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How Do You Overcome Your Fear of Failing?

For the second time in as many weeks two clients talked about being “terrified” of failing.

No one was talking about putting up their home as collateral or sinking their life savings into a venture. In fact, in both cases the stakes were relatively low.

Sadly, for some people the mere prospect of failing can be paralyzing.

Every entrepreneur experiences failures on the way to success. I am certainly no exception.

While still in my corporate job I had a side business selling a line of humorous greeting cards. I spent months drawing each card, surveying my friends to see which ones people liked best, and then invested a couple of thousand of dollars getting them printed.

They sold pretty well in small gift stores in San Francisco, Boston, NYC, Hartford, and Provincetown, Mass. But about a year into it, I realized it was the wrong business for me.

Did I spend more money than I made? Yup. But it never felt like a failure.

To the contrary:

  • I felt proud of myself for giving it my best shot (as my friend Sue said at the time, “Everyone I know talks about what they’re going to do… you do it.”)
  • I learned a ton about the greeting card business, which in my current capacity as a Profiting from Your Passions® Career Advisor I’ve been able to share with others looking to launch their own line
  • And it gave me more confidence to move on to my next venture

If you really want to change course to work for yourself, then you absolutely must readjust your emotional response to failure.

This means embracing some fundamental truths about failure

Truth 1: You’ll strike out more often then not.

In baseball a .333 batting average is considered outstanding. If you’re not a baseball fan, what this means is that for every 10 pitches, the batter only has to hit the ball three times to be considered exceptional.

Even the legendary Babe Ruth “only” batted .342. The point is, you can be at the top of your game and still strike out more often than not. No one bats 1000 so stop expecting yourself to be the exception.

Truth 2: Failures offer valuable lessons – and opportunities.

Instead of seeing your flops as evidence of your incompetence, think of them as information you can use to do better next time. For example, after the hundredth rejection letter aspiring romance writer Diane Cosby says she stopped counting. But she never gave up.

Instead she said she worked harder at her craft by doing more research and taking more classes and then following the advice of romance writers whom she admired. Slowly she got better.

Even then it took writing many more novels and a continuous stream of rejection letters before a New York publisher took on her eighth book, “His Captive” set in medieval Scotland.

Instead of giving up ask yourself:

  • Do I need to develop or hone a certain skill?
  • Do I need more practice or a different approach?
  • What will I do differently next time?
  • What lessons can I glean from this setback or experience?

The sooner you glean the learning value following any “failure” the better. The key is to fail forward.

Truth 3: Not taking risks may be the riskiest move of all.

People often comment on what a risk I took in leaving my well-paying corporate job. The fact of the matter is, I didn’t just up and quit.

I planned the move for over a year and I did it in stages – a process I documented in The 10 Steps to Escaping the Job World and Creating the Life You Really Want.

Besides, so much of changing course comes down to shifting your thinking about what “risk” really means. What should terrify you is…

  • Continuing to turn your back on your natural gifts… the reason your were put on the planet
  • Risking your health by staying in a toxic job…
  • Leaving a legacy that reads, “She could have helped a lot of people… but she was too afraid to try”

Truth 4: Choose what kind of failures you want to have.

In his commencement address at Macalister College, radio show host and author Garrison Keillor encouraged his audience to “have interesting failures.”

Let those words sink in for a moment. Have interesting failures.

Not only do you have a choice about how you handle failure, you also have a huge say in what kind of failures to have.

From time to time you’re going to miss the mark. So why just be a failure at parallel parking or math when you can come in third at the National Jigsaw Puzzle Championships, only write one children’s book, or get your photos into only a couple of galleries?

The fact that you never fail is proof of only one thing – you never acted. Or as Denzel Washington told another group of graduating students, “If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.”

The Choice is Yours

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

It’s one thing to quietly promise yourself that you’re going to push past your fears and finally act on those long buried dreams.

It’s quite another thing to announce to the world your intention to write a children’s book, become a motivational speaker, sell your jewelry, or whatever it is you’ve been “terrified” of doing.

And yet making a public commitment is one of the best ways to ensure that you’ll actually follow through.

Sure the naysayers are watching and waiting for any setback so they can say, “I told you so.” But if you make a point to tell the “right” people I guarantee they’ll be cheering you on.

Once these people see you taking steps, they’ll be inspired to act on their own dreams. That’s because action is contagious!

And putting your intention out to the world is a first step in creating that all important accountability.

What if right here, right now you were to commit to do something you had previously been too afraid to try? Just complete this sentence:

In the next 48-72 hours I’m going to ______________________________________

But don’t stop there.

Share your commitment with the world by publically posting it on the Changing Course blog.

Changing course is infinitely easier – and less scary – when you break it down to small manageable steps and then share that step with other change seekers.

As Margaret Bourke White said, “Action stops fear.”

Every day you get to choose settling over reaching, inaction over action, and continuing to live your life the way it is over the life you want and deserve. It really is your choice.

And every day is an opportunity to start anew… to make new choices.

Which will you choose – fear or action?

The more you know the less there is to fear.

To read Step 1 of the The 10 Steps to Escaping the Job World and Creating the Life You Really Want click here.

Note from Valerie: For a limited time you can download a recording of entire The 10 Steps to Escaping the Job World and Creating the Life You Really Want for under ten bucks. That’s less than a dollar a step. 🙂 Click here for this special offer.

In the next 72 hours, I’m going to…

What if right here, right now you were to commit to do something you had previously been too afraid to try? Just complete this sentence:

In the next 48-72 hours I’m going to ______________________________________

Post your answer below!

How to Make Money By Breaking the Rules

Too many people who want to work at what they love seem to suffer from the misguided notion that there are certain “rules” that must be followed.

Let me give you a quick example. At the beginning of every career consultation, I ask clients to describe their ideal life.

To prompt their thinking, I pose a series of questions such as what time do you want to get up in the morning, would you like to work at home or outside the home, do you want to work with other people or do you prefer to work alone? The question that gets the biggest reaction is, “Would you like to have summers off?” Invariably someone will say, “Oh, can you do that?”

I’m always tempted to say, “I don’t know, let me consult the official Work-Life Rule Book.” The thing is, I don’t know if you can have summers off or not. But what I do know is this – if the desire to have your summers free is not consciously on your mental radar screen, then the likelihood of it happening is next to nil.

If, on the other hand, you were crystal clear that you’d love to take summers off, then you’d be in a better position to make a conscious effort to come up with ways to generate income that would allow for a lengthy work break.

This self-limiting belief that you somehow have to do things a certain way also hampers to a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs.

Where is it written that you HAVE to take on clients you don’t like? I once had a client named Donna whose idea of heaven on earth is to have some kind of a portable income so she can spend months at a time with her daughter in England. Donna enjoys writing and even has a background in advertising. She’d considered the copywriting option in the past but rejected it because she didn’t want to write about products she didn’t believe in.

Instead of letting this values clash be a show stopper, Donna needed to ask herself, “So, what do I believe in enough to promote?” For Donna it’s the whole mind, body, and soul connection.

In fact, her dream job is to organize events for motivational speakers. Because it would be difficult living in a relatively rural area to make a full time living organizing events, we had to come up with a supplemental – and portable – income stream.

This meant challenging the idea that to succeed as a copywriter, or for that matter, in any business, you have to do things a certain way. What if Donna intentionally structured her copywriting business to focus entirely on motivational speakers and authors of mind, body, and soul type books? This kind of niche marketing offers a whole host of advantages.

Donna would genuinely enjoy doing the research on topics she finds interesting. She’d also get a great deal of satisfaction from helping spread the word about concepts and practices she believes in.

Another highly practical advantage is that people in the same field tend to talk to one another. In football terms it’s known as going deep and wide. In my small world, I get to talk to like-minded souls like Barbara Winter and Barbara Sher. I’ve recommended good copywriters to them and they’ve steered me in the direction of great web masters and other vendors. In other words, when you niche market, ultimately you’ll have to do less self-marketing because your business becomes primarily referral-based.

What misguided rules are you operating by? Do you think you have to come up with just one way to make a living? Think again. Think you can’t turn your hobby into your career, get paid to work with animals, or that changing course means having to choose between money and happiness? If so, check my ever-increasing list of Cool Jobs at
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” How can you stretch your mind today? Once you realize that some misguided rules about work and life can, and should, be broken, a whole new world of opportunity can open up.

What are your earning and learning plans for March?

Let me know what your plans are!

 If You Must Have a J-O-B, Go for One That Makes a Difference

By Valerie Young

Let’s face it, unless you’re independently wealthy, you can’t just up and quit your day job and be running your own profitable small business immediately. That’s why I love Suzanne Evan’s suggestion that you think of your …

Surprising Year-End Tax Deductions for Dreamers

By Valerie Young
As 2010 comes to a rapid close, I suppose I should be writing an inspirational message about the New Year.

How about a little practical inspiration that can help your wallet?

Every January 1, I set aside time to reflect on my 2011 goals.

But the last week in December is when I make sure I’m taking advantage of every benefit of being self-employed I possibly can.

Benefits you may not be aware are available to you, too.

You see, in the wise words of my friend and Making a Living Without a Job author of Barbara Winter:

“The American tax system is set up to benefit the very wealthy and the self-employed.”

That may not surprise you, especially if you already have a business.

However if you haven’t started your business – no make that ESPECIALLY if you haven’t started a business – there are some important tax facts that may surprise you.

SURPRISING TAX FACT #1: You have to have already started making money to take a deduction

This first one always comes as a surprise to people who haven’t yet launched a business…

Even if you don’t earn a dime until next year – or even the next 3 years — you can still write off legitimate business expenses you had in 2010.

It’s true.

As far as the United States Internal Revenue Service is concerned, as long as you are making what they call a “good faith effort” to earn a profit in the future – you can begin deducting any money you invest in building your business right away.

SURPRISING TAX FACT #2: Home or Away – as Long as You’re Working it’s Deductible

You probably already know about deductions for things like office supplies, books, and magazine subscriptions.

However, when your investment is intended to generate a profit, you may be able to deduct other things.

If you work from home, you can deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage and utilities. Even certain home repair expenses – like a portion of the cost of the new roof I put on or, in some cases, things like landscaping or snow plowing.

It gets even better.

If you take a 7 day vacation to the Caribbean or Florida or London and while you’re there you spend a day calling on local businesses or perhaps scouting out future seminar locales, your expenses for that day should be deductible.

For the last few summers my company (that would be me!) sends me to a lake in New Hampshire for a week to write. I deduct the mileage to and from the lake and groceries to keep me happily full as I work on my laptop from the deck.

SURPRISING TAX FACT #3: 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 how qualifies as a legitimate business expense?

After all, what could be more proof of your intention to succeed then investing in education and training designed to launch you into your own profitable business.

Live Training and Events

If you pay for a live class or a conference in 2010 that isn’t happening until 2011 you can still deduct it now. For instance, if you want to start a business around your love for cooking, or dogs, or clowning check out:

Basic Business Skills

Maybe you already work for yourself but need to improve some more general business skills. You can deduct tuition fees for courses on:

  • Presentation skills: Communispond offers a great course that I took and later taught back when I was in corporate training days.
  • Sales training: My friend Carolyn Herfurth runs a sales bootcamp for people who hate to “sell” (next one starts next week but if you sign up today – it’s deductible this year)
  • Writing your own web site marketing copy There’s not a date set yet but you can sign up for notices about when Matthew Goldfarb is doing his weekend class again

Business Building Training

You can also deduct the full cost of any learn-from-home programs designed to help you start a business. Some of my favorites are:

Profiting From Your Passions®

Okay this part is blatant self-promotion, but just as an example, because the Profiting from Your Passion® Career Coach Training Program is a business launch program, it also qualifies as a tax deductible expense.

If the idea of getting paid to brainstorm interests you, there is another incentive to act on your dream this year.

Order by December 31st, and get up to $1,375 in savings and bonuses. This includes the opportunity to qualify for a private marketing session with me.

Deduct Travel Expenses Too

Even if the event itself is free, you can still enjoy some tax breaks. Last year I attended Entrepreneur magazine’s annual Growth Conference in Miami. This is me with keynote speaker Guerilla Marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson.

Even though the conference is free, I was still able to deduct my travel expenses.

The 2011 conference is happening January 20th in Atlanta If you go I urge you to come prepared to pitch your business to the editors. (The line is long, but it moves fast and you’ll meet really neat people!)

Just book your airfare or pre-paid hotel reservations in 2010 and you can deduct these expenses this year.

Unfortunately I can’t make it this year because I’ll be gearing up for the $99 No Travel/No Brainer Work at What You Love Virtual Workshop happening January 22-23.

I’m still working out some details but if you would like advance notification when I do, click here.

No matter how your learning occurs, the point is it’s probably tax deductible, and if you pay in 2010, you can take the deduction before you take the course.

With any of these programs, even if the course materials don’t arrive until 2011 – as long as it’s on your credit card before December 31, 2010 – and it meets the “good faith” criteria, it’s considered a legitimate business expense.


If you want to be your own boss, you need to start thinking like a self-employed person.

I hope I’ve opened your eyes to ways you can realize the 2010 benefits of the American tax system before you’re even officially self-employed.

More importantly, if losing my Mom at the too young age of 61 taught me anything, it’s to not defer something as important as your dreams.

Time is ticking folks. Please don’t let this year end without taking at least one small step in 2010 to get you closer to where you want to be in 2011.

In the wise words of Audré Lorde:

“When I care to be powerful – to use my strengths in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

You can find lots of additional information on deductible expenses and other tax matters on the Self-Employment/Small Business section of the IRS web site at

My Canadian friends can check out

If you live outside the US or Canada I encourage you to learn about possible the tax benefits for entrepreneurs in your country.

Warning Bad Bosses Could Cause a Heart Attack – Literally

The fact that you’re a Changing Course reader tells me you probably don’t need a whole lot of convincing about the benefits of being your own boss.

But even I was taken aback by the results of this study on the very real health consequences of working for a boss who is especially insensitive to your need for some semblance of work-life balance.

Here’s the link to the article that appeared in the Toronto Globe and Mail. It’s one you definitely want to share with the people you love:

If you ever needed an incentive to change course – this would be it!

To your dreams,

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence

P.S. For even more incentive to be your own boss…

Keep your eye out for a special report later this morning on “Surprising End of the Year Tax Deductions for Dreamers.” Even if you haven’t yet started a business, you may be surprised at the ways you can benefit right now.

How One Income-Generating Idea Leads to Another

Valerie Young, Dreamer in Residence,

Valerie Young

By Valerie Young

I take what you might call a more organic approach to organizing. The good thing about being “filing flexible” is that putting together this week’s list of unique ways to make a living without a job meant looking no farther than the foot high pile of newspaper and magazine clippings on my office floor.

But here’s the fascinating part. Despite grabbing a dozen clips, I only got as far as the first one. That’s because when you are an “Opportunity Analyst” like I am, one opportunity invariably leads to another. This is especially true when you start tuning into trends because they are ripe with profitable ideas. Let me show you what I mean.

At the very top of the pile was a section of The Old Farmer’s 2007 Almanac called Tastes & Trends 2007. One such trend to watch for is what are called “ethical wills.” According to an unnamed survey, to some benefactors, gifts such as morality, faith, and religion are more important than money. “Think of it as a love letter to family and friends,” says author of Healthy Aging Andrew Weil. “This makes you take stock of your life experiences and distill from it the values and wisdom that you have gained.”

The editors at the Old Farmer’s Almanac instruct us to watch for Web sites, books, and consultants to teach us how to create ethical wills. They were right. A quick Internet search led me to It was there that I found a listing by state of professionals and organizations using ethical wills.

A few more clicks and I discovered that in nearby Longmeadow, Massachusetts, attorney and personal historian Marian C. Broder of Memories Recorded has created multiple income streams around ethical wills. In addition to leading “workshops on writing ethical wills, transmitting values and telling family stories for community centers, synagogues, book clubs, libraries, support groups and individuals,” Marian also “works with individuals to craft statements that can be presented at life events and works with parents to draft documents of values and beliefs for children’s guardians to accompany estate documents.”

Then there is documentary film maker Carlyn Saltman of Carlyn lives and works in the even more nearby village of Turner’s Falls. This fascinating woman combined her training as a holistic counselor, hospice volunteer, and award-winning documentary filmmaker to help clients create ethical wills on Video, DVD, paper, or all three. As interesting as I found the idea of videotaping an individual’s ethical will, I was even more intrigued to discover that Carlyn has also tapped another huge trend – pets.

For Carlyn, producing pet videos was a natural outgrowth of videotaping people. She explains that, “pets usually get into the act in the course of filming a memoir or portrait documentary of their humans. They are family members, too, and they usually know it. Sometimes their unconditional love enriches our lives as much as our human relationships do. So it’s no wonder that beloved pets are popular subjects in their own right.” This is yet another great example of one income stream very naturally leading to another.

Then literally on the same Old Farmer’s Almanac page as the ethical will piece was a finding about cat lovers. If you happen to be a cat lover seeking to change course though, this finding equals opportunity. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, not only do five percent of cat owners hold birthday parties for their cats, cat owners also splurge more on gifts than dog or other pet owners spending on average $30 per year. Imagine offering cat or dog birthday packages in your area complete with sirloin cake, hats, pet photo sessions, and party favors!

And talk about trends! A quick hop over to the Association’s site ( led me to a much longer list of pet related trends and statistics. The information aspiring entrepreneurs will perhaps find most interesting is the 2010 Pet Products Trend Report. Now I already knew that Entrepreneur magazine had designated pet owners as one of the top 10 markets. But I had no idea that big name companies like Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks, Origins, Harley Davidson and Old Navy are now offering lines of pet products ranging from dog shampoo, pet attire, and name-brand toys to gourmet treats and food.

Another more well-known trend is for big chain hotels to promote themselves as pet-friendly. In addition to pet pillows, plush doggie robes, check-in gift packages that include a pet toy, dog treat, ID tag, bone and turn down treat, some higher end hotels even have a licensed dog masseuse on staff.

So where’s the opportunity for the pet-loving entrepreneur? My guess is that a lot of the smaller chains, independently-owned hotel and motels, and Bed & Breakfasts would like to be pet-friendly but don’t want to go to the fuss of pulling it all together. So, why not create a pet-welcome package where you provide the hotel owners with all the necessary products? Throw in a dog walking service or doggie-care package so guests can go out on the town without worrying about a barking Fido back in the room, and you’ll really distinguish yourself from the competition!

But I’m not done yet. The Opportunity Analyst in me definitely perked up when I saw that film maker Carlyn Saltman has wisely seized another opportunity – teaching what you know. Much to the displeasure of financial planners and realtors, baby boomers are avid do-it-yourselfers. So for people who have video skills and equipment and want to complete a personal history project of their own, Carlyn will set up a schedule of telephone and/or in person consultations to guide them through what she says can be a daunting undertaking. Even if you are just starting out in your business, make the addition of teaching others what you know a part of your longer range income stream plan.

Finding interesting and profitable ways to make a living doing what you love is easier than you think. All that is required is an inquisitive mind, the willingness to be open to the ways that one opportunity may lead to another, and faith to act on a good opportunity when you see one.

Changing Course… in the Bathroom???

That reminded me of a funny story I thought you may be able to relate to…

A few years ago an enterprising woman named Karen spent her Thanksgiving hiding out in her in-laws’ bathroom.

And it was all because she forgot a cardinal rule of changing course…

Never Discuss Your Dreams With People Who Have Forgotten Their Own

Two years ago Karen forgot that lesson.

Instead she made the mistake of announcing to the entire family gathering that she wanted to start her own business.

For the next 3 days, she was forced to listen to a bunch of crabby relatives insist that her business idea would never work…

Keep in mind that none of her husband’s relatives have ever actually run a business themselves.

But, when it comes to self-employment, little things like accurate information and actual experience never stopped anyone from being an all-knowing, yet totally uninformed, expert!

Karen’s Brilliant Idea for Keeping Her Dream Alive

Anyway, Karen wrote to tell me she’d come up with a “unique” strategy for getting through the next holiday weekend at the in-laws.

She downloaded some of the audios from the “Making Dreams Happen” program into her MP3 player!

That way, on the long drive to and from the relatives… and during all those football games… even when she steals away for those extra lengthy bathroom breaks she can listen to powerful reminders that her dream is realistic – and that dreams do happen.

There’s Nothing Else Like It — Anywhere

Karen plans to grab as many inspiring moments as she can (even bathroom time) listening as Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter and I enthusiastically share our unique strategies for Making Dreams Happen!

Making Dreams Happen is the ONLY audio program ever that features not one, not two, but three internationally-recognized career and life change experts…

~ Best-selling author and Oprah guest Barbara Sher best known for books like Wishcraft (over a million copies sold!), I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, and her latest book for people who love too many things — Refuse to Choose

~ Barbara Winter, best-selling author of Making a Living Without a Job and expert on multiple profit centers

~ And me, Profiting from Your Passions® Expert and author of an upcoming book on the confidence for women, Valerie Young

Because “Making Dreams Happen” is all-digital, you can download it right onto your computer… or your MP3 player… or even onto discs if you want.

That way you can listen at home… while you travel… while you exercise – even in the bathroom if you want!

Plus, my international friends will be happy to know that this fully-downloadable version eliminates those outrageous shipping costs.

You don’t have to hide out in the bathroom, but you may want to take advantage of your holiday down-time to give your dreams the attention they deserve.

And, if you act this week, you can do so at a considerable savings.

Make Your Dreams Happen – And SAVE $50!

On the hunt for bargains? Now you can use your holiday time wisely AND save money.

Between now and Monday you can get INSTANT access the complete set of Making Dreams Happen – over 20 hours of dream-enabling audios – and SAVE $50!

To learn more about Making YOUR Dreams Happen go to:

Then as you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner, give thanks that you don’t have to spend Thanksgiving hiding out in the bathroom like Karen.

Instead you get the unique opportunity to tap into the collective wisdom of three top experts, all dedicated to helping you make your dreams happen!

Happy Thanksgiving

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence

P.S. I’ve never had anyone tell me they listened to me in the bathroom! But hey, if that’s what it takes to get a little alone time with your dreams, then you gotta love the determination!

Act now. Your chance to save $50 on Making Dreams Happens ends soon. Here’s the URL again:

Please don’t let your dream slip away (offer ends today)

This really is a no brainer.

If after all this time, you’re still

  • Unsure of your CALLING… or your GIFTS
  • Trying to figure out PRACTICAL ways to turn your passions into PROFITS
  • Suffer from procrastination, FEAR, and low self-confidence
  • Need the ONGOING support of your own TEAM of enthusiastic cheerleaders…

Then it truly is a no brainer for you to seize what may very well be your ONE AND ONLY chance to:

Find your calling…

Discover ways to turn your interests into income so you can make money doing what you love…

Overcome the self-doubt and fear that keeps you stuck…

Become part of an on-going “Dream Team” to end procrastination and get moving…

PLUS get the chance to work one-on-one with an internationally recognized expert – ME 🙂  (up to a $1200 value alone)

PLUS instantly receive over $150 worth of valuable life and career shifting resources

AND SAVE $100!

But you must act TODAY.

The Changing Course No Travel “Work at What You Love” Virtual Workshop and Retreat Early Bird $100 SAVINGS ENDS TODAY November 19th.

Because of the high-interaction nature of this workshop, seats are limited.

When you watch the videos from people who’ve attended the live version of this life-changing workshop, you’ll realize why grabbing your spot – at a $100 SAVINGS truly is a “no brainer.”

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