Several years ago, two friends and I decided to take a trip to Las Vegas in July. (Insider tip: there are big bargains during the hot summer months.) Since both of them had been working on big writing projects, their cash flow wasn’t great.

Within a week, however, they had both secured the necessary funds. How did they do it?

No, neither of them held up a 7-11. Being self-employed, they had Option Banks, a collection of ways to generate cash flow when needed.

In the olden days when I worked for a fixed salary, I operated very differently than I do now in regard to goals. In fact, I was more experienced at wishful thinking than I was at achieving goals.

Should a new idea cross my mind, I would see if it fit into my budget. It hardly ever did, of course, unless it was very tiny. In those days, money—or the lack thereof—controlled my dreambuilding.

Needless to say, my dreams shrunk to almost nothing.

Self-employment changed all that. Now I decide what I really want. Then I figure out how to make it happen.

This is considerably more fun than my old system.

Here’s how it works.

A couple of months ago, my sister Nancy proposed that we celebrate her birthday next year with a trip to Provence. The moment her message arrived, I replied, “I’m in.” My other three siblings did the same.

I began putting this project together by checking my travel fund. Years ago, I had read a suggestion to create separate accounts for different projects. It was an idea I heartily embraced.

However, with no clear goal, my travel fund had been neglected. I could have accessed funds for the trip from elsewhere, but I decided it would be more fun to focus on fattening my designated account.

My first step was to offer a short sale on my teleclass audios. Within a few days, I had doubled my travel money.

Since I am highly motivated by visible progress, I came up with several other small projects that added funds.

Then the projects began coming to me. I got an invitation to do a seminar in London and scheduled it for the end of my trip to France.

My doctor recommended me for a medical study. The timing was perfect, the schedule was flexible, the project could help others. Being a human guinea pig would also bring in a third of my trip funds.

If you’ve never done so (or haven’t done so for awhile), I urge you to create your own project and find a new way to fund it. Pick something that really excites you, something you truly desire.

Start with something small, but meaningful.

Then get busy putting it together. The real reward in this is NOT the goal itself. The big prize is the confidence and creativity boost that comes with making things happen.

As Alan Cohen reminds us, “Money should be the servant of your visions, not their master.”


On my way out of the bank this morning, I picked up several deposit slips. As I walked back to my car, I suddenly remembered that a friend once jokingly pointed out that a sign of prosperity is using up your deposit slips before using up your check blanks.

Quaint, huh? In this day of online banking and virtual commerce, we don’t need to ever have direct contact with currency. Advertisers and credit card companies have done a brilliant job of making money an abstract concept.

Unfortunately, too many of us have failed to realize what a disservice we’re doing to ourselves by keeping away from direct contact. Consider, however, that advisors who help people get out of debt are quick to recommend destroying credit cards and only spending cash.

During the days when I began to deal with my own poverty consciousness, I read some advice from Sondra Ray that dramatically demonstrated the power of personal contact.Ray suggested that a way to remove negative thoughts about money was to procure a $100 bill and carry it with you. The other part of this exercise is that you’re only allowed to spend it if you can immediately replace it.

Doing so seemed both bold and scary to me at the time, but I also understood the rationale behind it. As Ray points out, when you are about to spend your last small bill and go to remove it from your wallet, you’ll see the $100 next to it and your thought is more apt to be, “I have plenty,” rather than, “I don’t have any money.”

I’ve never been without a $100 bill since. I’ve also never had the stress and despair that haunted me in earlier times in relationship to money.

Although I frequently tell audiences that self-employment is where we come to make peace with money, I also know that this is a foreign concept for those of us who inherited all sorts of unhealthy beliefs about the stuff.

It seems to me that we’re about as clueless about money as the Victorians were about sex. I also suggest that having a healthy attitude about money is a do-it-yourself project.

A fine starting point for that comes from Charles Handy in his book The Hungry Spirit.

He writes, “In most of life we can recognize ‘enough.’ We know when we have had enough to eat, when the heating or air conditioning is enough, when we have enough sleep or done enough preparation.

“More than enough is then unnecessary and can even be counterproductive. Those who do not know what is enough, cannot move on. they do not explore new worlds, they do not learn.

“They are trapped in a rut of their own success, always wanting more of the same, always dissatisfied, never knowing the feeling of abundance.”

Handy goes on to talk about how vital it is for self-employed people, which he and his wife both are, to determine what enough means. He points out that this does not mean scrimping and just getting by.

It also doesn’t mean accepting anyone else’s definition of enough. (Millionaire status? Six-figure income? Says who?)

It starts with a clear vision of what you want your life to be like, what matters most to you. It’s understanding what Alan Cohen meant when he said, “Money should be the servant of your visions, not the master.”

What does Money Ease really mean to you?  Once you sincerely figure that out, the Money Dragons will vanish.

It may not be easy, but it’s so worth it.

When I first learned about goal-setting, I thought it was mostly a tool for determining financial aspirations. I promptly wrote down my personal goals, huge numbers beyond anything I’d ever achieved before.

Not much happened to move me ahead financially and eventually I gave up in despair.

Was I destined to be a loser in the Money Game?

Happily, I wasn’t, but it took some inner work before I began to see out changes. Here’s how I moved the numbers on paper into my bank account.

° Understand the four uses of money. It may seem obvious, but many people remain oblivious to the fact that when it comes managing money, there are four very different activities involved.

We can earn it, spend it, save it, invest it.

Most of us excel in one or two of these areas, but neglect the entire spectrum. Money ease comes when we’re wise about all four arenas and give thoughtful attention to each.

Incidentally, this is easier to do when we are self-employed and not hampered by a salary.

° Define enough. I was first introduced to this idea by Charles Handy in his wonderful book, The Hungry Spirit. It was a revelation to me.

Here’s a bit of what he says about that. “In most of life we can recognize ‘enough.’ we know when we have had enough to eat, when the heating or air conditioning is enough, when we have had enough sleep or done enough preparation.

“More than enough is then unnecessary, and can even be seen as counterproductive.”

He goes on to suggest that if we haven’t defined what enough means when it comes to finances, we’ll never be satisfied, never knowing the feeling of abundance.

This is, of course, something each of us needs to define for ourselves.

° Know your own numbers. How many people aspire to millionaire status assuming that this magical milestone will solve all their problems, meet all their needs?

Then there’s the current popularity of programs offering to teach you how to achieve a six-figure income.


Thinking that there’s some magical number—determined by someone else—that will fit us is ridiculous (and, perhaps, harmful).

° Read this first. A brilliant piece from the New York Times puts Money Happiness into perspective. I urge you to check it out for yourself.

One secret to happiness may be “underindulgence.”

° Now set some goals for yourself. Break your big picture goals into monthly, weekly, daily targets. Challenge yourself to create abundance.

Share. Enjoy. Stretch.

As Alan Cohen reminds us, “Money should be the servant of your visions, not their master.”


On a visit to my daughter in California a few years ago, I saw a story on the local news about the hottest yoga classes in Los Angeles. It wasn’t because they were teaching a new form of yoga that was bringing in droves of practitioners; it was the environment they created. Besides having a serenely lovely studio, a live string quartet played throughout the classes. Blissful.


It was a dramatic contrast to the beat up old van we’d see parked around Encino bearing a big sign saying, “Yoga. First class free.” Jennie and I had decided that van did not look like a vehicle belonging to someone who had found inner peace. 


Same service, very different messages.


When it comes to talking about money, there are also vividly contrasting messages. Ever heard anyone say:


How much did that set you back?


I don’t know. Looks pretty spendy to me.


Wonder what scam they ran to get their money? 


Do you think money grows on trees?


In his book Relax Into Wealth, Alan Cohen succinctly captures the difference between those who view money as the enemy and those who see it as a trusted friend. He writes, “Money is not the answer to our prosperity problems. Wisdom is the answer. The only thing more valuable than money is knowing what to do with it. If someone does not know how to use money wisely, no amount of money will help them. If someone has a good money consciousness, they can take a tiny seed and grow it into a lush garden. If they have a poor money consciousness, they can take a huge gift and squander it in short order. Money is not the root of all evil; ignorance is.”


If you’re carrying around unhelpful attitudes about money, if you’ve inherited your elders’ own ambivalence about it, you’ll be broadcasting it as loudly as the owner of that beat up van. It’s nearly impossible to create a joyfully jobless life without creating a healthy relationship with money. The good news is that examining and changing poverty attitudes is not that difficult, although it does require vigilance. 


Promise yourself that you’ll never be a person who thinks of spending money as “setting you back” or that wealth is only possible for the dishonest. Most of all, consider what Jerry Gilles says in Moneylove: “Working at something just for the money is an act of poverty consciousness at its worst. It’s saying to yourself, ‘I haven’t the talent or imagination to earn money doing something I really enjoy.’”


There are numerous books that can be helpful in transforming our relationship with money. Alan Cohen’s Relax Into Wealth that I mentioned earlier is a great introduction, as as Earn What You Deserve by Jerrold Mundis. Unfortunately, Jerry Gilles’ Moneylove is long out of print, but if you can track down a copy, it’s worth it.