if it means a reduction in pay?

3. Bootstrap

Just because he had a good sales job doesn’t mean Dan spent a bunch of money on his business right out of the gate.

Instead, he worked with what he had using his bedroom as his office and his dad’s garage as his warehouse.

He bought his initial lobster tank used.

And remember, he bartered for those initial gift lobsters!

What About You?

Are there things like office equipment, inventory, how-to books you can buy used?

Is there garden, studio, office or other space you can barter for? What about services like web design, proof-reading, or copy writing?

4. Treat your profit center like a business

From the beginning Dan regarded Lobster Gram as a business.

After all, look at all the media coverage he got.

People who see their passion or their idea as a business do things like create a PR plan. For Dan that didn’t mean hiring a pricey PR agency.

Instead, I’m guessing Dan did the same thing I did initially to get my own business into these and many more publications in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Brazil…

2013 media

He sent press releases and followed up with phone calls.

If you currently have a small or even a side business, start small by pitching to local daily, monthly, or even monthly publications. Check out local radio too.

The great thing about PR is once you get that initial press, reporters, freelancers, and producers start coming to you.

In the last two weeks alone I was interviewed by Redbook and  interviewed as part of a 30 minute BBC documentary.

But none of these things would have happened for Dan or me if we hadn’t treated our profit center like our business and not our hobby.

What About You?

If you already have a small business — or even a solid idea for one — have you thought about, never mind, done a business, PR, and marketing plan?

What would you do differently if you treated your work as a serious business rather than a hobby?

5. Be realistic about the money

Dan didn’t expect his business to replace his salary right away.

To the contrary, the fact that he made any money served as proof of concept. Proof that had to soften the blow when Dan was fired.

moneyAfter all, if he could make $4,000 working his business part-time then he could make a lot more by going at it full-time.

It took me a decade to replace my corporate salary. Looking back there are things I could have done to earn get there quicker. (Like this next lesson.)

But still, like Dan, I didn’t start my business expecting to replace my corporate salary after just a year or two… and neither should you.

What About You?

Would you keep going if your business only brought in a few thousand the first year seeing it as a sign that you’re on the right track?

What about the second – or the fifth year? If yes, have you determined the threshold you need to hit before you quit your j-o-b to grow the business full time?

6. Hustle then hire

Dan started Lobster Gram while still employed at his job-job.

It’s not easy running a business nights and weekends. (Trust me I know!)

But Dan wanted to make a go of selling lobster tails, so he was willing to work his own tail off to make it happen.

Like most small business owners, Dan started out as a one-man show.

It was only once Lobster Gram got too big to handle that he brought on employees.

You’re not going to afford to hire help right away. It took me ten years before I felt comfortable enough to bring Lisa on – and even that was scary.

Looking back, I wish I’d done it a lot sooner.

What About You?

Even if you don’t want to manage people, can you outsource things like bookkeeping, website upkeep, and/or administrative tasks?

(To be clear, if you imagine outsourcing to mean hiring other people so you just pop your head in now and then to check on things – review all of the above.)

7. Do the thing that scares you

In an interview Dan said he really nervous on his first live QVC show.

Being on live TV in front of millions of viewers would make anyone nervous.

Dan went on TV anyway.

Maybe it was the fact that he made 600 sales in six minutes… but after that Dan said he “got the TV bug.”

If you’re scared to put your work out to potential clients or customers or are afraid of rejection or public speaking, all I can say is…

Join the club.

Everyone has fears and insecurities – no matter how experienced.

Comic high angle portrait of a middle-aged businessman with a scared fearful expression raising his fists to his face as though beseeching help, isolated on white

I’ve been speaking on the topic of confidence for 30 years.

But in a few weeks I’ll be giving a talk to 300 people at a Silicon Valley networking event being held at Apple headquarters. (If you’re in the area, this is one of rare talks that’s open to the public!)

Am I nervous? It’s freakin’ Apple – so you bet I am!

But I also know that the solution is not to wait until you’re no longer afraid.

Instead you need to act despite your fear, prepare like heck, and know that even if you fall flat on your face you’ll at least have information you need to regroup, adjust, improve or tweak… and then try again.

(If lack of confidence is among your top 3 challenges, you may like to know I’m working on a new program called 5 Weeks to Confidence. Stay tuned for details.)

What About You?

In what ways does self-doubt hold you back?

Instead of asking ‘What would I do if money were no object?’ ask, ‘What would I do if confidence were not a factor?’

The Bottom Line

All business owners experience setbacks and made missteps along the way.

There are moments of uncertainty or self-doubt… times when sales slow and money is tight. It happens.

At the same time, going from having a boss to being your own boss is a lot less complicated then people make it out to be.

Fundamentally, changing course comes down to the 7 simple things Dan did.

If Dan can do it, so can you.


Super Simple Ways to Test Your Idea

You have a great idea for a small business. Or for a workshop or a book or a website.

Now what?

Contrary to what you might think, the next step isn’t to dive into the deep end of the pool.

After all, there’s a reason why I named my business ChangingCourse.com and not Jump-Off-a-Cliff.com.

Fear aside, jumping in without adequate information is just… well… dumb.

Especially when there are simple ways to test the waters. Here are four ways to do just that.

Do small product tests

Sometimes the thing you need to test is the idea itself.

Which is exactly what cycling enthusiast Robin Bylenga did – to great success.

When the single mother of three was laid off from her job at L’Oreal she took a job at a local bike shop.

It was there Robin got the idea to create a bike shopping experience aimed at the female market.

To test the concept, she bought $5oo of women’s biking apparel to sell at a local race.

When she turned that into $1,500 in sales Robin knew she was on to something.

Closeup of three bright colored city urban woman bikes tires row outdoors in the park

Today Robin is the owner of Pedal Chic with stores in Nashville, Tennessee and Greenville, South Carolina.

The same advice applies in other markets. For instance, want to go into import export?

Experienced importers will tell you not to invest in a cargo container full of inventory before you know how it will sell.

Instead return home with just enough to fill a couple of suitcases to test both products and price.

Take advantage of free market research

Even when you know a specific business is viable, you still need to test it in the marketplace.

And you can do it without spending a dime.

For example, in the late 70s I launched a line of humorous greeting cards.

In addition to selling locally, I got them into bookstores in New York City, San Francisco, Hartford, Conn., and Provincetown, Mass.

But before I invested thousands in printing, I created a feedback form and had friends rank each idea on a scale of 1-5.

Awesome added on top of a customer evaluation form with red pen ** Note: Shallow depth of field

Even if someone loved a given card, I always asked the question: How can I make it even better?

Social media didn’t exist back then. Today you can easily poll your Facebook pals.

You don’t have scores of available friends on or off-line to get free input. I do it all the time!

Say you want to run workshops or write a book…

Or you’re can’t decide on a domain name.

Just do what I do and turn to the person sitting next to you on a plane, train, bus, café – wherever – and ask them.

When I do this, it sounds like this:

Excuse me, can I get a quick opinion on something?

(Who doesn’t want to give their opinion! Especially when it’s quick!)

If you saw these three headlines/book titles/business names on a magazine cover or online – which would you pick/click on?

If a majority of people choose one over the other – go with it.

Work for someone else in a similar business

You could start a sports camp or launch a clothing line and figure it out as you go.

Or you could first get a job working at a sports camp or for a clothing designer.

Working in a similar business offers an invaluable insiders perspective.

Best of all, if you do decide to go out on your own, you just got paid to learn!

That’s what long time Changing Course reader Kristi Kelley did.

Here’s how Kristi says working for someone else rapidly accelerated her entrepreneurial journey:

In 2013 I quit my corporate job and went to work for a local, very well respected floral and events company here in Dallas.

I started as a contract employee helping on a “as needed” basis in their wedding and events department.

After about 3 months, I got accepted into their floral design apprentice program which was supposed to last 12 weeks.

Then after 7 weeks they said I was ready and sent me to their retail shop as a designer there.

I worked at the shop for about 9 months before I quit on good terms to start my own business.

Colorful flowers isolated on a white background

Kristi was not asked to sign a non-compete clause. However, depending on the business, you may be asked to do so.

Today Kristi is the proud owner of Stem and Style.

She’s working from home, already has several regular corporate clients, and Kristi says she couldn’t be happier!

Volunteer

A few years ago I had a chance encounter Steve Curwood.

Steve is the host of an engaging environmental news and information program called Living on Earth heard on over 300 Public Radio International (PRI) stations.

Lone Wolf howling in cold winter environment. ** Note: Slight blurriness, best at smaller sizes

(Right now they show is featuring fascinating research on when wolves howl.)

I immediately had the same question you should have when you meet someone doing something unique or interesting– namely:

What does it take to [fill in the blank]?

Obviously, in this case I wanted to know how a person goes about getting a show on PRI?

Steve’s advice was simple:

Before you try to pitch an idea, first volunteer at your local station to learn first-hand how public radio works.

This same advice holds true for many situations.

You may not be able to volunteer full time.

But you can find time to volunteer if even for a few days or weeks – enough to understand how things really work from the inside.

Testing out your idea helps you answer all sorts of burning questions – like:

  • Will it work?
  • Will people pay me for it — and if so, how much?
  • If it does work, will I like doing it?
  • If so, what will it take to get where I want to go?

So, what are you waiting for? Test!

Add Your Two Cents With the Changing Course Tribe

Your thoughts mean a lot to me.

More importantly, what you have to say can help inspire the other 27,000 change seekers who’ve received this article.

So, what did you just learn or re-learn?

What thoughts, ideas, or experiences on this topic can you share with your fellow change seekers?

What’s one way you can use what you just learned to help you change course?

We’d love to hear from you!


Steve Harvey Wants You to Quit Your Job – Here’s Why

BURBANK - APR 26: Steve Harvey at the 42nd Daytime Emmy Awards Gala at Warner Bros. Studio on April 26, 2015 in Burbank, California

Steve Harvey has a lot to teach the world about working at what you love.

He knows even more about what it takes to do it.

If you don’t know Steve Harvey he’s a stand up comedian, turned actor, turned radio host, turned day-time TV show host, turned author.

What you may not know is how passionate he is about inspiring people like you to follow your bliss.

Or why Harvey thinks you need to quit your j-o-b in order to do it.

Or the one thing he says you should definitely count on happening once you do.

Click on the video to hear Harvey’s inspiring and surprising advice

Now that you’re all pumped up to, in Harvey’s words, “live in your gift…” I have some really bad news for some of you.

Sadly, Most People Will Never Jump

If you watched the video then you know Harvey says that once you jump, your parachute probably won’t open.

In fact, he says you can count on getting pretty banged up and bloodied along the way.

But that’s okay… because, like Harvey says, you’ll live through it.

For Harvey, surviving the jump comes down to faith in God.

You don’t have to be religious to understand that jumping requires a certain “leap of faith.”

But getting to live your gift jumping is about something else too.

Something contained in Harvey’s own backstory.

He grew up in West Virginia, the youngest of five children. His dad was a coal miner who would later die of black lung disease.

After college Harvey tried different paths.

He sold insurance, delivered mail, cleaned carpets, even took a shot at becoming a professional boxer before finally finding his calling in comedy.

So Harvey jumped into the highly competitive world of standup comedy.

And just like he said, his parachute didn’t open.

In fact, Harvey was homeless – for a very long time.

After a divorce he was sending most of his meager nightclub earnings back home to support his two kids.

Things were so tight that when a couple of gigs fell through Harvey suddenly found himself forced to live out of his 1976 Ford Tempo.

Reflecting on that time in a 2013 People magazine interview Harvey said:

“It was so disheartening. A week is really the maximum you can do. This was three years! It was rock bottom. But even in my darkest days, I had faith it would turn around.”

And turn it around he did. But not right away.

Harvey continued to try to make it as a standup, all the while being homeless.

His big break came when he got the gig hosting Showtime at the Apollo.

LOS ANGELES - MAY 13: Steve Harvey is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on May 13, 2013 in Los Angeles, California

From there he worked in a number of films before going on to star in a show that ran on the WB network from 1996 to 2002.

Harvey still hosts the weekday-morning radio show he began in 2000.

When he’s not being the newest face of the long-running TV gameshow Family Feud – a show that’s seen a ratings surge – Harvey is busy hosting his own day-time talk show.

Along the way, he’s racked up a pair of Emmy’s and scores of NAACP awards.

And if that weren’t enough, Harvey also wrote a best-selling dating advice book for women.

Clearly the man is a multi-talented go-getter whose faith has served him well.

At the same time though, Harvey was rewarded for that faith by being willing to make the sacrifices required to live in his gift.

He did it first by putting the welfare of his children above his own.

He did it again when he doggedly pursued his calling despite homelessness… a situation he endured for three long years.

Compare Harvey’s sacrifice with that required of another man with a dream.

“Joe” tells me he hates his job, knows he has gifts and interests, but doesn’t know how to make money doing.

Joe said he really wanted to be a part of my recent weekend long Work @ What You Love virtual workshop – but he couldn’t.

The problem?

Joe lives in the west coast so he’d have to be on the webinar at 7:30am. And as he put it, “That would suck because I like to sleep in on the weekends.”

The workshop sold out and if the evaluations are any indication… lives were changed that weekend. Sadly, Joe’s life was not one of them.

You don’t need to spend a single day living out of your car.

But are you willing to get up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later to go after your dream?

Are you willing to put down the remote control and take one small step each day to take control of your life?

If not, then I suggest you do as I told Joe: Stick with your j-o-b.

What about you? Do you truly want to experience the joy of being able to “live in your gift”?

If so, then I invite you to learn from Steve Harvey’s inspiring example… and jump.

To help you make a safe landing, I created a planning guide designed to help you LOOK before you leap.

10 Steps To Escaping The Job World

It’s called the 10 Steps to Escape the Job World and Create the Life You Really Want Personal Planning Guide.

This is an invaluable resource that helps you track your dreams, identify the exact steps you need to take, and make a concrete plan for creating the kind of balanced, satisfying life (and work) you deserve.

Your 127-page Personal Planner includes all sorts of useful tools for getting your new life off the ground – a Business Plan template, a Multiple Income Stream worksheet, a worksheet outlining the 10 different places to look for support so you can put together your personal Dream Team… and much, much more…

Click here to Learn More.

 


All Who Wander Are Not Lost

Do you know what you want?

I didn’t. In fact, in 1993 I was totally lost.

arrow

Back then I was commuting 90 miles a day to my corporate job.

I knew I needed a change… The problem was I had no idea what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” (Sound familiar?!)

Then I got one of life’s unwelcome wake up calls. My Mom passed away totally unexpectedly of a heart attack.

My mother was just 61 years old and a mere five months short of her much awaited retirement.

Perhaps you’ve had a wake call of your own.

A lay-off. Divorce. Serious medical diagnosis – yours or someone close to you. Or like me, losing someone you love.

For me it was the catalyst to take a job at a smaller company with a much shorter commute.

It took only a few months to realize that career-wise, I’d just traded deck chairs on the Titanic.

My new boss was a door slamming, table pounder with a short fuse. The VP of customer service referred to a new hire as “the colored girl” Seriously?!?

yeller

To be fair, I also worked with some wonderful people. And gratefully I was paid well.

I feel for people who work in a toxic environment and earn very little for their trouble.

Here’s what that experience taught me.

If being miserable was all it took to change course – the world would be full of empty cubicles and commuter traffic would cease to exist. Right?

Up until then I was hoping for the self-employment of Mr. or Ms. Job to fall in my lap.

That’s when I began to do something I now refer to as…
Purposeful Wandering

It’s one thing to be wandering aimlessly with no direction or roadmap.

It’s quite another to meander with the intention of gathering insight and information that can lead you to a specific destination.

At that particular moment I only knew things:

1) I desperately wanted to be my own boss and

2) Whatever I did for work, I wanted to be able to do it from home.

I just needed some kind of direction.

trees

I got it from when Parade magazine featured a story about an enormously successful newsletter called the Tightwad Gazette.

Amy Dacyczyn and her husband put the newsletter together to share the frugal tips that allowed them to raise six kids on a Navy pension and pay cash for their home and acreage in Maine.

Their millions of devoted readers learned ways to make your money go further by making things you use last longer. Things like cutting your scrubbing pads in half (great idea) and re-using your dental floss (uh, no thanks).

The newsletter ran from 1990 to 1996 and soon after became a series of best-selling books. It stopped because the couple made so much money – they no longer needed to live frugally or publish a newsletter!

That was my aha moment!

What if I created a newsletter for people who wanted the same thing I did?

A newsletter that offered ideas and information for people who also wanted to change course from having a boss to being their own boss.

Now that the ship pointed in the right direction it was a matter of figuring out how to get to my destination.

Keep in mind this was before the internet. Back when the way to learn things was to buy a book.

So I bought a book that listed resources for people who want to start a business.

That led me to a company that specialized in newsletters. So I mailed them a check for a cassette tape on how to start a newsletter.

From that recording, I learned about a company called the Newsletter Factory that offered day-long classes on how to launch a successful newsletter. So I was off to Boston.

I was still wandering… exploring… figuring things out. But I was far from lost. In fact, I’d never felt so alive.

Because now I was wandering with a purpose.

Purpose sign with sky background

The late comedian Jonathan Winters said, “If you’re ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.”

Being lost is draining. Having a clear direction is energizing. So stop waiting and start doing.

Head to your local bookstore and notice which section you gravitate to…

If you prefer to buy books online, go to Amazon and enter some key words that speak to your gifts or interests and see what pops up…

Check out the magazine rack at a large grocery or bookstore to see what catches your eye…

Pay attention to what television shows interest you…

These are all small things you can do to purposely wander in the direction of your dream.

What about you – do you have a direction?

If not, I invite you to take moment and post below one small thing you can do this week to purposefully wander closer to clarity?

If yes, what’s one small thing you can do this very day to get to your desired destination?


5 Simple Ways to Avoid Choosing the Wrong Career

Do you know what you love to do?

Claire does. I met her last week when I spoke to an auditorium full of students at the University of Oklahoma.

When I asked Claire about her career plans, this bright business manager said something I’ve heard from countless young people before…

“I love helping people so, I’d like to go into human resources.”

All I could think was, “Oh, honey — do you understand what HR is?”

Separating Fantasy from Reality

It’s one thing to know what you love to do.

It’s quite another to find the right match for actualizing that passion.

Woman HR manager at desk
Claire imaged herself sitting in her large private office eagerly helping interesting employees find interesting solutions to their interesting problems.

In reality Claire will spend the bulk of her time managing the “administrivia” of the employment world… hiring and firing… benefits and payroll… promotions and grievances.

Claire could have just as easily said she wanted to become an attorney or a pharmacist or a nurse and the fact would remain the same… most jobs look different from the outside.

Any kind of work has its highs and lows. Parts you love and parts you’ll find… less fun.

And, as my last post on running a bed & breakfast proved – it’s true for businesses too.

You May Find That a Depressing Thought – But It Should Be a Totally Liberating One

It’s why I devote an entire section in my workshop to freeing you from thetyranny of this (and three other) misconceptions that can keep you from experiencing the freedom of being your own boss.

I’m a huge fan of looking before you leap. Understanding the pros and cons helps you do just that. 

So here’s five super simple ways to stick your toe into the information pool.

Talk to people already doing what you love

Find out what they love – and don’t love – about their work.

Ask what a typical day is like?

Find out what they’d do differently if they had to do it all over again.

Never talk to just one person. There are negative Nellie’s and Ned’s in all professions, so always get a range of opinions.

Finally, make sure you talk to people who are actually successful in that business.

Read “how to” books  

Search Amazon for “how to start a landscaping business” or “how to start a pet treat business” and you’ll find dozens of books on these and hundreds of other small businesses.

Of course, not all books are found in bookstores.

After years of running a thriving home-based plant business Mike McGroarty wrote a manual to teach his system to others with a green thumb.

Not into reading an entire book? Then start with an article.

For example, here’s one I found for a client who was considering starting a food truck business.

Take a Class

Are you a foodie?

The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City offers short, less formal courses on how to do such topics as how write a cookbook, breaking into food writing, and how to be a food stylist/photographer.

There are classes on virtually every subject. Check with your local adult education program or do a search for schools specializing in your area of interest.

You never know what’s out there until you look.


Join an industry association

Professional or industry associations offer a host of opportunities to learn from and connect with people in your prospective line of work.

Everything from small newsletters to big glossy magazines. On-line seminars and self-paced classes. Local, regional meetings, and national conferences.

If, for instance, you’d been among the thousands of people from 20 countries who attended the last Romance Writers of America conference, then you’d could have learned from any number of the whopping 800 published authors in attendance. 



If you missed it, there’s still plenty of time to sign up for this year’s conference in beautiful San Diego where I’m honored to be delivering a keynote on confidence.

You don’t necessarily have to join an association to attend their events. You will of course, pay a higher non-member fee. But once there you may be able to join at a conference-goers discount.

To find an organization search [your interest] and [association]. If you want a local experience, add your state or province. 

Hang out with people who are already doing what they love 

There are lots of way to spend time with self-bossers – even if you’re not yet one yourself.

For instance, you don’t have to be an established inventor to join a local inventor group.

Groups like DCInventors.org in the Capital area also have a Google Group.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office has a list of networks by state. If you live in Canada see Enterprises Canada.

Remember… Small Steps Really Do Add Up

There are so many low cost, low effort ways to explore your passion.

For me it began when I sent a check for $39 for an audio cassette (remember those?!) on how to break into the newsletter business. That was over 20 years ago.

Since then the Changing Course newsletter has helped thousands of people just like you to live and work on their own terms.

The key is to just begin.

Imagine what it would be like if you could go from “wishing” you could work at what you love… to living the dream.

If you had someone to take you by the hand and guide you a step-by-step through a proven process.

What if in literally in a matter of hours you got answers to burning questions like…

How do I figure out what you love to do?

I know what I love to do, but how do I make money doing it?

Is there help for a “scanner” like me who’s paralyzed by the thought of having to choose just one gift or interest?

I have a great idea but where do I begin?

You can have all of this and more. It’s called… 

There are two ways you can show your dream some love this Valentine’s day weekend…

For an intimate online workshop experience — including live Q&As and brainstorming sessions — join me this weekend LIVE at the virtual Work @ What You Love workshop/retreat.

Or, act now to pre-order the recordings so you can take the Work @ What You Love workshop on your own schedule — your choice!

But don’t wait too long because registration ends Friday. 

See what past participants had to say at WorkatWhatYouLoveWorkshop.com

There’s never been a better – or a more affordable – time to start creating the life you really want.


The Biggest Regret of All May Surprise You

Regrets are an inevitable part of life. Fortunately not all regrets are created equal.

Some regrets are minor.

You regret buying those too tight shoes just because they were on sale….

Or picking up the phone as you were trying to leave the office….

Or ordering the fish when everyone in your party is raving about the pasta.

The good news?

Regrets like these (often referred to as “First World problems”) are ones we can learn from and hopefully, minimize the chance of repeating.

Utmost regrets, on the other hand, are more problematic because the consequences are so much bigger.

Utmost regrets, are also more difficult – and sadly, sometimes even impossible to reverse.

worryI’m referring to the kinds of things you’d absolutely hate to know would one day be etched on your headstone.

Vivian could have been a great writer, if she’d tried.

Sam could have changed a lot of lives, if he’d had the courage to act on his idea.

Ordering the fish is one thing. Bailing on your dream of helping unadoptable kids or entering a writing contest is quite another.

Elizabeth Berg learned a lot about dreams. However, she learned even more about regrets while working as a nurse with terminally ill people.

In an article titled, Dreams Are Not Enough, the award-winning novelist wrote movingly about how not pursuing our dreams may be the riskiest move of all.

It is a lesson she learned from those whose time had almost run out.

Those dying people I cared for believed, as most of us do, that they would have time for everything. So they put things off… Then suddenly their days were almost gone. They were out of the time they thought they would have forever. And while I bathed them, they stared out the window and talked about what they had missed. They might say, ‘I always wanted to see Hawaii, but… I don’t know. I never did.’ The sense of regret was so strong that we both ached. I wanted to lift those people up out of bed, put them in a wheelchair, and take them to the airport. ‘Hawaii, please,’ I wanted to tell the ticket agent.

Everyone has dreams, sadly far too often they get put on hold.

Asking, and then answering her own question, Berg writes:

“What happens to our dreams? They die of lack of nourishment, that’s what. ‘Later,’ we say, and when we turn around, they’re gone.”

The Worry Factor

According to many of the 1,200 elders who took part in Cornell University’s Legacy Project, there is a powerful link between regret about the past and worry in the present.

When asked what they most regret when they look back on their lives, the answer most often given was they wished they hadn’t worried so much.

The way 102-year-old Eleanor sees it,

You just can’t go on worrying all the time because it destroys you and your life, really…. You have to put it out of your mind as much as you can at the time. It’s a good idea to plan ahead if possible, but you can’t always do that because things don’t always happen the way you were hoping. So the most important thing is one day at a time.

And 87-year-old James Huang agrees…

Why? I ask myself. What possible difference did it make that I kept my mind on every little thing that might go wrong? When I realized that it made no difference at all, I experienced a freedom that’s hard to describe.

The thing that takes a lot of people by surprise is this.

regretnothingWe waste our lives worrying about the “unknown risks” that change can bring, when in reality we should be more scared of the known risk of spending the rest of lives in the same place we are today.

If we fail to at least try to create the life we really want, we risk making good on Benjamin Disraeli’s often quoted prediction that “most people die with their music still locked up inside them.”

The sudden loss of my mother at just 61 totally changed how I viewed time (we can choose how we use it), money (things work out), and life (it’s all too short).

I won’t lie. Walking away from a good job with good benefits was – and still is – not without risk.

Yet I knew that the real risk was looking back at my life and saying, “I was miserable; but at least I had a good dental plan.”

What Will You Most Regret?

Take a moment now to choose three things you would most regret not doing in your lifetime. Of these, which would be the biggest?

Now name one small thing you can do today – not tomorrow, not next week or next year, but today – to help prevent your biggest regret from occurring.

Finally, take a moment to post it either in the Facebook comment section, or scroll down for the general comments area. Just by putting your regret and your intention into words is itself a powerful first step!

And, if one of your three utmost regrets is spending your life in a soul-sucking job, I have good news.

As I write this, scores of your fellow change seekers from across the US, Canada, and Europe have signed on for the fast approaching Virtual Weekend Retreat.

WWL-MLWVirtual2015-Click2If you share the dream of finding your calling and a way to make money doing it in order to live a life where you get to calls the shots, then don’t worry…

You still have time to join us. The Early Bird 96% SAVINGS ends Wednesday February 3, 2016.

But don’t wait too long, because after that the price DOUBLES.

Spending twice as much money is not the worse regret in life. But wouldn’t it be nice to instead use the money you’ll save in the service of your dream?

Can’t Make the Dates?

No problem. You can still get access to the Work @ What You Love Roadmap.

For a limited time you can pre-order recordings of the entire 2-day workshop. That way you won’t miss a thing. Plus you can take the class on your own schedule and pace — and retake it as often as you like.

To make sure you get maximum value from the replay, you’ll still receive a complete set of the 30+ page Work @ What You Love handouts.

Whether you join us live or you take the Work @ What You Love workshop on your own schedule… remember this:

When you go to bed tonight, don’t worry about what will happen if you fail. If you must fret at all, worry about how much you have to lose if you never even try.


How to Live the B&B Life Without Owning One

When you work with as many change seekers as I do, you begin to see some common self-employment dreams.

One is the classic bed and breakfast fantasy.

When I ask these clients what they love about owning a B&B, they often say things like…

“I’d love to pick out furnishings and decorate all the rooms…”

Or, “I’d love to go out to the garden to pick fresh herbs for the cook to use in the special omelet of the day…”

Or, “I’d love to welcome and chat with all the interesting guests.”

Once the guests check out, my clients picture themselves sitting by the fireplace with a good book… or puttering in the perennial garden while the housekeepers tidy up.

Utter bliss.

There’s just one problem.

As many B&B owners have discovered, this familiar B&B fantasy turned out to be a nightmare when realized too late that they don’t have the capital to hire people to do the cooking, cleaning, and office work.

Instead they’ve become a combination cook/chamber maid/bookkeeper/front desk clerk!

To be clear: There are wonderful things about running a B & B.

If you’re a natural host who genuinely enjoys meeting new people and making them feel at home…

Or, if you love rising early to prepare a scrumptious breakfast, then go for it!

Still there are several ways you can get your feet wet without taking a financial soaking.

This first one is also perfect if you want to live the B&B owner lifestyle but have neither the funds or the desire to actually own one.

Become a B&B Sitter

Just as it sounds, sitters take over the day-to-day operations of established inns so the owners can go on vacation or otherwise get away.

Companies like Interiminnkeepers.net match B&B owners in the US with experienced relief workers.

Some like Jill Britt have run their own B&B in the past and are looking to channel their experience by offering sitting and other services including consulting with start-ups.

Others, like Kari and Rick Willis are retirees from other careers and up for a new adventure.

Take a Class

You don’t need to earn a four-year degree in hotel and restaurant management to learn how to run an inn.

Many B&B’s offer weekend workshops for aspiring inn-keepers and some owners do individual consulting.

No classes in your area? Then contact a local B&B and ask if they’d let you intern with them in exchange for some free staffing time once you’re trained.

Or for $125-$199 (slightly more for couples) BB Team offers one-day seminars as well as more intensive (and higher-priced) weekend training programs in Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Maine, and elsewhere.

If you’re ready to take the B&B plunge in a big way – or if like me, you just L-O-V-E looking at real estate – check out BB Team’s listings of fabulous B&Bs for sale. (For more affordable options, check the “lifestyle” box.)

Look, every line work, no matter how interesting it may be, will always have aspects that are less than glamorous. Mine included.

The key is to check out how wide the expanse between fantasy and reality really is, before you take the leap.

So what’s your fantasy business? Post it below.

Then keep your eyes out for the next issue when we explore other ways to test your idea before you change course!

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” George Elliott

Do you have a great idea but no clue how to make enough (or any) money doing it?

Or are you still trying to figure out what you want to be when you “grow up”?           


Then again, do you love so many things that you never seem to act on any of them?


If you answered yes to any of these questions, I invite you to join me and a community of like-minded souls from around the world to discover how you too can…

WWL-MLWVirtual2015-Click2

Click on the heart to learn how.


Did He Really Just Say That?!

Adapted from Yes You Can: The Inspirational Kick in the Pants You Need to Take Control of Your Life and Go After Your Dreams

As my nephew Jason prepared to begin his first year of college, his thoughts naturally turned to potential careers. “What would you really love to do?” I asked.

Jason thought for a moment before replying, “I’d just like to have a job I don’t hate too much.”

Did he really just say that?

After a little auntie-to-nephew pep talk about the importance of shooting higher than “one notch above misery,” we got to talking about his great love of baseball.

When I suggested he look into an internship at the minor league baseball stadium just 10 miles up the road, it was clear I’d tapped a Big Dream.

It takes not one ounce of energy more to dream big than it does to settle.

Settling is the emotional equivalent of idling at a red light.

doorfield

A Big Dream, though, is like soul fuel to your inner engine. A Big Dream jump-starts real change.

I received an email from a guy named Jerry Bennett – a 50-year-old airline employee who, in his words, “dreads” going to work.

His real life’s pleasure, is carpentry. Jerry writes…

“Whether it’s building a house, cabinets or whatever, I get lost in the project. I can sit for hours and watch [the PBS program] This Old House.”

Adding, “So many people are trapped in jobs they only tolerate. I guess the fear of failure is our biggest problem, I know it is mine.”

I could practically hear the sigh on the other end of the modem as Jerry ended with a wistful, “Wish I could get the courage to make the change.”

Something in Jerry’s message told me fear wasn’t the whole problem. Part of Jerry’s “stuckness” came from the fact that he was wishing rather than dreaming.

Wishing is passive.

We wish for things over which we are powerless.

We wish we’d win the lottery, that we were taller, that the waiter would hurry up.

Oftentimes wishes are tinged with regret as in, “I wish I’d…”

Dreaming is different.

Dreams are active. They invite possibilities. You can see a dream.

I have a dream

That’s why Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t say, “I have a wish.…” Dr. King knew that dreams are visual, positive – and contagious!

Jerry is pretty lucky really.

Lots of people don’t have the foggiest idea what it is they’d love to do. Here’s a guy who’s plugged into his passion and yet is letting something as natural – and manageable – as fear stand in the way of vocational heaven on earth.

The first thing I did was to remind Jerry of what he should really be afraid of, namely, spending the next 15 years dreading his work.

Next, I suggested some steps he might take to turn his passion into his livelihood like: teaching carpentry classes, writing a how-to-build-it column for the local newspaper, creating his own television segment featuring improvements he’s made to area homes (This Old Carpenter?).

None of these ideas would require Jerry to quit his full-time job right away. Each, however, has the potential to nudge his dream to the next level.

To my surprise, the idea that most intrigued Jerry was also the one most would consider to be a Big Dream – the local television show.

When he told me about a friend with a passion for video production who he could enlist to launch a joint venture, I knew Jerry just upgraded his wish to a dream.

“I am ready to start following my dreams…” he wrote. Adding, “I sure want to go out doing something I enjoy.”

That same week I had the pleasure of talking to a man with a wonderfully Big Dream. Lynn Johnson lives in his hometown of Erie, Penn.

His old neighborhood, he said, has changed a lot. What really concerns him is how few positive outlets there are for the young people there.

Lynn’s goal is to turn a boarded-up house into a multi-faceted arts program for kids.

street” complete with murals and community gardens.

As Lynn talked, a clear picture of a young people’s arts street came into view.

Girl Painting

My mind raced ahead to corporate sponsors from Mellon Bank to Burpee Seeds.

If Lynn could make me see his vision, he could make the corporate grantors see it too.

I even pictured Lynn proudly showing off his “arts street” on Oprah!

When he said he’d traveled to the capital to look into sources of state funding and has a friend who may go in with him on buying the house, I was hooked.

“If you really want this dream badly enough,” I told Lynn, “there is no doubt in my mind it will happen.”

By the long pause on other end I think he was a little taken aback by such a strong vote of confidence from a complete stranger.

But the reason I believed in Lynn was simple. It wasn’t just his passion for his community or his clear vision of how it might be different.

I believed that Lynn’s Big Dream would succeed because by taking action he’d set his dream in motion. And once a dream gets rolling it’s hard to stop.

What about your dream? Maybe all you really know is you need to make a change. That’s ok.

The important thing is to bump “make change” up a few notches and dream BIG.

Think big concept is on blue paper with a red marker aside.

If you dream of working at home, imagine doing it on an island or on a mountain top.

If you have multiple passions, picture being able to enjoy them all.

You may not get everything you want, but one thing is certain: you’ve got a lot more to lose by shooting low than you do by shooting high.

A year has come and gone. Next year will be here before we know it.

Where in your dream-building process do you want to be this time next year?

No further along?

Laying a foundation?

Living it fully?

If you opted for either of the last two options, expand your dream and reach for the stars.

Then, one day at a time, honor your dream with action.

12

WWL-Virtual2015-squareClick

Join Me This February For

A Powerful Virtual
Weekend Workshop

This is your chance to...

  • Discover your calling… so you can have the life you were meant to live

  • Learn the powerful secrets for how to get paid to do what you love – even if you’re a “scanner”

  • Step out of your routine and into your wildest dreams where you can get a new perspective on where you want to be this time next year

  • Learn from someone who built two six-figure businesses working from home what it really takes to live life on your own terms

  • Burst into Monday recharged, with the action plan you need to create the more balanced and rewarding lifestyle you’ve only dreamed of

Over the years, hundreds of freedom seekers just like you have attend the Work @ What You Love workshop. But not everyone was able to make it.

In the past, people have paid anywhere from $299 to $3,999 to attend one of my multi-day workshops – and that didn’t include the cost of travel!

That’s why one of my BIG dreams has been to offer an affordable option for anyone who didn’t have either the time or the money (or both) to attend a live event.

No Brainer

Technology to the rescue!

Now for a limited time, you can experience the contagious energy of attending a live 2-day Work @ What You Love webinar workshop – at 94% less than the cost of my high-end retreats!

In fact, the super low Early Bird price makes saying YES to your dream truly a “no brainer.”

Plus, register for Work @ What You Love in the next 72 hours – and you’ll receive a FREE gift!

Click here now to discover how easy it is to live life on purpose, work at what you love, and follow your own road.

 


How to Connect the Dots to A New Career — And Life

The quest to work at what you love is truly universal.

I’ve worked with clients from every continent except Antarctica.

Change seekers hail from many countries and cultures.

Some know what they love to do… others have no clue.

In the end though, they all want the same thing as you and me. Namely…

To live life on your own terms… doing work you enjoy.

Last week I worked with a client named “Jane.”

Jane has multiple gifts and passions, among them… re-purposing old furniture, history, singing, and writing.

So called “scanners” – a term Barbara Sher coined to describe people who have so many interests they have trouble picking just one – are my specialty.

However, whereas traditional career advisors are interested in things like skills assessments, resumes, and job searches — I only work with people who want to do their own thing.

If Changing Course were an equation, it would look like this…

Discover What You Love to Do
+
See Ways to Make Money Doing It
= Freedom, Control, Flexibility

It all comes down to being able to connect the dots.

For example, last week, I worked with a fascinating client from Europe.

“Angela” was a burned out corporate sales rep. Today she is on a quest to recreate her life.

As background — Angela grew up in Sweden (where she still owns a home) and also owns a home in Barcelona.

She also travels frequently to Bangkok (she is a fascinating combination of half Croatian and half Thai) and is getting ready to relocate to Rome.

Angela’s interests are as varied as her travels.

But her core passion is one lots of other change seekers can relate to… FOOD!

cookingWhat about you…

Do you love to cook or bake?

Are you bothered by the unhealthy eating habits driving growth in obesity among kids?

Do you love community building?

Or maybe you just love eating great food!

The Business Idea Generators here at Changing Course have uncovered three cool ways that you – or someone you know — can profit from your passion.

Along with these, I’m also going to share the key resource I shared with Angela that may well turn out to be a game changer for her, and you!

But before we get to these, there’s one thing you and every other change seeker needs to know.

If you’re waiting to change course until you come up with some groundbreaking idea no one has ever thought of before, then my friend you you’re missing the opportunity boat.

More importantly, you’re missing your chance to experience the freedom and flexibility that comes with being your own boss.

What you really should do is to build on proven ideas.

Here are 3 food-related businesses you can use as a jumping off point to do just that.

The first two ideas build on billion dollar businesses like Airbnb and Uber which have already more than proven the sharing economy is booming.

1) Share Your Meal – for Money

We all know someone who is a fabulous cook.

It could be a relative… a friend… a neighbor… a co-worker…

So fabulous that you’ve wished you could pay that person to share some of that fabulous cooking with you.

Personal chefs have been around for a while now. However, not everyone can afford to pay upwards of $500 a week for meals.

Enter ShareYourMeal.net.

The site matches people who love to cook with people in their own community who love home cooked meals – but who prefer to leave the preparation to someone else.

making-food-982410_1920The company originated in the Netherlands. But they’re starting to make small inroads in the US, Canada, and elsewhere in Europe.

(Click on the language link at the top left of the Share Your Meal page for other locations.)

And that presents a money-making opportunity for anyone with the passion and skills to create some extra meals that others would gladly pay for.

And if you’re interested in the broader concept of the sharing economy, check out this informative TedX Talk by Share Your Meal founder Marieke Hart.

The Netherlands gave birth to another related idea…

2) Organize A Pop-Up Restaurant

restaurant-738788_1920

Springwise featured a cool a pop-up restaurant in Amsterdam where the organizers brought together a variety of home-based cooks to create meals for diners.

For one weekend the cooks registered with Share Your Meals and served up a variety of three course meals made right in their own kitchens.

Then the restaurant collaborated with a local bicycle courier service to get the meals to the pop-up location.

Clearly, this idea works much better in an urban area – especially the bike part.

But if you love organizing events, fundraisers or otherwise building community, a pop up restaurant with local cooks is a great idea!

Or you could build on it by organizing a collaboration between three local restaurants with each showcasing their signature course.

Alternatively, you could use the same pop up model to promote people who make and sell locally sourced foods – pickles, specialty chocolates, organic beef, and the like.

For food lovers and makers, it’s a win-win!

3) Offer Cooking Classes for Kids

Out of New Zealand comes Little Cooks, a company that offers on-site (schools, birthday parties, etc.) cooking classes for kids.

Founded by Rebecca (Bex) Woolfall and Suzi Tait-Bradley, the friends wanted to find a way to both teach kids about nutrition and as well as how they themselves could create yummy meals.

kid cookingThe kids have a ball cooking.

(What’s not to love about making “fruit hogs” or “piggy pasta”?!)

The driving force for these two enterprising entrepreneurs is giving kids the knowledge and tools to be able to make healthy food choices in the future.

And if you think you need to be a professionally trained chef to run cooking classes, think again.

Before escaping the corporate world, Bex was a marketing exec.

And while she did earn a teaching degree and taught some cooking and baking classes at school, Suzi’s more recent professional experience is leading a Brownie troop.

But perhaps her best “qualification” was an unfortunate diagnosis with Coeliac disease.

An experience that led Suzi to take a closer look at how diet affects health… and then an opportunity to birth a business to help others to do the same.

Game Changer

The moment I turned Angela on to mega Specialty Food show happening this January in San Francisco, she knew she had to be there.

Described as…

…the largest specialty food trade event on the West Coast and a showcase of industry innovation, bringing specialty food’s top manufacturers, buyers, and thought leaders together under one roof for three days of delectable discovery, January 17-19. 2016 will feature more than 80,000 products, 19,000 buyers, and 1,400 exhibitors!

(If you can’t make this one, the East Coast event happens in New York City in June.)

The great thing is you don’t need to even have a specialty food product to benefit.

The show offers three days of educational programming for people at all levels from curious explorer, to budding beginner, to seasoned entrepreneurs.

With this much exposure, contacts, and education/information I have zero doubt in my mind that for Angela, this event is going to be the game changer that will allow her to create the life she really wants.

What About You?

There are endless ways to profit from your passions.

Regardless of where your interests lie, you absolutely must break out of the trap of thinking, “I have to think up something totally new and unique before I can begin.”

The smarter thinking is – where can I find proven ideas I can build on?

Then go do it.

Still Don’t Know What You Want to Be When You “Grow Up”?

YES/NO I want to do work I love, but I’m not sure what that is anymore

YES/NO I know what I love to do, but I have no clue how to make money doing it

YES/NO I know what I love to do, but worry I can’t make enough money doing it

YES/NO I have a great idea, but I don’t know where to begin Sadly, most people spend years – even decades – trying to figure these things out on your own. When in reality…

All You Really Need Is Someone to Show You The Way

I’ve helped people just like you discover creative ways you can turn your interests into actionable income for two decades now.

I’d never describe myself as “psychic.”

But I am highly intuitive.

That means if you and I were talking about your answers to the questions above… there’s an excellent chance my mind would form a picture of you engaged in a certain kind of work.

Work that pays the bills… and feeds your soul.

Simply said, I have a gift for seeing creative ways you can make money without a j-o-b to.

And for a limited time you have the chance to put my special gift to work for you.

I’m getting ready to open up my new 8-Weeks to Work You Love 1-1 coaching program.

Since it is a new program, I’m going to offer a substantial discount.

To learn and to see if 8-Weeks to Work You Love is right for you call 413-203-9754.

I’ve got some speaking engagements this week – so if you reach my voicemail be sure to leave 3 things:

  1. Your name (naturally!)
  2. The best number and reach you (Outside North America – leave your Skype ID)
  3. The best times to reach you this week

I promise to return your call within 24 hours.

Then together, we’ll discover if this is the right time for you to create the life you really want.

And remember, if you could have figured it out on your own by now… you would have.


bathroom, toilet, tub, sink, room

Thanksgiving in the Bathroom?!

A Cautionary Tale… And My Thanksgiving Gift to You

One of the best things about Thanksgiving is spending time with family.

However… if your dream is to quit your soul-sucking job to be your own boss… then spending time with family can also be a dream killer

After all, who are the least likely people to support your dream? 

The people who love you the most, right? 

Why? 

Because they love you.

Which means they want you to be safe

So when you start talking about shaking things up by leaving your job to follow your dream of… 

Sculpting one of a kind caricature cake toppers like my client Leslie… 

Or getting paid to care for other people’s pets in your home like a dog-lover named Maricruz does… 

Or taking steps to become a well-paid keynote speaker like my friend Bob is doing… 

Or basically anything that involves breaking out of the employee pack to do your own thing… 

That kind of talk scares the stuffing out of people who’ve spent their entire lives working for someone else. 

Just ask poor Karen.

Five years ago the aspiring self-bosser wrote to say she spent much of her holiday break hiding out in her in-laws’ bathroom.

Retelling Karen’s story has become somewhat of a Thanksgiving tradition here at Changing Course.


So as you prepare to spend time with your own family and friends, I’d like to once again share Karen’s story as both a cautionary tale – and as an inspiring example of how you can enjoy your family and grow your dream at the same time.

The story begins with an important reminder to anyone looking to escape the job box..
.

Never Discuss Your Dreams With People Who Have Forgotten Their Own 

It was a lesson Karen forgot when she announced over turkey that she’d been thinking of quitting her job to strike on her own .

Not surprisingly, Karen spent the next three days listening to a bunch of discouraging relatives explain why that her plan would never work…   

“Too much competition.” 

“You don’t have enough experience.” 

And the biggest myth of all… “Most new businesses fail.” 

Keep in mind that none of Karen’s in-laws have ever run a business themselves. 

But, when it comes to self-employment, “little things” like accurate information or any actual business experience never stopped anyone – and especially family – from offering uninformed advice. 

At heart of all this discouragement is the message…

What do you mean? You have a good job! You want to be happy too?!”
 

It’s a message I heard for two years before I finally walked away from my corporate job with the 90-mile-a-day commute to create the life I really want. 

To hear the gurus tell it, the solution is simple. Just purge these negative people from your life.

This is Where the “Gurus” Are Flat Out Wrong

The thing is… I loved my grandmother.  

My grandmother was not a negative person.

It’s just that she lived in the same house for most of her 92 years and she worked as a housekeeper for a local doctor and his family for some six decades. 

Simply said, my grandmother did not like change.

So rather than try to change my grandmother, I instead stuck to safe topics like the price of gas… or the weather…

That way my grandmother didn’t have to worry about me and I didn’t have to defend my dream. 

However, Karen taught me that there’s another way to handle discouraging relatives at the holidays

One that can advance your dream at the same time.

Karen’s Brilliant Idea for Keeping Her Dream Alive 

Like me, Karen was not willing to disown her relatives.

But she was also determined to not go through another holiday like the last one.

Instead she came up with a “unique” strategy for getting through the long Thanksgiving weekend at the in-laws. 

Before leaving town Karen downloaded some of the audios from the “Making Dreams Happen” program to take with her. 

That way during the long drive to and from her in-laws… the endless televised football games… even stolen time behind the bathroom door… 

Karen could listen to powerful reminders that dreams do indeed happen. And so does yours. 
 

All you need is someone to show you the way. 

There’s Nothing Else Like It — Anywhere 

Of course you can listen to anything that supports your dream.

I’m humbled to say Karen decided to grab as many inspiring moments as she could (even bathroom time) listening in as Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter and me layed out our unique strategies for finding and following your bliss. 

Making Dreams Happen is the ONLY audio program of its kind that brings together not one, not two, but three internationally-recognized career and life change experts… 
.

Making Dreams Happen is the ONLY audio program that features not one, not two, but three internationally-recognized career and life change experts…


Best-selling author and Oprah guest Barbara Sher best known for books like “Wishcraft” (over a million copies sold!) and “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was”



Barbara Winter, best-selling author of “Making a Living Without a Job” and an internationally recognized expert on multiple profit centers



And me. I’m an expert on seeing creative ways to turn interests into income.

In addition to training over 300 people how to be “outside the job box” career coaches, I also wrote a book on confidence that’s been reprinted in 5 languages. (A book which, despite the title, has helped a lot of men too.)

After all, changing course comes down to two things:

Having a great idea and then having the confidence to act on it.

I knew that bringing Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter and me together in one room would be life changing for us – and for anyone who was lucky enough to listen in.

Not only will you benefit from the ideas and methods we share, but you’ll also hear from three other inspiring entrepreneurs – regular people just like you who made their own dreams happen. 

Artist and designer Bonnie Druschel offers a heartfelt account of how, with precious little self-confidence and even less business experience, she went from struggling to paid artist. 

Bonnie will tell you how to avoid the roadblocks she encountered and inspire you… even if you’re not an artist. 

Joan Brett, founder of the Culinary School of the Rockies, tells you how she left behind a successful career as an attorney to build a whole new life around cooking – her passion. 

She started out small, teaching a few classes a week in her home, and built what is today an accredited, professional culinary academy.

Find out how Joan did it… and come away with some ideas of your own about how to design a food-related career. 

You’ll hear, too, from Doug Woods. This enterprising young man tapped local friends and acquaintances to invest in his business idea
.

Doug shares how you can get people to fund your own dream… and reveals the one magic word that makes investors enthusiastic immediately…   

If the idea of loving what you do… of jumping out of bed every morning excited about what the day holds, appeals to you, then I strongly encourage you to take seriously the Making Dreams Happen Audio Program.

Just think: Six months from now, you could be living your dream…

Over the course of the full program, we’ll help you…

  • Tap into your deepest passions, hopes, and dreams. You might be surprised at what you discover!

  • Explore the practical matter of turning those passions, hopes, and dreams into a livelihood. You’ll come away understanding the dream-busting myths about self-employment you must absolutely ignore… the secrets to thinking like an entrepreneur… how to make a living without a job through the power of multiple income streams… and much more.

  • Tackle the roadblocks… what’s keeping you stuck… and teach you how to navigate around them. You’ll learn how to use the CLUE technique to generate fascinating business ideas… and open up an incredible range of positive possibilities and creative alternatives to having a job.

  • Find out if you fall into the “Expert Trap,” the “Rugged Individualist Trap,” the “Natural Genius Trap,” or the “Perfectionist Trap”… and what to do to free yourself…

  • Find out what every expert knows. Learn how to create visibility for yourself… proven ways to package what you know… and how to get the media to promote your expertise, often without spending a dime…

  • Throw an idea party… and get a team of fun, creative people to help you brainstorm ideas about your wildest dreams.

  • Learn big and small ways you can keep your dream on track, even when you have no spare time to attend to it… plus four little words that will jump start any plan…

  • Explore the myths and realities of working for yourself… and talk about the big “M” – money. Get a primer on the nuts-and-bolts of changing course (from marketing your business to getting health insurance). Find out how the attitudes you learned about money as a child could be undermining your dreams…

  • Discover the surprising effect “switching genders” can have on your dream…

  • Figure out what kind of support you’ll need and where you can find it… plus learn the one place you should never look for a boost…

  • Find out how to run a successful Success Team from the woman who invented them. (Mademoiselle called Barbara Sher’s Success Teams “everything your family should have been and probably wasn’t.”) “Isolation is a dream-killer,” as Barbara says… this is your ticket to connectedness… and success…

Making Dreams Happen can easily be downloaded right onto your computer or portable device… or even onto CDs if you like. 

That way you can listen while you prepare your Thanksgiving feast… in the car or on the plane… while you walk off some of those Thanksgiving calories – or like Karen, even in the bathroom if you want! 

Seriously, you don’t have to hide out in the bathroom. 

But if you’re constantly feeling stuck between a clock and a hard place, then upcoming holiday down-time is the perfect opportunity to give your dream of being your own boss the attention it deserves. 

This is also you chance to launch your full time dream at HALF the price

Making Dreams Happen normally sells for $149. 

But when you act by this Sunday November 29th, you can get all 20 hours of Making Dreams Happen for just $74 – That’s a $75 Savings! 

I launched the Changing Course Newsletter 20 years ago.

My hope then and now is to offer change seekers like you the information, inspiration, and tools to help you go from having a boss… to being the boss of you!

I am so grateful to have you in my life. So to show my gratitude I’d like to offer you another Thanksgiving gift. 

Make Your Dreams Happen And Get a FREE Gift! 

The 13th century Persian poet and philosopher Rumi wisely said, “When setting out on a journey do not consult someone who has never left home.”

Instead of listening to people insist your dream isn’t possible, this is your chance to grab a FREE copy of another inspiring and idea-provoking audio series.

It’s called… 

The Life Changers: How They Did It — and How You Can Too!  

The people you’ll hear from are no richer or smarter than you. They didn’t necessarily have more time or courage.

But they all found a way to successfully changed course to follow their own road in life… and as they will show you, how you can too.

Among the people you’ll meet on this eye-opening audio series are…

  • A former nursing home executive who tapped a family recipe he brought from his native Nigeria and now makes and sells to gourmet shops and restaurants  

  • A talented artist who after struggling with low self-esteem discovered the lucrative world of art licensing. Today she is a working artist who gets paid to have her work reproduced on anything from gift bags, to coffee mugs and has recently licensed her own line of inspirational jewelry  

  • A woman bringing in an amazing $70,000 a year as an animal communicatory

  • A couple who walked away from solid careers for a far more relaxing life in the country raising alpacas

  • A woman with absolutely no experience as an inventor who successfully brought not one but two handy product ideas to market

  • You’ll also meet a couple who created an entirely new niche not as inventors but as “product scouts.” Today they help manufacturers find cool new products… Best of all, their new lifestyle allowed them to realize their dream of getting out of New England to spend their winters in sunny Arizona 

I’m really just scratching the surface. There are well over a dozen inspiring self-bossers who make up the Life Changers series… 

Along the way their stories will show you how to recognize and avoid the common detours and speed bumps that can derail your dream. 

Lessons that are guaranteed to save you time, money, and unnecessary frustration and stress. 

As importantly, you’ll be inspired to view your life through the lens of possibility. 

And when you do, you will realize in no uncertain terms that – no matter what your family or friends say — you truly can create the life you really want. 

The Life Changers normally sells for $49. But when your order Making Dreams Happen during this special 3-day sale, you get the entire 4-set audio download FREE. 

Your dream-bashing family and friends will be speechless when you tell them about the Life Changers you’ll meet. 

Click here now to get all 20+ hours of dream-enabling audios in the Making Dreams Happen program for $75 off. PLUS your FREE copy of The Life Changers.

Then as you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner, give thanks that you don’t have to spend Thanksgiving hiding out in the bathroom like Karen.

Instead you get the unique opportunity to tap into the collective wisdom of three top experts each dedicated to helping you make your dreams happen – and enjoy your FREE holiday gift from me!

Happy Thanksgiving

Valerie Young
Since 1995 the Dreamer in Residence
At ChangingCourse.com

P.S. I’ve never had anyone tell me they listened to me in the bathroom! But hey, if that’s what it takes to get a little alone time with your dreams, then you gotta love the determination!

Act now. Your chance to save $75 on Making Dreams Happens plus get instant access to that and your FREE gift (a $49 value) ends this Sunday November 29th

Click here to claim this opportunity now.


Make Every Day Thanksgiving

This week most Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Our Canadian friends celebrated their Thanksgiving in October.

Other cultures around the world have their own ways of expressing appreciation for life’s abundance.

Make every day thanksgiving1

Thanksgiving and other annual, collective rituals are of course important.  But did you know thankfulness is integral to the career change process?

After all, the whole reason you want to shake up your life is because you’re unhappy with the way things are right now.

In fact, you’re painfully aware of exactly what – or who – is contributing to your current misery.

It’s your lousy job… or disagreeable boss… or annoying co-worker… or maddening commute… or the day-to-day pressures and stress of the job… or the low pay… you fill in the blank.

You’re “here” but what you desperately want is to be “there.”

And while you may not know exactly what “there” looks like yet, you do know this: You want your future to look very different from your present.

And herein lies the challenge. How do you strive to fashion this future life, yet still live happily in the present?

In a word: gratitude. If you don’t like that word then try “mindfulness.”

Make every day thanksgiving2

You see, the key to both your current well being and your future success is the ability to be mindful of all that we have right this very minute. This is all the more true if the present is less than desirable.

As Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin point out in Your Money or Your Life, “So much dissatisfaction comes from focusing on what we don’t have that the simple exercise of acknowledging and valuing what we do have can transform our outlook.”

It’s a lesson I learned first-hand while driving through Connecticut. As usual I was in a hurry to get somewhere.

I was making pretty good time when suddenly traffic on the interstate slowed to a crawl.

As I sat there fuming at the delay big tractor-trailer truck edged alongside me.

Even in my agitated state, I couldn’t help but notice that the side of the truck was completely white.

It was completely devoid of the usual advertising, company name, or words of any kind.

As the truck inched ahead, I could see some writing along the back.

I assumed it would be one of those “How’s my driving?” messages encouraging motorists to call in to report the driver’s performance.

As the truck slowly pulled in front of my car, three simple words written in neat black letters came into view.

The words were: Be Here Now.

I don’t know what the truck company had intended by that message but I do know the effect it had on me.

The first thing I did was take a long, deep breath. My breathing slowed, my muscles relaxed.

Heeding the message, I decided that instead of raging at the traffic gods I may as well pop in a CD, sit back, and do the only thing I could do – enjoy the ride.

I began to compare the simple, yet powerful, message to “be here now” with the popularity of those “I’d rather be…” bumper stickers.

Some of our fellow drivers would rather be fishing.

Others would rather be shopping.

One common in a local college town is, “I’d rather be smashing imperialism.”

We may all fill in the “I’d rather be…” blank differently but the message is still the same – we’d rather be just about anywhere but “here.”

To be fully in the moment is no small task.

Even on a good day our minds have a tendency to race ahead with plans or worries or ideas.

Being present is even more challenging when the current state of affairs is the very thing we so desperately seek to change.

And yet, neglecting the present invariably leads to future regrets.

Being too busy to spend meaningful time with our children, visit a sick or aging relative, exercise, or even have fun is the stuff regrets are made of.

None of us will look back at our lives and wish we’d done less, but we will all wonder why we didn’t do more.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” Lennon understood that life is for living… today.

What I’m trying to say is this…

As you work to create that new and different future remember that changing course is as much about the journey as it is the destination.

To fully enjoy this ride called life requires that we appreciate each and every day and that we be mindful of all that we have.

I realize this may not always be easy. Yet even in the most dire circumstances, I’ve learned that there is always something to be grateful for.

My friend’s Aunt Nancy had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was given no more than six months to live.

She hung on just long enough to attend her grandson’s graduation.

As we drove Aunt Nancy to the ceremony, we saw the most beautiful sunset. Grinning from ear to ear I heard her whisper, “I’m so lucky. I’m so very, very lucky.”

We were all so very lucky that day.

“Once we are above the survival levels,” say Dominguez and Robin, “the difference between prosperity and poverty lies simply in our degree of gratitude.”

When you consciously focus on life’s gifts instead of its challenges, you’ll begin to feel rich beyond measure.

Make every day thanksgiving3

So as you enjoy a drink of clean water, a warm bed, or the company of a loved one, pause and be grateful for who and what is in your life right now.

Strive toward that new future, but remember to be here now and savor the journey.

To all who celebrate this special holiday, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

p.s. If you’re near email tomorrow, look for a special Thanksgiving gift from me.


Is This the Fear That’s Holding YOU Back?

You don’t have to look very far to find people who’re trapped in the wrong job or profession…

Carpenters who should have been accountants.

Accountants who should have been horticulturists.

Horticulturists who should have opened an animal shelter.

There are lots of reasons why people get, or stay, on the wrong career path.

You might be surprised to hear that the obvious reason – money – is actually pretty low on the list.wrong career path

That’s because, unless you are truly at the subsistence level, money is all too often an excuse used to mask deeper issues.

Let’s take a closer look at what may really be holding you back.

Despite the occasional story about the physician who walked away to become a florist or the attorney turned singer, the overwhelming majority of unhappy people choose to stay miserably stuck largely out of pride.

Put another way, it’s a lot easier to keep that lousy job than to stand up and admit to the world that they zigged when they should have zagged.

Of course it’s possible that you really did love their chosen career – at least in the beginning…

But over time, you and your work, well, you just grew apart.

If this sounds familiar, chances are what keeps you on the wrong path is, just like a relationship gone bad, it’s hard to walk away from a career into which you’ve put so much time and effort — to say nothing of the financial investment.

Take Donna.

After earning her master’s degree in social work some fifteen years ago, she went into private practice as a family therapist.

For the first five or so years, Donna got a lot of satisfaction out of helping others. For the last ten though, her work has felt more like a burden.

So what keeps her there? It’s simple.

Donna doesn’t want to “waste” the degree.

Gold Background design with frame for awards

Look, I know it’s not easy to turn your back on an established career, especially if it’s one that pays well, has some prestige associated with it, or required earning some kind of advanced degree.

Yet, think about the logic here.

If you identify with Donna’s dilemma what you’re really telling yourself is…

“I’ve wasting the last 10 years of my life so I might as well throw away the next 20 as well. To hell with my true gifts, I’ve got more suffering to do.”

So if you’re hanging on to a job or career because of all the time and money you’ve invested, you need to get in touch with the one thing that should really scare the heck out of you…

Namely, never getting to experience what your life would be like if you pursued your true gifts and passions.

Once you’ve let that little reality sink in, sit down and write a “Dear John” letter to your past love.

wrong career path3

Tell your career that while it has been a good and faithful partner for some time… you’ve simply fallen out of love and it’s time to move on.

Your former passion will understand.

Then pick up a paintbrush, look into culinary school, or otherwise start courting your new love interests.

As George Bernard Shaw once observed, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”


Start a business that makes a difference in the world

If you dream of starting a business, but what you really want is to save the world, you might be a budding social entrepreneur.

Social EntrepreneurshipSocial entrepreneurship is a term that means different things to different people. To you, it might mean starting a nonprofit organization for a social cause.

Others may think of it as creating a nonprofit entity out of a for-profit company.

And someone else would use it to describe an enterprise that simply integrates social responsibility into its business practices.

So what does it really mean?

In general, it describes a company that uses business structures, innovation, and ideas to effect social change.

While social entrepreneurs may also profit financially from their efforts, the main goal is to apply business systems and processes to fix social problems that aren’t currently being addressed or that traditional methods have failed to resolve.

Brainstorming is an essential part of social entrepreneurship.

Social Entrepreneurship-brainstormBy looking at the problem in alternative ways, social entrepreneurs can combine the best aspects of for-profit and nonprofit thinking to bring together the resources needed to effect change.

For that reason, social enterprises can take many forms.

Many are solo ventures, but they can also be run by a team or a corporation.

They can be for-profit or nonprofit or even a hybrid mixing elements of both; for example, a homeless shelter that starts businesses to train and employ their residents.

There’s even a socially entrepreneurial TV show! On Secret Millionaire, wealthy entrepreneurs (like business coach Ali Brown) or corporate executives (like Kevin Sheehan of Norwegian Cruise Lines) learn what life is like for poor people by living incognito in their neighborhood for 10 days.

At the end of the experiment, the millionaire makes a significant donation to a worthy local cause.

What does it take to be a social entrepreneur?

Unlike most people who see a problem in the world, feel bad about it, and move on, social entrepreneurs may even change careers to solve those problems.

Social Entrepreneurship-courageWhat makes a social entrepreneur different from a regular entrepreneur is their motivation. This is where your “why” comes in – the reason you start your business, which also can determine how and how well you do it.

You may already be motivated by your passion for a particular project or issue. But to actually turn that passion into action requires a lot more than just a desire to fix the problem.

In order to accomplish their social mission, social entrepreneurs need to have the courage to take risks that others won’t and the resilience to overcome the obstacles along their way.

What are the biggest challenges for social entrepreneurs?

Overall, they have the same problems that other entrepreneurs do when it comes to starting, running, and sustaining a business.

  • Getting money – A common problem for many startups. You may have to start your venture on the side while you keep your day job or other sources of income.
  • Business skills – You have to run your social enterprise like a business. Do you or your team have the necessary skills?
  • Extended time between startup and sustainability – It may take 6 to 12 months of research and development before you can launch, and it may be years before your business breaks even.
  • Regulatory issues – It’s important to investigate the legal and governmental issues around starting a business and the social issues you’re addressing. For instance, you can’t advertise that you donate a portion to a worthy cause and then skip it during lean times. In some countries, they can be extremely complex or limiting.

What really makes a social enterprise different from other businesses is that success is not simply defined as profitability. The #1 priority is accomplishment of their social mission.

Look at what these social entrepreneurs are doing to change the world:

  • After a life-changing trip to Africa, 7-figure business coach Suzanne Evans created a nonprofit entity to empower African women and girls to become entrepreneurs and agents of change.
  • Bridget Hilton and Ben Richardson were appalled when they read that around the world 5000 children die each day from diseases that could be prevented by washing their hands. Their company, Jack’s Soap, operates on a “buy-one-give-one” principle; for every bar of soap sold, the company donates a free bar of soap to someone in need.
  • Matt Flannery is the co-founder of Kiva, the original global micro-finance company. Kiva takes investment money from average people and uses it to make loans to low-income entrepreneurs around the world.
  • Foundry Marketplace is a platform that allows entrepreneurs in developing countries to sell their crafts worldwide – sort of like Etsy for social enterprise! Founder Michelle Pride also runs an aggregator site, Trading Hope, that helps local artisans and social enterprises in those countries sell their products in the US through direct sales representatives.

With the global connected-ness of the internet, there’s never been a better time for implementing entrepreneurial approaches to solve social problems. Government and philanthropy can only do so much. The world needs more social entrepreneurs to develop new models for the future.

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.

–Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi

BeingRealisticBook-shadowIf you think you can’t make some sort of a difference in the world, then you need to read adjust your thinking. I can help.

For a limited time, you can download a copy of Being Realistic is Killing Your Dreams: 7 Lessons for Living Your Life on Purpose, Working at What You Love, and Following Your Own Road for 50 percent

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To claim this half price just offer enter the code UNREAL at check out.


Changing Course is Not as Complicated As It Looks–Really!

Most people over-complicate the process of changing course to happy self-employment.

Yes, there’s a lot to consider and do.

You need to figure out what it is you love to do and find a way to generate income doing it.

Once you know that then you need to make a plan to get there.

It can feel overwhelming until you realize that on a day-to-day basis, the process of changing course is pretty uncomplicated.

In fact there are easy steps you can take — even if you’re clueless on how to find the money, time or courage to take the leap. Steps that won’t cost you a dime, but could have a huge payoff.

I put together three super easy ways to uncomplicate the change process.

Find your own “think spot.”

We all need a place that nourishes us, where we can reflect on where we want to go and how we plan to get there.

It could be local park bench. Or a country road. Or the view from the top of a skyscraper. A quiet corner of a library.

You can spend 30 minutes there or weeks (okay so maybe you can’t sleep at the library – but you can come back day after day).

How long you’re there is not important. What’s important is that you’re using your “think spot” in the service of your dream.

It’s about slowing down and unplugging.

It’s where you can get clear on want you want and then either make a plan to get there or be working on your plan.

And, if your “think spot” also happens to be where you go to work, write, or plan as I do… it’s could also be a nice tax deduction!

For instance, for a decade I spend half of August at a peaceful lake in New Hampshire. Yes, I got to relax, do some kayaking, and enjoy the mesmerizing call of the loons.

lake

But it’s also where I went to escape the distracting call of email and social media so I could focus 100 percent on writing and doing business planning.

Since I really did spend the majority of my time there working, I was able to deduct a large percent of my gas, groceries, and cottage rental fee. Sweet!

Go local.

If you get most of yo
ur news on-line, then you may be missing out.

Rolled Newspaper With The Headline Local NewsOne of the best tapped sources of information are small hometown newspapers.

They’re often the ones that feature stories or events other bigger newspapers and outlets find too minor to mention.

For instance, a few years back a retreat center less than a mile from my house was hosting a conference on Buddhism and peace. The event itself was mostly advertised outside the local area.

Turns out the kick-off event was Jeff Bridges performing songs from his Academy Award winning movie Crazy Heart.

The venue only had seating for about 60 people so it would be an intimate affair.

I happened to see an announcement in my small weekly paper that the conference organizers had a few extra tickets they were making available to locals.

I called immediately and snagged the last two tickets!

I know a woman who found a business partner as a result of being covered by a local paper.

Another found out about an upcoming seminar that was exactly what he needed.

And it all began with paying attention to the local news.

Don’t be afraid to look foolish.

I once had a client who love to bake. But she also loved being with people.

So she came up with the idea of starting a pie cooperative. That way she and the other members could enjoy each other’s company while they baked.

The plan was to sell to local restaurants and donate a share of the profits to charity.

I helped her figure out how to find the space to set up the cooperative.

But she didn’t know how to go about getting the desserts into restaurants.

I gave her several recommendations, among them talking to owners to learn more about how they work with outside vendors.

As it happens we were meeting in a small café that would make an ideal client. Spying the manager, I said, “Let’s start here!”

She was mortified. What if he brushed her off? Then she’d feel foolish.

The manager didn’t brush her off. In fact, he gave her some great insights that could only come from going to the source.

Being willing to look foolish is an essential part of success.

For instance, even though I’ve had my picture taken with more than my fair share of celebrities and public figures, I still feel awkward asking.

But I still do it.

Jeff Bridges was of course, incredibly gracious.

from old iphone 11 27 2011 732Me? I was so nervous that I babbled on about watching his dad, Lloyd on the late fifties-early sixties TV show Sea Hunt and said nothing about Jeff’s own well-deserved Oscar for best actor!

As mortified as I was I don’t think thy guy lost any sleep over it and I got a great at photo I’ll treasure forever!

True, both my client and I could have been brushed off.

And yet, it’s the things we don’t do that we most regret, not the things we did.

Besides as Cynthia Heimel said, “There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.”

Life is complicate enough. Pick one thing from the above list to practice this week.

If nothing else, I guarantee you’ll learn something.

And that’s a good thing; because when you stop learning my friend, you’re dead.

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The next step is to figure out 1) what you love to do and 2) how you can make money doing it… in ways that pass the all-important Life Test.Valerie Young digital-web

If you need career guidance from someone far removed from the world of traditional career advising with its job-centric focus on resumes, interviews, and job searches…

If instead you need a career expert who can give you personalized answers so you can make a living without a j-o-b, I’d be honored to help you realize your dream of “right livelihood.”

Click here now to learn more. Everything you need is waiting for you there.


Combine Your Passions to Create an Income

You know you want to ditch the 9-to-5 world (or maybe for you it’s more like 8-to-late). You also know you want to travel. But finding a viable way to create income without a job? That’s where most people are stumped.

That was certainly the case for a reader named Janet.

Janet took a job in human resources just out of college, and now—after 22 years in a cubicle—she’s determined to give it all up and move to Latin America.

Janet is torn between starting a business that utilizes her gift for coaching—the only part of the HR job she actually enjoyed—or to somehow fashion a livelihood based on her love of ballroom dancing.
Combine Your Passions to Create an Income--ballroom dancing

Most opportunities come disguised as “problems,” and Janet’s is no exception.

For starters, unlike many cubicle dwellers who’ve been stuck in the j-o-b world so long they don’t even know what it is they love to do anymore, Janet clearly does.

Add to her twin gifts for dancing and coaching/counseling a genuine love for travel, and she has three passions!

More importantly, Janet doesn’t have a decision problem. She has an assumption problem—one that can be easily fixed by simply changing the question.

Instead of asking how to choose between a dance-related business and one where you get paid to offer advice, what if she asked: How can I get paid to combine my passions?

That’s what Lisa B. Evans did. Lisa knew there had to be others who shared a passion for knitting and yoga.

So the landscape architect, author, avid knitter, and mother of three combined these two seemingly unrelated interests to create Knitting and Yoga Adventures.

That was nine years ago.

Today people happily pay several thousand dollars to attend summertime or fall workshops on Maine’s picturesque Monhegan Island or in Vermont.

Jessie and Brad Wigh also found a way to combine two passions. After falling hopelessly in love with Belize, the couple searched for a way to marry their passion for teaching yoga with what would soon become their permanent residence.

The result was Belize Yoga, a successful retreat business specializing in jungle, sea, relaxation, and adventure for devoted yoga practitioners.

Combine Your Passions to Create an Income--yogaYou don’t need to know a lotus pose from a lotus plant to connect your interest in travel with your passion with dance. Instead take a page out of fellow travel lover Melissa Gower-Pence’s book.

Melissa may not be into ballroom dancing. But she is an ardent hobbyist, which led her to found Craft Cruises.

Every year Melissa’s company organizes cruises to fabulous locations like Alaska, China, Japan, South America, Australia, and New Zealand for knitting, beading, crocheting, and other crafts enthusiasts.

According to the online source Cruise Critic, ballroom dance cruises are all the rage. You may not want to start your own cruise business.

But what if you became a frequent cruiser so as to make your own “dancing” videos. Then you posted on your own YouTube channel.

Generate enough followers and I guarantee the advertisers—and therefore, the money—will follow. Plus, you can write off your travel as a legitimate business expense!

Combine Your Passions to Create an Income-airplaneThen again, who says you have to combine your passions at all?

Plenty of self-bossers pursue two or even more unrelated interests and that includes Jessie Wigh.

In addition to her work at Belize Yoga, the mother of two is also author of two children’s books.

Of course this is only one example.

If Jessie happened to share Janet’s gift for helping people she could just as easily have decided to coach parents of young children who are considering a move to Belize or counsel yoga instructors who want to open a studio in another country.

Building on that last idea, if the couple wanted to really scale Belize Yoga they could train and license their business model to people who want to start Bali Yoga, Bermuda Yoga, or a retreat in any popular vacation destination.

Finally not everything you love to do needs to earn money. Janet could decide to dance purely for pleasure and instead focus on building a viable coaching practice for income.

The great thing about being a coach is how portable it is. You can be in one country and your clients can be in another.

As long as she has a good phone and internet connection, Janet run her business from virtually anywhere—on a houseboat in the South of France, poolside in Panama City, or from a quaint café in Quito.

If she decides to go this route Janet will need to first answer the question, “Who do I want to serve or save?”

For instance, I started my business because I wanted to rescue people trapped in job jail with no notion of the liberating world of self-employment.

For Janet it may be people who need help sticking to a wellness program…parents of fussy eaters…managers seeking to move into the executive suite…or any number of niches that could benefit from her guidance.

Winston Churchill, the former British Prime Minister, said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Once you learn to view the world through the lens of opportunity you’ll quickly discover that the difficulty that’s been keeping you locked in job jail may be the very thing that can set you free.

A version of this article previously appeared in Incomes Abroad, a fabulous monthly newsletter for people who want to fund their travel life published by my friends at International Living magazine

Fund Your Life Overseas

How to Create the Kind of Life You Don’t Need a Vacation from 

changingcourse-6e839d4c-4ee5-47ea-be1f-b1f88fc41555-v2If you dream about a life where you have the freedom to “call the shots”… to pick up and head to a cottage on a sun-dappled beach and “retire” in the tropics… or rent a little getaway in a history-rich colonial town for the winter… or take an apartment for a few months a year in Paris or Buenos Aires… but you need the flexibility that would allow you to leave… and an income that could make it happen…

Then I invite you to join me, my team of on-site professional portable income stream idea generators, and other career and life change experts this November 12-14, 2015 in Phoenix, AZ to learn how to create the life YOU really want!

To learn more click here

I’d love to meet you there!


Love to Work With Your Hands? 3 Cool Alternatives to Sitting In Front of a Computer All Day

Are you the kind of person who trembles at the very thought of assembling an Ikea bookshelf? Or do you revel in the challenge?

If you fall into the second group then chances are you’re well-suited to a livelihood that allows you to work with your hands.

Up until the Industrial—and now the Information—Age, most people made their living either by making and selling something or repairing something made by someone else.

Today people exploring self-employment tend to zero in on businesses involving activities like analyzing, planning, or writing—the kind of work I refer to as “head work.”

Follow Your Heart--computer

And that’s great, because the internet makes it possible to do all manner of “head work” like running an online business or freelance writing.

But even if you’ve never considered yourself “handy” you may be among the growing numbers of change-seekers drawn toward alternatives to sitting in front of a computer screen.

That’s because “hand work,” where you can actually see the fruit of your labor, has an entirely different feel—a distinction I first experienced while taking a stained-glass class.

As I sat at the grinding wheel slowly smoothing the jagged edges of the glass, I was consumed by an overwhelming sense of peace and calm.

I realized then that delivering a performance review, outlining the new company communication plan, and other activities that made up my then corporate management job, while engaging, simply didn’t provide the same sense of accomplishment as making a tangible product that you can touch and feel.

If you do want to work with your hands, here are three ideas to get you started

Make and Sell Stuff

Are you a whiz with a needle and thread?

Depending on where you live, it may be hard to compete price-wise with a local seamstress or tailor doing basic alterations. All the more so if your goal is to live in the Caribbean or Belize or another place where the wages are low.

But if you have an eye for fashion trends—or can otherwise create one-of-a-kind clothing—you can still stitch together a nice little income by selling online.

Etsy.com is a great retail website linking producers and consumers around the world.

If you can produce art, craft, or design work you can post it on Etsy and find buyers from just about anywhere.

(Remember, if are considering living internationally and you’re living in a low-cost country and earning First World wages, your money is going a long way. Work those latitudes to your benefit.)

Follow Your Heart--craft

If you enjoy tinkering in a woodworking shop, you can capitalize on the unlikely comeback of the simple wooden toy, a phenomenon first brought on when millions of toys manufactured in China were recalled due to lead paint and other dangerous chemicals.

According to an article in the New York Times, home-based, wooden-toy makers like Ron Voake of Vermont Wooden Toys can barely keep up.

“Every time there was a story about a recall,” said 61-year-old Ron, “I got flooded with orders.”

Ready to go big time?

Thanks to specialty retail trade-show NY Now, even small emerging makers of handmade items have a shot at getting their wares into high-end retailers and museum stores.

If you are a talented designer in business for one year or less—or an artist entering the wholesale marketplace for the first time—you can apply for the chance to have your handmade product line showcased at the trade-show.

Get Paid to Repair Stuff

If you’re mechanically-inclined and live in an area where half the population gets around on a Vespa, you might love a business fixing motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, and other motorbikes.

Brian Taggerty of the Doll Clinic in Elmira, New York and president of the Doll Doctor’s Association learned the craft of repairing dolls from his mother and grandmother.

Nor do you need a brick-and-mortar operation to do it. Brian has a large backlog of damaged dolls he receives by mail from grateful customers around the country.

Restoring quilts or other treasured heirlooms can be done from anywhere.

As long as you’re willing to include free shipping, your customers can just as easily send their item to you in Colombia as they can to Canada or Cleveland.

Follow Your Heart--loom

Work Seasonally

If you have carpentry skills… or bake wedding cakes… or love landscape gardening, you could always take on small contractor jobs abundant during the warmer months then head elsewhere for the winter.

You can make your overseas life part-time, earning an income in your home country during the summer months.

If your output is more tangible, you can always leave your own products back home and get someone else to do the selling for you while you wander the world.

When I was a kid my hobbyist woodworker dad took out a small magazine ad to sell replicas of the Cape Cod-style cranberry scoops often used to store magazines or knitting.

Had my dad coveted the traveling life, he could have easily built up his inventory while in the U.S. and then arranged for someone else to drop-ship orders while away.

Starting a successful business doesn’t have to mean sitting in front of a computer.

Whether you live in Rapid City or Rome there are endless opportunities to both fund your life and still enjoy the satisfaction of working with your hands.

And if you happen to love travel, it’s a lot easier to fund a life overseas these days than you may realize.

And I’m not talking just about portable incomes that travel with you and provide you the “cushion” you need to just go… but also about profit centers you can put in place once you’re settled abroad as well…

You see you really CAN create the kind of life you don’t need a vacation from. Everything you need to learn how is going to be at

International Living Magazine’s Fund Your Life Overseas Conference

Join me, my team of on-site Business Idea Generators, Making a Living Without a Job author Barbara Winter, and other career and life change experts this November 12-14, 2015 in Phoenix, AZ to learn how to create the life YOU really want!

Early Bird Savings Ends Soon!

Register by October 14th to SAVE $200!

fund your life

I’d love to meet you there!

A version of this article previously appeared in Incomes Abroad, a fabulous monthly newsletter for people who want to fund their travel life published by my friends at International Living magazine.


Ask Yourself What You Really Want

This article previously appeared in Incomes Abroad, a monthly newsletter for people who want to fund their travel life brought to you by my friends at International Living magazine

When we were growing up, adults were forever asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But did anyone ever ask, “What do you want your life to look like?” Probably not.

You would have never replied, “I’d like to wake up to an alarm clock, battle traffic to get to a cubicle where I have to report to a micro-managing boss.”

Yet that describes the life of countless millions of people. Sadly we become so conditioned to the mantra to “get a good job” that we just accept whatever comes along with it. The good news is you really can find work you enjoy and live the life you love, too.

writingIt all begins with a simple question: “What do you want your life to look like?”

For starters, think about how you want to work. If your current job primarily requires sitting in front of a computer—what I refer to as “head work”—might you be happier working with your hands, your body, your heart, or some combination?

Do you want to work alone or would you be happier collaborating with others?

Where are you happiest working? Is it working from home…or from your laptop at a local café…or a sun-filled studio or workshop?

Would you love a livelihood that allows you to spend more time in nature?

I’ve been helping people who want to make the leap from having a boss to being their own boss for two decades now. Before I can even begin to show someone the ways they can turn their interests into income, I first need to get a clear picture of what they want their life to look like. That way we can ensure the ideas we do generate pass the all-important Life Test.

You may have no idea what you want to do work-wise, but with a little nudging I bet you can identify the lifestyle you want. Say, for instance, you know you want to live by the shore for half the year, spend three months Ask Yourself What You Really Want-Italyin the mountains, and enjoy your summers in Italy.

With just this limited information you now know you have two basic choices.

  • Create a portable business that can be run from any location, like freelance writing, coaching, consulting, or running an online business.
  • Create one or more profit centers that are location specific. For instance, you might offer a product or service that appeals to beach-loving tourists while at the shore and do something completely different while in Italy.

Once you’ve crystalized your vision of your ideal life it’s time to figure out the work part of the work-life equation. Here you want to consider three things; your gifts, your interests, and your assets.

Your Gifts

Notice I didn’t ask you about your skills or past work experience. That’s because your skills are what you can do and your resume reflects what you have done—and neither say anything about how happy you are doing them.

love_110003903-012814-intIn contrast, your gifts involve activities you’re good at and truly enjoy doing. After all, I’m pretty good at typing and mowing the lawn. But do I love either? Not especially.

And while another person might love to, personally I wouldn’t want to do either one for a living.

So what do you love to do? Is it working in a garden, setting up an Excel spreadsheet, doing woodworking, or tinkering with a broken toaster?

Can you spend hours tracking your family history, planning a trip, baking, or hunting down bargains? Write down a list of your favorites.

Often our gifts come so naturally to us that we scarcely notice let alone value them. Others often recognize your gifts long before you do. That’s why you should pay attention to compliments.

Your Interests

Your interests are things you feel passionate about. For instance, you may have a keen interest in NASCAR racing… climate change… learning about different cultures… health and wellness… social entrepreneurship… or the British royal family. Make a list of them.

Your interests may or may not engage your gifts. That’s fine because it’s a heck of a lot easier to acquire a skill than it is to adopt an interest in something that doesn’t ring your bell.

Ask Yourself What You Really Want-coach

Next review your list for any passive verbs like “watch,” “think about,” or “read.” If you want to turn your interests into income you need to convert passive activities into action-oriented ones like “consult/coach,” “speak about,” “write about,” “coordinate,” “research,” “build,” and so on.

Now return to the list of gifts you created above and look for ways these can be used to deliver some sort of interest-related product, service, or experience.

Are you comfortable with technology? You could create an app.

Or say you have a flair for writing. You could write a blog featuring inspiring examples of small businesses who are making a living in the NASCAR world… or pen a fun trivia book about the royal family.

Look for ways your gifts might intersect with other people’s interests. Maybe you love the idea of helping indigenous people earn more money from their arts and crafts? You could teach artisans from Ecuador, Nicaragua, Thailand, and elsewhere to sell more products.

Your Assets

Once you’ve identified your gifts and interests you should consider any “assets” that can be parlayed into income. Of course, the most obvious asset is real estate… and that can be used to earn rental income while you travel.

But what about hidden assets you could also rent out? Can you rent an extra room in your home for dry storage… as an office… or to a massage therapist? What about a woodworking shop? Do you have a boat you could timeshare to people who vacation regularly in your area?

Get creative! I once read about a couple who owned a struggling apple orchard. Everything changed when they began leasing individual trees to city folks who would visit at harvest time to pick fruit from “their” tree.

As you scope out ways you can profit from your passions, take a moment to make sure your idea passes the all-important Life Test. If the answer is yes, by all means, dive in!

And if you’re ready to take the leap in a really BIG way then I invite you to JOIN ME and your fellow freedom seekers at the…

Fund Your Live Overseas Conference!

Come Learn How to Create the Kind of Life You Don’t Need a Vacation From — and get the Insider Secrets You Need to Bankroll the Life of Your Dreams

If you dream about a life where you have the freedom to “call the shots”… to pick up and head to a cottage on a sun-dappled beach and “retire” in the tropics… or rent a little getaway in a history-rich colonial town for the winter… or take an apartment for a few months a year in Paris or Buenos Aires… but you need the flexibility that would allow you to leave… and an income that could make it happen…

Here’s how to get it.

International Living conference banner 1


A surefire way to find your calling

Have you ever noticed how…

The happiest people in the world a) know what they love to do and b) found a way to get paid to do it.

If you aren’t lucky enough to be one of them (yet!!!) then you probably fall into one of these three categories:

1) “I have no clue about what I even love to do anymore.”

You’ve been so focused on doing work you either no longer (or never did) enjoy, that you don’t have a clue as to what it is you even love to do!

I affectionately refer to folks in this group as my “clueless” people.

I get that you’re frustrated.

But the great thing about being clueless is you’re starting with a delightfully blank page!

In fact, take out a blank page right now and label it… things I like to do. It could be helping co-workers trouble shoot problems or taking long drives.

Next make a list of your interests. Things like sports or current affairs or pop culture.

Finally, list your gifts.

These are the kind of things that come so easily to you that you probably take them for granted.

Like a gift for humor or selecting just the right wine or finding treasure where others see only trash.

As you make your list, remember, when you’re clueless, the possibilities are truly endless!

If you need a little inspiration, check out this super cool list of Unique Work Experiences in Far Away Places by Linda Tomsho. Linda is one of two Changing Course Dream Team coaches.

(You’ll meet Kate, the other Dream Team coach in just a moment.)

But first… maybe you fall into the second category…

2) “I know what I love to do. But I have no idea how I can make money doing it.”

There are SO many ways to earn good money in fascinating and untraditional ways!

You need to start paying close attention to all the different ways others have already found a way to turn your particular interest into income.

It may take time to find your right path.

But as long as you’re excited to find a way to make money outside of the job box – the fact that you already know what you love to do is a great start!

3) “I’m a scanner who has so many passions that I can’t pick one.”

I hear this one a lot!

If you identify as a “scanner” then you’re already familiar with the term first coined by career guru Barbara Sher.

Unlike “divers” who Barbara says have a laser-like focus on one thing – scanners have lots of gifts and interests!

To the clueless folks this sounds like heaven.

But being a scanner can also present certain challenges.

For one thing, you may find once you’ve mastered something you get bored and are ready to move on.

However, a far BIGGER challenge for scanners is this:

You’re so afraid that pursuing one passion will automatically mean you have to turn your back on all the other things you love to do — that you wind up doing nothing!

Sound familiar?

Any kind of fulfilling work life can be frustrating for scanners –more so if you want to be your own boss.

But the beauty of being a scanner is you get to fully embrace the freeing power of multiple streams of income!

The fact is, you really can restore old dolls and be a shyness coach and start a money-making YouTube channel… or pursue any number of things.

You just need a little help zeroing in on and then managing all of your multiple gifts and interests in a way that makes you happy.

Barbara’s book Refuse to Choose is a great place to start.

But if you need more…

Help for Idea Seekers Who Want to Work At What They Love

dots-5Regardless of what category you’re in, it all comes down to being able to connect the dots between what you love to do and how you can make money doing it.

If you’ve been struggling to figure it out on your own for years… or decades… and have nothing to show for it, you’re certainly not alone.

That’s why I’ve put together a solution that will work whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, a frustrated cubicle dweller, or a soon-to-be or recent retiree just starting on the track to self-employment.

For an extremely limited time, you have the chance to be a part of an intimate yet highly-focused group created specifically for Idea Seekers like you.

Think of it as a combination workshop and support group guided by an expert in how to find and profit from your passion.

A group where you’ll gain exactly the kind of personal insight and tools to…

  • Show you how to tap into long-buried gifts and interests… the things you were born to do!
  • Overcome “scanner paralysis” so you can pursue some or all of your unique gifts!
  • See income-generating opportunities just waiting to be tapped
  • Identify the roadblocks holding you back… so you can actually live the life you always wanted
  • Create a manageable plan of action for launching your dream – yes, even if you’re a scanner

The group is being led by one of my licensed Profiting From Your Passions® coaches, Kate Fessler.

Kate-FesslerAs an escapee from the corporate world herself, Kate specializes in helping people who are similarly disaffected by the demands and diminishing rewards of their current situation to reconnect with their passions.

To help you clearly define the life you want to live… to step away from the herd of those who think there’s no other way… and to realize your potential to make a living doing something (or multiple things) they love.

And now Kate can help you too.

We’re intentionally keeping this group super small.

That way you can get lots of personalized attention and ideas from your coach.

There are only 4 spots left.

And when you join in the next 48 hours you’ll also receive a FREE downloadable copy of a resource that’s already helped countless people around the world.

TrueCallingeBookIt’s called It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Calling.

Others pay $19.95 for their copy.

But it’s yours free when you join a Dream Team on or before Sunday September 13th

If you really want to work at what you love, then do yourself a huge favor and take a moment now to see if being a part of the Idea Seekers Dream Team is right for you.

If you have a powerful desire to own your life and time… if you want both flexibility and money…

And if you want to do work you enjoy – with only 4 spots left, I urge you not to miss this chance.

P.S. Whatever small step you take in the service of your dream, remember the wise words of former Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham…

“To love what you do and feel that it matters –
how could anything be more fun?”

There are only 4 seats left in licensed Profiting From Your Passions® Kate Fessler’s Idea Seekers Dream Team.

Claim your seat here now.

Join on or before Sunday September 13th and get a FREE copy of It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Calling!


The Myth of the Starving Artist

artbrushes

Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

Artists are routinely discouraged from pursuing their passion into adulthood.

In fact, there is perhaps no more occupation that symbolizes popular notions about “unrealistic” careers than that of so-called starving artist.

Certainly there are lots of artists, actors, musicians, and other creative types who take low-paying side jobs while they’re “waiting for their big break.”

Most people who desperately want out of their own low-wage jobs aren’t waiting for anything other than to hit the lottery. Yet no one talks about the “starving secretary” or the “starving bus driver.”

These creative types may be waiting… but at least they’re waiting with a purpose! At least they’re showing their art or going on auditions or otherwise practicing their craft.

The fact is, you really CAN get paid for your art!

That’s why I’m so excited about this week’s Guest Article by licensed Profiting From Your Passions® expert Linda Tomsho.

An article Linda begins by posing an important and to some perhaps, SHOCKING question…

Namely, are you a “HO” or are you a “HO” or a “BO”? I’ll let Linda explain!

Making Money From Your Art
Are You a “HO” or a “BO”?

Guest article by Linda Tomsho

“Being good at business is the most fascinating kind of art.  Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” – Andy Warhol

Every summer I look forward to the Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh’s big art event of the year, where hundreds of artists and performers come to show their best work.

While visiting the Festival, I attended a talk by Rebecca Harris, Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University called “Women Artisans to Entrepreneurs.”

Her point was that many women artists (and men as well, in my experience) neglect the business end of things. “I don’t understand all that business stuff, and I don’t have time for it. I’m an Artist, and if I create great art, people will seek me out.”

If that sounds like you, the question my business coach, Suzanne Evans, would ask you is this…

“Are you a HO or a BO?”

dollarinhandIn other words, are you a Hobby Owner who creates art but doesn’t effectively monetize it?

Or are you a Business Owner, serious about growing your market and making a real living?

Essentially, if you don’t see your art as a business, you’re probably indulging in an expensive hobby instead of creating a viable livelihood.

If you really do want to become a serious working – by which I mean self-employed – artist, then you need to treat your artwork or your crafts or whatever it is that you produce, like a real business.

After all, there’s a lot of competition out there. So if you want to break out of the pack and make a real living doing what you love, you have to leverage your talent with sound business practices – and thinking.

1) Think of yourself as a professional artist – right now

artists palletYou may need to begin by changing your mindset about who you are and what you do.

Even if you’re still paying the bills by waiting tables or telemarketing, you need to define yourself as an artist and therefore as the owner of an art business.

That means you should be studying everything you can find about how to succeed in your industry. For example, how to get your work into galleries or how to sell on Etsy…

Depending on what kind of art you create, you should be educating yourself about the lucrative world of art licensing.

You also need to have a website and a social media presence.

Finally, you should always be thinking about building your portfolio and actively looking for opportunities to promote yourself and your work. That means networking at least once a week and attending events where you can expand your connections.

2) Don’t quit your day job (yet)

laptop-insideworkingObviously the plan is that someday your art will earn enough to support you. But the fact is, most artists or performers I know who are on their way up have a day job.

Maybe you have what career coach and author Barbara Sher calls the “Good-Enough Job” – a job that 1) isn’t toxic and 2) doesn’t demand more than 40 hours a week.

In other words, you can support yourself without getting stressed out and still have time to work on your goals. Or you can have a side gig that pays the bills.

Either way, if you can think of your j-o-b as a “business loan” for your art business it will make it more tolerable!

3) Always be looking for multiple income streams

manwithlightbulbSomething that you enjoy doing that hopefully fits in with your creative work and what you want your life to look like. You could offer lessons to others… start a podcast… write a book… or sell your work to a greeting card company.

Use your imagination!

Start small with just one or two “alternative profit centers,” then add more if you want to. If one doesn’t work out, you can always bag it and try something else!

4) Create your personal brand

What do you want to be known for? What’s your niche?

You could be like Linda Barnicott, a pastel artist whose claim to fame is beautiful nostalgic paintings of Pittsburgh scenes.

Or you might become famous as the photographer who creates those distinctive images of newborn babies, post-industrial landscapes, or maybe even dressed-up Weimaraners (it worked for William Wegman!).

When you have a recognizable brand or niche, you become more memorable.

Linda Tomsho headshotLinda Tomsho is the CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of Different Drummer Coaching. As a licensed Profiting From Your Passions® coach, she helps clients connect the dots between their interests, skills, and experience to discover their “right livelihood,” then guides them through the process of starting their own business using Valerie Young’s “Life First, Work Second” philosophy.

Linda started her career in the corporate marketing world but soon realized the cubicle life was not for her. Being a self-bosser allows her the freedom to pursue multiple passions including blogging about movies, writing, dog rescue, cooking, travel, and curating her eclectic collections.

Linda lives near Pittsburgh with her husband Matthew and canine companions Bijou and Zelda. She is the mother of 3 adult children, each following a unique path of their own.

As a cancer survivor, Linda understands the importance of making the most of our time on this earth. If you dream of creating a life that suits you and working at something you love, don’t waste another minute!

Visit her at Different Drummer Coaching, and to book your FREE 30-minute Discovery Session, send an email to [email protected] with your phone number, time zone, and best time to reach you.


14 Ways to Craft a New International Career

Hong Kong Old Pagoda And New SkyscrapersI recently became a contributor to this wonderful publication that’s 100 percent dedicated to help aspiring self-bossers like you find portable streams of income and other ways to fund your international lifestyle.

What if you could live and work in Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong or another bustling international hub?

Or perhaps working from a quaint villa in the Italian country side or an island bungalow is more your thing?

If so, I have some fabulous resources to get you there faster!

  1. International Living magazine

    International Living magazine is one of the best resources if you’re really serious about moving overseas. In each issue they detail in-depth information on moving or retiring overseas, making money, saving money and learning all the ins and outs on buying property abroad. You’ll also hear from expats who have already made the move.

  2. Incomes Abroad

    I recently became a contributor to this wonderful publication. What I love about it is it’s 100 percent dedicated to help aspiring self-bossers like you find portable as well as on-location ways to fund your international lifestyle.

    If you muse about the day you can leave the stress of the rat race behind, grab control of your life, and head off on an adventure abroad – with an income that went with you…  with Incomes Abroad to guide you, that day could be a lot sooner than you think.

  3. International Career Coach Dominika Miernik

    It can be hard enough to land a satisfying (or any) job or start a business if you’re a native. Being an ex-pat is even trickier.

    That’s where having an experienced career coach can definitely help. Like the multi-talented and multi-lingual Dominika Miernik.

    Originally from Poland, Dominika lived and worked for many years in the UK. Today she operates her own successful career coaching practice in Rome where she specializes in working with ex-pats.

    And if self-employment is your thing, Dominika is also a licensed Profiting From Your Passions® business idea generator.

Either way, Dominika has generously offered to share nine of our 14 ways to launch your international career — and life.

Guest Article

9 Ways to Launch Your International Career

by Dominika Miernik

In our increasingly global economy more people than ever are choosing to live and work in another country. There are lots of reasons my clients decided to chart a new international career and life.

What about you?

Maybe you’d love to start your own business or create a portable business you can run from anywhere.

Or maybe after spending years in a 9-to-5 job you’re looking to really shake up your life with a new career in a strikingly different location.

Then again for you, an international move may be a necessity. For instance, despite having much to offer opportunities may be limited in your own country. Or, perhaps your partner was transferred overseas and now you need to craft a new livelihood as well.

Regardless of the reason for an international career move, the question is always the same: How do I start this new journey?

Here are nine simple steps to help you to plan your international career.

  1.  Plan, Plan, Plan

First and most important, prepare an action plan. To begin, take some time to reflect and ask yourself:

  • How would I like my life to be?
  • What would I like my international career or business to look like?
  • What are my personal, professional and financial goals?
  • What do I really want?

Then write down a random list of steps which you can take to achieve your goals.

For example, if you are thinking of swapping to a part-time job and work on your business simultaneously, you may first want to speak with your boss or manager to discuss this possibility.

At the same time, you’ll want to prioritize your goals by giving each one a deadline. For instance, when exactly will you speak with your boss?

Solid plans will give you clarity and guide you to your vision.

  1. Do your research

Who What Why When Where Signpost Showing Confusion Brainstorming And ResearchStop for a moment and think about your background. What do you have to offer to a new employer or the market? What are you good at?

If you want to get a job, search for companies you’d like to work for in the location you want to live.

If you’re looking to start a business, explore your business idea including the practicalities of being your own boss abroad. For example, check whether or not your visa or work permit limits your options for starting a business.

Analyze the local business sector to identify your clients or customers. Are there natural partners you can tap for collaboration or cross-promotion? Who are you your local competitors?

  1. 3 Get visible and make contacts

Explore international networking groups. They’re a great way to make new contacts, learn about the country and local culture, and learn the language.

Networking is also a great way to develop contacts that can lead to a job or new clients or customers. Just be sure to resist the temptation to tell the people you meet that you’re looking for a job as it can put them on defense. Instead, say you’re open to new international opportunities, share your future vision, and ask them about their own careers and strategy.

If you want to start a business abroad, look for local business networking opportunities and join in. You’ll also find plenty of entrepreneurs to connect with offline and online.

Once again, show interest in their business and ask lots of questions.

  1. Expat yourself as an international assignee

When possible, get a job with a company in your home country where you know the potential exists to be sent on an international assignment. Not only can international experience boost your career, but you can get a taste for living abroad at the same time.

Here too, show your interest and willingness to move aboard or work on international projects and ask lots of questions.

  1. Become an entrepreneurial expat

If you’re already working at an international job but dream of being your own boss, know that there’s no one right way to go about starting a business.

For example, you don’t have to give up your full time job and sacrifice your full time pay check right away. Rather you can start small by working at your job during the week and focusing on your business evenings or weekends.

Or you can negotiate a part-time contract and do your business at the same time.

Once you have a business idea make sure it will fit with your desired. If so, then go for it.

  1. Dive in

moneytreeYou can always move abroad and then look for a job when you get there. While this is definitely the most challenging strategy, it’s not impossible.

The key is still to make a plan for each step.

Maybe you saved some money which you can invest to start your new life. If not, then you need to consider your financial commitments and come up with a way to fund the first few months in a new country.

  1. Get a taste for your new career and international home

Before uprooting your entire life, look for ways to test out your new professional path or business idea as well as a new country.

You could for instance, take a three month sabbatical. Depending on your business or business idea, if you are doing actual work while you’re there, it’s possible you could turn this time into a tax-deductible business expense.

Another way to see how you like living abroad is to volunteer there. If you sign up via a registered non-profit you may be able to deduct your travel and living expenses.

Only when you’re there, will you find out if a particular career path and place is right for you.

  1. Get support

Starting an international career, whether it is a traditional job or starting your own business, is exciting. But sometimes it can also be tough.

With any major work life change its easy to lose your energy and motivation. Plus when you’re in a very different culture where you don’t speak the language your self-esteem can decrease quickly.

That’s why you need to surround yourself with people who will support you.

If you don’t have people in your life who support your dream, then shore up your confidence by reading positive stories of others who’ve successfully made the move.

If you’re serious about making a change and need a business or career coach, then start there.

  1. Visualize

Goal Puzzle Shows Business Targets, Objectives And AimsBelieve in yourself and what you can achieve by imagining that you have already turned your dream into reality.

“Seeing” yourself happily living the international life– if even in your minds-eye – can help you gain the courage to leave your comfort zone and reach your professional goals.

These simple steps really can help you start working at what you love and live the global lifestyle you want.

Remember, a good action plan is the first step to success. It will help you keep on track and will automatically motivate you to go further with your career project.

DominikaMiernikInternational Career Coach and licensed Profiting From Your Passions® career expert Dominika Miernik helps multi-passionate expats discover their dreamiest career path or find the perfect business idea so they can live the global lifestyle.

After a decade of living, studying and working internationally Dominika decided to reorganise her life to make work fit into her life instead of the other way around. She draws from her professional experience and psychological training to help her clients create realistic action plans so they can thrive in their international careers. V

Visit www.dmcoaching.eu to get your FREE career coaching e-course “Clarify Your Career Goals in 3 Days.” Contact Dominika to schedule Free Expat Edge Session to discover how to start working at what you love and fulfill your ambitions.

 

Two More Resources to Help You Launch Your International Life

Like Dominika said, volunteering can be a great way to get a taste for international living.

Whether you ultimately want to make a living while making a difference – or just want a unique way to get your feet wet – here are two resources to get you started: 

  1. Global Volunteers
     
    Volunteer vacations are a great way to immerse yourself in another country while helping with local projects.Enter Global Volunteers which organizes one- to three-week volunteer opportunities in Asia (China, India, Vietnam), Europe (Italy, Portugal, Greece, Poland, Romania), North America (Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, St. Lucia, US), South America (Peru and Ecuador), and the Pacific (Cook Islands).

    Volunteer vacations in North America are on the Blackfeet Nation and Crow reservations in Montana.

    Examples of volunteer activities include teaching English at a center for visually-impaired students in Vietnam, joining local efforts to promote girls education or assist with recycling in order to promote eco-tourism in Costa Rica, teaching conversational English in Cuba and Italy, working with at-risk or disabled youth in Greece, and many more.

    You can spend another vacation in a tourist trap. Or you can sign up to make a real difference in someone’s life… yours. All fees, including airfare, are tax deductible for U.S. citizens.

  2. Idealist.org

    Idealist.org helps you turn your values into your vocation by connecting people who want to do good (idealists) with opportunities for action and collaboration. It has a searchable database of over 100,000 non-profits where you’ll find job postings, volunteer opportunities, internships, events, and more.Site can be accessed in Spanish or French.

Keep the international conversation going! If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be — and why? If you’re not on Facebook just scroll to the bottom of the page to post your answer there.

 


A Foolproof Way to Make a Tough Decision

Which of these tough calls have you had to make:

Pretty young woman making a decision with arrows and question mark above her head

  • Take the job… or decline and hope for something better
  • Quit a toxic job… or stick it out and pray things gets better
  • Sign up for that great conference or the workshop… or pass this time and hope it comes around again
  • Relocate to a new home or community or country… or stay put

We all need to make major decisions regarding our work lives.

Two years ago I had to make a major work-life decision that had me twirling in circles.

You see most people (including ME) would rather not have to make decisions at all. Decisions make our head hurt.

After all, what if we make the wrong choice? That would really suck!

So instead we try to ignore whatever it is that prompted the need to decide in the first place and hope the whole issue/problem/opportunity just quietly goes away on its own.

Of course the obvious problem with this approach is No Decision = Status Quo.

But as my friend and massively successful business coach Suzanne Evans points out, there’s a far more serious consequence, namely:

“Indecision is a form of self-abuse”

Like I said, two years ago I had to make a tough decision when I was presented with an unexpected opportunity to buy a great house 20 miles south of the great house I already lived in.

I really wasn’t looking to make a move.

And with two major projects in the works, it couldn’t have been a worse time to juggle trying to sell one house and buy another.

All that packing and unpacking… Dealing with renovations at the old house… dealing with renovations at the new house… Time away from my business…

Still though, there was something calling me about this new place.

I loved the view… the closer proximity to the airport… the view… the fact that the house came with an attached apartment… the view… the beautiful neighborhood… the view

And did I mention the view 🙂

True, this new view was incredible. But then again, I really loved this peaceful meadow view from my current home.

meadowview

I was SO torn!

That’s when I remembered…

If You’re Having A Hard Time Deciding It’s Because Your Heart Is At War With Your Head

heartAll my head could think about was all the work I faced buying and selling a home.

My head reminded me of everything else I had on my plate right now.

When my heart would try to intervene my head would drown it out.  “There will be other houses with nice views Valerie…” And “You can always move when the timing is better.”

Still I felt called to this new home.

The best thing to do was just not think about it at all. Problem solved.

That’s when I realized by ignoring the decision I had in fact made a choice.

By not consciously deciding one way or the other, I was choosing to stay exactly where I was. And that didn’t feel great either.

Like I said, I’m not a fan of self-abuse. So instead I employed a technique I’ve used many times with my own clients who were struggling with indecision.

It’s remarkably simple, and virtually foolproof.

Flip a Coin – Seriously

A hand holding a quarter just about to flip a coin.

To some the suggestion that a flip of the coin should determine the outcome of a major life decision may sound… well, flip.

But I assure you it works. Prove it to yourself. To start think of a decision you need to make. Then…

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Take three really slow, deep breaths
  3. Now focus your emotional attention on all the reasons  you should say no.. Picture the downsides… imagine all the nagging “what-ifs” involving money, fear of failure, fear of success actually happening…
  4. Next focus your emotional attention on the part that excites you… the opportunities it presents… all the things you find so appealing about saying yes…
  5. Imagine how you will feel tomorrow if you say Yes
  6. Next imagine how you will feel tomorrow if you say No
  7. Then picture your life a year from now if you had said Yes
  8. Next picture your life a year from now if you had said No
  9. Open your eyes and flip a coin – heads is Yes; tails is No.
  10. Finally take one more deep breath and tune into your reaction

This last step is critical.

Because no matter how your coin flip turns out I guarantee you are going to have one of two reactions.

Do You Feel Relief? Or Do You Feel Disappointment?

 leapforjoydisappointed

If you feel relieved, then you know for certain in your heart of hearts what’s right for you.

If you feel disappointed, then chances are your head is getting in way.

Disappointment is a signal that you’re allowing fear, self-doubt, and other needless dream busters to rule your life.

No matter what the outcome, keep this in mind:

If you still decide to say No – ask yourself: “Am I okay with wherever I am today being where I am in a month… or a year… or five years… or possibly for the rest of my life?”

The choice my friend is yours.

Either way flip a coin and then follow your heart. It’s always worked for me.

By the way this is the fabulous new view I enjoy from my new house…

newview

I’m half an hour closer to the airport. Plus I renovated the attached apartment and it now generates anywhere from $1,600-$2,400 a month in passive income.

Bliss + Convenience + Cha-Ching!

Shameless Plug

Right this moment, a few of you are trying to make the exciting decision to join a wonderfully international Tribe of like-minded “idea people” for my upcoming Profiting From Your Passions® coach training.

If the answer to the coin flip exercise is YES, consider this a gentle reminder that the Early Bird discount ends today.

If want to change your life and save money, I urge you to register by midnight TONIGHT before the $500 savings plus the other valuable bonuses end.


Is Fear Killing Your Dream?

Comic high angle portrait of a middle-aged businessman with a scThe closer you come to leaving the security of your 9-to-5 job to do your own thing, the greater your level of excitement… and fear.

Anyone who has ever ventured out of their safe little world will tell you they had doubts. Me included.

The thing is, when it comes to making a major life change, not only is a certain amount of fear normal, it’s actually helpful.

After all, there is a reason I named my business ChangingCourse.com and not Jump-off-a-Cliff.com.

The healthy part of fear is what will keep you from quitting your job in a huff before you’ve put some other things in place.

Fortunately, there are ways to deal with fear before it permanently derails your dream of changing course.

Take it S-L-O-W

If you already have a business idea, the best way to manage the fear of venturing out on your own is to start small.

If the thought of just up and quitting your day job frightens you, start building your client base on the side.

Small rapid experiments are better than one huge step.

For instance, instead of dropping six figures on a franchise, you could get a job working for that, or a similar, business to see how you like it.

Or instead of buying a bed and breakfast, try becoming a bed and breakfast sitter.

Begin with low-risk steps and gradually work your way up to the harder stuff.

Laugh in the Face of Fear

Asian woman pointing and laughing at you, closeup portrait.Did I tell you I’m closing my Changing Course business to take a senior level position at a toxic chemical company in New York City? The job pays half what I earn now and requires a horrendous three hour commute.

Do you believe me? Of course not.

The reason you don’t is because the mind rejects that which it considers absurd.

Which makes ridiculing your fears a highly effective technique for managing them. That way, you allow your natural human reaction to absurdity to take over and dismiss them.

Try it yourself. Pick your biggest fear and take it to extremes.

Paralyzed by the fear of failure?

Then picture everyone you ever knew standing outside the homeless shelter you are now forced to live in, holding a sign that reads: “We Told You So!”

Pretty ridiculous, right?

When you realize that your worst-case fantasy is just that − a fantasy – making a proactive change can now feel far more manageable.

Calculate the Risk-Reward

Fear of the unknown keeps far too many people miserably locked in job jail.

It’s why my mantra for the last 20 years has been, information will set you free.

After all, the more you know going into something, the less there is to fear.

At least that’s what the 854+ people who signed up for my recent information-packed Paid to Brainstorm webinar discovered.

The vast majority were there because they were curious about becoming a licensed Profiting From Your Passions® Business Idea Generator.

ineedidea

What they discovered is the program hands “idea people” like them, a proven system to they can use to help future paying clients to connect the dots between:

  1. What they want their life to look
  2. The things they love to do
  3. And ways they can make money doing it.

Still, I know that training for this – or any new career – can trigger another fear: “What if I make the wrong choice?”

I totally get it.

Over the years I’ve had plenty of clients who’ve spent tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on their education only to realize they hate being a nurse, engineer, college professor, electrician….

Not so with my training.

For starters, considering everything you get with the Profiting From Your Passions® program, the cost to attend is surprisingly low. (And it’s even lower if you register soon.)

Still, let’s say you take the course and then decide you’d rather write children’s books and then make money helping others do the same like former student and friend Beau Blackwell did.

skyladderThen the worst case scenario is you’ll have mastered a system to instantly recognize income-generating opportunities – a skill you will use quite literally for the rest of their life.

If you missed the Paid to Brainstorm webinar, you can watch the Replay here.

Just go to  http://PaidToBrainstorm.com/webinar now.

Don’t wait long though, because the webinar replay is only available for another two days.

Also, for a very limited time, is your chance to save an additional $250 on the cost of registering for the upcoming Profiting From Your Passions® coach training.

Combine that savings with the Early Bird discount that ends Monday, July 20th and your total savings is $500.

VY-500

I don’t know about you, but as worse case scenarios go, learning how to turn your interests into income — seems like a pretty low risk for an exceedingly high reward!

The Best Solution of All

Several people who were on the webinar wanted to know the same thing:

How do I get over the fear of starting something new?

If you have the same question I’ll tell you what I told them:

Stop trying. Seriously.

With any change – even positive changes like a new job, relocating, starting a business – you should expect a certain amount of fear to just go with the territory.

So if you’re waiting until you’re no longer afraid to pursue this or any dream — nothing will ever change.

And do you really want look back on your life with a lot of regretful “what ifs…”?

Instead of worrying about the unknown risks, change the question from, “What will happen if I take this leap?” to “What will happen if I do nothing?”

Let’s face it – no matter what your dream – shaking up your life is scary.

As Tom Peters said, “Unless you walk out into the unknown, the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low.”

Remember, courage is not a matter of losing your fear so you can take action; courage comes from taking action. And that, in turn, helps you overcome your fear.

When you can act despite your fear, you will be rewarded many times over.

Life is short my friend. The thing you should be most afraid of, is doing nothing.


Most People Never Even THINK of This

lightbulbRight now 26,584 people subscribe to the Changing Course newsletter.

That alone tells me you probably want to find a way to be your own boss.

That might mean starting a business that can generate enough income to replace your current salary.

Or maybe you just want to supplement your retirement earnings or otherwise start a little side gig.

There’s just one little problem… you need a great idea!

Surprisingly most people fail to see the vast array of opportunities hiding in plain sight.

In fact, all you need to do is follow the trends!

  • Millennials are driving cars far less often than previous generations
  • More women are traveling internationally their own
  • Aging baby boomers… the so-called “silver tsunami”

Whenever something is increasing or decreasing in significant observable ways… you’ve got yourself a trend.

A trend that, IF you pay attention, can lead to an opportunity to make money doing what you love!

Here are three examples to get your wheels turning and kick your transition into self-bossing into high gear!

Trend #1 Rise in tainted imports

In a world where 3-year-olds play video games on their parent’s devices, it seems unlikely that the simple wooden toys of my youth would make a come-back.

But then a few years ago millions of toys manufactured in China were recalled due to lead paint and other dangerous chemicals.

Couple that crisis with the growing trend about product safety and voila!

Opportunity Knocks

planeAccording to an article in the New York Times, home-based wooden toy makers like Ron Voake of Vermont Wooden Toys can barely keep up and are hiring extra employees. “Every time there was a story about a recall,” said the 61-year-old Voake, “I got flooded with orders.”

Trend #2 Increasing Interest in All-Natural Products

Even when a product is considered safe, an increasing number of consumers are gravitating to organic and all-natural products.

Opportunity Knocks

Canadian parents and grandparents seeking all natural products can shop online at a family-business called by Nature.ca.

Started in 2004 by mother of three and long-time cloth diaper advocate Tamara Champion, the site sells a wide range of products like organic baby skin care line, cloth diapers… and wooden toys!

A big attraction for those who create or re-sell natural products is consumers will pay a premium for them.

auntieelsielogoI recently dropped $6 on a small package of Aunt Elsie’s Cookies at my local farmer’s market.

I did it despite my working class sensibilities saying, “Six bucks! Are you nuts?!”

So why did I buy? Because…

a) I like to support local entrepreneurs

b) I prefer all-natural, non-processed foods

c) They were a gift for my Dad,

d) I was really hungry… so sorry Dad

When I asked Aunt Elsie why she decided to start her business, her answer spoke directly to another trend… and opportunity!

Trend #3 People who want to do work that pays the bills… and feeds their soul

On Saturday I’m doing a live encore of an information-packed webinar for “idea people” called Paid to Brainstorm.

There’s a section of the webinar titled:


“Why Helping People Think Outside the Job Box Is the Next BIG Wave”

How can I make such a bold claim?

Because of the sheer number of trends that support it. Like the fact that:

  • half of survey respondents rated having a job they enjoy as “extremely important.”

  • 57 percent of Canadian women said they dream of launching a business doing “something they love.” (Bank of Montreal)

  • baby boomers aged 55 to 64 represent the most significant spike in people starting their own businesses in the US and Canada

There are SO many trends to support this claim that I put them all together in a handy free fact sheet www.PaidToBrainstorm.com/fact-sheet.

lightbulb

Trends can definitely stimulate a cool business idea. But they serve another purpose too.

Trends offer hope.

Hope that because researchers have proved that the marketplace is hungry for more funny dog videos… or are willing to spend more for natural products… or evidence that supports a need wherever your passion lies…

Then your dream of being your own boss really is achievable.

This hopefulness was clear from people who heard my talk on Wednesday

At the end of the presentation I asked people how they felt about their ability to use their creative mind to generate income.

Here’s just a small sampling of what your fellow change seekers said…

Tina – Inspired
Deborah – Confirmed
Kenny – Excited
Tina – Inspired
Clarissa – Curious and Hopeful
Butch – Courage
Deborah – Confirmed
Dori – Excited
Jennifer – Intrigued
Henry – JOY
Deana – Freedom
Gigi – Encouraged
Marsha – Validated-finally
Shaun – Not feeling flighty
Nicki – AUTHENTIC!!!!!!!!!!!
Rosalyn – Freedom
Henry – Fulfillment
Lynda – Transformation!

So if you want to find your great idea – and feel hopeful about being able to make it happen then get yourself a small note book and label it Trends = Ideas= Hope.

Then actively be on the look-out for the thousands of trends that can be the catalyst to your own brilliant small business idea – and life!

If what you read in the fact sheet spoke to you and you…

  • Are a creative problem solver who instinctively jumps in to help others  

  • Are always turning other people on to resources they never knew existed  

  • Constantly think up potential business ideas  

  • Love thinking creatively and “outside of the box” 

Then there’s still time to join me this Saturday, July 11th from noon-2PM ET for my LIVE Paid to Brainstorm encore.

That’s where I’ll personally share with you key elements of my proven system for connecting the dots between what you love to do… and how you can make money doing it.

This informational live session is FREE. Once you attend, check your email for a gift… just for showing up!

Share Your Ideas

Do you have a business idea based on a trend? Know about some trends that can help a fellow dreamer?

Share your ideas and stories below.


Avoid This Dream Crusher At All Costs

make your dreams come true - motivational slogan on a napkin witThis is a cautionary tale.

One that if heeded, will definitely help you to go from talking (and talking and talking and talking…) about being your own boss… to actually having your dream life.

Like many cautionary tales, this one starts with an encouraging one… and some advice.

The advice part is this: If you’re still looking for a money-making idea, you may not need to look any further than your own circle of family and friends.

In Kristen Bassick’s case that inspiration was her children – or little “sprouts” as she likes to call them.

Kristen wanted to find a natural way to treat her kid’s persistent dry skin.

After throwing away money at products that didn’t work her husband urged her to start her own line of all natural kid’s skin care products

stuff4sproutsToday Kristen is the proud owner of Stuff 4 Sprouts. Her company motto is to produce products with “Nothing weird. Nothing gross. Just good stuff for dry skin.”

I am particularly proud of Kristen because she attended one of my Work at What You Love workshops.

Take a moment to read this letter I received from Kristen and see what jumps out at you:

When I came to the seminar I was unhappy with my “job” and with an idea for a new business venture. 

But I was terrified by the idea of building a “business” with employees, and a building, and a manufacturing site…and all that stuff that just seemed like more than I wanted to take on.

Sitting there listening to all of the stories of micro-business owners, who didn’t have a “job” and didn’t have what I had initially thought that a “business” would need to be, opened my eyes to what was possible.

I launched my company after two years of putting all of the pieces into place.

Manufacturing is outsourced, distribution will be soon.  I work from my home office, available for all of the things in my actual life that demand my presence.

I was lucky to be on the receiving end of a well-timed downsizing/ severance at my corporate job and now have the chance to move
Stuff for Sprouts to the next level. Life is good and my new jobless job is so completely cool I just had to share!

Got “Grass Is Greener” Syndrome?

grassisgreenerThere’s nothing safer than staying miserably where you are.

And, one of the best ways to play it safe is to come up with a litany of excuses about why dream making is always “easier” for the next person.

I call it the “Grass is Always Greener” Syndrome.

For instance, did you zero in on the line about Kristen’s well-timed severance package and thought…

“Hey, I could start my own business too if I had money coming in from a severance package!”

If so, did you also see the line about spending two years putting all the pieces into place?

I’ve worked with my share of desperate people who received a full year – sometimes two – of unemployment checks.

They had income and they had all the time in the world to find and launch a business idea.

But instead they waited until they had just one month of severance pay to act.

Money-In-Glass-jarThen they called me in full out panic to schedule a Find My Perfect Business session, terrified they were going to have to find another mind-numbing j-o-b.

There are plenty of other people out there with either the time or the money to start their own thing.

But because they are too afraid… or they lack confidence… or they don’t know where to begin, or all of the above, they do nothing.

Kristen did something. And so can you.

As the American judge who served as the first United States Secretary of Education Shirley Hufstedler once said, “If you play it safe in life, you’ve decided that you don’t want to grow anymore.

If you are tired of coming up with reasons why you can’t leave your safe but ultimately soul-sucking job then do something about it.

When you finally do get the entrepreneurial ball rolling, you’ll find it’s hard to stop.

Besides, as Hufstedler put it, “Security is not the meaning of my life. Great opportunities are worth the risks.

Tomorrow I’m offering a free informational Webinar called Paid to Brainstorm: Why Helping People Think Outside the Job Box is the Next Big Wave.

If you…

  • Are you a creative problem solver who instinctively jumps in to help others?
  • Are you always turning other people on to resources they never knew existed?
  • Do you constantly think up potential business ideas?
  • Do you love thinking creatively and “outside of the box”?


If you answered YES to any of these questions, I urge you to join me and the 430 people (and counting) who have already registered.

The webinar is free, but you do need to register. Then look for an email about your free gift just for showing up!

Your Story Matters

Is the “Grass Is Always Greener” Syndrome undermining your dream? If so, how? Share your story in the comments below!


Still Searching for the Perfect
Business Idea? How to Brainstorm
Your Way Out of Job Jail

manwithlightbulbAnyone who knows me knows, I LOVE brainstorming cool business ideas.

And with next week’s informational webinar on How to Get Paid to Brainstorm fast approaching, I’m even more obsessed than normal with the topic.

In fact, as soon as the webinar hit 200 sign ups, I knew I had to make July unofficial Business Idea Brainstorming Month!

So in celebration of both that – and Independence Day here in the US – I figure it’s the perfect time to gather with friends and family to help you gain your own independence from job jail!

The Power of Brainstorming and Why Two Minds (Or Three or Ten!) Are Better Than One 

The whole concept of brainstorming has been around for so long, it may just seem like common sense.

In fact, the notion of gathering people together to encourage them to come up with wild and crazy ideas was actually invented by an advertising executive back in the 1950s!

Fortunately, today brainstorming is used everywhere as a powerful solution finding tool for groups and individuals.

And for anyone seeking the perfect business idea, brainstorming definitely has benefits. That’s because brainstorming:

  • leverages the brainpower of every participant, each bringing their own unique experiences to the group
  • shakes up our accustomed ways of thinking and clears the way for new ideas that otherwise might never see the light of day
  • allows group members to shed their usual inhibitions, communicate freely, and generate off-the-wall, innovative ideas 

Added bonus: Researchers find that fast and varied thinking causes people to experience elevated mood and energy levels.

In plain English: Brainstorming actually makes you happy too!

10 Ways to Have Productive – and Fun – Business Idea Brainstorming Session 

ineedidea1) Appoint a facilitator. As fun as brainstorming can be… some people can get pretty excited or (defensive) about their business ideas.

This first tip is optional. But still it never hurts to have a neutral facilitator whose job is to keep the idea generation moving and on topic.

2) Establish a time frame and stick to it. People can only stay focused for so long, so limit sessions to no more than an hour. Remember, shorter is better!

3) Begin with a specific outcome in mind. Instead of trying to find answers to the question: “How can I make a living without a job-job?” focus on a specific outcome like, “How can I turn my passion for [fill in the blank] into income?” Doing so will save time, keep people focused, and yield more useful ideas.

4) Set an idea target. I once participated in a brainstorming exercise where one group was told to list as many birds as they could. The other group was instructed to list 30 birds. The group without a target stopped at around 18. But the group who was given a numerical target met and exceeded their goal.

The lesson for aspiring escape artists: Be even more specific by asking the group to come up with 20 ways you could paid to write, make art, serve others, or whatever your passion.

5) Combine group and individual brainstorming: Studies have shown that combining the two is far more effective at generating ideas than group brainstorming alone.

That’s because allowing time for people to think and learn about the topic on their own before the session begins produces better results.

6) One person speaks at a time. When you have a great idea it can be hard to contain yourself.

But when people talk over each other, a great idea can get missed! So breath and remember that everyone will get their turn to talk.

7) No judgments! Okay so maybe you’re pretty confident you’re not going to be invited to be a pitcher in the major leagues. So what? The whole idea of brainstorming is to make people feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, no matter how weird or unlikely.

The more accepting the group, the better the ideas will flow. Too much judgment and analysis at this stage kills creativity.

8) Encourage off-the-wall ideas. Those crazy ideas are where creative quantum leaps come from. They’re the true expression of where our imaginations take us before we start nitpicking.

And big ideas that seem impossible at first may lead eventually to revolutionary new thoughts.

9) Build on other people’s ideas. Be positive and encouraging. Say “Yes, and…” not “Yes, but…”

So instead of “Yes, but you’ll need a lot of money to open a B&B…” or “Yes, but you don’t have space for an art studio…” or “Yes, but don’t have any coaching experience…”

You want to say, “Yes, and I’m sure we can figure out a way to fund your dream… find a space… help you gain experience.”

10) Quantity over quality. Nobel Prize winning scientist and humanitarian Linus Pauling got it right when he said,The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”-

The whole point of brainstorming is to generate as many new ideas as possible and crank them out quickly. You can sort them out at the end of the session and build on the best ones.

Opportunity Knocks  

lightbulbAnd if in the process of your brainstorming session you discover you…

  • love thinking outside the job box
  • are constantly coming up with neat business ideas
  • are forever turning other people on to cool resources…

Then I encourage you to join me and hundreds of your fellow “idea people” from around the globe to discover how you too can get paid to do what comes naturally!

To learn more and register for this free webinar go to Paid to Brainstorm.


The Secret to Finding a GREAT Business Idea

bigstock-Blueprint-of-bulb-lamp-Styliz-58749746The Nobel Prize winning scientist and humanitarian Linus Pauling said, “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.”

After all, the more paths you have to get where you want to go, the better your odds of getting there.

In fact, in my two decades at Changing Course I’ve found that next to fear, the biggest thing keeping people trapped in job jail is lack of ideas.

And that’s a shame.

Because if your dream is to have a portable business so you can live and work from anywhere…

Or if you crave ditching the cubicle to work from home as I do…

Or if you want to find a way you to get paid for your creativity or your writing…

Or you otherwise want to be your own boss – then a great idea is your ticket to freedom.

For instance, last week I posted seven unique ways you – or someone – could cash in on the booming wedding industry.

I say “someone” because the fact is it’s always easier to come up with ideas for other people.

Which is actually very good news.

Because if you search only for cool business ideas for yourself, then you run the very real risk that opportunity will pass you by.

Let me explain…

Why You Need To Be An Idea Junkie

If you opted to skip the wedding article because you have zero interest in a wedding-themed business – then you are missing not only the point but you are also potentially missing the boat to freedom.

fearThat’s because when you only look for ideas for yourself, then you’re far more apt to hit a wall.

Maybe it’s the “That will never work” wall…

Or, the “I can’t make enough money doing that” wall…

Or, the “But I don’t have any experience” wall…

Sound familiar?

But when you get in the habit of seeing money-making opportunities unrelated to your unique gifts or interests, you are fearless.

And because there are no walls, you’re more receptive to possibility.

Knowing that things are possible, you’ll also see how one great idea can lead to another!

And before long, you’ll find the perfect path for you.

Share the Wealth

Ideas are meant to be shared.

Thankfully, many of your fellow travelers on the road to right livelihood not only read the wedding article, but they know how fun it can be to brainstorm with others – if even virtually.

dollarinhandFive generous souls took up the Brainstorm Nation challenge and posted their own money-making ideas for all of us.

Handy with a sewing machine? Debra suggests you could make custom bridal headpieces, purses, garters, and ring bear pillows.

Lee Ann Vermeulen-Roberts from Holland by way of California took a different approach.

Being a singer, songwriter, musician, and creativity coach herself, Lee Ann naturally came up with performing live music (singing or instrumental) during the ceremony itself or being a DJ at reception.

Once you have a great idea, you need to know where to start.

So building on the helpful resources already in the article Debbie DiClaudio Orwat from Colorado posted:

If you want to be a wedding planner PlannersLounge.com has a lot of free information and articles on getting started.

Finally, for Denise Washington the wedding theme was personal – and timely!

If you have a knack for finding bargains, and you enjoy entertaining on the cheap, Denise shared a great idea for a profitable and FUN niche.

brideYou see Denise is getting married on July 24th and wisely she is doing her wedding on a budget.

So she knows first-hand that some people can or choose to drop $50,000 to well over a million dollars on their wedding, for others there is a real need for budget wedding planners and coordinators who know how to put on an event for $15K or less that still looks nice.

And Debbie adds, there is also a need for wedding planners/coordinators who specialize in showing people how to do-it-yourself (DIY) regarding flowers, dresses, decorations, and the like.

But our bride-to-be didn’t stop there. Denise generously offered not one, not two, but NINE more income-generating ideas!

1. Wedding vows writer
2. Graphic designer for programs, invites, placeholders, etc.
3. Wedding toasts writer
4. Engagement and/or wedding scrapbook (digital or printed) creator
5. Wedding day video production
6. Engagement story video production
7. Silk flowers floral arrangements and bouquets
8. Specialty garter belts
9. Offbeat wedding coordinator (roller derby, superheroes, zombie)

You see there truly is no shortage of ways to make money doing what you love!

Tap A Tribe of Idea Generators

freshideasStill I know there are lots more ways to cash in on the booming wedding industry. And when it comes to brainstorming, more brains are always better than one!

And who better to tap than people who get paid to come up with neat business ideas?

So I headed over to the private Facebook page for graduates of the Profiting From Your Passions® coach training to get their thoughts.

Cathy Summers of Inspired 4 Life Coaching in the UK also had a musical idea. But instead of singing at the ceremony, she suggested organizing an entire chorus.

childrenschoirWhen I read Cathy’s pitch to the happy couple to “hire your own chorus of angels,” I thought hmmm, wouldn’t it be interesting to organize a children’s choir! You make money as the organizer and the kids learn the value of earning their own money too.

For planner types, Cathy also suggested hanging out your shingle as a travel planner to design and run local excursions and otherwise manage travel for out of town guests.

Someone who knows a lot about weddings is Tim Grover the Career Optioneer at Changing Life Bulbs. That’s because for 25 years prior to changing course, Tim owned his own DJ service.

Since leaving the business, he’s observed a few new trends other aspiring DJs could offer. Like playing music videos in the background, bringing in a live drummer (presumably to give more of a live feel to recorded music), and providing tambourines and cowbells for guests to get into the act.

Finally, building on Denise’s pre-wedding video ideas, LA-based Solo-Entrepreneurship coach Susan Baker of EscapeHatcher.com wrote:

…my hubby is an editor and I have a background as a producer so our wedding video was editing together and interspersed with in depth interviews with both of us as well as b-roll [background shots or video of the couple] – I suspect this would be a huge hit with other couples.

Turns out Dr. Pauling was right.

The best way to have a good idea truly IS to have lots of ideas – and a Tribe of idea generators in your corner doesn’t hurt either!

It’s why I chose as my company motto: Changing Course begins with a great idea.

Armed with an idea you then need the courage to act on it.

If fear is holding you back, you’re in luck!

Keep your eye out on Monday for a great article on courage by another graduate of the Profiting From Your Passions® program — Redesign Strategist Peggy Fall of RedesignYourLife.com.

And if you love coming up with small business ideas like Cathy, Tim, Susan, and Peggy, stay tuned!

Summer School for the Profiting From Your Passions® training program begins in July.

For more information on this first and only class for people who want to get paid to brainstorm sign up here now to get on the early notification list.

Join the Brainstorm Nation Family! 

Do you have additional ideas for self-bossers who want to break into the wedding business?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post!

Don’t use Facebook? Just scroll to the bottom of this page to post your ideas!


Want to Live Happily Ever After? Start a Wedding Business!

Placing_a_wedding_ringWith all the talk from some about how marriage is “under siege,” you’d think it was a dying institution. Nonsense!

In fact, the wedding industry is booming. And with 2.5 million weddings being celebrated last year, there’s never been a better time to launch a business catering to happy couples!

So how did an industry that’s been around for over a century become red hot again?

Demographics and Cultural Shifts = Opportunity

Part of the credit goes to the Millennial Generation, or what statisticians call “Baby Boom 2.0.”

Since the late 1980s, the US birth rate has surpassed 4 million a year, the threshold that is officially considered a baby boom. The first wave of this demographic group is now in their mid to late 20s so just entering the marriage market.

Another major shift is marriage equality.

Currently more than 70 percent of the US population lives in jurisdictions where same sex-couples can legally marry.

And 19 countries – the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, Britain, Luxembourg, Finland and Ireland – outright acknowledge same-sex marriage.

moneytreeThis seismic shift in social attitudes toward the GLBT community has a huge financial upside.

In the first year of legalization alone, gay couples made up 17% of the total weddings in Washington State. According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, same-sex weddings infused $39 million into Washington’s economy – and that only includes couples who actually reside in the state.

Both same-sex couples and Millennials are statistically a little older when they marry and thus have higher incomes.

That means they have a bigger budget to spend on all the bells and whistles – fancy catering, posh venues, and other amenities.

They’re also more likely to want a unique wedding that expresses their personal values and interests.

And current or aspiring small business owners are perfectly positioned to reap the benefits, especially if you can offer a niche service or product.

You already know the obvious ones… wedding photographers, florists, and caterers.

If any of these float your boat, there’s always room for talented people to join in the fun.

In fact, if you’re highly organized, love managing projects, and are a romantic at heart you can train to become a certified wedding planner. Click here for a list of schools.

At the same time there are lots of other, less obvious ways you can grab your share of the $100 billion wedding industry.

Maybe one of these 7 ideas may be your perfect full or side-line business:

  1. Wedding tableDay-of-Event Coordinator – If you are highly organized but don’t want the responsibility of organizing an entire wedding consider hanging out your shingle as a Day-of-Event Coordinator.
    spacer
    Unlike a traditional wedding planner, a Day-of-Event Coordinator specializes in running the show on the big day, making sure things run smoothly and preventing wedding-day disasters.
  1. Wedding Officiant – A number of online interfaith organizations will ordain you as a minister, entitling you to legally perform marriage ceremonies.
    spacer
    At WeddingOfficiants.com I learned you can make up to $1,000 for a single wedding. During the busy summer season you could easily officiate two or more weddings a week. Cha-ching!Obviously prices vary regionally. When I entered my zip code I found local officiant Amanda Brown whose fees to preside over a wedding and write the service start at $550.There’s more to officiating weddings than understanding scripture or asking objectors to speak now or forever hold their peace.Which is why, it may be worthwhile for you to check out the training offered by the Celebrant Institute. (A very outside the box idea itself – and one with room for competition… from you!)Using Amanda’s fee as an example, the $2,400 you’d pay to be trained by the Celebrant Institute would be recouped after officiating just four weddings.

    Plus you can deduct the cost of the training as a business expense. Sweet!

    And for couples who are outside your geographic range or for do-it-yourselfers, you could always follow Amanda’s wise example and create a Do It Yourself (DIY) course on UDEMY on how to write your own wedding ceremony.

  1. Same-Sex Wedding Consultant –That means the demand for wedding consultants who know the ropes for same-sex couples is skyrocketing.
    spacer
    A same-sex wedding expert can recommend officiants and venues for the ceremony and can refer the couple to specific vendors who are gay-friendly.Live in a state or country that bans gay marriages? Remember, problem = opportunity.In these locations you could perhaps specialize in destination weddings and “Elopement Packages,” including travel, accommodations, and touring.
  1. "Dancing lesson 16507650" by Jerry Daykin from Cambridge, United Kingdom, upload by Herrick - IMG_0975. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dancing_lesson_16507650.jpg#/media/File:Dancing_lesson_16507650.jpgPrivate Dance Lessons – Have a background in dance? More and more people are seeking out instructors for private classes for the couple (or perhaps a group class for the wedding party) who want to make a big impression when they hit the dance floor at the reception.
    spacer
    Here again prices vary.In pricey London it appears you can fetch £80 for a single hour to as much as £495 for more sessions. (In dollars that’s around $89-$550).For the same number of lessons in Billings, Montana you can ask $48-$335.
  1. Pre-Wedding Boot Camp – Everyone wants to look their best for the big event. Services offered might include fitness training, teeth whitening, skin treatments, and hair removal.
    spacer
    If you don’t have the skills or licensing to provide hair and makeup services on the actual wedding day then partner with practitioners who can.
  1. Start a Wedding Website – If you’re tech savvy then create a website as an aggregator for wedding information and tips and/or to match couples with local vendors.
    spacer
    The vendors pay a fee to be on the site and you can earn more cash as an affiliate or by accepting ads.
  1. Close Up Of Detail On Wedding Breakfast Dining Table Setting WitCreate a coordinated wedding themeNot just old-fashioned stationery – more like personalized branding complete with a custom wedding theme for stationery, table linens, even decorative banners.

Thanks to social and cultural shifts, the wedding industry is hot again. And with such a wide range of opportunities, there’s something for every aspiring entrepreneur.

Join the Brainstorm Nation Family! 

Do you have additional ideas for self-bossers who want to break into the wedding business?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post!

Don’t use Facebook? Just scroll to the bottom of this page to post your ideas!


7 Ways to Cash In On the College Market

students

I just returned from on a whirlwind 5-city speaking tour in beautiful British Columbia.

Coincidentally, my topic – the impostor syndrome – was also a major theme of actress Natalie Portman’s Commencement address at her alma mater, Harvard.

May is the time when millions of students graduate from college.

And if you want to be your own boss, May should also be the time when you start thinking about creative ways to tap the college market.

Within a 10 mile radius of my home are three Ivy League colleges, a small super expensive private college, and a large state university.

If you live near a college you know how much the student population contributes to your local economy.

If you want to be your own boss, then these same students can boost your personal economy as well!

There are lots of ways to profit from the lucrative student or faculty market. Here are 7 ideas to get you started.

Sell to Parents

Conventional business wisdom says to avoid a target market that lacks a lot of disposable income. When it comes to college students however, you’ll want to ignore that rule.

For one, there are plenty of students attending elite schools who have money to spend.

More importantly, there will always be parents with both the desire and the financial means to provide every advantage for their pampered offspring.

So let’s begin with ideas aimed primarily at parents of current or college bound students.

1. Private admissions consultant Competition at elite colleges and universities is fierce. So much so that according to USA Today, there’s a huge surge in parents are willing to plunk down as much as $3,000 for a “private admissions consultant” to assist with their kids’ college application. How huge? In 2013, 26% of applicants to Stanford University hired a consultant – triple the number from just a decade earlier.

Man underwear2. Student concierge Wealthy parents are eager to eliminate anything that might otherwise distract their child from his or her studies. Enter Lana Drew’s Student Concierge Service.

Parents of students attending elite Brown University and other colleges in Providence, Rhode Island tap Lana’s “Lifestyle Management” services to do anything from moving into dorms to handling dry cleaning and laundry to installing a sound system. Her company even has doctors, attorneys, and bankers on call to assist her client’s offspring as needed.Clearly aimed at wealthy parents who will gladly pay to give their kid every possible advantage, Lana’s concierge services start at a whopping $2,500 a semester and can go much higher.

3. Care package creator  CarePackages.com understands that virtually all parents (and grandparents) want to make college life a little easier – and fun. The site offers an assortment of care packages for different occasions like new students, final exam period and Sample cpa exam questions, or graduation.There’s definitely room in this space for you to put together your own care packages of healthy snacks or junk food, toys, birthday cakes, funny t-shirts, gift certificates to a local yoga studio, iTunes… get creative!

duster-with-glove_M11i8PKu4. Dorm cleaning service – College janitorial services are typically limited to bathrooms, hallways, and other public areas. A lot of students with dorm or fraternity/sorority rooms that resemble those in the film Animal House would love to hire someone to clean up.

Since they’re small, dorm rooms can be cleaned quickly. And if parents aren’t willing to cover the cost then suite occupants may be willing to split it.

If you don’t want to do the actual cleaning yourself then build on the Dorm Mom app model and find local students to do the work.

5. Tutor If you’re knowledgeable in a particular academic subject, earn money helping a struggling student pass a class. If you’re targeting undergraduates, marketing-wise you may want to target the paying parent, it may be the parent footing the bill.

When I was studying for the Graduate Entrance Exam (GRE) I personally hired a math tutor to help me brush up on my algebra and geometry.

So don’t forget to tap all those students either applying for advanced degree programs or who need to pass final licensing exams also need help preparing for the various examinations.

If you don’t want to deal with promoting your services yourself then sign up with a clearing house like Take Lessons. Algebra tutors on their site get paid $15-$35 for 30 minutes of tutoring.

Push pin on sudy text6. Coach ADD/ADHD/autistic students – Most schools have on-site professionals to assist with students with a variety of special needs including attention deficit and/or hyperactivity or autism.

That said, there’s plenty of room for customized private coaching for those students who need one-to-one help to negotiate the maze of university bureaucracy, deal with the social and academic demands of college, manage money, stay fit, and juggle laundry and other chores new to many young people out on their for the first time.

Parents are already paying through the nose for tuition. What’s another $200-$500 a month to ensure their son or daughter graduates?

7. Career advising for lost students – Imagine spending a small fortune on your kid’s tuition only to have him or her drop out, flunk out, or graduate but still be utterly directionless.

My friends Tim and Martha were dismayed when their daughter Katie flunked out of her pricey private high school. So they sent her to a private career counselor.

In addition to doing a bunch of testing, the counselor arranged for Katie to spend a month with a volunteer organization in Latin America as well as other experiential outings.

The bill… $3,000 plus the cost of travel!

Once again, you don’t need to be the one providing the counseling. You just need to find the counselors and promote and manage the business.

With 21 million college students in the US and another 1.7 in Canada, there’s ample opportunity to cash in on students — and their paying parents.

And since college doesn’t start up again until the fall, that gives you a full three months to start putting your ideas in place. So… what are you waiting for? Your future profit center is waiting for you!

We’d Love to Hear From You

Have another idea for tapping the lucrative college market? Share it with your fellow Changing Course change seekers here!

If you don’t use Facebook, just scroll down to post there.

The best idea will receive a FREE copy of Being Realistic is Killing Your Dream (a $19 value)


How to Cash in on a Trend… And This is No Game

Chess against grunge background

By far one of the best ways to come up with a cool – and profitable – business idea is to pay attention to trends.

For example, if you spend much time on public transportation, in coffee shops, or other public places you’ll see people of all of ages compulsively playing Angry Birds or other games on their devices. (I am an admitted Solitaire junkie!)

But did you know there’s a huge surge in the popularity of good old fashioned board games like Monopoly or Dungeons and Dragons?

According to a recent segment on NBC news, board game sales increased 10 percent in 2014. Sales of the childhood favorite Operation are up a whopping 40 percent!

Fueling this increase is another trend — the growing desire to unplug from our devices and connect on a more personal level.

Some entrepreneurial souls are cashing in on the board game trend in a big way. And with a little creative thinking, so can you.

Cup Of Coffee And A Couple Of Cookies Making A Welcome BreakTake for instance, the aspiring entrepreneurs from Gold Ira Company Glendale, CA who launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to open a game-themed café. It took just two months to raise the funds to open GameHaus Café.

Besides enjoying the wide-ranging menu of drinks and casual fare, for a $5 cover charge customers can access over 900 board games. The café also hosts events like International Table Top day at a cost of $15 for the day.

Other game bars and cafes like The Uncommon in population dense New York City are heavily events driven with specific dates and times regularly reserved for lovers of chess, Star Trek, and other games.

Even though they’re in a pricier area, The Uncommon also charges just $5 a head. Undoubtedly, the owners know the games are a way to bring the customers in. The real money is made on the food and beverage side.

The mark up on coffee alone explains why it’s known in the restaurant industry as “black gold.”

Still, when you consider 100-200 people at 5 bucks that’s an additional $500 to $1,000 a day in revenue! Even if they pull in that many people over the course of an entire week, you’re looking at $26,000-$52,000 annual profit just on the cover charge. Not bad for a one-time purchase of a bunch of board games.

Opportunity Knocks

moneytreeExamples of location-specific businesses like these are ripe with opportunities for people who want to change course. After all, being a brick and mortar operation means they can’t be everywhere. So unless these café owners plan to offer franchises, anyone can replicate or modify what is now a tested business model.You can now even get some of the best coupon deals online and save money with it.

You could of course open your own bar or café. But if you’re looking for a more modest investment or something that doesn’t require you to be tethered for hours on end to a physical location, there are other potential options.

Set Up a Board Game Events Company I can see a lot of restaurant or coffee shop owners loving this idea but not having the time or energy to set it up.

What if you purchase a bunch of new or used board games to rent out to restaurants looking to host their own events?

To earn even more, provide a done-for-you service that, in addition to publicizing the event, includes board game delivery and set up. For a more engaging experience (at an additional charge), include MC services where you lead quirky contests complete with equally quirky prizes.

The restaurant or café gets the additional food and drink revenue and you keep the cover charge.

Whether you offer your services to existing businesses OR you rent out space to host your own events, consider offerings specific to different demographics groups. For instance:

Singles: What better way to meet a potential romantic partner than at a low pressure environment like board game night? In addition to lots of laughter, you definitely learn a lot about a person based on how they play individually competitive games like Monopoly, Scrabble, or Battleship or a team game like Pictionary or Taboo. Be sure to bring name tags for this one.

Single Parents: The kids get to meet and have no-tech fun with their peers. The parents get a much needed break playing games or conversing with other adults. For single parents who need to get employee, business, or school related work done you can set up workstations with printers.

Rent out Saturday mornings at a dinner-only restaurant, a childcare center, or other space. Set up a cereal buffet bar for the kids and maybe some children’s films for the toddlers and you’ve got yourself a great weekend business.

Family playing board gameFamily Game Night: Pizza for the kids… a glass of beer or wine event for the adults…  What could be more fun? If your venue does not have a liquor license check with your local officials to see if a “bring your own” permit is available where you live. Or host an alcohol free event.

There could be college student, young professionals unplug, or new guy or gal in town night. Game days for kids with special needs or corporate team building events. Afternoon events aimed at retirees. Even bring your dog to game day complete a supervised romper room for canine play.

Once you start thinking outside the job box you’ll quickly see the possibilities are truly endless!

Finally, for the record, you can still tap into this trend without organizing events. That’s what the founders of Board Game Quest did.

The site began as a simple blog. It was a way says founder and avid gamer known simply as Tony to, “play games, post reviews and session reports, and maybe encourage others to discover something new.” [Wonder if the reason Tony and the other staffers don’t use last names is because they’re in the process of changing course from having a job-job to being full-time self-bossers…]

However, like so many enterprises that started out small, things grew from there. Today Board Game Quest features weekly board game reviews, news, interviews with game designers, and information on upcoming board game related Kickstarter campaigns.

That’s why its so important not to wait until you’ve got it all figured out. Instead just jump in and be open to where your business takes you!

The key is to stay alert to trends. When you find one that peeks your interest, look for proven — or creative — ways to build a business around it.

Join the “Brainstorm Nation” Family!

When it comes to ways to make a living without a j-o-b, lots of heads are always better than one!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post including other interesting ways someone could turn similar interests into income! (Non-Facebook users, scroll down to the comment section.)


25 Cool Business Ideas for Introverts

Shy Bold Signpost Means Introvert Or ExtrovertWhen you picture a successful entrepreneur, you probably imagine someone with an outgoing, talkative personality. The kind of person who loves to socialize and meet new people.

The person you probably don’t picture is someone who is quiet, who becomes overwhelmed and exhausted by noisy environments, or avoids spending too much time around other people, especially large groups.

So where does that leave the stereotypical shy, socially reserved introvert who wants to start a business?

Better off than you think!

For starters, most experts see introversion/extraversion as a spectrum with few people at the extremes. Instead most of us fall closer to the middle. What about you?

Take the Quiz: Are You An Introvert?

  • Do you feel exhausted after an evening out with a lot of people (like at a party or networking event)?
  • Do you find you really need quiet time alone, for example, just reading, meditating, listening to music, or watching TV?
  • Do you tend to prefer to socialize in a very small group (just a couple close friends)?
  • Do you find it difficult to initiate a conversation with a stranger?
  • Do you label yourself (or do other people label you) as shy or quiet or socially inept?

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you’re probably closer to the introvert end of the spectrum. But that doesn’t mean you’re not cut out to start your own business.

Hugely successful entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett are not the kind of guys you’d find chatting it up at a party. And there are plenty of actors, professional speakers, and other performers who can “do” extrovert but are in fact quite introverted – myself included!

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, it’s important to know yourself and where your energy lies. In fact, think of your energy like a battery; if you are an extrovert your batteries are charged by social interaction, if you are an introvert your batteries will be drained.

That means you need to play to your strengths and get help in the areas where you’re weaker. For example, if you are an extreme introvert, you may prefer to run a home-based business rather than founding a company that requires you to interact with employees.

Or if you really do want to build an empire then like Zuckerberg, Gates, and Buffets then just know you’ll probably need to partner or hire an extrovert who loves the social stuff.

25 Small Business Ideas for Introverts

As an introvert it’s important to find the right business for you.

For instance, an online business where you sell new or used products or where you create and sell information products (written materials, audio downloads, etc.), can be a great fit for introverts because it allows all the freedom, control, and income of self-bossing with less of the frequent people contact that you find so draining.

Another benefit to a web-based business is you get to use your online interactions and presence to determine the persona the world sees. So you can be reserved Rachel or Rick at home and Rock Star Rachel or Rick in your business!

But selling stuff online is not your only option. Here are 25 other ideas that are well suited to people who enjoy solitude:

  1. Webmaster or IT consultant
  2. Artist
  3. Graphic design
  4. Photography
  5. Copywriter (using words to sell a product or service or to promote causes)
  6. Fiction writing (romance, novels, etc.)
  7. Blogger
  8. Genealogy
  9. Social media consultant
  10. Editing and/or proofreading
  11. Web designer
  12. Craft-related businesses
  13. Creating patterns: Sewing, knitting, woodworking
  14. Creating software or apps
  15. Woodworking
  16. Cooking/baking
  17. Clothing designer
  18. Working with animals
  19. Growing and selling flowers, vegetables, and/or herbs
  20. Errand service
  21. Translating
  22. Bookkeeping
  23. Fixing things: Cars, appliances, clothes alterations, broken pottery, antique clocks/watches
  24. Making things better: Custom cars, motorcycles, campers, etc.
  25. Building things: Furniture, boats, decks, etc.

Success Strategies for the Introvert Entrepreneur

Once you find your perfect business, you need to take action. To help ensure your success you’ll want to follow these simple strategies:

  • Find your passion. Your enthusiasm for your business can help you overcome your reluctance toward social interaction because you’re so eager to share it with the world.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses. Introverts may have social issues to overcome, but they have a knack for seeing the big picture and focusing on the important details.
  • Know what drains and energizes you. If you know that client meetings, long phone calls, or networking events drain you, try to schedule your day to include blocks of time for things that recharge your batteries like listening to music, meditation, reading, or even watching TV or playing a video game.
  • Automate and delegate. When you’re juggling a lot of balls it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Create systems and automation that will allow you to remove people from the equation – i.e., eliminate the need for employees, for making personal phone calls, etc. And where you can’t eliminate it, delegate heavily people tasks to a Virtual Assistant (VA) or others who are more extroverted.
  • Seek out other introverted entrepreneurs. This may sound counterintuitive, but a fellow introvert is more likely to understand where you’re coming from and is more likely to respect your social boundaries. Having other like-minded entrepreneurs around you – even if only virtually via social media– will also give you more confidence
  • Step out of your comfort zone. Finally, you may be an introvert but if you want to be your own boss then you still need to stretch yourself. Join a Toastmasters club to conquer your fear of public speaking. If you must attend a networking event set a goal of talking to just four people.

To this last point, you may even choose a business precisely because it pushes you to talk to strangers.

For example, according to International Living magazine editor Jen Stevens, one of the many great things about travel writing is it gives introverts a built-in excuse for initiating conversations with owners of inns, shops, cafes and others along the journey who can add value to your article.

(As an aside: If you’d like to learn how to become a travel writer, I highly recommend The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program.)

With so many ways today to build a small business, to communicate with clients and customers, and to make business connections without ever venturing into public, you don’t need to be bigger, louder, funnier, or more charming to build a successful business.

Instead, be true to yourself, find the right business for you, and then take action!

Join the “Brainstorm Nation” Family!

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, when it comes to ways to make a living without a j-o-b, lots of heads are always better than one!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post, including any ideas you have for the introvert entrepreneur! (Non-Facebook users, scroll down to the comment section.)


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