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  • 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 [...]
  • Book a Paid Adventure

    Peter Leshak is a writer and handyman who spends part of his time fighting forest fires. When a television reporter asked him about this dangerous and difficult occupation, Leshak shrugged off his concerns by saying, "I think of it as a paid adventure." Without doing anything nearly so [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Who Me? Take a Sabbatical?

    When funnyman Steve Martin's book Pure Drivel came out it enjoyed critical raves and enthusiastic sales. Although the author has long been recognized for his fertile comic mind, he told the Today Show's Matt Lauer that the book would not have happened if he hadn't taken time off. His sabbatical [...]
  • What Stephen King Knows

      As is common on the eve of Compelling Storytelling, I am filled with antiicpation. Spending three days watching participants make fresh creative discoveries that will impact their businesses is just about the most fun I can imagine. Creativity still is a mysterious force, but the behavior [...]
  • 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.
  • Cause to Celebrate

    On a steamy July Saturday several years ago, I accepted an invitation to accompany a friend to the bridal shop where she had chosen a gown. As I sat on the sidelines, I watched groups of women arrive — brides-to-be with mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends in tow. The young women would [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • IdeaStarter #17 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 [...]
  • Running a Tidy Ship

    Albert Einstein once pointed out that everything should be made as simple as possible — but no simpler. This certainly can be applied to any business that wants to keep its equilibrium. For most entrepreneurs, that requires constant vigilance since a business can become complicated and [...]
  • A Field Guide to Genus Entrepreneurus

    Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. ~ Jane Howard One of the major obstacles to successful self-employment is not having a circle of entrepreneurial friends. When I point that out in Making a Living [...]
  • Keeping It Lively In Austin

    A month after my daughter and her family moved to Austin, TX, I went to visit them in their new hometown. As soon as I walked off the plane, I saw signs that this is a place that is proud of local businesses. The airport has few chain businesses, but you can find Salt Lick bar-b-que, Amy’s ice [...]
  • Growing a Gardening Business

    "I know what I like to do," the little thinker smugly says, "but I couldn't possibly make money doing it." Many of us carry around a belief (often hidden) that earning money is only appropriate when we're not having too much fun doing so. What nonsense. If you look around, you'll see that [...]
  • Idea Starter #1 Get Moving

    Move around. Whenever I see Rodin’s statue of The Thinker, I’m certain that whatever he’s thinking about is not causing a creative rush. Sitting and thinking while hoping ideas will land in your lap is both grueling and ineffective. While our minds need to rest, daydreaming seldom spawns a new [...]
  • Time to Learn?

     Been wondering if you should take time to attend Compelling Storytelling  or some other Special Event? Here are a few signs that the time is right.   √ You’ve reached all of your goals. √ You’ve reached none of your goals. √ You are in need of some fresh ideas. √ You’d like to get a new [...]
  • Funding Comes Second

    It happens every time I announce a new special event. Almost immediately, I begin getting messages that say, “Someday I’d love to attend your Storytelling seminar.” Or “When will you be doing your Storytelling event in Alaska?” These questions suggest that many people haven't learned one of the [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Daytrippin’…Hunting Chihuly

    My love affair with  Dale Chihuly began about a decade ago when I stumbled upon a public television airing of Chihuly Over Venice. I had no idea who Chihuly was, but five minutes into watching and I was spellbound. I grabbed a videotape and popped it into the recorder sensing that what I was [...]
  • Travel Tales

    Mythology and literature have frequently told tales of people who went on a journey and in the process discovered more about themselves. Some of these stories, such as Homer's Odyssey (written in the 9th century BC) and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (from the 14th century), remain staples in [...]
  • Turning Personal Experiences into Profit Centers

    Shortly before the end of the year, I was talking to Karyn Ruth White and the subject of resolutions came up. “I don’t really make them,” she said. “But I do sit down at the end of the year and write about ten lessons I’ve learned in the previous year.” Then she added, “I’ve even had a couple [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Making Values Visible

    Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield like to joke that they became friends because they were the two slowest, fattest kids in their seventh grade gym class. That friendship continued on through high school and was interrupted only by their individual attempts at going to college. Ben dropped out [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Friendly Fearbashers

    If you quake at the thought of going out on your own and setting up shop, here are some fearbashers that can reroute you back to the road to success. Do temporary work. March into a temporary help agency and get signed up for a short-term project. When you get an assignment, don't think of [...]