CHANGING COURSE BEGINS WITH A GREAT IDEA

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5 Reasons You’re Trapped in the Wrong Job

The soccer game was tied “two all” when the pass came to my nephew.

Thrilled at the prospect of scoring the winning goal, Jeff began dribbling the ball down the field as fast as his five-year-old legs could carry him.

The coach yelled, “You’re going the wrong way!”

“I know,” Jeff shouted over his shoulder and kept dribbling.

Again the coach tried to correct the young player’s course.

And, again, Jeff responded with an insistent, “I know!”

The coach now waving his arms wildly hollered,

“Hey, Jeffrey, you’re going the wrong way!”

Jeff, equally exasperated, shouted back…

“I KNOW! I CAN’T TURN THE BALL AROUND!”

When my sister called to tell me the story, my first thought was, I know exactly how he feels.

I’d spent the last seven years commuting 90 miles a day to a job that paid the bills, but did not feed my spirit.

I knew I was going the wrong way.

But, I just couldn’t seem to turn the ball around.

I’m not the only one.

Far too many people wind up in the wrong job… the wrong life.

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Maybe you’re a dental assistant who should have been a math teacher.

Or an executive who should have opened a winery.

Or an architect who should be running an animal shelter.

Why Do People Go the Wrong Way?

There are many reasons why people end up in the wrong careers.

Here are five of the most common…

1)  You were encouraged to play it safe

When Robin Williams told his father about his desire to become an actor, his dad advised him to study welding, “Just in case.”

My own parents encouraged me to become a teacher. That way I’d have “something to fall back on in case something happened to my husband.”

Sadly, far too many people took the well-intentioned advice of parents to take the safest path – even if it was the least satisfying one.

2)  You don’t want to “waste the degree”

Years ago, a 28-year-old web developer and programmer named Bill wrote to say he felt stuck in a job he no longer enjoys.

He said he hates sitting in front of a monitor all day and worries that the stress of corporate life will shorten his life.

“I know,” says Bill, “I am trading money for health and happiness.”

More than anything else, Bill wants to be free. 

“This sounds crazy,” he explains, “but I want to be a locksmith or somebody who works with their hands and does not sit in a chair between four walls all day.”

So, what’s the problem?

Bill didn’t want to “waste his programming degree.”

My response to Bill or anyone at this same juncture is simple.

If you think wasting your degree is a shame, try your life.

3)  You’re a “job snob”

For some people, what begins as a desire to please or perhaps even impress others, can turn into something even more detrimental to our dreams – namely, pride.  

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One of my newsletter readers, a woman named Sandra, shared an all-too-familiar story.

When I was 19, I was working full-time as a legal secretary in Washington, D.C. The attorney, whom I was working for, was in his 30’s, said something to me that has stuck ever since.

He said, ‘You know something, Sandy, all my life, all I wanted was to become a bartender, but my parents would not go for that and made me become an attorney. I am miserable doing this.’ 

I’ll never forget that or him and how sad I felt for him.

It was his body language that I remember toohow he was slumped over behind his desk, his head drawn downthe sadness and visible pain etched on his face.

Had his parents not stood in his way, he perhaps could have owned a restaurant with a bar and lived each day fully in a way that spoke to his spirit.

I can only hope that he did one day take the courage and leave that law firm.

4)  No one ever asked you the right question

Remember when you were a kid and everyone kept asking what you wanted to be when you grew 

But, what if they’d asked a different question instead?

Here’s a 2-minute video of me on stage in Los Angeles talking about that very subject…

 

How I Turned the Ball Around

It took the unexpected death of my mother for me to finally decide to leave my corporate job and strike out on my own.

I didn’t know how exactly I could earn money.

What I did know was I wanted to work from home and work for myself.

From there I had to figure out what I loved to do.

Like you, I have multiple gifts and interests.

I’m a huge idea person.

My favorite question is, “What if…?”

Which pretty much means brainstorming is at the top of my list.

And guess what… today I get paid to do it!

I know I’m not the only idea person out there.

That’s why I created a new workshop called Paid to Brainstorm.

 

 

It’s 100 percent content.

It 100 percent free to attend.

And it starts now.

Whether you’re a seasoned life/career/executive coach looking to add another specialty to your practice (and money in your pocket) OR are just an idea person like me…

Join the party now at PaidtoBrainstorm.com!


SELF-BOSSING IDEA #10: How to Get Paid (a Lot) to Speak


There are different ways you can cash in on what you already know.

You can write a book or create an information product…

You can coach people or become a consultant. Or…

You can make money from speaking!

Speaking is not only highly financially rewarding, it’s personally fulfilling as well.

What’s not to love?

As a professional speaker you get up in front of a group of people who are interested in what you have to say.

Then you spend 30-60 minutes sharing a message you believe in.

You go to bed that night knowing you’ve changes some lives. Not one or two… but an entire room full of lives.

And for all that “work” you get paid handsomely.

Most of the speakers I know make $5,000-$10,000 per gig.

With top speakers commanding $25,000 (or more) for a single talk!

If you think you’d like to get paid to speak – or you’re already a speaker but want to earn more, here’s how…

1. Understand who pays for speakers

Every day thousands of organizations around the world hold gatherings that include paid speakers brought in to educate and motivate their audiences.

Where you speak depends a lot of your topic and message. Options include:

  • Corporations (home office/field offices/company-sponsored destination meetings)
  • Colleges and universities (students/faculty/staff/alumni)
  • Association meetings (local, state, regional, national chapters)
  • Civic groups (Lion’s Club, Zonta, etc.)
  • Charitable organizations that raise funds for a particular cause (disabled vets, cancer research, etc.)
  • Non-profits (YMCA/YCWA, animal shelters, etc.)
  • Entrepreneur conferences and other events (government-sponsored, corporate-sponsored, hosted by other entrepreneurs or companies that serve this market)
  • Conferences (association, industry, or theme-related)

Again depending on your topic some of these options will be a better fit than others.

Because of my topic I’ve been invited to speak at all of them.

In the last few months alone I’ve landed gigs to speak to audiences at such diverse organizations as…

  • Apple
  • Romance Writers of America
  • Northwest Mutual Insurance
  • Meharry Medical College
  • Newfoundland/Labrador Women Entrepreneurs Conference
  • IBM
  • California Girls State (started by the American Legion to bring together 300 top high school juniors for a week to hold mock elections to learn how government works)
  • MIT (my 6th time)
  • And Facebook

Here’s a few pictures I took along the way…

RWA Costumes

Some period costumes from Romance Writers of America

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California Girls State meet up

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Retired Air Force colonel shuttle commander Eileen Collins who spoke after me at a conference sponsored by a law firm in Santa

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In the green room at Apple (turns out no one else had ever asked if that was the same toilet Steve Jobs used)

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The very cool Facebook campus with their amazing rooftop park

Keep in mind I have no expertise in technology, romance writing, life insurance, medicine, law firms, or government…

I’ve also spoken to visiting nurses, district attorneys, engineers, lawyers, opticians, jewelers, librarians, and administrative assistants. And I have zero experience in these areas either.

What I do have is a topic that cuts across industries and occupations. For me, it’s something called the impostor syndrome.

Fundamentally, I speak about confidence.

About what to do when you hear that nagging voice that says, “I’m in over my head and they’re going to find out I have no idea what I’m doing.”

The point is, audiences that consist mainly of nurses or accountants or acupuncturists or business owners still need speakers who can talk about topics like…

  • Work-life balance
  • Career management
  • Marketing/branding
  • Finding the humor in life
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Time management
  • Customer service
  • Financial literacy/money angst
  • Social media do’s and don’ts
  • How to be a better leader
  • Millennials in the workplace
  • Stress management

And on and on…

My focus is on “unjobbing.”

Yet last year I was paid to speak to 200 librarians on how to think more creatively on the job.

Then there’s Marla Cilley, AKA The Fly Lady.

Marla is an organizing guru with a huge following. Every day tens of thousands of people follow her decluttering and cleaning advice.

As it turns out Marla is also a very popular speaker on the thriving home schooling conference circuit! Who knew!

Most speaking engagements are planned months and sometimes a year or more ahead.

If you already know where you want to speak, start doing your homework now so you can get on the agenda in 2017.

But before you pitch your topic you need to first nail this next step:

2. Know your “POV”

Being a great speaker is only one part of the paid-to-speak equation.

I always knew I was a decent speaker.

But today I know I could hold my own on a TED stage. (Something I wouldn’t have said just a few years ago.)

The difference is that today I know that to be an amazing speaker you need to have a strong opinion.

In other words, no matter what your subject is, you need to bring to it a clear and compelling point of view –POV for short.

Your POV is what sets you apart from all the other people who speak on your same topic.

There are lots of people who speak on how to raise healthy happy children or how caretakers can avoid burn out or how eating the right food can reduce inflammation.

Lots of people who speak on how to be an effective leader or how to overcome adversity.

So how is your message different?

If you’re not sure, imagine you’re a part of a panel brought in to discuss your general topic.

How would your solutions or approach be different from the other panelists?

How do you look at the topic slightly differently than others?

What kinds of things do other experts recommend that you strongly disagree with?

My POVs

Obviously there are other people who talk about impostor syndrome.

One is a well-known psychologist with a big bestselling book that contains a chapter on impostor syndrome.

I agree with most of what she says. But I disagree strongly on her proposed solution to just talking about your impostor feelings.

The logic is the more you talk about something, the less powerful the feelings become.

I do agree that giving voice to anything that evokes shame is an important first step.

But I am emphatic in telling my audiences that contrary to what some experts tell you, you can’t share your way out of impostor feelings.

From there I back up my POV with scientific evidence and then proceed to share the three things that do work.

Your POV is also what makes you stand out with the media.

I’ve been interviewed on numerous radio shows on the topic of career change.

Other career experts tend to talk about things like how to use social media to get a job, how to nail the interview, or doing informational interviews of people doing the job you covet.

Useful information… but hardly unique.

Then I come on and say things like…

“The problem is we’ve become a nation of occupational sheep passively waiting for someone to give us job. No one ever taught us how to make our own job!”

Or when they ask me about the key to my success I say things like…

“I think it’s because I don’t spend a lot of time in the real world.”

(A statement I quickly follow up with the fabulous quote from Will Smith who said, “Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.”)

Do you think having a unique POV might set me apart from other career experts?

Do you see how having a unique POV would capture the attention of my host and more importantly, their listeners?

The bottom line: The more you can get your audience to think, the more successful a speaker you’ll be.

3.  Start where you are

If you know you need to work on your platform skills, join your local chapter of Toastmaster International.

If you need to polish your talk, then focus on that.

Just don’t do it by sitting at home endlessly tweaking it.

Instead get as much practice and feedback as you can.

Volunteer to speak anywhere and everywhere you can. Speak to informal gatherings in church/synagogue/mosque basements.

Speak to PTA groups or Meet Up groups or to local business owners.

When I started out I did tons of talks for free.

Trust me, no one at a conference or meeting knows whether you’re being paid or not.

Not only will you continue to grow as a speaker, but your next paying gig could very well come from someone in your audience.

4. Decide on your business model

The speaking business is just that… a business.

And there are three ways you can make money speaking:

  • Speak for a fee/keynoter
  • Speak for free and sell products or services from the stage
  • A combination (after my friend Barbara Winter speaks, she cheerily informs her audience that she’s brought along some books and “the store is open!”

I’m definitely a keynote speaker.

The person who has played a crucial role in accelerated my speaking business is six-time (count ‘em) New York Times bestselling author Larry Winget.

Larry is the one who taught me about the need to not only have a strong POV, but also not to minimize it by saying things, like… “I think…” or “In my opinion…”

(If Larry were here he’d tell you that we know you thought it because you’re saying it!)

larry

I am tremendously fortunate to make good money speaking.

But my fees are nowhere close to the $25,000 Larry commands for a one-hour talk.

You always want to be learning from people who are where you want to be. For me, Larry was – and to this day continues to be – that person.

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The other person who has taught me a lot is my former business coach and friend Suzanne Evans.

Not long ago Suzanne was a gloried administrative assistant job struggling to pay the bills. Today she runs a 7-figure coaching business that’s made it onto the Inc. 500 list three times.

Unlike Larry and me, Suzanne rarely gets paid to speak.

Instead Suzanne uses speaking as a way to introduce audiences to her products and services and then offers them the opportunity to work with her.

For the record, anyone can sell from the stage without sounding “salesy.” Well-respected experts like Barbara Sher and Barbara Winter do it all the time.

The key is to deliver good content.

Are you a coach? Share your best advice and end by offering a free strategy session.

Are you a dog trainer? Talk about the biggest three mistakes people make with a new puppy and then offer a discount to anyone who signs up for your next class.

Speak on nutrition? Give great information then follow your talk with a book signing.

Leading a retreat in Belize for people who want to find their calling? Talk about the importance of slowing down long enough to hear your inner calling and then do a drawing for a free spot at your retreat.

Are you getting the idea?

So yes, both Suzanne and Larry have hugely successful businesses.

As importantly, speaking is what allowed them to also create amazing lives.

Every year Suzanne takes a group of people to South Africa to coach economically disadvantaged business owners for free.

And I have often donated my time to speak at organizations that support a worthy cause. It’s an amazing feeling to know that your words can make a difference in more ways than one.

5. Get and stay in the game: The Big Shift

Even seasoned speakers need to constantly improve.

I hate watching videos of myself on stage. But if you’re striving for continuous improvement, as painful as it is… the camera doesn’t lie.

Like anything else, getting good – and staying good – takes concerted effort.

Over the two decades as a part-time speaker, I estimate I’ve addressed over 80,000 people. As impressive as that sounds I wasn’t exactly breaking the bank.

Then three years ago I experienced a huge shift in my speaking business.

Instead of getting 7 or 8 speaking gigs year, I started booking 20+.

And for the first time ever, my speaking income began to consistently hit the six-figure mark.

I’m not telling you this to impress you.

I’m telling you this partly because a lot of people sell themselves and what they have to offer short.

Far too many of us – and women especially – undervalue ourselves and the message we have to share with the world.

And everyone loses when bright people play small.

The other reason I’m talking about money is because I want you to know that for some of you, speaking is by far your fastest path to cash – and to freedom.

For me the big shift began three years ago when I attended a speaking boot camp taught by Larry and Suzanne.

Again, using two very different models, they’ve both managed to create immensely successful businesses built on speaking.

The shift came when I applied three simple principles I learned from Larry and Suzanne.

To make it as a speaker you need to first get good, then get known, then you get paid. In that order.

I’ve grown enormously in all three areas. And so can you.

Last year a gaming enthusiastic and maker named Stephan was there.

Stephan was not a professional speaker when he arrived at the boot camp. In fact, he clearly struggled to find his voice.

But he was determined to use speaking as a platform to spread the message that games can be both fun and educational. So he kept at it.

This week Stephan is speaking in Japan.

And if he can do it… so can you.

Be My Guest at the “Build Your Speaking Business Boot Camp”

Like I said, my booking increased just in the last three years.

That’s why November 17-19 I’ll be back to Atlanta to attend the “Speaking Business Boot Camp.”

This is my third boot camp. I’m going back because it’s just that good.

Like I said, you always want to learn from people who are where you want to be.

Which is why I’m super excited that they’re adding several other $25,000+ a day speakers to the faculty.

I’d love for you to join me in Atlanta.

I have the opportunity to bring 10 guests with me. And I hope you’ll be one.

Not only will you learn a ton, but I’m also going to organize a little meet-up of everyone who joins me.

That way you’ll walk in already armed with a mighty support group!

How to take advantage of your complimentary “Friend of Valerie’s” guest pass

Step 1: Read all about the event here.

If you want to take advantage of the opportunity to be one of my 10 guests, DON’T REGISTER.

Why? Because as my guest, you won’t pay $297.

Instead you’ll receive a separate complimentary event ticket.

That’s where step 2 comes in…

Step 2: Send an email with the subject line “Speaker Boot Camp” to Valerie (at) changingcourse.com with your first and last name, primary email address, and best phone number to reach you.

Obviously they need to know how many people to expect. So all us (including me) need to put down a small deposit – but you get it back in full as soon as you arrive.

And if you’re looking for a hotel mate, let me know and I’ll try to match you up.

Step 3: Look for an email from either me or the event organizers at SuzanneEvans.org who will contact you directly to redeem your “Friend of Valerie’s” Free Guest Pass.”

The truth is: You have a message to share that the world needs to hear.

And you really can get paid to share what you already know.

Whether you want to be a well-paid keynoter like I am… or you want to use speaking as a means to grow your business…

I absolutely credit the 3-step  get good~get known~get paid I learned at the Speaking Business Boot camp with making 2016 my BIGGEST speaking year ever.

And if you can’t go? Follow the advice I just gave you and never, ever give up!


SELF-BOSSING IDEA #9: Love Food Will Travel – 7 Ways to Make Money With A Food or Travel Blog

Imagine traveling around exploring the local food scene. Maybe you drop in on cooking schools. Meet with chefs. Explore street food and markets. Review fine restaurants.

Now imagine sharing what you experience with the world… and getting paid to do it!

Asian women eating delicious Focus on face

For a foodie who also loves to travel… food and travel blogging is the perfect way to go.

I’m using food and travel blogs here as an example.

But these same options apply whether you blog about cats, health and wellness, your favourite sports team, or any topic of interest to a wider audience.

1. Attract Advertisers

MOSCOW RUSSIA - DECEMBER 12 2105: Used red cap from the glass bottle of Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Company is an American beverage corporation and manufacturer founded in 1886.

Aileen Adalid of I Am Aileen blogs more about travel than food.

Her followers are other millennials drawn to the young Filipino’s example of trading the rat race for life on the road.

Aileen is worth studying because of her ability to attract such heavy hitter advertisers as Coca Cola, Hilton, Marriott, Eurail, Unilever, and the Helsinki tourism bureau.

2. Get Corporate Sponsors

Pat of fresh farm butter on a butter dish with a knife to use as a spread or cooing ingredient overhead view on a slatted wooden table

Unlike advertisers, sponsors tend to make a longer brand commitment and pay a set fee.

Ree Drummon is personality behind the phenomenally successful cooking blog The Pioneer Woman.

She’s also an unapologetic fan of butter-rich recipes, an approach that clearly spoke to butter manufacturer and sponsor Land O’Lakes.

Then there’s Stefan and Sebastian, the attractive couple behind the popular food and travel blog Nomadic Boys.

In just two years, their blog attracted a loyal following particularly in the gay community.

That led to paid opportunities to collaborate with hotel brands and tourism boards as well as to speak at conferences to promote gay travel.

Stefan and Sebastian aren’t the only couple crushing it with sponsors.

Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott of the blog The Uncornered Market actively promote their availability to serve as paid brand ambassadors.

It’s this kind of proactivity that led  the couple to star in commercials for major companies like Lonely Planet and Ford.

Ambitious yes. Worth building toward? Absolutely!

After all, no matter what your dream, somebody’s going to do that cool thing… it might as well be you!

3. Sell Products

People interested in following you and your niche are also prime potential buyers of related products.

Ree’s blog led to her own cooking show on the Food Network. From there she landed an exclusive deal with Walmart to sell her own brand of cookware and other kitchen items.

And this fall she and her husband are opening their own store in an old building they renovated on the main street in their small town in Oklahoma… and they’re hiring!

But you don’t need to run an empire in order to sell products. Nor do you need to stock inventory.

Singaporean dinner icon with flat symbols of fried rice nasi goreng, chilli crab, spicy noodle soup laksa with prawns, chicken rice with hard boiled eggs and chicken liver, served on banana leaf with chopsticks and cup of green tea

Instead you can work with vendors directly to drop ship exotic or specialty ingredients or other cooking or home-related products directly to the customer.

Want to create your own products?

Companies like CaféPress or Zazzle both supply ready-made, as well as customized, products you design.

Blogging about French cuisine? Supply the vendor with images or fun sayings that appeal to lovers of all things French and they’ll print it onto coffee mugs, calendars, T-shirts, mousepads, or scores of other items. The vendor fills orders as you get them and you earn a percentage of the sale.

4. Affiliate Revenue

Camping elements equipment on top of the mountain.

A less hands-on approach is to sell products indirectly as an affiliate like Aileen does.

In addition to ad revenue, Aileen also earns money by recommending or otherwise featuring products she likes.

If someone makes a purchase using her affiliate link, she’ll receive a referral fee of anywhere from 5 to 50 percent of the sale price.

Another couple earning affiliate income are Chris and Rob Taylor of 2TravelDads.com.

Because the couple are traveling with their young kids, the 2 Dad’s Amazon store features kid-friendly products and camping gear they use and recommend.

5. Write for Others

Just because you have your own readers doesn’t mean you can’t get paid to write for other publications.

In addition to her own posts, Canadian food and travel blogger Mayssam Samaha of Will Travel for Food writes extensively for the Montreal Tourism bureau and numerous other popular travel and airline publications.

6. Sell Your Photographs

When you see Erick Prince’s, AKA the Minority Nomad, stunning photos, you’ll understand why he’s able to sell his images and videos to clients like Facebook, Shangri-La Hotels, and SAS.

Like most of the bloggers featured here, Erick has multiple profit streams of income.

In addition to making money from photos, he’s also a travel journalist for Yahoo Travel and other outlets and also serves as a luxury travel consultant for brands seeking to reach other millennials.

7. Lead Tours

Tourists using tablet computer while sightseeing in Venice

Have you ever wished you could turn others onto your favorite shopping and dining spots?

That’s what the American born Italy-based food blogger Elizabeth Minchilli does.

In addition to publishing cookbooks, creating a popular app for local travelers, and teaching cooking classes, she recently began to offer one-day food tours.

Those went so well that Elizabeth recently teamed up with her daughter Sophie to run a 6-day Week in Rome. The first tour already sold out!

Other Ways to Get Paid

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Money is important. But it’s just one reward of being a food or travel blogger.

Eight years ago Catherine Enfield of Munchie Musings started writing about the Sacramento food scene.

For Catherine, being a food blogger was less a means to replace her pay check as a state worker than it was a way to become actively engaged in her community.

Along the way she started the popular Sacramento Food Film Festival.

Catherine has since gifted the festival to the non-profit Food Literacy Program which continues the mission of using film to educate the public about the food system.

Erick also had a larger goal: To be the first African American to travel to all 90 countries and to inspire young African American males to travel as well.

These are the kinds of rewards money can’t buy.

Getting Started

For most of her eight-plus years blogging, Catherine kept her day job.

However, it was her immersion in the dining world that ultimately led to landing a cool job with a restaurant software company.

Besides you don’t need to be a full time traveler to write a travel blog.

Chris Taylor has a regular corporate job and Rob is the stay-at-home parent. In addition to frequent weekend jaunts, the family takes four or five big trips a year.

They’re able to take some of the bigger trips by adding a few vacation days to some of Chris’s work trips where some of the expenses are covered by his employer.

Similarly, sites like Tours by Locals make it easy for you to run tours right there in your own community.

Learn the blogging ropes

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If you want to make money from blogging – or indeed, from any online business – you have to know how to drive people to your site and build your audience.

Fortunately, there are thousands of books, articles, classes, even entire businesses dedicated to teaching new bloggers of any ilk how to get traffic and a fan base – much of it free.

One place to start is Aileen’s handy step-by-step guide on how to start a successful travel blog.

Prefer to learn in person?

Attend the annual International Food Bloggers conference – just one of many conferences dedicated to this niche.

Get clear

At some point you need to decide who it is you want to attract. Is it:

  • Professional or amateur cooks keen to learn about emerging or international cuisine or trends?
  • Visitors – local or international – looking for the best places to dine or food shop?
  • A future cookbook publisher?
  • People who rarely travel or cook but who nevertheless love looking at photos of fabulous food or destinations?
  • People who’d rather follow you via a video blog than read?
  • People who identify with you based on things like parenting or relationship status, age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, region, style of travel, food preferences, etc.

Your answers will inform future decisions from choosing a URL to your content to which advertisers, sponsors, and/or affiliates to pursue.

Ideally you’d figure this out before you begin. However, if you suffer from analysis paralysis then sometimes you have to just…

Jump in and just see where it leads

Retro effect and toned image of a woman hand writing a note with a fountain pen on a notebook. Handwritten text TAKING THE LEAP IS THE HARDEST PART business success concept

Maybe you can’t move to Tuscany or become a world traveler until the kids are out of college or you retire.

But you can use the steps you just learned to start laying the groundwork.

That said, there’s a danger in trying so hard to plan everything in advance that you wind up doing nothing.

“When I started the blog,” writes Elizabeth, “I wasn’t sure what it would lead to.”

And going in Catherine definitely never expected to start a cause-driven film festival.

That’s why it’s so important that you just jump in and see where it leads you!

Your Turn!

If you could create your perfect food and/or travel blog scenario, what would it look like?

Who would be your ideal followers and what’s the message you’d love to spread?

Which of the seven ways to make money as a food or travel blogger speak to you?

As my friend Barbara Sher says, “Isolation is the dream killer.”

Take one minute right now to hop down to the comments and share your dream or to just lend some encouragement to your fellow members of the Changing Course Community!

Isn’t It Time to Profit From Your Passion?

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Still don’t know what you want to be “when you grow up?”

Know what you love to do but have no idea how to make money doing it?

Have so many ideas you don’t know where to begin?

The answers are closer than you think! And once you have a direction, doors will open you never knew existed.

Click here to learn how to schedule a personal Work at What You Love career coaching session with me or one of my licensed Profiting From Your Passions® career coaches today.


Flexible Income, Flexible Life Now

The latest digital issue of International Living magazine’s niche publication Incomes Abroad just landed in my email and I immediately thought of you.

The publication is aimed at the growing numbers of people seeking to relocate to a country that offers a more affordable lifestyle and slower pace of living.

Other readers want to be able to work from anywhere in the world.

And still others simply want a way to fund their wanderlust.

In all three cases, the focus is 100 percent on how to make money without a job-job.

Which is why I thought of you.

After all, you don’t need to go to Bali or Barcelona to create a portable profit center.

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For you, “portable” might mean being able to work from your home-office or from your laptop in a coffee shop right in your own neighborhood.

In other words, this information-packed resource is for anyone who has a burning desire to create a flexible income… and needs help figuring out how to make it happen.

That’s the other reason I’m SO jazzed about the current issue.

No matter where your interests lie, you’ll find fascinating cases studies into the different ways regular people, just like you, saw a need and turned it into an opportunity.

I guarantee you’ll have at least one AHA moment!

Ideas agreement Investing in business innovation concept and financial commerce backing of creativity as an open lightbulb symbol for funding potential innovative growth prospect through venture capital.

Like I said, I just received this month’s issue and frankly I was blown away. It’s packed with inspiring and informative ways you can make money that don’t require a passport.

But I’ll let managing editor Shane Orman tell you what you can expect:

excerpt-international-living

In case I wasn’t clear, you don’t need to travel one bit in order to get a wealth of information that can help you change course.

But if you do want a flexible income so you can work from anywhere… and you want to be your own boss, then do yourself a huge favor and check out this extremely helpful and ridiculously affordable resource now.

Click here to get your free issue now. You’ll be glad you did!

 


SELF-BOSSING IDEA #8: Romance and Money Too


Your Path to Being a Best-Selling Romance Writer

Think there’s no money in book writing? Think again.

Does the very term “romance book” conjure up a very specific picture of a type of book, reader, or author?

If so, once again, think again!

I just returned from San Diego where I delivered a keynote address to over 2,200 people — mostly women but also some men — at the annual Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference.

featured speakers

Published and aspiring writers from 20 countries came to network, meet their favorite authors, and have the chance to pitch to editors of major publishing houses.

More than anything though, they came to learn. The four-day conference featured a whopping 100+ workshops.

Whether people came as complete novices or seasoned pros, there truly was something for everyone.

Topics ranged from character development… the art of the backstory… self-publishing… historical research… working with agents… online marketing… attracting raving fans… even costuming historic characters.

Here I am with members of the San Diego Costume Guild.

RWA Costumes

Did You Know?

Before RWA asked me to speak, I didn’t know a lot about this field either.

Today I know romance writing is a $1.08 billion industry.

RWA cover 1

hell or high water

I also know that despite the stereotypical image of what a romance novel looks like, there are many distinct genres. For instance…

  • Young adult romance is largely aimed at the teen market — a genre is all about G-rated firsts… first crush, first kiss, first heartbreak, first love
  • Historical romances, which are very popular, are set prior to 1950
  • Suspense/mystery has these elements as the central theme
  • Erotic romance which includes explicit sexual interaction between the two main characters
  • Inspirational or Christian romance were also referred to by the authors I met as “sweet,” meaning they have either no or closed-door sex are referred
  • Paranormal romance includes “elements beyond the range of scientific explanation.” In addition to science fiction, ghosts, and time-travel, you see this genre in the massively popular vampire-themed Twilight series which went on to become a blockbuster film.
  • Regency romance covers the British period between 1811-1820 and the early 19th According to Wikipedia, “the more traditional Regencies feature a great deal of intelligent, fast-paced dialogue between the protagonists and very little explicit sex or discussion of sex”.

Wikipedia offers an excellent overview of the century’s long history of romance writing.

You’ll find links to more information on the different genres, insights into varying tastes in romance books around the world, and the staggering success of the genre.

That’s where I learned:

  • Harlequin sells more than four books per second, half of them internationally
  • As of 2014, romance is the most popular literary genre in Russia, especially among the younger audience
  • 8 million people read an English-language romance novel in 2008
  • In the UK, over 20% of all fiction books sold each year are romance novels

The Many Faces of Romance Writers

Who do you picture when you think “romance writer”?

I’m guessing it’s not Karna Small Bodman.

Karna served in the White House under President Reagan for six years with a post on the National Security Council.

Today she draws on her unique background to write political thrillers.

The writers I met come from a wide range of backgrounds including people who were, or still are working as professors, nurses, administrators, home schooling parents…

People like award-winning Shirley Hailstock (pictured here on the left) didn’t start out as romance writers.

RWA 1Shirley earned her undergrad degree in chemistry from Howard University and her MBA in chemical marketing from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

She went on to do sales analytics for a pharmaceutical company and was an adjunct professor of accounting at Rutgers.

Today Shirley is a seasoned published writer with 35 novels and novellas under her belt.

I also met a lot of attendees who are just starting out.

Fledging writers who came to learn the craft of writing romance and to make the kinds of connections it takes to get published.

Like Bernadette J. Campbell (pictured above on the right).

Bernadette had a long career working behind the scenes at a television news station in Philadelphia. She’s also a minister interested in inspirational speaking and writing for the Christian market.

One of the huge benefits of the RWA conference is the opportunity to pitch your book to representatives of major publishing houses like Avon Books and Harlequin.

Bernadette tried pitching at last year’s conference but didn’t get any takers.

Undeterred, she returned home, tightened up her story line, perfected her one-minute pitch, and returned to try again.

This year Bernadette got a bite!

Other writers I spoke with have published dozens of books. But it wasn’t always easy.

Roz Denny Fox has written 52 western-themed novels. Roz began writing while still working as a secretary. She was also raising four kids.

Starting out Roz told me that she wrote during the only spare time she had — between midnight and 3am.

(As impressive as that is, the quantity prize goes to best-selling writing phenomenon Nora Roberts with a whopping 214 books!)

RWA Sherry Thomas

Things weren’t always easy for Sherry Thomas either (that’s Sherry on the left after her hysterically funny as well as inspiring talk ).

Despite immigrating from China as a teen and struggling to learn English… despite the crushing disappointment of having to pass on a full academic scholarship to an elite graduate program at Harvard because of a pregnancy… and despite struggling for two years with post-partum depression, Sherry went on to become an acclaimed writer.

Hard work and perseverance paid off for Sherry and for the many other bestselling authors at the conference. Like the ones signing books for this long line of fans!

RWA Random House RWA line

The Riches Are in the Niches

Like I said, there are so many genres of romance I had no idea even existed.

Here I am with Shelley Shepard Gray who, along with writers like Cindy Woodsmall, specializes in Amish romance. (Who knew!?)

RWA AmishShelley is not Amish herself.

But she does live near Ohio’s Amish community so knows there’s a keen interest in the simpler lives and relationships found in Amish culture.

Not pictured here is a young woman named Emma Prince.

Emma decided to put her PhD in English literature and her passion for history to use by writing Scottish historical romance.

This is me with conference keynoter and award-winning author Beverly Jenkins. (Finally someone as short as I am !)

RWA Beverly Jenkins

Beverly is also a historical romance writer. But instead of Scots, her characters are African American.

In writing about black romance, Beverly filled a publishing niche that no one else had — or historically-speaking, was allowed to.

Beverly has helped all of her loyal readers become more aware of the historical realities of black Americans. But for black women especially, her work has been tremendously validating.

Click here for a short video of Beverly and fellow writers on a historical research trip to South Carolina. Following that video are a series of interviews with other writers.

Finally, there’s Tracey Livesay.

Lindsey

This former criminal defense attorney specializes in an even more specialized niche – multi-cultural romance.

Her latest book Love On My Mind is about the attraction between a successful African American PR executive who is secretly brought in by a corporation who needs her to finesse a reclusive computer genius (aka the “sexiest geek alive”) who is white.

Getting Started

First off, if you’ve never read a romance novel, pick a few authors you met here and read their books to get familiar with the genre.

Notice too that many of the writers featured here build on their previous careers, life experience, love of history, or personal factors to either build their storylines or choose a genre.

Ask yourself — is there something in your own background or experience you can draw from?

Next understand the basic structure of the romance novel. Writer’s Digest offers a good overview.

If you’re still interested in trying your hand at writing, by far the best way to get started is to join a local, international, or online chapter of Romance Writers of America.

This article about the Naples, Florida chapter will give you a good idea of what happens on the local level.

Best-selling writer Bronwen Evans from New Zealand also offers some helpful tips and links for people just starting out.

Will you become a best-selling writer? Who knows.

Sometimes it’s more about doing it for yourself without expectations.

At least that was the case for the first-time author I met who only started writing after her husband became paralyzed.

During the eight weeks she took off from her state job to care for him, she said writing was a way to cope.

Happily, she recently published her first book – a paranormal romance!

As with anything… the key is just to start.

Join the Changing Course Community Conversation!

I love inspiring you to be your own boss… but what I love even more is helping Y-O-U and seeing us all collectively help one another!

What about you? Have you ever thought about writing any sort of book?

If so, how has this article inspired you to launch this dream?

Are you a published author? If so, what advice can you offer others?

Even if you’re not a writer, what words of wisdom or support can you offer anyone who has a book inside of them?

Finally, how can I help you profit from your passion?

Just scroll down and share your thoughts and ideas with others in the Changing Course Community!

Then stay tuned for Self-Bossing IDEA #9 in our 10-part series Make Your Own Cool Job!

“It’s Never Too Late to Be What You Might Have Been” – George Eliot

Not sure what you want to be when you grow up? Know exactly what you love to do… but have no clue how to make money doing it?

Either way, learn more about my personal Work at What You Love career planning sessions now!


SELF-BOSSING IDEA #7: Make Your Own Cool Job Series


Living the Seasonal Life With Multiple Streams of Income

Remember how Self-Bossing Idea #5 featured two talented Canadian jewelers who each in their own way, made their own  very cool jobs?

Well, today you’ll meet long-time Changing Course subscriber Liam Hughes.

Liam also happens to be a jeweler.  But there is so much MORE to his story.

What makes Liam unique is he didn’t make just one cool job. He made six!

He also lives the kind of seasonal life so many of my readers would die for.

You see, from August to May, Liam works out of his studio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he crafts unique jewelry made from shards of broken antique and contemporary dishes.

antiqueedge

Dragon

He may not be looking to build an empire like Rachel Mielke, the Canadian jewelry designer and entrepreneur extraordinaire who I told you about last time.

But like any successful business owner, Liam knows that products don’t sell themselves.

So when he’s not in his studio, Liam travels to fine art and craft shows coast-to-coast.

He’s also savvy online too.

Over the years, Liam has built a loyal customer following by emailing seasonal promotions and other product updates to the people who stop by his booth.

irishbelleek

Then every June, Liam heads to the Emerald Isle to the cottage he lovingly restored in the land of his grandfather, County Tipperary, Ireland.

He turned a portion of his cottage into a guest house that includes the opportunity to book him for private tours.

Year round he hosts the Irish Fireside Podcast and Blog which is ranked among iTunes’ top travel podcasts.

More recently, Liam helped develop the Ireland Travel Kit smartphone app to help people discover and share Ireland’s unique and offbeat locations.

If that wasn’t enough, Liam produced a recording of Irish music to accompany his precious CD of jazz and American standards!

LemonTwist

A true Renaissance man!

Listen and Learn

A few years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Liam about his multiple profit centers.

If you missed that call, here’s your chance to listen in now.

High resolution graphic of an listen icon with head phones and notes.

You’ll hear how he changed course, from working in the IT department at a local college to pursue his multiple gifts and interests full-time and how he juggles different profit centers.

And just to be clear…

You don’t have to want to make jewelry, live and work seasonally, run a B&B, offer tours, or do ANY of the things Liam does to find his energy and belief that you really can make your own cool “job” to be positively contagious!

Plus, you’ll hear some great advice Liam offered several live callers.

Pay close attention to what he told the woman who was discouraged because she was unable to earn enough from her quilts.

What Liam told her was utterly brilliant and applies to everyone who wants to profit from their passion.

Oh, and if you happen to be that quilter – I’ve been looking for you! Call me!

Click here to listen to or download the recording.

Join the Changing Course Community Conversation!

I love inspiring you to be your own boss…but what I love even more is helping Y-O-U!

What about you? If you could live in different parts of the country — or the world — where would you love to live?

What do YOU love to do? And how can I or your fellow change seekers help you profit from your passion? We’d love to help!

So take a brief moment to hop over to the blog and share your thoughts and ideas with others in the Changing Course Community!

Then stay tuned for Self-Bossing IDEA #8 in our 10-part series Make Your Own Cool Job!

“It’s Never Too Late to Be What You Might Have Been” – George Eliot

Not sure what you want to be when you grow up? Or, do you know exactly what you love to do but have no clue how to make money doing it?

Either way, learn more about my personal Work at What You Love career planning sessions now!


SELF-BOSSING IDEA #6: Make Your Own Cool Job Series

Three People Who Get Paid to Play—and How You Can Too

When Gary Auerback was growing up he loved playing Frisbee. 

He obviously got pretty good at it because in 1995 Gary won the World Frisbee Championship! 

Gary decided to parlay that big win into a way he could get paid to play.

And for the last twenty years he’s done just that.

Today, Gary, aka the Frisbee Guy, makes his living putting on fun shows at schools, summer camps, park and recreation departments, and birthday parties. 

For two 45-minute shows Gary gets $950. If he “tosses” in 300 autographed Frisbees, it’s $1,450.

But if you think Frisbees are just for kids, think again.

Companies also hire Gary to use Frisbees as part of employee team-building exercises. And more recently Gary has been doing motivational speaking.

You don’t have to win a championship to get paid to play.

Christine Gloster, from right here in my own town of South Hadley. Massachusetts describes herself as a “painter by nature.” In 2004 she decided to combine her passion for art and working with children into a business.

Today Christine is The Happy Face Painter.

 

She makes up to $125 an hour painting the faces of thousands of delighted children at local parties and events – and even as far away as the Caribbean!

Compare Gary’s $950- and Christine’s $125-an-hour gigs with how many hours you’d have to work in your typical minimum wage job to earn the same amount of money. 

And they’re having fun doing it! 

These are just two of the many ways to earn money in the event and party world. 

Hillary Saffran – who is also the Biz Mama at MyBizMama.com  knows firsthand that you really can make good money at parties and events.


A gifted speaker, ventriloquist, singer, and actor, she began her entertainment career over 26 years ago as a birthday party clown as a way to supplement her day job. 

Since then Hillary has entertained audiences from ages 2-102! 

But you don’t need to be the least bit “talented” to make money in the party and event world. 

In fact, there are dozens of non-entertainment ways you can cash in on the lucrative party and event world! 

If you missed Hillary’s recent class on 27 Ways to Cash in on Parties and Events, for a limited time you can sign up to catch the replay here.

You’ll discover fun ways you can make much more money than you could with the average part-time job – in far less time.

Among the many options Hillary shares, are options for people who love to travel, including getting gigs on cruises and selling at state fairs.

And even food, craft, and other products that fly off the shelves that you can sell at fairs and other events. 

My own brother has raked in as much as $3,000 a weekend selling kettle corn at local events – and that’s just his side gig! 

Not into parties and events? No problem. 

As a licensed Profiting From Your Passions® career coach, Hillary is also an expert in all sorts of money-making ideas. In fact, she even wrote a book on it! 

It’s called How to Earn $100 Per Hour Without a JOB.

The book sells on Amazon for just under $20 bucks. HowToEarnBookBizMama

But for a limited time Hillary is giving away free copies!

All you have to do to grab your FREE copy is go to My Biz Mama and sign up.

Gary, Christine, and Hillary prove that it’s possible to make hundreds of dollars an hour at parties and events.

Jumpstart Your New Life 

You too can get paid to play–or to do whatever you love to do–sometimes all you need is a little help!

Biz Mama to the rescue!

 

For a limited time you can sign up for one of Hillary’s free Jumpstart sessions.

Together you will…

  • Create a clear vision of what you want your work – and your life to look like
  • Uncover hidden challenges to creating the biz and life you really want
  • And leave your session renewed, re-energized, and inspired to finally achieve your dream of turning your interests into income 

And who doesn’t want that! Plus, it’s F-R-E-E!

To schedule your personal Jumpstart session with Hillary, the Biz Mama of MyBizMama.com, call 973-346-2663 and leave your name, number, and the best time to reach you.

Isn’t it time to finally figure out what YOU want to be when you grow up?

As George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

Join the Changing Course Community Discussion 

I’m honored that you’re a part of this amazing community of change seekers.

I love inspiring you to be your own boss… but what I love even more is hearing from Y-O-U!

What do YOU love to do and what do you need to do today to begin to profit from your passion?

I know you’re busy… but it would mean a lot to me if you would take a brief moment to hop over to the Changing Course Fan page on Facebook and share your thoughts and ideas with others in the Changing Course Community!

Then stay tuned for Self-Bossing IDEA #7 in our series Make Your Own Make Your Own Cool Job!

Don’t Want to Wait?

Click here to learn everything you need to know about scheduling your personal Work at What You Love planning session.


WEBINAR Cashing in on Parties and Events

FREE Webinar
Saturday June 25th
12PM Eastern

27 Ways to
Make Money at
Parties
& Events

Click Here to Register

jack russell dog as a surprise singing birthday song like karaoke with microphone wearing red tie and party hat isolated on white background

Join Profiting from Your Passion®
Career Coach Hillary Saffran and…

Discover Dozens of Fun Ways You Can
Make Much More Money in Less Time
Than You Could With a Part-Time J-o-b

See How a Fun Side Gig Can Easily
Be Turned into a Full-Time Income!

Hillary Saffran — AKA the Biz Mama — knows firsthand that you really can make good money at parties and events.

A gifted speaker, ventriloquist, singer, and actor she began her entertainment career over 26 years ago as a birthday party clown. Since then Hillary has entertained audiences from ages 2-102!

No “talent?” No problem!

You don’t need to be an entertainer to make money in the party and event world.

In fact, there are dozens of non-entertainment ways you can cash in on the lucrative party and event world!

Join Hillary and me Saturday, June 25th at noon eastern time and discover:

  • The pros and cons of working with agents and agencies
  • Types of parties you can specialize in
  • Little-known niche markets where you can cash in
  • Why you don’t need to be the least bit talented to make money in the party and event world
  • Party and event options for people who love to travel including getting gigs on cruises and selling at state fairs
  • How to create additional services to add to your bottom line
  • Painless ways you can promote yourself and/or your products or services to event planners
  • Food, craft, and other products that fly off the shelves that you can sell at fairs and other event
  • Fun ways you can make much more money than you could with the average part-time job – in far less time
  • How to make enough money from that fun side gig to turn it into your full-time income
  • And more!

bizmama logo

Biz Mama Hillary Saffran!

As a licensed Profiting from Your Passions® Career Coach and Global Career
Development Facilitator, the Palmer, Alaska-based career expert positively excels at helping people like you to discover your unique gifts and interests and then helping you turn them into a successful small business. Hillary 2

Career planning is nothing new to Hillary.

She began her career working in a personnel agency matching job seekers with jobs. From there Hillary joined a social service agency where she got to work with thousands of unemployed workers in workforce centers nationwide to obtain employment.

Today she’s turned her considerable expertise to helping people who want to be their own boss.

Whether you earn money in the lucrative party and event world or you feel called in a different direction, Hillary can empower and guide you to discover your unique gifts and monetize them so you can do what you love and love what you do!

Seats Are Limited

Bring a paper and pen and come prepared to ask questions on this LIVE Webinar!

Seats are limited and registration is required.

Click here now to register for

FREE Webinar
Saturday June 25th
12PM Eastern

27 Ways to
Make Money at
Parties
& Events


SELF-BOSSING IDEA #5: Make Your Own Cool Job Series

Lessons From a “Shark Tank” Winner and Canada’s Premier Craftsperson

You’re about to meet two people who made their own jobs.

They both make jewelry. Yet their stories are quite different.

And luckily for you, you don’t need to be a jeweler or in any way artistic to learn from these inspiring self-bosses how to make your own cool j-o-b!

Play Big

The first is an impressive young Canadian jewelry designer and entrepreneur named Rachel Mielke.

I met Rachel when I spoke at the Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan annual conference where she was being honored as Entrepreneur of the Year.

Little wonder… Rachel had successfully pitched her business on the forerunner of the CBS hit show Shark Tank, which in Canada is called the Dragon’s Den.

A year after getting that $200,000 investment, her company hit the million-dollar mark.

I had the chance to visit Rachel in her studio…. and pick up a few pieces for myself!

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from old iphone 11 27 2011 380

from old iphone 11 27 2011 381

Playing big allowed Rachel to outsource the actual making of her jewelry so she can focus on the part she loves – designing!

Clearly she’s doing something right because at 29, she’d been invited to attend a 2008 pre-Oscar Luxury Gifting Lounge in Los Angeles.

She went on to buy another more modestly-priced jewelry line to sell as a vendor on the famed Lilith tour.

And she’s even made jewelry for the Queen of England!

If you want to be self-employed, you need to understand marketing. Search for Rachel on YouTube and you’ll find countless examples of the brilliant ways this talented designer and her company continue to play big!

Get Help

Turns out Rachel didn’t just make her own job…

Instead she used her Dragon’s Den money to create jobs for other people including a head of marketing, an operations manager, and several other employees Rachel needed to scale her business.

There’s a huge lesson here for people who say they want to make six and even seven figures but then scoff at the idea of having a team.

I get it. I don’t like managing myself. But if you’re going to scale a business you can’t do it all.

In the beginning when funds are tight, you do need to be the creator, bookkeeper, administrative assistant, social media manager, head of sales, and marketer.

However, once you have some money coming in, you need to either hire people to do things that are not the best use of your time — or outsource these tasks to freelancers.

When I brought my Vision Implementation Manager Lisa on, it was the scariest financial decision I ever made. But having her on my team is what allowed my business to grow and to free me to focus on what I do best.

Position Yourself for Cool Things to Happen

Unlike Rachel, Natalie Austin didn’t start out to be an artisan. Rather she earned a degree in Folklore and Vernacular Culture.

Natalie picture

Fortunately, she comes from a long line of artists and craftspeople… so she knew it was possible to turn her creativity into her livelihood.

Today Natalie is a jeweler with a cause – converting household copper pipe used in plumbing into jewelry.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Every piece of material I can up-cycle is one less thing that ends up in the landfill,” she writes.  Adding, “Through jewelry design, I am making my own small daily cultural and environmental contribution.”

Natalie made another international contribution last week when she showcased her jewelry at the G-7 Summit in Japan!

Each of the seven major industrialized countries represented got to bring just one craftsperson to represent their entire country – and Natalie was Canada’s pick!

A remarkable achievement by any measure.  Astounding when you consider she only began making jewelry three years ago!

Natalie 2

She may be young, but Natalie’s advice to aspiring jewelers is deeply wise…

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes: sometimes they lead to the most incredible creations.  Art is not linear; I found my niche through trial and error.  I’m not afraid to try new colors or styles – it’s the best way to grow as an artist!

It’s tempting to see Natalie as an “overnight success.”

Rather, I see hers as a story of what can happen when, like Rachel, you see yourself as both an artisan and a business owner… and then act accordingly.

You see Natalie and I met when I spoke at the Newfoundland/Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) in April.

When I congratulated her on the big G-7 news Natalie was quick to point out that there are many deserving artisans who’ve been at their craft far longer.

She’s right of course.

I couldn’t tell you why the Canadian G-7 committee chose Natalie to represent the entire country over others.

What I do know is it all began with a nomination from the team at NLOWE.

Something that would have never happened if Natalie had stayed hunkered down in her studio.

Instead she made the wise decision to take her work seriously and seek advice from a local organization dedicated to entrepreneurial success.

If you’re in the U.S., do a search for the local branch of the Small Business Development Center in your state.

In Canada, search by province. In other countries, search for “entrepreneurial counseling in [country].”

Whatever you do, starting repeat after me: If I want to work for myself, I need to start acting like someone who wants to work for myself.

Then do it.

Join the Changing Course Community Discussion

I’m honored that you’re a part of this amazing community of change seekers.

I love inspiring you to be your own boss… but what I love even more is hearing from Y-O-U!

Were you inspired, encouraged, or perhaps discouraged by Rachel’s and Natalie’s stories?

If your first thought is, but I don’t make jewelry… or I don’t want to build an empire…  then you’re missing the point.

What lessons can you take from Rachel’s or Natalie’s story and apply to make YOUR own job?

What do YOU love to do and what do you need to do today to begin to profit from your passion?

I know you’re busy… but it would mean a lot to me if you would take a brief moment to hop over to the Changing Course Fan page on Facebook and share your thoughts and ideas with others in the Changing Course Community!

Then stay tuned for Self-Bossing IDEA #6 in our series Make Your Own Make Your Own Cool Job!

Don’t Want to Wait?

Click here to learn everything you need to know about scheduling your personal Work at What You Love planning session.

 

 


COOL BIZ IDEA #4: Make Your Own Cool Job Series

How One Woman Turned Her Dog into a $50 Million Empire

At 52, things weren’t exactly going Carol Gardner’s way.

She and her husband had invested in a high-end real estate venture. It failed.

Soon after, her nearly three-decade-long marriage failed as well.

Divorced, over $1 million in debt, and living on four credit cards, Carol was understandably depressed.

That’s when her divorce attorney gave her some advice: You need to either get a therapist or a dog. She chose the latter.

Carol got an English bulldog puppy and named her Zelda – so named because it started with the last letter in the alphabet and Carol “was hoping that what felt like the end might be the beginning.”

Zelda and CarolWith Zelda’s unconditional love, Carol began to heal. But she still had no income.

That’s when a friend told her about a local pet store that was sponsoring a Christmas card contest. The prize was a year’s worth of free dog food.

Carol sprang into action.

She borrowed a Santa hat from a neighbor, plopped Zelda into the bathtub and gave her a bubble beard.

The clever caption read: “For Christmas I got a dog for my husband… good trade, huh?”

She won! When Carol sent the winning card to her own holiday list, people raved.

Encouraged by the response, Carol decided to create her own line of 24 Zelda-inspired greeting cards with funny captions like “Go braless… it pulls the wrinkles down,” “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you get wet.”

The fact that Carol was still broke didn’t hold her back.

Instead she asked a professional photographer to work for free in exchange for getting in on the ground floor of her dream. He said yes.

Next she convinced a local printer to wait 90 days for payment.

Soon the cards were selling in gift stores across Oregon and Washington.

Six months later she’d sold a million cards.

Zelda Wisdom is now a global brand worth over $50 million in cards and merchandise including clothing, home goods, cell phone covers, jewelry, and much more.

Carol and Zelda have appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Martha Stewart, and dozens of other national and regional media.

There are seven Zelda books in print and Carol penned a re-imagined fairy tale called Princess Zelda and the Frog.

She’s also a motivational speaker whose signature talk, “How to Go from Underdog to Top Dog (Without Barking Up the Wrong Tree)” inspires audiences to follow their own dreams.

Carol is also a believer in giving back.

Zelda went on to represent the Zelda/American Humane Association Children’s Hospital Project as part of a co-initiative to train and certify rescue dogs to provide animal-assisted therapy in children’s hospitals and give the dogs a chance at adoption.

Are you inspired? I am!

Most media coverage of Carol and Zelda describes the process much as you just read.

A divorced, depressed, in-debt woman turns her adorable English bulldog into a line of greeting cards.

Six months later she’d sold a million cards and Zelda Wisdom, Inc. would go on to become a $50 million international empire.

The Story Behind the Story

Make no mistake about it: Carol Gardner and Zelda Wisdom Inc. IS a story of rapid, massive success.

But the real – and rarely reported story – is what transpired in those critical six months from the cards coming off the printing press and into the hands of a million happy buyers.

It’s a story that’s important to tell because most people have wildly unrealistic notions about what it takes to grow a business. As a result, they give up way too soon.

As importantly, how Carol went about going from idea to such mega-success in such a short time offers valuable lessons for you.

Lessons that, like Zelda says, can help you, “Think outside your cage”!

Zelda cage

For starters, Carol drew from the many years she’d spent working as a creative director in advertising – a job that gave her plenty of experience designing ads and writing one-liners for clients.

That’s also where she met and worked with a gifted photographer named Shane Young and a seasoned public relations professional named Sandi Serling.

Pros Carol would later tap to help launch the card company in exchange for getting in on the ground floor.

I learned too that a few years earlier Carol had written a book called Bumper Sticker Wisdom in which she documented the one-liner form of messaging and interviewed the people who sported them.

Sales were underwhelming.

But Carol says the experience taught her a lot about the publishing industry.

More importantly, that book helped Carol to connect the dots between…

Her previous skills and experience writing one-liners

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Wisdom gained living through her recent tough times

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Winning a holiday card contest

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The healing love of a pup named Zelda

Idea in hand, Carol’s success began with a combination of sound business start-up practices, a willingness to shoot high, and to go all in.

She did things like write a business plan that included the lofty but clearly possible goal of being licensed by Hallmark.

She researched the industry looking for untapped angles… like creating a line of cards around a single living dog with a name and a personality, photographing on a white background, and making blank cards – all things that were not being done at the time.

And she had enough faith in her idea, her team, and herself to tap the last remaining $40,000 available on her credit card to launch the business.

Time to Get Very, Very Busy

 

Zelda ducks

Right after Halloween Carol bought 24 costumes on sale and then proceeded to photograph “around the clock.”

Cards in hand, they decided to roll the line out locally to both test the concept and presumably to generate enough sales to pay their printer.

Personally shopping cards around to hundreds of gift stores in Oregon and Washington would be tremendously time-consuming

Besides, hiring a rep would take a big bite out of a small budget.

Instead they wisely put Sandi’s PR skills and connections to work ultimately creating so much buzz in local newspapers and TV (who doesn’t love an adorable dog prancing around in a bikini) that gift stores began contacting them to place orders!

Cards were flying off the shelves.

The local test met with such success in such a short period of time that the team knew they had to take a giant leap of faith.

So they rented a pricey booth at the National Stationary Show in New York City where Zelda Wisdom would be one of fifteen-hundred small greeting card companies vying for the attention of major licensing companies.

So they came up with three ways to stand out and thus maximize their investment.

First, ahead of the show they sent a press kit to the top licensing company.

They also further splurged on a full-page ad in the show catalog (something unheard of for a small company).

With this attention-grabbing picture you can see why that ad investment paid off!

zelda why bee normal

Once at their booth they ran a continuous video feed of funny clips of Zelda on local television.

The six months of hard work, creativity, willingness to risk investing in their dream even while broke, and massive hustle paid off.

The top licensing group signed them and within a few years Zelda’s Wisdom was Hallmark’s number one-selling greeting card line.

Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life

Every day you have the choice to act on your idea or your gift or to use that time in front of the TV or on social media.

At every step of the journey, Carol said yes to her dream and then took rapid, consistent action.

She began by researching and planning.

Then she reached out to people she knew, liked and trusted, and invited them to join her dream. She also had the guts to ask the printer to work on credit.

Had anyone of them declined, I have no doubt Carol would have kept asking until she found people who would said yes.

You might say Carol’s advertising experience gave her a huge advantage. And you’d be right.

However, I’ve had scores of clients with backgrounds and connections they could have easily tapped in the service of their own dream, but failed to do so.

Experience does of course help, but it’s just one of many ways to gain the confidence to pursue a dream.

Besides, the world is full of stories of complete novices with zero experience or connections who started from scratch and figured stuff out on their own.

I’m one.

If they (or I!) can do it, then my friend, so can you.
Zelda leapMichelangelo wrote, “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.

Every day you’re presented with an opportunity to shoot high or shoot low.

Right from the start Carol thought big by setting her sights on Hallmark –then she backed up her dream with equally bold actions.

Media coverage is one of the best ways to jumpstart a business.

Luckily, anyone can learn how to creatively tap the power of local or even national media.

The problem is most people either assume it won’t work (I know from ample personal experience that you have a far better shot than you think) or are just too lazy or scared to even try.

There is no “secret” to success. Fundamentally it comes down to the one thing available to all of us – and that’s effort.

Something Carol herself understands all too well.

In an interview on Moneypants.com, Carol was asked where money comes from. I loved her response.

Unless you win the lottery or are born with money, hard work is the best source. Following my divorce, my ex-husband’s accountant put his arm around me and told me he hoped I might find a wealthy husband. That was probably the most insulting AND most motivating thing anyone has ever said to me. The good news was that it made me mad enough to go out, work hard, and succeed.

Join the Changing Course Community

If you had to pick just one take away from Carol’s story what would it be?

How will you use it to advance your own path to self-bossing?

Share below!

Then stay tuned for Cool Biz IDEA #5 in our series Make Your Own Make Your Own Cool Job!

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