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  • IdeaStarter #8 Go Gather

    One of the most popular ideas from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is her suggestion to schedule regular Artist Dates to stimulate fresh thinking. In Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach recommends the same notion which she calls taking Creative Excursions. It’s something I’ve done for a [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • IdeaStarter #4 What Scares You?

      Hardly a day passes when I don’t hear from someone who is bored to tears with their job and longing to step out on their own, but claim that fear is keeping them stuck. Alas, they’re not telling the truth, either to me or themselves. Fear, after all, is that really useful emotion that warns [...]
  • 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,” [...]
  • 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 — [...]
  • 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, [...]
  • Lost or Found?

    There's no question that we are living in rapidly changing times, but what's not given much attention in all the emotional conversation is that the outcome will not be the same for everyone. Some people will come through these times bitter while others will end up better. Money has nothing to [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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. [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Feeding Your Joyfully Jobless Spirit

    Entrepreneur is not a job title. It’s the state of mind of people who want to change the world. ~ Guy Kawasaki My definition of job security is having a strong, healthy entrepreneurial spirit. That can only occur if you feed yours regularly with activities and thoughts that are nurturing. Here [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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.
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Ideas Everywhere

      Entrepreneurial inspiration and information are everywhere. Here are a few—in no particular order—that I’ve collected this past week: * Twitter, Twitter, Twitter. I have no idea why Twitter is so addictive, but it is. I’m new to Twitter world, but find myself checking in frequently since the [...]
  • Keeping it Lively in Austin

    Last Saturday I flew to Austin, TX to visit my daughter and her family in their new hometown. Before we went to their house, I got the mini-tour. When I commented on all the people we saw who were running, walking or bicycling, Jennie said, “This town isn’t about buying stuff; it’s about doing [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • The Business of Uncluttering

    For years, would-be entrepreneurs have been advised to "find a need and fill it." Sometimes those needs are hiding in plain sight. A couple of summers ago, I decided to spend time uncluttering my life. I planned to go through every file, drawer and closet and get rid of anything that no longer [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Don’t Go There

    If money is your only hope for independence, you will never have it. ~ Henry Ford 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, [...]