While I don’t remember precisely where or when it happened, I’m quite certain that I nodded solemnly the first time I heard Helen Keller’s observation that life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing. As time went on, those words were repeated as often as Joseph Campbell’s “follow your bliss”. Both bits of advice lost much of their magic and power by constant repetition. We may have agreed, but it didn’t change things much.

You’ve heard it. You’ve probably even said it: “I so resonate with that.”

I’ve never really, well, resonated with that expression. The phrase that pops into my head when I want to express extreme approval or affection for something is more likely to be, “I identify with that.”

Have you thought about the role that identifying plays in your life choices? For instance, I’ve pondered why it took me so long to realized that the self-employed life was for me. I grew up surrounded by self- employed people, but I didn’t really identify with them.

One of those folks was Ed Tetzloff, the proprietor of a musty and dimly lit dry goods store in my hometown. It was the place where we’d go with our nickels and dimes to purchase penny candy. Transactions with the portly Mr. Tetzloff were often conducted in silence as we handed over our weekly allowance for a few root beer barrels.

Nothing much ever changed in that store—or most of the other stores that stood on our Main Street. Throughout my growing years, the same people stood in the same places selling the same merchandise year in and year out.

Although my career advisers groomed me to take my place in the job market, I continued to believe that this was a world filled with possibilities. Adventures. New experiences.

This was blind faith in action and it took me a long time to move into that richly rewarding world.

The window on that world was opened for my when I read Supergirls: The Autobiography of an Outrageous Business. I realize now that this book was so powerful because from my first encounter with it, I identified with the notion of creating a business that was an extension of who I was and what I cared about. This wasn’t Tetzloff’s Variety Store. It was business as a passport to adventure and creativity.

Whether resonating or identifying is your style, the important thing to remember is that when you find yourself making a mental connection, it’s an invitation to go deeper, to explore, to see what’s waiting to be invited into your life.

That’s where new adventures begin.

    Note: Although I wrote this for newcomers to the homebased business movement,  feel free to borrow any advice that helps you survive as an employee suddenly working from home. 

You finally found the perfect business idea. You’ve turned the spare bedroom into World Headquarters. You got a boxful of business cards you’re proud to hand out. You can’t remember the last time you were this excited.

Then one challenging day the honeymoon is over. It’s so quiet. No phones ringing, no co-workers gossiping around the water cooler. On an especially difficult day you remember that your former boss often […] Continue Reading…

If you are selling pumpkins or Christmas trees, you know that your business will be having a cash flow boom followed by months of no income. Not all business, of course, are quite so dramatic.

However, almost every business, no matter its size, goes through annual cycles. There are months when cash is flowing in and months when its eerily quiet. It takes a few years to uncover the cycles for your particular business.

If you’re new to business, don’t panic when things slow down. Quieter times when you’re not dealing with clients and customers can be used to create new […] Continue Reading…

One of my favorite exercises in The Popcorn Report is the Universal Screen Test. As author Faith Popcorn explains, this is a simple way of taking an idea and holding it up against the major trends.

Is the idea of making a living without a job, for instance, riding the horse in the direction the horse is going? Let’s look.

Cashing Out: Absolutely. The movement  away from working for large corporations and doing work that is satisfying—even if less lucrative—is the wave of the future.

Cocooning: Right on-trend again. Creating a homebased business gives us more time in our own cocoons.

Down-Aging: There […] Continue Reading…

On the back cover of Tools of Titans, there’s a list of some of the folks Tim Ferris includes. All of them seem to have qualified because of big numbers.     Reading that list brought to mind something that still puzzles me.     For some time now, I’ve wondered if I’m the only one who winces at the frequent admonition to Go Big or Go Home. That sounds more threatening than inspiring to me. Why, I muse, would folks smart enough to abandon a huge soulless working environment want to replicate that?     And why, oh […] Continue Reading…

When I drive the 40 miles or so to Ventura, much of the trip takes me through an agricultural area. There are vineyards and fields bursting with a variety of fruits and vegetables.

The road is also lined with produce stands run by farm families. It’s a lovely contrast to the big city environment of Los Angels.

One October trip was especially memorable. In the springtime, this drive reminds me of Ireland because the craggy hills are so lush and green. Right now they’re festooned in shades of beige and brown, but it’s still a pleasant drive.

The road goes through an […] Continue Reading…

During the days when I taught high school English, I would never have assigned a book that I hadn’t read myself.  That carried over into my self-employment journey where I vowed to only recommend things I’d found worthwhile

That showed up in other ways as well. I decided to treat my business as a laboratory where I would experiment, test ideas, pay close attention to what worked—and what didn’t. I vowed to never teach what I hadn’t learned myself.

What I didn’t know back at the beginning was that the learning would never end. My curiosity never went on vacation.

There have […] Continue Reading…

Trendspotters agree that the market for unique and customized items is having a resurgence as more and more of us are learning to cherish the work of human hands.
Not all artisans are taking advantage of the opportunities, however.
Several years ago, I met a man who was a masterful carpenter who loved restoring old houses, flawlessly repairing woodwork and cabinetry.  At that time, he had abandoned his craft believing that no market existed for his services.
He had bought the myth of the starving artist and was living proof.
Happily, that myth is becoming outmoded as artisans are carving out […] Continue Reading…

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 seems to me, to spend this time wisely and well.

Here are a few possibilities.

° Review and revise your support system. Is it time to hire a virtual assistant? Find a new tax accountant? Get expert advice?

Unless you’re will to settle for the […] Continue Reading…

 
Blessed are the curious for they
shall have adventures.
Lovell Drachman
Small, Sassy & Successful
Time Out to Build a Better, not Just Bigger, Business
Got an idea but you don’t know where to take it?
Think your business is ready to move to the next step?
Are you sitting on the next big thing?
Have an idea that’s suffering from neglect?
If you said “yes” to any of those questions, it’s time to roundup your good idea, take them to a roomful of creative thinkers, and see where they want to go next.
Barbara Winter here. I’ve been fretting lately about a frustration I’ve seen in folks on […] Continue Reading…