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In This Issue

As you read this issue, think about these insightful words from Paul Harvey:

Someday I hope to have enough of what the world calls success so that people will ask me, "What's your secret?" And I will tell them, "When I fall down, I pick myself back up."

Barbara with the Bulls Last night's NBC Nightly News ended with a story about people who were starting a business after losing their jobs. There was an IT guy who is selling his salsa at farmer's markets. He looked downright happy. Of course, the reporter cautioned us all that the Small Business Administration says more than half of all businesses fail in the first four years. I've grown oblivious to such statistics, but this time I started thinking about the reasons for those statistics since I've defied those statistics for several decades.

Today I sent the next issue of Winning Ways to my printer. No one is more astonished than I am that it is Volume 23, No. 3. That's not the only milestone I'm celebrating on this mid-July day. Sixteen years ago today, Making a Living Without a Job made its appearance in bookstores. It still seems incredible that it's stayed in print so long and will be reappearing in its new version in six weeks. Every year, my business is bigger and better than it was the year before. I've been through all sorts of ups and downs in the economy, but weathered them with a fair amount of grace.

I never expected to set any records for longevity. For starters, I have a very low threshold of boredom. I've held 4 jobs in my life. The longest of these lasted 5 years; the others came closer to a single year each. To think that I found something that is as thrilling today as it was when I began over twenty years ago, is wonderful, but it wasn't even where I thought I was headed.

After I moved to Minneapolis in 1986, I discovered Open U, an independent adult ed program. On a whim, I sent them a proposal for a little class I envisioned (but had never taught) called Making a Living Without a Job. When they promptly accepted, I assumed this would be a fun, but temporary, program. There can't be that many people who are interested, I told myself. The first time the class appeared in their catalog, I got a call from the director who startled me by saying, "You'd better know how to make a living without a job. We've got twice as many people who want to sign up as we have room for." Still, I thought it would be a flash and go away. I couldn't have been more wrong. This little class went on to become a top seller in adult ed programs around the country for over a dozen years.

So what explains this longevity? According to Buddhist teachings, one of the characteristics of right livelihood is that the work becomes more, not less, interesting the longer you do it. Right livelihood evolves and pulls us to the next level and the next. It keeps us fascinated because there's always something new to learn, new ideas to try.

A fine example of that was artist Beatrice Wood who dazzled the world with her pottery. She also lived to be 105. When asked the secret of her longevity, Wood would reply, "Chocolate and younger men," but a passion for her work is what kept her creating and living full throttle all along the way.

Duke University has studied long livers for decades and concludes that the single biggest factor contributing to an active old age is doing work that you love throughout your life. Despite the evidence from the Duke study and others that have reached the same conclusion, it seems as if we're keeping that a big secret. (I bet you've seen a story in the last week about the dangers of smoking or eating a high fat diet. How many have you seen about the dangers of working only for a paycheck?)

Another fascinating study was done on a group of nuns who were also living a vigorous old age. Researchers began studying them because many of these women lived to the 100 year mark with little slowing down in mental capabilities. Besides being nonsmokers and as physically active as possible, the women were all devoted lifelong learners continually reading, discussing and exposing themselves to new ideas. And that, according to researchers, may be the key. It also may be the key to building a long and prosperous business.

So on this anniversary of mine, I'm going to remember that the fountain of youth has been within reach all along. If you want to live long and prosper, find work that you love and don't stop learning. But don't wait too long to get started. Singer Joan Baez had it right when she said, "You don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you're going to live. Now."

Watching Ken Robert grow as a writer has been a joyful experience for me. I urge you to rush over to his Mildly Creative site and read today's marvelous piece called, Are You on the Wrong Bus? 5 Signs You're Headed in the Wrong Direction. It's full of great insights. If you pay attention, you could add years to your business and your life.

Then jump on the Marketing Summer TeleTour bus. Organizers Marty Marsh and Jody Gabourie have put together a stunning lineup of 15 marketing experts to share marketing secrets that really work in today's ever-changing marketplace.

As the organizers remind us, so many small business owners just like you - many of them solo-entrepreneurs - are spending more time agonizing over what kind of marketing they should be doing than actually getting any marketing done. If you're ready to really make a success with your business, The Marketing Summer Tour is THE marketing event of the summer and the best way you can spend some of your time so that the rest of this year - and the next and the next - can be your best business year ever!

The Marketing Summer Tour kicks off on Monday, July 20, with Ilise Benun, Marcia Yudkin and Jan Stringer. I'll be on board on Thursday, July 23, sharing ideas for Creating and Managing Multiple Profit Centers. Click on the link below to read all about this exciting learning event. Then add your name to the participant list.

Marketing Summer Tour

As I discovered long ago, meeting rooms are one of my natural habitats. Being in a room with curious kindred spirits never gets tiring. Just this morning I got an e-mail from a radio talk show host who had attended Making a Living Without a Job years ago in Washington, D.C. He wrote, "YOU CHANGED MY LIFE and I'm hoping you'll let me return the favor. I've been HAPPILY without-a-full-time-employer since January 1, 1995. Mostly, I'm a media consultant, specializing in talk radio.  And soon, I'll be moonlighting ON talk radio, when I guest-host the syndicated Jim Bohannon Show on 300+ stations, Monday 7/27 and Tuesday 7/28.  I'm writing to invite you to appear with me. Back in the 80s, curious-and-entrepreneurial-as-I-was, your book and topic were of real interest to me personally.  Now...times-being-what-they-are-economically, I think your message means more than ever, to everybody...and I think it'd be a great hour of radio, outlining some of the principles you told our seminar way-back-when, and fielding listeners' calls."

I never get tired of those stories and know that there are thousands, probably millions, more such stories waiting to be written-and lived.

Even more amazing things are possible when we take ourselves away to focus and brainstorm and commit. That's precisely what will be happening at Follow Through Camp in Chaska, MN on September 11 & 12. That may seem far away, but with our limited enrollment, only the first folks to take action will be able to participate. Early Bird pricing expires on August 15th.

Those are the basic facts, but there's much more to it. Check it out and let us know if you want to come along.

Follow Through Camp

Just as I was celebrating my book's birthday, I got a message from my sister Nancy that her latest book, Symbols of Wealth and Power, had arrived by courier this morning. That book was 14 years in the making, which suggests longevity of another sort. Her publisher calls it the new definitive text on Etruscan terra-cottas. Congratulations, Nancy!

Buona fortuna,


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