Setting your life up to be lived as an on-going treasure hunt, can only happen if you’ve  identified things that enrich your life. Not all of those things are things, of course.

Here are some collectibles that enhance the entrepreneurial life.

° Testimonials. Happy clients and customers who take time to let you know that they appreciate your efforts do more than simply lift your spirits: they can also help you attract more happy clients and customers.

Develop a system for saving the e-mails, thank yous and verbal words of praise. I usually ask at the time I receive such things if it would be okay to share. Nobody has ever turned me down.

° Experiences. Different experiences are good for your curiosity, your personal growth and, often, the basis of  your best stories. Why, then, do so many people fail to put themselves in new situations?

Habit, routine and self-doubt are some of the culprits here.

While all new experiences aren’t necessarily planned in advance, it’s a good idea to regularly put some on your calendar. Without them, you won’t have many good stories to tell your grandchildren.

° Joyfully Jobless friends. It was Napoleon Hill who first brought attention to the notion of a Master Mind Group. That’s still a fine idea, but you also need informal relationships with others who are self-employed.

Start following entrepreneurs on Twitter. Organize a local Meetup group. Find out about organizations and informal gatherings of self-employed folks in your area. Go to workshops and conferences aimed at the self-employed.

Follow up on recommendations of friends who say, “Oh, you should meet So-and-So. You have a lot in common.”

Before you know it, you’ll have a tribe.

° Stories. More and more marketing gurus are  singing the praises of storytelling. Not only is this an overlooked marketing tool, many people overlook their own best stories.

Keeping a simple journal or file of stories you encounter—both in person or as a reader—is a good idea. When it comes time to  write a speech or spiff up your Web site or produce a mailing, you’ll have a pool of material to draw from.

Then there’s this from Michael E. Gerber: “I dare say, all successful entrepreneurs have loved the story of their business. Because that’s what true entrepreneurs do: They tell stories that come to life in the form of their business.”

° Portfolio of profit centers. There’s a line in the movie About a Boy that I love: “Two’s not enough. You’ve got to have backup.” They’re talking about relationships in the film, but it is equally true for profit centers.

As I’ve frequently mentioned, all enterprises go through cycles, but not all cycles are synchronized. If you have variety in your offerings, you can adjust, revamp, shift gears as necessary.

However, the flukes of the marketplace are only part of the reason for building a portfolio. You need outlets for all of your passions.

An evolving portfolio is how you create the pieces of our own particular puzzle.

° Resources. The abundance of information available to us is both dazzling and daunting. Knowing that useful resources exist  can do a great deal to dispel fear and doubt, but only if you take advantage of the  best resources you can find.

Go beyond a Google search and find resources in your community, at the library, and, perhaps, your local visitor’s center. Does your local newspaper do stories about small businesses in the area? Are there local radio talk shows that might enjoy having you as a guest?  What about adult ed programs that can sharpen your skills?

° Expertise. Almost from the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I recognized that being regarded as an expert would be useful. Of course, if you’re passionate about something, growing into expertise is almost inevitable.

Using that expertise to expand your visibility, help others, make new discoveries, and create additional profit centers requires understanding the expert’s role and a willingness to value what you already have accomplished.

As I point out in my Establish Yourself as an Expert seminars, this isn’t something you do by the first Tuesday of next month. It’s an on-going, evolutionary process—one that keeps you stretching, exploring and growing. Doing so can also open doors of opportunity in delightfully surprising ways.

John Schroeder was one of the first people I met when I moved to Minneapolis. At the time , he was working as the editor of an in-house magazine for a large company.

He surprised everyone when he decided to go out on his own as a freelance writer. His business has covered a wide range of writing projects including books, study guides, catalog copy, newsletters and articles.

He’s also a voracious fan of garage sales and spends every weekend in the summer going to sales, flea markets and antique shows.

John’s biggest obstacle has been his reluctance to market himself. In true John style, he’s named this approach his No Marketing Marketing Plan which means that he delights in work that comes to him, but seldom instigates projects.

A few years ago, he asked if he could get together with me and our friend Georgia to discuss his goals for the coming year. A meeting was set up and John arrived with his goals neatly typed.

One item caught both Georgia and my attention. Several years earlier, John had written a booklet which he was thinking about expanding into a book called Garage Sale Fever.

We were wildly supportive of this idea and pointed out that he needed to get at it immediately if he wanted to take advantage of the spring selling season.

We met again about six weeks later and asked about his progress. “I’ve kind of put that on the back burner until the end of the year,” he said languidly. “I don’t think I can get it out by the end of April.”

Georgia and I leaped into action and argued against his procrastination.

The next day, John got a call from his publishing friend Shane who said, “I miscalculated. If you get the manuscript done by mid-March, we’ll have no trouble reaching your deadline.”

What happened next was nothing short of astonishing. With Shane setting deadlines, John finished the manuscript ahead of time.

A couple of mornings later, I got a call from John—about two hours earlier than I’ve ever heard from him. I also had never heard such excitement in his voice.

“I’ve been working on my marketing plan for Garage Sale Fever,” he announced, “and I’ve come up with eighteen ideas.”

I congratulated him and said, “Here at Winning Ways, we’re planning to give you a big plug, too.”

“Oh,” he exclaimed, “that’s nineteen!”

Even more amazing were some of the ideas on his list which involved contacting the media, talking to shopkeepers and doing workshops. My introverted friend had turned into a marketing madman.

The next thing we knew, John was appearing on local radio and television shows, being interviewed in newspapers and quoted in Newsweek magazine. He also agreed to teach classes in a community education program to show people how to have a successful garage sale.

John’s story is a great example of the power of passion. His enthusiasm for garage sales, has had him on a perpetual treasure hunt for years. Being able to share that passion pushed him past all sorts of doubts and fears.

John’s story also illustrates how valuable it is to have entrepreneurial friends who can encourage and keep us accountable.

Got a neglected project that’s gathering dust? Try giving it an infusion of passion and invite a couple of cheerleaders to keep you going.

And keep in mind this bit of encouragement from Irving Allen: No matter what your present condition, there’s  something a little better right within your reach.