During the days when I taught high school English, I would never have assigned a book that I hadn’t read myself.  That carried over into my self-employment journey where I vowed to only recommend things I’d found worthwhile

That showed up in other ways as well. I decided to treat my business as a laboratory where I would experiment, test ideas, pay close attention to what worked—and what didn’t. I vowed to never teach what I hadn’t learned myself.

What I didn’t know back at the beginning was that the learning would never end. My curiosity never went on vacation.

There have been some wonderful surprises, of course. Along the way, I filled up two passports with stamps as I discovered my business could support my wanderlust. On top of that my travels became legitimate tax deductions.

While we all know that we’re living in a big, noisy Information Age, I’ve been thinking a lately about how incredibly valuable genuine learning is. The real thing goes way beyond a quick Google search.

I’m not the only one who has found being in a room with curious explorers is amazingly valuable.

My mentor, Bob Conklin, once added up all his investments including real estate, stocks, and money spent on attending seminars. He concluded that the biggest returns came from the time and money spent learning.

Earlier this year, I began to gather my best business practices. At the beginning, I was just reviewing my lab results and checking to see if I was forgetting anything.

I even surprised myself at how much great information I had gathered. I’m pretty sure I  said, “Wow” dozens of times.

As the list began growing, so did my desire to share these best practices with others. Could I do so in a weekend event?

It seemed daunting, but with a bit of editing I knew that I could share the brightest and best ideas that have kept me joyfully jobless for over three decades.

And I’d love to pass them along to you. If you join me in Nashville on September 14 & 15 for the upcoming Small, Sassy and Successful, I promise you’ll leave with a toolbox filled with ideas and information that will make running your own business even more fun and profitable.

“Sometimes we get so busy running our businesses,” Oprah once observed, “that we forget why we started the business.” Oprah is not the only one dealing with that predicament.

Sooner or later, we all get swept up in the logistics of keeping our businesses running and temporarily overlook our real reasons for going out on our own.

It seemed appropriate to end this challenging year with some reminders about why the Joyfully Jobless path is one worth taking. Throughout December, I’ll be reviewing and reminding myself (and anyone else who cares to listen) about the rewards of working independently.

I’m starting with a short list I’m calling Self-employment is the Place Where…

° you discover ideas you didn’t know you had

° you discover friends you didn’t know you had

° you discover you can make a bigger contribution

° you set the rules and live by them

° you discover what one-of-a-kind means

° you flaunt your individuality

° you discover that you’re media worthy

° you discover that experimenting is fun

° you discover that failing isn’t fatal

° you discover that beginnings are exciting

° you discover the importance of taking care of the boss

° you discover the power of setting boundaries

° you discover that there are many forms of payment of which money is just one

° you discover you’re more creative than you realized

° you discover that you still have dreams that deserve to come true

Most importantly, you discover what poet David Whyte meant when he wrote, “Anyone or anything that does not bring you alive is too small for you.”

What discovery do you want to remember?