CHANGING COURSE BEGINS WITH A GREAT IDEA

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6 Reasons Why Summer is the Best Time to Launch YOUR Dream Business

The school calendar of your youth may have hardwired you to see Fall as the time for new beginnings.

But summertime is THE best time to launch your dream business.

Don’t worry — you can change course and still have time for summertime recreation.

After all, the word recreation literally means to “re-create.”

And what better way to spend this summer than recreating your LIFE!

Here are six ways you can use this summer to grow your dream:

1) Be lazy and still make progress

As the most carefree of the four seasons, summer is made for dreaming big. The key is to be deliberate about it.

One way is to make an appointment with yourself to go to your favorite park bench or other outdoor spot.

Give yourself a full half hour (ideally longer) to just lay back and watch the clouds roll by or gaze lazily at a star-filled sky.

As your breathing slows you’ll find the day-to-day trials and tribulations that consume us now seem trivial.

Start to imagine what could be…

Taking in the vastness of the sky reminds you to see your life in more expansive terms as well.

If you find yourself still thinking small, remember the wise words of Michelangelo…

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

2) Take advantage of the longer days

Yes, lazy days of summer are still busy.

Still, the additional hours of daylight do add a bit more time to our lives.

Why not use this “found time” to do things like…

  • take a class
  • start your blog
  • build your inventory
  • hone your craft or other skills like writing or speaking
  • read up on ways to make money doing what you love

Even if you can only dedicate 20 minutes a day or one morning a month, it’s all forward motion!

3) You don’t need a yard to plant seeds

Summer is the ideal time to cultivate that dream.

Start with good soil by asking yourself some core questions like…

  • Who and what do I care deeply about?
  • What makes me happy?
  • What do I want my life to look like? (click here for some tips on where to start)

Now get rid of the weeds – the lame excuses, apathy, self-doubt, and fear born from lack of information.

Next plant a few seeds that move you closer to your dream life.

  • Interview someone doing your dream job
  • Start or join a group of other self-bossers
  • Write a business plan (or at least a loose outline) of what you want to do and steps needed to get there.

Of course you could always plant a real garden – and make some real money doing it!

To get started check out Homesteading for Beginners: How To Build A Profitable Homestead Backyard Farm and Make Money From Urban Farming by an enterprising Brit named William Walsworth.

The biggest “complaint” about his book is that it focuses on the business aspect of homesteading… which is precisely the info every aspiring self-bosser needs!

4) Find yourself in a real summer thriller

Light summer novels are great.

But how about treating your life like the adventure it could be by reading some books to help you change course? Like…

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free by Ernie Zelinski

Or if you’re still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up there’s always…

Wishcraft by Barbara Sher (her first and still my favorite book)

Or instead of losing yourself in a summer novel, why not find yourself one of the many exercises in my own book — It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Calling.

Or, if you already have a new direction in mind, use this time to read a “how to” book on this new path.

Go to Amazon and search for “How to start a [fill in the blank] business.” You’ll be amazed at what you find!

Or check out courses with a proven track record on things like how to turn your photos into cash or how to get paid to travel.

5) Take a tax-deductible vacation

If your dream includes relocating, hit the road by using your vacation as an exciting research expedition.

Plan ahead to do things like arrange informational interviews with local entrepreneurs or craftspeople or to otherwise gather research about things like local costs, vendors, groups, and opportunities.

Say you spend two out of seven days doing research, calling on future customers, or even collaborators.

As long as you make what the IRS* considers a “good faith effort” to make a future profit within three years, then you should be able to deduct that portion of your trip as a tax-deductible business expense. (Tip: Be sure to document how you use your time)

You don’t have to be contemplating a move to take a tax-deductible road trip.

If you want to cash in on the profitable romance writing genre then head to the annual Romance Writers of America conference happening this July in Orlando.

I was at the 2016 conference to deliver a keynote to 3,000 attendees.

And I was blown away at the quantity and quality of the workshops as well as opportunities for aspiring writers to pitch to agents and publishers.

Or maybe beer making school in Germany or one of the many boat building schools are more your thing!

Again, if you’re acquiring training in order to go on and earn money — then it should be a tax-deductible expense.

*My friends outside the US will want to check on your country’s tax law.

6) Or take a “staycation” and invest in your dream

Use some or all of your summer vacation time to gain more passion-related knowledge, experience or connections locally.

In addition to doing any or all of the actions listed in #5, use your vacation time to take a local class, to volunteer, or maybe even do a super part-time apprenticeship.

Or just save both money and time by spending your vacation at home.

If you do, be sure to make it a real vacation by doing the kinds of things a tourist on a budget might do – go on a picnic, head to a museum, take a day trip to a place you’ve always wanted to go.

Then stash the money you would have spent on a costly vacation into a “dream fund.”

Use your savings to take career-expanding classes or even start your own business.

Then use at least a few vacation days to work on your action plan.

Re-creating your life is about making choices.

Hop on down to the comments and share one way you can use your summer to launch YOUR dream business… and life!

May I ask a favor?

If you liked this article, would you please share with others? Thanks in advance for your support!


Why 2017 Is THE Year of the Freelancing Entrepreneur!

Over the past few years, freelancing has blossomed into an industry of its own. Contributing billions of dollars to the economy annually, it now employs over 50 million workers.

While this may seem surprising to the older generations, middle-aged to younger generations are already enjoying the benefits.

The year 2017 promises to be a great year for freelancers because demand is growing rapidly.

Businesses that seek to cut costs by doing away with traditional office buildings are hiring as fast as they can accept applications.

So what does this mean for people who crave a more flexible and potentially portable livelihood?

Job Security (Really!)

Despite the belief that nine-to-five jobs offer greater job security, the reality is that increasingly freelance jobs may offer the same or better security just because there are so many opportunities available that don’t rely solely on the leadership of a single business.

The freedom offered by freelancing allows workers to select and interview for as many jobs as they want. It puts power back in the hands of those doing the labor yet costs businesses less.

Best of all, benefits are evolving. The Freelancer’s Union even offers help acquiring affordable healthcare specifically for freelancing workers, including medical, dental and vision.

New York City is also now a great place to work from thanks to their recently passed act that protects freelancers against non-payment. Other locations are likely to follow in 2017 and beyond.

Competitive Wages (Really!)

One of the more obvious reasons for increased entrepreneurial success in the freelance market is the increase in financial opportunities, with high-end freelance jobs offering over $100 per hour.

The better-paid opportunities go together with modern technological education. With so many new graduates focused on education in the tech industry, companies have a considerably greater hiring pool. For many companies, that equates to easier growth as the difficulty is no longer in finding qualified workers.

Talents involving coding or graphic design can be worth big bucks—particularly in areas without nearby tech colleges—and freelancing usually doesn’t require the worker to move anywhere to get paid.

The impact will be most significant in areas where the job market is very limited, giving remote workers the opportunity to live high-quality lives in otherwise poorer areas or countries.

Much of this wouldn’t be possible without the help of companies such asUpwork, Freelancer or even Fiverr.

They have continued to simplify the process of applying for work and for posting work, making it easier for ideal candidates to meet with ideal employers.

Plus, the pool of work is more varied than ever; there are even in-person (non-digital) freelance gigs available now through Uber and Lyft (for these services you work as a sort of on-call taxi driver).

Freelancing companies take care to make their process straight forward. If you’ve never done freelancing work before, consider making a profile on one of the above sites just to get a feel for how things work. You’ll be surprised at just how easy it can be to start earning.

Better Online Safety (Which Matters!)

Despite the growth in hacking and data theft, online workers are becoming smarter and more experienced.

As freelancers spend most of their time online, they are exposed to new scams and malware regularly.

As a result, 2017 is poised to be the year that freelancers utilize more tools than ever to ensure their internet safety. They will utilize two-factor authentication type logins (which require two passwords, one randomly generated), create stronger passwords and subscribe to modern security software.

The growth in the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) speaks to the needs of freelancers’ mobile work. Needed to stay safe on unsecured public networks, VPNs afford protection to these workers at a small cost while also granting them anonymity.

SEO workers will also take advantage of the ability to change virtual locations to work more effectively on improving local search results for their clients.

According to Secure Thoughts, a website that provides information on VPNs, foreign workers will also benefit by navigating around geographic restrictions in the same way.

Obsolescence of Old Jobs Creates New Opportunities for Y-O-U 

As technology continues to improve, we also see old jobs removed or replaced. Anyone that’s visited a major retailer in the past year can see that the introduction of automatic checkout lanes means fewer hiring demands in big box stores.

The success of Amazon’s shipping model also threatens many in-person retail jobs and small business owners who own brick and mortar shops.

These positions are instead being replaced with a need for remote workers to accomplish data driven tasks. Because business needs vary, some of these jobs are short-term freelancing positions while others last much longer.

Many of the jobs being cut are underpaid with few if any benefits. Freelance work may not guarantee benefits, but it definitely offers greater opportunity to those looking for non-traditional jobs or who live in communities with weaker economies.

Marketing Has Changed — And Companies Need Y-O-U to Help 

The continued expansion of social media into nearly every corner of our lives has also changed the way companies market their products and services. Paying big money for a commercial slot on TV is no longer the only (or even best way) to get your product out there.

Many companies have started relying on freelance marketers to push their products on social media, on blogs, and even direct to consumers.

Realizing that people power is best, their budgets are shifting to focus on manual digital efforts; this is reflected in the listings seen on the previously mentioned freelance sites.

Some of that is driven by how Google curates content; web searches are still a top source of traffic, and getting higher on the search list means creating quality content that is useful to the consumer.

As a result, blogs, guides and other informational sources are an increasing source of work for freelancers and a bigger part of business investments.


Success is Waiting — So What Are Y-O-U Waiting For?

The bottom line is that 2017 offers newfound success to any freelancing entrepreneurs willing to put in the work.

With wages higher than ever, opportunities abound for workers with skills in the big three areas: writing (content creation), coding, and design (web and graphic).

Don’t yet have the needed skills? Once again, the Internet to the rescue!

Training is available from places such as Capella, Code School, and Codecademy — and for anyone interested in web design there’s a vast array of training choices out there.

If you’ve thought about freelancing or already work for yourself, how do you plan to make 2017 a successful year? Tell us your strategy in the comments.

Want to Get Paid to Write? 

You can, you know.

And you don’t even have to be a “gifted” writer to get started. In fact, if you can write a simple letter — you can make good money as a freelance writer.

All you need is someone to show you how.

SAVE THE DATE: Friday, June 30th at noon EDT

Then keep your eyes out for next week’s email about a FREE training on Getting Paid to Write!


7 Ways to Cash In On the College Market

students

I just returned from on a whirlwind 5-city speaking tour in beautiful British Columbia.

Coincidentally, my topic – the impostor syndrome – was also a major theme of actress Natalie Portman’s Commencement address at her alma mater, Harvard.

May is the time when millions of students graduate from college.

And if you want to be your own boss, May should also be the time when you start thinking about creative ways to tap the college market.

Within a 10 mile radius of my home are three Ivy League colleges, a small super expensive private college, and a large state university.

If you live near a college you know how much the student population contributes to your local economy.

If you want to be your own boss, then these same students can boost your personal economy as well!

There are lots of ways to profit from the lucrative student or faculty market. Here are 7 ideas to get you started.

Sell to Parents

Conventional business wisdom says to avoid a target market that lacks a lot of disposable income. When it comes to college students however, you’ll want to ignore that rule.

For one, there are plenty of students attending elite schools who have money to spend.

More importantly, there will always be parents with both the desire and the financial means to provide every advantage for their pampered offspring.

So let’s begin with ideas aimed primarily at parents of current or college bound students.

1. Private admissions consultant Competition at elite colleges and universities is fierce. So much so that according to USA Today, there’s a huge surge in parents are willing to plunk down as much as $3,000 for a “private admissions consultant” to assist with their kids’ college application. How huge? In 2013, 26% of applicants to Stanford University hired a consultant – triple the number from just a decade earlier.

Man underwear2. Student concierge Wealthy parents are eager to eliminate anything that might otherwise distract their child from his or her studies. Enter Lana Drew’s Student Concierge Service.

Parents of students attending elite Brown University and other colleges in Providence, Rhode Island tap Lana’s “Lifestyle Management” services to do anything from moving into dorms to handling dry cleaning and laundry to installing a sound system. Her company even has doctors, attorneys, and bankers on call to assist her client’s offspring as needed.Clearly aimed at wealthy parents who will gladly pay to give their kid every possible advantage, Lana’s concierge services start at a whopping $2,500 a semester and can go much higher.

3. Care package creator  CarePackages.com understands that virtually all parents (and grandparents) want to make college life a little easier – and fun. The site offers an assortment of care packages for different occasions like new students, final exam period and Sample cpa exam questions, or graduation.There’s definitely room in this space for you to put together your own care packages of healthy snacks or junk food, toys, birthday cakes, funny t-shirts, gift certificates to a local yoga studio, iTunes… get creative!

duster-with-glove_M11i8PKu4. Dorm cleaning service – College janitorial services are typically limited to bathrooms, hallways, and other public areas. A lot of students with dorm or fraternity/sorority rooms that resemble those in the film Animal House would love to hire someone to clean up.

Since they’re small, dorm rooms can be cleaned quickly. And if parents aren’t willing to cover the cost then suite occupants may be willing to split it.

If you don’t want to do the actual cleaning yourself then build on the Dorm Mom app model and find local students to do the work.

5. Tutor If you’re knowledgeable in a particular academic subject, earn money helping a struggling student pass a class. If you’re targeting undergraduates, marketing-wise you may want to target the paying parent, it may be the parent footing the bill.

When I was studying for the Graduate Entrance Exam (GRE) I personally hired a math tutor to help me brush up on my algebra and geometry.

So don’t forget to tap all those students either applying for advanced degree programs or who need to pass final licensing exams also need help preparing for the various examinations.

If you don’t want to deal with promoting your services yourself then sign up with a clearing house like Take Lessons. Algebra tutors on their site get paid $15-$35 for 30 minutes of tutoring.

Push pin on sudy text6. Coach ADD/ADHD/autistic students – Most schools have on-site professionals to assist with students with a variety of special needs including attention deficit and/or hyperactivity or autism.

That said, there’s plenty of room for customized private coaching for those students who need one-to-one help to negotiate the maze of university bureaucracy, deal with the social and academic demands of college, manage money, stay fit, and juggle laundry and other chores new to many young people out on their for the first time.

Parents are already paying through the nose for tuition. What’s another $200-$500 a month to ensure their son or daughter graduates?

7. Career advising for lost students – Imagine spending a small fortune on your kid’s tuition only to have him or her drop out, flunk out, or graduate but still be utterly directionless.

My friends Tim and Martha were dismayed when their daughter Katie flunked out of her pricey private high school. So they sent her to a private career counselor.

In addition to doing a bunch of testing, the counselor arranged for Katie to spend a month with a volunteer organization in Latin America as well as other experiential outings.

The bill… $3,000 plus the cost of travel!

Once again, you don’t need to be the one providing the counseling. You just need to find the counselors and promote and manage the business.

With 21 million college students in the US and another 1.7 in Canada, there’s ample opportunity to cash in on students — and their paying parents.

And since college doesn’t start up again until the fall, that gives you a full three months to start putting your ideas in place. So… what are you waiting for? Your future profit center is waiting for you!

We’d Love to Hear From You

Have another idea for tapping the lucrative college market? Share it with your fellow Changing Course change seekers here!

If you don’t use Facebook, just scroll down to post there.

The best idea will receive a FREE copy of Being Realistic is Killing Your Dream (a $19 value)


How to Cash in on a Trend… And This is No Game

Chess against grunge background

By far one of the best ways to come up with a cool – and profitable – business idea is to pay attention to trends.

For example, if you spend much time on public transportation, in coffee shops, or other public places you’ll see people of all of ages compulsively playing Angry Birds or other games on their devices. (I am an admitted Solitaire junkie!)

But did you know there’s a huge surge in the popularity of good old fashioned board games like Monopoly or Dungeons and Dragons?

According to a recent segment on NBC news, board game sales increased 10 percent in 2014. Sales of the childhood favorite Operation are up a whopping 40 percent!

Fueling this increase is another trend — the growing desire to unplug from our devices and connect on a more personal level.

Some entrepreneurial souls are cashing in on the board game trend in a big way. And with a little creative thinking, so can you.

Cup Of Coffee And A Couple Of Cookies Making A Welcome BreakTake for instance, the aspiring entrepreneurs from Gold Ira Company Glendale, CA who launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to open a game-themed café. It took just two months to raise the funds to open GameHaus Café.

Besides enjoying the wide-ranging menu of drinks and casual fare, for a $5 cover charge customers can access over 900 board games. The café also hosts events like International Table Top day at a cost of $15 for the day.

Other game bars and cafes like The Uncommon in population dense New York City are heavily events driven with specific dates and times regularly reserved for lovers of chess, Star Trek, and other games.

Even though they’re in a pricier area, The Uncommon also charges just $5 a head. Undoubtedly, the owners know the games are a way to bring the customers in. The real money is made on the food and beverage side.

The mark up on coffee alone explains why it’s known in the restaurant industry as “black gold.”

Still, when you consider 100-200 people at 5 bucks that’s an additional $500 to $1,000 a day in revenue! Even if they pull in that many people over the course of an entire week, you’re looking at $26,000-$52,000 annual profit just on the cover charge. Not bad for a one-time purchase of a bunch of board games.

Opportunity Knocks

moneytreeExamples of location-specific businesses like these are ripe with opportunities for people who want to change course. After all, being a brick and mortar operation means they can’t be everywhere. So unless these café owners plan to offer franchises, anyone can replicate or modify what is now a tested business model.You can now even get some of the best coupon deals online and save money with it.

You could of course open your own bar or café. But if you’re looking for a more modest investment or something that doesn’t require you to be tethered for hours on end to a physical location, there are other potential options.

Set Up a Board Game Events Company I can see a lot of restaurant or coffee shop owners loving this idea but not having the time or energy to set it up.

What if you purchase a bunch of new or used board games to rent out to restaurants looking to host their own events?

To earn even more, provide a done-for-you service that, in addition to publicizing the event, includes board game delivery and set up. For a more engaging experience (at an additional charge), include MC services where you lead quirky contests complete with equally quirky prizes.

The restaurant or café gets the additional food and drink revenue and you keep the cover charge.

Whether you offer your services to existing businesses OR you rent out space to host your own events, consider offerings specific to different demographics groups. For instance:

Singles: What better way to meet a potential romantic partner than at a low pressure environment like board game night? In addition to lots of laughter, you definitely learn a lot about a person based on how they play individually competitive games like Monopoly, Scrabble, or Battleship or a team game like Pictionary or Taboo. Be sure to bring name tags for this one.

Single Parents: The kids get to meet and have no-tech fun with their peers. The parents get a much needed break playing games or conversing with other adults. For single parents who need to get employee, business, or school related work done you can set up workstations with printers.

Rent out Saturday mornings at a dinner-only restaurant, a childcare center, or other space. Set up a cereal buffet bar for the kids and maybe some children’s films for the toddlers and you’ve got yourself a great weekend business.

Family playing board gameFamily Game Night: Pizza for the kids… a glass of beer or wine event for the adults…  What could be more fun? If your venue does not have a liquor license check with your local officials to see if a “bring your own” permit is available where you live. Or host an alcohol free event.

There could be college student, young professionals unplug, or new guy or gal in town night. Game days for kids with special needs or corporate team building events. Afternoon events aimed at retirees. Even bring your dog to game day complete a supervised romper room for canine play.

Once you start thinking outside the job box you’ll quickly see the possibilities are truly endless!

Finally, for the record, you can still tap into this trend without organizing events. That’s what the founders of Board Game Quest did.

The site began as a simple blog. It was a way says founder and avid gamer known simply as Tony to, “play games, post reviews and session reports, and maybe encourage others to discover something new.” [Wonder if the reason Tony and the other staffers don’t use last names is because they’re in the process of changing course from having a job-job to being full-time self-bossers…]

However, like so many enterprises that started out small, things grew from there. Today Board Game Quest features weekly board game reviews, news, interviews with game designers, and information on upcoming board game related Kickstarter campaigns.

That’s why its so important not to wait until you’ve got it all figured out. Instead just jump in and be open to where your business takes you!

The key is to stay alert to trends. When you find one that peeks your interest, look for proven — or creative — ways to build a business around it.

Join the “Brainstorm Nation” Family!

When it comes to ways to make a living without a j-o-b, lots of heads are always better than one!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post including other interesting ways someone could turn similar interests into income! (Non-Facebook users, scroll down to the comment section.)


5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Part 2

When it comes to changing course, money – or rather the lack of it – stops a lot of people in their tracks.

So to help, I’ve put together a five-part series on creative ways to fund your dream.

You may not be able to take advantage of every idea or resource. In fact, none of the five ideas may be right for you and your personal situation. You need to read them anyway. Why?

First, the strategy that may not be a fit for you today may indeed be the one that launches your dream a few years from now.

Second, just knowing that options truly do exist will remind you that your crazy dream is not so crazy after all.

And finally, one of the ideas or resources you see here may be perfect for someone you know. Pass it on and you just might change a life!

Strategy #2: Get Your Priorities Right

Comedian and actor Chris Rock remarked in an interview, “Having money doesn’t make you rich. Having options makes you rich.”

Arianne and Scott Bennett didn’t have either. The couple desperately wanted to travel. But they didn’t have any expendable income.

However they were both able to afford their $4.50 pack a day cigarette habit. Smoking had become a priority.

So in 1998 they both decided to quit and stash the money they saved into a travel fund. Ten months later the couple had enough money to fly to Amsterdam where some friends had recently moved. Check the e cigarette reviews

falafelThey loved the canals and the old world charm. But what Arianne and Scott really fell in love with were the many falafel shops. So they returned to the states to open their first Amsterdam Falafel shop and today run a booming franchise business.

Arianne and Scott’s dream began with a simple decision to put their money into something that would bring them joy. Can you say that about where your money goes?

If not, where can you cut back? Could you cancel or downgrade a pricey cable bill. Pack your lunch. Skip the daily latte. Whatever you do be sure you redirect the money you save into a special Dream Account.

For my friends Linda and Waino saving money isn’t a strategy. It’s a lifestyle.

Throughout his life Waino had a series of low-paying jobs, including school bus driver and hired hand at a dairy farm. Linda started out as an English teacher but soon discovered a love of making pottery.

For the last 30 years she’s thrown pots in her well-lit basement studio. In the spring and fall, Linda teaches pottery classes at a local college. And for a few weeks each summer, she runs classes for kids in her studio.

Of course like everyone, there are times when, Linda feels pressured by the demands for her work. But while her employed friends get a measly 2-3 weeks of vacation, Linda takes ten.

Freshly-Harvested-VegetablesThe couple grows much of their own food. So she takes three weeks off in May to plant their massive vegetable garden. The entire month of August is spent reading books, playing cards, and swimming at a rustic cottage on a remote lake in Maine that the couple own with Linda’s sister and her husband.

After a hectic few month run up to the busy Christmas craft season Linda takes three weeks off in January to cross country ski from her front door and to catch up on things around the house.

This isn’t Linda’s only vacation time. In the last few years she and Hanne Eidberg cross-country skied their way across a part of Switzerland, spent a week with other long-time friends and me in Cozumel Mexico, and last year she accompanied a friend to Ecuador.

Did I mention that Linda and Waino’s combined income has never been more than $50,000? If you’re wondering how they can do all of this and still afford to take over ten weeks off a year, it has everything to do with priorities.

The couple prides themselves on living a full but frugal life. Ardent environmentalists, they repair rather than replace, buy only what they need and for everything else they go used, barter with friends, or go without. They raise chickens for the eggs and grow and preserve a fair amount of their own food.

The mortgage on their small but comfortable home has long been paid off and they have more saved for retirement than the vast majority of those earning two-to-three times more.

If you live in pricy areas like New York City, Boston, or San Francisco it’s not always easy to live on less. So if you’re ready for a change of scenery, consider relocating to a more affordable place where your dollar will go much further.

cafeIf you’re up for re-prioritizing in a big way, you could always go international. Running an existing portable business or starting a new business in another country is actually pretty doable. There are ex-pats opening cafes, using Skype to continue to work with clients back home, and importing crafts and other products back home.

Getting a job in another country can be a major challenge, but it’s not impossible. The reason Linda went to Ecuador was to accompany a friend who couldn’t afford to retire in the U.S. and wanted to check things out. On her first visit the friend got a job teaching English and has since relocated there full-time.

You don’t have to retire to benefit from this list of best places to retire from International Living magazine.

Nor do you need to move, raise your own chickens or grow your own food. But, if you’re serious about finding a way to fund your dream – and enjoy more life – then consider ways you can live on less. In a word: Prioritize.

As Margaret Young said:

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”

Strategy 1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash
Strategy 4: Barter
Strategy 5: Know Your Options


Cool Jobs #16 and #17

Get Paid to Speak or Hold Cool Events – Or Both!

Picture yourself delivering a presentation or leading a workshop on a topic you love.

Maybe that topic is spirituality, abundance or effective leadership. Or what about how leading with spirit results in an abundant bottom line?

Or perhaps you’d love to speak about how sports or learning to play a musical instrument can be a metaphor for academic or business success.

Or on how to find your true calling, self-care for caretakers, or a thousand other topics.

excited groupNow imagine earning four – or even five – figures per speaking gig sharing your passion with others.

Welcome to my life!

I became a paid speaker at 26. My first gig earned me a whopping $150. Good money when rent was $400!

Last year I earned six figures speaking, and this year I’m on track to do the same.

Over the years I’ve addressed well over 70,000 people at countless organizations from Intel to the YWCA.

And I’ve had the honor of sharing the main stage with the likes of Martha Stewart and Gloria Steinem (now that’s a combination!)

I’m not telling you this to impress you.

Rather, it’s because I’ve learned a thing or two about how to succeed as a professional speaker – including what mistakes to avoid.

The 3 Biggest Mistakes Aspiring Speakers Make
and How to Avoid Them

The first mistake is actually the worst one because it keeps a lot of talented people with a message to share from ever even trying to get into the speaking business.

Mistake #1: Thinking You Don’t Know Enough

Far too many perfectly capable people think they don’t have enough knowledge to talk about a subject. If you’re one then I have news for you.

speakerYou really don’t know everything there is to know about your topic. But guess what? Neither does anyone else.

There’s always more to learn!

A related mistake is the misguided belief that you can’t possibly speak credibly on a topic unless you have an advanced degree – or indeed any degree.

You don’t need three PhDs and 20 years of experience. You just need to know more than your audience does. As the saying goes, to 3rd graders, 4th graders are gods!

Look at talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Despite regularly dishing out “expert” and often controversial opinions and advice on human behavior, “Dr. Laura” as she is known and is not a physician as many of her listeners presume.

Nor is she a psychiatrist, or even a psychologist. Although she did go back and study marriage counseling after starting in radio, the “doctor” designation is from a doctorate in physiology where she studied the effects of insulin on rats.

In fact, an effective counter to the internal or external pressure to be highly credentialed is to proudly proclaim yourself as the “anti-expert.”

In her book French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guilano lets readers know right up front that she’s not a nutritionist, a psychologist, an exercise physiologist or any other kind of “ist.”

Instead, Guilano says, she’s just a woman who happens to have observed and experienced the French diet and is sharing that knowledge with people who’d like to eat well and not gain weight.

Mistake #2: Not Understanding How Speakers Get Paid

There are three ways you can get paid to speak. You can

a)     Get hired by organizations

b)     Earn money from your adoring audience

c)      Generate revenue from event sponsors

Which model or models you choose depends on your topic, your financial and business goals, and your personal preference. Let’s take a brief look at each.

Get Hired by Organizations

Other than running the occasional workshop or retreat for people who want to change course, this is my primary business model.

Because my topic – confidence – is so far reaching I can speak to a variety of different audiences.

Speaking at corporations

Having worked for a Fortune 500 company I’m comfortable working with such diverse companies as Boeing, IBM, Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s Europe division (sweet!) and Motley Fool.

motleyfoolAnother plus of speaking to for-profit companies is they pay the most!

A topic like “how to raise sane, healthy teenagers” or “how to find your calling” typically won’t fly for employee training. But there’s another way most people don’t know about – so called “spousal meetings.”

Lots of large corporations hold at least one multi-day, off-site meeting a year where attendees (usually executives or top performing sales people) are encouraged to bring their spouse or partner and sometimes the kids too.

While the employees attend mandatory meetings, their family can choose from a range of age-appropriate activities which include speakers!

Speaking at colleges and universities

I’ve spoken at over 70 major colleges and universities. Depending on your message you can specialize in addressing undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and/or staff.

Whenever you can try to maximize my travel time by grouping my speaking gigs based on location.

For instance this year I will have spoken at Cornell (4x) and nearby University of Syracuse, at North Carolina State University and the neighboring University of North Carolina as well as two California trips to speak at Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and University of the Pacific.

Professional or industry associations or charitable organizations

Large professional or industry associations need keynote and break out session speakers for their national, regional, or state-wide events.

Examples from my own experience include American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Alberta Business Women, and Utah Women Attorneys.

Charitable organizations also hire speakers for their fundraising events. Like the dog chef who travels to speak at events put on by the SPCA and other dog shelters.

These organizations tend to operate on a shoe-string, so expect to earn the least here. Keep in mind though that you may be able to arrange selling your book after your talk or to get a professional videotape of your talk.

Earn Money From Your Adoring Audience or From Sponsors – Or Both

If you know what you’re doing you can make insane amounts of money running your own events.

Registration fees

Registration fees are the most obvious source of income. These can range from $5o for a couple of hours to $5,000 for a multi-day event.

Toss in some big name speakers and depending on your audience it’s not unheard of to charge as much as $25,000.

If the material you’re delivering is intended to help your audience to use the information to earn money themselves, then you can charge more. Here again, it has to do with your topic.

Naturally people are willing to pay more for an event on how to make 7 figures selling information products than they are for one on how to write your first screenplay.

Product sales

Another model is to keep the registration fee low – or even free – and instead earn money from so-called “back of the room” sales.

Most often this would mean selling books, CDs, videos and other information products – your own or other peoples.

However, if your event is on fashion or how to write a best-selling cookbook, then you could just as easily sell clothing and accessories, make up, cookware, and other topic appropriate products on site.

Masterminds and other coaching or mentoring programs

Income from registration fees and products can be substantial. But in addition to these revenue streams, the most financially successful speakers use their events another way.

They still provide attendees with valuable content.

However, the secondary goal is to use the event to showcase your credibility and value in order to inspire a smaller segment of the audience to sign up to join your coaching or mentoring program.

It worked for me. I signed on to “mastermind” with three different experts this way. In all three cases it was money well-spent.

Sponsorships

Selling sponsorships for your event is another highly lucrative and often under-used way to get paid to speak.

Depending on your topic, sponsors could be a local newspaper or bank, a major corporation, or even a solo-practitioner like a chiropractor or life coach.

Sponsors win because they in front of potential customers in a forum that aligns with their brand and message. You win because sponsor fees can cover part or all of your event costs.

Case in point is Entrepreneur magazine’s annual Growth Conference (an event I highly recommend). The event is free to attend because UPS foots the entire bill – including lunch!

When you can attract 5 to 25 corporate or other major sponsors at the $5,000, $15,000, $25,000, and even $50,000 level, then my friend you are looking at serious revenue.

Bottom line, putting on your own events is a great avenue if:

  • There aren’t a lot of organizations who are willing or able to pay you to speak on your particular topic
  • Your topic is entrepreneurial in nature and/or your primary audience is business owners
  • You want to offer coaching or mentoring after the event
  • You have products to sell
  • You can attract enough attendees to make your event attractive to sponsors

Mistake #3: Not Investing In Your Success

Whether you’re just now launching your speaking career or are a seasoned pro who wants to increase your bottom line, from a financial perspective the BIGGEST mistake you can make is not being willing to make even the smallest investment in yourself and your business.

Speaking skills not as strong as they could be?

You don’t need to spend a dime to join a local chapter of Toastmaster or watch Ted Talks.

To get there much faster though I suggest you attend a formal training program where you can learn from someone who is more experienced, skilled, and further along than you.

LarryValThat’s what I did. This is me and my speaking mentor five time New York Times best-selling author and television personality Larry Winget.

As someone who has earned the right to command a $25,000 speaker fee, I knew he could help me take my own business to the next level. And I was right.

Everyone can become a better speaker. That includes me. Like all great speakers, Larry never stops practicing his craft and neither should you.

Working with Larry cost me a small fortune.

Fortunately, there are two free resources that are happening this very week.

Own the Stage: 7 Strategies to Create a Speaking Business that Attracts Clients, Connection and Cash Flow

This three-part video series is compliments of Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA.

darnyelleA sought-after speaker and award-winning business coach, Darnyelle has been featured in Black Enterprise, Essence and O Magazines and has shared the stage with some of the greats – Suze Orman, Les Brown, Brian Tracy, Lisa Nichols, Willey Jolley, Delatorro McNeal, and Ali Brown… to name a few.

Darnyelle will share the tips and techniques that helped her launch a speaking business that generates $20,000 a month from corporate and other speaking gigs. These include:

  • A sure-fire technique to turn your audience into raving fans and grow your own “groupie” line
  • The three different types of speaking engagements and how to maximize your earnings in each
  • Must-have marketing materials you need to get you booked again and again

Video 1 comes out today (September 4th) so you’ll want to register for Darnyelle’s speaker training series now.

Sold Out to 7 Figures: The LIVE Event Formula for Cashing In

bariIf you’re already comfortable on stage and are ready to put on your own events there is simply no one out there better to learn from than Suzanne Evans of Hell Yeah Coaching and Bari Baumgardner of Sage Event Management.

You may not know Bari by name. But you may recognize some of her clients.

Bari and her team have planned and managed highly profitable events for people like Ali Brown, Lisa Sasevich, Fabienne Frederickson, Adam Urbanski, Bernadette Doyle, and many others.

Two words that describe Bari are class act.

suzanneOn the other hand there’s my friend Suzanne Evans. (One of the things I love most about Suzanne is that she’d be the first one to laugh at that transition.)

In just a few years this unapologetically big, brash, tell-it-like-it-is business coach has built a multiple 7-figure company.

But style will get you only so far.

What landed Hell Yeah on the Inc. 500 list of fasted growing companies in the US not once, but twice, are their sold-out live events.

After started out with 11 people in a crowded conference room of a dingy chain hotel quickly turned into almost a thousand enthusiastic attendees at a swank luxury hotel.

If you want to put on highly profitable live events this is your chance to learn from Suzanne, Bari and other event professionals.

Get all the details here.

More importantly I hope you realize that with the right message, the right training, and the determination to make a difference in the lives of your audience that you too can get paid to speak.


Get a C.L.U.E.

There are two types of people in the world: Chronic complainers and chronic complainers with a clue.

Both groups can always find something to gripe about.

The difference is, the clueless complainers will go to their grave railing against everyone and everything. Which, of course, only confirms their biggest complaint, namely: “life sucks and then you die.”

“In the middle of difficulty,” observed Albert Einstein, “lies opportunity.” What makes clued-in whiners different is that they have grasped the fundamental genius of success:

Complaints
Lead to rush nutrition solutions which
Ultimately, with effort,
Equal opportunity

In other words, take just about any problem or situation worthy of complaint — annoying telemarketers, bed bugs, lack of eligible dating partners.

Then add a dash of creative problem solving and you’ve got all the makings for a whole range of positive possibilities. For more info visit https://www.facebook.com/pastor.ed.young

Last time I featured great resources for earning money by:

  • Creating floral arrangements

  • Growing and selling plants from home

  • Working on the farm with a little help from farm school

In This Issue

Today we’ll look at three more cool jobs for aspiring self-bossers.

Each has the potential to solve a problem for someone else while putting money in your pocket!

  • Man Camp – teaching what dads forgot to teach

  • Breaking up is hard to do – but you can help!

  • For some breaking up is fun to do – divorce parties and other ideas

As always, some of the cool ideas you’re about to “meet” come from people in an international community of licensed Profiting From Your Passion® coaches. I hope these ideas inspire you to make your own job!

Cool “Job” #13: Man Camp – teaching what dads forgot to teach

Like many entrepreneurial ideas, this one came disguised as a problem.

My friend Beau Blackwell was lamenting the fact that his father never taught him how to replace a toilet, trouble shoot a stalled car engine, or other stereotypically “guy stuff.”

hammer“Wouldn’t it be great,” said Beau, “if young guys like him could go to “man camp”? Indeed!

If you know how to do basic home maintenance or auto repairs you could teach the classes yourself. If not, find some retired guys who can.

Building On That Idea

You could of course earn money from registration fees. But there are other ways to go.

For instance, you could round up one or more local sponsors to foot the bill. Instead of it being your event it could be billed as Man Camp sponsored by Homey Hardware Store or Best Ever Used Cars.

In addition to sponsor income, being connected with a local business has other advantages like instant credibility, sponsor help in promoting the event at their location, on social media, and on their website, as well as increased chances for local media coverage.

Another way to generate revenue is to work the food and beverage angle.

I remember my friend Barbara Winter telling about a famous herb farm that used to operate in Connecticut. They didn’t have a license to serve food. So they charged a fee to tour the gardens that included a free lunch!

beerSo what if you tap a local brewery as a sponsor? That way you can include a free sample which in turn allows you to up the registration fee. (Just don’t teach classes involving any buzz saws!)

Man Camp is a great idea. But as a home owner there are a lot of things I wish my dad had taught me too – things that neither of my two brothers learned either.

So you could always organize a similar class for women who tend to be less intimidated learning how to dry wall or change spark plugs in the company of other women.

Cool “Job” #14: Breaking up is hard to do – but you can help!

brokenheartAnyone who’s been dumped knows that breaking up really is hard to do.

You don’t feel like eating. Everything reminds you of your ex. You obsess about how incredible they were while developing amnesia about their faults.

As you’ll learn from an informative and entertaining video called The Science of Love, there’s a physiological reason why you have a hard time getting over your beloved.

brainAccording to researchers, the same regions of the brain are activated during a breakup as when an addict is going through withdrawal.

So it stands to reason that a step-based model like Alcoholics Anonymous could be used to facilitate recovery from heart-break as well.

The video features several newly single people trying out five steps like identifying three things you learned from the relationship and mediation.

Building on That Idea

The 5-step process got me thinking about things like offering Break Up Recovery Coaching, Break Up Support Groups, even Break Up Retreats to cool locations.

You don’t need to be a psychologist or other mental health provider. Rather if you have coaching experience or simply organizing skills, you can partner with someone else to do the emotional heavy-lifting.

singingThe video ends with a singer composing a customized rap song for the people featured in the video.

If you have a knack for songwriting, this could be just the cool job for you!


2014Profit-From-your-passion-600

What If You Could Get Paid to Share Cool Business Ideas?

  • Are you an idea person?

  • Do you love to brainstorm?

  • Would you like to get paid to do what comes naturally?

You’re not alone!

In less time than you think you can train to become a licensed Profiting From Your Passion® coach.

Here’s what one student had to say as she started digging into the course material…

The resources on the student site are unbelievable. I can’t even imagine the time, energy, finances and mental/physical exertion you have poured into this.

 

Most of what I have experienced appears to have lead me to this work! Thanks again for all the work you have put into this program.

 

Robbie Penney
Bakersfield, CA

An accelerated version of this online course begins September 8th. Seats are limited.

Click here to learn how you can get started for as little as $379.

Cool “Job” #15: For some, breaking up is fun to do — divorce parties and other ideas

Some newly single people moved from healing to celebrating and there are party planners who are all too eager to help them do it in style.

According to a growing number of party favor and event planning companies specializing in divorce parties, business is booming.

Today you can buy divorce party favors like “pin the tail on the ex” and divorce party coasters. Others like Kissed the Wrong Frog and fabletics sell clothing, lip gloss, and shot glasses.

The owner of Los Angeles-based The Divorce Party Planner books at least three parties a month. At $5,000 to a whopping $20,000, helping people celebrate a new beginning can also be highly profitable.

Building on that Idea

If you prefer a service-based business, a quick search of other major cities like Atlanta and Denver didn’t turn up any divorce party planners there. So, why not become the go-to planner in your area?

Don’t know where to begin? Pick up a copy of Divorce Party Handbook.

If you’re not into the angry ex going to a strip club with her gal-pals scene that means there are others who feel the same.

So why not offer an alternative for divorcees looking for more Zen-like or spiritually-based rituals. It could be as simple as a weekend at a local retreat center or spa or as high-end as a group trip to Sedona or Machu Picchu.

If you want to specialize even more, you could create events that appeal to gay divorcees, Jewish divorcees, devout Christian divorcees – add your own here.

Not a people-person?

Then set up an online store selling divorce-themed party favors and other products.

No offense to really dated looking The Divorce Shower Store (the link to Myspace nailed it) – but it wouldn’t be hard to come up with a more polished look or one aimed at an upscale market.

With enough traffic you can also attract ad revenue.

To increase your search engine optimization (SEO) and stand out from the competition at the same time,you can use one of the best seo in montreal agency or supply visitors with a steady stream of articles on topics like surviving the divorce, rocking it as a single parent, and getting back in the dating scene.

Or maybe you’re more the creative type? For a premium, you can offer divorce voodoo dolls customized to resemble a cheating ex.

Or you can design your own products like this funny “break-up prevention” T-shirt I saw in the Pittsburgh airport which would make a great coffee mug or wall plaque too.

The marriage may have ended, but the possibilities for creative self-bossers to create their own cool job are truly endless.

Add Your Voice to the Cool Job Tribe

Thousands of heads are always better than one!

How would you build on any of these cool jobs? What other options, ideas, or additional profit centers did you picture? What other cool jobs have you spotted lately? Post below!


5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Part 2

When it comes to changing course, money – or rather the lack of it – stops a lot of people in their tracks.

So to help, I’ve put together a five-part series on creative ways to fund your dream.

You may not be able to take advantage of every idea or resource. In fact, none of the five ideas may be right for you and your personal situation. You need to read them anyway. Why?

First, the strategy that may not be a fit for you today may indeed be the one that launches your dream a few years from now.

Second, just knowing that options truly do exist will remind you that your crazy dream is not so crazy after all.

And finally, one of the ideas or resources you see here may be perfect for someone you know. Pass it on and you just might change a life!

Strategy #2: Get Your Priorities Right

Comedian and actor Chris Rock remarked in an interview, “Having money doesn’t make you rich. Having options makes you rich.”

Arianne and Scott Bennett didn’t have either. The couple desperately wanted to travel. But they didn’t have any expendable income.

However they were both able to afford their $4.50 pack a day cigarette habit. Smoking had become a priority.

So in 1998 they both decided to quit and stash the money they saved into a travel fund. Ten months later the couple had enough money to fly to Amsterdam where some friends had recently moved.

falafelThey loved the canals and the old world charm. But what Arianne and Scott really fell in love with were the many falafel shops. So they returned to the states to open their first Amsterdam Falafel shop and today run a booming franchise business.

Arianne and Scott’s dream began with a simple decision to put their money into something that would bring them joy. Can you say that about where your money goes?

If not, where can you cut back? Could you cancel or downgrade a pricey cable bill. Pack your lunch. Skip the daily latte. Whatever you do be sure you redirect the money you save into a special Dream Account.

For my friends Linda and Waino saving money isn’t a strategy. It’s a lifestyle.

Throughout his life Waino had a series of low-paying jobs, including school bus driver and hired hand at a dairy farm. Linda started out as an English teacher but soon discovered a love of making pottery.

For the last 30 years she’s thrown pots in her well-lit basement studio. In the spring and fall, Linda teaches pottery classes at a local college. And for a few weeks each summer, she runs classes for kids in her studio.

Of course like everyone, there are times when, Linda feels pressured by the demands for her work. But while her employed friends get a measly 2-3 weeks of vacation, Linda takes ten.

Freshly-Harvested-VegetablesThe couple grows much of their own food. So she takes three weeks off in May to plant their massive vegetable garden. The entire month of August is spent reading books, playing cards, and swimming at a rustic cottage on a remote lake in Maine that the couple own with Linda’s sister and her husband.

After a hectic few month run up to the busy Christmas craft season Linda takes three weeks off in January to cross country ski from her front door and to catch up on things around the house.

This isn’t Linda’s only vacation time. In the last few years she and a friend cross-country skied their way across a part of Switzerland, spent a week with other long-time friends and me in Cozumel Mexico, and last year she accompanied a friend to Ecuador.

Did I mention that Linda and Waino’s combined income has never been more than $50,000? If you’re wondering how they can do all of this and still afford to take over ten weeks off a year, it has everything to do with priorities.

The couple prides themselves on living a full but frugal life. Ardent environmentalists, they repair rather than replace, buy only what they need and for everything else they go used, barter with friends, or go without. They raise chickens for the eggs and grow and preserve a fair amount of their own food.

The mortgage on their small but comfortable home has long been paid off and they have more saved for retirement than the vast majority of those earning two-to-three times more.

If you live in pricy areas like New York City, Boston, or San Francisco it’s not always easy to live on less. So if you’re ready for a change of scenery, consider relocating to a more affordable place where your dollar will go much further.

cafeIf you’re up for re-prioritizing in a big way, you could always go international. Running an existing portable business or starting a new business in another country is actually pretty doable. There are ex-pats opening cafes, using Skype to continue to work with clients back home, and importing crafts and other products back home.

Getting a job in another country can be a major challenge, but it’s not impossible. The reason Linda went to Ecuador was to accompany a friend who couldn’t afford to retire in the U.S. and wanted to check things out. On her first visit the friend got a job teaching English and has since relocated there full-time.

You don’t have to retire to benefit from this list of best places to retire from International Living magazine.

Nor do you need to move, raise your own chickens or grow your own food. But, if you’re serious about finding a way to fund your dream – and enjoy more life – then consider ways you can live on less. In a word: Prioritize.

As Margaret Young said:

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”

Strategy 1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash
Strategy 4: Barter
Strategy 5: Know Your Options


5 Ways to Fund Your Dream

When it comes to changing course, money – or rather the lack of it – stops a lot of people in their tracks.

So to help, I’ve put together a five-part series on creative ways to fund your dream.

You may not be able to take advantage of every idea or resource.  In fact, none of the five ideas may be right for you and your personal situation. You need to read them anyway. Why?

First, the strategy that may not be a fit for you today may indeed be the one that launches your dream a few years from now.

Second, just knowing that options truly do exist will remind you that your crazy dream is not so crazy after all.

And finally, one of the ideas or resources you see here may be perfect for someone you know. Pass it on and you just might change a life!

Idea #1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It

If you’re a writer or an artist or you love to make music or fancy cakes or you have a great business idea or a host of other things, why not enter a contest?

penguinIf you think it’s a total long-shot let me tell you about my friend Dyan DiNapoli aka The Penguin Lady.

Dyan didn’t enter a contest. But she did have a dream of working with sea animals at an aquarium. Not everyone supported her decision to go back to college to pursue the required degree.

It’s not that they thought she wasn’t up to the task. Rather they worried that the odds were not good, telling Dyan, “It’s too competitive.”

I loved Dyan’s response: “I just kept reminding myself – somebody’s going to get that cool job. It might as well be me.”

The same thing applies here. Someone is going to win that contest. It might as well be you!

In fact, it was a contest that launched the writing career of a registered nurse named Elizabeth Berg. Her first attempt came at nine when she entered a poem contest in American Girl magazine. Twenty five years later Elizabeth entered and won a writing contest sponsored by another magazine.

She penned magazine articles for ten years before writing her first novel. Today Elizabeth has numerous New York Times best-selling books to her name.

To be clear, entering a contest is not the same as sitting on your hands hoping to hit the lottery. Rather in each case you actually have to take positive action in order to win.

Finally the great thing about entering a contest is that even if you don’t win the contest you’ll still have won because you’ll have improved your craft and learned a ton along the way.That’s how some of the biggest Agency SEO have made it.

To get your own creative juices flowing, I’ve pulled together three of the countless contests happening this very moment.

The Staples’s Make Your Idea Happen Contest

Can you capture your great idea in 100 words or less? Well, you’ll need to if you want to win one of 10 prizes office supply giant Staples is giving out.

winnerGrand prize is $25,000, first prize is $15,000, and second prize $10,000. All prizes are all in the form of tech and office store products of your choice.

Plus winners receive something even more valuable. Free specialized business coaching from an impressive line-up of experts including a well-known chef, jewelry designer, and author.

And a lucky seven runners-up can cash in on $5,000 in products.

But you’ll have to act FAST because entry is due February 3 at 5PM eastern. That’s TODAY!

The only catch is you have to “Like” them at Facebook to enter and give them more pay for twitter followers. (A very clever marketing tactic you may use in your own business.)

Once you hit “like” you’ll find helpful sample entries and bios of the panelists. So… what are you waiting for!

Pillsbury Bake-Off

I grew up hearing about winners of the Pillsbury Bake-Off. The prize back then was $10,000. No small sum at the time.

pillsbury

Today the grand prize is a cool $1 million and a spot on Queen Latifa’s show! To learn about all of the recent winners of the 46th bake-off – and most importantly — to get on their list for news of the next one, go here.

Pillsbury isn’t the only game in town. King Arthur flour sponsors baking contests at dozens of state fairs.

And if cake decorating is your thing this Cake Decorating Classes site lists upcoming contests in the US, Canada and the UK.

Baking and cooking contests are so popular that there are entire websites dedicated to the topic – which is a cool business idea itself. Two I found are Cooking Contest Central and Contest Cook.

John Lennon Songwriting Contest

johnlennon

Since 1997 this international songwriting contest has awarded millions in prize money and products to amateur and professional songwriters who submit entries in 12 categories including rock, hip hop, Latin, gospel, country, children’s, and more.

The contest is open year-round and features two sessions — with 72 Finalists, 24 Grand Prize Winners, 12 Lennon Award Winners and 1 “Song of the Year.”

You don’t need a professional recording and instrumental compositions are encouraged. Entries will be judged on originality, melody, composition, and (when applicable) lyrics.

This year’s prize packages total over $300,000.00! Among the judges are Bob Weir, Jesse Harris, The Black Eyed Peas, The Bacon Brothers and The Veronicas!

What if you don’t win? Then enter another one and another one until you do.

Your Turn

Know of another contest? Get an aha? Or even just a boost of inspiration? Great! Scroll down to post your thoughts and ideas here!

Strategy 2: Get Your Priorities Straight
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash is available
Strategy 4: Barter
Strategy 5: Know Your Options

Announcement: Registration for the Spring 2014 Profiting from Your Passions® career expert training starts soon. If you love to think outside the job box and help others, get on the Priority Notification page to learn more.


Baby Boomers, forget about retirement

The words smacked me in the face…

“Baby Boomers, forget about retirement. We’ll be working for the rest of our lives.”

So began a recent USA Today article, “Boomers Don’t Give Up Your Day Jobs” before going on to cite low retirement savings, higher than expected debt and other financial factors impacting boomers.

As a result, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found 37% of boomers say they’ll have to wait until after age 65 to retire. Even then, a senior researcher at EBRI said, “Some people will need to take on a part time job.”

Who wants to be 65-plus and have your fate depend on someone decades younger “giving” you a j-o-b? Seems pretty risky to me. Besides what if you want to be able to travel or spend winters in a warmer climate? What kind of a portable job could the average person get?

That begs the question, why don’t articles like this ever offer an alternative?

The media and the government alike seem incapable of thinking outside the job box. And I think that’s one of the key reasons why so few people even consider creating their own jobs.

After all, the monthly U.S. federal jobs report tells us how many jobs were created. But there is no such thing as the monthly small business start-up report. If there were I’m convinced that just having that regular entrepreneurial drumbeat alone would surely plant a seed the minds of at least some of the unemployed.

3 Business Ideas Hidden in Plain Sight Inside USA Today

There is no scarcity of ways to make a living without a job. Granted I’ve made it my business to be able to spot income-generating ideas. In fact I created an entire career coaching process that connects the dots between what a person enjoys doing and how they can make money doing it.

To date I’ve trained and licensed over 250 people around the world how to be outside the job box career coaches. Last week I trained another group of “idea people” how they can get paid to brainstorm like I do. That particular class was held at a hotel in San Francisco, which meant that every day I received a complimentary issue of my favorite newspaper – USA Today.

Whether the editors know it or not, virtually every issue contains business ideas hiding in plain sight. Here are three headlines and the entrepreneurial ideas they sparked.

Headline 1: ‘On Looking’ peers into our attention-deficit lives

The subhead, “It’s an exploration of all the things we miss every day,” opens the review of Alexandra Horowitz’s book On Looking: Eleven Walks With Expert Eyes. In short, when we walk down the street, the author says, “We see, but do not see.”

So Horowitz takes the reader on a set of walks mostly in her own Upper West Side Manhattan neighborhood. Walks that take in the view through the eyes of a geologist, an urban sociologist, a typographer, a woman who is blind, a naturalist, a wildlife researcher, a sound designer and engineer, an illustrator, her toddler son, and her dog.

Opportunity knocks

Have an equally curious mind? Then why not enlist the help of local experts to do the same thing in their own neighborhood or corner of your world. Even with only half the number of experts, I can see an entire series of fascinating walks. The finished product could take the form of a printed book like Horowitz’s complete with walking map. Or it could be an audio tour or even an app.

Bonus idea: Approach the local Chamber of Commerce, tourism board, or historic society to see if any funding is available. If not, try to enlist them, along area hotels and bed and breakfasts to sell your finished product or at the least, help get the word out.

Headline 2: Execs learn ethics the Marine Way

Next was a story about a three-day course on ethical leadership for executives. The twist? This one is led by the Marine Corp on a base in Quantico, Virginia. This is no theoretical training. The executives are issued weapons, carry packs and sleep on the cold ground.

Run by Georgia State University, the program grew out of the finding that company CEOs who had served in the military are less likely to be involved in fraud. To impart this same value system that emphasizes ethics and responsibility the course puts participants in high tension ethical decision making scenarios that are disturbingly realistic.

Opportunity knocks

There are only so many people who can go through this – or for that matter any training. That leaves the door open for anyone with leadership experience in the military to put together a similar training. Would it be easy? Of course not. Is it doable? Absolutely.

Headline 3: Boy Scouts may welcome gays

With corporate and public support for the Boy Scouts waning due to its ban on gay Scout and troop leaders, the national organization is reconsidering their policy. Instead decisions on membership and leadership would be up to the local governing councils and sponsoring civic and religious groups.

Opportunity knocks

As the Boy Scouts inch closer to the views and policies of the Girl Scouts, 4-H Clubs, and the US military, this presents opportunities to conduct sensitivity training for leaders of local chapters and parents to address concerns by exploring and debunking stereotypes about gays and lesbians.

Financial strains will still require more people to work well into their golden years. But at least now you know you have a choice: Look to others to give you a job – or follow the news for opportunities to craft your own livelihood.

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