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In This Issue

As you read this issue, think about these insightful words from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

One need not be wealthy, well connected, or even well educated to come up with a good new idea. Building a vision on excellence is open to anyone who wants to do good business.

Barbara at Buckingham Shortly after I started my first business, I boldly sent a press release to the nearest large newspaper. To my astonishment, I promptly received a call from a reporter who said she'd love to interview me and wondered if she might come to my office. I quickly suggested I come to her office. After all, I didn't want to reveal my secret: I didn't have a proper office.

We early homebusiness owners worked largely undercover. Not only were we not taken very seriously, we also had to be extremely clever about finding ways and means to run our businesses. There were almost no resources other than a few books on building conventional, highly capitalized businesses. There were a few workshops and booklets available from the Small Business Administration, but I quickly learned from attending one of their programs that they didn't take solo entrepreneurs seriously, either.

I was in business for almost two years before I met another woman who was self-employed. There wasn't any Internet or e-mail, no personal computer or fax machine. Any books or seminars that might be considered motivational were targeted to corporate workers. No magazines or newsletters existed to share information that would help the joyfully jobless stay that way. I marvel that I survived. I'm not sure when things began to change, but I do recall feeling quite alone in this adventure for more than a dozen years.

Now hardly a day passes when I don't read about or meet someone who is happily working on their own. The US Census Bureau, in a report from the late 1990's, shared this affirming information: "In the past, a homebased business was viewed as a side business operated primarily as a hobby or as a source of secondary income. The data contained in this study show that assertion to be inaccurate. The researcher's findings demonstrate how the home has become a hub of business activity, entrepreneurship, and business creation. Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations added $2.9 trillion to the economy , with homebased firms contributing $314 billion, or 11 percent." The SBA reports that every year there are dramatic increases in the numbers of homebusiness operations. Who knew we'd become so trendy?

All this activity has another consequence: as more of us go down this path and share what we've learned, it gets easier for the next round of self-bossers to step onto the trail we've been busily blazing. Magazines, books and Web sites offer more information than one person can possibly absorb. Best of all, much of this information is created by people who have run their own businesses and are passing along real life experience and advice, not dry business theory.

Technology, of course, has made an enormous contribution to the growth of businesses like mine. No longer dependent on our immediate area for customers, virtual businesses serve an unlimited marketplace. It's also made it possible for anyone to set up shop on an island, in an RV, or remote mountaintop, if they choose. City dwellers do, of course, run small businesses, but those who prefer a quieter setting can have the best of both worlds-a lively business in a bucolic setting.

I am both humbled and proud to have played a small part in this renaissance. I also know that even if I'd have remained alone in this homebased entrepreneurial life, I couldn't have gone back to working for someone else once I'd tasted freedom and discovered the unsurpassed joy and adventure that comes only by taking responsibility for exercising my entrepreneurial muscles. I get deliriously excited thinking about future possibilities. Claude Whitmyer from the Center for Good Work nailed it when he said, "Is self-employment the ultimate right livelihood? I think the answer is yes."

Of course, none of this matters if you don't investigate for yourself. As Brenda Ueland said, "If you have a million dollars in the bank and don't know it's there, what good does it do?"

As you may know, I live in a city of extremes, a place that's been through numerous booms and busts. It seems that whatever is happening in the rest of the country is happening here in a bigger way. As I write this, I'm hoping that some of our newly unemployed population will decide it's time to explore other options for making a living.

A great starting place is my upcoming Making a Living Without a Job seminar on Saturday morning, February 7th at UNLV. It's a perfect introduction to leaving the 9-to-5 world (or 11-to-7) behind. Then in the afternoon, we'll be looking at ways to Establish Yourself as an Expert.

Currently, this is the only time scheduled in Las Vegas for these two events. If you are in the area--or know someone who is--either or both of these classes could get you headed in a new direction. To register call 702/895-3394 or click on the link below:

Las Vegas Seminars

If you've been following the Ideafest on my blog, you've already heard me raving that it's only January and I may have already found my favorite book of the year. Sir Ken Robinson, one of the world's best-known thinkers on creativity, has a brand new offering called The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.

Filled with great stories, along with his keen observations about creativity and innovation, this book is both fun to read and wonderfully encouraging. There's his story about the Traveling Wilbury's, for instance, which reminds us that if we start the creative process we may end up with something far more brilliant than we expected. Robinson also talks eloquently about the importance of finding your tribe and nurturing your own inherent creative spirit. Simply inspiring from cover to cover.

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

It's not too late to partake of the dozens of resources, tips and $100 Hour suggestions at Buon Viaggio blog. You'll find links to all kinds of interesting stories including behind-the-scenes pictures at Cirque du Soleil's O, how Maureen Thomson used themes to change her life, and another from Copyblogger on how to stop being invisible. Check it out.

Buon Viaggio blog

Last week I began getting messages from readers asking if I'd dropped them from my mailing list. Goodness, no, I assured them. I simply miscalculated the time I needed to complete some projects. The Ideafest on my blog took much longer to write every day than I had expected. Then there's the Making a Living Without a Job book revision. Why I agreed to such a short deadline to complete that is still a mystery.

Still, it's a little lonely here at World Headquarters so one way to liven things up is to offer some fun new teleclasses. Two popular favorites will be returning.

On Monday, February 23, I'll be sharing ways for Outsmarting Resistance (with several new tips gained during this book revision project). The following Wednesday, February 25, I Hate Marketing makes a return to help those of you who love everything about your business EXCEPT marketing.

There's also a brand new teleclass on the block, a perfect follow-up to Ideafest. I'm joining forces with Idea Artisan Alice Barry for Better Than Brainstorming. If your creative spirit needs a tune- up, if you want to find more effective ways to generate and expand ideas, if you still think you're missing something in the inspiration department, this lively 90 minutes will show you dozens of ways to tune-in and turn on to your most innovative self.

Better Than Brainstorming is debuting on Wednesday, February 18, 8-9:30 PM Eastern, 5-6:30 PM Pacific. Once again, I'm offering a discount if you enroll in two or more teleclasses at the same time. And, yes, audio versions will be included for each teleclass that you register for.

Seems to me that a cozy little teleclass is a fine way to warm up a winter evening...and create a tax deduction while you gather new ideas.

Joyfully Jobless Teleclasses

If you haven't seen Maira Kalman's exquisite visual essay on the Inauguration, take a look at how an artist saw the day.

Pursuit of Happiness

Buona fortuna,


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