One Thanksgiving, I accepted an invitation to have dinner with a group of relatives I didn’t know very well. The host was my cousin Ray who had followed in his family’s tradition of owning and operating a farm in southern Minnesota that raised corn and soybeans.

Shortly after dinner was over, he came over to visit with me. Two years earlier he had turned several acres of his farm into a vineyard, a rather unusual crop in that part of the world.

Of course, I was curious about how he’d decided to do so. He told me he’d spent a couple of years doing his homework, talking to other vineyard owners, traveling to seminars and consulting with the University of Minnesota.

In his second year of production, his crop outperformed all expectations. He was excited about selling his grapes to a vintner, but said he had plans to eventually produce his own wine and, perhaps, build a tasting room that would also be a place for weddings and other community events.

On my drive home that day, I could stop thinking about Ray’s passion. New visions, new learnings, new adventures have a way of awakening creativity and enthusiasm.

I made several visits to Winterhaven Vineyards before I moved from Minnesota. Ray was always delighted to share his progress. The vineyards were beautiful and Ray seemed proud and a little surprised to see what he was bringing to life.

A mere six years later, the vision that Ray shared with me on that Thanksgiving day has come to life. The winery is buzzing with activity and has, as my sister Margaret said, breathed new life into the little town whence I come. There’s live music, a restaurant, class reunions, and other lively gatherings.

Ray has created a collection of profit centers all rooted in his new passion.

Last week, they were awarded the Farm Family of the Year for their county. Their California relatives were jumping for joy at the news.

Watching Ray’s vision come to life has been a powerful reminder that when we are going down a new path that excites us, our imagination awakens in ways that can surprise and delight us.

He also reminds me that we can make money without the fun, as he did all those years growing corn and soybeans.

Happily, he discovered that money without the fun is only a partial payment.




Shortly after I met my friend Chris Utterback, I found myself having an especially challenging day. I decided to give her a call and when she answered the phone I didn’t say hello. “Make me laugh,” I demanded.

“Just a minute,” she said. “I have to get my joke folder.” Joke folder?

When she got back to the phone she explained that she kept a file folder of cartoons and stories that she found funny. She promptly began reading me her favorites and before long we were giggling like second graders.

By the time I hung up the phone, the world was looking considerably brighter again.

Ever since, I’ve kept my own Make Me Laugh folders, along with other emergency supplies for moments when I need a dose of hilarity.

If you’d like to expand the amount of laughter in your life, here are some ideas that can help.

* Memorize this quote. Ernest Hemingway said, “The seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who can laugh in life the seeds are covered with better soil and a higher grade of manure.”

* Take a laughter class. If your local adult ed program has such a class, sign up at once. If you can’t find such a class, get a set of CDs or tapes from your favorite comedian and play them in the car. I’m especially fond of Prairie Home Companion’s Pretty Good Joke Show CDs.

* Meet my friend Karyn Ruth. The most hilarious trip I ever took was the London adventure I shared with Karyn Ruth White. We both recall it as a week of nonstop laughter. I always look forward to seeing her on my trips to Denver, where she lives, and know that our phone chats will be filled with noisy laughter.

If she’s not available to accompany you on a trip, order her Kiss My Botox CD, her Laughing in the Face of Stress DVD or her book Your Seventh Sense that will help you polish your own funny bone. They’re all available at

* Read something funny. There aren’t a lot of authors that make me laugh out loud, but one who does is Bill Bryson. His travel books are especially hilarious. I’m especially fond of Neither Here Nor There, although any of his books is bound to produce a giggle or guffaw.

You don’t have to be a Minnesotan to find the Pretty Good Joke Book from Prairie Home Companion pretty darn funny.

* Meet Annette Goodheart. The first laughter therapist I ever heard of was Dr. Goodheart whose adult ed classes in her hometown of Santa Barbara had long waiting lists.

Dr. Goodheart calls laughter ‘Portable Therapy’ and points out that its benefits include: strengthens your immune system, helps you think more clearly, replenishes creativity, releases emotional pain, and it’s free.

See for yourself at and

* Join a Laughing Club. The movement started by The Laughing Clubs of India is spreading throughout the world. You may have a local branch or you might want to start one yourself.

The concept is simple: get a group together and laugh for half an hour first thing in the morning. They claim all sorts of amazing cures among their members.

Or let John Cleese show you the benefits of Laughter Yoga on this video.

Don’t ever forget that laughter is a medicine that doesn’t require a prescription. Dose frequently. It’s good for you and equally good for your business.


Should I ever wake up some morning and think, “I guess it’s time to get a job,” I know exactly how I’ll abort that thought. I’ll just get in my car and head for the nearest freeway.

A few minutes spent in rush hour traffic would certainly bring me back to my senses. It’s not just the slowness of heavy traffic that annoys me: the behavior of my fellow drivers is one of the few things guaranteed to make me lose my cool. No thoughts of universal oneness and love of humanity surface when I’m spending time in traffic.

Shortly after being inspired by Marianne Williamson’s Everyday Grace, I decided to try a new approach. When a fellow driver would threaten my life, I’d send them a silent blessing and then say a short prayer that went something like, “Dear Lord, please send that person better driving skills.”

I figured there was a hidden opportunity here to start shaping up all the folks who didn’t bother using their turn signals or who were distracted by a fascinating phone conversation.

It calmed me a little as I recalled the Biblical admonition to pray without ceasing and realized that bad drivers were propelling me to a constant state of prayer. I had no idea that another weapon awaited me.

A few years ago, I decided to sit in on a Laughter Workshop taught by Kim McIntyre Cannold.  After all, I love to laugh and I thought it would be fun.

I didn’t expect to learn something so amazing, something that has proved invaluable—especially in traffic.

Cannold, who is certified by the Association for Applied and  Therapeutic Humor, opened her workshop by talking about the different kinds of laughter and had us all try out various types from tittering to belly laughing. Then she boldly suggested that we could schedule a laugh fest every day and simply laugh our heads off for no reason other than it would improve our emotional and physical well-being.

That was news to me. Laughing for the sake of laughing? While laughing as a healing agent has long been known, I’d never heard it suggested that we could just laugh without any outside stimulus.

Then she went even farther and asked us to list things that bugged us. Bad drivers headed the group list. She proposed that when we found ourselves in those normally upsetting situations that we abandon our usual angry reaction and laugh instead.

This seemed a bit over the top to me, but I decided to give it a whirl.

The next time a driver cut me off, I decided to laugh, although it seemed a bit hypocritical. To my astonishment, it felt great. It felt much better than fuming to myself, which didn’t change the situation.

Laughing didn’t change the other driver’s behavior, either, (and I figured my prayers might take a little longer to be answered), but it sure changed me. It was obvious hat the one who laughs gets the reward.

Laughter and prayer are certainly important for the entrepreneurial life so be generous with both. Look for the funny side and you’ll discover there’s no shortage of goofiness to help you meet your daily quota of laughs.


Several weeks ago, I invited readers of Joyfully Jobless News to share their stories of the most fun they’d ever had making money. Almost immediately, I received a response from Julie Hanson in Glasgow, Scotland.

Julie is a the owner of the Chi Yoga Centre in Glasgow and also the co-author of Energy in Season, a program that helps readers live a more balanced life by aligning with seasonal energy. She also lectures throughout the UK and Europe on health, fitness and seasonal yoga.

It’s obvious that her teaching is an on-going source of money and fun, but the story she sent happened long ago and left a deep impression. Here’s what happened:

It was my absolute privilege to head the largest charity event of this era in Glasgow, Scotland, 25 May, 1986: the Sport Aid World Workout .

With with a group of fantastic, enthusiastic, unemployed teenagers working out of a free basement under a pub in Ingram Street Glasgow, we put together the biggest workout the world has ever seen .

We worked  long and hard  for six months to get as much as we could free of charge. We got Hall 4 ( the largest hall) in Glasgow’s SECC Exhibition Centre free of charge. Over 100 volunteers and over 50 Scottish stars all turned up to create the most amazing fundraising event .

One of the biggest moments of my life came as I put my  right hand up to lead the workout and 15.000 people did the same.  The rush that gave me cannot be put into words.

The energy and emotion brings a tear to my eye even now and the pride of handing over a huge amount of cash to help those who were starving is still inexpressible.

Julie Hanson


64  Darnley St,


g41 2SE

0141 237 1947

mobile 07966 875208


“Fun is fundamental,” Sir Richard Branson reminds us. That’s the antithesis of all those business mottos which sound more like Fun is Forbidden.

How can you earn money by having fun? There are numerous ways, but the essential thing is to begin by creating a business that’s so much fun for you that you can’t wait to get at it every morning.

Then you can heighten the fun—and build your entrepreneurial thinking—by creating small projects where you get paid to do things you find pleasurable. The trick is to take a creative approach and uncover new funding pleasures. You won’t get rich with any of these ideas, but your life will be noticeably richer in fun.

Do You Love…

° Working out? Check with your health insurance provider and see if they offer a financial reward if you take care of yourself. Mine gives a $20/month discount on their premiums to anyone who goes to the gym eight times a month.

°  Classical music? Usher at your symphony hall and get paid to listen. The same goes for theater and other entertainment venues. Sometimes these are volunteer positions and sometimes they pay a small salary.

• Having a massage? Schools of massage need bodies to practice on and sometimes they even pay to use yours. Other programs offer free or almost free massages for those willing to be part of the curriculum.

Then there’s the woman who evaluates spa services for a hotel chain. That’s an idea that could be turned into an independent business.

° Giving your opinion? Sign up with local marketing agencies that put together focus groups to evaluate new products. Everything from frozen food to legal services get evaluated by focus groups.

I once participated in a focus group for an airline and we were pleasantly surprised at the end of the session to learn we could be paid $70—or receive two roundtrip tickets to Europe on the carrier.

° Shopping? Mystery shopping companies hire people to evaluate employees and service in businesses. The mystery shopper poses as a customer and then files a report on the transaction. I once got a new muffler installed in my car this way.

Not all shops are exciting, but if you like dining out or going to the mall, why not get paid for it? Make sure you’re working with a legitimate operation.

° Research? Ah, those closet detectives among us are the folks who love digging deeply into a subject. Besides creating a business that does other people’s research for them, there’s another fun possibility: creating an independent research project and then getting it funded.

The reference section of your local library will have directories of grant opportunities. Also helpful to the nonacademic grantseeker is The Complete Guide to Getting a Grant by Laurie Blum. This book has been around for a while, but the information is still valid.

° Travel? Of course, I have dozens of suggestions for getting paid to travel in my How To Support Your Wanderlust seminar. One of those ways is to organize a tour. Special interest tours work best for the independent organizer.

I met two delightful women from Australia at a restaurant in London who told me about a tour they’d taken to the US to visit quilting museums and workshops. They were on another special interest tour on their UK trip.

If you have a passion you love sharing with other people, find a company that specializes in group travel to help you put the tour together.

Use this Money for Fun exercise to wake up your imagination to new possibilities. The options are endless, but not automatic.

You could challenge yourself to think of five fun activities that you truly enjoy, but normally pay to participate in. Start exploring ways of being paid instead of paying. Coming up with new options will be as good for your imagination as it is for your pocketbook.





My  friend Chris and I loved an old cartoon in which Ziggy declared, “My idea of prosperity is a checking account with commas.” We promptly adopted that as our prosperity symbol.

Feeling prosperous is a highly individual thing and each of us has a different notion of what constitutes prosperity. For many people, alas, prosperity means having more than whatever they currently have.

It’s much healthier to find small reminders that we are creating abundance in our own lives. Here are a few of my personal favorites.

* You use up your deposit slips faster than you use your check blanks. (This may not count if you bank online.)

* You don’t have any bills because you pay them as soon as they arrive and don’t let them accumulate.

* You’re always looking for ways to maximize and utilize what you’ve already got rather than noticing what you don’t have.

* You notice and acknowledge your surplus. As Sondra Ray points out if you have even a few coins in your purse, you have a surplus, yet almost nobody gives themselves credit for that.

As Ray also reminds us, whatever you focus on expands. Focus on scarcity and guess what you get more of.

* You say thank you a lot. Gratitude is not only a sign of prosperity—it’s the way to attract even more.

* You refine your taste by noticing the things you find beautiful and by uncluttering your life to get rid of things that are taking up space but don’t bring you joy. You’re not afraid to create a vacuum.

* You can appreciate the prosperity of others without being envious.

* You keep creating  projects that are both fun and profitable. Here are a few suggestions to add to your portfolio of Money for Fun Ideas.

Start a new collection. Whether it’s Mickey Mouse, antique advertising art or memorabilia from the Nineties, putting together a collection makes everyday life a treasure hunt. And, of course, there’s the possibility that you’re creating a new profit center.

One collector of old books on coins and paper money picked up a stack of books for 50¢ apiece in a bookshop. He later sold one of them for $300 and another for $400. This is the kind of  hobby that pays.

When you collect, you also start building expertise which can lead to other opportunities.

Create a project for which you’ll need a passport. Thinking globally can stretch your imagination and help you discard limiting ideas. If you don’t have a current passport, apply for one now so you are ready to go.

Involve your friends. Invite your entrepreneurial friends to help you with a boring job such as putting out a large mailing. Offer to cook dinner in exchange for an evening’s help. Look how much work got done at quilting bees. Same idea here.

Master the $100 Hour. Begin by making a pact with yourself that you will set aside time daily, if possible, for the purpose of finding an idea that will bring you $100. You’ll find  numerous suggestions for doing just that in the chapter on Getting Ideas in Making a Living Without a Job.


Years ago when I lived in Santa Barbara, I observed a weekly ritual—the Friday migration north which was followed by the Sunday migration south. I’ve often wondered if such traffic jams inspired Loverboy’s Working for the Weekend.

For too many of us, work and fun have occupied separate territories.  In my family, there was a frequently quoted German adage that translated to “first you work, then you play.” The implication was that never the twain shall meet.

No adults I knew growing up suggested that I should discover what brought me joy before I began to think about choosing a career—and I certainly didn’t see many folks who seemed to be having a great time going about their work.

When I realized that I would be spending a huge amount of time working, an occasional fun weekend didn’t seem a fair tradeoff for days of drudgery. Although it was done in private, I began my own Joy Quest to see if I could get paid to have fun.

Along the way, I heard Moneylove author Jerry Gilles say, “Anything worth having is worth having fun getting.” It seemed like an idea worth testing. I decided to go for joy all along the way.

Some of the things I discovered were downright startling. I found that as my own boss, with a new vision to create, I could tackle things on behalf of building my own business that would have driven me crazy had I been doing them as part of a job.

Working with joy seemed to spill over to activities I might previously have dreaded. For instance, if someone had handed me thousands of newsletters to label and stamp, I’d have tensed right up, but when that pile is Winning Ways, and I’ve put it together myself, I can’t wait to share it with my subscribers.

When our work is also a source of joy and fun, it leads us to become more creative, more engaged, more masterful. Those rewards are much harder to obtain when we’re only working for money.

So during March, we’ll be exploring the theme of Money for Fun. I’d love to hear your stories about the most fun you’ve ever had earning money. Since I made that request in the last Joyfully Jobless News, people have been sending me delightful examples which I’m going to be sharing throughout the month, but I’d love more inspiring tales.

As poet David Whyte reminds us, “Anyone or anything that does not bring you alive is too small for you.”

I’m pretty sure that includes work.