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How to Get Away With Murdering Your Dream

In my two decades at Changing Course I’ve grieved the premature death of hundreds of perfectly viable business ideas.

Ideas which were totally possible – some even brilliant.

Ideas which if acted upon could have sprung their owners from job jail and made a difference in the world as well.

But sadly their owner let them perish.

There are a lot of ways to kill a dream.

For instance you can believe all those life-long cubicle dwellers who love to tell you that being your own boss is just a pipe dream.

Or you can become so overwhelmed with the thought of acting on your great idea that all you want to do is zone out in front of the television.

Or you can become consumed with the “what ifs.”

  • What if no one likes, wants, or buys my stuff?
  • What if I fall flat on my face?
  • What if I don’t know enough or am not smart enough to pull it off?

So much so that you never pause to consider what your life will be like in the far more likely event that you actually succeed!

There are dozens more of course. But by far the most common way to get away with murdering your dream is to simply keep it to yourself.

After all, if no one ever knows about your big idea they can’t possibly judge it – or you.

If you don’t share your business plan then no one will know that you didn’t lift a single finger to get it off the launch pad.

If you never let your idea see the light of day, never show your art or share your writing then no one will expect anything from you.

In other words, when you’re accountable only to yourself, then there’s no real consequence for failing to follow through.

That is of course other than spending the next ten or twenty years stuck in a job-job. 

If you think that’s too high a price to pay, then you have a choice. You can continue to slowly starve your dream to death through sheer neglect.

Or you can decide to get off the misery-go-round.

If you wisely chose the latter, here are two simple steps you can take right this very minute.

Step 1: Publicly Declare Your Intention

For five years I produced a wonderful workshop called Work at What You Love which I also co-led with and my good friend and author of Making a Living Without a Job Barbara Winter.

make your dreams come true - motivational slogan on a napkin witIn the final hour of this multi-day seminar participants were instructed to stand and publicly declare an intention. One by one upwards of 150 people rose microphone in hand to publicly give voice to their dream.

And now you can too.



The ground rules of a public declaration are simple:

  • It must be summarized in one sentence.
  • It can’t begin with “I’d like to…” or “Maybe I will…” or “It would be great if I could….” Instead, your declaration must begin with the words “I’m going to___”
  • It must include a commitment to act.

Some of the intentions shared over the years are downright inspiring!

“I’m going to be the penguin expert on a tour of the Galapagos.”

“I’m going to open a bakery-café that caters to stay at home parents and their kids.”

“I’m going to spend six months every year in the south of France.”

“I’m going to write the biography of my grandfather’s life.”

“I’m going to move to an island and open a bike repair shop.”

So you have a choice. You can murder your idea and no one will ever know.

Or you breathe life into your dream by scrolling down to either the Facebook OR the general comments section to make your own public declaration now.

Step 2: Find people who want to see your idea succeed as much as you do

The forces of fear, self-doubt, and overwhelm are mighty. That’s why you need a team of people who want to see you realize your dream as much as you do.

People who will be there to support one another, to hold each other accountable for making slow steady progress, to offer new ideas and solutions, to help one another overcome the inevitable setbacks, and to celebrate the wins big and small.

It’s interesting. Left on your own and you can feel hopeless.

But when you’re in a group like this, somehow you feel empowered. You become almost “bigger” than you usually are.

You feel a confidence that’s sometimes impossible to muster on your own. Yet with this network of supporters cheering you on, you’re inspired to go on… to plow ahead with a certain audacity that you might not normally feel you have in you.

As importantly, your productivity will soar. With a dream team behind you, you will get more done in six months than you would otherwise accomplish in six years!
Group Of Business People Are Focused On The JobThe people on your dream team can be friends, like-minded co-workers, even total strangers. You can meet in person or via conference call.

Regardless of who’s in your group or how you communicate the key is commitment. To truly succeed your dream team must commit to meeting weekly for no less than six months.

I’ve been a member in three business-building groups myself and each one has helped me grow in leaps and bounds.

I’m so convinced of the power of having a “mastermind” behind you that I recently created a formal Changing Course Dream Team.

The people who’ve already joined a dream team did so as a result of signing up for the recent Work @ What You Love workshop. (If you missed it and still want to take the class, you have until February 14 to get the complete webinar recordings.)

You don’t need to have attended Work at What You Love to join a Dream Team. That’s why I’m opening up the Dream Teams to my larger Changing Course newsletter readership.

These Dream Teams are set to begin in the next two weeks.

Right now there only 5 spots left. Once you sign up you can select your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice from various days and times.

Don’t murder your dream. Instead take a moment now to learn how you can join a Changing Course support group and to discover 5 ways a dream team can help you achieve your dream.

Even if a dream team is not for you, I encourage you to scroll down this page to publically declare your intention today. After all, a dream is a terrible thing to waste!

I hope you enjoyed this preview and I hope to see YOU in a dream team!


There Are No Coincidences

 
I’m not one to throw around words like “magical.”

But time and again I’ve seen what happens when people step into their dreams.

The smallest step can lead to pure magic.

Take Stephanie.

We were barely into our Find My Perfect Business coaching session when Stephanie made an off-handed reference to a dream she’d long abandoned.

That’s when I learned of her decades-long fascination with the world of public policy – an interest sparked by her high school boyfriend.

The topic continued to tug at her heart… and so did the old boyfriend.

As she talked, Stephanie’s entire voice changed. She was animated, excited… happy.

I was instantly reminded of something renowned mythology scholar Joseph Campbell said…

“The way to find out about your happiness
is to keep your mind on those moments when
you feel most happy, when you are really happy
– not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy.”

But Stephanie followed a different path and spent the last twenty years in the mental health field.

She was convinced it was just too late to transition into policy making. For starters she really didn’t want to go back to school for yet another masters’ degree.

Besides, even if she could break in, she lives in the Midwest and the vast majority of policy jobs are in Washington DC.

Stephanie was not opposed to moving. It’s just that her other lifelong dream was to live by a lake.

Neither of Stephanie’s dreams looked promising. Or so she thought…

I challenged Stephanie to back up her discouragement with actual facts by researching the question, “how to get into public policy.”

To further light a fire under her I issued a two week deadline.

Stephanie sprang into action!

She began reading books and articles.

She called think tanks and set up multiple informational interviews with people working in the field.

She found, and then promptly joined, a public policy group that advocates on behalf of people touched by mental illness.

Not only was a pricey public policy degree not necessary to enter this field, but her new peers were so impressed with Stephanie’s mental health credentials; they invited her to chair the group!

It gets better!

Stephanie also discovered a prestigious public policy center located two hours from home – and it’s on a lake!

And in another remarkable twist of fate, after not seeing her old high school boyfriend for decades Stephanie bumped into him in a parking lot!

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote,

“At The Moment Of Commitment The Entire Universe Conspires To Assist You.”

Goethe understood amazing things happen when you stop wishing and start acting.

Confusion makes way for the gift of clarity…

People come out of the woodwork to help you…

Answers that eluded you for years suddenly appear…

Experiences you never imagined possible are now available…

I am living proof.

I started the Changing Course newsletter in 1995 with a whopping two subscribers!

In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined where my business would take me.

12115_1That I’d sit down for an intimate Q&A with billionaire social entrepreneur and adventure seeker Sir Richard Branson.

Or that while in Los Angeles I’d attend a star-studded fundraiser Branson hosted called Rock the Kasbah.

(I managed to snap this photo of Branson chatting with Sharon Stone and this one of Paula Abdul.)

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There were other stars on hand – stars in the coaching and online world. People like Ali Brown and Mari Smith, Eban Paegan, Joe Polish and Yanik Silver.

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12115_7Starting out I could have never imaged meeting Gary Vaynerchuk (known to his 1.11 million Twitter followers as Gary Vee) at a New York cafe and picking his amazing entrepreneurial brain – something his corporate clients gladly pay $75,000 to be able to do.

Or that Arianna Huffington would personally email me to ask me to blog for the Huffington Post or that Forbes magazine editor Steve Forbes’ office would call for a signed copy of my book.

When I stood up to give my first very shaky public talk it was simply inconceivable that major corporations and universities like IBM, Procter & Gamble, Boeing, Harvard and Stanford would later pay me thousands of dollars to speak for a single hour.

Or that I’d land a six-figure book deal or that my book would go on to be published in five languages – including Russian.

Starting out – none of these things seemed possible. Now I know better.

“At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.”

And it all began with taking one small step.

Why not make today the day you step into your dream and see for yourself how even the smallest step can lead to pure magic.

And speaking of magic…

You still have two days to join the enthusiastic tribe of change seekers from as far away as New Zealand and Egypt who already signed on for the first-ever Work @ What You Love Virtual Weekend Workshop.

Join us live online. Or take the workshop on your own schedule. Your choice.

Either way, it’s an incredibly low cost way to open the door and let a little magic into your life!


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 the THREE things you would most regret not doing in your lifetime.

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

I invite you to post it either in the Facebook comment section, or scroll down for the general comments area.

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

As I write this, 108 of your fellow change seekers from six countries and 32 states have signed on for the fast approaching Work @ What You Love Virtual Weekend Workshop.

WWL-Virtual

If 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 Tuesday, January 20th.

But don’t wait too long, because after midnight January 20th, the price DOUBLES.

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

Can’t Make the January 24-25 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 also receive a complete set of the 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, try not worrying about what will happen if you fail. Instead worry about what you have to lose by not ever trying.


Yes You Can – And I Can Prove It

Fear… self-doubt… procrastination… Are these dream-busters keeping you from going after your dream of being your own boss?

Why wouldn’t they?

“By the time you’ve hit your 20’s,” says Walter Anderson, author of Courage is a Three Letter Word and The Greatest Risk of All, “you’ll have heard a whopping 25,000 ‘can’ts’.”

Twenty-five THOUSAND… that’s a lot of “can’ts.”

“You can’t work at what you love and make a good living.” “Impossible. Can’t be done.”

What most people call “reality” is a very poor place to nurture dreams… and to share them with others? Forget it.

Erma Bombeck once said, “It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”

Erma knew that other people’s fear, skepticism and negativity can be as contagious as the flu. And unless you’ve built up your immune system, these dream stompers can knock you – and your precious dreams – for a loop.

Don’t believe me? Try this at your next gathering…

Announce to your family and friends that you’ve decided to quit your job to become a writer… or a personal organizer… or do your art… or be an aroma-therapist… or flip houses… or pursue your love for history… or travel the world for a year… or whatever it is you’d love to do.

What do you think their reaction would be?

Would they encourage you to “go for it?” Or might it sound more like this…

“Yeah right, in your dreams.”  “It’ll never work.”  “Better to play it safe.”

If you listen to the naysayers out there, the message is loud and clear. Stay stuck, don’t even dare to hope, forget your dreams.

Is it any wonder you’re probably finding it hard to take control of your life and whole-heartedly pursue your dreams?

Think about how all the “It’ll never work,” “Forget your crazy dreams,” “You should be happy that you have a job,” messages have buried themselves deep into your psyche and affected how you see the world.

For example, if you sat down right now and took a personal inventory of your life, would your list look something like this?

  • cautionI’m miserable in my job. But it’s impossible to make any money doing what I love.
  • I feel like life is passing me by… but there’s nothing I can do about it.
  • I keep thinking there has to be more to life than this…. I suppose I should just forget my crazy dreams

Sound familiar? Okay, so what do you do?

Well, for starters you might want to think about what will happen if you do nothing.

Close your eyes and picture what your life will be like if you continue to be ruled by your fears and self-doubts and heed the red lights thrown up by your well-meaning family and friends.

In other words, imagine staying where you are right now… day after day, year after year dragging yourself through the work week until you retire.

Pretty scary isn’t it?

Now imagine feeling encouraged and empowered to go after your dream.

Picture yourself looking back at your life and basking in the self-satisfaction of knowing you went for it…. If you like the way that felt then you’ve already begun to experience how powerful it is to readjust your thinking. You see the thing is…

doorfieldIf you really want to create a more balanced, rewarding life doing work you truly love, you’ll need to create a mindset that will instantly turn ‘can’t’ into ‘can.’

There will always be dream dashers.

But the world is also full of people who believe in the power of a dream. You just need to find them.

Fortunately you don’t have to look all that far. A few years ago I compiled a book filled with the voices of just such people.

People like best-selling authors Barbara Sher and Barbara Winter, creativity expert Bob Baker, motivational speaker Steve Simms, and a dozen experts join a chorus of Changing Course readers who allowed me to share their success stories.

Think of Yes You Can as the inspirational kick in the pants you need to take control of your life and go after your dreams.

It’s a message I deemed so important that I’m giving a free copy of Yes You Can away to all the people who’ve been signing up for an online workshop I’m leading called Work @ What You Love.

WWL-VirtualGifting Yes You Can is my way of rewarding you for taking decisive action to turn can’t into can. There’s still time to get yours, but you must act by Thursday, January 15th at 4PM(16:00).

I hope you can join the enthusiastic tribe of change seekers who’ve already registered to attend Work @ What You Love.

There’s just no better way to adjust your mindset than by “hanging out” with people who know how to guide you along your path and give you that inspirational jolt you need to realize that yes you can.

On any given day we all need help remembering this – myself included.

It’s why as a child Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez’s father told her to start each day with this single thought…

“Today is going to be a great day. I can, I will.”

WWL-VirtualThe Half Price Early Bird Price is Still Available – But the Yes You Can Bonus Offer (a $29 Value) Ends Today

 


Remembering My Boy Cokie “Roberts”

If you are a long time subscriber of the Changing Course newsletter than you will no doubt recall this early photo of Cokie and me that appeared in each issue.

We were both a lot younger then!

Cokie was a fixture at the “Work at What You Love” workshop/retreats that I used to hold in the living room of my former home in Montague Massachusetts.

Mostly he just hung out while the participants were busy making plans for how to make a living with a j-o-b.
cokie2cokie1

Other times he preferred to share the teacher’s chair and actively participate in the discussion.



But I’ll let Cokie tell you in his own way, what he loved most about these gatherings…

He was just a year and half when I took him home from a no-kill shelter. The staff there had named him Pokie.

I suppose it was because whereas every other dog would run at the sight of food, Cokie would take his oh-so-sweet time making his way to his dish.

You’d have to really be a dog lover to watch this next video. With that warning, here’s Cokie NOT rushing to his dish.

In fact he was almost never in a rush. Unless that is, there was a squirrel involved. Then he was, I used to tell him, faster than a greyhound!

I wasn’t crazy about the name “Pokie.” At the same time I also didn’t want to confuse him with an entirely new one. So I settled on Cokie.

Despite being a boy, just for fun I added “Roberts” onto his name in honor of a longtime favorite NPR correspondent, Cokie Roberts.

I must admit I did take adolescent humor in the annual call from the vet’s office reminding me about using best vacuum cleaner for pet hair is the best way to please bring in a stool sample from Cokie Roberts. Although I’ve never shared this with Ms. Roberts, I like to think she’d be amused.

Cokie offered many life lessons – like during our morning “delicious selection of treats” ritual

When I first got Cokie there were no cameras in cell phones. In fact, there were no cell phones!
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I have some earlier photos of him packed away somewhere.

But finding them and then figuring out how to use my new scanner? Well, that’s just more than my brain can handle today.

Instead here are a few favorites from the last 7 years…

Waiting for the vet… It was not his favorite place (understatement) yet I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Diamond and the team at Valley Veterinary.

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He’d much rather be in his bed…

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Preferably dreaming…

Or sledding with the dog sitter (who knew!)

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Or snuggling on the couch…

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I used to always tell Cokie he was “smarter and braver than Lassie.” You decide…

Good Boy! He got it right!

Like any self-bosser, Cokie worked really hard!

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Yet Cokie still found time to hang out with his many friends.

This is him with his girlfriend Megan. (He always liked older women.)

In fact, the minute I said her name, Cokie would immediately cock his head trying to understand… Is she here? Are we going there? Where’s Megan?!

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And waiting at the door with his hiking pal Mercie.

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Cokie even loved cats.

In fact a neighbor’s cat used to rub up against him purring and licking his ears.

Apparently mistaking the cat’s “advances” Cokie tried to have “relations” with her.

When I asked my vet if this was normal behavior in dogs he answered with an emphatic “No.”

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Cokie’s first toy was a monkey.

So after that all toys were known as monkeys. He had a cow monkey, a giraffe monkey, a bear monkey…

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Some years before she passed away my mother admired this porcelain dog she saw in a store in Vermont. So my sister Susan surprised her with it.

Though my mother never got to meet Cokie, the resemblance to my future dog is remarkable – even the same red collar!

My dad recently gave me the statue. At first I couldn’t bear to see it. It was too soon. Today his look-alike sits in my office. In the spring I may put it on his grave.

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Finally, two of my favorite photos: Basking in the sun on the porch at the old house in Montague.

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I guess like his “Mom,” Cokie understood that life is all about taking the long view.

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Thanks for letting me share these thoughts and images of Cokie.

Mostly, thank you for letting me share him with all of you for the past 14 years. You rock.

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5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Part 2

When it comes to changing course, money – or rather the lack of it – stops a lot of people in their tracks.

So to help, I’ve put together a five-part series on creative ways to fund your dream.

You may not be able to take advantage of every idea or resource. In fact, none of the five ideas may be right for you and your personal situation. You need to read them anyway. Why?

First, the strategy that may not be a fit for you today may indeed be the one that launches your dream a few years from now.

Second, just knowing that options truly do exist will remind you that your crazy dream is not so crazy after all.

And finally, one of the ideas or resources you see here may be perfect for someone you know. Pass it on and you just might change a life!

Strategy #2: Get Your Priorities Right

Comedian and actor Chris Rock remarked in an interview, “Having money doesn’t make you rich. Having options makes you rich.”

Arianne and Scott Bennett didn’t have either. The couple desperately wanted to travel. But they didn’t have any expendable income.

However they were both able to afford their $4.50 pack a day cigarette habit. Smoking had become a priority.

So in 1998 they both decided to quit and stash the money they saved into a travel fund. Ten months later the couple had enough money to fly to Amsterdam where some friends had recently moved. Check the e cigarette reviews

falafelThey loved the canals and the old world charm. But what Arianne and Scott really fell in love with were the many falafel shops. So they returned to the states to open their first Amsterdam Falafel shop and today run a booming franchise business.

Arianne and Scott’s dream began with a simple decision to put their money into something that would bring them joy. Can you say that about where your money goes?

If not, where can you cut back? Could you cancel or downgrade a pricey cable bill. Pack your lunch. Skip the daily latte. Whatever you do be sure you redirect the money you save into a special Dream Account.

For my friends Linda and Waino saving money isn’t a strategy. It’s a lifestyle.

Throughout his life Waino had a series of low-paying jobs, including school bus driver and hired hand at a dairy farm. Linda started out as an English teacher but soon discovered a love of making pottery.

For the last 30 years she’s thrown pots in her well-lit basement studio. In the spring and fall, Linda teaches pottery classes at a local college. And for a few weeks each summer, she runs classes for kids in her studio.

Of course like everyone, there are times when, Linda feels pressured by the demands for her work. But while her employed friends get a measly 2-3 weeks of vacation, Linda takes ten.

Freshly-Harvested-VegetablesThe couple grows much of their own food. So she takes three weeks off in May to plant their massive vegetable garden. The entire month of August is spent reading books, playing cards, and swimming at a rustic cottage on a remote lake in Maine that the couple own with Linda’s sister and her husband.

After a hectic few month run up to the busy Christmas craft season Linda takes three weeks off in January to cross country ski from her front door and to catch up on things around the house.

This isn’t Linda’s only vacation time. In the last few years she and Hanne Eidberg cross-country skied their way across a part of Switzerland, spent a week with other long-time friends and me in Cozumel Mexico, and last year she accompanied a friend to Ecuador.

Did I mention that Linda and Waino’s combined income has never been more than $50,000? If you’re wondering how they can do all of this and still afford to take over ten weeks off a year, it has everything to do with priorities.

The couple prides themselves on living a full but frugal life. Ardent environmentalists, they repair rather than replace, buy only what they need and for everything else they go used, barter with friends, or go without. They raise chickens for the eggs and grow and preserve a fair amount of their own food.

The mortgage on their small but comfortable home has long been paid off and they have more saved for retirement than the vast majority of those earning two-to-three times more.

If you live in pricy areas like New York City, Boston, or San Francisco it’s not always easy to live on less. So if you’re ready for a change of scenery, consider relocating to a more affordable place where your dollar will go much further.

cafeIf you’re up for re-prioritizing in a big way, you could always go international. Running an existing portable business or starting a new business in another country is actually pretty doable. There are ex-pats opening cafes, using Skype to continue to work with clients back home, and importing crafts and other products back home.

Getting a job in another country can be a major challenge, but it’s not impossible. The reason Linda went to Ecuador was to accompany a friend who couldn’t afford to retire in the U.S. and wanted to check things out. On her first visit the friend got a job teaching English and has since relocated there full-time.

You don’t have to retire to benefit from this list of best places to retire from International Living magazine.

Nor do you need to move, raise your own chickens or grow your own food. But, if you’re serious about finding a way to fund your dream – and enjoy more life – then consider ways you can live on less. In a word: Prioritize.

As Margaret Young said:

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”

Strategy 1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash
Strategy 4: Barter
Strategy 5: Know Your Options


Chocolate, woodworking & romance oh my!

 

15+ Cool Places to Plug Into Your Tribe, Learn How to Really Make Money Doing What You Love, and Partner With Kindred Spirits Who Share Your Passion

In 2015 there will be literally hundreds of thousands of conferences happening all over the world on topics related to just about every interest imaginable – yours among them.

That’s why I decided to shelve the standard holiday greeting and instead take this week to turn you on to 15 cool events that just might change your life.

For example, if you’ve ever fancied yourself a romance writer but just aren’t sure where to begin, a conference can be the perfect way to find your tribe and learn at the same time.

coupleThere are dozens of conferences for or featuring romance writers including the upcoming Georgia Romance Writers, California Dreamin’, and Ottawa’s Romancing the Capital conferences.

Find Your Tribe and Learn at the Same Time

At the California event you can attend dozens of talks and workshops on topics like creating realistic historical heroines, the eight hero/heroine archetypes, how to write sizzling scenes, creating audio books, time management for writers, and finding a publisher.

Romance not your thing?

Then how about dogs, athletics or fitness, using horses to heal humans, beading, African American music, blogging/podcasting/web TV, historical woodworking, Latinos online, chocolate, selling on eBay or Amazon, or countless passions?

You don’t have to already be actively working in a given field to attend a conference. If you train dogs or think you’d like to then check out the Association of Professional Dog Trainers convention in Dallas.

beadsIf you make beads or think you’d like to there’s the International Society of Glass Bead Makers conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Or for a far more international experience head to The Borneo International Bead conference in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

Do you dream of becoming a successful blogger, podcaster or web TV content creator? Then check out the 2015 NMX event (formerly known as Blog World) in Las Vegas.

Want to become a successful blogger, podcaster or web TV and tap into your Latino tribe at the same time?

Hispanicize, whose companies include Latina Mom Bloggers network, Being Latino, Hispanicize Wire, and the Hispanic PR Blog is putting on their 6th annual Hispanicize Week 2015 in Miami.

Billed as “the iconic, largest annual event for Latino trendsetters and newsmakers in journalism, blogging, marketing, entertainment and tech entrepreneurship,” the organizers expect to draw more than 2,100 of the nation’s most influential Latino professionals from the industries of blogging, journalism, music, marketing, film and business over the five days.

horseLots of horse lovers have long been fascinated by programs that use horses to help disabled children, veterans and others suffering from post-traumatic stress, and others to learn, heal, and grow.

If you’re one, then either get yourself to Utah for the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) conference or stay posted for details of the next international conference.

And talk about your niche within a niche – for $350 you can register for Colonial Williamsburg’s “17th Annual Working Wood in the 18th Century” conference specifically on 18th century writing desks.

In addition to an inside look at the design, construction, and evolution of 18th-century desk forms, this year’s event features a tool swap and the chance to chat with editors from Fine Woodworking magazine.

chocolateBummed to discover that you just missed Colonial Williamsburg’s conference on “400 Years of Chocolate: Aztec to Artisans”?

Then you’ll be happy to know you can still attend the World Chocolate Forum in London or dozens of other chocolate business gatherings in China, Mexico, and scores of other countries.

For a very different sensory experience, there’s the historic National Association of Negro Musicians National Association of Negro Musicians conference in Washington, DC. The organization awarded their first scholarship in 1919 to Marian Anderson. How cool is that!

Always wanted to open your own gym or other fitness-related business? Then head to the Athletic Business Conference & Expo happening next November in New Orleans. Although the agenda is not yet set, the organizers describe it as a premier educational event and trade show for athletic, fitness and recreation professionals.

Or perhaps you want to sell tangible or e-products online. If so, there’s the Summit for Marketplace Sellers at Amazon, eBay, Sears, Etsy & More happening in May in Philadelphia.

None of these ring your bell?

There’s always the totally free Entrepreneur’s 2015 Growth Conference this February 4th in warm (!) Miami.

Unlike the highly niched gatherings you just learned about, conferences like this that attract people with wildly diverse businesses are ideal if…

  • You live in the area and want to spend a fun and informative day with like-minded people
  • You have a blog, podcast or other business where you profile interesting entrepreneurs
  • Your customers or clients are small business owners.

Regardless of the topic, conferences are a great place to meet and learn alongside “your tribe.”

Plus since most have some sort of expo or tradeshow, attending a conference is also a great way to find potential business ideas and partners.

Want A Solid Business Idea Before You Go to Any Live Event?

Since 1995 I’ve helped thousands of people go from confusion to clarity.

If you’re still trying to find a way to connect the dots between what you love to do and how you can get paid to do it, schedule one of a limited number of Find My Perfect Business consultations today.

To find out if a Find My Perfect Business consultation is right for you call 413-535-0451 eastern.

Outside the US send an email to [email protected] with your Skype ID and I’ll get back to you with a meeting time.

Let 2015 be your year to change course!


Want to MEET Barbara Corcoran?

 

7 Reasons You Need to Attend Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2015 Growth Conference

In 2014 I flew down to Miami to attend Entrepreneur magazine’s Annual Growth Conference. It was hands down one of the best events I’ve ever attended.

Four years later the conference is back in Miami.

There are at least seven reasons why you should move heaven and earth to be there on February 4th.

barbaracI’ll get to how you can meet – and perhaps even be on stage with Barbara Corcoran – in a moment.

But I’ll start first with perhaps the most surprising reason of all.

(I was going to save this reason for last. But I moved it first out of fear that you’d say, “I can’t afford it” click away and never get to reasons 2-6.)

#1 The Entire Conference is Freakin’ Free!

Thanks to long-time sponsors UPS the cost to attend the entire conference is zero, zilch, zippo!

And that includes a continental breakfast and a fabulous sit-down lunch with a table full of fabulous people in your new Entrepreneurs Tribe!

entretable

Of course if you’re not local there’s the cost of getting to Miami.

But your travel expenses are freakin’ tax deductible – even if you’re just starting out and haven’t yet made a dime!

According to the United States Internal Revenue Service, as long as your efforts demonstrate an intention to earn a profit, you can begin deducting any money you invest in building your business right away.

Or as the IRS puts it…

You do not need to actually make a profit to be in a trade or business as long as you have a profit motive.

That means you can deduct the cost of airfare, Amtrak, lodging, rental car, ground transportation, parking, and a portion of meals.

And for my friends up north, did I mention the conference is in hot Miami in frigid February? Now that’s my kind of tax-deductible trip!

Then there’s the amazing Barbara Corcoran and reason #2 to be there. 

#2 You’ll Be Inspired to Think BIG

barbara-corcoranIf you’re a huge fan of ABC’s reality hit Shark Tank like I am, you’ll love hearing from this year’s keynote speaker real estate mogul turned entrepreneur investor Barbara Corcoran.

If Barbara can parlay a $1,000 loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business which she later sold for $66 million – then you can certainly make a go of your business.

#3 You’ll Receive Expert Advice

Upon registering you also have the chance to apply for the chance to be one of three lucky entrepreneurs to take the stage with Barbara Corcoran.

Once there you’ll have five minutes to pitch your product or business to receive 1-1 advice from Barbara herself.

What if you don’t make the cut? No worries, you can still jump into a speed mentoring session with a variety of business experts from SCORE.

Conference organizers describe it as your chance to:

Get ideas and answers to your toughest challenges from experienced professionals in marketing, finance, accounting, sales, business management, human resources and more. You’ll move from coach to coach in quick-format pacing, so come prepared to share your challenge succinctly to get the most from this session.

#4 You’ll Learn A Ton

Successful entrepreneurs are all about continuous learning.

You can choose from breakout sessions on a host of topics from branding yourself and your business to choosing the right business structure to funding your business to getting the media to notice you – and more.

#5 The Chance to Pitch Your Company to Entrepreneur Magazine

Years ago I was lucky enough to get a full page feature in the former Entrepreneur Business Start-Ups magazine.

If you already have a company, then you have the chance to pitch your story to the magazine editors.

Here’s how it worked when I attended:

First you stand in a big line which moves pretty quickly and is filled with other fascinating entrepreneurs.

The organizers let a dozen or so entrepreneurs into the pitch room at one time. Once in you grab a seat across from a random editor and launch into your 3 minute pitch.

At the 2010 conference I pitched to then media editor Justin Petruccelli. I had to do it again I’d definitely research the different editors ahead of time to determine which would be most likely to be interested in my particular business.

Regardless of the outcome, just the process of planning your pitch is an incredibly useful exercise for any entrepreneur.

#6 Meet Movers and Shakers

You won’t find any snobby gurus here. To the contrary, the movers and shakers at this conference are all too happy to chat with participants.

Counterclockwise: Entrepreneur Editor in Chief Amy Cosper, 2010 keynote and the late guerilla marketing guru and multiple best-selling author Jay Conrad Levinson, Founder and Chairman of BNI Ivan Misner, and 2009 College Entrepreneur of the Year Bradley Ericson.

movers and shakers

#7 Meet the Most Amazing Entrepreneurs

Honestly, to me the best part of the conference is the opportunity to connect with other amazing entrepreneurs.

feverishpopsLike the engaging Felecia Hatcher. After being laid off from Nintendo in 2008 Felecia and her husband Derick and another partner founded Feverish Pops in Miami.

They began with two ice cream carts they purchased on Craig’s List.

Today Felicia’s company offers handcrafted flavors like Pineapple Basil, Chocolate Salted Coconut Watermelon, even spiked varieties like Ginger Vodka. For more info please visit http://www.lovecustomwaterbottles.com.

Clients include Paypal, Google, TRUMP, JCrew, Tom Cruise, Universal Music, Cirque de Soleil, Bacardi and the US Census Bureau.

And Feverish Pops has been featured on the Cooking Channel, NBC Today Show, Modern Luxury Magazine, Black Enterprise, Air Tran Magazine, and elsewhere.

Four years later and a few million brain cells less, I don’t recall the names of all the amazing self-bossers I met there. But I do remember what a lot of them did.

Like this very happy franchisee of a Schakalad Chocolate Factory store, the successful retail store consultant, and the couple who started Atomic Tattoos now in locations across Florida.

amazing entres

As for these three people… Well I have no memory of their names or businesses. And I definitely don’t remember why this guy was wearing a kilt!

I included them as a reminder of how fun it was to be in a room full of smiling people who all share one thing in common…

A great idea and the confidence to act on it.

smilingentres

Learn more about the 2015 Entrepreneur Growth Conference.

Still Trying to Find Your Calling? 

Imagine how much more exciting this conference would be if you have a solid direction.

There’s still time to roar into the New Year knowing exactly what you love to do and how you can get paid to do it.

Schedule a FREE Find My Perfect Business 15 minute Personal Assessment.

Call my direct line at 413-535-0451 eastern today. Or send a Skype invitation along with your time zone to drvalerieyoung.

Make 2015 the year you say, “I’m finally going to find a way to work when, where, and how I want!”


3 Ways to Find Your Tribe

Caroline Myss wrote, “We evolve at the rate of the tribe we are plugged into.”

Put another way: Who you hang out with now has a lot to do with where you’ll wind up later.

Take “Angela.”

A big reason why she’s failed to evolve into the professional singer she was meant to be is because Angela has never been plugged into the right “tribe.”

Angela grew up imitating legendary singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horn while part of a family of country music fans and surrounded by friends into heavy metal.

singerAs an adult Angela never lost her desire to be a jazz vocalist. She has the talent and the drive.

But Angela is still immersed in her old tribe.

The problem isn’t one of differing musical tastes.

The problem is no one in Angela’s life has the knowledge, experience, or interest in supporting her dream.

Angela needs to find her “tribe” – in this case professional singers who know it’s possible to be paid to perform because they’re doing it themselves.

Everybody Needs a Tribe

In order for you to evolve from employee to self-bosser then you need to find your tribe too.

If you’ve found your passion, then you know who what your tribe looks like. But what if you can’t figure out how to find them?

That was Jessica’s problem. She writes about wartrol review :

questionHi Valerie

My Aunt Cindy recommended your website 7 years ago and I have been following you ever since. My husband and I have begun creating a new life around much of your advice.

After years of searching and experimenting with my different skills and hobbies and creating my own successes, I am starting my own coaching business.  

I want to immerse myself with wonderful people who are doing what I want to do but I am struggling to find seminars, conferences, online groups, anything. I can find individuals online across the country, but I want to meet people in real life. Where can I begin?

Jessica Nason
East Killingly, CT 

Jessica’s tribe is other coaches.

Your own tribe may be other fiber artists, eBay sellers, or whatever it is that you are either doing or dream of doing.

If, like Jessica, you can’t find a local group you still have options.

Option 1: Expand Your Tribe

If you can’t find an industry-specific group then join your local chamber of commerce, inventor group, or any gathering of entrepreneurs.

If Jessica joined a women business owners group I guarantee a number of members will be coaches. That means she can network with her specific tribe and meet prospective clients at the same time!

hercornerKeep in mind too that not all Tribes need to be local. Sorry to leave out my male readers, but if you’re a woman business owner you can join a really neat organization called Her Corner.

Founded by my friend Frederique Irwin, the organization recently launched a new, free Community Membership level with lots of free discounts and perks to help you grow.

It’s a great no cost way to collaborate with other members, get access to discounted products and services, and tap into the collective wisdom of other women business owners who are equally committed to growing their businesses.

Option 2: Start Your Own Tribe

If you want to be in a group made up of people in your specific business– and you can’t find one in your area – then start one!

Like Jessica I couldn’t find a coach networking group in her area either. However, I did find the 2015 Directory of Connecticut Holistic Health Practitioners which lists dozens of life/spiritual and other coaches and practitioners.

Armed with that information, Jessica could easily invite specific coaches to meet for coffee or drinks. Or, for a less targeted approach, she could use Meet Up to start a coaches group in her area.

Option 3: Change Seekers Need a Tribe Too 

If you’re still in search mode you may be thinking… “But, how can I find my tribe if I don’t know what I want to do?”

It doesn’t matter whether you know the passion part of profiting from your passion. What matters is you know you want to be free from job jail.

If you’re surrounded by people who are diehard employees – and you don’t want to wind up as a lifer yourself – then your tribe is other freedom seekers.

One way to connect with your tribe and learn at the same time is to gather a group of likeminded friends or co-workers together for a book reading group.

The War of Art, Making a Living Without a Job, or Your Money or Your Life are all good choices.

Even if you don’t have a specific idea you can still take a business start-up or marketing class through your local adult education program.

Or if you live in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa or the U.S. Virgin Islands it should be easy to find a class offered by one of the 900 Small Business Development Centers.

Even if you’re in search mode you still need to hang out with the people who are where you want to be.

Unless you live in a highly remote location you’re bound to find local business owner, inventor, artisan, and other meet ups in your area.

If you want to evolve into working when, where, and how you want – being plugged into the right tribe is essential!

Finding your tribe is easier than you may think. You just need to try.

Still Looking For A Way To Earn A Living Without A J-O-B?

Another year is almost gone. Isn’t it time you got the clarity and direction you need to get out of job jail?

Schedule a complimentary Find My Perfect Business personal assessment today. It could be the best 15 minutes of your life.

I’m so committed to helping you find your perfect business that I’m willing to give you my personal phone line.

Call me during normal business hours at 413-535-0451 eastern. Outside the US hit reply now to set up an appointment via Skype.

Obviously, I can’t possibly spend this kind of free time with all of my 27,000 readers. In fact, I only have a handful of assessment appointments a month.

If you really want to find your perfect business so you can start living on your own terms, I urge you to call for your Find My Perfect Business personal assessment today.

Add Your Voice to the Changing Course Job Tribe

Thousands of heads are always better than one!

Who is your Tribe? What other options, ideas, or additional resources do you see for finding one’s Tribe? If you could create the ideal Tribe – what would that look like?


Cool Jobs #16 and #17

Get Paid to Speak or Hold Cool Events – Or Both!

Picture yourself delivering a presentation or leading a workshop on a topic you love.

Maybe that topic is spirituality, abundance or effective leadership. Or what about how leading with spirit results in an abundant bottom line?

Or perhaps you’d love to speak about how sports or learning to play a musical instrument can be a metaphor for academic or business success.

Or on how to find your true calling, self-care for caretakers, or a thousand other topics.

excited groupNow imagine earning four – or even five – figures per speaking gig sharing your passion with others.

Welcome to my life!

I became a paid speaker at 26. My first gig earned me a whopping $150. Good money when rent was $400!

Last year I earned six figures speaking, and this year I’m on track to do the same.

Over the years I’ve addressed well over 70,000 people at countless organizations from Intel to the YWCA.

And I’ve had the honor of sharing the main stage with the likes of Martha Stewart and Gloria Steinem (now that’s a combination!)

I’m not telling you this to impress you.

Rather, it’s because I’ve learned a thing or two about how to succeed as a professional speaker – including what mistakes to avoid.

The 3 Biggest Mistakes Aspiring Speakers Make
and How to Avoid Them

The first mistake is actually the worst one because it keeps a lot of talented people with a message to share from ever even trying to get into the speaking business.

Mistake #1: Thinking You Don’t Know Enough

Far too many perfectly capable people think they don’t have enough knowledge to talk about a subject. If you’re one then I have news for you.

speakerYou really don’t know everything there is to know about your topic. But guess what? Neither does anyone else.

There’s always more to learn!

A related mistake is the misguided belief that you can’t possibly speak credibly on a topic unless you have an advanced degree – or indeed any degree.

You don’t need three PhDs and 20 years of experience. You just need to know more than your audience does. As the saying goes, to 3rd graders, 4th graders are gods!

Look at talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Despite regularly dishing out “expert” and often controversial opinions and advice on human behavior, “Dr. Laura” as she is known and is not a physician as many of her listeners presume.

Nor is she a psychiatrist, or even a psychologist. Although she did go back and study marriage counseling after starting in radio, the “doctor” designation is from a doctorate in physiology where she studied the effects of insulin on rats.

In fact, an effective counter to the internal or external pressure to be highly credentialed is to proudly proclaim yourself as the “anti-expert.”

In her book French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guilano lets readers know right up front that she’s not a nutritionist, a psychologist, an exercise physiologist or any other kind of “ist.”

Instead, Guilano says, she’s just a woman who happens to have observed and experienced the French diet and is sharing that knowledge with people who’d like to eat well and not gain weight.

Mistake #2: Not Understanding How Speakers Get Paid

There are three ways you can get paid to speak. You can

a)     Get hired by organizations

b)     Earn money from your adoring audience

c)      Generate revenue from event sponsors

Which model or models you choose depends on your topic, your financial and business goals, and your personal preference. Let’s take a brief look at each.

Get Hired by Organizations

Other than running the occasional workshop or retreat for people who want to change course, this is my primary business model.

Because my topic – confidence – is so far reaching I can speak to a variety of different audiences.

Speaking at corporations

Having worked for a Fortune 500 company I’m comfortable working with such diverse companies as Boeing, IBM, Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s Europe division (sweet!) and Motley Fool.

motleyfoolAnother plus of speaking to for-profit companies is they pay the most!

A topic like “how to raise sane, healthy teenagers” or “how to find your calling” typically won’t fly for employee training. But there’s another way most people don’t know about – so called “spousal meetings.”

Lots of large corporations hold at least one multi-day, off-site meeting a year where attendees (usually executives or top performing sales people) are encouraged to bring their spouse or partner and sometimes the kids too.

While the employees attend mandatory meetings, their family can choose from a range of age-appropriate activities which include speakers!

Speaking at colleges and universities

I’ve spoken at over 70 major colleges and universities. Depending on your message you can specialize in addressing undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and/or staff.

Whenever you can try to maximize my travel time by grouping my speaking gigs based on location.

For instance this year I will have spoken at Cornell (4x) and nearby University of Syracuse, at North Carolina State University and the neighboring University of North Carolina as well as two California trips to speak at Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and University of the Pacific.

Professional or industry associations or charitable organizations

Large professional or industry associations need keynote and break out session speakers for their national, regional, or state-wide events.

Examples from my own experience include American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Alberta Business Women, and Utah Women Attorneys.

Charitable organizations also hire speakers for their fundraising events. Like the dog chef who travels to speak at events put on by the SPCA and other dog shelters.

These organizations tend to operate on a shoe-string, so expect to earn the least here. Keep in mind though that you may be able to arrange selling your book after your talk or to get a professional videotape of your talk.

Earn Money From Your Adoring Audience or From Sponsors – Or Both

If you know what you’re doing you can make insane amounts of money running your own events.

Registration fees

Registration fees are the most obvious source of income. These can range from $5o for a couple of hours to $5,000 for a multi-day event.

Toss in some big name speakers and depending on your audience it’s not unheard of to charge as much as $25,000.

If the material you’re delivering is intended to help your audience to use the information to earn money themselves, then you can charge more. Here again, it has to do with your topic.

Naturally people are willing to pay more for an event on how to make 7 figures selling information products than they are for one on how to write your first screenplay.

Product sales

Another model is to keep the registration fee low – or even free – and instead earn money from so-called “back of the room” sales.

Most often this would mean selling books, CDs, videos and other information products – your own or other peoples.

However, if your event is on fashion or how to write a best-selling cookbook, then you could just as easily sell clothing and accessories, make up, cookware, and other topic appropriate products on site.

Masterminds and other coaching or mentoring programs

Income from registration fees and products can be substantial. But in addition to these revenue streams, the most financially successful speakers use their events another way.

They still provide attendees with valuable content.

However, the secondary goal is to use the event to showcase your credibility and value in order to inspire a smaller segment of the audience to sign up to join your coaching or mentoring program.

It worked for me. I signed on to “mastermind” with three different experts this way. In all three cases it was money well-spent.

Sponsorships

Selling sponsorships for your event is another highly lucrative and often under-used way to get paid to speak.

Depending on your topic, sponsors could be a local newspaper or bank, a major corporation, or even a solo-practitioner like a chiropractor or life coach.

Sponsors win because they in front of potential customers in a forum that aligns with their brand and message. You win because sponsor fees can cover part or all of your event costs.

Case in point is Entrepreneur magazine’s annual Growth Conference (an event I highly recommend). The event is free to attend because UPS foots the entire bill – including lunch!

When you can attract 5 to 25 corporate or other major sponsors at the $5,000, $15,000, $25,000, and even $50,000 level, then my friend you are looking at serious revenue.

Bottom line, putting on your own events is a great avenue if:

  • There aren’t a lot of organizations who are willing or able to pay you to speak on your particular topic
  • Your topic is entrepreneurial in nature and/or your primary audience is business owners
  • You want to offer coaching or mentoring after the event
  • You have products to sell
  • You can attract enough attendees to make your event attractive to sponsors

Mistake #3: Not Investing In Your Success

Whether you’re just now launching your speaking career or are a seasoned pro who wants to increase your bottom line, from a financial perspective the BIGGEST mistake you can make is not being willing to make even the smallest investment in yourself and your business.

Speaking skills not as strong as they could be?

You don’t need to spend a dime to join a local chapter of Toastmaster or watch Ted Talks.

To get there much faster though I suggest you attend a formal training program where you can learn from someone who is more experienced, skilled, and further along than you.

LarryValThat’s what I did. This is me and my speaking mentor five time New York Times best-selling author and television personality Larry Winget.

As someone who has earned the right to command a $25,000 speaker fee, I knew he could help me take my own business to the next level. And I was right.

Everyone can become a better speaker. That includes me. Like all great speakers, Larry never stops practicing his craft and neither should you.

Working with Larry cost me a small fortune.

Fortunately, there are two free resources that are happening this very week.

Own the Stage: 7 Strategies to Create a Speaking Business that Attracts Clients, Connection and Cash Flow

This three-part video series is compliments of Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA.

darnyelleA sought-after speaker and award-winning business coach, Darnyelle has been featured in Black Enterprise, Essence and O Magazines and has shared the stage with some of the greats – Suze Orman, Les Brown, Brian Tracy, Lisa Nichols, Willey Jolley, Delatorro McNeal, and Ali Brown… to name a few.

Darnyelle will share the tips and techniques that helped her launch a speaking business that generates $20,000 a month from corporate and other speaking gigs. These include:

  • A sure-fire technique to turn your audience into raving fans and grow your own “groupie” line
  • The three different types of speaking engagements and how to maximize your earnings in each
  • Must-have marketing materials you need to get you booked again and again

Video 1 comes out today (September 4th) so you’ll want to register for Darnyelle’s speaker training series now.

Sold Out to 7 Figures: The LIVE Event Formula for Cashing In

bariIf you’re already comfortable on stage and are ready to put on your own events there is simply no one out there better to learn from than Suzanne Evans of Hell Yeah Coaching and Bari Baumgardner of Sage Event Management.

You may not know Bari by name. But you may recognize some of her clients.

Bari and her team have planned and managed highly profitable events for people like Ali Brown, Lisa Sasevich, Fabienne Frederickson, Adam Urbanski, Bernadette Doyle, and many others.

Two words that describe Bari are class act.

suzanneOn the other hand there’s my friend Suzanne Evans. (One of the things I love most about Suzanne is that she’d be the first one to laugh at that transition.)

In just a few years this unapologetically big, brash, tell-it-like-it-is business coach has built a multiple 7-figure company.

But style will get you only so far.

What landed Hell Yeah on the Inc. 500 list of fasted growing companies in the US not once, but twice, are their sold-out live events.

After started out with 11 people in a crowded conference room of a dingy chain hotel quickly turned into almost a thousand enthusiastic attendees at a swank luxury hotel.

If you want to put on highly profitable live events this is your chance to learn from Suzanne, Bari and other event professionals.

Get all the details here.

More importantly I hope you realize that with the right message, the right training, and the determination to make a difference in the lives of your audience that you too can get paid to speak.


Get a C.L.U.E.

There are two types of people in the world: Chronic complainers and chronic complainers with a clue.

Both groups can always find something to gripe about.

The difference is, the clueless complainers will go to their grave railing against everyone and everything. Which, of course, only confirms their biggest complaint, namely: “life sucks and then you die.”

“In the middle of difficulty,” observed Albert Einstein, “lies opportunity.” What makes clued-in whiners different is that they have grasped the fundamental genius of success:

Complaints
Lead to rush nutrition solutions which
Ultimately, with effort,
Equal opportunity

In other words, take just about any problem or situation worthy of complaint — annoying telemarketers, bed bugs, lack of eligible dating partners.

Then add a dash of creative problem solving and you’ve got all the makings for a whole range of positive possibilities. For more info visit https://www.facebook.com/pastor.ed.young

Last time I featured great resources for earning money by:

  • Creating floral arrangements

  • Growing and selling plants from home

  • Working on the farm with a little help from farm school

In This Issue

Today we’ll look at three more cool jobs for aspiring self-bossers.

Each has the potential to solve a problem for someone else while putting money in your pocket!

  • Man Camp – teaching what dads forgot to teach

  • Breaking up is hard to do – but you can help!

  • For some breaking up is fun to do – divorce parties and other ideas

As always, some of the cool ideas you’re about to “meet” come from people in an international community of licensed Profiting From Your Passion® coaches. I hope these ideas inspire you to make your own job!

Cool “Job” #13: Man Camp – teaching what dads forgot to teach

Like many entrepreneurial ideas, this one came disguised as a problem.

My friend Beau Blackwell was lamenting the fact that his father never taught him how to replace a toilet, trouble shoot a stalled car engine, or other stereotypically “guy stuff.”

hammer“Wouldn’t it be great,” said Beau, “if young guys like him could go to “man camp”? Indeed!

If you know how to do basic home maintenance or auto repairs you could teach the classes yourself. If not, find some retired guys who can.

Building On That Idea

You could of course earn money from registration fees. But there are other ways to go.

For instance, you could round up one or more local sponsors to foot the bill. Instead of it being your event it could be billed as Man Camp sponsored by Homey Hardware Store or Best Ever Used Cars.

In addition to sponsor income, being connected with a local business has other advantages like instant credibility, sponsor help in promoting the event at their location, on social media, and on their website, as well as increased chances for local media coverage.

Another way to generate revenue is to work the food and beverage angle.

I remember my friend Barbara Winter telling about a famous herb farm that used to operate in Connecticut. They didn’t have a license to serve food. So they charged a fee to tour the gardens that included a free lunch!

beerSo what if you tap a local brewery as a sponsor? That way you can include a free sample which in turn allows you to up the registration fee. (Just don’t teach classes involving any buzz saws!)

Man Camp is a great idea. But as a home owner there are a lot of things I wish my dad had taught me too – things that neither of my two brothers learned either.

So you could always organize a similar class for women who tend to be less intimidated learning how to dry wall or change spark plugs in the company of other women.

Cool “Job” #14: Breaking up is hard to do – but you can help!

brokenheartAnyone who’s been dumped knows that breaking up really is hard to do.

You don’t feel like eating. Everything reminds you of your ex. You obsess about how incredible they were while developing amnesia about their faults.

As you’ll learn from an informative and entertaining video called The Science of Love, there’s a physiological reason why you have a hard time getting over your beloved.

brainAccording to researchers, the same regions of the brain are activated during a breakup as when an addict is going through withdrawal.

So it stands to reason that a step-based model like Alcoholics Anonymous could be used to facilitate recovery from heart-break as well.

The video features several newly single people trying out five steps like identifying three things you learned from the relationship and mediation.

Building on That Idea

The 5-step process got me thinking about things like offering Break Up Recovery Coaching, Break Up Support Groups, even Break Up Retreats to cool locations.

You don’t need to be a psychologist or other mental health provider. Rather if you have coaching experience or simply organizing skills, you can partner with someone else to do the emotional heavy-lifting.

singingThe video ends with a singer composing a customized rap song for the people featured in the video.

If you have a knack for songwriting, this could be just the cool job for you!


2014Profit-From-your-passion-600

What If You Could Get Paid to Share Cool Business Ideas?

  • Are you an idea person?

  • Do you love to brainstorm?

  • Would you like to get paid to do what comes naturally?

You’re not alone!

In less time than you think you can train to become a licensed Profiting From Your Passion® coach.

Here’s what one student had to say as she started digging into the course material…

The resources on the student site are unbelievable. I can’t even imagine the time, energy, finances and mental/physical exertion you have poured into this.

 

Most of what I have experienced appears to have lead me to this work! Thanks again for all the work you have put into this program.

 

Robbie Penney
Bakersfield, CA

An accelerated version of this online course begins September 8th. Seats are limited.

Click here to learn how you can get started for as little as $379.

Cool “Job” #15: For some, breaking up is fun to do — divorce parties and other ideas

Some newly single people moved from healing to celebrating and there are party planners who are all too eager to help them do it in style.

According to a growing number of party favor and event planning companies specializing in divorce parties, business is booming.

Today you can buy divorce party favors like “pin the tail on the ex” and divorce party coasters. Others like Kissed the Wrong Frog and fabletics sell clothing, lip gloss, and shot glasses.

The owner of Los Angeles-based The Divorce Party Planner books at least three parties a month. At $5,000 to a whopping $20,000, helping people celebrate a new beginning can also be highly profitable.

Building on that Idea

If you prefer a service-based business, a quick search of other major cities like Atlanta and Denver didn’t turn up any divorce party planners there. So, why not become the go-to planner in your area?

Don’t know where to begin? Pick up a copy of Divorce Party Handbook.

If you’re not into the angry ex going to a strip club with her gal-pals scene that means there are others who feel the same.

So why not offer an alternative for divorcees looking for more Zen-like or spiritually-based rituals. It could be as simple as a weekend at a local retreat center or spa or as high-end as a group trip to Sedona or Machu Picchu.

If you want to specialize even more, you could create events that appeal to gay divorcees, Jewish divorcees, devout Christian divorcees – add your own here.

Not a people-person?

Then set up an online store selling divorce-themed party favors and other products.

No offense to really dated looking The Divorce Shower Store (the link to Myspace nailed it) – but it wouldn’t be hard to come up with a more polished look or one aimed at an upscale market.

With enough traffic you can also attract ad revenue.

To increase your search engine optimization (SEO) and stand out from the competition at the same time,you can use one of the best seo in montreal agency or supply visitors with a steady stream of articles on topics like surviving the divorce, rocking it as a single parent, and getting back in the dating scene.

Or maybe you’re more the creative type? For a premium, you can offer divorce voodoo dolls customized to resemble a cheating ex.

Or you can design your own products like this funny “break-up prevention” T-shirt I saw in the Pittsburgh airport which would make a great coffee mug or wall plaque too.

The marriage may have ended, but the possibilities for creative self-bossers to create their own cool job are truly endless.

Add Your Voice to the Cool Job Tribe

Thousands of heads are always better than one!

How would you build on any of these cool jobs? What other options, ideas, or additional profit centers did you picture? What other cool jobs have you spotted lately? Post below!


Cool Jobs: Flowers, Farm School, and More

Like many people of northern European descent, my people “don’t do heat.”

Fortunately, the Northeast is being rewarded for enduring the relentless snow storms of last winter with truly spectacular summer weather.

The days have been largely sunny and warm. Nights have been delightfully cool and at times downright chilly.

Best of all, there have been virtually none of the 90-plus degrees and muggy stretches we usually see.

The corn fields are tall, flowers in full bloom, and the many local farmers markets in full swing.

Last time I shared 3 cool “jobs” you can create or build on:

  • Get paid to share your love of crafts
  • Invent a new toy
  • Cater to kids

In This Issue

In this issue we’ll look at three more cool jobs for people who love the bounties of summer. In one case, you don’t even need to work outdoors!

  • Design floral arrangements
  • Grow and sell plants from home
  • Get back to the organic farm

As always, some of the cool ideas you’re about to “meet” come from people in an international community of licensed Profiting From Your Passion® coaches. I hope these ideas inspire you to make your own job!

Cool “Job” #10: Design floral arrangements

You don’t have to work out doors to arrange flowers.  But you do need to know what you’re doing.

There are some great illustrated instruction books on Amazon:

Conferences are a great way to both get a feel for any field and to engage in continuing education. Consider attending the American Institute of Floral Designers national symposium, June 30 — July 4, 2015, in Denver.

Can’t afford to register? Starting later this fall the Institute’s foundation will once again take applications for scholarships.

They also offer a series of online courses for $79 or you can find a list of approved education partners in the US and internationally.
Cover-Florist-205x311If you’re serious about floral design as a business (or even a j-o-b), check out Fab Jobs Guide to Becoming a Florist.

The guide can help you decide whether to buy an existing shop or a franchise or to open your own place and includes sections on how to write a business plan, required tools, equipment and supplies, finding and working with growers and wholesalers, marketing, delivery options, and more.

If being your own boss isn’t your thing, you’ll also learn how to get hired as a floral designer working in a small flower shop, for a chain, for a wholesaler, or in a grocery store.

Cool “Job” #11: Grow and sell plants from home

mikemcgroartyMike McGroarty from Perry, Ohio has made thousands of extra dollars running a thriving home-based plant business.

According to Mike, you don’t need an entire farm to get into this fun and profitable seasonal business. In fact, he says you can do it on a mere 1/20 of an acre of land and sell your plants literally from your driveway.

People kept asking Mike how they too could make extra money growing plants from home.

Hint: When people want to know how you do something, listen to them, because it’s opportunity knocking.

Wisely, Mike did listen, and today he also sells a low-cost e-guide that that spells out how you can set up the same system where you live.

Cool “Job” #12: Time to get back to the (organic) farm

organicfarmAre you an organic food enthusiast who loves the idea of getting out from behind a computer and working the land? Then follow the trends my friend.

Between now and 2018 the organic food market in United States is forecasted to grow 14%.

If you just want to dip your toe in the water, check out World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. For a $40 membership you get a directory of 1,927 host farms in all 50 states, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico that offer a variety of educational opportunities

You spend half a day on the farm (which includes room and board). Depending on what host farm you select, you can learn about growing vegetables, keeping bees, building straw bale houses, working with animals, making wine, and much more.

Or maybe you’re ready to dive into farming in a big way but lack the necessary knowledge and skills. If so consider applying for the year-long training offered on the 183-acre Farm School in Athol, Massachusetts.

You can choose from such wide ranging subjects as dairy farming, food preservation, forestry, green house propagation, pest and disease control, acquiring farm land, business planning, marketing and much more.

They also have an optional three-week winter trip to a farm in Tuscany. Sweet!

At $18,000, which includes housing, it’s definitely not cheap. But when you see how former students have crafted their own cool jobs or enterprises, you may decide it’s an investment worth making.

A less expensive (but also more limited) training option can be found at the Organic Farm School situated on the historic Greenbank Farm on Whidbey Island in northwest Washington State. The publicly owned farm consists of 500+ acres that include fields, forest, wetlands, and a 10-acre economic development center.

Tuition for their 7.5 month program is $5,200 (payment plans are available) plus $180 a month for housing.

Both farm schools also exemplify the beauty of multiple streams of income.

In addition to selling farm fresh products, the Athol farm has a summer youth camp, runs its own accredited middle school housed in a converted chicken coop, and hosts children on field trips from other schools.

The Whidbey Island location runs a community school that offers shorter classes taught by volunteers and rents out space for wine tastings, dog shows, and other local events.

Add Your Voice to the Cool Job Tribe

Thousands of heads are always better than one!

How would you build on any of these cool jobs? What other options, ideas, or additional profit centers did you picture? What other cool jobs have you spotted lately? Post below!


3 New Cool “Jobs”

A really cool job. Everyone wants one. Right?

But what if you also want to do your own thing? To enjoy more flexibility and control over when, where, and how you work?

To put the life side of the work-life equation first?

Then my friend you need to create your own cool job.

It’s not as hard as you might think. Nor is it the fast-easy path to overnight riches that some gurus make it out to be.

Fundamentally, making the leap from having a boss to being your own boss comes down to two things:

1)      A great idea

2)     The courage to act on it

The good news is there truly is no end to the creative ways to make a livelihood without a job-job.

Creative Options For People Who Want to Do Their Own Thing

Last time I shared 3 cool “jobs” you can create or build on:

  • A cool way to share your of love of wine
  • Imitating master artists
  • Baking and delivering warm cookies and cold milk

In This Issue

In this issue you’ll discover how to:

As always, some of the cool ideas you’re about to “meet” come from people in an international community of licensed Profiting From Your Passion® coaches.

I hope these ideas inspire you to make your own job!

Cool “Job” #7 Share Your Love of Crafts

There are hundreds if not thousands of craft-related websites. What caught my eye was one that brings together two unlikely passions.

Geek Crafts combines geeky stuff (or what some might call nerdy) like Starwars, Harry Potter, and Wonderwoman and, of all things, crafting!

It’s also a great example of how you don’t actually have to “do” crafting. Instead you can dedicate yourself to scoping out cool crafting ideas like they do.

Plus, the blogger bios are a fun reminder that there’s more to life than office politics and commuter traffic.

paulyTake Pauly who tells us that he lives in the fabled lands of Canada” with his wife, son and “a small zoo.”

For his day job Pauly “travels all over the world” where he says he “sees the inside of many airports, hotels and taxi cabs.”

During his own time though, he “enjoys cross-stitch, as long as it is geeky.” Who knew?

Pauly and full-time crafter wife Redd co-run a store on Etsy called Geekopolis.

Oh yes, Pauly says he’s also “totally a Viking.”

Building on That Idea

When you calculate in materials and time, it can be tough to make any real money selling individual craft items. So a lot of people just give up.

But what if there were a way to sell just your crafting IDEAS?

Enter the craft pattern and education site You Can Make This. Once your project has been accepted, the company shares it with their eager crafters. Then when your pattern sells you get 50 percent of the revenue.

Side note: The business was founded by stay-at-home mom and avid crafter Kim Christopherson. It was so successful her husband Ryan was able to quit his technology job to join her. Sweet!

Cool “Job” #8 Invent a New Toy

As kids Mike Cheshire and Tom Aiezza they knew their parents weren’t keen on them playing Frisbee in the house. So they fashioned their own smaller disks out of jar lids, shaved bottle caps… whatever worked.

The childhood friends teamed up after college to produce the same mini-Frisbee toy.

flickerzRather than go to China, they hired a plastics company in Southern California to produce a first run of 7,500 Flickerz. Total cost from prototype to mold to finished product was only $10,000.

Stellar sales at 12 independent toy stores meant they were on the right track. Today their site features lots of video demonstrations. But back then the pair had posted a video of themselves doing trick throws that they posted on LinkedIn of all places.

A toys sales rep saw it and told them they needed to go to a toy fair happening in two weeks. Mike and Tom quickly put down $2,500 for half a booth and with that, Jungo Toys was officially born.

In 2012, they sold between 50,000 and 60,000 discs. Before long they were able to begin paying themselves.

In 2013, Jungo sold 120,000 units. This year they expect to double again breaking the half a million mark in revenue. Customized versions with an organization’s logo are especially profitable because there’s no packaging or sales commissions to pay out.

Building on That Idea

Having such a low price point has had an unexpected benefit. One non-government organization purchased a batch of Flickerz to keep kids standing in food lines amused. And for children at an orphanage in Kenya it’s the first toy they ever owned.

This could be a great opportunity to start a non-profit that matches non-government organizations serving poor children or those in refugee camps with toy manufacturers willing to donate over-stock toys.

Have an idea for a toy?

I found this article by the folks at Sesame Street.

blockbusterCheck out The Blockbuster Toy! How to Invent the Next Big Thing

Or if you’re further along in the process or don’t mind investing $1,250 for immersion education, consider learning from industry experts at either of these mega-events:

Cool “Job” #9 Cater to Kids

When you walk into the romantic, candle-lit dining room at Chandler’s Restaurant in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, the last word that would come to mind is “children.”

But when you realize they are part of Yankee Candle’s huge flagship store known for its Disney-like Bavarian Christmas village, then it all makes sense.

Every month the restaurant hosts a mother/daughter luncheon. Guests dress up in feather boas, tiaras, and fancy attire to enjoy an “award winning kids menu” while listening to a reading of one of the books in Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy series.

It must be a hit because Chandler’s recently added kid’s cooking classes for $25.00 per child. This includes instruction, recipes to take home, lunch, and complimentary lunch for one accompanying parent.

It’s a great deal for the parent and smart way for the restaurant to attract first-time diners.

Building on That Idea

That got me thinking. Someone who loves creative marketing and children could fashion themselves into an internationally recognized children’s event expert. (I like to think big!)

You could research other innovative ways normally adult-focused businesses are using kid-friendly events to bring parents and their credit cards in the door. Then sell your findings in the form of an e-book or marketing white paper.

Or simply use it to custom design children’s events for restaurants, retail stores, libraries, even car dealerships or dental practices.

Resource for a Change

Attend the SCORE Awards Gala Without Leaving Home

In celebration of their 50th anniversary, on Thursday, August 14 at 7:00pm Eastern SCORE is live streaming their Awards Gala

This is a great opportunity to get some inspiration and potential ideas without ever leaving home!

Two honorees that caught my eye are:

Garbage to Garden A Maine-based company picks up your food scraps and returns them as compost. If you love this idea as much as I do, this could also be a great opportunity to contact them to see how you might work together to launch this same business where you live.

Lulyboo The founder and inventor of this baby bed carrier worked with two Score mentors. One guided her to grow the business while another helped her script and produce a video entry for a local entrepreneur forum. The video came in 1st place netting the founder a cash prize of $10,000.

Add Your Voice to Cool Job Tribe

Thousands of heads are always better than one!

How would you build on any of these cool jobs? What other options, ideas, or additional profit centers did you picture? What other cool jobs have you spotted lately? Post below!

cclogolarge

The Big End of Summer
Income Generation Idea Sale!

You Really Can Live Life
On Your Own Terms.
All You Need is A Great Idea

Ideas are powerful. When you finally see a way you can make money doing what you love, something remarkable happens.

Suddenly the fear, procrastination, overwhelm, self-doubt and all the other dream killers suddenly take a back seat.

An idea gives you direction. Without your own idea, you’re destined to watch others pursue their passion while your own life passes you by.

Over the span of 19 years, I’ve helped thousands of aspiring self-bossers just like you to connect the dots between what you love to do and how you can make money at it.

And the most important “dot” of all? Making sure that all ideas pass the all-important Life Test. That way you can put your life first – and work second.

Now for a limited time you can schedule a personalized Income Generation Idea and Action Planning Strategy Session for the significantly reduced price of just $499.

That means for under five hundred bucks you can get one – or quite possibly – multiple income generating ideas.

Not sure what you love to do?

“The way to find out about your happiness,” said renowned mythology scholar Joseph Campbell, “is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you are really happy – not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy.”

fytc coverThat’s why to help you re-discover your lost passions, your laser session includes a copy of It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Calling: A Handbook to Help You Find Your Passion and Get a Life.

And if you worry that the thing you most love to do won’t pay the bills, think again!

Once you discover the utterly liberating concept of multiple streams of income you’ll realize that more is possible than you ever imagined.

Normally this option-inspiring guide is $19.99.

But it’s yours free when you book your Income Generation Idea and Action Planning Strategy Session.

Unfortunately, my busy travel and speaking schedule means I can only make this offer to the first 10 people.

If you really want to discover how you can get paid to do what you love click here to secure your spot at this special End of Summer Sale rate of just $499.

Next, get out your calendar and call me at 413-535-5107 eastern time during normal business hours. I’ll do a brief intake and schedule your one hour session.

I’ve taken a lot of career assessment tools and they always end up telling me I’m creative – which I already knew – but they still leave me stumped as to what to DO with my creativity to actually make a living.

Valerie gave me a lot of good ideas that really made me think. She helped me see how many different possibilities there are in the world for us creative types.

Lynette Turner
Los Angeles, CA

I am still trying to catch my breath after our call! I am very satisfied with the way things went… You were giving me ideas, tips and resources until the second our call ended.

Bob Nelson
Chicago, IL

Someone booked an  Income Generation Idea and Action Planning Strategy Session just before this blog was posted.

That leaves just 9 available spots.

This End of the Summer “Idea Sale” will sell out.

To reserve your spot on my schedule or see more cool jobs go to : http://dreamjobx.com/career-advice-planning


3 More Ways to Get Paid to Do Work You Love

Some of the cool ideas you’re about to “meet” come from people in an international community of licensed Profiting From Your Passion® coaches.

I hope these ideas inspire you to find and grow your own income-generating idea!

  • Get Paid to Share Your Love of Wine
  • Get Paid to Imitate the Masters
  • Get Paid to Bake Cookies

Great Idea #4: Get Paid to Share Your Love of Wine

winebulanceLove turning people onto great wine? So did the couple who started a mobile in-home wine tasting service called Winebulance.

People looking for a fun way to learn about wine with their friends can schedule a knowledgeable Wine Consultant to show up at their home in a well-stocked van to educate the gathering on some of the company’s favorite wines.

Revenue comes from wine sales. But the main focus is on having local wine shops pay $2,500 to implement the business model in an exclusive territory. The shop owner can buy, lease, or rent the van.

Coincidentally one of the class exercises in the Profiting From Your Passion® coach training involves a Wine Educator.

The exercise asks students to come up with ways a wine educator could make money. I’m not going to give away all the answers. But here are a few examples to jog your thinking:

  • train wait staff at new or established restaurant
  • run wine tastings for vineyards
  • run tours through wine country
  • hold wine pairing events at restaurants

The exercise was inspired by a client who left her draining Silicon Valley job to pursue her love of wines. After re-locating to a less pricey part of California and taking a minimum wage job at a gourmet food and wine shop, the client earned her certificate as a wine educator.

Want to be a Wine Educator?

A quick search uncovered several Wine Educator programs in the UK and Australia.

In the US the Society of Wine Educators is one of several organizations that offer a self-study version with testing sites in various states. Other organizations, like the Culinary Institute of America offer live classes.

Great Idea #5: Get Paid to Imitate the Masters

juliaNo one actually paid high school senior Julia Reidhead to use acrylic paints to turn a second hand wedding dress into a beautiful Van Gogh inspired prom dress.

Instead the 18-year-old from Mesa, Arizona did it just for fun.

Building on That Idea

But that doesn’t mean Julia – or anyone with an artistic flair – couldn’t make money painting replicas of famous works of art!

You could paint custom lampshades, shower or window curtains, bed spreads, clothing, furniture, walls… virtually any surface.

Great Idea #6: Get Paid to Deliver Warm Cookies and Milk

cookies-1113tm-pic-1134If you love to make cookies you could of course open a bake shop. But then you’d have all that overhead.

Instead why not launch a Cookies & Milk Delivery service like this one in Davis, California started by a philosophy major at UC Davis and his recently graduated girlfriend.

The couple bakes the cookies at a downtown commercial kitchen then delivers them still warm along with ice cold milk to their addicted fans.

Building on That Idea

Maybe you don’t live near a large university or aren’t keen on being in the delivery business or have employees?

I can imagine warm cookies and milk working well out of a food truck. If you’re a night person you could park the truck near a busy bar scene.

If you’re not a night owl then find someone who is. That way your asset – the truck – is still earning money while you sleep.

Bake in the morning. Then during lunch time take your cookie truck to playgrounds frequented by preschoolers and their caretakers or large office complexes. Afterward, head to a large high school to catch hungry teens just as school is letting out.

The Bottom Line

Make Your Own %&#*#@ Job

skaterEvery summer there are millions of aimless teenagers who were unable to find a summer job. But not for lack of trying.

They filled out applications at the mall and at fast food restaurants. But no luck.

It simply never occurs to these teens – OR their parents – to MAKE A JOB.

  • Wash cars
  • Mow lawns
  • Paint fences
  • Babysit
  • Clean garages
  • Sweep the sidewalks in front of store fronts
  • Design websites
  • Teach adults how to use social media
  • Refinish furniture
  • Repair computers or lawn mowers

lawn chairFor instance, have you ever tried to find a lawn chair in August? The stores have already moved on to selling snow blowers!

Enter a local kid who used to snag discarded lawn chairs and reweave the seats. Every day he’d have 20 or more on display in front of his house selling at $7-$15 a pop.

In other words — Get Creative!

Can you blame these kids? After all, most adults are astonishingly uncreative about ways to make money that don’t involve getting a job-job.

In most industrialized countries people have lost the ability to connect the dots between a need and a solution we could provide in order to earn money.

sheepInstead we’ve become a nation of occupational sheep.

And the old way is no longer working. So get creative people!

As George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

cclogolarge

The Big End of Summer
Income Generation Idea Sale!

You Really Can Live Life
On Your Own Terms.
All You Need is A Great Idea

Ideas are powerful. When you finally see a way you can make money doing what you love, something remarkable happens.

Suddenly the fear, procrastination, overwhelm, self-doubt and all the other dream killers suddenly take a back seat.

An idea gives you direction. Without your own idea, you’re destined to watch others pursue their passion while your own life passes you by.

Over the span of 19 years, I’ve helped thousands of aspiring self-bossers just like you to connect the dots between what you love to do and how you can make money at it.

And the most important “dot” of all? Making sure that all ideas pass the all-important Life Test. That way you can put your life first – and work second.

Now for a limited time you can schedule a personalized Income Generation Idea and Action Planning Strategy Session for the significantly reduced price of just $499.

That means for under five hundred bucks you can get one – or quite possibly – multiple income generating ideas.

Not sure what you love to do?

“The way to find out about your happiness,” said renowned mythology scholar Joseph Campbell, “is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you are really happy – not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy.”

fytc coverThat’s why to help you re-discover your lost passions, your laser session includes a copy of It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Calling: A Handbook to Help You Find Your Passion and Get a Life.

And if you worry that the thing you most love to do won’t pay the bills, think again!

Once you discover the utterly liberating concept of multiple streams of income you’ll realize that more is possible than you ever imagined.

Normally this option-inspiring guide is $19.99.

But it’s yours free when you book your Income Generation Idea and Action Planning Strategy Session.

Unfortunately, my busy travel and speaking schedule means I can only make this offer to the first 10 people.

If you really want to discover how you can get paid to do what you love click here to secure your spot at this special End of Summer Sale rate of just $499.

Next, get out your calendar and call me at 413-535-5107 eastern time during normal business hours. I’ll do a brief intake and schedule your one hour session.

I’ve taken a lot of career assessment tools and they always end up telling me I’m creative – which I already knew – but they still leave me stumped as to what to DO with my creativity to actually make a living.

Valerie gave me a lot of good ideas that really made me think. She helped me see how many different possibilities there are in the world for us creative types.

Lynette Turner
Los Angeles, CA

I am still trying to catch my breath after our call! I am very satisfied with the way things went… You were giving me ideas, tips and resources until the second our call ended.

Bob Nelson
Chicago, IL

Someone booked an  Income Generation Idea and Action Planning Strategy Session just before this blog was posted.

That leaves just 9 available spots.

This End of the Summer “Idea Sale” will sell out.

To reserve your spot on my schedule, sign up now


The Power of An Idea


Changing Course is well… changing course!

My vision for the newsletter I founded in 1995 was reflected in its motto.

Live Life on Purpose
Work at What You Love
and Follow Your Own Road

I still seek to inspire those who know there is more to life than office politics and commuter traffic.

But first and foremost, I’m an Idea Person.

So is Ernie Zelinski, author of Real Success Without a Real Job. In fact, Ernie says creative thinking is the thing that helped him generate over a million dollars.

No wonder he refers to creativity as “the poor person’s wealth.”

It was this passion for generating creative ways to create your own job that led me to my new motto…

cclogolarge

Over the span of 19 years, I’ve helped thousands of aspiring self-bossers just like you to connect the dots between what they love to do and how they can make money doing it. 

Once you arrive at a great idea – the kind that makes you with excitement – you’ll find something remarkable happens.

Suddenly the fear, procrastination, overwhelm, self-doubt and all the other dream killers suddenly take a back seat.

I’ve seen this with my own coaches, most of who are themselves starting a business for the first time.

Right now there’s a lot of entrepreneurial ideas flying around on the private Facebook group we set up for people currently enrolled in the Profiting from Your Passion® career coach training.

It inspires me every day to see this international community of “Opportunity Detectives” in action.

That’s why starting today, I’m launching a new series designed to help you – and all 27,000 Changing Course readers – to find and grow your own Great Idea! 

In fact, many of the fascinating ways to turn interests into income you’ll see in this new series come directly from these inspiring coaches.

In This Post

Great Idea #1: Play the Name Game

Have a knack for coming up with cool business names? Now you can get paid to do it.

namingforceTraditionally a company or entrepreneur in search of a cool name for their enterprise, initiative, or product had to hire a pricey ad agency.

Enter Naming Force.

This online naming agency gathers names from registered members (U.S. residents/18 and over) and then uses crowd sourcing to help select the best name for their clients.

Here are a few examples of recent winning names:

  • Thumbs Up! for a don’t text and drive campaign
  • Cordinazer for a cord management system
  • Meter Mate for a parking meter payment app

If the name you submitted gets selected, you receive a cash award.

You can also get a cool name for your own website or product for as little as $100. Since the right name can make or break a business, I’d say that’s money well spent.

Learn more or register here.

chrisrock

Great Idea #2: Get Packing

getpackingThe majority of parents scramble to scrape together enough money to send their kid to summer camp.

Turns out, wealthy parents have a different problem – finding the time to pack their child’s bag for summer camp.

So they’re paying personal organizers up to $1,000 to pack their kid’s bag for them.

If you happen to live near a city or affluent suburb with a greater number of people in the higher income bracket, then you really only need to find 5-10 clients to make a nice chunk of summer cash.

And if parents will pay to ready their youngster for summer camp, can packing their college-bound teens be far behind?

Great Idea #3: Get Paid to Teach

Do you love to share your knowledge or expertise, but don’t know how to attract students?

teaching

Maybe you’ve already thought about making money tutoring people on things like math, chemistry, reading, or academic test preparation.

Or perhaps teaching others how to play an instrument, cook healthy meals, do improv, or learn a second language.

The problem of course, is finding enough students to pay you!

That’s where Take Lessons comes in.

This free teacher-student matching service allows teachers to post a free profile so your local, in-home, or online class can be found by the thousands of students who visit the site every day.

When students sign up, you receive 75% of student fees.

Plus you get mobile tools, marketing resources, and live, online lesson options to increase your reach even more.

Since Take Lessons began in 2006 the company has paid out more than $21 million dollars to its teachers.

So, what are you waiting for? Go teach something!

Free or Low Cost Dream Launchers

#1 New Book Offers Recipe for Success [Limited Free Copies Available]

Launch is the title of my friend, mentor, and former stay-at-home dad Jeff Walker’s new book.

The subtitle pretty much says it all…

An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula
To Sell Almost Anything Online,
Build A Business You Love, And
Live The Life Of Your Dreams

If this sounds like hype, I assure you it is not.

In Launch Jeff outlines the exact process used by over 10,000 people around the world to start or grow a successful online business.

Using case studies of real people who used his high-end product launch formula program (PLF), Jeff lays out the actual steps you need to create your own product or service, find interested consumers, and turn them into enthusiastic buyers.

People have used PLF in every type of market and niche you can think of and realized tremendous success.

In fact, it’s almost become a hobby of Jeff’s to keep track of many of those markets. Here’s just a partial list of some of the markets:

  • dating advice
  • test preparation
  • Photoshop tutorials
  • loan officers
  • realtors
  • juggling
  • college admissions
  • baseball coaches
  • mixed martial arts
  • SAP programmers
  • knitting
  • crocheting
  • dog training
  • mutual fund investing
  • trading (forex, futures, stocks, etc)
  • dressage
  • real estate investing
  • learning guitar
  • training doctors to read ultrasounds
  • business coaching (around the world)
  • raw food
  • massage therapy
  • romance (writing love letters)
  • personal trainers
  • medicinal herbs
  • fiction writing
  • horse training
  • learning piano
  • dog agility training
  • marching band accessories
  • tennis instruction
  • yoga
  • youth soccer coaching
  • pet care
  • songwriting
  • health food
  • hand analysis
  •  meditation
  • brain science
  • self-defense

There’s another reason I know Jeff’s launch formula works. I used it.

For years I resisted spending more than a hundred dollars here and there on marketing. Then, on the recommendation of a trusted and extremely successful entrepreneur, I bit the bullet and bought Jeff’s program.

I followed the formula exactly. Not only did it work just the way Jeff said it would, but I generated more revenue in six months than I had in the previous six years – combined.

You don’t have to spend the kind of money I did to master the product launch formula.

Because in an effort to generate pre-book buzz for Launch, Jeff is giving away a limited number of copies – for free. You get:

  • The exact formula that Jeff’s students have used to generate more than $500 million in sales in hundreds of markets.
  • The 9 weapons of mass influence that cause people to BUY (they’ll be the cornerstone of your successful launch)
  • How to use the Seed Launch to get paid BEFORE you even start your business (or create a product)

Plus you also get some amazing bonuses.

Whether you already have a business or are just getting started Launch truly is your recipe book for success.

As legendary entrepreneur and star of Shark Tank Daymond John said,

“Surround yourself with a team of advisors [who] have the same agenda. Do homework. Research every single thing that you are doing. Take affordable next steps. Take a step forward, learn and then repeat.”

If I could pick just one advisor in the entire world it would be Jeff Walker.

#2 Tap Into Insane Income Working from Home

shandabannerThere really is a way for you to work from home, make good money, and actually have a life.

Here’s my personal endorsement.  I know Shanda Sumpter. A few years ago I hopped a plane to California to co-create a product with her and have personally witnessed how she has built a business that gives her true freedom.

Shanda doesn’t just pitch it; she’s someone who has figured out a formula that works for any business that produces a lot of FREE TIME!

Put it this way…

shanda

Shanda does triathlons which means she works out 17 hours a week (and it shows!).

She also takes off every third week, checks out over December to go skiing in Canada and spend the holidays with her family.

She also has a full staff, makes millions of dollars, and is extremely determined to show you how to build your business so that you can “HAVE a bigger LIFE”!

She’s also one of the most genuine people I know.

Here’s what Shanda is doing that I think you should check out.

Making money and having money should give you freedom. There IS a way that you can set yourself up for that.

Most free giveaways are TRAPS to get you to buy something.

I promise you this ISN’T. Anything offered on this Free Training is well worth your time and investment.

Plus, you don’t have to buy anything to attend and learn.

Go here now to REGISTER for Shanda’s Exposed Livestream Training.

And get ready to live a Bigger Life!

The Bottom Line

Finally, if you really want to change course there are two super important things you need to know about business ideas.

1)   Embrace the liberating power of multiple streams of income

I wasted a lot of years searching for that one Big Idea that would generate enough income to completely replace my corporate salary.

But once I turned my attention to building smaller profit centers, over time I not only matched my former salary, I far surpassed it.

2)   Think small

Everyone is so hung up on how they’re going to make their first $50,000-$100,000 that they don’t do anything.

What if instead you focused on making your first $500 or $1,000?

The fact is if you can make $500 or $1,000 a month, then you can figure out how to grow that into significantly more.

But you have to start — somewhere. So let it be here!

Want to Be a Changing Course Opportunity Detective!

Have you come across a cool business idea or income-generating resource you’d like to share? Send it to [email protected]

Better yet – share it here on the Changing Course blog!


How to Get Out of Job Jail

Winston Churchill said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Optimism is essential to success. All the more so if you want to make the leap to being your own boss.

In fact, the ability to view the world through the lens of opportunity is by far the fastest path to freedom.

That’s because, as you are about discover, difficulty that’s been keeping you locked in job jail may be the very thing that can set you free.

For starters, have you ever thought…

“I have so many interests that I can’t decide”

ezine1Kate is interested in lots of things. So many that she has a hard time picking just one. This makes Kate what my friend Barbara Winter calls a “scanner.”

She’s “addicted to scrapbooking,” spends hours happily researching information online, and before she got stuck with a stressful two-hour-a-day commute Kate was an avid golfer.

Unfortunately, none of Kate’s interests have anything to do with her j-o-b as a financial analyst.

Kate feels trapped. Which is ironic given her other passion. Writes Kate,

“I’m always looking at possibilities and trying to help my friends or co-workers or even total strangers who know they’re on the wrong path. One friend who is a cat lover calls me the answer lady because I’m constantly researching cool things she could do in the cat world”

In fact, Kate says getting paid to do what she’s done all along for free is “too good to be true.”

However, her excitement is short lived.

Her new worry? “What if I go in one direction only to discover it wasn’t my true calling after all?”

As a result Kate isn’t acting on any of her passions for fear that by saying ‘”yes” to one path, means closing the door on others.

Not so says Barbara. In Refuse to Choose she writes,

“…a scanner can’t choose one direction. It’s like telling a parent to choose one child to feed. A parent knows she has to feed all her children. And a scanner must find a way to follow every path that interests her.”

In fact, rather than a barrier to self-employment, having multiple interests means Kate has multiple ways she can earn money.

She could partner with a local travel agency to offer golf outings to exotic locations two or three times a year…

She could teach courses on scrapbooking throughout the year…

Or since people like to hunker indoors in the winter, scrapbooking could be a seasonal business.

That way Kate could still make money combining her love of online research with her knack for generating business ideas for cat lovers, travel lovers, sports lovers…

Better yet, she could specialize in helping other scanners!

Not only will life be more interesting, but in the end, having multiple profit centers means Kate will probably end up making more money as well.

Speaking of money… Do you worry that if you do what you love, the people and the money just won’t follow?

“Will enough people really pay me for this?”

Some people spend so much time fretting about whether there’s enough of a need to start their business that they wind up doing nothing.

Tim wants to quit his job in human resources to do freelance writing from home. But he knows it will take a while to match his former salary.

A self-described “dog guy,” Tim thought about also doing some dog sitting. But with so many kennels in the greater Washington DC area, he doubts he’d make much.

It’s a costly assumption to make.

Twenty five bucks a night may not sound like a lot, but when you travel as much as I do, it adds up! Last year alone, I paid my own dog sitter close to $1,200 to care for my aging dog Cokie in her home.

cokiekitty

In a span of 10 minutes Tim could sign up for Rover.com, a new service that matches dog owners with in-home pet sitters.

Most sitters in the DC area charge $25-$40 a day. But a woman who bills herself as the “dog whisperer” commands a whopping $80 – per dog.

And guess what? She’s got more reviews than most of the competition!

Determining market potential for any potential business is basically a number crunching exercise.

calculatorIf Tim found just three clients who, between them had five dogs, and they booked 70 nights a year ($80 x 5 dogs x 70 nights) he’d have a pretty sweet $28,000 income stream!

(If you want to learn more about how to calculate potential earnings check out my article on the Profiting From Your Passion® FAQ page.)

Joanne also wants to work from home. She’s intrigued by the idea of becoming an “outside the job box” career coach, but like Tim, she worries about the need.

“I work in a large dysfunctional organization. There’s a big shake up going on and lots of bad management decisions. Everyone is miserable — including me.

I’m the one everyone comes to for advice about how to get through this mess but I know they aren’t the types to quit their jobs to follow their bliss.

I desperately want out but I’m just afraid there’s not enough of a market out there for this kind of work.”

Let’s review…

She and everyone around her is “miserable,” but Joanne doesn’t think there’s a market for someone who can help burned out cubicle dwellers find relief?

Is every disgruntled employee a potential client? Of course not. But even if it were somehow possible to work with every person on the planet, Joanne only needs to reach enough people to get launched and then grow from there.

If for every 100,000 employees, 5 percent were open to the idea of making a living without a job – that’s 5,000 people.

Then there’s the finding that the most significant spike in people starting their own businesses is among people aged 55 to 64.

With 10,000 baby boomers retiring every single day for the next ten years, this market alone is enormous.

Kate, Tim, and Joanne don’t have a problem. They have an opportunity. Once discovered, the ball is officially in their court.

As Wayne Dyer said, “There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there’s only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.”


It’s Never Too Late to Re-Learn Important Stuff

It’s been a while since I sent this newsletter.

In fact, even I was surprised to discover the last issue was last June!

Instead I’ve been sharing ideas and resources largely through short blog posts.

Today I felt tugged to return to my roots.

Roots that began when I published the first Changing Course newsletter way back in 1995.

(Okay now I feel old!)

cokievalThis is Cokie and me in the early days.

Cokie was probably three-years-old in this picture. Now he’s 15.

At least I can still see and hear. Cokie… not so much. But gratefully the old guy is hanging on.

A lot has happened since 1995. Heck, a lot’s happened since my last newsletter!

Over the last few months I’ve had opportunities to re-learn two important lessons.

Lessons that can help you realize your own dream of working at what you love, living life on purpose, and following your own road.

Know When Good Enough Is Good Enough

Is chronic perfectionism killing your dream?

Are you waiting for everything to be absolutely perfect before you launch your great idea… your small business… your new LIFE?

Maybe you want to start a blog or write a book or give motivational talks. But instead you endlessly tinker and tweak and adjust, making sure everything is just so… but never begin.

Trust me I’ve been there.

Over the years though, I’ve learned that all my high-minded notions of “quality standards” and “getting it right” really just equaled paralysis.

On the whole, the male entrepreneurs I know operate from a very different definition of quality. The mantra repeated by multi-millionaire speakers at the numerous marketing seminars I’ve attended always comes down to some variation of this:

“You don’t have to get it right you just have to get it going.”

One marketing guru went even further telling procrastinating perfectionists that, “Half ass is better than no ass.”

His wording may be crass but the fundamental truth remains:

If you wait for everything to be perfect you’ll never act.

Whether it’s a product, a service, or an idea, you have to put version one out there, get some feedback, improve on it, and then create a new and improved version from there.

You can always course correct as you go.

But at some point you must decide it really is good enough.

It’s a lesson I relearned just last week while recording a presentation.

I spent the better part of a day doing dry runs before finally hitting the dreaded “Record” button.

Everything was going great until around the 35 minute mark, and I coughed.

Could I have stopped and re-recorded the whole thing? Yup.

And if someone had hired me to create the video I would have.

But this was a free video I produced for a select group of people who want to learn more about an upcoming training program on how to get paid to brainstorm.

So instead I kept going.

Earlier in my entrepreneurial journey I would have been compelled to make it perfect.

Instead I chose to think most viewers would forgive the cough.

And to recognize instead the considerable effort I put into finding statistics about the boom in the numbers of people embracing self-employment and the examples of creative business ideas.

Plus the entire second half of the video is basically a free marketing lesson.

Lessons I knew this audience could use to launch or to grow a business regardless of whether they ultimately sign up to train with me or not.

So yes, I coughed. And guess what? Life went on.

Don’t Get Too Wedded to Your Dream

In October I realized a long-held dream of getting onto Oprah’s radar when I was interviewed for O magazine on how to feel more confidence.

omagazineWhen the issue finally came out I was so excited I babbled to the cashier, the other customers at the newsstand, truly anyone with a pulse – “I’m in this magazine!!!”

As honored as I was, in all honestly, my real dream was to be a guest on Oprah’s TV show.

But the show ended its 25 year run a mere two months after my book came out. Talk about a near miss.

What I learned from this experience is that people don’t fail to achieve a dream.

The failure is giving up when things don’t turn out the way we imagined.

I’ve had plenty of clients who fantasized about owning a bed and breakfast, but they didn’t have the money to buy their own place.

Happily, some discovered it much more satisfying (and less stressful) to have B&B owners who need a break to pay them to be bed and breakfast sitters instead.

Others realized that the part they really liked was the idea of decorating the place. Washing sheets and making breakfast at 6am… not so much. So they pursued decorating instead.

As the Rolling Stones reminded us, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might get what you need.”


5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Part 5

When it comes to changing course, money – or rather the lack of it – stops a lot of people in their tracks.

So to help, I’ve put together a five-part series on creative ways to fund your dream.

You may not be able to take advantage of every idea or resource.  In fact, none of the five ideas may be right for you and your personal situation. You need to read them anyway. Why?

First, the strategy that may not be a fit for you today may indeed be the one that launches your dream a few years from now.

Second, just knowing that options truly do exist will remind you that your crazy dream is not so crazy after all.

And finally, one of the ideas or resources you see here may be perfect for someone you know. Pass it on and you just might change a life!

Strategy #5: Know Your Options

3102014_1Ever wondered how most successful small business owners get the money to launch?

Entrepreneur magazine did and what they found might surprise you!

Of businesses less than five years old, with annual sales in excess of $1 million, a whopping 69 percent started out by using their own money to fund their business.

3102014_2Going it alone, pulling yourself and your business up by your bootstraps otherwise known as “bootstrapping” is all about getting things done while spending as little as possible and not raising outside financing.

That’s why the first four ideas in this series focused on small ways for you to bootstrap your dream. (If you missed these, then start here.)

But bootstrapping isn’t your only option.

You have five basic options for finding the money to fund your entrepreneurial dream:

OPTION 1: Using Your Own Money

OPTION 2: Debt Financing – Borrowing with the expectation that you will repay the loan

  • Borrowing from friends and family
  • Borrowing money from a bank
  • Borrowing from a micro-lender

OPTION 3: Equity Financing – Getting others to invest in your dream in exchange for a financial stake in your business

  • Friends and Family
  • Other “Small” Investors
  • Angel Investors/Professional Investors/Venture Capitalists

OPTION 4: Getting a grant

  • Private Grants
  • Government Grants and Other Assistance
  • Grants for Social Entrepreneurs
  • Grants and Funding for Creative Types
  • Grants for Non-profits

OPTION 5: Crowdfunding via sites like Kickstarter or Indigogo

  • Friends and family
  • Your social network
  • Total strangers who support your dream

You can stick to just one option. For instance, I bootstrapped the start-up of Changing Course and then continually re-invested earnings back into the business as needed.

Or you can put together various combinations.

Say you wanted to open an art gallery. You could kick in some of your own money, get a loan from your Aunt Gracie, and secure a grant from a local arts council.

So what option do successful small business people use? According to that same Entrepreneur survey:

  • Private investors — 21 percent
  • Friends and family — 21 percent
  • Line of credit from a bank (presumably using their home or other property as collateral) — 18 percent
  • Bank loans — 12 percent
  • Credit cards — 10 percent

Know How Much You Need

3102014_3Before you can even consider how you’ll get the funds, you need to know how much money you need.

If your goal is to start a small, one-person, home-based business as say a freelance writer, consultant/coach, or web designer then you’ll probably need relatively little start-up money. In this case Option 1 – bootstrapping is the way to go.

But what if you have what I call a “Big Dream”? In the past I’ve worked with clients who wanted to:

  • Open a dude ranch in the Canadian Rockies
  • Start a non-profit to help impoverished people in South Africa sell their crafts
  • Renovate a historic building into a multi-purpose art space

Big dreams tend to involve things like looking at things like renting or purchasing property, hiring employees, finding donors, travel expenses, and/or purchasing equipment or inventory – all of which require more start-up capital.

So here you’ll probably need to borrow money, find investors, seek corporate sponsorship, or all three.

In other words, the amount of money you need to change course depends on your business needs and your plans for growth.

Assess Your Entire Situation

3102014_4Once you know how much money you’ll need, you need to decide which funding option is right for you. Which strategy you choose depends on three things:

1) Your current financial obligations or circumstances

2) Your comfort level with risk

3) How quickly you want to change course

For example:

  • If you have a couple of kids about to enter college you’re in a very different financial situation than if you’re a 21-year-old who just graduated college and is living at home
  • If you’re the sole provider of a family, either as a single parent or part of a two-parent family, you’re in a different situation than someone who is only responsible for themselves
  • If you’re an individual that makes a lot of money but are drowning in credit card debt, you face different challenges than if you earn far less but spend within your means
  • If you find yourself faced with a “once in a lifetime” chance to purchase a special piece of property or a coveted business that’s up for sale then you may be willing to take out a loan, court investors, or otherwise assume a greater financial risk in order to seize the day

The Benefits of Bootstrapping

Even if you ultimately decide to use other options, starting out, the easiest way to fund your new business is to use your own money.

After all, you don’t have to fill out any applications or worry about your credit score. There are no investors to try to woo. And you don’t have to worry about repaying anyone.

At least that’s what Shep and Ian Murray discovered.

After graduating college the two brothers felt stifled in their respective Manhattan desk jobs. They longed for the laid back days of summer they’d spent as kids on Martha’s Vineyard.

3102014_5So inspired by the mega-success of another Massachusetts island business Nantucket Nectars, they quit their jobs in 1998, took a $7,000 cash advance from their credit cards, and launched designer neck tie business Vineyard Vines.

In true bootstrapping style, they ran the business themselves for the first two years. Today they have a whole team of employees.

Things have really accelerated in the last five years. The Murray’s went from a single Edgartown retail store to:

  • Having their ties worn by every living president as well as other high-profilers as John Kerry, New York Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg and financier Warren Buffett
  • They’re on track to generate $100 million in sales thanks in large part to the decision to invest in their business by expanding to offer a complete clothing line for men, women, and children
  • Doubled the number of stores to 20, including new locations as far away as Plano, Texas, and Newport Beach, California
  • And signed licensing deals with the NFL, NHL, and MLB
  • And Vineyard Vines’ clothing is the “official style” of the Kentucky Derby

Not bad for a couple of bootstrappers!

Whether you want to build an empire as the Murray’s ultimately did, or are just looking to start a small self-sustaining business, the fundamental steps to funding a business remain the same.

Step 1:  Believe in your dream

Step 2: Find a way to fund it that best fits your situation and goals

Step 3: Take action!

Ready to start bootstrapping your own dream? Start with one of these strategies from the entire 5 Ways to Fund Your Dream series:

Strategy 1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It
Strategy 2: Get Your Priorities Straight
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash is available
Strategy 4: Barter


5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Part 4

You want to make the leap from having a boss to being your own boss. The only problem? M-o-n-e-y!

I wish I could tell you there was a 1-800-Free-Money hotline. Or give you the name of some government office that writes big, no-strings attached checks so people like you can just up and quit your job to start a business.

But I can’t. So that means you have to find another way.

Strategy #4: Barter

innWhen freelance photographer Roger William Theise found out I was from Massachusetts he positively gushed about a recent vacation to Cape Cod. He was especially taken with the charming seaside village of Chatham, home of the famous lighthouse.

So the Ithaca, New York-based shutterbug approached the keepers at one of the more upscale inns with a unique proposal.

Roger would take flattering pictures of the inn and once back at his studio he’d email the best shots. If the owners were unimpressed, they were free to keep the photos no questions asked.

However, if innkeeper liked what they saw, then Roger would be rewarded with a free one-week stay the following summer. It worked!

The enterprising photographer could have made the same pitch to owners of restaurants, clothing stores, fishing expedition boats, gourmet shops… The possibilities are endless!

More importantly, there’s no reason why the timeless practice of bartering couldn’t work for start-ups too.

What Do You Need?

If you have an idea you haven’t acted on – or began only to stall – ask yourself this question:

What do I need right this minute to get my business moving?

If you’re like most people, your first response is “money.”

It’s entirely possible that you’ll need a hefty business loan or an infusion of cash from angel investors later on.

But in the pre-launch phase most people tend to have more specific needs. Needs that have to do with gaining practical experience, training, knowledge or information, or all of above.

Things like…

  • training in how to use Quickbooks®, Adobe Illustrator, Final Cut Pro, or another type of software
  • someone to write a grant proposal for that non-profit you want to start
  • advice, mentoring, or coaching
  • someone to help you put together a crowd-sourcing campaign so you can raise tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) in start-up costs
  • marketing help
  • professional editing of your screenplay, book, or information product
  • the opportunity to assist or shadow someone doing the kind of work you’d like to do
  • web-design or tech support
  • A professional headshot or product shots

Some of these things you can get at no cost by reading QuickBooks for Dummie’s or tapping a grant-savvy friend or relative to walk you through the process.

Other times what you need is going to cost you. If funds are tight, then bartering might be the perfect solution. After all, everyone has something they can offer in exchange. You can:

  • run errands
  • cook or bake
  • care for kids or pets
  • proof-read
  • prepare taxes
  • organize things (files, garages, closets)
  • hem clothes
  • do research
  • clean
  • do basic home or auto repair…

In fact, if you know how to edit, take great photographs, write grant proposals or do any of the things on the list above – then you have something to barter.

5 Rules for Barters

Once you’ve determined what you have to give in return, consider these five rules of etiquette before, during, or after any barter.

1)      Make sure the other party wants what you have.

If the person lives with a professional chef, your offer to prepare and freeze a week’s worth of dinners probably won’t fly. Nor does it make sense to pitch pet-sitting to someone who doesn’t own animals.

Instead, make a list of things you can offer in exchange and let the other person choose.

2)     Make sure the exchange is relatively even.

Someone once asked me to wave their entire $3,000 seminar fee and wanted me cover their travel expenses to boot. What would I get out of the deal? A couple of hours handling the registration desk – something I could hire out for under $100.

Andy LaRoche, Pittsburgh PiratesI understand it’s not always possible to do a perfectly even exchange. After all how do you put a price on spending a weekend shadowing the director of a successful sports camp as some of my own clients have done? But common sense should lead you to propose something that’s more equitable.

3)     Get the agreement in writing.

Taking the time to summarize the agreement in writing can save a lot of headaches or even resentments later on.

You don’t need a formal document. A simple email thanking the person and asking if the terms you’ve outlined reflect their understanding will suffice.

4)     Do what you said you’d do – and then some.

Unfortunately I’ve been on the receiving end of less than satisfactory barter agreements. So while it should go without saying, make sure you follow through and do an outstanding job.

And if the value of what you’re getting exceeds what you’re giving then find a way to exceed the agreed upon expectations. Show up with or send some home-made treats or flowers. Offer to stay late. Or do more than agreed upon exchange. What you do is less important than that you express your appreciation.

5) Be gracious.

Note Card & CoffeeBartering with someone you don’t know is a leap of faith. If you initiated the barter, make sure you take the time to send a hand-written thank you card.



What about you?

Do you have a successful (or horror) barter story to share? What tips would you add to this list? I’d love to hear from you!

Strategy 1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It
Strategy 2: Get Your Priorities Straight
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash is available
Strategy 5: Know Your Options


5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Part 3

You want to make the leap from having a boss to being your own boss. The only problem? M-o-n-e-y!

I wish I could tell you there was a 1-800-Free-Money hotline. Or give you the name of some government office that writes big, no-strings attached checks so people like you can just up and quit your job to start a business.

But I can’t. So that means you have to find another way.

This next idea (#3 in my 5 Ways to Fund Your Dream series) is so simple that you may have overlooked it.

Best of all… anyone can do it.

Strategy #3 Make and Stash Some Extra Cash

For the last nine-and-a-half years of her life, my mother worked as a custodian at a local state university. It was the only way she could see to earn a pension since my Dad didn’t have one.

One of the perks of the job is that college students consume a lot of cans of soda – and beer. And for my Mom that meant extra cash.

canThat’s because Massachusetts is one of 11 states with a bottle bill, which means consumers get 5 cents for every return. That may not sound like a lot. But my Mom made an extra $100 to $125 a month on the cans students discarded.

What would you do with an extra $1,200 to $1,500 a year?

Before you make up your mind that this kind of money isn’t nearly enough to fully achieve your dream, ask yourself instead how even small chunks of money might move you closer to your dream?

In other words:

  • How many photography, cooking, woodworking, beekeeping, or marketing classes could you take?
  • What kind of advanced training could you get in coaching, solar energy consulting, horticulture or wherever your interests lay?
  • What supplies or books could you buy?
  • What kind of equipment could you purchase or upgrade?
  • How much of someone else’s time could you buy in terms of business coaching, housecleaning, or administrative assistance?

I’m not suggesting you start collecting cans off the roadside (although plenty of people do and they aren’t all homeless). In fact, there may be ways you can make extra money that will also bring you closer to your dream.

For instance, if you love to paint and you enjoy teaching others check out a company called Paint Nites. The brainchild of co-founder Dan Hermann, Paint Nite® “is a new concept blending two timeless pastimes: painting and drinking cocktails.”

paintBars and restaurants with an extra room win because they get paying customers in the door on a slow night to enjoy a drink while taking a fun painting class.

Artists and teachers win because they earn the majority of class fees while Paint Nite® does most of the marketing.

Paint Nite® wins because they profit from a smaller share of the class fees and they get a free venue for their classes.

To learn more and to apply to either host a class or teach one, go here.

Maybe sewing, quilting, jewelry making, or other crafts or hobbies like photography or scrapbooking are more your thing. If so check out You Can Make This.

How it works is, you create the design and the how-to guide and the company features it on their site. When someone buys it, you as the content publisher earn 50 percent of the sale price.

I interviewed company founder Kim Christopherson maybe five years ago. Turns out after just one year, her website was so successful that husband Ryan was able to quit his job to work with Kim full time.

How did she start? It all began when she turned to eBay to earn extra money by selling her crafts.

So, what about you? What can you do to bring in an extra $100-$200 a month?

If you love to shop can you snag great designer clothes at Goodwill, Salvation Army or close out sales and sell them at pricier consignment shops or online?

Could you tutor kids in math or language or an instrument?

Can you make extra money teaching, consulting, or supervising others on how to write a grant, wallpaper a room, build a tree house, use Adobe Illustrator® or anything else where you have some knowledge or skills?

mugEveryone has stuff you don’t need that you can sell on eBay or Craigslist? Heck I have a dozen old Starbuck’s city series coffee mugs I bought for $10-15 each that now fetch $40-$90 just sitting in a cupboard.

There are all sorts of ways to earn extra money – money you can specifically earmark toward starting your small business.

What you’ll soon realize is that the money itself isn’t the important part. The important part is that you will have taken proactive steps to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Strategy 1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It
Strategy 2: Get Your Priorities Straight
Strategy 4: Barter
Strategy 5: Know Your Options


5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Part 2

When it comes to changing course, money – or rather the lack of it – stops a lot of people in their tracks.

So to help, I’ve put together a five-part series on creative ways to fund your dream.

You may not be able to take advantage of every idea or resource. In fact, none of the five ideas may be right for you and your personal situation. You need to read them anyway. Why?

First, the strategy that may not be a fit for you today may indeed be the one that launches your dream a few years from now.

Second, just knowing that options truly do exist will remind you that your crazy dream is not so crazy after all.

And finally, one of the ideas or resources you see here may be perfect for someone you know. Pass it on and you just might change a life!

Strategy #2: Get Your Priorities Right

Comedian and actor Chris Rock remarked in an interview, “Having money doesn’t make you rich. Having options makes you rich.”

Arianne and Scott Bennett didn’t have either. The couple desperately wanted to travel. But they didn’t have any expendable income.

However they were both able to afford their $4.50 pack a day cigarette habit. Smoking had become a priority.

So in 1998 they both decided to quit and stash the money they saved into a travel fund. Ten months later the couple had enough money to fly to Amsterdam where some friends had recently moved.

falafelThey loved the canals and the old world charm. But what Arianne and Scott really fell in love with were the many falafel shops. So they returned to the states to open their first Amsterdam Falafel shop and today run a booming franchise business.

Arianne and Scott’s dream began with a simple decision to put their money into something that would bring them joy. Can you say that about where your money goes?

If not, where can you cut back? Could you cancel or downgrade a pricey cable bill. Pack your lunch. Skip the daily latte. Whatever you do be sure you redirect the money you save into a special Dream Account.

For my friends Linda and Waino saving money isn’t a strategy. It’s a lifestyle.

Throughout his life Waino had a series of low-paying jobs, including school bus driver and hired hand at a dairy farm. Linda started out as an English teacher but soon discovered a love of making pottery.

For the last 30 years she’s thrown pots in her well-lit basement studio. In the spring and fall, Linda teaches pottery classes at a local college. And for a few weeks each summer, she runs classes for kids in her studio.

Of course like everyone, there are times when, Linda feels pressured by the demands for her work. But while her employed friends get a measly 2-3 weeks of vacation, Linda takes ten.

Freshly-Harvested-VegetablesThe couple grows much of their own food. So she takes three weeks off in May to plant their massive vegetable garden. The entire month of August is spent reading books, playing cards, and swimming at a rustic cottage on a remote lake in Maine that the couple own with Linda’s sister and her husband.

After a hectic few month run up to the busy Christmas craft season Linda takes three weeks off in January to cross country ski from her front door and to catch up on things around the house.

This isn’t Linda’s only vacation time. In the last few years she and a friend cross-country skied their way across a part of Switzerland, spent a week with other long-time friends and me in Cozumel Mexico, and last year she accompanied a friend to Ecuador.

Did I mention that Linda and Waino’s combined income has never been more than $50,000? If you’re wondering how they can do all of this and still afford to take over ten weeks off a year, it has everything to do with priorities.

The couple prides themselves on living a full but frugal life. Ardent environmentalists, they repair rather than replace, buy only what they need and for everything else they go used, barter with friends, or go without. They raise chickens for the eggs and grow and preserve a fair amount of their own food.

The mortgage on their small but comfortable home has long been paid off and they have more saved for retirement than the vast majority of those earning two-to-three times more.

If you live in pricy areas like New York City, Boston, or San Francisco it’s not always easy to live on less. So if you’re ready for a change of scenery, consider relocating to a more affordable place where your dollar will go much further.

cafeIf you’re up for re-prioritizing in a big way, you could always go international. Running an existing portable business or starting a new business in another country is actually pretty doable. There are ex-pats opening cafes, using Skype to continue to work with clients back home, and importing crafts and other products back home.

Getting a job in another country can be a major challenge, but it’s not impossible. The reason Linda went to Ecuador was to accompany a friend who couldn’t afford to retire in the U.S. and wanted to check things out. On her first visit the friend got a job teaching English and has since relocated there full-time.

You don’t have to retire to benefit from this list of best places to retire from International Living magazine.

Nor do you need to move, raise your own chickens or grow your own food. But, if you’re serious about finding a way to fund your dream – and enjoy more life – then consider ways you can live on less. In a word: Prioritize.

As Margaret Young said:

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”

Strategy 1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash
Strategy 4: Barter
Strategy 5: Know Your Options


5 Ways to Fund Your Dream

When it comes to changing course, money – or rather the lack of it – stops a lot of people in their tracks.

So to help, I’ve put together a five-part series on creative ways to fund your dream.

You may not be able to take advantage of every idea or resource.  In fact, none of the five ideas may be right for you and your personal situation. You need to read them anyway. Why?

First, the strategy that may not be a fit for you today may indeed be the one that launches your dream a few years from now.

Second, just knowing that options truly do exist will remind you that your crazy dream is not so crazy after all.

And finally, one of the ideas or resources you see here may be perfect for someone you know. Pass it on and you just might change a life!

Idea #1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It

If you’re a writer or an artist or you love to make music or fancy cakes or you have a great business idea or a host of other things, why not enter a contest?

penguinIf you think it’s a total long-shot let me tell you about my friend Dyan DiNapoli aka The Penguin Lady.

Dyan didn’t enter a contest. But she did have a dream of working with sea animals at an aquarium. Not everyone supported her decision to go back to college to pursue the required degree.

It’s not that they thought she wasn’t up to the task. Rather they worried that the odds were not good, telling Dyan, “It’s too competitive.”

I loved Dyan’s response: “I just kept reminding myself – somebody’s going to get that cool job. It might as well be me.”

The same thing applies here. Someone is going to win that contest. It might as well be you!

In fact, it was a contest that launched the writing career of a registered nurse named Elizabeth Berg. Her first attempt came at nine when she entered a poem contest in American Girl magazine. Twenty five years later Elizabeth entered and won a writing contest sponsored by another magazine.

She penned magazine articles for ten years before writing her first novel. Today Elizabeth has numerous New York Times best-selling books to her name.

To be clear, entering a contest is not the same as sitting on your hands hoping to hit the lottery. Rather in each case you actually have to take positive action in order to win.

Finally the great thing about entering a contest is that even if you don’t win the contest you’ll still have won because you’ll have improved your craft and learned a ton along the way.That’s how some of the biggest Agency SEO have made it.

To get your own creative juices flowing, I’ve pulled together three of the countless contests happening this very moment.

The Staples’s Make Your Idea Happen Contest

Can you capture your great idea in 100 words or less? Well, you’ll need to if you want to win one of 10 prizes office supply giant Staples is giving out.

winnerGrand prize is $25,000, first prize is $15,000, and second prize $10,000. All prizes are all in the form of tech and office store products of your choice.

Plus winners receive something even more valuable. Free specialized business coaching from an impressive line-up of experts including a well-known chef, jewelry designer, and author.

And a lucky seven runners-up can cash in on $5,000 in products.

But you’ll have to act FAST because entry is due February 3 at 5PM eastern. That’s TODAY!

The only catch is you have to “Like” them at Facebook to enter and give them more pay for twitter followers. (A very clever marketing tactic you may use in your own business.)

Once you hit “like” you’ll find helpful sample entries and bios of the panelists. So… what are you waiting for!

Pillsbury Bake-Off

I grew up hearing about winners of the Pillsbury Bake-Off. The prize back then was $10,000. No small sum at the time.

pillsbury

Today the grand prize is a cool $1 million and a spot on Queen Latifa’s show! To learn about all of the recent winners of the 46th bake-off – and most importantly — to get on their list for news of the next one, go here.

Pillsbury isn’t the only game in town. King Arthur flour sponsors baking contests at dozens of state fairs.

And if cake decorating is your thing this Cake Decorating Classes site lists upcoming contests in the US, Canada and the UK.

Baking and cooking contests are so popular that there are entire websites dedicated to the topic – which is a cool business idea itself. Two I found are Cooking Contest Central and Contest Cook.

John Lennon Songwriting Contest

johnlennon

Since 1997 this international songwriting contest has awarded millions in prize money and products to amateur and professional songwriters who submit entries in 12 categories including rock, hip hop, Latin, gospel, country, children’s, and more.

The contest is open year-round and features two sessions — with 72 Finalists, 24 Grand Prize Winners, 12 Lennon Award Winners and 1 “Song of the Year.”

You don’t need a professional recording and instrumental compositions are encouraged. Entries will be judged on originality, melody, composition, and (when applicable) lyrics.

This year’s prize packages total over $300,000.00! Among the judges are Bob Weir, Jesse Harris, The Black Eyed Peas, The Bacon Brothers and The Veronicas!

What if you don’t win? Then enter another one and another one until you do.

Your Turn

Know of another contest? Get an aha? Or even just a boost of inspiration? Great! Scroll down to post your thoughts and ideas here!

Strategy 2: Get Your Priorities Straight
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash is available
Strategy 4: Barter
Strategy 5: Know Your Options

Announcement: Registration for the Spring 2014 Profiting from Your Passions® career expert training starts soon. If you love to think outside the job box and help others, get on the Priority Notification page to learn more.


The Difference between prosperity and poverty

I saw the most incredible sunset the other day. I had to pull my car over to soak it in, this fleeting sky painting.

These small gifts don’t show up in my life more often than anyone else’s. I think I just notice them more.

I’m sharing this monument capital group holdings because few, if any, career advisors talk about gratitude as an essential element of career change.

When you think about it, career counselors and coaches are in the business of helping you move from where you are to where you want to be. In other words, changing your work and life are by definition all about the future.

Gratitude on the other hand is very much about the present.

It’s not always easy to be grateful when what you want is freedom, control over your time, and the satisfaction of knowing that the work you do matters. But what you have instead is a soul sucking job that leaves you no time to see, never mind smell, the roses.

Yet if you really want to make a positive change, it’s imperative to shift from a state of constant yearning for what you don’t have to being mindful of those blessings, however small, that you do have… right now.

Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin talked about this concept in their groundbreaking book Your Money or Your Life writing,

“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.” Said another way, ungrateful people make lousy self-change agents.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that there are a lot of people in dire circumstances. Circumstances made all the more difficult during this holiday season.

Yet, say Dominguez and Robin, “Once we are above the survival levels, the difference between prosperity and poverty lies simply in our degree of gratitude.”

Even during my most financially challenging and emotionally discouraging days (and trust me there have been many), I still knew that I was blessed.

After all, I can see. I can hear. I have all my limbs. I am, God-willing, free of disease.

I can walk down my street in relative safety. I have food and a home and heat.

I have clean water, access to medical care, transportation.

I have friends and family who love me. And I am blessed to have all of you.

Living life from a perspective of gratitude is not just an exercise in happy thinking. According to Melody Beattie there are actual tangible benefits:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity… It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

On the bulletin board at my post office hangs a quote from the Women’s Theology Center in Boston. It reads, “We must go slowly, there’s not much time.”

Achieving a dream takes hard work, perseverance, and, yes, time. Life is too short to put off happiness until we have achieved our goal. With a dream, as with life, the journey is just as important as the destination.

As you enjoy a drink of clean water, a warm bed or the company of a loved one this Thanksgiving season and every day, pause and be grateful for what and who is in your life right now.

Take positive action to go after that better future. But also be here now… and savor the journey.

What are YOU grateful for today? Take a moment to scroll down and share.
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(And don’t forget to take advantage of the Big 50% Off Everything You Need to Change Course! Discount will appear in cart.)


You really only need two things to become your own boss

What do you think it takes to create a successful business? Money? Time? Both?

Before I answer that question I’d like you to meet someone who came up with a great idea on a Saturday, was in business by Monday and grew sales to the $1 million mark in a single year.

Her name is Maria Elena Ibanez.

It all started at a routine appointment at her hairdresser. There she happened to strike up a conversation with another customer who had a background in the Latino food business.

This impromptu meeting stimulated Maria Elena’s hunger… for opportunity. So much so that in that instant she made up her mind to become a major player in the Latino food industry.

That was in 2002.

By the end of year one, her business, Intermark Foods had $1 million in sales from four food products. By 2009 Maria Elena had led her company into the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Company for three years running.

It’s important to note that Maria Elena already had a background in business. In fact, she’d already launched two successful international computer distribution businesses and sold one. So, starting a business was nothing new.

But this new enterprise took her into an entirely different industry. In fact she knew nothing about the food business what so ever. Zip. Nada.

What she lacked in industry knowledge, Maria Elena made up for in her confidence to act on an opportunity when she saw one.

So, what can you learn from this “weekend business launcher” that can help you jumpstart your own entrepreneurial dreams? Plenty! Here are 5 essential lessons to get you started

Lesson 1: Find People Who Know More Than You Do

Stop thinking you need to know everything before you can begin. As Woodrow Wilson once said, “I use all the brains I have and all that I can borrow.”

There are lots of ways to tap the expertise of other people. You can partner with a subject matter expert, you can apprentice with an expert, you can pay someone to consult with you from time to time, or all of the above. The key is to ask!

Lesson 2: Create Your Own Crash Course

You don’t need to get an MBA or have worked in a field for 20 years to figure out the basics. Maria Elena ordered a couple of cases of books on Amazon and spent a few weeks creating her own crash course in the food and grocery industry.

Pretend your boss told you to put together a three month self-paced training program on how to make money growing irises in your backyard or how to get a syndicated talk radio show. You’d figure it out right?

If you want to be self-employed you need to start acting like the boss of you! Get busy making a list of what you need to know to move your dream forward.

Next create a plan for how you will learn what it is you need to know. Will you do a web search? Read a book? Make a phone call?

Then take one small step, and another and another until you have completed the plan.

Lesson 3: Trust Your Instincts

How many times have you seen a great business idea only to second guess yourself because you told yourself, it’s too “obvious”? Or, “If it’s such a good idea someone would have done it by now.” Nonsense.

Maria Elena built her brand by targeting an under-served niche in the Latin food market — dairy foods. How did she know to specialize there? Simple. She walked the aisles in the supermarket and looked for what was missing.

The key is to trust your instincts. If something looks like an opportunity, acts like an opportunity, and your gut is screaming, “Yes!” then pay attention!

Lesson 4: See Problems as Opportunities

Successful business owners understand that opportunities often come disguised as problems. For instance, Maria Elena could have pulled back during the slow economy. Instead she capitalized on it.

Cheaper rent and more available brainpower looking for work are just two reasons why she says an economic downturn is the best time to start a business.

What problem can you capitalize on right now? Lost your job? Can you use the extra time between job hunting to read a book on marketing or create a small profit center?

No idea what kind of business you could start that might actually build on the things you enjoy doing? Make a list of friends who know you well enough to recognize your unique gifts or interests who may recall any long lost dreams you’ve perhaps lost sight of.

Then invite them to help you come up with business ideas that would make best use of your own unique genius. Warning: Only invite friends who support your desire to be your own boss. Otherwise your brainstorming session will probably lead you back to working in a cubicle.

If that doesn’t work, hire an entrepreneurially-minded career coach who knows how to connect the dots between what you like to do and how you can make your own job doing it.

Lesson 5: Free Yourself From Analysis Paralysis

I know people who are still working on a business plan or website they began nearly a decade ago. They constantly plan and tinker and research and think… But they never launch.

Notice Maria Elena did not spend years, months, or even weeks locked in analysis paralysis. She made a decision one day and two days later was in full blown action mode.

She acted so fast in fact that the Latino food expert Eric Lefkofsky she met at her hairdressers on Saturday reported to work in Ms. Ibanez’s home office on Monday!

The Bottom Line

You don’t have to run out and start an empire tomorrow. But imagine what you could do if you just dove in and started somewhere…. anywhere!

Will you make mistakes along the way? I certainly hope so. Because if you aren’t making mistakes, then you’re not learning anything.

Will you go from $0 to a million dollars in a year? Clearly Maria Elena Ibanez’s story proves that some people do. But this is definitely the exception.

Does that mean you shouldn’t start? Not at all.

It took me seven years before I became an “overnight success!” However, if I’d understood these simple lessons earlier, I’m certain I could have cut that time in half.

There’s one more thing I wish I’d had more of sooner. And it’s not what you think.

You see, everyone thinks it takes money to make money. Not true. I’ve had clients who had lots of money. Some had both money and plenty of time to launch a business. And in all cases, I was able to help them craft a viable idea for their first profit center.

And yet they still couldn’t get out of their own way for one reason and one reason only: Lack of confidence.

You see, it really takes just two things to change course: A good idea and the confidence to act on it.

What about you?

Do you have a great idea but lack the confidence to act? Do you have abundant confidence but are stuck on the idea part? Do you have both? Neither?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!


How to Turn a Problem Into A Profitable Product

I recently had an encounter that opened my eyes – big time.

It happened when I hired a guy to perform the inspection on the new house I’m buying. I quickly learned that John has 11 children.

If that wasn’t amazing enough, he and his wife are getting set to pack the family into a huge caravan and crisscross the United State home schooling (or should I say “road schooling”) the kids as they go.

car(Okay they’ll need a bigger car than this one and you need to substitute a bunch of boxes for a whole bunch of kids… but you get the idea.)

So how can a guy who inspects houses for a living afford to take several years off from working to travel and spend time with his family?

Turns out he and his oldest son developed an app for his smart phone that makes the capture and sharing of inspection information both easier for the inspector and more user-friendly for the consumer.

They’re about to license their SaaS to a group of housing inspectors for a cool quarter of a million dollars. Cha-Ching!

That got me thinking about how a lot of people – and women especially – shy away from technology-related business ideas. That’s a real shame because we’re losing out on tremendous financial opportunities.

For example, yesterday I emailed you about a woman named Esther from the Netherlands.

Esther is a busy mom with zero entrepreneurial experience who started a successful software business in her living room.

What’s remarkable is that she didn’t have any idea what she was going to create. And she had only limited money to invest in a business.

Even more surprising, she has no experience in software. None!

So, how did she do it?

Esther’s journey began when she stopped thinking “I have to be an expert” and started thinking “find painful problems.”

If that doesn’t make sense yet, that’s ok. It will soon…

Because once you find whole a bunch of people who all share a common painful problem then you’ve got the essential foundation from which to launch a highly profitable small business.

In John’s case, it was other home inspectors. For Esther, it was photographers.

But it could also be any business owners or practitioners: Auto-mechanics, restaurant owners, personal trainers, chiropractors, or attorneys. The list is endless

Talk to people who are in the same occupation or situation and I guarantee you’ll learn about a shared problem or challenge.

John already knew the challenges he and other home inspectors faced. And his son was a self-described geek.

But Esther created a business from nothing by simply asking questions, selling her product before it existed, and using that money to hire an expert to build the product for her!

Okay so how does this process work? I’m sure you have plenty of questions…

You’re not alone!

Which is why I’m hosting an Educational No-Pitch Webinar called:

How to Find Product Ideas And Pre-sell Them Before You Build Them (And Then How to Find & Hire Experts to Build the Product for You!)

It’s going to happen live on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 1:00PM.

The Webinar is being taught by Dane Maxwell.

Dane was referred to me by a trusted mutual friend who until recently was the educational director at the mega-affiliate site Clickbank. And the referral came just a week after my house inspection.

Both of these tidbits are important because as much as I hate to admit it, I’m wary of things I don’t understand.

You see, despite running an online business since 1998, I’m not the least bit technically-savvy. (Just ask my assistant Lisa!)

I mean before I met Dane I’d never heard the term “SaaS.” Now I know it stands for “software as a service” and according to Wikipedia the SaaS market is b-o-o-m-i-n-g.

So I sat in on one of Dane’s webinars and was practically jumping out of my seat with excitement about the possibilities for those searching for a viable way to become your own boss.

If you want to learn how Esther and others have created a recurring stream of income with no idea, limited money, and no software experience for settlement and annuity – then you do not want to miss this educational, no-pitch Webinar.

How to Find Product Ideas And Pre-sell Them Before You Build Them (And Then How to Find & Hire Experts to Build the Product for You!)

Thursday November 14, 2013
1:00 PM Eastern
12:00 PM Central
11:00 AM Mountain
10:00 AM Pacific
18:00 GMT

Register here now

If John, Esther (and score of others) can do it… so can you. See you Thursday!


Losing Your Way

In a 2010 issue of More Bailey Jack recounts the years she spent in low pay, low satisfaction jobs. Her true love was art.

But everyone “knows” there’s no money in art… right?

Sadly, like so many people who fail to listen to their heart, Bailey had lost her way.

It wasn’t until her 50s that she finally found her footing and with it a new livelihood as a working artist.

Even if she’d wanted to take classes, Bailey couldn’t afford them. So she taught herself to paint. And as it turns out she was really, really good at it.

But how could painting ever pay the bills?

After all she worked from 3am to noon, including weekends and holidays. Since she could never attend weekend art shows she never bothered to apply.

And on her meager earnings she couldn’t afford to buy canvases anyway.

“A vicious cycle became my life,” writes Bailey.

Then one day while she was painting in her studio, a neighbor named Dr. Pam Barge came knocking. The certified life coach, and now friend, sat Bailey down for a long talk.

roadmapPam told her that without some sort of roadmap… a plan… Bailey would keep going in circles and getting exactly nowhere.

It was a break through moment for Bailey. “Sometimes a stranger has to open your eyes and ears to hear what your heart is speaking,” she said.

That very night, before going to her “dreaded, low pay unhappy environment job,” she wrote out a six month plan. One that would focus on the steps she needed to take and ways to overcome the obstacles holding her back.

That’s when Bailey came up with a creative way a way to afford “canvas.” After all, any surface can be a canvas. Right?

So she began to use whatever was available. She painting on bead board, vintage doors, cast away wood, even recycled cabinet doors. But she needed more. But with no money… what to do?

dogShe approached a contractor whose yard was filled with discarded kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately he wasn’t interested in giving them away or selling them.

Sadly a lot of people would have given up. Not Bailey.

Instead she painted a portrait of the contractor’s dog and offered it to him for free.

It worked!

Before long the guy was stacking old doors on her front porch by the dozens.

Bailey also squirreled away bits of money to pay the fees to get into juried art shows and began approaching galleries.

It was in one of these galleries where a buyer from HGTV saw one of her paintings and promptly bought it for one of the shows.

From there Bailey’s art career took off. Check out a small sampling of her delightful work here.

Today her creations, all in the same whimsical style as the dog and Princess Leyla paintings shown here, are featured in galleries throughout Georgia and Florida.

ladyShe gets to travel the southeast to attend juried shows. And a once far off dream is her livelihood.

Best of all say Bailey, “I love the fact that I am creating everyday some image that may make someone happy.”

Finally putting an end to what Bailey so perfectly described as her “ridiculous journey of avoidance,” came down to two simple steps:

  1. Listen to where your heart wants to go and
  2. Devise a concrete roadmap to get there.

Whether you’re 25, 55, or 75 — life is way too short to avoid your dreams. So what’s your plan?

I’d Love to Hear from YOU!

What’s YOUR take away from Bailey’s story? Scroll down to share now.

And please take a moment to like us at the Changing Course Fan Page.


Realizing a Dream in Mid-Life

Much of my own inspiration comes from you my readers. People like Mary Alice Murphy who wrote to share her story.

Mary Alice lives in Silver City, New Mexico, a place she describes as “a gorgeous little town in far southwest New Mexico tucked into mountains with desert not too many miles away.”

Mary Alice spent most of the first five decades of her life not really knowing what she wanted to be “when she grew up.” Then at 58, it happened!

That’s when Mary Alice realized she wanted to be a newspaper reporter. She worked for a small local paper for ten years before being laid off at 68.

newspaperMost people in the same predicament would have just retired. But did I mention Mary Alice loves being a reporter?

“I not only continued being a newspaper reporter, but” says Mary Alice, “four days after being laid off, I had The Grant County Beat — my own local online news source — up and running.”

Overnight she went from employee to small business owner.

That meant needing to tackle things like becoming an LLC, getting financial advice, and finding a good but affordable webmaster.

By far though, the biggest challenge is the same one that dogs all off and on-line publications – generating ad revenue to pay the bills.

There are two things that are getting Mary Alice through this inevitable lean phase typical of the first few years of any business.

cameraladiesFirst there was the support of friends, some of whom she’s enlisted as unpaid or in her words “pitifully paid” writers.

The other thing that keeps Mary Alice going, “are the wonderful testimonials I receive from friends, as well as strangers, about how my news is ‘the best in town,’” she says, adding, “I thrive on compliments.”

Who doesn’t! In fact, I find central to most of my own clients’ dreams is the desire to somehow make a difference in the lives of others.

Mary Alice found her passion at 58 and then changed course in a big way at 68. Happily for both her and her many readers, the Beat goes on.

“It’s not making me rich,” writes Mary Alice, “but it’s keeping me happy and occupied!”

Your Turn

Do you know what you want to be “when you grow up”? Who do you turn to for support? What spurs you on to push through the tough times?

Share your story now either here or at the Changing Course Fan Page.


Do You Have to Love Your Work?

Are you sitting down?

If you’ve followed me for any of the 18 years I’ve been writing this newsletter then you may be stunned by what I’m about to say.

You don’t necessarily need to love your work in order to lead a happy, fulfilling life.

catchastarLet me be clear…

I’m not saying you shouldn’t pursue satisfying work. What I am saying is that misconceptions about what it means to find a “calling” or “passion” undermine a lot of dreams.

This is especially true for people who identify with the Barbara Sher concept of being a “scanner.”

Unlike “divers” who pursue one interest and specialize, scanners have many diverse interests. They like shopping for bargains and they like coming up with ideas for inventions and they like pet photography and they like teaching classes…

As a consequence scanners are easily bored with repetition. They lose interest once they’ve mastered something. As such scanners have a hard time sticking with one thing for fear that if they say ‘yes’ to one thing then they must say ‘no’ to their other interests.

Are You Really a “Scanner”?

Some people really are true Renaissance souls.

However, there’s a far more common reason why people jump from passion to passion never really following through on anything.

Somewhere along the way we got the idea that in order to qualify as a “true” calling that our work should never feel like, well, work.

Let’s take the analogy of finding and then maintaining a healthy relationship with a mate. Done right and the two of you will be together for many happy years to come.

couple1

But buy into the eternal passion myth and you’re headed for disappointment.

That’s because when you’re in the courting stage all you see is how amazing your beloved is. Perfect really. You want to spend every waking moment together and each moment you do is more incredible than the last.

At some point, however, some of the magic is bound to wear off. Habits you once found endearing, begin to grate on you and the intensity of new romance starts to fade.

goldenheartClearly we haven’t found our soul mate after all. So you part ways and the quest to find the real Mr. or Ms. Right begins anew.

This same cycle of euphoria followed by eventual disillusion happens with work as well.

To be a “true” passion, we believe our work should feel like play. Not just sometimes, but every moment of every day. Not just some parts, but every part.

Pretty soon you’re bound to run into something that’s difficult or unpleasant.

You need to figure out how to set up a website or navigate import-export regulations or actually get out there and talk to potential clients or market our business or like me, deal with the hassles of flying to speaking gigs.

Heck, that’s no fun!

You think, “Apparently I haven’t found my passion after all!” So you quit and the search for your “true” calling begins all over again.

What’s The Solution?

By all means, you should enjoy that initial passion phase. After all there is nothing like discovering a long lost love for painting or antiquing or inspiring people.

Just realize that maintaining a satisfying relationship with your new livelihood will require commitment, effort, compromise, and a willingness to ride out the inevitable bad days or sometimes even years.

Believe it or not, this is actually really good news.

Because once you understand that you don’t have to feel passionate about the work part, means you have more options.

operaFor example, I had a client who loved to sing opera. He was actively engaged with a local opera company and wanted more practice time than his demanding job allowed. But at 54 and living nowhere near a major city never mind New York, the guy knew he was not going to earn his living singing.

So the goal shifted instead to finding a means of self-employment that would allow him to pursue his passion on the side. Think of it as the self-employment equivalent of the Barbara Sher concept of the “good enough job.”

Instead the good enough business is one you create so you can afford to sing, ballroom dance, train service dogs, or whatever it is you really like to do, on the side.

This is important because people have become so enamored with finding a passion that they miss out on perfectly good business opportunities.

buildingTake Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams for instance. The two friends saw a need for affordable office space for women business owners in Manhattan. So they founded a company that leases private and shared workspaces.

Are Adelaide and Amy fulfilling a lifelong dream of being property managers? Probably not.

What they did do was to recognize a need and built a profitable business designed to meet it.

And, as importantly, they built a business that allows them to have control over their life and time. And isn’t that the whole point?

Still digging in your heels on the passion thing?

Then you might want to take a little trip to the Texas State Fair. That’s where you’ll meet food vendor Abel Gonzales Jr. Abel is perhaps most famous (or to some, infamous) for coming up with the idea for fried butter. (Check out the list of other creative fried food winners.)

onionringsHow passionate would you be to spend 24 consecutive days in a food trailer toiling at a fry station in the Texas heat for 15 hours a day? Not so much, right?

Okay, so what if you knew that in those few weeks that Abel makes enough money to take the entire rest of the year off to do whatever the heck he wants?

Now what were you saying about “passion”?

Creating your own job truly is the next big wave. Scroll down to learn how to best prepare to make YOUR own job.

Is doing work you enjoy preferable? Absolutely. But as B.C. Forbes remind us, “Don’t forget until it is too late that the business of life is not business but living.”


Can One Word Change Your Life?

Can One Word Change Your Life?

Imagine yourself a few years from now…

You’re finally living your dream of working at what you love and being your own boss. What ONE word best captures how you feel?

I posted this same question at the Changing Course Facebook Fan page and this is what your peers said. As you read through the list, was there one word that best captured how you would feel?

Serene
Fulfilled
Happy
Grateful
Ecstatic!!!!!!!
Relieved
Joyful
Woohoo!
Amazing

Complete!
Amazed
Elation
Liberated
Free
Exhale!!!
Excited
Renewed
Peaceful

Freedom
Energized!
Content
Light
Alive!
Gratitude
Blessed
Contentment
YippeeYouDidItMiBoo

smile2

Now think of one word that describes how you will feel if that day never came. In other words, what would it be like if you knew you were going to remain in your present circumstance right up until – or perhaps well into – your retirement?

I’m imagining you might feel…

Jon Stewart quipped, “The big break for me was deciding that this is my life.” It was for me as well. In fact, the realization that I only have this one shot to get it right was my propelling force to finally move in the direction of my dream.

I knew if I didn’t at least try to create the life I really wanted, I would be stuck with the one I had. Now THAT was a scary feeling!

This is the time however, when you can expect a whole set of in-between emotions. I’m talking about the mixed emotions that emerge the moment you actually decide to stop dreaming of a better future and do something about it.

From moment to moment you may feel…

When faced with these sorts of competing emotions it’s vitally important to see fear and worry and all the other dream-killing ones for what they are:

Normal responses to any significant change — even welcome ones. Each time I’ve moved, applied to school, started a new job I felt these negative emotions and more.

This is also the time to remember that the excitement, determination, optimism, and the certainty that there truly can be no change without changes are real too. The trick is to name these emotions and then lean into them.

This is hard to do when you are trying to make it all on your own. It goes back to feelings. How do you feel:

  • When you have no one to help you think through the tough decisions?
  • When there is no one you can turn to when you need information, or advice or feedback?
  • When you don’t have anyone who to show you how to identify what it is you even love to do and then make money doing it?

If you’re like most people you feel…

No wonder Barbara Sher insists that, “Isolation is the dream killer!”

It’s also the reason why earlier this week I very slowly began to invite people into a new support community called the Changing Course Tribe.

The group is for people are still searching for a calling or who found it but don’t know how to monetize it and who need direction. And it’s also a place for people who have already started a small business but are not yet financially viable to get the help they need.

bigstockphoto_Fresh_Ideas_Sign_In_The_Sky_2910135I considered breaking them into two groups, one for Idea Seekers and one for Idea Launchers. In the end I decided to create one group. The way I see it:

  • Idea Seekers can be both inspired by and learn a lot from people who are a few steps ahead of them.
  • Idea Launchers will always need new fresh ideas – whether regarding marketing or additional profit centers. I know I do!
  • Finally, once the Idea Seekers have found their great idea they’ll be well positioned with an intact support team to be able to more seamlessly and confidently move into Idea Launch mode.

New members seem to agree. Some feelings have already popped up at the private discussion site including excited, grateful, eager, determined… As for me, the word is joyous!

So, what do you want to feel? And more importantly, what are you willing to do to get from where you now to where you want to be?

As my mentor, five-time New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author and television personality Larry Winget says, “Dreams don’t come true. Plans do.” Make one today.



The Myth of Total Confidence

The closer you come to leaving the security of your 9-to-5 job (no matter how much you want out) the greater your level of excitement… and trepidation. Or maybe you start off with an abundance of confidence only to hit a speed bump that sets you reeling.

I recently asked Changing Course readers to name the biggest thing that was holding them back. A few mentioned a lack of money or time. But a whopping 82 percent cited the biggest obstacle as lack of confidence.

Anyone who has ever ventured out of their safe little world will tell you they had doubts. In fact, when making a major life change, not only is a certain amount of fear perfectly normal, it’s actually helpful!

One good thing about fear is it will keep you from quitting your job in a huff before you’ve put some other things in place. There’s a reason the web site is called ChangingCourse.com and not Jump-Off-a-Cliff.com. In addition, fear is an indicator that you think your dream is possible. If you didn’t, you’d have nothing to fear.

Best of all, fear is manageable. Here are three strategies to get you started:

3 Ways to Manage Fear

1. Focus on the Now

When you’re focused on the present it’s harder to feel fear. Ask Garrett McNamara, the 45-year-old surfer who took on what’s believed to be a 100 foot wave off the coast of Portugal. Incredibly he failed to achieve the one thing he lives for – the rush. What could possibly halt the exhilaration that adrenaline junkies live for? Unfortunately for him, Garrett says he too “in the moment” explaining in a CBS This Morning interview,

“When you’re focusing on what you’re doing that moment you’re not going to the future and what could happen and fear cannot enter your mind… When you start thinking about what could happen that’s when fear can set in.”

2. Start super small

Begin with low-risk steps and gradually work your way up to the harder stuff. For example, if you think you want to start a bed and breakfast don’t run out and buy real estate. Instead try it out first by being a Grow Taller 4 Idiots
B & B sitter or renting a room in your home on AirBnB.com.

If you want to start a crafts-related business slowly build up inventory. If you want to sell your homemade cheesecake, experiment with different recipes. In both cases do some free market research by asking friends and strangers alike for feedback on taste, design, potential price points, business names, and so on.

Whenever you make a major work/life change there are literally thousands of steps. But you don’t need to do them all at once. Commit to taking one small action a day and watch your confidence – and your dream – grow!

3. Find your tribe

A sense of belonging fosters confidence. Even if you’re the picture of confidence, we all need help changing course. The type of help you need varies depending on where you are in the changing course process.

For example, if you still don’t know what you want to do then you’re in the Idea Seeker stage. Your tribe is an individual or a group who can help you to connect the dots between what you love to do and how you can make money doing it.

Or maybe you know exactly what you want to do however, you don’t know where to start or you’ve already taken steps to start a business. In either case, you’re in the Idea Launcher phase. At this point you need a different kind of tribe.

Things like sales and marketing, business planning, finding financing or partners, identifying additional income streams, and/or help setting up an online business.

Whether you’re an Idea Seeker and an Idea Launcher, sooner or later you’re going to hit a bump in the road. You start to procrastinate because you’re afraid, or you lack the confidence to take the next step, or you’re certain you’re not “expert” enough to really put you and your business out there. Or you’re just not sure what the next step should be.

This is where things like mentoring and coaching come in. If money is an issue, find a friend who can hold you accountable. If you can’t afford $500 or more a month for formal coaching, find a person or group that’s more in line with your budget.

The key is to have people on your side who believe in you even when don’t believe in yourself. Who can help you trouble shoot and brainstorm and serve as a sounding board.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Wait Until You Feel Confident

You can’t wait until you feel more confident before you make a change. To the contrary: 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 fears, you will be rewarded many times over.

The Bottom Line

I know that finding the courage, money, time, and support are all essential to changing course. The good news is that they are also manageable. I know because I’ve been both living and studying these steps for nearly two decades. And I’m only too happy to share what I’ve learned with you!


Are Your Assumptions Holding You Back?

When you see someone who has already achieved some degree of success – perhaps they’ve written a book, or appeared on stage, or have a highly profitable business – what goes through your mind?

Do you think – Hey, I could do that! Or do you think that person possesses some qualities or abilities that elude you?

I recently attended a week-long personal branding/speaking/media training program co-led by my friend Suzanne Evans and New York Times best-selling author, speaker and frequent Fox commentator Larry Winget.

Scott Pasmore co-anchor of the KTVKs popular television show Good Morning Phoenix was brought in to give us the inside scoop on how to get on the local news shows. I must have taken five pages of notes.

Suddenly I heard my name called. Turns out I and four other attendees were selected to take part in a series of mock television interviews with Scott and Larry.

One was a parenting expert who was asked for her opinion on gun control. Three financial experts were on a panel to discuss various aspects of money. Then it was my turn to take the stage.

What question did they put to me?

“What did I think about the Supreme Court’s recent reversal of an earlier ruling in favor of the SPCAs case that the handling of elephants by Ringling Brothers Circus’s constituted cruelty to animals?”

WHAT THE…!!!

This would be a great question for an attorney or the owner of an animal-related business. But I’m neither.

I have two areas of expertise. One of course is career change specifically for people who want to be self-employed. The other is the impostor syndrome – an all too common feeling perhaps best explained by Mike Myers’ quip that he’s still waiting for the no-talent police to show up and arrest him.

I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something to the effect of, “Well, as a confidence expert what I see are two opposing parties who had the confidence of their convictions to go all the way to the Supreme court…”

Basically I just kept trying to change the conversation from animal cruelty to human self-confidence with lines like…”We can argue the merits of this particular case all day long… but the real issue here is that far too many people feel confident enough to…” You get the idea.

In the end I got a big round of applause. A number of people told me how impressed they were at my ability to keep my cool and think on my feet.

Things Are Not Always As They Appear

What the other participants didn’t know is that all five of us were given advance notice of our respective line of questioning. For me that meant thirty minutes of freak out time trying to wrap my way too tired brain around what to do with a subject that was so out of left-field.

I knew I’d been singled out for this curve ball because Larry and Suzanne thought I could handle it. So while I was flattered, I was by no means confident. If I’d been hit with that circus elephant question cold, my jaw would have been on the floor. And if this had been live television it would have been a disaster.

I want you to know this because too many people never go after their dreams because they make false assumptions. They assume people who are where you want to be are smarter, or more talented, or more confident, or faster on their feet.

So they give up too soon. Or worse, they never even try.

They rarely take into account the countless hours that all successful people invest in their craft in order to make it “look” easy. Or in my case, how those thirty minutes made the difference between rising to the occasion and falling flat on my face.

What assumptions are you making about people who you see as successful or confident? How are these assumptions keeping you from stretching yourself? What if you knew that some of the most successful and talented people on the planet are racked with doubt – but they keep going anyway?

 


Baby Boomers, forget about retirement

The words smacked me in the face…

“Baby Boomers, forget about retirement. We’ll be working for the rest of our lives.”

So began a recent USA Today article, “Boomers Don’t Give Up Your Day Jobs” before going on to cite low retirement savings, higher than expected debt and other financial factors impacting boomers.

As a result, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found 37% of boomers say they’ll have to wait until after age 65 to retire. Even then, a senior researcher at EBRI said, “Some people will need to take on a part time job.”

Who wants to be 65-plus and have your fate depend on someone decades younger “giving” you a j-o-b? Seems pretty risky to me. Besides what if you want to be able to travel or spend winters in a warmer climate? What kind of a portable job could the average person get?

That begs the question, why don’t articles like this ever offer an alternative?

The media and the government alike seem incapable of thinking outside the job box. And I think that’s one of the key reasons why so few people even consider creating their own jobs.

After all, the monthly U.S. federal jobs report tells us how many jobs were created. But there is no such thing as the monthly small business start-up report. If there were I’m convinced that just having that regular entrepreneurial drumbeat alone would surely plant a seed the minds of at least some of the unemployed.

3 Business Ideas Hidden in Plain Sight Inside USA Today

There is no scarcity of ways to make a living without a job. Granted I’ve made it my business to be able to spot income-generating ideas. In fact I created an entire career coaching process that connects the dots between what a person enjoys doing and how they can make money doing it.

To date I’ve trained and licensed over 250 people around the world how to be outside the job box career coaches. Last week I trained another group of “idea people” how they can get paid to brainstorm like I do. That particular class was held at a hotel in San Francisco, which meant that every day I received a complimentary issue of my favorite newspaper – USA Today.

Whether the editors know it or not, virtually every issue contains business ideas hiding in plain sight. Here are three headlines and the entrepreneurial ideas they sparked.

Headline 1: ‘On Looking’ peers into our attention-deficit lives

The subhead, “It’s an exploration of all the things we miss every day,” opens the review of Alexandra Horowitz’s book On Looking: Eleven Walks With Expert Eyes. In short, when we walk down the street, the author says, “We see, but do not see.”

So Horowitz takes the reader on a set of walks mostly in her own Upper West Side Manhattan neighborhood. Walks that take in the view through the eyes of a geologist, an urban sociologist, a typographer, a woman who is blind, a naturalist, a wildlife researcher, a sound designer and engineer, an illustrator, her toddler son, and her dog.

Opportunity knocks

Have an equally curious mind? Then why not enlist the help of local experts to do the same thing in their own neighborhood or corner of your world. Even with only half the number of experts, I can see an entire series of fascinating walks. The finished product could take the form of a printed book like Horowitz’s complete with walking map. Or it could be an audio tour or even an app.

Bonus idea: Approach the local Chamber of Commerce, tourism board, or historic society to see if any funding is available. If not, try to enlist them, along area hotels and bed and breakfasts to sell your finished product or at the least, help get the word out.

Headline 2: Execs learn ethics the Marine Way

Next was a story about a three-day course on ethical leadership for executives. The twist? This one is led by the Marine Corp on a base in Quantico, Virginia. This is no theoretical training. The executives are issued weapons, carry packs and sleep on the cold ground.

Run by Georgia State University, the program grew out of the finding that company CEOs who had served in the military are less likely to be involved in fraud. To impart this same value system that emphasizes ethics and responsibility the course puts participants in high tension ethical decision making scenarios that are disturbingly realistic.

Opportunity knocks

There are only so many people who can go through this – or for that matter any training. That leaves the door open for anyone with leadership experience in the military to put together a similar training. Would it be easy? Of course not. Is it doable? Absolutely.

Headline 3: Boy Scouts may welcome gays

With corporate and public support for the Boy Scouts waning due to its ban on gay Scout and troop leaders, the national organization is reconsidering their policy. Instead decisions on membership and leadership would be up to the local governing councils and sponsoring civic and religious groups.

Opportunity knocks

As the Boy Scouts inch closer to the views and policies of the Girl Scouts, 4-H Clubs, and the US military, this presents opportunities to conduct sensitivity training for leaders of local chapters and parents to address concerns by exploring and debunking stereotypes about gays and lesbians.

Financial strains will still require more people to work well into their golden years. But at least now you know you have a choice: Look to others to give you a job – or follow the news for opportunities to craft your own livelihood.

New Class Begins Next Week

Train to become a licensed Profiting from Your Passions® Career Coach. To learn more to register visit www.Profitingfromyourpassioncoach.com and discover how you can begin for as little as $282.


Surprising Last Minute Deductions for Even “Wanna-Be” Self-Bossers

WARNING: Even if you’re just “thinking” about being your own boss, the following information may cause you to experience unexpected exhilaration, a soon to be persistent sense of freedom, and chronic joy.

On January 1st I’ll do what I always do. Set aside time to reflect on my goals for the coming year – health, relationships, spiritual, home, financial, and of course, business.

During the last days of December I’ll also do what I always do. Make sure to take full advantage of every available tax advantage of self-employment.

My friend and author of one of my all-time favorite books Making a Living Without a Job Barbara Winter said it best

“The American tax system is set up to benefit
the very wealthy and the self-employed.”

No surprise if you already have a business.

However if you have not started your business – no make that ESPECIALLY if you have not started a business – there are some important tax facts (and hence major tax savings) that may surprise you.

But you have to hurry!

SURPRISING TAX FACT #1: You can still take a tax deduction even if you haven’t yet made a profit

If you have not yet launched your business you may be surprised to learn that…

Even if you don’t earn anything from your new business until 2013, you can still write off legitimate business expenses incurred in 2012.

According to the United States Internal Revenue Service, as long as your efforts demonstrate an intention to earn a profit, you can begin deducting any money you invest in building your business right away. In their own words:

You do not need to actually make a profit to be in a trade or business as long as you have a profit motive.”

In fact, even if you don’t make a profit for three years, you can still deduct business expenses as long as you are making “ongoing efforts to further the interests of your business.”

Again from the IRS site:

The IRS presumes that an activity is carried on for profit if it makes a profit during at least three of the last five tax years, including the current year…

Save those receipts because deductible expenses include office supplies, phone, internet, advertising, books, postage, magazine subscriptions, bookkeeping services, member dues – just to name a few.

SURPRISING TAX FACT #2: Part-time businesses can take deductions too

Here’s what the IRS says about part-time businesses.

You do not have to carry on regular full-time business activities to be self-employed. Having a part-time business in addition to your regular job or business also may be self-employment.

And being the helpful people they are J the folks at the IRS even provide an example!

You are employed full time as an engineer at the local plant. You fix televisions and radios during the weekends. You have your own shop, equipment, and tools. You get your customers from advertising and word-of-mouth. You are self-employed as the owner of a part-time repair shop.

So that side business making wedding cakes, giving piano lessons, dog sitting, coaching others (sports, life, health, career), or plowing snow (which is what my engineer by day, plow guy by night does) – all qualify to take deductions.

SURPRISING TAX FACT #3: Wherever you are, as long as you’re working – it’s deductible

At Home

If you work from home, you can deduct a portion of your expenses.

So if your home has five rooms and your studio, office, or workshop is in one, generally speaking you can deduct one fifth (20 percent) of your rent or mortgage utilities, and home or tenants insurance.

Check with an accountant on repairs and improvements, but as I understand it… work done to your specific work space – for example, the cost of paint or wall treatments – is deductible.

The same is true for work done to your home as the whole. So unless you have an in-home food related business, you can’t deduct the cost of new cabinets.

But a portion of home repair expenses – a new roof, driveway, or septic system – or general upkeep like landscaping or snow plowing that involve your property as a whole would most likely qualify for a deduction.

On the Road

Let’s say you take a 7 day vacation to the Caribbean or Florida or London.

You take a day to call on local businesses to introduce them to your products or services, scout future seminar locales, do research for your book, interview people for your blog, or shoot an on-site video.

You can’t write off your entire vacation of course. But you can write off any expenses — lodging, meals, car, etc. — incurred for the time you spent doing business.

For seven summers my company (that would be me!) sent me off to a quiet, non-Internet connected lake house in New Hampshire for a one or two week writing retreat.

 

Since I wrote every day, I was able to deduct my mileage, cottage rental, and the groceries that kept me fat and happy as I worked out on the deck.

SURPRISING TAX FACT #4: Learning is tax deductible!

You may not yet know “how” to make money doing your own thing…

But did you know that your investment in LEARNING qualifies as a legitimate business expense?

After all, what could be more proof of your intention to be profitable then investing a portion of your start-up costs in the education and training required to succeed?

Training, Licensing, Certifications

Want to start a business around your love for cooking or wine? Check out the Culinary Institute of America’s Cooking Bootcamps. Start with the Wine Enthusiast Bootcamp this year and with some experience under your belt you’ll be better positioned to apply for a wine training scholarship

Want to work with injured or aging dogs? Register for Cindy Horsfall’s popular Aquatic Therapy training or join Hyun Park’s Englewood-based physical therapy center. But if you really want to go for it become a partner in her business!

Want to start a business entertaining children? Sign up for the 2013 class of the Red Skelton Clown School.

Basic Business Skills

Maybe you already work for yourself but need to hone certain skills. You can deduct these costs too.

Presentation skills: When I was in the corporate world I attended and then went on to deliver an outstanding 2-day course from an international company called Communispond.

Sales training: Sales expert and friend Carolyn Herfurth runs an excellent, results-oriented course for coaches, healers, and others who need to get more “yeses” but hate to “sell”

Writing your own web site marketing copy Even if you don’t talk to potential customers in person, you still need to get people to buy.  Another friend (and new first time dad!) Matthew Goldfarb has a great course that shows you how to create sales pages to turn your website into a cash machine.

Business Building Training

You can also deduct the full cost of home study programs that help you launch your business. Some of my favorites are:

Profiting From Your Passions®

Okay this part is blatant self-promotion. But it also makes another important point.

Over the years hundreds of people who naturally think outside the job box have trained with me to become a licensed Profiting from Your Passion® Career Coach.

The heart of the course is a proven coaching system to help clients connect the dots between the things they love to do and creative ways they could make money doing it.

But the course also covers things like what to do before, during, and after a laser brainstorming session, how to design a business that works for you, and selecting marketing strategies that play to your strengths and personality.

That makes the course both a training and business launch program.

Which, here again, if your intent is to earn more than the you spent to take the course – and hence a profit, then the tuition qualifies as a tax deductible expense.

If you like the idea of getting paid to brainstorm, there’s another incentive to act now. Register before the Early Bird deadline and you save $500. That means you can get started today for as little as $282.

The bigger point…

Whether it’s this or any course, the smartest move from a financial/tax perspective is always to pay in full because if you do it by December 31. you can write off the entire cost in 2012.

Obviously if you live in Uganda or Norway… or for that matter Utah or Nebraska… it’s more convenient and cost-effective to learn from the comfort of home. Hence, most of my own students opt to attend the online version of the career coach training.

You may be the kind of person who positively thrives on the energy and connection that can only happen at a live training. If that’s you, there’s another tax plus.

SURPRISING TAX FACT #5: Business-related travel is tax deductible

Whether you plan to join me in San Francisco this January, or travel anywhere for any business-related reason — your travel expenses are also a tax write off.

The travel deduction applies even if the event itself is free.

I’m thinking here of Entrepreneur magazine’s 2013 Growth Conference January 10th in Dallas. Thanks to event sponsor UPS, the entire event is FREE. And this year’s keynote is none other than Barbara Corcoran – author, entrepreneur, and star of the hit show Shark Tank.

Plan ahead so you’re ready to pitch your business to the editors (details at the conference page). The line is long, but it moves fast and you’ll meet really neat people!

  

Regardless of the event, if you want to take the deductions this year, make sure you book your airfare or pre-paid hotel reservations by December 31.

But don’t just think lengthy “business trips” here.

Local trips to the post office, bank, office supply store, or a local networking event – all qualify as business-related travel.

If you take public transportation, save your receipts; if you drive, track your miles. The IRS Standard Mileage Rate for 2013 its 56.5 cents.

That 3-times a week 10 mile round trip to the post office adds up to a whopping 1560 miles a year which equals a $881deduction. And that’s for one just errand.

Timing is Everything!

Barbara Winter turned me on to this cool tax fact:

Warren Buffet became self-employed in 1943 when at the age of 13 he delivered newspapers and sold his own horseracing tip sheet, claiming his bike as a $35 tax deduction.

What about you? Are you serious about being your own boss? If so, then take a moment now to list the classes, conferences, webinars, networking or other live events you know would help you get there.

Then DO IT NOW. I can’t stress enough:

As long as the course tuition and any related travel expenses are posted to your credit card by December 31, 2012 – even if the course itself is not until 2013 – you can write it off this year.

Again that applies even if you’re self-employed part time and even if you have not yet earned a profit.

It’s like getting free money people!

For more information on deductible expenses and other tax matters visit the Self-Employment/Small Business section of the IRS web site. My Canadian friends can check out http://sbinfocanada.about.com/od/taxinfo/Tax_Information.htm

Live outside the US or Canada? Take the time to learn about possible the tax benefits for entrepreneurs in your country.

Tick Tock

If you want to be your own boss, you need to start thinking like a self-employed person now. This includes being aware of the multiple ways you can start benefiting from the American tax system this very day.

More importantly, if my mother passing away unexpectedly at just 61 taught me anything, it’s to not defer something as important as your dreams.

Time is ticking folks. Taxes aside – please don’t let this year end without taking at least one small step to get you closer to where you want to be in the New Year.


In the Life

I know it’s a cliché but time really does fly and December started with a bang. Well, actually with a train.

That’s how I arrived in the Big Apple to be part of a video shoot with some amazing entrepreneurs talking about how to fund your dream. (Stay tuned for details!)

          

Getting ready for my close up! Central Park skaters. Trump water? What next?

Then off to Stamford to borrow my friend Ryan Lee’s brain for a few hours before my presentation at Connecticut College.

The college is in New London, an old New England historic seaport city with a charming 19th century downtown that’s seen better days. With the support of the city, shop keepers, restaurants and other entrepreneurs are starting to revive things. Who knows, maybe you could join them!

The next day I spoke at a workshop and book signing in Hartford. So many people try to do everything on their own when it’s often far easier (and a lot more fun) to find people you can partner with.

For example, this event was a fundraiser sponsored by three amazing organizations National Conference for Community and Justice YWCA and Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Think about what you love to do. Now ask, “Who could I partner with to share my message?”

Next it was on to Boston to join 8,000 other participants at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference.

What a line up! Arianna Huffington, Brene Brown, Barbara Bradley co-founder of Vera Bradley, Kristen Chenoweth, Deepak Chopra, and Carol Simpson to name just a few.

         

If you’re not out there attending events put on by or for the people you want to be like – even small local events –then what are you waiting for!

Speaking of Arianna… I sent her a copy of my book not knowing if she’d ever really get it. Well, she emailed to invite me to blog for the Huffington Post. (Thinking big pays off!)

If you experience those nagging voices of self-doubt, I’d love for you to comment on my first post Phony Impostors or Merely the Burdon of Great Potential?

Mostly these last few weeks I’ve been enjoying watching nature ease from fall into early winter. No real snow yet, but I’m hopeful!

           


From Beverly Hills to Broke. For Sheila Brown, Life’s a Beach

From in-demand Hollywood recruiter to world traveler and now coach, it is been a wild few years for Sheila Brown.

Sheila spent two decades in the recruiting field. For ten of those she worked for the likes of Paramount, Warner Brothers, Sony, NBC Universal, Disney and other major Hollywood studios.

Back then she lived in upscale Beverly Hills — with a lifestyle to match. She’d amassed three hundred Gucci bags, a closet full of Prada shoes… the whole shebang.

Sheila was doing great financially. But was she happy? No. What she really wanted to do was see the world.

Why Should Kids Have All the Fun?

She got to thinking about how when you’re a kid, you have lots of free time and no money. And what did you and every other kid complain about most? They’re bored… There’s nothing to do.

With adults though, it’s just the opposite. “People with good jobs have money but no time to enjoy life. I remember thinking, it’s not fair,” she said.

That’s when it hit her. Sheila didn’t want to wait to see the world until she was retired. She wanted to live life fully now, while she had her health.

“Spirit told me to get rid of the house, the bags, the shoes, and all those other stupid trappings of success and go for it.” So in 2009 she sold everything and today all her worldly possessions fit into just three suitcases.

The same three suitcases she now uses while fulfilling her dream of traveling the world. And travel she has. So far this year Sheila’s taken 21 trips. In between she stays with friends of family.

If you think Sheila can do this because she’s rich – think again.

In fact she admits to making some “dumb decisions” a few years back which caused her to go broke. But for Sheila adversity didn’t equal failure.

Instead she describes that time as “22 months of life lessons.”

“Poor is a Mindset. Broke is a Temporary Condition”

Even in her darkest moments, which included standing in line at the welfare office, Sheila said she never felt poor explaining, “Poor is a mindset. Broke is a temporary condition. And I was broke.”

Things turned around in 2011. “I trusted in God’s plan and one day in January the doors just opened.” Withing a few days checks arrived from 14 different sources – including an online business she’d set up and had all but forgotten.

It was during her broke period that Sheila came across the Changing Course website. When she saw the course description for the Profiting from Your Passions® Career Coach training she wrote in her journal, “Someday I will take this course.”

Never Say, “I Can’t Afford This”

Notice she didn’t say, “I can’t afford this.”

It goes back to that mindset Sheila talked about. I read once that you should never say “I can’t afford it” to anything that will put you closer to a dream.

You can say, “That’s interesting, but it’s not for me.” Or, you can say, “I can’t swing it right now.”

But when you say “I can’t afford it” unconsciously you’re telling yourself that you not only don’t have the money right now but that you never will.

Three years later Sheila fulfilled her promise to herself. She not only did she find the money to take the course, but she also flew half way across the country to do it.

I saved the best part for last. Today Sheila’s life is a beach. Literally!

Right after the training with me, Sheila flew to the Dominican Republic where she’d rented a house on the beach for six months… sight unseen.

(Now you know why Sheila’s video testimonial has that beach house feel.)

Obviously not everyone walks away from it all and travels the world. And that’s okay.

But her story does offer lessons for all of us. For me it’s the inspiring reminder that life truly is short and that we need to at least try to go after our dreams.

Are there things you’d be willing to give up in terms of comfort or material things or fear in order to get something of far greater value?

Is there something you’ve wanted to do forever, but have been telling yourself, “I can’t afford it?”


In the Life

I for one am thrilled that the seemingly endless US election cycle is finally over!

But in the final week I got to attend a rally in nearby New Hampshire with not one but TWO United States presidents. Talk about historic!

We left the hotel in the dark at 5:30am (that’s a street light above us) and were in line by 5:45am.

How crazy is it to stand for four and a half hours in the freezing cold with 14,000 other engaged voters to attend what turned out to be the biggest rally in New Hampshire history?

Certainly no crazier than the couple from London came to be a part of the election. Talk about passion!

Secret service in sunglasses. Army snipers on the roofs. Helicopters circling over head. An experience I’ll never forget.

A few days later I was on a plane for Phoenix to attend Suzanne Evans’ and Larry Winget’s Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Start Making Money event.

I’ve been friends with Suzanne for four years now so was curious to see first-hand what Larry Winget is all about.

That is besides being a five-time New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author, former host of his own show on A&E show, highly-paid speaker for nearly 400 of the Fortune 500 companies, featured in two CNBC specials and having his own PBS special, and is a regular contributor on FOX News, FOX Business and other news networks as a personal development/business/financial guru.

The guy is even more impressive in person. If you haven’t seen him in action, check out his video clips at LarryWinget.com.

Also impressive were the dozens of Changing Course readers, former clients and students I had the chance to meet or see again.

The lesson — never stop being engaged in the world around you.

Among the many blessings I will count this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the 18 years you have allowed me to make a small contribution to your quest to follow your own road, live life on purpose, and work at what you love.


Are You Settling?

On November 3rd I turned 58. I know some people (women especially) don’t like to reveal their age. Not me.

My mom passed away at the too young age of 61. Life expectancy in some poor countries is as low as 45.

I consider each additional year, indeed each new day, to be a gift. And I think sharing my age honors all those who never got to be my age.

One of the benefits of age is increased clarity. As you rack up life experiences you discover what you want — and as importantly, what you don’t want.

When we are younger, we’re more apt to settle in all kinds of ways.

You settle for less than healthy relationships because, “It’s better than being alone.”

You settle for high-stress jobs or tyrant bosses because, “At least I have a job” or we say, “It could be worse.”

You settle for all kinds of things that later in life would be simply unacceptable. Now that I’m pushing 60, settling feels entirely uninteresting.

I don’t want my obituary to read: “She wanted to help thousands of people see interesting ways to make a living without a j-o-b. But she settled for cranking out marketing materials in a cubicle in someone else’s company.”

To be clear, settling is not the same as compromise.

Healthy relationships require compromise from both partners. And while I think you can get darned close, no job — or business — is perfect.

There are parts of any business that require you to stretch in uncomfortable ways. There are times when you’d rather take a nap, exercise, or do anything other than hustle to meet a deadline or phone a potential customer.

Relationships, parenting, work all require these kinds of healthy trade-offs.

But settling is different. When you settle, you unwittingly check your true needs, desires, and gifts at the door.

When You Settle You Are Telling Yourself, “This is the Best I Can Do.” 

And when that happens you don’t even try to get your needs met. You don’t attempt to realize your true desires. You talk about bringing your gifts into the world or of wanting to make a difference. But you take no steps to either.

So why do we settle?  I’m not referring just to you. I mean all of us.

Everyone has his or her reasons for settling for a job when what they really want is a life. In the end though it come down to this:

a) You don’t think it’s possible — or more specifically, you believe it’s possible for other people… but not for you

b) You don’t believe that you deserve to get what you want in life

c) Or both

Webster’s Dictionary defines “nonsense” as language, conduct, or an idea that is absurd or contrary to good sense.

The idea that it is possible for others to create the life they really want but you are somehow less talented or interesting or capable is absurd.

The belief that every other person on the planet — except you — deserves to do work that is meaningful and self-sustaining is contrary to good sense.

And when you consider that there are countless millions of people who right this very minute are enjoying the freedom, the flexibility, and the satisfaction of being their own boss, then it is nonsense to believe you can’t be among them.

That is, IF you are ready to stop settling.

If you don’t know what makes you happy then make it your quest to find out. Take a class. Read a book. Hire a career expert who specializes in self-employment. Ask your friends what they see you doing. (If your friends are settling — skip that last idea.)

You can settle for a lifetime spent in a high-stress job in a dysfunctional organization. You can settle for far less than you want or deserve. You can settle for a life of mediocrity.

Or you can try to change course. The essential word here is “try.”

With each passing birthday I am more certain of the truth in the words of the great opera diva Beverly Sills who said, “You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”

There is no shortage of interesting ways to make money doing what you love. There is only a shortage of resolve to take the first step.

No Longer Willing to Settle?

I currently have room in my schedule for 4 new Profiting from Your Passions® laser clients and 2 VIP clients. (VIP  clients are by application only).

Before our session you’ll receive tools to hone in on your unique gifts, interests and skills. That alone is invaluable.

Then working with me in a private consulting session, I’ll show you practical ways you can make money doing what you love. Ideas are guaranteed to pass the “The Life Test.” And you’ll leave knowing the exact next steps you can take immediately so you can happily “settle into” your new life.

To learn more, including whether a laser or VIP session is right for you, go to Riverside Family Chiropractic


In the Life

My heart goes out to my friends and readers in all the states hit hard by this mother of all storms. Amazingly we here in Western Massachusetts had relatively low winds and little rain. In fact, today the sun is out!

Not knowing what to expect and preparing for the worse I returned from Utah a day earlier than planned.  My friend and coach extraordinaire Debbi McFarlane-Clayton kindly arranged for a local book signing. It’s so gratifying to be able to help others – and women especially – to see how incredibly bright and capable they really are.

The venue was Broadview University where Debbi teaches. The walls were adorned with student art in areas like game art, entertainment design, comic and sequential art, and more. http://beau.broadviewuniversity.edu/

From there I headed east to Park City home of Robert Redford’s famed Sundance Film Festival. I was there to deliver the keynote for Utah Women Lawyer’s annual retreat. The 5-star St. Regis was fabulous and the views spectacular – although I hadn’t really dressed for snow!

Two weeks earlier I was in Stamford CT to lead the first live, in-person version of the Profiting from Your Passions® Career Coach training program since 2008! I got to spend three days with a group of super smart, interesting people from as far away as Oregon, California, Colorado, and Missouri.

People like Sheila Brown who was taking the class en-route to the ocean-side home in the Dominican Republic that she and a friend rented sight unseen. Talk about adventuresome! The plan is to host people who are seeking to change course to come to the island for a personalized career make over and leave with a new path – and a plan!

Then there’s Rick Terry, a recently retired senior executive from Texas. He now travels between a huge nature preserve in Oregon where he is the caretaker and the vineyard he bought in northern California. In addition to making wine Rick plans to run retreats as well. Think “Under the Tuscan Sun” for execs who are ready to get off the fast track.

Really every one of the attendees brought a unique history, experience, and perspective. We learned a lot and we laughed a lot.  I see great things for this group!


John Sanpietro and Ric Thompson

I think these guys thought I would be lighter than I am. 🙂

Like the rest of the class I went directly from our course to Ryan Lee’s DotComXPo marketing event. Ryan is living proof that you can be a great guy and a hugely successful entrepreneur!

If you haven’t attended a large internet marketing event I urge you to save your pennies so you can. The speakers were top-notch and as usual I walked away with some great marketing advice. But as importantly I reconnected with dozens of other savvy entrepreneurs who I’ve met at other events. Over the years we’ve become kind of a virtual family.

Unfortunately I had to leave early for the wake and funeral of my sister-in-laws mother. Kay was an absolutely lovely Scottish woman who lit up the room with her smile and always made me and my siblings feel like family. She will be missed.

Although I missed seeing Shark Tank’s Daymond John speak on Saturday I did get one of my coaches to have him sign a copy The Brand Within. I love his take on how every moment of the day we’re essentially broadcasting our personal “brand.”

Especially loved learning how Daymond and three neighborhood pals went from sewing clothes in his mother’s home in Queens to building their billion dollar clothing line FUBU. Plus if you love Shark Tank you’ll love the inside story of how he almost turned down the job!

In between trips I continue to enjoy my home with a view where I try to heed the wise words of Rudyard Kipling and “Delight in the little things.” Here are a few recent images from my daily walk with my boy Cokie…


What If You Got to Pick and Choose Among Opportunities?

One of the benefits of being your own boss is the adrenalin rush that comes from getting to constantly pick and choose among opportunities. I didn’t get that when I had a job-job.

That’s because when you work for someone else you tend to have a very different take on the very meaning of the word “opportunity” than those of us who work for ourselves. Let me tell you what I mean.

It took a number of years for my business here at Changing Course to be profitable. So during that time I supported myself as contract trainer for a company that delivers corporate seminars on time and focus management.

As part of the course I’d explain managing priorities in terms of assessing both the urgency and importance. Examples of activities that are both urgent and important include meeting deadlines, managing crises, or responding to opportunities.

Everyone gets meeting deadlines and firefighting. But whenever I’d ask my students for an example of a work-related opportunity their reaction is always the same.

With the exception of the folks in sales or marketing, no one – and I mean not a single person – could come up with an example. In fact, they look positively baffled. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. But now that I’ve been my own boss for going on 18 years now, I understand why.

The thing is, when you work for someone else – and there is no additional financial incentive to either create or respond to opportunities – opportunities are seen as things that add more work.

Managers (of which I was one) used to try to pass them off as “growth opportunities.” But with a few exceptions everyone knew it was just more work on top of an already full plate.

In contrast, my life as an entrepreneur is ALL about picking and choosing amongst multiple opportunities. For example, I once passed on authoring a book with a major publishing house on finding the perfect job. While I was flattered to be asked, writing is not something that comes easily to me.

I know how much work it takes to write a book. So I decided that that when I did write my one, it would have to be on a topic that really excites me… like creating creative income streams or how to be an “opportunity analyst” or the book I ultimately did write on how to feel as bright and capable as everyone “thinks” you are.

To invest all that time into a project that didn’t even excite me just didn’t make sense.

Before my Virtual Assistant (VA), Lisa Tarrant, left her corporate job to work with me at Changing Course, she didn’t fully appreciate the opportunity factor. Within a matter of weeks though, she got it.

The same day the book offer came in; we got a call about a promising partnership opportunity, found a new marketing channel, were contacted about a speaking engagement in California, and were offered the chance to submit an article to a major publication.

At the end of an exhilarating day I turned to Lisa and said, “Now do you see what I was talking about?” The huge grin on her face told me she did.

I feel sorry for people who don’t get to experience the rush of adrenalin that comes with having so many opportunities from which to choose. But you don’t have to be an entrepreneur (yet) to start thinking like one!

Frances Bacon once said, “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” As you seek to escape the j-o-b world and create the life you really want, make it a point to focus on all the benefits there are to changing course.

To help you stay inspired, add to the list of what your new life will be like: The adrenalin rush that comes from the opportunity to constantly pick and choose among opportunities. It’s not only a thrilling way to live – from where I sit – it’s the ONLY way to live!

If you’ve already taken steps to start your own business there’s one more step I urge you to take. I know for many it feels like a big investment to outsource, especially when you’re “bootstrapping” your business.

But when you hire someone who can handle all the stuff that drains you – even if it’s just for a few hours a week – it frees you up to take advantage of all those cool opportunities that are the best and highest use of your gifts.

I feel so passionate about this that I’ll be hosting an upcoming Teleclass all about Virtual Team Building. You’ll find all the details in the Featured Resource section below. I think you’ll be surprised to discover just how affordable hiring virtual assistants can be!


How Long Do You Plan to Wait?

The great Olympian Carl Lewis said, “Life is about timing.” So is the decision to make a major work-life change.

Over the last week I’ve taken calls from dozen people all desperate to find a way to take control of their life and time by transitioning from having a boss to being their own boss.

Some have been Changing Course followers for a relatively short period of time — from literally a day to a year or two.

Others have been reading this newsletter for three… five… ten years. Two people have followed me since I began this newsletter some 17 years ago!

You’d think I’d be happy to have such loyal followers. I am flattered.

But am I happy? Not necessarily.

The whole reason I started this business was to give people the information, inspiration, and ideas to be able to change course. If I somehow inspired you to launch a small enterprise — great! And if staying connected to me helps you stay on track — all the better.

But what about the people who’ve been reading this newsletter for up to 17 years and have yet to take a step?

I’m not judging. But the connection between how long someone had been thinking about changing course and their willingness to act was both unmistakable and telling.

Some of the people who called did so because they wanted to know if I could help them come up with ways they could make money doing what they love. The vast majority of newer “fans” followed through and booked a laser session.

The “old timers” mostly took notes about how the process works. But they weren’t ready to commit.

Then there were calls I fielded about the upcoming business start-up program I’m leading on how to become a licensed Profiting from Your Passions® career coach. They began saying remarkably similar things…

“This feels like what I was born to do.”

“This is exactly what I want to do — thank you for making this class so affordable.”

“I’ve spent three decades doing work everyone told me I should do — but I hated every minute. I feel like I wasted my life. Now I want to help other people not make the same mistake I did.”

What I do is not for everyone. So I never expect everyone to work with me. However, I couldn’t help but notice how often people said something I’d heard thousands of times before. And I’m not talking about my course.

People with a wide range of dreams will be super excited about the prospect of going to culinary school or becoming a dog trainer. Then the opportunity presents itself and they say the same thing…

“I need to think about it.”

Sitting on the Fence of Life

In the meantime a lot of people sit on the fence watching other people open their retreat center or write their children’s book or become wine experts.

Or they go from guru to guru. They take in tons of advice — but never follow any of it.

Days turn into weeks, then months, then years, and soon entire decades have passed. And before they know it, the “thinkers” are wondering where the time — and their dreams — have gone.

For the record, I’m an advocate of thoughtful decision-making. Reflection keeps us from grasping at every shiny object that comes along. And there are plenty of legitimate reasons for not taking action.

At the same time, far too many people make decisions with their head while ignoring their heart. It’s what put a lot of us on the wrong career path to begin with.

The world is full of unhappy nurses and sales managers who now regret that they made the “logical” career choice. They know they’re on the wrong path. And they know there are steps they can take right this very minute that will put them on the right path.

But still they think and think and think but never act. And that’s a shame.

There Are No Coincidences

I’m not one to throw around words like “magical.” But time and again I’ve seen what happens when people step into their dreams. The smallest step can lead to pure magic.

Take registered nurse Alicia-Joy Pierre. With not one but three websites, including TransitionsinNursing.com and another business aimed at helping other nurses to think outside the job box, Alicia-Joy is clearly entrepreneurial.

At the same time I know that some people struggle working on their own but positively shine in a partnership.

So when another nurse registered for the live version of the Profiting from Your Passion® class in Connecticut I connected her with Alicia-Joy. Now they’re both enrolled in the coach training class and already talking about collaborating.

Finally there’s Stephanie. During a laser career session I learned that Stephanie’s life-long fascination with politics had been sparked by a high school boyfriend.

But rather than follow her dream of going into public policy she spent the last two decades in the mental health field. She also wanted to live by a lake. That never happened either.

Even if she could get into policy making — which at this point in her career Stephanie was pretty sure she couldn’t — the vast majority of policy jobs are in Washington DC. So living lakeside didn’t look too promising either.

Or so she thought.

Within weeks of taking action Stephanie not only was invited to chair a local advocacy group but much to her surprise a prestigious public policy center is located two hours away — on a lake.

And in a remarkable twist of fate, after not seeing her old high school boyfriend for decades Stephanie ran into him in a shopping center parking lot. There truly are no coincidences.

As George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

Whether you’ve been a follower for seven minutes or seventeen years — it truly is never too late to stop thinking about your dream of changing course and start acting on it.

Life is too short for regrets. So get off the fence and take that first step.


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