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  • 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, [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Cause to Celebrate

    On a steamy July Saturday several years ago, I accepted an invitation to accompany a friend to the bridal shop where she had chosen a gown. As I sat on the sidelines, I watched groups of women arrive — brides-to-be with mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends in tow. The young women would [...]
  • Being an Entrepreneurial Villager

    My flight to London had barely lifted off when my seatmate and I began to chat. I soon learned that the handsome man seated next to me was a former art teacher who reinvented his life and now is a fulltime painter. Since English landscapes are his specialty, he was a frequent flyer to England. [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 #11 More Options, Please

    Another barrier to building an inspired business is what I call Either/Or Thinking. Too often, that’s simply a manifestation of scarcity thoughts. Consider conventional career guidance that encourages us to believe we must have a Single Lifetime Career. In this scenario your 17-year-old self [...]
  • 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 Field Guide to Genus Entrepreneurus

    Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. ~ Jane Howard One of the major obstacles to successful self-employment is not having a circle of entrepreneurial friends. When I point that out in Making a Living [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • A Passion for Pets

    Although there's currently a battle brewing over whether they should be called pet owners or pet guardians, there's no quarrel about the fact that we are a nation of animal lovers. More than 31 million households in the U.S. own one or more dogs (the average is 1.7); 27 million homes have at [...]
  • IdeaStarter #12 Catch the Virus

    Think about an older person that you know, one you would describe as youthful. What’s the distinguishing characteristic of this lively elder? I’m guessing that curiosity about anything and everything is what stands out. It’s the same quality that makes for successful entrepreneurship. We need [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • PS to Booklovers’ London

    Right after I sent out my Joyfully Jobless News today where I mentioned Booklovers' London, the new stop on Inspiration Station, I got this tip from Londoner Ken Titmuss who shared this little treasure. He writes: A very special bookshop  I can recommend is the one at Old Street Tube station. [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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. [...]
  • 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 #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 #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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]