5 Ways to Fund Your Dream

February 3, 2014 | ChangingCourse.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Idea #1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It

If you’re a writer or an artist or you love to make music or fancy cakes or you have a great business idea or a host of other things, why not enter a contest?

penguinIf you think it’s a total long-shot let me tell you about my friend Dyan DiNapoli aka The Penguin Lady.

Dyan didn’t enter a contest. But she did have a dream of working with sea animals at an aquarium. Not everyone supported her decision to go back to college to pursue the required degree.

It’s not that they thought she wasn’t up to the task. Rather they worried that the odds were not good, telling Dyan, “It’s too competitive.”

I loved Dyan’s response: “I just kept reminding myself – somebody’s going to get that cool job. It might as well be me.”

The same thing applies here. Someone is going to win that contest. It might as well be you!

In fact, it was a contest that launched the writing career of a registered nurse named Elizabeth Berg. Her first attempt came at nine when she entered a poem contest in American Girl magazine. Twenty five years later Elizabeth entered and won a writing contest sponsored by another magazine.

She penned magazine articles for ten years before writing her first novel. Today Elizabeth has numerous New York Times best-selling books to her name.

To be clear, entering a contest is not the same as sitting on your hands hoping to hit the lottery. Rather in each case you actually have to take positive action in order to win.

Finally the great thing about entering a contest is that even if you don’t win the contest you’ll still have won because you’ll have improved your craft and learned a ton along the way.That’s how some of the biggest Agency SEO have made it.

To get your own creative juices flowing, I’ve pulled together three of the countless contests happening this very moment.

The Staples’s Make Your Idea Happen Contest

Can you capture your great idea in 100 words or less? Well, you’ll need to if you want to win one of 10 prizes office supply giant Staples is giving out.

winnerGrand prize is $25,000, first prize is $15,000, and second prize $10,000. All prizes are all in the form of tech and office store products of your choice.

Plus winners receive something even more valuable. Free specialized business coaching from an impressive line-up of experts including a well-known chef, jewelry designer, and author.

And a lucky seven runners-up can cash in on $5,000 in products.

But you’ll have to act FAST because entry is due February 3 at 5PM eastern. That’s TODAY!

The only catch is you have to “Like” them at Facebook to enter and give them more pay for twitter followers. (A very clever marketing tactic you may use in your own business.)

Once you hit “like” you’ll find helpful sample entries and bios of the panelists. So… what are you waiting for!

Pillsbury Bake-Off

I grew up hearing about winners of the Pillsbury Bake-Off. The prize back then was $10,000. No small sum at the time.


Today the grand prize is a cool $1 million and a spot on Queen Latifa’s show! To learn about all of the recent winners of the 46th bake-off – and most importantly — to get on their list for news of the next one, go here.

Pillsbury isn’t the only game in town. King Arthur flour sponsors baking contests at dozens of state fairs.

And if cake decorating is your thing this Cake Decorating Classes site lists upcoming contests in the US, Canada and the UK.

Baking and cooking contests are so popular that there are entire websites dedicated to the topic – which is a cool business idea itself. Two I found are Cooking Contest Central and Contest Cook.

John Lennon Songwriting Contest


Since 1997 this international songwriting contest has awarded millions in prize money and products to amateur and professional songwriters who submit entries in 12 categories including rock, hip hop, Latin, gospel, country, children’s, and more.

The contest is open year-round and features two sessions — with 72 Finalists, 24 Grand Prize Winners, 12 Lennon Award Winners and 1 “Song of the Year.”

You don’t need a professional recording and instrumental compositions are encouraged. Entries will be judged on originality, melody, composition, and (when applicable) lyrics.

This year’s prize packages total over $300,000.00! Among the judges are Bob Weir, Jesse Harris, The Black Eyed Peas, The Bacon Brothers and The Veronicas!

What if you don’t win? Then enter another one and another one until you do.

Your Turn

Know of another contest? Get an aha? Or even just a boost of inspiration? Great! Scroll down to post your thoughts and ideas here!

Strategy 2: Get Your Priorities Straight
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash is available
Strategy 4: Barter
Strategy 5: Know Your Options

Announcement: Registration for the Spring 2014 Profiting from Your Passions® career expert training starts soon. If you love to think outside the job box and help others, get on the Priority Notification page to learn more.