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  • IdeaStarter#3 Sharpen Your Focus

    To put your goalsetting and entrepreneurial efforts on—track and keep them there—begin by giving your year a theme. It could be a single word or a phrase that becomes your motto. Either way, it will help you gain clarity and focus. When planning your time or making a decision, a quick check [...]
  • Creating a Steady Cash Flow

    Several years ago, I had a lovely long-term consulting assignment which kept me both busy and solvent.  One morning I woke up and realized that it was coming to an end and I had nothing lined up.  After a few moments of panic, I decided to get serious about creating my next income source.  I [...]
  • Establish Yourself as an Expert

    What is the difference between a book that becomes a bestseller and one that doesn't? Why is Julia Child a household name and your Aunt Ruth, a fabulous gourmet, known only to her household? Why is someone else becoming rich and famous doing what you can do even better? As the Information Age [...]
  • On Fear and Failure

    Three of my four siblings are coming to visit early next week so that was the impetus for me to go through a stack of magazines and move some to the recycling bin. My decluttering project slowed down, however, when I came across some articles I hadn't yet read. Three of them were worth passing [...]
  • IdeaStarter #12 Catch the Virus

    Think about an older person that you know, one you would describe as youthful. What’s the distinguishing characteristic of this lively elder? I’m guessing that curiosity about anything and everything is what stands out. It’s the same quality that makes for successful entrepreneurship. We need [...]
  • Lost or Found?

    There's no question that we are living in rapidly changing times, but what's not given much attention in all the emotional conversation is that the outcome will not be the same for everyone. Some people will come through these times bitter while others will end up better. Money has nothing to [...]
  • My Love Affair With Trader Joe’s

    Since my daughter Jennie moved to Austin, TX she’s loved everything about her new hometown except that there’s no Trader Joe’s. When I go to visit, I tuck several of her favorites in my suitcase, but they’re a poor substitute for having our favorite grocer available on a regular basis. For [...]
  • Who Me? Take a Sabbatical?

    When funnyman Steve Martin's book Pure Drivel came out it enjoyed critical raves and enthusiastic sales. Although the author has long been recognized for his fertile comic mind, he told the Today Show's Matt Lauer that the book would not have happened if he hadn't taken time off. His sabbatical [...]
  • Benvenuto!

    Buon viaggio….good journey. How nice to have you along. This blog has been a long time brewing. Hardly a day passes when I don’t come across a fascinating new business idea, inspiring story or useful resource and want to pass it along. Up until now, I haven’t had a vehicle for doing so. That’s [...]
  • Booklover’s London

    One of my earliest childhood memories is of my mother reading to me, “They’re changing guards at Buckingham Palace, Christopher Robin went down with Alice.” My passion for London started long ago and it has never subsided. Like many Anglophiles, I became smitten with all things British from [...]
  • Welcoming Customers

    You'd think that every entrepreneur would consider it essential to welcome potential buyers and clients to their business, but experience shows that's not always the case. Browse at any flea market or craft fair and you'll see numerous vendors who are reading a book or chatting with other [...]
  • Keeping It Lively In Austin

    A month after my daughter and her family moved to Austin, TX, I went to visit them in their new hometown. As soon as I walked off the plane, I saw signs that this is a place that is proud of local businesses. The airport has few chain businesses, but you can find Salt Lick bar-b-que, Amy’s ice [...]
  • More Good Stuff to Explore

    Of all the Christmas gifts that Jack has received, there's one that he remembers most fondly. When he was still dreaming about being a writer, his sister gave him a copy of Writer's Market.   It was the first time anyone had encouraged his writing aspirations—and it made a big difference. [...]
  • Tips for the Apprentice Expert

    Write a one-paragraph biography of yourself such as you might see listed at the end of a seminar description. How can you describe yourself in a brief and interesting way? Make a list of 10 tip sheet subjects. Write one of them. Now make a list of all the ways you can use this list. Pick one [...]
  • Being an Entrepreneurial Villager

    My flight to London had barely lifted off when my seatmate and I began to chat. I soon learned that the handsome man seated next to me was a former art teacher who reinvented his life and now is a fulltime painter. Since English landscapes are his specialty, he was a frequent flyer to England. [...]
  • What Stephen King Knows

      As is common on the eve of Compelling Storytelling, I am filled with antiicpation. Spending three days watching participants make fresh creative discoveries that will impact their businesses is just about the most fun I can imagine. Creativity still is a mysterious force, but the behavior [...]
  • Putting Yourself in Good Company

    When my friend Peter Vogt called this morning, I happily settled in for one of our always inspiring chats. The catalyst for his call was a seminar he'd attended yesterday. "I think I was channeling you," he joked and went on to tell me a story about what he called a "smarmy SCORE volunteer" who [...]
  • Ideas From Everywhere: Roundup Week 4

    Monday was a National Day of Service and Seth Godin offered 18 creative service ideas that could be a worthwhile way to spend some time whenever you'd like to offer it. For the past several years, Kiplinger’s magazine has run an annual feature called What $1000 Can Do. Every issue has been [...]
  • In business to annoy?

    They’re baaaaaack! Those annoying Internet flashing banner ads that disappeared for a while have returned with a vengeance. They make my eyes cross and my head ache. They do not make me think, “Oh, that looks interesting. I’d better check it out and see what I’m missing.” Same goes for local tv [...]
  • Avoid the Right Thing

    When I started my first business, The Successful Woman, I thought I'd model it after existing personal development companies. I quickly realized that many of the people making a living as motivational speakers were doing things that I had no interest in emulating. My response to some of the [...]
  • What Gary Did Right

    When Gary Buehler moved from Nebraska to Colorado, he brought with him his wife Duncan, toddler Adam and Hasselblad camera. After years of honing his skills as a photographer, he was ready to set up shop. They settled in Nederland, a little mountain town above Boulder. Shortly thereafter, we [...]
  • Ideas from Everywhere: Roundup Week 2

    It felt like an entrepreneurial cyclone hit this week. Besides all the intriguing resources I’ve collected, there was much rejoicing all around me. The week began with learning that yes, indeed, there will be a revised and updated version of Making a Living Without a Job before the end of the [...]
  • Great Things To Do With a Gift of Time

    Every business has times that are less busy than others. You can use this time to fret and worry that your entrepreneurial life has come to an end—or you can view it as a gift of time to do some of those things you’ve been telling yourself you’ll do when you have time. It just makes sense, it [...]
  • Do Talk to Strangers

    Since my Do Talk To Strangers Policy is a vital component of traveling, I began to consider how I actually go about it. I realized that some of it is purely intuitive. For instance,  when a stranger plunks down next to me on an airplane, I take a breath, take a look and see if I’m moved to [...]
  • Turning Personal Experiences into Profit Centers

    Shortly before the end of the year, I was talking to Karyn Ruth White and the subject of resolutions came up. “I don’t really make them,” she said. “But I do sit down at the end of the year and write about ten lessons I’ve learned in the previous year.” Then she added, “I’ve even had a couple [...]
  • Funding Comes Second

    It happens every time I announce a new special event. Almost immediately, I begin getting messages that say, “Someday I’d love to attend your Storytelling seminar.” Or “When will you be doing your Storytelling event in Alaska?” These questions suggest that many people haven't learned one of the [...]
  • A Few Thoughts on Health Insurance

    Without a doubt, the most frequently asked question I hear is, “What about health insurance?” While I understand why it comes up so often, it shouldn’t be the first concern when starting a business. We all know that the health insurance industry has gotten out of control and even large [...]
  • Spread the Spirit

    Entrepreneurs have a well-deserved reputation for being independent. This can be both a strength and a weakness. Psychologists tell us that the maturing process happens in three stages. We go from being dependent to being independent to being interdependent.  Our working lives often follow the [...]
  • Package What You Know

    In my scrapbook is a page of Making a Living Without a Job memorabilia that I’ve titled “The Class That Became a Business.” Indeed, it was only after people repeatedly said, “I’d love to be doing what you do,” that I began to realize there was an opportunity to share what I had learned. [...]
  • Equipped for Chaotic Times

    Earlier this year, the Las Vegas Sun ran a brilliant piece by Tom Breitling which began, “The economic news is relentless. Home foreclosures. Teetering mortgage companies. Tottering airlines. Brands that once rode high are going bankrupt. Job losses. Dangerous levels of public and private debt. [...]