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  • IdeaStarter #15 Refuse to Have Boring Problems

    During the bleakest time of my life, my neighbor John stopped by to see how I was doing. Relieved that someone cared about me (I told you this was bleak), I rattled off a lengthy list of my latest woes. When I finished, John put his arm around my shoulder, smiled at me and said, “Barbara, [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Multiple Passions, Multiple Profits

    There are so many selves in everybody and to explore and exploit just one is wrong, dead wrong, for the creative process. ~ James Dickey Steven Kalas is a family counselor with a lively practice. He also plays in a band that’s been busy promoting their new CD, but I know Kalas for a [...]
  • The Power of Practice

    My brother Jim lives in California and is an avid surfer. He’s also 62 years old. One day we were talking on the phone and he said,  “I was driving to the beach yesterday morning and it was still dark. I was thinking, ‘Why am I doing this?’” “You’re doing it so you can have a lively old age,” I [...]
  • 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. [...]
  • 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,  [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • A Well-kept Secret

    Have you visited Inspiration Station yet? My plan for that part of the site is to explore different places from an entrepreneurial point of view. The current locale is one of my favorite places—Venice, Italy. I've been thinking about Venice since I wrote the pieces there, so I was particularly [...]
  • Love a Good Mystery?

    Classes on "How to Become a Private Detective" have enjoyed great popularity in adult ed programs and I think I know why. For as long as I can remember, mystery writers have delighted us with tales of amateur sleuths who always outsmart the professionals. It's logical, then, that some of us [...]
  • Cheap Tricks: Marketing On A Shoestring

    Very few people start a business because they love marketing. And yet, without marketing it's unlikely that a business will succeed. Whether you're a webmaster or window washer, an artist or an accountant, you know that success is dependent upon securing business and that attracting and [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Have a Nicer Flight

    Many things improve with age; airline travel is not one of them.  Even before increased airport security slowed things down, the flying experience was loaded with stress-inducing delays and rude behavior. Frequent flyers just grit their teeth and bear it as best they can, but a bit of [...]
  • Making a Living Without a Job

    Ready to leave behind the 9-to-5 world and start building some-thing on your own? Don't know where to start? Millions of Americans have already traded in their corporate lifestyle for the satisfaction, freedom and creative challenge of jobless earning. So can you. This seminar is for everyone [...]
  • IdeaStarter #5 Bump into a Good Idea

    One day, a friend called to say she was upset to learn that she needed an expensive car repair. I suggested that we go mall walking that evening. “Let’s see if we can walk ourselves into an answer,” I said. For the first twenty minutes, we walked and she talked. By that time, her stress was [...]
  • Collecting Information

    If you plan to package information, publish a customer newsletter or establish yourself as an expert by writing and/or speaking, you'll find yourself collecting information all the time. After a while, however, it's easy to depend on your regular sources and forget about the other options you [...]
  • Two Merchants of Venice

    Even though I haven’t had much personal contact with Venetian entrepreneurs, there are two I will never forget. Claudio is the owner of a small hotel I stayed in on a visit a few years ago. One morning he and I had a long visit about his hotel (a Rick Steves recommendation) and what his life [...]
  • 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#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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Inspiration Galore

    Inspiring people were turning up everywhere this week. The January/February issue of Ode magazine arrived with its cover story called 25 Intelligent Optimists Who Are Creating a Better Tomorrow Today. Most of the people profiled aren't famous, but they're sincerely making a difference. If you [...]
  • 10 Sure Fire Signs That You Should Leave the Rat Race and Embrace Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

    By Bizymoms There are many of us who have that proverbial entrepreneurial fire in the belly, but sometimes we just tend to miss the signs. If the constraints of your job are getting too much for you to handle, perhaps you ought to look for the signs whether it is your natural entrepreneurial [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Teaching from Experience: How to Get Started

    It's been 18 years since I first began teaching adults and I still find it an invigorating and profitable experience. Teaching adults has taken me all over the country and abroad, given me visibility in my community, brought interesting new people into my life, and led to the publication of my [...]
  • Ah, Venice The Elegant Home Based Business

    Venice, Italy is an exotic and mysterious place that attracts visitors from around the world. It’s been doing so for centuries. In its heyday, it was a rich and powerful center of trade and business. Poised between East and West, Venice became a city of merchants, many of whom ran their [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Work at Home Opportunistas

    There was no shortage of candidates for the Most Annoying Person Award that I was mentally planning to bestow. At the top of the short list was Billy Mays, the guy who screams at us in TV ads to buy wrenches, foot powder and cleaning products. But he had stiff competition from Stephanie, a [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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.
  • Great Businesses for Bookworms

    Jan Dean and I became friends because of our mutual love of books. Several years ago, Jan was doing conferences and workshops in northern Texas on starting a home based business. She ordered Winning Ways, the newsletter which I publish, and promptly wrote me a charming letter telling me about [...]