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  • 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 [...]
  • On Fear and Failure

    Three of my four siblings are coming to visit early next week so that was the impetus for me to go through a stack of magazines and move some to the recycling bin. My decluttering project slowed down, however, when I came across some articles I hadn't yet read. Three of them were worth passing [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Patience, Persistence & Postage

    Years ago, I stumbled across Helene Hanff's 84, Charing Cross Road on the shelves of the Santa Barbara Public Library. Although I knew nothing about the book, I soon discovered a kindred spirit. The book is a collection of letters written between Hanff, a struggling New York writer and [...]
  • Benvenuto!

    Buon viaggio….good journey. How nice to have you along. This blog has been a long time brewing. Hardly a day passes when I don’t come across a fascinating new business idea, inspiring story or useful resource and want to pass it along. Up until now, I haven’t had a vehicle for doing so. That’s [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Investing Creative Capital

    In the absence of capital, creativity flourishes. Robert Stephens, Founder The Geek Squad Lately, we haven’t seen much of Juan Valdez, the fictional iconic Colombian coffee grower featured in television ads, but that’s about to change. The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Columbia are [...]
  • Another Barrier Down

    Somewhere someone is looking for exactly what you have to offer. ~ Louise Hay For thousands of years, anyone running a business was at the mercy of geography. If you lived near a river or the ocean, you had opportunities not available to your landlocked neighbors. Being an entrepreneur [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • More Good Stuff to Explore

    Of all the Christmas gifts that Jack has received, there's one that he remembers most fondly. When he was still dreaming about being a writer, his sister gave him a copy of Writer's Market.   It was the first time anyone had encouraged his writing aspirations—and it made a big difference. [...]
  • On the Eve of the Most Important Election of My Life…and Yours

    My friend Steve Strauss has a thoughtful and eloquent article that I urge you to read called The True Small Business Candidate. I urge you to read it whether you've already voted or not.
  • From Seed to Blossom

    When you read a luscious book, you probably don’t think about the numerous rewrites made by the author. Likewise, we seldom get to peek behind the scenes at the long and winding road that brought us our favorite technology tools or movies. Many of those stories would be tedious, of course, but [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Five Tips for Better Storytelling

    So what does it take to be a great storyteller? The fundamentals are pretty simple. ° Curiosity. Bernice Fitz-Gibbon, who not only produced innovative ad copy, but also trained many successful copywriters, wrote, “I have never known anyone who bounced out of bed in the morning, delighted and [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Bad Time to Start a Business?

    All sorts of folks are blogging about whether it’s too dangerous to start a business during our current economic challenges. Some of them have lengthy arguments against taking such a radical step.  I’m not sure where they’re getting their advice, but the Joyfully Jobless folks in my life are [...]
  • A Few of the Books I Loved This year

    This is the time when I traditionally pick my favorite title of the year. Looking back on 2008 (and my sagging bookshelves) I see that I had many new favorites in the past months. This is just a sampling of books that stayed with me long after I finished reading them. It was only a few weeks [...]
  • Planetkeeping Enterprises

    Helping others get clutter under control is, it would appear, an opportunity whose time has come. The motivations for leading a less cluttered life are varied. Some people hope that more order will lead to increased serenity and efficiency; the environmentally conscious are motivated by [...]
  • How to Support Your Wanderlust

    Been bitten by the travel bug and need a way to finance your dream? You don't have to win the lottery in order to see the world. Finding a way to fund your travel dreams can be a creative adventure in and of itself. While many might forego travel or spend years scrimping to save up for a big [...]
  • Why I Will Never Have a Job

    Almost everyone who chooses to become self-employed faces a barrage of questions from dreambashers and skeptics. The most popular question is, "How can you give up your security?" I am tempted to say, "You mean a puny little health insurance policy and two weeks' vacation?" There are [...]
  • Ideas from Everywhere: Roundup Week 3

    This past week, the Ideafest focused on the importance of inspiration. Not  surprisingly, all sorts of inspiring things kept popping up including this e-mail from Julie Fewster who lives in Northwich, Cheshire UK: I took a look at Inspiration Station  earlier this month, when after a joyful [...]
  • Banishing the Money Dragon

    Every so often I am asked some variation of the question, "Do you ever worry about money?" The truthful answer to that is, "Not anymore," but getting free of the Money Dragon had little to do with earning more money and everything to do with challenging my belief system about money. Allowing [...]
  • Avoid the Right Thing

    When I started my first business, The Successful Woman, I thought I'd model it after existing personal development companies. I quickly realized that many of the people making a living as motivational speakers were doing things that I had no interest in emulating. My response to some of the [...]
  • Change You Can Believe In

    When a word or phrase is used too often, it can lose its punch. Consider Joseph Campbell’s oft-quoted, “Follow your bliss,” which seemed breathtaking the first time we heard it. Today’s buzzword is, of course, change. It's taken a bit of a beating in the past weeks, which is a shame. When an [...]
  • IdeaStarter#10 Ask Idea-generating Questions

    Yesterday I mentioned that "How you gonna do that?" is a question that stops the idea flow. I’ve always been annoyed by cynical queries, but  it wasn’t until I read The One Minute Millionaire by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen that I really began to understand why questions matter so [...]
  • When the Going Gets Tough

    I don't have many routines in my life except for my daily trip to the post office. I grew up in a small town without mail delivery so picking up the mail has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. My father used to drive us to school, but a mail stop came first. As the oldest [...]
  • 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 [...]