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  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • What Would You Do For Free?

    Like many people, I became a fan of Malcolm Gladwell after reading The Tipping Point. Not only did I find his ideas fascinating (and applicable to the Joyfully Jobless life), but his storytelling made the book fun to read. So when I saw an article in Time magazine about his new book, Outliers, [...]
  • Putting the Odds in Your Favor

    Here in Las Vegas, we post the odds in our casinos. They are not in your favor. That does not seem to dissuade people from attempting to beat them, of course. I learned about  more favorable odds from my sister Margaret. Years ago, I was fretting about something--earthquakes or tornadoes, [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Genuine VIPs

    In his chapter on fear in The War of Art, Steven Pressfield has this to say:”We know that if we embrace out ideals, we must prove worthy of them. And that scares the hell out of us. What will become of us? We will lose our friends and family, who will no longer recognize us. We will wind up [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • E-mail Worth Reading

    After we opened our gifts last Christmas, my daughter said, “I was going to give you a Blackberry, but I didn’t want to feed your e-mail addiction.” Although I protested that it wasn’t that bad, she had evidence to the contrary. What Jennie doesn’t understand is that my e-mail is usually full [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 — [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Beating the Work Alone Blues

    One of the most difficult things for new entrepreneurs is the isolation that often accompanies launching a business. If you plan to work alone, you can head off the blues by incorporating these ideas into your schedule. Know your own rhythms. Plan your working time to take advantage of your [...]
  • Lessons From a Four Year Old

    In her short life, my granddaughter Zoe has played soccer, studied Spanish and taken swim and dance lessons. She's also amassed an impressive library, traveled enthusiastically, hosted parties and is a whiz at doing jigsaw puzzles. When I visit, she and I usually prepare at least one meal [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Ideas From Everywhere: Roundup Week 4

    Monday was a National Day of Service and Seth Godin offered 18 creative service ideas that could be a worthwhile way to spend some time whenever you'd like to offer it. For the past several years, Kiplinger’s magazine has run an annual feature called What $1000 Can Do. Every issue has been [...]
  • 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, [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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. [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]