Dreams are extremely fragile—especially in their early days. Dreams, like babies and seedlings, need to be nurtured and surrounded by support.

Here are a handful of ways to get your dreams off to a great start.

° Passion must be present. While a dream may be born in passion, it’s up to you to keep it alive. If you’re halfhearted and lukewarm about them, your dreams will never come true.

One way to keep passion high is to spend a few minutes every day visualizing the successful completion of your dream. How does it look, smell, taste, sound, feel? Allow that vision to keep pulling you forward.

° Take good care of the boss. It doesn’t matter how great a dream is if the dream keeper is too tired or too uninspired to bring it to life.

Sometimes the easiest things to do are also the easiest to overlook—like drinking plenty of water and avoiding toxic people. Dreamkeepers have an obligation to create the healthiest and most balanced life possible.

° Make your workspace a place that inspires you. Whether you work on a beach with your laptop or in an extra bedroom in your home, make it inspiring as well as efficient.

If you’re in your home burn incense, play classical music, have a tabletop fountain. Cover your wall with art or an inspiration board that features pictures of your dream. And if you’re sitting on a beach, pick one with a great view.

° Take responsibility for staying inspired. There are three ways to run a business: Inspired, Uninspired or With Occasional Flashes of Inspiration.

Identify the things that inspire you and expose yourself to them frequently. Whether it’s music, words from a favorite author or other entrepreneur, or some spot in nature, know where your Inspiration Well is located and go there often.

° Create your own Hall of Fame. Ask a successful actor or musician who inspired them and they’ll probably answer quickly. Ask a would-be entrepreneur the same question and you’re apt to be greeted by a shrug of the shoulders.

If you’re going to succeed, you need to be inspired by real people. Read biographies or interviews of successful people and pay attention to the philosophies that guide them.

° Be open to being inspired at all times. You never know where a great idea or solutions to a problem will come from.

Like Sir Richard Branson, carry a notebook with you at all times so you can jot down ideas as they occur.

If you spend a lot of time driving, you may want to carry a voice-activated recorder to capture your thought. Do not, however, text them to yourself while driving.

° Notice what catches your attention. What makes you happy? What causes an emotional response? These are clues. Apathy is not a success tool.

Take time to pay attention to advertising and marketing that you like—and that you loath. Consider how you can bring the qualities you respond to into your business.

° Collect entrepreneurial friends. There’s almost nothing more rewarding than spending time in the presence of kindred spirits who can add their own creative ideas and encouragement to what you’re doing.

Cultivating such friendships will be one of the best investments you can make. Seminars and coffee shops are great places to scout for new friends.

° Change the scenery. There’s nothing that dulls the creative spirit more quickly than daily routine.

You can counteract the dulling effect of that by taking a field trip or creative excursion at least once a week. Take your laptop to a park, visit a museum or walk in a Japanese garden.

Challenge yourself to come up with new backdrops that feed your soul.

Fans of Prairie Home Companion know that they’ll be catching up with the wandering Dusty and Lefty on the weekly skit called Lives of the Cowboys. Since Dusty is a rough-and-tumble cowboy and Lefty is his sensitive sidekick, the somewhat unlikely pals are often at odds about how to handle tricky situations they encounter out on the trail.

Dusty and Lefty aren’t the only ones who need pals, of course. Even the most independent self-bossers discover that an entrepreneurial friend or two can be a valuable asset—in more ways than one.

When I started my first business, I made some attempts at connecting with other businessowners. I attended a workshop sponsored by SCORE, checked out my local Chamber of Commerce. Neither felt like a fit for me and I gave up my search for entrepreneurial buddies.

What a mistake that was. In my determination to be independent, I made things far more difficult for myself than necessary.

I can pinpoint the moment when my business went from frustrating to flourishing. That moment occurred when Chris Utterback and I became friends.

Chris and I  became sounding boards, idea-generators and co-conspirators as our friendship grew. Even though we both left Colorado shortly after we me, we were diligent about connecting frequently.

Quite simply, we need to have entrepreneurial friends if we’re putting ourselves in the Innovative Minority. Finding kindred spirits is an on-g0ing part of the Joyfully Jobless Journey.

When the homebased business movement began to grow, numerous attempts to create both local and national organizations began to pop up, but most of them disappeared rather quickly.

It appeared that folks who’d left corporate life were not interested in hooking up with another large organization. This new breed of entrepreneur was not about to conduct business as usual.

However, the need to connect with other self-employed people didn’t disappear, it did, however, seem to take a different form as entrepreneurs built friendships that were fewer, but richer.

Author Jess Lair once wrote, “All of us need four or five people who’s faces light up when we walk in the room.” That sounds like a description of the new Joyfully Jobless mini-tribes.

New entrepreneurs are often stumped about how to connect with other creative self-bossers since years spent in the job force has kept them away from those who are self-employed. Then there’s the uncertainty, the fear that a successful entrepreneur won’t want to be bothered hanging out with a newcomer.

When I hear such concerns, I point out that our entrepreneurial circle needs to include people at all stages of growth.

What matters most is that our relationships, include what Stewart Emery calls “a balance of contribution.” That’s a slightly more elegant description of what is commonly referred to as a win-win.

Building those relationships, reaching out, connecting, takes time, of course, but most importantly, it takes a willingness. Remind yourself that your life will be richer for these new friends.

Or remind yourself of this observation from C.S. Lewis: “Good things as well as bad are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand by the fire; if you want to get wet you must get into the water.

“If you want joy, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you; if you are not, you will remain dry.”

If you need some suggestions for hunting down the self-employed, check out my article, A Field Guide to Genus Entrepreneurus. It’s a helpful list of the natural habitats of these elusive creatures.



Although the Labor Day holiday has evolved into a weekend that commemorates the end of summer, it began with a very different intention. In an attempt to appease unhappy workers, President Grover Cleveland proposed a holiday to honor their accomplishments. It was quickly and unanimously approved by Congress.

At about the same time, the United States began to evolve from a rabidly entrepreneurial culture to an employee culture. By the time you and I arrived on the planet the conventional wisdom about the importance of finding and keeping a good job was firmly in place.

Having a national holiday to shine the spotlight on laborers undoubtedly has also had the benefit of keeping workers on the job. After all, it’s a public statement that job holders matter enough to have a special day of their very own.

So where does that leave the joyfully jobless? Yes, I know we know we are diligent and committed workers. I also know that our relatives may regard us as slackers. We are not the ones for whom Labor Day was intended.

Several years ago, a self-employed friend joined her former coworkers for drinks one Friday evening.  Although she was looking forward to seeing them, she soon felt bored and disconnected from the conversation.

“The only thing they talked about,” she told me sadly, “was their desire to stay in their jobs until they reached top pay.”

What was this lofty goal that kept them going back day after day? A whopping $17/hour. “That seems to be their only goal,” my friend reported. She never attended another of those gatherings.

However, she did make a diligent and consistent effort to connect with other self-employed people. Instead of finding herself in conversations about top pay, she now was spending time with people who were going places, doing things and making a difference.

“Sometimes I just need to be reminded,” she says, “that being self-employed is a wonderful choice. These days I find myself sharing ideas, getting good advice, and being inspired to set bolder goals. While I really cared about my coworkers from my old job, I know that encounters with them don’t leave me feeling the way I do after hanging out with my new creative friends.”

“Be with those who help your being,” advised the Persian poet Rumi. I often wonder how much happiness, accomplishment and joy would be unleashed if everyone adopted Rumi’s advice.

Since the beginning of 2010, I’ve spent the bulk of my time working on the upcoming Joyfully Jobless Jamboree in Austin, TX. Right from the start, our idea was to create a two-day event where self-employed folks could be with those who help their being.

When we discovered the second day of the Jamboree just happens to be National Boss’s Day, we knew that was a holiday we wanted to celebrate. According to Wikipedia, National Boss’s Day has traditionally been a day for employees to thank their boss for being kind and fair throughout the year.

Alas, many people who have a boss would have a hard time finding little worth celebrating. On the other hand, we who are the boss need to take time to acknowledge the ways in which we’ve been kind and fair to ourselves this year.

So while we won’t be parading through the streets of Austin and no politicians will be stumping at the Jamboree, we will be whooping and hollering and redefining for ourselves what Top Pay means.


Breaking News: We’re extending the Early Bird enrollment until Labor Day, September 6th. Go to http://jjjamboree.com to take advantage of this saving. It seemed a fitting way to participate in the holiday.

However, the special room rate for the Jamboree at the beautiful Lakeways Center expires on August 31.


There are dozens of things to love about being joyfully jobless, but at the top of my list are the fascinating people that I would never have met had I stayed put in my old life.


For many years, relationships were something ordained by blood or geography. Even as I became an adult and expanded my world a bit, I mostly knew people who worked with me or attended the same church. Of course, I liked some more than others, but I had no idea that there were so many fantastic people in the world and that knowing them would enrich my life. 


That discovery didn’t happen until I became self-employed.


I thought about this blessing of people on a recent morning when I sat down to check my messages. Besides all sorts of intriguing posts from my Twitter friends (many of whom I’ve never met in person), there were several lovely e-mails from new readers of Making a Living Without a Job.


Then there was a message that said, “Hi Babs! Where are *your videos?* I miss seeing you speak. You’re smart and you’re fun.” That nudge came from Barbara Sher and it made me giggle. Then there was a delightfully excited message from Valerie Young who was about to spend the day with Sir Richard Branson. I was almost as excited for her as she was.


These pleasant encounters got me thinking about an important-—but seldom talked about—aspect of moving ahead in life.: the cast of characters in our life is going to change when we do. And that can be terrifying.


Consider what Steven Pressfield says about that very thing in The War of Art. “We know that if we embrace our ideals we must prove worthy of them. And that scares the hell out of us. What will become of us? We will lose our family and friends who will no longer recognize us. We will wind up alone, in the cold void of starry space, with nothing and no one to hold onto.


“Of course, this is exactly what happens. But here’s the trick. We wind up in space, but not alone. Instead we are tapped into an unquenchable, undepletable, inexhaustible source of wisdom, consciousness, companionship. Yeah, we lose friends, but we find friends, too, in places we never thought to look. And they’re better friends, truer friends. And we’re better and truer to them.”


Last year, Seth Godin shone a spotlight on our need for connection when he wrote Tribes and set up a Website to foster connections between kindred spirits. He explains, “Human beings can’t help it: we need to belong. One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people…Tribes make our lives better.”


Several years ago, I began to notice that when I led a two or three day event, people would start saying, “I finally found my tribe.” There always sounded a bit giddy at having made this discovery because they knew it was going to make their own life better.


If you aren’t actively looking for your tribe, you’re missing one of the great bonuses of the joyfully jobless life—rich relationships that are the result of choice, not chance.




You can connect with the Joyfully Jobless tribe at our upcoming Follow Through Camp on November 6 & 7 in Chaska, MN. Even though that’s coming up fast, we still have a spot left. Is it yours?