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  • IdeaStarter #9 Immune to the Idea Virus?

    Although this week we’re looking  at ways to nurture inspiration—the grandparent of ideas—it’s equally important to consider the factors that shut off creative thinking. As Dr. Phil likes to point out, you can’t solve a problem you don’t acknowledge. What makes it even easier for these idea [...]
  • Eight Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Started a Business

    It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. ~ Dag Hammerskjold When I started my first business, I didn't know another self-employed person. There also was no Internet and not many books that were written for someone wanting to create a one-person operation. It [...]
  • Three Great Reads for Storytellers (and Storylovers)

      I've been reading some books written by exquisite storytellers and thought you might want to check them out for yourself (if you can stand all the pleasure). I was completely enchanted by Geri Larkin's Plant Seed, Pull Weed. Larkin, an ordained Buddhist and gardener, has created a lovely [...]
  • Kindness Appreciated

    About six weeks ago, I wrote about my trip to the Dale Chihuly exhibit in San Francisco. Nevertheless, I was surprised to open my mailbox this morning and discover a large package from Chihuly Studios. Since I knew I hadn't ordered anything from there, I thought it might be a belated birthday [...]
  • IdeaStarter #11 More Options, Please

    Another barrier to building an inspired business is what I call Either/Or Thinking. Too often, that’s simply a manifestation of scarcity thoughts. Consider conventional career guidance that encourages us to believe we must have a Single Lifetime Career. In this scenario your 17-year-old self [...]
  • Broader Horizons Start Here

    Everyone going down the road to making a living without a job immediately encounters a sign saying, "Exit Your Comfort Zone Now." Not surprisingly, many would-be explorers turn around at that point and return to whatever cocoon they have left. Since many people dislike being uncomfortable—even [...]
  • Is Your Business a Contender?

    No matter if you're a newcomer or seasoned veteran of the Joyfully Jobless life, your marketing can get a big boost if you stay alert to media opportunities. One easy way to put yourself in the path of opportunity is via a free service called Help Out a Reporter. Three times a day, the [...]
  • Zen and the Art of Growing a Business

    One New Year’s Day during my daughter’s college years, she called to  tell me about her celebration the night before. “The party I thought was going to be fun wasn’t,” Jennie said, “and the one I thought was  going to be boring was terrific.” “What a great metaphor,” I replied.  “Oh, Mom,” [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • IdeaStarter #14 Put Out the Welcome Mat

      The 16th century essayist Montaigne put it well when he advised, “If you’re going to withdraw into yourself, first prepare yourself a welcome.” While I suspect he was talking about becoming introspective, his advice stands up if you’re going run a solo business and/or live an idea-filled [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • A Potential Diamond Mine in Your Back Yard

    Are you living in a place that you love, a place that attracts visitors? If so, you could be sitting on a logical profit center — the proverbial acres of diamonds in your own back yard. Hospitality is big business and there are wonderful small-scale opportunities to meet and greet guests who [...]
  • Worth Thoughtful Consideration

    Seth Godin, who is a really smart guy, wrote a really smart blog post called Looking for a Reason to Hide. Check it out.
  • Less Can Be More: Businesses for People Who Don’t Like to Market

    Many would-be entrepreneurs get frightened off by the thought of marketing. They tremble at the erroneous notion that marketing is about finding universal acceptance, and they assume they're doomed to a life of rejection or cutthroat competition. If that sounds like a thought you've had, let [...]
  • It’s About Time

    My local tv news just featured a booming business called Vegas Errands. The owner is a young woman who responded to an ad on Craigslist, and ended up starting her own service business. As the story reported, business is booming. That didn’t surprise me. Asked whether they would rather [...]
  • Thanksgiving Week Treasures

      When my sisters and I used to spend time together, someone always went home with a new hair color. These days we’re more apt to be gathered around a computer, as we were on Thanksgiving showing Becky how to upload her photo on her new Facebook page. I am appreciative and thankful that my [...]
  • Making Your Business Visible

    British entrepreneur extraordinaire, Richard Branson, has long been noticed for his willingness to do outrageous things in order to promote his empire.  The irrepressible Branson, who reminds me of a naughty gnome, explains his frequent media appearances by saying, “Everyday television and [...]
  • A Full-time Job

    The most passionate environmentalist I've ever known was Chris Utterback. To her, all offenses were equally serious whether it was defiling a public space with graffiti or chopping down a rain forest. She cared deeply for the earth and couldn't understand why everyone didn't feel the same sense [...]
  • Cooking Up Profits

    Like thousands of people, Tim and Nina Zagat loved dining out. Unlike thousands of people, the Zagats found a way to turn that passion into a multimillion-dollar business. As is often the case, the Zagats hit upon their great idea because they couldn't find something they wanted themselves — [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Just an Idea?

    According to people who study such things, we’ve gone from the Industrial Age to the Information Age and are now entering the Idea Age. Creative thinking, often scorned by left-brained thinkers, is taking on a new importance. Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, says,  [...]
  • 29 Things to Love About Being Joyfully Jobless™

    Most of us have jobs that are too small for our spirit. Jobs are not big enough for people. ~ Nora Watson When Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “How do I love thee, let me count the ways,” she wasn’t talking about her life as a poet, but  I’m borrowing that idea anyway.  My list isn’t [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Winning Ways

    We’re all pilgrims on the same journey, but some pilgrims have better roadmaps. ~ Nelson deMille New ideas, information and inspiration arrive in your mailbox (your real mailbox, not the one on your computer) six times a year when you subscribe to Winning Ways newsletter. In my own [...]
  • Create your Own Inspiration Station

    We don’t need to push life so much as we need to experience it more elegantly, to be motivated more by inspiration than by ambition. ~ Marianne Williamson If you’re like me, you may have given little thought to inspiration. For much of my life, I believed that inspiration was random and [...]
  • IdeaStarter#2 Master the $100 Hour

    Build a personal portfolio of ideas. A man I know has the unfortunate habit of running out of money. When this happens, he goes into panic, followed by depression, followed by applying for a job he hopes he won’t get. During his latest cash flow crisis, I tried to explain to him, as gently as [...]
  • IdeaStarter #6 Create a Garden for Your Mind

    Look up from the computer you’re reading this on. What do you see? Reminders of places that inspire you? Books worth rereading? Does it matter? You probably know what I think the answer is to that last question—and I'm not alone in thinking that it matters a great deal. In 1883 Claude Monet [...]
  • New Year, New Theme

    1. September 2008  Happy New Year! Even if you don’t consider September the start of a new year as I do, you can use this idea to start the new month or phase of your life. I wouldn’t dream of starting a new year or a new project without deciding first what my theme is. After all, a party [...]
  • So What Do You Do?

    It's fundraising week at Nevada Public Radio and since I'm an enthusiastic supporter, listener and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me fan, I received a call asking for additional support. The charming volunteer explained all the additional treats I'd receive and I found myself happily giving her my [...]
  • Why Self-help Books Don’t Help

    When I first discovered the literature of personal growth and development, there weren't many titles to choose from. Today there are thousands. I always have a self-help book or two in my current reading pile because there's so much to learn. However, the self-help movement has spawned plenty [...]