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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, [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Is Your Business a Contender?

    No matter if you're a newcomer or seasoned veteran of the Joyfully Jobless life, your marketing can get a big boost if you stay alert to media opportunities. One easy way to put yourself in the path of opportunity is via a free service called Help Out a Reporter. Three times a day, the [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Three Great Reads for Storytellers (and Storylovers)

      I've been reading some books written by exquisite storytellers and thought you might want to check them out for yourself (if you can stand all the pleasure). I was completely enchanted by Geri Larkin's Plant Seed, Pull Weed. Larkin, an ordained Buddhist and gardener, has created a lovely [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Create your Own Inspiration Station

    We don’t need to push life so much as we need to experience it more elegantly, to be motivated more by inspiration than by ambition. ~ Marianne Williamson If you’re like me, you may have given little thought to inspiration. For much of my life, I believed that inspiration was random 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 [...]
  • Spread the Spirit

    Entrepreneurs have a well-deserved reputation for being independent. This can be both a strength and a weakness. Psychologists tell us that the maturing process happens in three stages. We go from being dependent to being independent to being interdependent.  Our working lives often follow the [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Cheap Tricks: Marketing at Fairs, Flea Markets, and Special Events

    Community fairs and markets are becoming increasingly popular, providing a nice environment for many artisans to market their wares. To maximize the potential of these short-term venues, consider the following tips. Look like you want to do business. Too many exhibiters at flea markets, [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Do Talk to Strangers

    Since my Do Talk To Strangers Policy is a vital component of traveling, I began to consider how I actually go about it. I realized that some of it is purely intuitive. For instance,  when a stranger plunks down next to me on an airplane, I take a breath, take a look and see if I’m moved to [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • How you gonna do that?

    One of the leading characteristics of entrepreneurial thinkers shows up in their approach to goal-setting. I was reminded of that this morning when I was talking to Lisa Tarrant, who spent the weekend holding her first tag sale. She said it had been a success and she was getting ready to list a [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]