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  • 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 [...]
  • 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, [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Overwhelmed? You’re not alone.

      I got this e-mail today and as I was answering it, I got thinking there might be other readers feeling the same way. So here’s the question and how I answered it: I'm planning to take your upcoming class on goalsetting. I feel like I'm not sure how/what can make me focus better. I wonder if [...]
  • Done With Living a Fearful Life?

      As you know, fear is a powerful emotion. When it’s doing its job, it helps us avoid danger and harm. (Don’t get in the elevator with that scary man.) On the other hand, fear can take over and keep us from ever discovering our purpose, passion and possibility.  Fear doesn't have to run our [...]
  • 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. [...]
  • 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, [...]
  • Establish Yourself as an Expert

    What is the difference between a book that becomes a bestseller and one that doesn't? Why is Julia Child a household name and your Aunt Ruth, a fabulous gourmet, known only to her household? Why is someone else becoming rich and famous doing what you can do even better? As the Information Age [...]
  • How to Spot an Inspired Entrepreneur

    ° They love innovation and ideas ° They ask "what if" alot ° They drop names of people they admire ° They study success ° They are not satisfied with the status quo ° They understand the power of practice ° They show up at gatherings of other inspired entrepreneurs ° They are tireless [...]
  • Overlooked Excellence

    There are only two reasons I bother to set my alarm clock: an early flight or CBS Sunday Morning. Since my local tv station carries this unfailingly informative program at revolving times (it can start anywhere from 6 AM to 7:30 AM) setting my alarm is a calculated guess.  I am kind of a [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • A Habitat Guide for Lifelong Learners

    Sometimes it's fun to learn something new just for the sake of learning; at other times, that learning leads to a new profit center. Wherever your learning path takes you, the important thing to remember is that learning is one of the best uses of time ever invented. Where do you begin? Here [...]
  • Inspiration Galore

    Inspiring people were turning up everywhere this week. The January/February issue of Ode magazine arrived with its cover story called 25 Intelligent Optimists Who Are Creating a Better Tomorrow Today. Most of the people profiled aren't famous, but they're sincerely making a difference. If you [...]
  • IdeaStarter #6 Create a Garden for Your Mind

    Look up from the computer you’re reading this on. What do you see? Reminders of places that inspire you? Books worth rereading? Does it matter? You probably know what I think the answer is to that last question—and I'm not alone in thinking that it matters a great deal. In 1883 Claude Monet [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • IdeaStarter #7 Motivation vs. Inspiration

    At last night's Golden Globe Awards, Steven Spielberg spoke eloquently about the need to nurture inspiration and not make decisions based on what's easy or popular. I don't hear people talking about that much. No wonder inspiration is dismissed or ignored. For a long time, I thought motivation [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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, [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • On Fear and Failure

    Three of my four siblings are coming to visit early next week so that was the impetus for me to go through a stack of magazines and move some to the recycling bin. My decluttering project slowed down, however, when I came across some articles I hadn't yet read. Three of them were worth passing [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]