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9 Don’t Miss Conferences

Want a fun, easy way to learn how to make money doing what you love from people who are doing it? 

Every year literally hundreds of thousands of conferences large and small happen all over the world – some may even in your own backyard. 

I’ve put together a fun list of don’t miss conferences on a host of topics.

Obviously, not all of these conferences will speak to everyone.

But just knowing what’s out there serves as a powerful reminder that there are endless alternatives to having a job-job. 

And next week, I’ll tell you how to find the right conference for you and your unique interests.

Romance Writing 

A few years ago I delivered a keynote to some 3,000 attendees at the annual Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference

I met writers in genres I didn’t even know existed…There’s western romance, young adult, Christian, para-normal, historical, interracial — even Amish romance. 

Romance writers come from all walks of life. Some didn’t finish high school and others have PhDs. I met homemakers, physicians, even a former senior official in the White House! 

Next week’s annual RWA conference in happening in Denver. It features scores of educational sessions on everything from writing technique to period costumes to building a social media following. In addition to networking with highly successful published authors you also get to pitch your book to potential agents and publishers. 

RWA isn’t the only game in town. 

There are upcoming conferences around the world. 

Not quite ready to commit to an entire conference? 

Start by attending a meeting of your local RWA chapter

You’ll get to know published authors in your area and get a ton of information and support from people who genuinely want you to succeed.     

Dog Trainer 

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers convention this October in Memphis is also jam packed with educational sessions. 

(Once you go to the site, click on the conference brochure to see the full agenda.) 

If you’re not a professional dog trainer, this session called Do What You Love for a Living is for you!  

Here’s the description: 

Calling all long-term “weekend” dog trainers, hobbyists, and new trainers: 

If you fantasize about making a good living as a dog trainer, but instead find yourself training nights and weekends while working your “real job” Monday through Friday, this session is for you. 


If you’re a new trainer trying to figure out how to start and transition into a full-time dog training business, you’ll want to attend this one, too. 

Veronica and Gina of dogbiz (formerly dogtec) will show you how to turn your part-time or hobby business into your full-time career by building a personalized step-by-step transition plan. (Yes, it really is possible!) 

We’ll cover all the pesky paperwork you’ll need to get out of the way, too. (Don’t worry—it’s as easy as training a Border Collie to sit. Almost.) 

Find Your Tribe and Learn at the Same Time

Blogging, Pinterest, Podcasting 

There is no shortage of blogging conferences happening in the US, Canada, and the UK. 

And there’s something for everyone including  the Beer Bloggers conferencethe Wine Bloggers conference, the Women in Travel conference, and a conference for entrepreneurial Pinterest users    

In a few short weeks the largest conference for podcasters, Podcast Movement Conference, is happening in Philadelphia. 

One of this year’s keynotes is also my favorite radio show host (which is after all the original podcast) Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air. 

For a more general marketing-oriented conference for power bloggers check out the interestingly named Type A Parent conference

And if you also happen to be Latino, head to the annual Hispanicize conference is in Los Angeles this October. 

Hispanicize is the parent company of the Latina Mom Bloggers network, Being Latino, Hispanicize Wire, and the Hispanic PR Blog.

This massive 3-day event is billed as “the iconic, largest annual event for Latino trendsetters and newsmakers in journalism, blogging, marketing, entertainment and tech entrepreneurship.”

History and Ale Lovers 

Every year Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia offers conferences on a host of topics related to early American history and crafts.

The one that caught my eye was Ale Through the Ages happening October 19-21.

The organizers of this weekend of beer and history described the event as follows:

Beer is the oldest recorded recipe in the world. The ancient Egyptians first documented the brewing process on papyrus scrolls around 5,000 B.C. 

Then, beer eventually made its way from the Middle East across the Mediterranean to Europe, where it became an integral part of life and was valued both for its nutritional value and as a safe alternative to contaminated drinking water. 

Beer arrived in the New World with the first European colonists and Americans have been brewing ever since. 

Ales through the Ages offers a journey through the history of beer with some of the world’s top beer scholars. We will explore ancient ales and indigenous beers of the past, examine the origins of brewing and discover the ingredients brewers have used through time.

If you dream of opening your own micro-brewery…

Or you’d love to be the next “Indiana Jones of Beer” — this may be right up your alley!

Yes, most beer scholars have fancy degrees.

But there’s no reason why you can’t become a self-taught beer expert!

You could partner with area bars and restaurants to host events where guests sample different micro-beers while you delight them with fascinating stories about the history of beer.

Get Creative 

Tiny Houses and More

While not technically a conference, there are tiny house festivals happening all across the US.   

As with any conference, you want to go with an eye for entrepreneurial opportunities. 

What kinds of businesses are currently operating in this space?

What products or services do tiny house owners need?

You could teach people how to build their own tiny house.

Design tiny houses for companies looking to use them as marketing.  

Rent tiny houses to vacationers looking for a unique experience or rent land to people with tiny houses on wheels.

So, what other ways could you monetize a tiny structure? 

Maybe a unique meeting space for groups of 10-20? 

Add a second tiny house with full kitchen and dining area, another for massage or other spa treatments or a business center, add some lovely gardens and you’ve got yourself a tiny retreat center! 

Or, you could bring a tiny chapel to the happy couple.  

That’s what this retired pastor with a passion for tiny houses did.  

For $500 the minister will provide the chapel and officiate the wedding or re-commitment ceremony.

He charges less if the couple comes to him. 

Not all tiny chapels need to be on wheels. The concept could also work well as a permanent rental at a location popular for outdoor weddings. 

Click here to see the inside of one chapel for sale in Texas.

Still Trying to Find Your Calling?

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 Work at What You Love consultations today. 

To find out if a Work at What You Love consultation is right for you call 413-203-9754 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. 

Whether you want to make an extra $500-$1,000 a month, replace your entire paycheck, or grow an empire — it all begins with a great idea!   


Treat Yourself to More Time and Happiness

 

If you’re thinking about improvements you want to make in your life, there is never a bad time to put those goals into motion. Think about the changes you want to make and put together a to-do list that includes activities and products that help you move in that direction.

Ideas for Mindfulness and Relaxation

 

  • Adult coloring books. Adult coloring books are a great way to set your mind free. The stress of everyday life tends to pile up and it can be hard to tune that out when we want to relax. Coloring is an easy and effective way to channel your energy into what’s on the page while enabling your mind to let go of nagging thoughts. The simple act of coloring actually helps you practice mindfulness – the process of focusing on the present moment without judging your thoughts or feelings. On top of the relaxation you get from the process of coloring, the end result of creating something gives you a sense of accomplishment.
  • Happiness planner. It may sound funny to plan happiness, but it can take making happiness a goal, writing it down, and actively working towards it to avoid letting it slip by the wayside. A happiness planner reminds you of this goal every day and gives you prompts to focus on achieving it.
  • Music. Huffington Post lists music as one of the top scientifically proven ways of reducing stress. If your goal is relaxation or finding more joy in life, explore music that is upbeat and makes you feel good. Consider investing in a nice set of headphones to add more music to your life wherever you go.

Ideas for Living Life to the Fullest

  • Simple pleasures – One of the simple joys in life is looking at pictures of our favorite people and memories. Look for creative ways to get your pictures off the iPhone so you can enjoy them all the time. This gallery wall idea created with photo decals is a unique and customizable way to do just that.
  • Reclaim your time – No matter how much stuff you have, few things can add joy to life better than having more time to do the things you love. Cut down on the time you spend planning and preparing meals by buying into a meal delivery service. This type of service gives you back valuable hours otherwise spent cooking (and shopping) so you can focus on activities that make you smile.
  • Get healthy – Even if getting fit isn’t on your must-do list of life goals, physical health boosts your happiness and relieves stress tremendously. Fitness gear can be pretty high tech these days, which actually makes it easier to find an activity you truly enjoy and stick with it. Along with buying the right gear, you can join an exercise or dance class you’ve always wanted to try. You may find a completely new passion!

  • Travel – Whether you seek adventure or tranquility, traveling is one of the best ways to make memories that last a lifetime. Give yourself the gift of travel any time of year by planning ahead and saving a small amount each paycheck. You can also invest in travel accessories for trips you already have planned.

Living life more fully is the best way to ensure success, no matter your definition of the word. Start with these ideas to give yourself something that truly adds value to life and helps you reclaim the time and happiness you deserve.

 

Julie Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences. She spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways. You can reach her at juliemorris.org


Want to Live Your Dream? 5 Keys to Changing Course


Over my 23 years here at Changing Course, I’ve heard from a lot of people at various junctures along the road to right livelihood.

Some are at the very beginning… still trying to figure out which path is right for them.

Others have happily reached their destination.

Others are midway on their journey.

Regardless of where you are in the process, there are still some very specific steps you need to take to change course.

Here are five keys to get you started:

1. Set Big… and Small Goals

I know it sounds cliché, but if you’re really serious about taking control of your life, you need to set some goals.

Knowing that you want to change your life or work for yourself is a great start.

But expressing a desire is different from stating a goal.

In her Broadway show Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Lily Tomlin’s bag lady character remarks, “I always wanted to be somebody. I realize now I should have been more specific.”

Deciding you want to earn money by making and selling gift baskets is much more specific than saying you want to make money doing something creative. But even here you need to get more precise.

One of the best ways to move a goal along is to quantify it. Using our gift basket example, the key questions are:

  1. how much money do you want to make?
  2. by when?

You can always shoot higher, but for now let’s think in terms of generating $10,000 in gift basket sales.

From here you’d want to make your goal both real and reachable by breaking it down into smaller more manageable goals, like, for example, making and selling six gift baskets in 60 days.

Actually writing the date on your calendar will make it even more real.

2. Figure Out What It Will Take to Reach Your Goal – Then Start Doing It

Some years back I heard from a long-time subscriber named Joe.

Joe understood the importance of looking to others for inspiration.

But he also understood the value of not only hearing about people that have followed their dream and made it happen, but those whose dreams are in process.

The people, Joe described as, “currently traveling the pathway to a new career, setting goals for themselves, managing to keep their dream alive and staying focused on the goal of a new career.”

All the things this then 33-year-old software engineer from Maryland was doing.

But I’ll let Joe tell you about his plans – and progress – in his own words:

“A year and a half ago I started reading a lot of real estate investing books. I wanted to get into the medical field as a Physical Therapist and needed a way to supplement my income. I took classes and soaked up all of the real estate knowledge I could get.”

“I worked with advisors until I landed my first deal. It was a rehab house, and after I repaired it I made $28,000 profit for an endeavor I spent five months on part-time. I was thrilled. I took this money and used it to help purchase a rental property and another rehab which I am now selling.

I set goals for myself. My big goal is a career change at five years. Presently I have four years left. I plan on generating enough income to cover all of my expenses. I also have smaller goals.

At the two-year mark I plan to make $1,000 net cash flow per month. At three years I plan to make $2,000 net cash flow per month. This will allow me to pursue Physical Therapy without worrying about money! I have volunteered in two hospitals and determined that this is where I belong.”

“This is my journey. It’s hard to wake up every morning and go to my current job. However, I now see an end in sight. I know that in a few years I will be enjoying helping people every day. And when that day comes, it will be a dream come true.”

Some of you are probably saying, “Five years! I can’t wait that long.”

You don’t have to.

Joe’s goal is very specific – to generate enough money from real estate to be able to fully support him during his schooling.

Depending on your goals, your financial situation, your level of commitment, and the amount of time you’re willing to invest, you can certainly change course in far less time.

Whether you want to be living your new life in five years or in five months, the point is to set a goal, quantify it, and then, one day at a time.

Then take the small action steps required to make your goal happen.

3. Live Life Now

 

Shooting for a future goal is great.

But I also received a deeply moving email that reminded me of the importance of also remembering to live life fully in the moment.

Pam wrote to thank me for inspiring her partner Bruce, a man I never met but who I apparently encouraged to live his dream.

Pam has generously allowed me to share her and Bruce’s story with you.

She told me that before he was killed instantly in a traffic accident, Bruce was living his dream.

He’d been a computer consultant who, explained Pam, was tired of the cubicle life.

“Although he made a boatload of money doing it, he realized that there was more out there to do. He always wanted to do something purposeful with his life, and didn’t see that the programs he wrote made much of an impact.”

Pam went on to say that she and Bruce lived together for two very wonderful years…

“…living our dream. We both left the corporate grind, had opened our own business as massage therapists. Bruce was a wonderful man. He had healed so much in his life and many times said, ‘If I’m to be the kind of spiritual man I wish to be, then I need to work on this.’ He was making a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. I’m so very grateful for every moment that we shared. We were blessed to have many friends. And I plan to continue our dream.”

Although I never had the privilege of meeting Bruce, he sounds like a truly remarkable human being and one who will be missed by many.

And how wonderful that while Bruce was among us, he was living his dream.

Pam’s strength, her gratitude in the face of unspeakable grief and her resolve to continue to live their dream is inspiring indeed.

When we think about goals, we tend to think about achieving some future result.

And yet as John Lennon once observed, “Life is what’s happening when you’re making other plans.”

Bruce’s story serves as an important reminder that even while you strive to reach your future goals, you must live life now and with as few regrets as possible.

4. Break a Rule

Sometimes changing course can begin with the simple act of shaking up your normal routine.

Take Barbara, a former coworker of mine from my corporate days.

Most people spend their Saturday mornings in a frenzy of house cleaning and errands.

Barbara does this stuff too but not until after she’s indulged herself by crawling back into bed with a cup of coffee and watching a suspense movie.

Spending your Saturday morning watching a movie may not be your cup of tea, but surely there is some small fun thing you can do to shake things up.

  • If you tend to read self-help books, try a romance or a suspense novel
  • Walk your dog in a totally new place or drive a different way to work
  • Visit your local historic society or museum
  • On the first day of each month have ice cream for breakfast
  • Go to the movies on a weeknight

Experiencing small changes can make the bigger ones seem more doable.

5. Use the One Step a Day Approach

When I was desperately trying to get myself out of corporate America, I promised myself that I would not go to bed at night until I had taken at least one small step toward my goal. It doesn’t have to be a big step.

For example, I knew that at least in the short term, leaving my job-job would mean I’d be earning less money.

So one day I brainstormed a list of ways to supplement my income.

At the time I had a finished basement with a bath.

Mind you this was decades before Airbnb or VRBO or other short-term stay options were even a thing.

My idea was to rent out the space to a commuting grad student who needed a place to stay during the week.

Ideas only work with action.

So, the next day I stopped by the hardware store to see what I could find out about sound proof ceiling tiles.

The following day I looked up the Web site for the housing office at the local college, and so on.

Not only do small steps add up, but just as important is the sense of momentum you’ll gain. And once you get started on a dream, it’s hard to stop!

“The big break for me,” said Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, “was deciding that this is my life.”

Since this is indeed YOUR life, let this be the year you start making your dreams happen.

Speaking of making dreams happen…

That’s also the name of an amazing workshop I did with career and self-employment guru’s Barbara Sher and Barbara Winter.

Never before, or since, have the three of us been in one place offering our very best strategies to help you discover and then create the life you really want.

For a limited time, you can get a recording of the entire 4-day Making Dreams Happen workshop for $25 off the regular price.

Click here and then enter code MDHyes at check out to receive your discount.


Valerie is the founder and Dreamer in Residence at ChangingCourse.com where she’s been showing people how to make a living without a job since 1995. The Changing Course newsletter is read by over 20,000 change seekers around the world. She has trained and licensed over 350 people from 19 countries to show aspiring self-bossers how to turn their interests into income.

Her career-related advice has been cited around the world including BBC radio, Yahoo Financial News, CNN Money, Wall Street Journal, USA Weekend, Inc., Kiplinger’s, O magazine, Entrepreneur, Science, Elle, Redbook, Woman’s Day, The Chicago Tribune, and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Valerie is also an internationally recognized expert on impostor syndrome. She’s spoken to such diverse organizations as Boeing, Facebook, BP, Intel, Chrysler, Apple, IBM, Merck, Ernst & Young, Procter & Gamble, the Space Telescope Science Institute, American Women in Radio and Television, Society of Women Engineers, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and many others.

Valerie’s books include It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Calling and Being Realistic is Killing Your Dream (Changing Course Publications) and her award-winning book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive In Spite of It (Crown/Random House) is now available in five languages.


Survey Uncovers Our Biggest Regrets – This One 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.

I’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.

We 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 first posed this question three years ago. And was moved by some of the responses I received.

Like Sandra who wrote:

I’m tired of my lack of pursuing my dreams. Procrastinating! Love to write songs, and wanting to write plays. The 9-to-5 for 25 years is coming to an end. The children are grown with their own families no more excuses. Time to get busy. Age not a limit.

Or Pat…

No regrets here, I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009 so I live life one day at a time and enjoy every minute of each day. I applied for a patent for my design am waiting for the approved patent to get the product on the market.

Sandi spoke about the fear…and excitement of changing course.

I actually just left a soul-sucking job with good benefits and am in transition to living a life of my own design. My biggest fear was that I would lose disability insurance coverage (I’m not as afraid of dying as I am of surviving and being unable to take care of myself) — but I realized that staying in the stressful job was more than likely going to ensure that I would indeed become disabled at some point from all the stress-induced illness that are so common when we are unhappy and unfulfilled.

So…. I was staying in a job that would most likely either kill or disable me — just so that I could have life and disability insurance??? That’s nuts! Once I figured out that it was a no-win situation, I pulled the plug on that sick logic and took the leap into my new adventure. SO exciting to know that whatever happens, at least I made the choice from freedom instead of fear.

Marsha shared a similar experience…

Staying in my old administrative job for as long as I did is my utmost regret. In March 2014 I quit that soul-sucking job without really knowing what I would do instead. I just knew that I couldn’t stick it out for 10 more years – the time it would take to retire with health benefits – in a job that was so out of alignment with my values. Staying in that job for 13 years seemed to have drained the passion I’d had for anything. I’m finally on to something and taking baby steps toward it.

Your turn…

What are the THREE things you would most regret not doing in your lifetime?

What’s 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?

Can’t wait to hear from you!

P.S. If one of your three biggest regrets would be to spend the rest of your life in a soul-sucking job… I’d like to help.

I just created a version of my popular Work at What You Love workshop that’s immediately accessible (and ridiculously affordable).

If you want to find your calling and a way to make money doing it, I invite you to become a part of the growing community of inspired change seekers.

Then, 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.


The 7 Fears Keeping You From What You Want


Fear often stands between us and our ability to make decisions, take actions, ask for what we want—even to know what we really want. It is the gatekeeper of our comfort zone.

But as poet-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.”

Below are 7 fears that stand between you and your dream of following your own road.

As you go through the list, think about your own concerns about changing course from having a boss to being your boss.

You may experience them all.

But since not all fears are equal, take a moment to rank order each from 1-7 with 1 being the number one fear that’s holding you back.

1. Fear of being judged. Needing approval from family or peers can keep us from going after dreams and goals. And the people who love you the most are the least likely people to support your dream of doing your own thing.

2. Fear of rejection. We worry that no one will like our art or read our novel or want us to coach them. When in fact, rejection just means that someone else has a different opinion.

3. Fear of embarrassment. What if your first talk flops? Or no one comes to your gallery showing? Making mistakes publicly is awful only when we let ourselves feel ashamed.

4. Fear of being alone/abandoned. It’s a lot easier to change course when your spouse or partner has you back. A strong sense of self-worth and what we can offer the world reduces this fear.

5. Fear of failure. A biggie for most of us and born of the notion that it’s not OK to fail, learn from what happened, and try again.

6. Fear of success. More responsibility, more attention, pressure to perform can be frightening when we don’t believe in ourselves.

7. Fear of the unknown. The number one reason people stay in miserable jobs or relationships or locations that they really could leave is simple — fear of the unknown.

At least you know your crappy job or area.

What if you can’t make enough money from your idea?

What if you don’t really like living in Belize or Paris or on an island off the coast of Maine?

Or what if you find out you don’t really want to run a little bookstore in a village in England or be a life coach or any other dream you’d had forever…
The unknown can be exciting and vast if we shift our fear to curiosity.

More importantly, as Tom Peters said, “Unless you walk out into the unknown, the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low.”
If you want to make a profound difference in your life… I’d like to help.

I recently found a way to turn my popular Work at What You Love workshop into a class you can take whenever you want,
The workshop is divided into four parts:

  1. Get clear
  2. Get paid
  3. Get unstuck
  4. Get a plan


I mention this because the Get Unstuck section includes still more reasons why people fail to pursue their dreams. Reasons that go beyond fear.
Things like…

  • procrastination
  • self- doubt/lack of confidence
  • perfectionism
  • lack of support/other people’s skepticism or negativity
  • finding the time
  • money
  • lack of sales or marketing experience/know-how
  • the willingness to make the sacrifices or investments of even limited amounts of time/money required to create the life described when you got clear.

Sound familiar?


If so, I just opened the doors to the new Work at What You Love On Demand Workshop.

If you’ve been letting fear – or any of these other challenges – stand between you and the life you really want…

And, if you want to discover what you love to do and how to make money doing it… then I invite you to sign on now.

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications


4 Simple Steps to Work at What You Love


Years ago Studs Terkel traveled the country conducting interviews for his book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.

Among them was a worker named Nora Watson who said, something I never forgot…

“I think most of us are looking for a calling, not a job. Most of us, like the assembly line worker, have jobs that are too small for our spirit.”

I think the same can be said for our dreams.

Most people have dreams that are too small for their spirit.

Perhaps you do too.

Not long ago I told you about someone who started out as a workshop participant and soon became a friend.

Her name is Dyan deNapoli.

And her inspiring story serves as a guide to how you too can do work that pays the bills… and feeds your soul

1) Return to your childhood

Dyan’s big dream began as a child with a family vacation to Sea World where she was fascinated with the people who trained and cared for the animals.

Decades later she decided to pursue her childhood dream to find a way that she too could work with marine life.

So the then 32-year-old self-employed silversmith returned to college for a degree in animal science.

Following back-to-back stints as an intern and volunteer at the New England Aquarium in Boston Dyan was hired to be the Senior Penguin Aquarist.

Among the many highlights of her career was participating in the rescue of 40,000 penguins at risk from a massive oil spill off the coast of South Africa.

Then sadly, Dyan’s mom died.

My own mother died unexpectedly at just 61 years old. So, I know first-hand how wake-up calls can cause us to re-evaluate our lives.

After nine years at her job, Dyan had already begun to feel restless. And losing her mother just accelerated the desire for change.

She was still passionate about protecting wildlife – particularly penguins.

But now Dyan longed for the freedom and flexibility she’d enjoyed when she worked for herself.

But how on earth do you become a self-employed penguin expert???

That was the question Dyan brought to the 2007 Work at What You Love workshop in Northampton, Massachusetts.

There, among some 125 other change seekers, is where the idea to offer interactive educational programs at local libraries, senior centers, schools, and civic organizations was hatched.

2) Talk less, do more

Most people talk about their dreams… they endlessly research and plan and tweak and perfect.

But they never begin.

Not Dyan.

A mere three months later Dyan became “the Penguin Lady” and was already booked to deliver the first of what would be many local – and paid – talks.

I was so impressed I invited her back to next year’s Work at What You Love workshop to share her progress.

I loved hearing how Dyan had found a way to make money without a job-job.

But it was also clear that she’d only scratched the surface of what was possible.

I told Dyan if she really wanted to help save the penguins, she should think nationally – and even internationally.

Something I said must have clicked — because the next day Dyan stood up and announced her next big goal:

To be the onboard penguin expert on a nature cruise to the Galapagos Islands.

Within three months Dyan had collaborated with a local travel agent to be the penguin expert on a 10-day cruise to the Galapagos!

A few months later CNN came calling to interview her about a mass penguin stranding off of Brazil.

Then just a year after the Galapagos cruise she was tapped to be the on-board penguin educator on a cruise to Antarctica.

And remember that South African oil spill rescue operation Dyan worked on?

She signed a six-figure contract with Simon & Schuster to write about it – which became her award-winning book The Great Penguin Rescue.

Since then, Dyan’s dream, adventures, and income have all grown in ways she could have never imagined including…

  • traveling to Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, and South Africa to work with, teach about, and observe penguins in the wild
  • appearing as an expert on numerous television and radio shows, including CNN and BBC Radio
  • Delivering not one but four – count ‘em – FOUR – TEDx talks!
  • Being selected to be one of 76 women scientists from around the world to take part in a leadership training program aboard a cruise ship in Antarctica
    In fact, as you read this, Dyan just left for her next big adventure as an expert guide on the prestigious National Geographic’s Antarctica expedition!

How cool is that?!

3) Ask the question – “Why not me?”

Do people tell your dream is “unrealistic”?

The first time Dyan heard it was when she decided to earn the science degree she needed to pursue her childhood dream.

Math and science were not her strengths.

All the more reason, Dyan said, “I had to believe in myself and ignore the people who kept telling me, ‘There’s too much competition,’ or, ‘It’s too hard.’”

But Dyan kept telling herself, “Someone is going to get that cool job—it might as well be me.”

Think about it…

  • Why Suze Orman, Mia Lin, or the sibling stars of The Property Brothers and not you?
  • Why Rachel Ray, Mary Kay Ash, or Vera Wang and not you?
  • Why Anita Roddick, Damon John, Amy Tan and not you?
  • Why Margaret Mead, Tyler Perry, or Toni Morrison and not you?
  • Why Louise Hay, Jane Goodall, Richard Branson, Annie Leibovitz and not you?

Not one of these accomplished men or women are or were inherently smarter, better, luckier, or more amazing than you are.

True, they acquired certain knowledge, skills, and experience.

But the operative word here is acquired.

An improbable television phenomenon like Julia Child did not come out of the womb being “Julia Child,” cooking legend.

She became Julia Child – and at 49-years-old at that.

Playwright Wendy Wasserstein’s turning point came when a friend told her that “the way to be taken seriously is to take yourself seriously,”

You can have a big dream without becoming a household name or making millions.

In fact, sometimes shooting higher involves the bold decision to live a smaller, slower, but ultimately more content life.

It takes just as much courage, if not more, to walk away from what everyone else considers a “dream job” to follow your own road. Just ask Dyan.

Today, the self-employed penguin expert lives and works on her own terms.

Best of all, she’s making a living and making a difference.

4) Dream big

Deep down maybe you’ve always wanted to study tile making in Greece or shamanism in Ecuador or wine making in Napa.

Or maybe you’d like to have your own TV show… open a board game café… run yoga retreats in Bali… or help disadvantaged youth become entrepreneurs.

For the record, not every dream has to be work related.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to hike the Camino trail… or interview octogenarians in your community… or go fly fishing in Alaska… or learn sign language.

I know it sounds cliché to say, but you really can do anything you put your mind to.

It takes not one ounce of energy more to dream big than it does to settle.

And you’ve got a lot more to gain by shooting high than by shooting low.

Do you want work that feeds your soul and pays the bills like Dyan did? If so, I’d like to help.

Next week I’m opening up my NEW Work at What You Love On Demand Workshop.

This is your chance to…

  • Discover your long buried gifts and interests – the things that make you truly happy
  • See how having multiple interests actually position you to enjoy the benefits of multiple streams of income
  • Quickly spot ways you can turn your interests into income
  • Find the money, time, courage, and support to act on your dream
  • Take steps to live and work on your own terms
  • Ask me anything!

I’ll be in touch with more details about the on-demand workshop shortly.

But first, would you take 30 seconds to help me?

I want to make this the best Work at What You Love experience EVER

Would you be so kind as to click here now and answer a few super quick questions…   

Thank you in advance. I’m truly grateful for your willingness to help me to best help YOU!


Take the Purpose Quiz

Thomas Carlyle wrote, “The person without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder.”

Considering Carlyle was a philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, translator, historian, mathematician, and teacher – I’d say he had lots of rudders!

What about you?

Do you love what you do for a living?

Do you look forward to going to work every day or do you grudgingly show up in order to pay the bills?

Do you work past quitting time because it’s expected or because you’re “into it” and lose track of time?

The luckiest people in the world are the ones who’ve 1) found a calling – or like Carlyle – maybe lots of different callings and 2) who have freedom.

In other words, people who live their life “on purpose.”

I spent seven years waking up at 5:30 am to make a 90-mile-a-day commute to my corporate job.

It was a great company and I worked with great people. I even liked my manager – a lot.

There were just a few things missing.

These missing elements would become the tagline for the Changing Course newsletter…

Live life on purpose
Work at what you love
Follow your own road

That was in 1995.

Just four years later the Lutheran Brotherhood commissioned a study consisting of a single question…

What would you ask a god or supreme being if you could get a direct and immediate answer?

The third most often thing people wanted to know was, “Why do bad things happen?”

Second was, “Will I have life after death?”

The most frequently asked question American’s (and I’d venture to guess most people) want the answer to is…

“What’s my purpose here?”

Perhaps you’ve wondered the same thing?

Take the Purpose Quiz

If so, this Purpose Quiz can help you determine the extent you’re living a purposeful life right now.

As you’ll soon discover, purpose goes beyond what you do for work.

True or False:

  1. When I get up in the morning I look forward to the day ahead, whether it’s a work day or my day off.
  2. I love the work I do — any external reward I receive I consider “the icing on the cake.”
  3. My work makes me feel rewarded and motivated rather than drained and exhausted.
  4. When I have spare time I participate in activities that I’m passionate about, and those activities reflect my purpose.
  5. I know what my greatest talents and strengths are, and I apply those attributes to my work in some capacity every day.
  6. I know I’m living my true purpose when others notice and compliment me on my abilities.
  7. My life, personal and professional, reflects and is in alignment with my core values.
  8. I consistently base my decisions on my beliefs, not on the expectations of others, and, overall, I’m happy with the outcomes.
  9. If money were not an issue I wouldn’t change much of what I do and how I do it.
  10. My work environment is supportive of my personality and talents and allows me to not only show up as my true self, but to perform at my optimal level.
  11. When my work environment fails to provide me with opportunities to utilize my unique abilities, I look to make a positive change.
  12. The good (and great days) at work far outweigh the occasional “bad” days.
  13. The work I do is mostly enjoyable.
  14. By fulfilling my own dreams and desires, I am making a positive contribution to the world as a whole.
  15. Determining one’s life purpose can take a long time, but I’m confident that, even when I question what my purpose is, I know that I have one.

Sadly, most people answer false to many of these questions.

If you did too, then it may be time to look for ways to live a more purposeful life.

You don’t have to quit your job tomorrow.

After all, purpose can be as much about how you do things (with love, attention, passion and focus for example) as it is about what you’re doing.

That said — if the work you do is out of alignment with your core values… if you come home depleted by your job… or worse, you are utterly miserable… then a major work-life change is in order.

Thomas Edison saw purpose in highly practical terms, writing:

“The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

I’d add to that, “thinking” about changing course is not doing either.

Eleanor Roosevelt, said “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.

Are You Ready to Make This the Year You Finally Change Course?

It’s been two years now since I’ve led my workshop on how to live and work on your own terms.

It’s called…

“Work @ What You Love”


A Powerful Virtual Workshop

  • Discover your calling… so you can have the life you were meant to live
  • Learn the powerful secrets for how to get paid to do what you love – even if you’re a “scanner”
  • Step out of your routine and into your wildest dreams where you can get a new perspective on where you want to be this time next year
  • Learn from someone who built two six-figure businesses working from home what it really takes to live life on your own terms
  • Burst into Monday recharged, with the action plan you need to create the more balanced and rewarding lifestyle you’ve only dreamed of
  • Get LIVE 1-1 coaching from me!

I’m still making some important change to the upcoming workshop. 

My #1 goal is to make it the most accessible, affordable, and powerful Work at What You Love workshop EVER!  

I should have all the details in a week or two.

Until then — do you want to save even more? 

Just add your name now to the Early Bird Notification List.

Life is short my friend. And the first step is for you to decide to live your life on purpose starting today!

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Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications


6 Simple Steps to Grow Your Dream

The late British gardening author Mirabel Osler wrote,

“There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.”

Not everyone smiles at the same work.

Personally, I discovered long ago that I like the “idea” of gardening a lot more than doing gardening.

What makes me smile is brainstorming or delivering a talk to hundreds or even thousands of people.

For you it could be photography… turning chaos into order… or making pancake art (yes there is such a thing!).

One person’s chore is another person’s joy.

I met a woman who loved cleaning refrigerators so much she wanted to start a business doing it for others!

Gardening may or may not be your thing.

But the process of growing a garden does offer valuable lessons you can use to change course to be your own boss.

1) Wanting it with all your heart

The first step to changing course is desire.

I’m not talking about wishing or hoping.

I’m talking about a deep longing to change the course of not just your work but your life.

The kind of longing where you’re done complaining about your barren landscape and gazing enviously at other people’s garden — and you’re ready to dig in to create your own.

A longing so powerful it makes you turn off the TV or tune out of Facebook (or both) because you know there’s not a moment to waste.

2) Tend the soil

There are many ways to prepare for change.

Regular doses of inspiration help. After all, there is no better proof that you can make money doing what you love than the people who are doing it.

If you’ve never been self-employed, subscribe to Entrepreneur magazine as well as to interest-specific publications like The Chicken Whisperer, Model Railroader, or Art Doll.

Watch television shows like Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den as the original show is known in Canada.

Follow other knitters or tiny house builders or stamp collectors on Instagram.

Mostly though, the way to tend the soil is to make frequent trips to the well of knowledge and information.

Soak up everything you can about starting a bed and breakfast, being a consultant, owning alpacas, getting paid to write or travel or create art… or whatever it is you want to do.

3) Plant the tiniest of seeds

Even the biggest plants began as tiny seeds. And so it is with dreams.

Every major enterprise began with super small steps like… call Fred.

If you already know what you want to do, then use what you learned in step 2 to start taking small targeted steps to get there.

Buy video editing software, call your department of health about home-based food business regulations, go to local estate sales.

If you haven’t the foggiest notion of what makes you smile, then plant lots of different seeds.

After all, the only way to get an idea of what excites you is to experiment.

Read a book, take a class, talk to a stranger about their work… cast lots of random seeds out into the world and see what takes.

You may be surprised at what pops up!

4) Keep the weeds down

It’s not always possible to actually “weed” people out of your life (you know how fussy loved ones can be when you disown them).

You can, though, use selective sharing to mentally root out the voices of those who poo-poo your dreams.

Instead, reserve these conversations for people who understand and support your desire to change course.

Sometimes weeds come in the form of bad advice from ill-informed people.

Despite never being self-employed a day in their life, too many people are all too happy to tell you why your idea will never work.

If you don’t want to spend your life in the weeds along with them, then you need to find a way to counteract this kind of negativity and bad advice.

A simple start is to picture yourself in your future life.

Then remind yourself of what you should really be afraid of…

Namely, looking back at your life and knowing you allowed your dream to die on the vine from neglect or willingness to give up too soon.

5) Practice patience

Sufficient desire to make a change — check.

Soil tended, seeds planted, weeding done — check, check, check.

Now all you need to do is scream at your garden, “Grow, damn it!”

Silly right?

You can’t rush your dreams any more than you can rush a garden.

Some of the seeds you planted simply won’t take.

You can get discouraged about that if you want.

Or you can consider that those particular seeds weren’t meant to grow and then plant some different ones.

Other seeds seem to take forever to sprout and even longer to bloom.

Sometimes things happen so slowly you think nothing is happening at all.

During the first few years of my own business, I had days when I was so discouraged I wanted to “throw in the trowel.”

But I didn’t.

And neither should you because that’s usually the time when you wake up to find your first magnificent bloom.

The day you wake up and discover the life you dreamed of is the life you’re living.

So hang in there.

Patiently nurture those tender shoots and your field of dreams will grow.

6) Enjoy the Journey

As Osler observed, it’s the ongoing work of gardening that brings the joy.

You can’t just plant a garden and be done with it.

It’s like saying, “Well, I finished growing as a person now. What’s next?”

Rather, gardening is about coming up with ways to make the garden more interesting or fun or diverse.

It’s about redesigning the garden to come up with new ways to add value to all those it serves.

Mirabel Osler’s name comes up again and again in the world of gardening writers. So I decided to do a little digging myself.

As I read Stefanie Hargreaves review of Osler’s book, A Breath from Elsewhere, I could not help but think of its application to the process of changing course:

“Osler’s argument – to break the golden rules, follow your instincts, and create the garden that you desire… effectively [draws] the reader further down the path towards the garden as refuge – a place perfectly suited for ‘inspiration or freedom, for discovery or surrender.'”


A Letter from a Fellow Traveler on the Road to Changing Course

It’s hard to believe it’s been 23 years since I ditched my 90-mile-a-day commute to become the Dreamer in Residence here at Changing Course.

In that time I’ve received scores of letters from change seekers just like you.

Some had recently taken the leap to being their own boss and wanted to share the good news.

Others, like the woman you’re about to meet, were just starting the journey.

I found Jody’s letter while I was cleaning out old files.

Her story once again brought me to tears.

Dear Valerie,
 
I have felt driven to write to you all day today, to tell you how finding your web site has changed my life.
 
Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Jody and I am from the Detroit area. I am a forty-eight year old grandmother of three, and someone who has spent the past twenty years of her life not having a life.
 
Being a retail manager in a 24-hour store for years meant not only working long shifts or undesirable shifts, but every shift. It meant being robbed at gun-point twice, being spit on, insulted, spoken down to, and just generally abused on a daily basis. It also required being open for every holiday, missing family weddings, graduations, anniversaries; you name it. Sobbing in my car to and from work had become the norm. All the while, I did this while raising four sons alone in Detroit.
 
Fortunately, my sons grew up and moved out; I paid off my house and the company closed down my store; all in that order. I did not know what to do, so I went back to college.
 
College has been a wonderful experience! It is stimulating and has built my self-esteem, both of which are things I was in great need of. Every word they say to you however is specifically directed at landing you in a corporate office somewhere. That is the last place I want to be!
 
To continue, I ran across your site quite by accident two weeks ago. I did not pay it much attention at first and thought it was just another one of those, “Buy my book and you’ll be rich”, scams. Something made me keep going back and reading more. You see, I have been telling myself for all these years that I do not know how to do anything except pump gas, sell candy bars, and write “A” papers at school. (Who really cares about that except me?) Nevertheless, I read on.
 
Something strange started to happen. I became excited! It had been so long since I had been excited about much of anything, that it was a little scary. I was reminded of the times when I used to do things I loved, and proved that I was also very good at. Writing has always been a passion of mine. The back of my closet holds volumes of books and children’s stories which have only been passed around to my family and neighbors.
 
I continually find myself editing letters and reports for people, tweaking their resumes, and all on my own time and without compensation. I also thought back to all of the years I was the neighborhood pet-sitter for vacations and what-have-you, and again, all for free. I had thought of two things which I could be good at and love doing! Suddenly I thought of myself, “wow”!
 
Since then, I have been like the “Energizer Bunny”; going non-stop. I have read everything I can get my hands on. I have decided to pursue both of my ideas.
 
As for pet-sitting, I have already checked into and received the forms for licensing, registered for a certification class, and also for a pet first aid course. At this time I am researching domain names, business forms, and professional organizations to join.
 
While in class on Saturday, I mentioned my idea to the class, and had four people ask me if I was serious, and if so, they were in need of my services. Three people have offered to give me paying jobs this week alone, although I have not yet begun to open a business.
 
It has been very uplifting, and through this endeavor I am fortunate to have received compliments, which otherwise I may have never known. Compliments from fellow students and my professor about how I am thought of as trustworthy and responsible because of my academic demeanor.
 
Finally, I would like to say that even if this idea does not pan out in the end, something else will. Running across your site was the kick in the pants I needed. I suppose someone else needed to remind me that I’m still in here somewhere. Just the motivation to remember myself for the past two weeks has been a huge thrill. Thanks a million for the boost and the support!
 
Regards,
 
Jody
 
P.S. I believe that it is no small accident that the same day I found your site, I had just read an article by Dr. Phil McGraw concerning the difference between living your “authentic” life and living your “fictional” life.

What You Can Learn From Jody

It’s been nine years since Jody sent her letter.

And I’m as moved by her story now as I was then.

Her’s is a wonderful reminder that, as George Elliot wrote, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

True, it took Jody 48 years to realize it really is possible to live and work on your own terms.

Still, it’s a lesson that so many others trapped in low-wage, low satisfaction jobs never learn.

And “learn” truly is the operative word here.

So many people throw up their hands claiming they can’t move ahead because, “I don’t know how.”

Instead Jody rolled up her sleeves and did her homework.

She put her dream out there and the universe rewarded Jody with encouragement — and very likely, her first customers.

Most importantly, Jody took A-C-T-I-O-N.

I wish I could tell you Jody’s launched her businesses and lived happily ever after.

The fact is, I don’t know what happened next.

And that made me a little teary.

Because there are only two ways this story ends.

The optimist in me hopes a very determined Jody took the next step and the next and the next… and is now blissfully self-employed.

But after 22 years in this business, I also know how easy dreams can get derailed.

6 Reasons Dreams Fail

1) You got side-tracked by the next cool idea.

2) You hit a road bump and lost faith… and confidence.

3) Worse, you never had the confidence to begin in the first place.

4) You’re surrounded by people who say you need to be”realistic.”

5) You expected overnight success and when that didn’t happen… you gave up.

6) You love so many things that you can’t pick one. Which makes you what my friend, Barbara Sher, calls a scanner.

The reason all of these dream killers make me cry is because they are SO freakin’ avoidable!

So I’m considering putting something together to help make sure you and all the Jody’s of the world don’t get stuck.

I haven’t put all the pieces together in my head…

But it will definitely be online so no one has to travel.

I may make it free (still noodling that one in my head) or at least super affordable.

But before I put too much work into creating something, I really need to get a handle on where YOU are in the changing course journey.

In other words are you:

1) Still trying to figure out what you love to do

2) Know what you love to do — but don’t know how to make money doing it

3) Have a great idea but don’t know where to begin

4) Other…

Tell me which number best describes where you’re at in the comment section below, or email me at [email protected].

If I get enough interest, then I’ll move to phase 2… making a plan.

And if Jody from Lincoln Park, Michigan is out there…

Your fellow travelers and I would love to know how you’re doing on the road to changing course!

Join the Conversation!

Let me know where YOU are in the changing course journey by commenting below.


3 Fab New Biz Ideas You Can Steal

I’ve been on a bit of a yoga kick these days.

If you caught the last two newsletters, you know I’ve been using examples of yoga related businesses as a way to get your own creative juices going.

And I’m going to do it one last time.

It’s worth repeating…

This is NOT an article about starting a yoga business.

Instead, I’m going to do the same thing I did in Part 1 and Part 2.

Namely… I’m going to show you three more examples and ways you can “steal” what makes these businesses successful in order to jumpstart your own!

Idea #1 Organize a conference

If you’re good at throwing a party or planning a move, then you can organize a conference.

Conferences or training events can be highly profitable.

Of course, one source of revenue is the registration fees.

Fees are all over the map. I’d attended training events that cost $3,000-5,000 and others that charged $199.

Generally speaking, if the point of the event is to show people how they can make money by say blogging or investing in real estate or making money online, the more you can charge.

When I produced the Making Dreams Happen workshop featuring Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter and myself, I charged $1700 for the four-day event.

We capped it at 55. So, that event grossed $93,000.

But when I put on the popular 3-day Work at What You Love workshops around the country, we only charged $399-$499 but we also brought in 100-150 people.

For some, the real money comes in the form of fees from sponsors and vendors who pay for things like:

  • space at a tradeshow
  • ads in the conference brochure
  • company-branded items in the swag bag
  • the opportunity to present to your audience that ends with an offer to purchase their product or service (with this model the event host typically receives 50 percent of all sales)

I know entrepreneurs who regularly bring in a quarter of a million dollars on sponsor and vendor fees alone.

Every single month there are dozens of yoga conferences happening around the world.

And not all vendors at these events are selling yoga gear.

Sponsors at Canada’s big Yoga Conference included coffee brewers, kale chips makers, and dozens of other small businesses targeting health-conscious consumers.

Even regional conferences can pull in big numbers.

The Northwest Yoga Conference attracts 1,000 participants from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, and elsewhere.

A booth costs vendors $800.

The more participants you have the more vendors you can attract.

You don’t have to fill a huge exhibit hall.

If you had five rows with 20 vendors per row (10 on each side), at $800 that would be $80,000 in fees.

A conference can also be a way for a company to expand its reach.

Yo Kid organization teaches yoga instructors how to work with children.

But by hosting the 2017 National Kids Yoga Conference, the Alexandria, Virginia-based company is able to attract a national audience and position itself as a leader in its field.

How You Can Steal This Idea

If you love organizing events, look for opportunities to host niche-specific conferences.

If you don’t know where to start, begin by researching entrepreneurial trends.

For inspiration read up on the many YouTube conferences.

Many were started by regular people who saw an opportunity and grabbed it.

You can also make money on the back-end by selling recordings of the live event to people who couldn’t be there.

To have the entire Making Dreams Happen workshop recorded and then turned into a product cost around $15,000.

But we made that back 10 times over.

A big part of the initial costs was the production and packaging of a 24 CD set.

However, since most people today just want to download Mp3s it will cost you a lot less to steal this idea.

(Converting to a downloadable product also allowed me to knock off $100 and pass the savings along to customers.)

Finally, you can always do what Yoga Festival did and capitalize on conferences by charging hosts a fee to be listed.

Idea #2 Sell to other businesses within a specific niche

Businesses that cater to the needs of other businesses are known as B2B.

Services like event planning or senior day-care can benefit a wide range of businesses.

But a B2B business can also be aimed at a single market.

Obviously the bigger the market – the greater the opportunity.

It’s worth repeating…

Yoga is more popular in Canada than in India.

And third on the list is the United States where a whopping 20.4 million Americans partake in the ancient practice.

Which means there are lots of other yoga-related businesses in need of solutions too. Like…

  • independent yoga instructors
  • studio owners
  • retreat centers
  • businesses that make yoga gear

Take for example, the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance,

The non-profit business was created to provide community support and networking among a specific demographic group with a shared interest.

With 100 people attending their first major event, I’d say the organizations’ two founders tapped into a very real need.

Then there’s a company called International Yoga.

Most of their revenue comes from individuals who sign up for a yoga retreat.

But the company also saw an opportunity to help instructors wanting to host their own retreats internationally.

Planning and running a retreat are the easy parts.

The challenge for instructors (like all business owners) is the marketing.

But remember, problem = opportunity.

Wisely, International Yoga also offers instructors full retreat management and logistical services “so teachers can focus on what they do best.”

To qualify for these services, however, instructors must already have some international retreat experience under their belt.

The easiest way to gain experience is to teach at someone else’s event.

The problem, of course, is finding one.

For Yoga Trade it’s also an opportunity since they match travel-loving instructors looking for adventure with yoga centers seeking instructors.

How You Can Steal This Idea

Think of a group you’d love to work with.

Then make a list of the problems, complaints, or threats that are unique to that demographic.

Next, brainstorm ways you can address these issues.

Have a knack for videotaping or marketing? Find a niche market who needs marketing help and pursue them.

Love to teach? Compile a list of resources like the ones listed here and teach a class on how to grow a yoga – or other niche – business for fun and profit.

Like doing research and writing? Put together an ebook on 101 Cool Ways to Cash in On the Yoga Craze.

Have a winning personality? Create a YouTube channel on this or any number of niche topics.

Love connecting people? Start your own association or matching service.

Idea #3 Make money by making a difference

For most, yoga people is a form of exercise.

But for others, it’s a means to serve the greater good.

In 2003 nurse practitioner and yoga instructor Mary Lynn Fitton decided to pilot a program to teach yoga to under-served, exploited, and incarcerated girls who had experienced trauma.

Today, Fitton’s California-based 501C3 nonprofit organization The Art of Yoga Project has served over 6,000 girls.

There are other initiatives using yoga to help underserved and incarcerated youth and adults of both genders.

Like Uprising Yoga in Los Angeles.

And the inspiring Africa Yoga Project (be sure to watch the video!) which is making yoga accessible to even impoverished communities.

How You Can Steal This Idea

If you think you’d like to start a non-profit, take a year or so to pilot your idea like Mary did.

If the initiative has legs, figure out how you’ll serve your audience and what grants, fundraising efforts, and other revenue models you’ll need to cover basic expenses moving forward.

Figure out too who your natural partners and potentially paying customers will be.

For example, Uprising Yoga works directly with the Los Angeles County Probation Department, mental health facilities, group homes, and social work agencies.

You might also partner with a local hospital, center for cancer survivors, substance abuse treatment program, or senior center.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to coming up with viable ways to generate income, there are endless ways to take a single idea and build on it.

And remember, changing course starts with a great idea – and the willingness to act on it.

Ready to find your perfect business idea?

Learn more about my laser focused idea generation and planning consultation here.

Life is short my change seeking friend.

And I can only take a few clients a month.

Whether you work with me or not — please don’t let your dream wait another day.


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