When my Aunt Marge was alive, I visited her as often as possible. She was eager to hear about my travels and recent adventures. Somewhere in the conversation, she would exclaim, “Oh, you meet the most interesting people.”

I totally agreed, of course.

While I have a long list of things I love about being self-employed, Meeting Interesting People is one of my favorite perks. People who are passionately engaged in what they’re creating are pilgrims on the road to Being More.

That may not have entered their mind when they began following their ideas, but it is a powerful bonus of creating and sharing their unique offerings.

One of the things I love most is watching a new business evolve. Although I hadn’t met her at the time, I still recall the email I got from Connie Solera telling me about her plans to leave teaching and create more art.

Her Dirty Footprints Studio has been responsible for helping women from all over the world get in touch with their creative spirit. Recently, Connie did two painting retreats in Oaxaca, Mexico and shared each day’s activities on Facebook.

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who waited patiently for those lively posts that arrived every evening. Fearless Painting, indeed! Go see for yourself what these women produced.

It’s also fascinating to me how people find each other. I recently did a Skype call with Tiffoni Lewis and her husband Neil. They are building a fun mobile pottery painting business from their home near San Antonio, Texas.

A while back, Tiffoni’s father came to my seminar in Las Vegas. He later sent me a note saying he wanted to give her a gift subscription to Winning Ways newsletter. That led to an email from Tiffoni asking if we could chat.

When I was growing up, the people I knew were mostly those who lived in the same small town. Creating a business that involves travel expanded my horizons and my circle of friends.

Just this morning I had a message from Carlo Pescatori. I met this entrepreneurial Venetian when my sisters, brother and I rented an apartment from him several years ago. Last week, I had a message from Kathie Kelling in Phoenix who is planning a trip to Venice and was seeking advice. I promptly thought of Carlo’s place and sent along information to her.

Connecting people with each other is another fun perk of the Joyfully Jobless Journey.

This morning’s email also had a message from Patrice Wynne, a delightful woman I met on my trip to San Miguel de Allende in December. Patrice has a lovely textile shop that uses local talent to produce its’ products.

The shop, named Abrazos, Spanish for embrace, benefits the community in numerous ways including employing local seamstresses to produce the bathrobes, shirts, aprons and other colorful items sold in the shop.

Visit their site and read about their collaborations with museums including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts who are selling items from Abrazos in conjunction with exhibits of Frida Kahlo’s work and other Mexican artists.

When I was starting out in my seminar business, I offered a program on creating a mail order business. While I am enthusiastic about this sort of profit center, I wasn’t nearly so thrilled with teaching the class since it seemed to attract misanthropes. I removed it from my repertoire after only two sessions.

Of course, the internet has made it possible for people who don’t like people to run a business with no direct human contact.

That would never work for me.

As Caroline Myss so wisely advised us, “We evolve at the rate of the tribe we’re plugged into.”  Wishing you a tribe as wonderful as mine.

Comedian Paula Poundstone once said, “My father always told me I needed something to fall back on. But I knew if I listened, I’d fall back.”

I thought of that this morning when I read Connie Hozvicka’s blog post about that very thing.

Connie, who did a pair of marvelous workshops at the Joyfully Jobless Jamboree, is brand new to the Joyfully Jobless life. Like most of us, she’s had to challenge some not-so-helpful conventional wisdom.

What creative person hasn’t been told You Need Something To Fall Back On? Read Connie’s take on it here.

Here are ten other bits of wisdom that haven’t been widely circulated. It’s my personal list of things self-employment teaches me each and every day.

1. To think creatively and see that there are opportunities to approach the most ordinary tasks in creative ways.

2. To be an enthusiastic problem-solver.

3. It’s okay to be uncomfortable. In fact, comfort zones are much scarier.

4. Expanding is more fun than shrinking.

5. Right livelihood alters the way we think about work.

6. We can be more, do more, have more than we originally thought possible.

7. Imagination is a power tool.

8. If we ask better questions, we get better answers.

9. Personal responsibility is heady stuff.

10. Lifelong learning is a joy.

“There’s an unexpected pleasure attending the life of a voluntary student,” said Oliver Goldsmith. I think he was talking about us.

The latest issue of Budget Travel magazine arrived today and as I was browsing through it, a piece on Denver’s LoHi neighborhood caught my eye. One of the businesses they mentioned was especially intriguing.

Sipping ‘N Painting offers classes for adult amateur painters. For $40, participants receive brushes, paints, and a blank canvas for an instructor-led session designed around a theme. Also included is a glass of wine or beer for those who are so inclined.

As soon as I saw the story, I hopped over to their website to learn more. Then I sent a link to Connie Hozvicka, who did such a fabulous painting workshop at the Jamboree. It seemed like an idea that might fit her portfolio of projects.

Had I not spent time with Connie and seen her in action, I probably wouldn’t have thought to send this idea along to her. Nor would I have alerted Karyn Ruth White to Ode magazine’s humor issue, if I didn’t know her passions.

Of course, it works both ways. Almost daily, someone sends me a link to an article or resource or clever business idea that they uncovered and thought I’d want to know about too. I am thrilled and appreciative.

When I got the hang of Twitter and began spending time there daily, I felt as if I’d just found a volunteer research staff. Hardly a day passes without someone sharing a terrific idea or article that I’d never have uncovered myself.

Connecting with entrepreneurial thinkers is a critical, but frequently overlooked, key to success. In direct and indirect ways, such folks will enrich your life, expand your horizons, add positive fuel to your dreams.

As Scott Stratten so brilliantly points out in UnMarketing, building a business today begins with building relationships. And unrestrained sharing of ideas, encouragement and resources.

It’s been ages since I’ve done a roundup of articles and resources that have been gathering in my files. Obviously, it’s time for a Weekend Excursion so you can explore them on your own.

There’s no real rhyme or reason or theme to this list of treasures except that they all delighted me in different ways.

Green and Growing

If you’re a subscriber to Winning Ways newsletter, you will recall that I recently did an issue exploring what gardeners have to teach entrepreneurs. Last week, I learned about an extraordinary English gardening writer named Beveley Nichols who chronicled his evolution as an amateur gardener.

After reading his book Merry Hall, I wanted more and came across a collection of his wit and wisdom called Rhapsody in Green. When I read the following passage, I realized he could just as well have been advising someone growing a business:

Gradually my impatient desire for immediate results, which is the besetting sin of all beginners, died down. I began to take a joy in the work for its own sake. Until you actually own a garden, you cannot know this joy.

Before and After

The other day, I received an e-mail from Connie Hozvicka sharing her excitement about taking the big step. Connie is a dynamic artist and her blog at Dirty Footprints Studio is always a visual feast.

However, her post I Want You to Hear Me took my breath away. Go read it for yourself and you’ll see why.

Expose Yourself

It’s no secret that I’m a raving fan of Seth Godin who constantly astonishes me with his regular blog writings. This one, called Expose Yourself, illustrates the importance of choosing your influences carefully.

Follow Your Fascination

I’ve been working on the next issue of Winning Ways and am writing about collectors and collecting. Everyone I’ve known who is a serious collector has a story to tell about how their passion for collecting perfume bottles or old coins or Disney memorabilia began with a mild interest and grew stronger as they explored farther.

So that was on my mind when I came across this short piece called  Innovation Begins with Fascination. Don’t miss the exercise at the end.

Loving a Writer

Steven  Pressfield has this advice for spouses, partners, and other caring folks who may be perplexed by their writer/entrepreneur/musician lovers. If you are feeling misunderstood, you may want to print out Loving a Writer to share with your beloved.

Just in Case

I’ve been raving everywhere about Sandy Dempsey’s amusing video about her adventures with Flat Barbara. You may have been within earshot.

However, if by some fluke this has passed you by, pay a visit now and see how Flat Barbara is learning about the Joyfully Jobless life. (Scroll down to see the video.)