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Thanksgiving in the Bathroom?!

A Cautionary Tale… And My Thanksgiving Gift to You

One of the best things about Thanksgiving is spending time with family.

However… if your dream is to quit your soul-sucking job to be your own boss… then spending time with family can also be a dream killer

After all, who are the least likely people to support your dream? 

The people who love you the most, right? 


Because they love you.

Which means they want you to be safe

So when you start talking about shaking things up by leaving your job to follow your dream of… 

Sculpting one of a kind caricature cake toppers like my client Leslie… 

Or getting paid to care for other people’s pets in your home like a dog-lover named Maricruz does… 

Or taking steps to become a well-paid keynote speaker like my friend Bob is doing… 

Or basically anything that involves breaking out of the employee pack to do your own thing… 

That kind of talk scares the stuffing out of people who’ve spent their entire lives working for someone else. 

Just ask poor Karen.

Five years ago the aspiring self-bosser wrote to say she spent much of her holiday break hiding out in her in-laws’ bathroom.

Retelling Karen’s story has become somewhat of a Thanksgiving tradition here at Changing Course.

So as you prepare to spend time with your own family and friends, I’d like to once again share Karen’s story as both a cautionary tale – and as an inspiring example of how you can enjoy your family and grow your dream at the same time.

The story begins with an important reminder to anyone looking to escape the job box..

Never Discuss Your Dreams With People Who Have Forgotten Their Own 

It was a lesson Karen forgot when she announced over turkey that she’d been thinking of quitting her job to strike on her own .

Not surprisingly, Karen spent the next three days listening to a bunch of discouraging relatives explain why that her plan would never work…   

“Too much competition.” 

“You don’t have enough experience.” 

And the biggest myth of all… “Most new businesses fail.” 

Keep in mind that none of Karen’s in-laws have ever run a business themselves. 

But, when it comes to self-employment, “little things” like accurate information or any actual business experience never stopped anyone – and especially family – from offering uninformed advice. 

At heart of all this discouragement is the message…

What do you mean? You have a good job! You want to be happy too?!”

It’s a message I heard for two years before I finally walked away from my corporate job with the 90-mile-a-day commute to create the life I really want. 

To hear the gurus tell it, the solution is simple. Just purge these negative people from your life.

This is Where the “Gurus” Are Flat Out Wrong

The thing is… I loved my grandmother.  

My grandmother was not a negative person.

It’s just that she lived in the same house for most of her 92 years and she worked as a housekeeper for a local doctor and his family for some six decades. 

Simply said, my grandmother did not like change.

So rather than try to change my grandmother, I instead stuck to safe topics like the price of gas… or the weather…

That way my grandmother didn’t have to worry about me and I didn’t have to defend my dream. 

However, Karen taught me that there’s another way to handle discouraging relatives at the holidays

One that can advance your dream at the same time.

Karen’s Brilliant Idea for Keeping Her Dream Alive 

Like me, Karen was not willing to disown her relatives.

But she was also determined to not go through another holiday like the last one.

Instead she came up with a “unique” strategy for getting through the long Thanksgiving weekend at the in-laws. 

Before leaving town Karen downloaded some of the audios from the “Making Dreams Happen” program to take with her. 

That way during the long drive to and from her in-laws… the endless televised football games… even stolen time behind the bathroom door… 

Karen could listen to powerful reminders that dreams do indeed happen. And so does yours. 

All you need is someone to show you the way. 

There’s Nothing Else Like It — Anywhere 

Of course you can listen to anything that supports your dream.

I’m humbled to say Karen decided to grab as many inspiring moments as she could (even bathroom time) listening in as Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter and me layed out our unique strategies for finding and following your bliss. 

Making Dreams Happen is the ONLY audio program of its kind that brings together not one, not two, but three internationally-recognized career and life change experts… 

Making Dreams Happen is the ONLY audio program that features not one, not two, but three internationally-recognized career and life change experts…

Best-selling author and Oprah guest Barbara Sher best known for books like “Wishcraft” (over a million copies sold!) and “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was”

Barbara Winter, best-selling author of “Making a Living Without a Job” and an internationally recognized expert on multiple profit centers

And me. I’m an expert on seeing creative ways to turn interests into income.

In addition to training over 300 people how to be “outside the job box” career coaches, I also wrote a book on confidence that’s been reprinted in 5 languages. (A book which, despite the title, has helped a lot of men too.)

After all, changing course comes down to two things:

Having a great idea and then having the confidence to act on it.

I knew that bringing Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter and me together in one room would be life changing for us – and for anyone who was lucky enough to listen in.

Not only will you benefit from the ideas and methods we share, but you’ll also hear from three other inspiring entrepreneurs – regular people just like you who made their own dreams happen. 

Artist and designer Bonnie Druschel offers a heartfelt account of how, with precious little self-confidence and even less business experience, she went from struggling to paid artist. 

Bonnie will tell you how to avoid the roadblocks she encountered and inspire you… even if you’re not an artist. 

Joan Brett, founder of the Culinary School of the Rockies, tells you how she left behind a successful career as an attorney to build a whole new life around cooking – her passion. 

She started out small, teaching a few classes a week in her home, and built what is today an accredited, professional culinary academy.

Find out how Joan did it… and come away with some ideas of your own about how to design a food-related career. 

You’ll hear, too, from Doug Woods. This enterprising young man tapped local friends and acquaintances to invest in his business idea

Doug shares how you can get people to fund your own dream… and reveals the one magic word that makes investors enthusiastic immediately…   

If the idea of loving what you do… of jumping out of bed every morning excited about what the day holds, appeals to you, then I strongly encourage you to take seriously the Making Dreams Happen Audio Program.

Just think: Six months from now, you could be living your dream…

Over the course of the full program, we’ll help you…

  • Tap into your deepest passions, hopes, and dreams. You might be surprised at what you discover!

  • Explore the practical matter of turning those passions, hopes, and dreams into a livelihood. You’ll come away understanding the dream-busting myths about self-employment you must absolutely ignore… the secrets to thinking like an entrepreneur… how to make a living without a job through the power of multiple income streams… and much more.

  • Tackle the roadblocks… what’s keeping you stuck… and teach you how to navigate around them. You’ll learn how to use the CLUE technique to generate fascinating business ideas… and open up an incredible range of positive possibilities and creative alternatives to having a job.

  • Find out if you fall into the “Expert Trap,” the “Rugged Individualist Trap,” the “Natural Genius Trap,” or the “Perfectionist Trap”… and what to do to free yourself…

  • Find out what every expert knows. Learn how to create visibility for yourself… proven ways to package what you know… and how to get the media to promote your expertise, often without spending a dime…

  • Throw an idea party… and get a team of fun, creative people to help you brainstorm ideas about your wildest dreams.

  • Learn big and small ways you can keep your dream on track, even when you have no spare time to attend to it… plus four little words that will jump start any plan…

  • Explore the myths and realities of working for yourself… and talk about the big “M” – money. Get a primer on the nuts-and-bolts of changing course (from marketing your business to getting health insurance). Find out how the attitudes you learned about money as a child could be undermining your dreams…

  • Discover the surprising effect “switching genders” can have on your dream…

  • Figure out what kind of support you’ll need and where you can find it… plus learn the one place you should never look for a boost…

  • Find out how to run a successful Success Team from the woman who invented them. (Mademoiselle called Barbara Sher’s Success Teams “everything your family should have been and probably wasn’t.”) “Isolation is a dream-killer,” as Barbara says… this is your ticket to connectedness… and success…

Making Dreams Happen can easily be downloaded right onto your computer or portable device… or even onto CDs if you like. 

That way you can listen while you prepare your Thanksgiving feast… in the car or on the plane… while you walk off some of those Thanksgiving calories – or like Karen, even in the bathroom if you want! 

Seriously, you don’t have to hide out in the bathroom. 

But if you’re constantly feeling stuck between a clock and a hard place, then upcoming holiday down-time is the perfect opportunity to give your dream of being your own boss the attention it deserves. 

This is also you chance to launch your full time dream at HALF the price

Making Dreams Happen normally sells for $149. 

But when you act by this Sunday November 29th, you can get all 20 hours of Making Dreams Happen for just $74 – That’s a $75 Savings! 

I launched the Changing Course Newsletter 20 years ago.

My hope then and now is to offer change seekers like you the information, inspiration, and tools to help you go from having a boss… to being the boss of you!

I am so grateful to have you in my life. So to show my gratitude I’d like to offer you another Thanksgiving gift. 

Make Your Dreams Happen And Get a FREE Gift! 

The 13th century Persian poet and philosopher Rumi wisely said, “When setting out on a journey do not consult someone who has never left home.”

Instead of listening to people insist your dream isn’t possible, this is your chance to grab a FREE copy of another inspiring and idea-provoking audio series.

It’s called… 

The Life Changers: How They Did It — and How You Can Too!  

The people you’ll hear from are no richer or smarter than you. They didn’t necessarily have more time or courage.

But they all found a way to successfully changed course to follow their own road in life… and as they will show you, how you can too.

Among the people you’ll meet on this eye-opening audio series are…

  • A former nursing home executive who tapped a family recipe he brought from his native Nigeria and now makes and sells to gourmet shops and restaurants  

  • A talented artist who after struggling with low self-esteem discovered the lucrative world of art licensing. Today she is a working artist who gets paid to have her work reproduced on anything from gift bags, to coffee mugs and has recently licensed her own line of inspirational jewelry  

  • A woman bringing in an amazing $70,000 a year as an animal communicatory

  • A couple who walked away from solid careers for a far more relaxing life in the country raising alpacas

  • A woman with absolutely no experience as an inventor who successfully brought not one but two handy product ideas to market

  • You’ll also meet a couple who created an entirely new niche not as inventors but as “product scouts.” Today they help manufacturers find cool new products… Best of all, their new lifestyle allowed them to realize their dream of getting out of New England to spend their winters in sunny Arizona 

I’m really just scratching the surface. There are well over a dozen inspiring self-bossers who make up the Life Changers series… 

Along the way their stories will show you how to recognize and avoid the common detours and speed bumps that can derail your dream. 

Lessons that are guaranteed to save you time, money, and unnecessary frustration and stress. 

As importantly, you’ll be inspired to view your life through the lens of possibility. 

And when you do, you will realize in no uncertain terms that – no matter what your family or friends say — you truly can create the life you really want. 

The Life Changers normally sells for $49. But when your order Making Dreams Happen during this special 3-day sale, you get the entire 4-set audio download FREE. 

Your dream-bashing family and friends will be speechless when you tell them about the Life Changers you’ll meet. 

Click here now to get all 20+ hours of dream-enabling audios in the Making Dreams Happen program for $75 off. PLUS your FREE copy of The Life Changers.

Then as you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner, give thanks that you don’t have to spend Thanksgiving hiding out in the bathroom like Karen.

Instead you get the unique opportunity to tap into the collective wisdom of three top experts each dedicated to helping you make your dreams happen – and enjoy your FREE holiday gift from me!

Happy Thanksgiving

Valerie Young
Since 1995 the Dreamer in Residence

P.S. I’ve never had anyone tell me they listened to me in the bathroom! But hey, if that’s what it takes to get a little alone time with your dreams, then you gotta love the determination!

Act now. Your chance to save $75 on Making Dreams Happens plus get instant access to that and your FREE gift (a $49 value) ends this Sunday November 29th

Click here to claim this opportunity now.

Make Every Day Thanksgiving

This week most Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Our Canadian friends celebrated their Thanksgiving in October.

Other cultures around the world have their own ways of expressing appreciation for life’s abundance.

Make every day thanksgiving1

Thanksgiving and other annual, collective rituals are of course important.  But did you know thankfulness is integral to the career change process?

After all, the whole reason you want to shake up your life is because you’re unhappy with the way things are right now.

In fact, you’re painfully aware of exactly what – or who – is contributing to your current misery.

It’s your lousy job… or disagreeable boss… or annoying co-worker… or maddening commute… or the day-to-day pressures and stress of the job… or the low pay… you fill in the blank.

You’re “here” but what you desperately want is to be “there.”

And while you may not know exactly what “there” looks like yet, you do know this: You want your future to look very different from your present.

And herein lies the challenge. How do you strive to fashion this future life, yet still live happily in the present?

In a word: gratitude. If you don’t like that word then try “mindfulness.”

Make every day thanksgiving2

You see, the key to both your current well being and your future success is the ability to be mindful of all that we have right this very minute. This is all the more true if the present is less than desirable.

As Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin point out in Your Money or Your Life, “So much dissatisfaction comes from focusing on what we don’t have that the simple exercise of acknowledging and valuing what we do have can transform our outlook.”

It’s a lesson I learned first-hand while driving through Connecticut. As usual I was in a hurry to get somewhere.

I was making pretty good time when suddenly traffic on the interstate slowed to a crawl.

As I sat there fuming at the delay big tractor-trailer truck edged alongside me.

Even in my agitated state, I couldn’t help but notice that the side of the truck was completely white.

It was completely devoid of the usual advertising, company name, or words of any kind.

As the truck inched ahead, I could see some writing along the back.

I assumed it would be one of those “How’s my driving?” messages encouraging motorists to call in to report the driver’s performance.

As the truck slowly pulled in front of my car, three simple words written in neat black letters came into view.

The words were: Be Here Now.

I don’t know what the truck company had intended by that message but I do know the effect it had on me.

The first thing I did was take a long, deep breath. My breathing slowed, my muscles relaxed.

Heeding the message, I decided that instead of raging at the traffic gods I may as well pop in a CD, sit back, and do the only thing I could do – enjoy the ride.

I began to compare the simple, yet powerful, message to “be here now” with the popularity of those “I’d rather be…” bumper stickers.

Some of our fellow drivers would rather be fishing.

Others would rather be shopping.

One common in a local college town is, “I’d rather be smashing imperialism.”

We may all fill in the “I’d rather be…” blank differently but the message is still the same – we’d rather be just about anywhere but “here.”

To be fully in the moment is no small task.

Even on a good day our minds have a tendency to race ahead with plans or worries or ideas.

Being present is even more challenging when the current state of affairs is the very thing we so desperately seek to change.

And yet, neglecting the present invariably leads to future regrets.

Being too busy to spend meaningful time with our children, visit a sick or aging relative, exercise, or even have fun is the stuff regrets are made of.

None of us will look back at our lives and wish we’d done less, but we will all wonder why we didn’t do more.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” Lennon understood that life is for living… today.

What I’m trying to say is this…

As you work to create that new and different future remember that changing course is as much about the journey as it is the destination.

To fully enjoy this ride called life requires that we appreciate each and every day and that we be mindful of all that we have.

I realize this may not always be easy. Yet even in the most dire circumstances, I’ve learned that there is always something to be grateful for.

My friend’s Aunt Nancy had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was given no more than six months to live.

She hung on just long enough to attend her grandson’s graduation.

As we drove Aunt Nancy to the ceremony, we saw the most beautiful sunset. Grinning from ear to ear I heard her whisper, “I’m so lucky. I’m so very, very lucky.”

We were all so very lucky that day.

“Once we are above the survival levels,” say Dominguez and Robin, “the difference between prosperity and poverty lies simply in our degree of gratitude.”

When you consciously focus on life’s gifts instead of its challenges, you’ll begin to feel rich beyond measure.

Make every day thanksgiving3

So as you enjoy a drink of clean water, a warm bed, or the company of a loved one, pause and be grateful for who and what is in your life right now.

Strive toward that new future, but remember to be here now and savor the journey.

To all who celebrate this special holiday, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

p.s. If you’re near email tomorrow, look for a special Thanksgiving gift from me.

Is This the Fear That’s Holding YOU Back?

You don’t have to look very far to find people who’re trapped in the wrong job or profession…

Carpenters who should have been accountants.

Accountants who should have been horticulturists.

Horticulturists who should have opened an animal shelter.

There are lots of reasons why people get, or stay, on the wrong career path.

You might be surprised to hear that the obvious reason – money – is actually pretty low on the list.wrong career path

That’s because, unless you are truly at the subsistence level, money is all too often an excuse used to mask deeper issues.

Let’s take a closer look at what may really be holding you back.

Despite the occasional story about the physician who walked away to become a florist or the attorney turned singer, the overwhelming majority of unhappy people choose to stay miserably stuck largely out of pride.

Put another way, it’s a lot easier to keep that lousy job than to stand up and admit to the world that they zigged when they should have zagged.

Of course it’s possible that you really did love their chosen career – at least in the beginning…

But over time, you and your work, well, you just grew apart.

If this sounds familiar, chances are what keeps you on the wrong path is, just like a relationship gone bad, it’s hard to walk away from a career into which you’ve put so much time and effort — to say nothing of the financial investment.

Take Donna.

After earning her master’s degree in social work some fifteen years ago, she went into private practice as a family therapist.

For the first five or so years, Donna got a lot of satisfaction out of helping others. For the last ten though, her work has felt more like a burden.

So what keeps her there? It’s simple.

Donna doesn’t want to “waste” the degree.

Gold Background design with frame for awards

Look, I know it’s not easy to turn your back on an established career, especially if it’s one that pays well, has some prestige associated with it, or required earning some kind of advanced degree.

Yet, think about the logic here.

If you identify with Donna’s dilemma what you’re really telling yourself is…

“I’ve wasting the last 10 years of my life so I might as well throw away the next 20 as well. To hell with my true gifts, I’ve got more suffering to do.”

So if you’re hanging on to a job or career because of all the time and money you’ve invested, you need to get in touch with the one thing that should really scare the heck out of you…

Namely, never getting to experience what your life would be like if you pursued your true gifts and passions.

Once you’ve let that little reality sink in, sit down and write a “Dear John” letter to your past love.

wrong career path3

Tell your career that while it has been a good and faithful partner for some time… you’ve simply fallen out of love and it’s time to move on.

Your former passion will understand.

Then pick up a paintbrush, look into culinary school, or otherwise start courting your new love interests.

As George Bernard Shaw once observed, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

Start a business that makes a difference in the world

If you dream of starting a business, but what you really want is to save the world, you might be a budding social entrepreneur.

Social EntrepreneurshipSocial entrepreneurship is a term that means different things to different people. To you, it might mean starting a nonprofit organization for a social cause.

Others may think of it as creating a nonprofit entity out of a for-profit company.

And someone else would use it to describe an enterprise that simply integrates social responsibility into its business practices.

So what does it really mean?

In general, it describes a company that uses business structures, innovation, and ideas to effect social change.

While social entrepreneurs may also profit financially from their efforts, the main goal is to apply business systems and processes to fix social problems that aren’t currently being addressed or that traditional methods have failed to resolve.

Brainstorming is an essential part of social entrepreneurship.

Social Entrepreneurship-brainstormBy looking at the problem in alternative ways, social entrepreneurs can combine the best aspects of for-profit and nonprofit thinking to bring together the resources needed to effect change.

For that reason, social enterprises can take many forms.

Many are solo ventures, but they can also be run by a team or a corporation.

They can be for-profit or nonprofit or even a hybrid mixing elements of both; for example, a homeless shelter that starts businesses to train and employ their residents.

There’s even a socially entrepreneurial TV show! On Secret Millionaire, wealthy entrepreneurs (like business coach Ali Brown) or corporate executives (like Kevin Sheehan of Norwegian Cruise Lines) learn what life is like for poor people by living incognito in their neighborhood for 10 days.

At the end of the experiment, the millionaire makes a significant donation to a worthy local cause.

What does it take to be a social entrepreneur?

Unlike most people who see a problem in the world, feel bad about it, and move on, social entrepreneurs may even change careers to solve those problems.

Social Entrepreneurship-courageWhat makes a social entrepreneur different from a regular entrepreneur is their motivation. This is where your “why” comes in – the reason you start your business, which also can determine how and how well you do it.

You may already be motivated by your passion for a particular project or issue. But to actually turn that passion into action requires a lot more than just a desire to fix the problem.

In order to accomplish their social mission, social entrepreneurs need to have the courage to take risks that others won’t and the resilience to overcome the obstacles along their way.

What are the biggest challenges for social entrepreneurs?

Overall, they have the same problems that other entrepreneurs do when it comes to starting, running, and sustaining a business.

  • Getting money – A common problem for many startups. You may have to start your venture on the side while you keep your day job or other sources of income.
  • Business skills – You have to run your social enterprise like a business. Do you or your team have the necessary skills?
  • Extended time between startup and sustainability – It may take 6 to 12 months of research and development before you can launch, and it may be years before your business breaks even.
  • Regulatory issues – It’s important to investigate the legal and governmental issues around starting a business and the social issues you’re addressing. For instance, you can’t advertise that you donate a portion to a worthy cause and then skip it during lean times. In some countries, they can be extremely complex or limiting.

What really makes a social enterprise different from other businesses is that success is not simply defined as profitability. The #1 priority is accomplishment of their social mission.

Look at what these social entrepreneurs are doing to change the world:

  • After a life-changing trip to Africa, 7-figure business coach Suzanne Evans created a nonprofit entity to empower African women and girls to become entrepreneurs and agents of change.
  • Bridget Hilton and Ben Richardson were appalled when they read that around the world 5000 children die each day from diseases that could be prevented by washing their hands. Their company, Jack’s Soap, operates on a “buy-one-give-one” principle; for every bar of soap sold, the company donates a free bar of soap to someone in need.
  • Matt Flannery is the co-founder of Kiva, the original global micro-finance company. Kiva takes investment money from average people and uses it to make loans to low-income entrepreneurs around the world.
  • Foundry Marketplace is a platform that allows entrepreneurs in developing countries to sell their crafts worldwide – sort of like Etsy for social enterprise! Founder Michelle Pride also runs an aggregator site, Trading Hope, that helps local artisans and social enterprises in those countries sell their products in the US through direct sales representatives.

With the global connected-ness of the internet, there’s never been a better time for implementing entrepreneurial approaches to solve social problems. Government and philanthropy can only do so much. The world needs more social entrepreneurs to develop new models for the future.

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.

–Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi

BeingRealisticBook-shadowIf you think you can’t make some sort of a difference in the world, then you need to read adjust your thinking. I can help.

For a limited time, you can download a copy of Being Realistic is Killing Your Dreams: 7 Lessons for Living Your Life on Purpose, Working at What You Love, and Following Your Own Road for 50 percent

Click Here

To claim this half price just offer enter the code UNREAL at check out.

Changing Course is Not as Complicated As It Looks–Really!

Most people over-complicate the process of changing course to happy self-employment.

Yes, there’s a lot to consider and do.

You need to figure out what it is you love to do and find a way to generate income doing it.

Once you know that then you need to make a plan to get there.

It can feel overwhelming until you realize that on a day-to-day basis, the process of changing course is pretty uncomplicated.

In fact there are easy steps you can take — even if you’re clueless on how to find the money, time or courage to take the leap. Steps that won’t cost you a dime, but could have a huge payoff.

I put together three super easy ways to uncomplicate the change process.

Find your own “think spot.”

We all need a place that nourishes us, where we can reflect on where we want to go and how we plan to get there.

It could be local park bench. Or a country road. Or the view from the top of a skyscraper. A quiet corner of a library.

You can spend 30 minutes there or weeks (okay so maybe you can’t sleep at the library – but you can come back day after day).

How long you’re there is not important. What’s important is that you’re using your “think spot” in the service of your dream.

It’s about slowing down and unplugging.

It’s where you can get clear on want you want and then either make a plan to get there or be working on your plan.

And, if your “think spot” also happens to be where you go to work, write, or plan as I do… it’s could also be a nice tax deduction!

For instance, for a decade I spend half of August at a peaceful lake in New Hampshire. Yes, I got to relax, do some kayaking, and enjoy the mesmerizing call of the loons.


But it’s also where I went to escape the distracting call of email and social media so I could focus 100 percent on writing and doing business planning.

Since I really did spend the majority of my time there working, I was able to deduct a large percent of my gas, groceries, and cottage rental fee. Sweet!

Go local.

If you get most of yo
ur news on-line, then you may be missing out.

Rolled Newspaper With The Headline Local NewsOne of the best tapped sources of information are small hometown newspapers.

They’re often the ones that feature stories or events other bigger newspapers and outlets find too minor to mention.

For instance, a few years back a retreat center less than a mile from my house was hosting a conference on Buddhism and peace. The event itself was mostly advertised outside the local area.

Turns out the kick-off event was Jeff Bridges performing songs from his Academy Award winning movie Crazy Heart.

The venue only had seating for about 60 people so it would be an intimate affair.

I happened to see an announcement in my small weekly paper that the conference organizers had a few extra tickets they were making available to locals.

I called immediately and snagged the last two tickets!

I know a woman who found a business partner as a result of being covered by a local paper.

Another found out about an upcoming seminar that was exactly what he needed.

And it all began with paying attention to the local news.

Don’t be afraid to look foolish.

I once had a client who love to bake. But she also loved being with people.

So she came up with the idea of starting a pie cooperative. That way she and the other members could enjoy each other’s company while they baked.

The plan was to sell to local restaurants and donate a share of the profits to charity.

I helped her figure out how to find the space to set up the cooperative.

But she didn’t know how to go about getting the desserts into restaurants.

I gave her several recommendations, among them talking to owners to learn more about how they work with outside vendors.

As it happens we were meeting in a small café that would make an ideal client. Spying the manager, I said, “Let’s start here!”

She was mortified. What if he brushed her off? Then she’d feel foolish.

The manager didn’t brush her off. In fact, he gave her some great insights that could only come from going to the source.

Being willing to look foolish is an essential part of success.

For instance, even though I’ve had my picture taken with more than my fair share of celebrities and public figures, I still feel awkward asking.

But I still do it.

Jeff Bridges was of course, incredibly gracious.

from old iphone 11 27 2011 732Me? I was so nervous that I babbled on about watching his dad, Lloyd on the late fifties-early sixties TV show Sea Hunt and said nothing about Jeff’s own well-deserved Oscar for best actor!

As mortified as I was I don’t think thy guy lost any sleep over it and I got a great at photo I’ll treasure forever!

True, both my client and I could have been brushed off.

And yet, it’s the things we don’t do that we most regret, not the things we did.

Besides as Cynthia Heimel said, “There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.”

Life is complicate enough. Pick one thing from the above list to practice this week.

If nothing else, I guarantee you’ll learn something.

And that’s a good thing; because when you stop learning my friend, you’re dead.


The Life First – Work Second(c) Approach to Career Change

Yes you can create the life you really want.

A life with more freedom and control. One where you get to do work you truly love.

And it all begins with the fundamental question — “What do I want my life to look like.”

The next step is to figure out 1) what you love to do and 2) how you can make money doing it… in ways that pass the all-important Life Test.Valerie Young digital-web

If you need career guidance from someone far removed from the world of traditional career advising with its job-centric focus on resumes, interviews, and job searches…

If instead you need a career expert who can give you personalized answers so you can make a living without a j-o-b, I’d be honored to help you realize your dream of “right livelihood.”

Click here now to learn more. Everything you need is waiting for you there.

Combine Your Passions to Create an Income

You know you want to ditch the 9-to-5 world (or maybe for you it’s more like 8-to-late). You also know you want to travel. But finding a viable way to create income without a job? That’s where most people are stumped.

That was certainly the case for a reader named Janet.

Janet took a job in human resources just out of college, and now—after 22 years in a cubicle—she’s determined to give it all up and move to Latin America.

Janet is torn between starting a business that utilizes her gift for coaching—the only part of the HR job she actually enjoyed—or to somehow fashion a livelihood based on her love of ballroom dancing.
Combine Your Passions to Create an Income--ballroom dancing

Most opportunities come disguised as “problems,” and Janet’s is no exception.

For starters, unlike many cubicle dwellers who’ve been stuck in the j-o-b world so long they don’t even know what it is they love to do anymore, Janet clearly does.

Add to her twin gifts for dancing and coaching/counseling a genuine love for travel, and she has three passions!

More importantly, Janet doesn’t have a decision problem. She has an assumption problem—one that can be easily fixed by simply changing the question.

Instead of asking how to choose between a dance-related business and one where you get paid to offer advice, what if she asked: How can I get paid to combine my passions?

That’s what Lisa B. Evans did. Lisa knew there had to be others who shared a passion for knitting and yoga.

So the landscape architect, author, avid knitter, and mother of three combined these two seemingly unrelated interests to create Knitting and Yoga Adventures.

That was nine years ago.

Today people happily pay several thousand dollars to attend summertime or fall workshops on Maine’s picturesque Monhegan Island or in Vermont.

Jessie and Brad Wigh also found a way to combine two passions. After falling hopelessly in love with Belize, the couple searched for a way to marry their passion for teaching yoga with what would soon become their permanent residence.

The result was Belize Yoga, a successful retreat business specializing in jungle, sea, relaxation, and adventure for devoted yoga practitioners.

Combine Your Passions to Create an Income--yogaYou don’t need to know a lotus pose from a lotus plant to connect your interest in travel with your passion with dance. Instead take a page out of fellow travel lover Melissa Gower-Pence’s book.

Melissa may not be into ballroom dancing. But she is an ardent hobbyist, which led her to found Craft Cruises.

Every year Melissa’s company organizes cruises to fabulous locations like Alaska, China, Japan, South America, Australia, and New Zealand for knitting, beading, crocheting, and other crafts enthusiasts.

According to the online source Cruise Critic, ballroom dance cruises are all the rage. You may not want to start your own cruise business.

But what if you became a frequent cruiser so as to make your own “dancing” videos. Then you posted on your own YouTube channel.

Generate enough followers and I guarantee the advertisers—and therefore, the money—will follow. Plus, you can write off your travel as a legitimate business expense!

Combine Your Passions to Create an Income-airplaneThen again, who says you have to combine your passions at all?

Plenty of self-bossers pursue two or even more unrelated interests and that includes Jessie Wigh.

In addition to her work at Belize Yoga, the mother of two is also author of two children’s books.

Of course this is only one example.

If Jessie happened to share Janet’s gift for helping people she could just as easily have decided to coach parents of young children who are considering a move to Belize or counsel yoga instructors who want to open a studio in another country.

Building on that last idea, if the couple wanted to really scale Belize Yoga they could train and license their business model to people who want to start Bali Yoga, Bermuda Yoga, or a retreat in any popular vacation destination.

Finally not everything you love to do needs to earn money. Janet could decide to dance purely for pleasure and instead focus on building a viable coaching practice for income.

The great thing about being a coach is how portable it is. You can be in one country and your clients can be in another.

As long as she has a good phone and internet connection, Janet run her business from virtually anywhere—on a houseboat in the South of France, poolside in Panama City, or from a quaint café in Quito.

If she decides to go this route Janet will need to first answer the question, “Who do I want to serve or save?”

For instance, I started my business because I wanted to rescue people trapped in job jail with no notion of the liberating world of self-employment.

For Janet it may be people who need help sticking to a wellness program…parents of fussy eaters…managers seeking to move into the executive suite…or any number of niches that could benefit from her guidance.

Winston Churchill, the former British Prime Minister, said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Once you learn to view the world through the lens of opportunity you’ll quickly discover that the difficulty that’s been keeping you locked in job jail may be the very thing that can set you free.

A version of this article previously appeared in Incomes Abroad, a fabulous monthly newsletter for people who want to fund their travel life published by my friends at International Living magazine

Fund Your Life Overseas

How to Create the Kind of Life You Don’t Need a Vacation from 

changingcourse-6e839d4c-4ee5-47ea-be1f-b1f88fc41555-v2If you dream about a life where you have the freedom to “call the shots”… to pick up and head to a cottage on a sun-dappled beach and “retire” in the tropics… or rent a little getaway in a history-rich colonial town for the winter… or take an apartment for a few months a year in Paris or Buenos Aires… but you need the flexibility that would allow you to leave… and an income that could make it happen…

Then I invite you to join me, my team of on-site professional portable income stream idea generators, and other career and life change experts this November 12-14, 2015 in Phoenix, AZ to learn how to create the life YOU really want!

To learn more click here

I’d love to meet you there!

Love to Work With Your Hands? 3 Cool Alternatives to Sitting In Front of a Computer All Day

Are you the kind of person who trembles at the very thought of assembling an Ikea bookshelf? Or do you revel in the challenge?

If you fall into the second group then chances are you’re well-suited to a livelihood that allows you to work with your hands.

Up until the Industrial—and now the Information—Age, most people made their living either by making and selling something or repairing something made by someone else.

Today people exploring self-employment tend to zero in on businesses involving activities like analyzing, planning, or writing—the kind of work I refer to as “head work.”

Follow Your Heart--computer

And that’s great, because the internet makes it possible to do all manner of “head work” like running an online business or freelance writing.

But even if you’ve never considered yourself “handy” you may be among the growing numbers of change-seekers drawn toward alternatives to sitting in front of a computer screen.

That’s because “hand work,” where you can actually see the fruit of your labor, has an entirely different feel—a distinction I first experienced while taking a stained-glass class.

As I sat at the grinding wheel slowly smoothing the jagged edges of the glass, I was consumed by an overwhelming sense of peace and calm.

I realized then that delivering a performance review, outlining the new company communication plan, and other activities that made up my then corporate management job, while engaging, simply didn’t provide the same sense of accomplishment as making a tangible product that you can touch and feel.

If you do want to work with your hands, here are three ideas to get you started

Make and Sell Stuff

Are you a whiz with a needle and thread?

Depending on where you live, it may be hard to compete price-wise with a local seamstress or tailor doing basic alterations. All the more so if your goal is to live in the Caribbean or Belize or another place where the wages are low.

But if you have an eye for fashion trends—or can otherwise create one-of-a-kind clothing—you can still stitch together a nice little income by selling online. is a great retail website linking producers and consumers around the world.

If you can produce art, craft, or design work you can post it on Etsy and find buyers from just about anywhere.

(Remember, if are considering living internationally and you’re living in a low-cost country and earning First World wages, your money is going a long way. Work those latitudes to your benefit.)

Follow Your Heart--craft

If you enjoy tinkering in a woodworking shop, you can capitalize on the unlikely comeback of the simple wooden toy, a phenomenon first brought on when millions of toys manufactured in China were recalled due to lead paint and other dangerous chemicals.

According to an article in the New York Times, home-based, wooden-toy makers like Ron Voake of Vermont Wooden Toys can barely keep up.

“Every time there was a story about a recall,” said 61-year-old Ron, “I got flooded with orders.”

Ready to go big time?

Thanks to specialty retail trade-show NY Now, even small emerging makers of handmade items have a shot at getting their wares into high-end retailers and museum stores.

If you are a talented designer in business for one year or less—or an artist entering the wholesale marketplace for the first time—you can apply for the chance to have your handmade product line showcased at the trade-show.

Get Paid to Repair Stuff

If you’re mechanically-inclined and live in an area where half the population gets around on a Vespa, you might love a business fixing motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, and other motorbikes.

Brian Taggerty of the Doll Clinic in Elmira, New York and president of the Doll Doctor’s Association learned the craft of repairing dolls from his mother and grandmother.

Nor do you need a brick-and-mortar operation to do it. Brian has a large backlog of damaged dolls he receives by mail from grateful customers around the country.

Restoring quilts or other treasured heirlooms can be done from anywhere.

As long as you’re willing to include free shipping, your customers can just as easily send their item to you in Colombia as they can to Canada or Cleveland.

Follow Your Heart--loom

Work Seasonally

If you have carpentry skills… or bake wedding cakes… or love landscape gardening, you could always take on small contractor jobs abundant during the warmer months then head elsewhere for the winter.

You can make your overseas life part-time, earning an income in your home country during the summer months.

If your output is more tangible, you can always leave your own products back home and get someone else to do the selling for you while you wander the world.

When I was a kid my hobbyist woodworker dad took out a small magazine ad to sell replicas of the Cape Cod-style cranberry scoops often used to store magazines or knitting.

Had my dad coveted the traveling life, he could have easily built up his inventory while in the U.S. and then arranged for someone else to drop-ship orders while away.

Starting a successful business doesn’t have to mean sitting in front of a computer.

Whether you live in Rapid City or Rome there are endless opportunities to both fund your life and still enjoy the satisfaction of working with your hands.

And if you happen to love travel, it’s a lot easier to fund a life overseas these days than you may realize.

And I’m not talking just about portable incomes that travel with you and provide you the “cushion” you need to just go… but also about profit centers you can put in place once you’re settled abroad as well…

You see you really CAN create the kind of life you don’t need a vacation from. Everything you need to learn how is going to be at

International Living Magazine’s Fund Your Life Overseas Conference

Join me, my team of on-site Business Idea Generators, Making a Living Without a Job author Barbara Winter, and other career and life change experts this November 12-14, 2015 in Phoenix, AZ to learn how to create the life YOU really want!

Early Bird Savings Ends Soon!

Register by October 14th to SAVE $200!

fund your life

I’d love to meet you there!

A version of this article previously appeared in Incomes Abroad, a fabulous monthly newsletter for people who want to fund their travel life published by my friends at International Living magazine.

Ask Yourself What You Really Want

This article previously appeared in Incomes Abroad, a monthly newsletter for people who want to fund their travel life brought to you by my friends at International Living magazine

When we were growing up, adults were forever asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But did anyone ever ask, “What do you want your life to look like?” Probably not.

You would have never replied, “I’d like to wake up to an alarm clock, battle traffic to get to a cubicle where I have to report to a micro-managing boss.”

Yet that describes the life of countless millions of people. Sadly we become so conditioned to the mantra to “get a good job” that we just accept whatever comes along with it. The good news is you really can find work you enjoy and live the life you love, too.

writingIt all begins with a simple question: “What do you want your life to look like?”

For starters, think about how you want to work. If your current job primarily requires sitting in front of a computer—what I refer to as “head work”—might you be happier working with your hands, your body, your heart, or some combination?

Do you want to work alone or would you be happier collaborating with others?

Where are you happiest working? Is it working from home…or from your laptop at a local café…or a sun-filled studio or workshop?

Would you love a livelihood that allows you to spend more time in nature?

I’ve been helping people who want to make the leap from having a boss to being their own boss for two decades now. Before I can even begin to show someone the ways they can turn their interests into income, I first need to get a clear picture of what they want their life to look like. That way we can ensure the ideas we do generate pass the all-important Life Test.

You may have no idea what you want to do work-wise, but with a little nudging I bet you can identify the lifestyle you want. Say, for instance, you know you want to live by the shore for half the year, spend three months Ask Yourself What You Really Want-Italyin the mountains, and enjoy your summers in Italy.

With just this limited information you now know you have two basic choices.

  • Create a portable business that can be run from any location, like freelance writing, coaching, consulting, or running an online business.
  • Create one or more profit centers that are location specific. For instance, you might offer a product or service that appeals to beach-loving tourists while at the shore and do something completely different while in Italy.

Once you’ve crystalized your vision of your ideal life it’s time to figure out the work part of the work-life equation. Here you want to consider three things; your gifts, your interests, and your assets.

Your Gifts

Notice I didn’t ask you about your skills or past work experience. That’s because your skills are what you can do and your resume reflects what you have done—and neither say anything about how happy you are doing them.

love_110003903-012814-intIn contrast, your gifts involve activities you’re good at and truly enjoy doing. After all, I’m pretty good at typing and mowing the lawn. But do I love either? Not especially.

And while another person might love to, personally I wouldn’t want to do either one for a living.

So what do you love to do? Is it working in a garden, setting up an Excel spreadsheet, doing woodworking, or tinkering with a broken toaster?

Can you spend hours tracking your family history, planning a trip, baking, or hunting down bargains? Write down a list of your favorites.

Often our gifts come so naturally to us that we scarcely notice let alone value them. Others often recognize your gifts long before you do. That’s why you should pay attention to compliments.

Your Interests

Your interests are things you feel passionate about. For instance, you may have a keen interest in NASCAR racing… climate change… learning about different cultures… health and wellness… social entrepreneurship… or the British royal family. Make a list of them.

Your interests may or may not engage your gifts. That’s fine because it’s a heck of a lot easier to acquire a skill than it is to adopt an interest in something that doesn’t ring your bell.

Ask Yourself What You Really Want-coach

Next review your list for any passive verbs like “watch,” “think about,” or “read.” If you want to turn your interests into income you need to convert passive activities into action-oriented ones like “consult/coach,” “speak about,” “write about,” “coordinate,” “research,” “build,” and so on.

Now return to the list of gifts you created above and look for ways these can be used to deliver some sort of interest-related product, service, or experience.

Are you comfortable with technology? You could create an app.

Or say you have a flair for writing. You could write a blog featuring inspiring examples of small businesses who are making a living in the NASCAR world… or pen a fun trivia book about the royal family.

Look for ways your gifts might intersect with other people’s interests. Maybe you love the idea of helping indigenous people earn more money from their arts and crafts? You could teach artisans from Ecuador, Nicaragua, Thailand, and elsewhere to sell more products.

Your Assets

Once you’ve identified your gifts and interests you should consider any “assets” that can be parlayed into income. Of course, the most obvious asset is real estate… and that can be used to earn rental income while you travel.

But what about hidden assets you could also rent out? Can you rent an extra room in your home for dry storage… as an office… or to a massage therapist? What about a woodworking shop? Do you have a boat you could timeshare to people who vacation regularly in your area?

Get creative! I once read about a couple who owned a struggling apple orchard. Everything changed when they began leasing individual trees to city folks who would visit at harvest time to pick fruit from “their” tree.

As you scope out ways you can profit from your passions, take a moment to make sure your idea passes the all-important Life Test. If the answer is yes, by all means, dive in!

And if you’re ready to take the leap in a really BIG way then I invite you to JOIN ME and your fellow freedom seekers at the…

Fund Your Live Overseas Conference!

Come Learn How to Create the Kind of Life You Don’t Need a Vacation From — and get the Insider Secrets You Need to Bankroll the Life of Your Dreams

If you dream about a life where you have the freedom to “call the shots”… to pick up and head to a cottage on a sun-dappled beach and “retire” in the tropics… or rent a little getaway in a history-rich colonial town for the winter… or take an apartment for a few months a year in Paris or Buenos Aires… but you need the flexibility that would allow you to leave… and an income that could make it happen…

Here’s how to get it.

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The Key to Changing Course is to Start: 6 Tips on How to Get Started

By Valerie Young

Sometimes signs arrive when you least expect them. On a recent dog walk along the Connecticut River, I spotted a large white sign tacked to a tree on the opposite shore. The sign contained a single word: …

How to Make Money By Breaking the Rules

Too many people who want to work at what they love seem to suffer from the misguided notion that there are certain “rules” that must be followed.

Let me give you a quick example. At the beginning of every career consultation, I ask clients to describe their ideal life.

To prompt their thinking, I pose a series of questions such as what time do you want to get up in the morning, would you like to work at home or outside the home, do you want to work with other people or do you prefer to work alone? The question that gets the biggest reaction is, “Would you like to have summers off?” Invariably someone will say, “Oh, can you do that?”

I’m always tempted to say, “I don’t know, let me consult the official Work-Life Rule Book.” The thing is, I don’t know if you can have summers off or not. But what I do know is this – if the desire to have your summers free is not consciously on your mental radar screen, then the likelihood of it happening is next to nil.

If, on the other hand, you were crystal clear that you’d love to take summers off, then you’d be in a better position to make a conscious effort to come up with ways to generate income that would allow for a lengthy work break.

This self-limiting belief that you somehow have to do things a certain way also hampers to a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs.

Where is it written that you HAVE to take on clients you don’t like? I once had a client named Donna whose idea of heaven on earth is to have some kind of a portable income so she can spend months at a time with her daughter in England. Donna enjoys writing and even has a background in advertising. She’d considered the copywriting option in the past but rejected it because she didn’t want to write about products she didn’t believe in.

Instead of letting this values clash be a show stopper, Donna needed to ask herself, “So, what do I believe in enough to promote?” For Donna it’s the whole mind, body, and soul connection.

In fact, her dream job is to organize events for motivational speakers. Because it would be difficult living in a relatively rural area to make a full time living organizing events, we had to come up with a supplemental – and portable – income stream.

This meant challenging the idea that to succeed as a copywriter, or for that matter, in any business, you have to do things a certain way. What if Donna intentionally structured her copywriting business to focus entirely on motivational speakers and authors of mind, body, and soul type books? This kind of niche marketing offers a whole host of advantages.

Donna would genuinely enjoy doing the research on topics she finds interesting. She’d also get a great deal of satisfaction from helping spread the word about concepts and practices she believes in.

Another highly practical advantage is that people in the same field tend to talk to one another. In football terms it’s known as going deep and wide. In my small world, I get to talk to like-minded souls like Barbara Winter and Barbara Sher. I’ve recommended good copywriters to them and they’ve steered me in the direction of great web masters and other vendors. In other words, when you niche market, ultimately you’ll have to do less self-marketing because your business becomes primarily referral-based.

What misguided rules are you operating by? Do you think you have to come up with just one way to make a living? Think again. Think you can’t turn your hobby into your career, get paid to work with animals, or that changing course means having to choose between money and happiness? If so, check my ever-increasing list of Cool Jobs at
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” How can you stretch your mind today? Once you realize that some misguided rules about work and life can, and should, be broken, a whole new world of opportunity can open up.

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