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  • Package What You Know

    In my scrapbook is a page of Making a Living Without a Job memorabilia that I’ve titled “The Class That Became a Business.” Indeed, it was only after people repeatedly said, “I’d love to be doing what you do,” that I began to realize there was an opportunity to share what I had learned. [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • IdeaStarter #16 Don’t Forget to Have Fun

    Okay, so maybe you’re one of those rare folks who already is having so much fun that you can’t stand another joyful moment. If so, this isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you suspect that  having fun may be the real key to making money (and enjoying the ride), read on.  ° Stop saying yes when [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Another Barrier Down

    Somewhere someone is looking for exactly what you have to offer. ~ Louise Hay For thousands of years, anyone running a business was at the mercy of geography. If you lived near a river or the ocean, you had opportunities not available to your landlocked neighbors. Being an entrepreneur [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 — [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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,” [...]
  • 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, [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • IdeaStarter #13 Yes We Can

    Although I’ve lived through numerous Inauguration Days in my life, I don’t recall any previous ceremony generating the kind of excitement that today's celebration has. Even the ramp up to this day has been filled with incredible enthusiasm. Rick Steves flew from Seattle to DC yesterday and [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • How to Support Your Wanderlust

    Been bitten by the travel bug and need a way to finance your dream? You don't have to win the lottery in order to see the world. Finding a way to fund your travel dreams can be a creative adventure in and of itself. While many might forego travel or spend years scrimping to save up for a big [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • A Few Thoughts on Health Insurance

    Without a doubt, the most frequently asked question I hear is, “What about health insurance?” While I understand why it comes up so often, it shouldn’t be the first concern when starting a business. We all know that the health insurance industry has gotten out of control and even large [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Keys to Unlocking Your Passion

    Finding our passion is really learning to hear the voice of our heart. This voice is never timid, lukewarm, or insipid. It doesn't use the word "should." When we connect with an idea, object, or person that generates passion, the voice of our heart exclaims, "That's for [...]
  • Just an Idea?

    According to people who study such things, we’ve gone from the Industrial Age to the Information Age and are now entering the Idea Age. Creative thinking, often scorned by left-brained thinkers, is taking on a new importance. Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, says,  [...]