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  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Shaping Up Your Office for the New Year

    Several years ago, I was having tea with friends at the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara when the conversation turned to feng shui, the Chinese art of placement. I knew nothing about it and decided to investigate. I made several attempts to learn more by reading about feng shui, but found the [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • To Be Jolly

    There are hundreds of perfectly smart reasons to be joyfully jobless, not the least of which is that people who are doing work that they love tend to be, well, more loving and joyful. Want to bring more fun and joy to your business? Here are a few well-tested ideas. Keep having Firsts. [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Getting the Most Out of a Seminar or Class

    As I was busily rearranging the hotel ballroom where my seminar was to be held, a man arrived, marched to the front seat, sat down, folded his arms over his chest and said in a demanding voice, "This better be good!" I was quite certain that he was about to be disappointed. During the [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Odds & Ends

    The handouts are printed, the hotel has our room set up order, the Mystere tickets are booked. Everything that needs to be ready for another great Compelling Storytelling is in place. Alice Barry and I aren’t the only ones getting more excited as the days grow closer. Here’s a comment [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Creating a Steady Cash Flow

    Several years ago, I had a lovely long-term consulting assignment which kept me both busy and solvent.  One morning I woke up and realized that it was coming to an end and I had nothing lined up.  After a few moments of panic, I decided to get serious about creating my next income source.  I [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • IdeaStarter #18 More Ways to Find Good Ideas

    Ever since Marcia Yudkin has been sending out her weekly Marketing Minute, I've looked forward to each one. She always comes up with suggestions that are both creative and practical. When the following article arrived in my mailbox last week, I knew I wanted to pass it along since it is a great [...]
  • 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 [...]