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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!

from old iphone 11 27 2011 377

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

+

Winning a holiday card contest

+

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!

Don’t Want to Wait?

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

 


Check Out IDEA #3 in our NEW series Make Your Own Cool Job!

Does the idea of spending the rest of your life sitting in an office all day feel like dying a slow death?

Are you the outdoorsy type?

Or maybe just have a keen passion for the environment?

If you — or someone you know, said yes to any of these questions…

Or if you just want to hone your Business Idea Generation (B.I.G.) skills… you’ll love this next idea in our series…

In a quest toward more environmentally-friendly and natural solutions to lawn care and clearing unwanted vegetation, over the past decade a number of goat rental services have emerged.

Three young goats standing on a green meadow and looking to a ca

Goats will eat nearly any plant, including thistles, brambles and poison ivy. Like cows, goats are ruminants – meaning they have four stomachs.

Which helps explain why Tammy Dunakin named her Seattle-area company Rent-A-Ruminant.

In addition to the usual residential gigs, Tammy’s herd of 120 goats has cleaned up areas underneath urban highways, along railroad tracks, and submarine bases.

Prior to turning them loose on a location, Tammy surveys the area to be cleared and puts up an electric fence to keep them corralled.

In addition to property owners, Tammy has wisely gone after local and state government contracts.

Running the Numbers

Rent-A-Ruminant charges $750 a day for an average assignment with a three-day minimum and a set-up fee/transportation charge of $350 to $500.

calculator

If you do the math, it looks like her goats need to work 93 days a year to gross six figures.

Interested in launching your own goat rental business?

Tammy is ramping up to sell franchise opportunities.

And get this – she’s working with Amazon as part of a beta trial for their new Home Services campaign! (Who says the “little guy” can’t play with the Big Kids?!)

Do It Your Way

Of course Rent-A-Ruminant isn’t the only goat game in town. Nor is it the only business model.

Obviously, not everyone has the space to keep goats. So, find another way!

That’s what Go Green Goat did.

Their business is run out of Duxbury, Massachusetts. But their goats live 20 minutes away at Colchester Farm in nearby Plympton – described as a beautiful 8-acre organic CSA farm run by New England Village with a mission of enabling adults living with intellectual disabilities to live with dignity and work at meaningful employment.

And unlike Tammy who stays with her herd during the day, Go Goat customers receive instructions on how to feed and water the goats themselves.

When my own neighbors needed some land cleared they brought in The Goat Girls.

Black Goat Isolated On White

In addition to brush clearing, the Amherst, Massachusetts company also offers on-site training classes for current or curious goat owners.

And unlike Tammy who is emphatic that she is not in the kids’ party business, The Goat Girls are all too happy to tap an additional income stream when they see one!

Next Steps For This — And All — Ideas

Have you noticed how when it comes to acting on our dream that the brains of otherwise intelligent, capable people suddenly turn to mush?

All the more so if you tend to become easily overwhelmed by lots of steps.

Here’s an exercise to “trick” the part of you that’s overwhelmed or afraid or just not sure where to begin.

Imagine your boss tells you to come up with a step-by-step plan for how an individual could start a goat grazing business.

Oh, and your boss needs your report ASAP!

Your first response might be, “OMG, I have no idea what to do!”

Yet, even with any initial brain fog or self-doubt (or both), the fact that your boss needs a plan, you’d figure it out to do it.

Am I right?

That’s when it can help to pretend you really were given this assignment and then figure it out!

To start:

  1. List all the things you’ll need to find out in order to complete your plan. Things like:

– the going price of a goat and where to find them

– what it costs to care for goats

– local ordinances for keeping goats

-local farms where you might board your goats

  1. Make a plan for how you’ll get these answers – will you look online? Start making phone calls?
  1. Next, list all things someone would need to learn or understand or do well in order to succeed in this business:

– basic bookkeeping

– customer service

– marketing

  1. Then make a plan for how someone could gain the required knowledge or skills.

– Take a class or seek free 1-1 counseling from your state’s State Business Development Center or comparable program in the province or country where you live.

– Check in to a Rent-a-Ruminant franchise.

– Read Raising Goats for Dummies (yes there is an actual book!) or check out their cheat sheet.

  1. Once you have all the information you need, list the steps in the order they need to be to.Hint: You don’t have to do everything all at once!

Turning ideas into action isn’t complicated. All you need is a plan and the effort to carry it out!

Stay tuned for Self-Bossing IDEA #4 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 career session!

We’d Love to Hear from You!

If you had to pick just one take away from this story…

  1. What would it be?
  2. How will you use it to advance your own path to self-bossing?

 


Check Out IDEA #2 in our NEW series Make Your Own Cool Job!

Are you happiest when you’re in a kitchen?

Do you dream of having a little shop where the regulars know you by name?

Even if your interests lie elsewhere… do you still love discovering ways to work and live outside the job box?

If so then you’ll love IDEA #2 in our NEW series Make Your Own Cool Job!

Maura Glennon didn’t set out to be her own boss.

To the contrary. For the last 15 years she’s been a music professor at Keene State College.

Somewhere along the line – or the highway as the case may be – Maura got restless.

On her daily two-hour round trip commute from her home in Florence, Massachusetts to her job in New Hampshire, Maura would dream of opening her own little pie shop.

When an old general store-turned barbershop closed down, Maura saw her chance and she grabbed it.

Today she and her husband Justin (also a professor) are the proud owners of the super quaint Florence Pie Bar.

Pie 4

pie shop 1

pie shop 3

Being close to home suits Maura’s new non-commuter lifestyle.

Even though running a brick-and-mortar operation isn’t the most family-friendly business model, the mother of two boys told a local reporter, “My son can ride his bike to the store after school and help out with the dishes, do his homework here.”

Opening any retail enterprise is a gamble. Fortunately, right out of the gate the Florence Pie Bar was turning out 75 pies a day.

But with prices starting at $4.75 a slice… once you do the math you’ll see, that’s a lot of dough!

My 84-year-old dad L-O-V-E-S pie.

So I decided to surprise him with a treat. (I couldn’t decide between the lemon chess and the chocolate malted — so I picked both for him.)

If my dad’s expert- taste test is any confirmation, this pie is worth the price!

Find Your Niche

On the opposite side of the country in Portland, Oregon is the Pacific Pie Company.

Chris Powell and Sarah Curtis, also a husband-and-wife team, came at the pie business from a very different angle.

Chris missed the savory meat pies he grew up with in his native Australia, so Sarah experimented with making them.

Apparently she got the hang of it because today, in addition to fabulous sounding breakfast and lunch fare, their restaurant specializes in Australian-style savory meat pies.

Aussie Meat Pie

They also offer other Australian pub favorites like chicken schnitzel and something called pie floaters described as, “a crazy but delicious Aussie dish” that consists of “your choice of meat pie or vegetarian pastie floating in a big bowl of our house made pea soup.”

Like many other foodie entrepreneurs, Sarah and Chris started out small by selling at farmer’s markets. Today they have two locations.

Something else that stood out to me about the Pacific Pie Company was the great use of video – unusual for a restaurant.

Instead of just telling their site visitors that they do catering, they actually show the kitchen crew prepping for a big event.

In another video, Sarah shares the history of meat pies explains how wives of British miners used to make them from meat, potatoes and other leftovers so their husbands could easily pack lunch to eat in the mine.

Teach What You Love

Sarah also teaches a class called Pie Making 101.  The three-hour class costs $100 and is limited to six people. 

Again, if you don’t have your calculator out yet…you should!

calculator

At the current twice-a-month schedule, Sarah will profit from her passion for baking and teaching to the tune of $14,400 a year!

Turns out back at the Florence Pie Bar, Maura also plans to offer evening classes.

I found this out after Maura’s husband Justin said he was surprised at the brisk sales of their branded mugs and T-shirts (seen here above glass case).

pie shop 2

Create Additional Streams of Income

That’s when a light bulb went off.

Hearing about these other product sales prompted me to tell Justin about Self-Bossing IDEA #1 in our Make Your Own Cool Job!

If you missed it, I profiled a company that’s already sold over 300,000 high-fashion aprons.

And I told you how, for as little as $200, you can apply to buy these aprons wholesale and sell them for as much $49 each.

Justin loved the idea that aprons (these or their own branded ones) could be a great product to sell to pie baking students!

Literally a day after posting about how these aprons would be a great addition to a local food shop I happened to find the PERFECT place to profit from this idea!

That’s why it’s so important that you keep learning about different business ideas.

You never know when that idea might help you… or someone who shares your passion for working and living outside the j-o-b box!

Next Step for This–and ALL–Ideas

Have you noticed how when it comes to acting on our dream that the brains of otherwise intelligent, capable people suddenly turn to mush?

All the more so if you tend to become easily overwhelmed by lots of steps.

Here’s an exercise to “trick” the part of you that’s overwhelmed or afraid or just not sure where to begin.

Imagine your boss tells you to come up with a step-by-step plan for how an individual could make money selling pies.

Oh, and your boss needs your report ASAP!

Your first response might be, “OMG, I have no idea what to do!”

Yet, even with any initial brain fog or self-doubt (or both), the fact that your boss needs a plan, you’d figure it out to do it.

Am I right?

That’s when it can help to pretend you really were given this assignment and then figure it out!

To start:

  1. List all the things you’ll need to find out in order to complete your plan. Things like:

– wholesale price of Flirty Aprons in order to do sales projections

– the cost and logistics of getting a table or booth at various venues

– how to file for a state or provincial tax ID

  1. Make a plan for how you’ll get these answers – will you look online? Start making phone calls?
  1. Next, list all things someone would need to learn or understand or do well in order to succeed in this business:

– basic bookkeeping

– customer service

– marketing

  1. Then make a plan for how someone could gain the required knowledge or skills.

If you really do want to open a brick-and-mortar business, I urge you to do what Maura did and seek free 1-1 counseling from your state’s State Business Development Center or comparable program in the province or country where you live.

      Walk a local flea market, chatting with vendors about what it’s like to sell there.

  1. Once you have all the information you need, list the steps in the order they need to be to happen.  Hint: You don’t have to do everything all at once!

Turning ideas into action isn’t complicated. All you need is a plan and the effort to carry it out!

Stay tuned for Self-Bossing IDEA #3 in our series Make Your Own Make Your Own #&*!*# Job!

Don’t want to wait?

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

We’d Love to Hear from You!

If you had to pick just one take away from this story…

  1. What would it be?
  2. How will you use it to advance your own path to self-bossing?

 


Check Out IDEA #1 to Make Your Own Cool Job!

You’re all decked out for a formal party at your home. Still you need to be in the kitchen preparing food while entertaining guests.

Do you put on a frumpy apron… or don a fabulously fashionable one?

The four entrepreneurs behind Flirty Aprons banked on a lot of women going for the latter – and they were right!

Originally started as a mall kiosk business in 2009, today the company has sold over 300,000 aprons.

With bold prints, sassy styles, and over 120 designs, these are definitely not your grandmother’s aprons!

 

The aprons like in the Tessi designer collection, are so fashionable, if you sewed a back on them you could skip the cooking part altogether and just wear them out to dinner!

The company also sells colorful over-sized toddler bibs, designer oven mitts, high-end kitchen gadgets, and a men’s line with sayings like “I Turn Grills On” and “Grill Sergeant.”

So would you like to cash in on this trend in high-end aprons?

Do you have a food-related or other on- or off-line store?

Are you a fan of the booming farmer’s market scene?

If you — or someone you know – said YES to any of these questions…

Or, if you just LOVE thinking outside the job box and want to hone your Business Idea Generation (B.I.G.) skills to see cool opportunities all around you – read on because…

Opportunity knocks.

Women’s aprons generally range from $35 to $45.

But you can apply to Flirty Aprons to purchase items wholesale and pocket the difference!

The only requirement is you purchase a minimum order of $200 over a 12-month period. How hard can that be?

Obviously if you already have a retail or online store or some sort of food-related business, you can do a test sale.

Or for as little as $200 you could get enough inventory to test at a farmer’s market, flea market, cooking/garden/home show, or other public venue.

If it goes well, stick with that location or go all out and open your own mall or holiday kiosk.

Most states and provinces also have large women’s conferences that include a tradeshow. The Massachusetts Women’s Conference happens just before Christmas and the times I’ve been there, items like scarves and jewelry fly off the shelves.

Don’t want to bother purchasing inventory? Sign up as an affiliate and earn 15% on anything sold via your affiliate link.

You’ll earn less than you would as a wholesaler, but if you already have a website and traffic, it’s an easy way to make some extra money.

Or build on the success of this product by coming up with your own!

What other products could you (or someone) create that would make mundane tasks like cooking, cleaning, gardening and so on a bit more glamorous or fun?

Next Steps for This — and All — Ideas

Have you noticed how when it comes to acting on our dream that the brains of otherwise intelligent, capable people suddenly turn to mush?

All the more so if you tend to become easily overwhelmed by lots of steps.

Here’s an exercise to “trick” the part of you that’s overwhelmed or afraid or just not sure where to begin.

Imagine your boss tells you to come up with a step-by-step plan for how an individual could make money re-selling Flirty Aprons.

Oh, and your boss needs your report ASAP!

Your first response might be, “OMG, I have no idea what to do!”

Yet, even with any initial brain fog or self-doubt (or both), the fact that your boss needs a plan, you’d figure it out to do it.

Am I right?

That’s when it can help to pretend you really were given this assignment and then figure it out!

To start:

  1. List all the things you’ll need to find out in order to complete your plan. Things like:

– wholesale price of Flirty Aprons in order to do sales projections

– the cost and logistics of getting a table or booth at various venues

– how to file for a state or provincial tax ID

  1. Make a plan for how you’ll get these answers – will you look online? Start making phone calls?
  1. Next, list all things someone would need to learn or understand or do well in order to succeed in this business:

– basic bookkeeping

– customer service

– marketing

  1. Then make a plan for how someone could gain the required knowledge or skills.

For instance, take a class or seek 1-1 counseling from your state’s Small Business Development Center or comparable program wherever you live.

Walk a local flea market, chatting with vendors about what it’s like to sell there.

  1. Once you have all the information you need, list the steps in the order they need to be to happen.

Hint: You don’t have to do everything all at once!

Turning ideas into action isn’t complicated. All you need is a plan and the effort to carry it out!

Stay tuned for Self-Bossing IDEA #2 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 career session!

We’d Love to Hear from You!

If you had to pick just one take away from this story…

  1. What would it be?
  2. How will you use it to advance your own path to self-bossing?

 


Dilbert Creator Scott Adams Totally Blew Me Off (And I Have His Email to Prove It!)

I remember it like it was yesterday.

On July 14, 1999 I cranked up my dial-up connection to get onto the World Wide Web, excited to hear the now iconic AOL greeting, “You’ve got mail!”

To my amazement I’d received personal response from Scott Adams –creator of the enormously successful syndicated cartoon Dilbert.

In the early ‘90s, headlines were filled with stunning news that corporate giants like AT&T and IBM were laying off workers by the tens of thousands.

Perfect timing for Adams to step in and lampoon the sometimes crazy world of performance reviews, near constant re-organizations, and in his words, “evil pointy-haired” bosses.

It’s also what made 1995 the perfect time to launch the Changing Course newsletter.

I was doing what I loved and some money was following. But not enough to completely break me out of job jail.

If there were some way I could build on the Dilbert brand, I knew it would put Changing Course on the map in a BIG way.

So after reading an article about Adams in Newsweek I reached out to explore the possibilities.

To put it bluntly – he blew me off.

scott adams

I was CRUSHED!

But the line that stuck with me most was the last one…

“You don’t need me anyway.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes! Was he out of his mind?

OF COURSE I NEEDED HIM!

It took a while (okay, years…) but I finally realized Adams was right.

I already had the drive and vision I needed to make my business work.

And so do you.

The fact is, with most ventures you really don’t “need” anyone to endorse you, sponsor you, partner with you, or even believe in you.

However, there are important exceptions.

One of these exceptions takes us right back to Adams’ and my own roots in the corporate world.

There are some things that would take you and me years – if ever – to learn.

Times where we really do need a knowledgeable mentor to show us the way.

For you, that teacher just might be my friend and former corporate executive turned self-bosser Belinda Pruyne.

Belinda

When Belinda first hung up her shingle as a business and leadership coach she tried to put as much distance between herself and the corporate world as possible.

Then one day she had her Big AHA…

There’s still plenty of money to be made in corporate – and you don’t need to be an employee to do it.

Instead, Belinda realized that for a lot of people, turning a large organization into your biggest customer or client can be the absolute best way to truly profit from your passion.

Last week I introduced you to a number of non-corporate types who landed corporate contracts.

Contracts that allow them to both serve more people and make more money doing it – without compromising their values.

Like the photographer who loves photographing babies but couldn’t get enough babies in the pipeline to make it sustainable.

Photographer at work with newborn baby boy

He never knew where his next client was going to come from.

He’s now the photographer for the maternity ward at a huge hospital in New York City. So he’s there to capture all the moments surrounding many of the births in that hospital.

Or the health coach who was tired of trying to convince individuals to sign up as clients who didn’t always understand the value she provided.

Then she noticed that one of her friends from the C-suite in a big company was stressed beyond belief, exhausted, and wasn’t eating well. It gave her an idea…Employee Benefits placard isolated on white

Today, she has contracts with big corporations where she goes in, assesses all the employees in the C-suite, and develops a meal plan for the company chef.

If the company doesn’t have a chef, she creates individual meal plans and sits down with each executive’s assistant to help them support their boss.

She’s just returned from Paris doing this for a company. Before that, she was in Singapore.

Pretty cool right?!

If these people can earn $25k… $50k… $75k… from a single corporate client – then you can find a way to turn your own gifts and interests into a compelling win-win.

Like I said, my newsletter business was pretty straightforward; so I really didn’t need Scott Adams’ – or anyone’s — help.

But when it comes to knowing what it takes to sign a corporate client, you will need someone to show you the way.

That’s why I’m so excited that Belinda has agreed to put on this free online presentation called….

BIG Corporate Connections. BIG Contracts. BIG Cash

3 keys to snag BIG corporate gigs with the matching paychecks
(Even if you don’t know the first thing about the corporate world)
Tuesday, March 22nd at 1pm EST US

If you missed my announcement last week, there’s still time to jump in.

Click here to register BigCorporateConnections.info

In this powerful 1-hour presentation, you’ll learn…

  • How to turn YOUR expertise & services into compelling offers for corporations – without having to twist yourself or conform your beliefs to “fit in.”
  • The #1 secret to “get past the gatekeeper”. (Belinda has a brilliant example of how one outside vendor got past her own secretary back when she used to be the one hiring outside vendors.)
  • How to get decision makers to pay attention and take you seriouslyeven if you have no experience working in corporate yourself!
  • The BIGGEST thing you need to know about corporate decision makers BEFORE you try to connect.

… And more!

Go It Alone or Get Help?

For many of you, getting the answers to these three key questions will be all you need to hit the ground running.

Others will need more guidance.

Looking back, I so appreciate Scott Adams taking time out of his busy schedule to so nicely blow me off.

But what I really appreciate is the reminder that I didn’t need Dilbert to make my newsletter a success.

However, when it comes to corporate contracts, you definitely do want a seasoned corporate insider to at least take you through the basics.

If you’re curious to see how partnering with a large organization might help you profit from your passion in a BIG way – you do not want to miss Belinda’s free presentation Tuesday March 22 (tomorrow) at 1PM EST.

It costs nothing to attend, but you do need to register at BigCorporateConnections.info.


Want to Really Profit from Your Passion? Try This Unconventional Path

Whether you’re in business already – or you’re still trying to figure out how to profit from your passion – the key to making it remains the same:

You have to find people willing to pay you for your product or service.

In other words – you need customers or clients. That’s the obvious part.

Precisely because it IS so obvious, a lot of people make the mistake of thinking in terms of only the most obvious customer or client.

That’s a huge mistake. Because…

If You Really Want to Profit From Your Passion, You Have To Go Beyond The Most Obvious Client or Customer

Let’s look at how taking an unconventional path enabled these three people to profit from their passions.

A photographer who loves photographing babies but couldn’t get enough babies in the pipeline to make it sustainable.

Photographer at work with newborn baby boy

He never knew where his next client was going to come from.

He’s now the photographer for the maternity ward at a huge hospital in New York City. So he’s there to capture all the moments surrounding many of the births in that hospital.

It’s a win for the hospital because it gives expecting parents yet another reason to have their babies with them as opposed to a different hospital.

And he gets more work coming in than he could possibly drum up for himself.

Another great example…

A health coach who was tired of trying to convince individuals to sign up as clients who didn’t always understand the value she provided.

Then she noticed that one of her friends from the C-suite in a big company was stressed beyond belief, exhausted, and wasn’t eating well. It gave her an idea…

Employee Benefits placard isolated on white

Today, she has contracts with big corporations where she goes in, assesses all the employees in the C-suite, and develops a meal plan for the company chef.

If the company doesn’t have a chef, she creates individual meal plans and sits down with each executive’s assistant to help them support their boss.

She’s just returned from Paris doing this for a company. Before that, she was in Singapore.

Yet another example…

A LinkedIn expert who works with people on optimizing their profiles and upping their visibility.

One day, she realized that companies are now doing LinkedIn pages.

But there was a big disconnect between what the company put out versus what their C-suite executives put on their own profiles.

Ostersund, Sweden - August 1, 2015: Linkedin website under a magnifying glass. Linkedin is a business oriented social networking website.

Now, she goes into a company and handles its page, along with all the profiles of its C-level execs. So the company representation is consistent across the board.

In other words, what if you expanded your thinking from selling strictly business to consumer, and explored ways to sell business to business – aka “B2B.”

If you have no idea how to get a corporate contract – or maybe, you see corporations the same way I once did… as big huge mysterious places totally outside of your realm of experience or comfort zone – don’t worry.

Anyone Can Land a Big Contract – IF You Know How

According to Inc. magazine, companies spent 2 trillion dollars last year on outside vendors.

All you have to do to get a piece of these contracts is to package your services and expertise (the exact services and expertise you already have) in a way that shows a corporate decision maker that YOU have their solution.

Don’t worry if you have no clue how to do that.

Because in just a few days, my friend and colleague Belinda Pruyne is going to peel back the curtains and explain all of the above during a free online presentation…Belinda

BIG Corporate Connections. BIG Contracts. BIG Cash

3 Keys to Snag BIG Corporate Gigs With The Matching Paychecks
(Even if you don’t know the first thing about the corporate world)
Tuesday, March 22nd at 1 PM EST US
Go to BigCorporateConnections.info now to save your free spot.

Before she took the leap to self-employment, Belinda spent years as a corporate executive herself.

So she knows first-hand that when you’re pursuing BIG (or any!) corporate contracts – there’s 3 things you absolutely need to know…

#1 What you can offer corporate that they’re willing to pay for

Trust me – you DO have something they want. You just have to find it + know how to package it.

#2 The RIGHT way to “get past the gatekeeper”

Doing this the wrong way can ruin your chances of ever getting through to the decision maker.

#3 How to speak with decision makers in a way that’s relevant to them

Anyone can learn how to do this, even if you’ve never worked in corporate yourself and “don’t speak the language.”

Register for this free webinar at BigCorporateConnections.info

Because in this powerful 1-hour event, Belinda is going to show you…

  • How to turn YOUR expertise & services into compelling offers for corporationswithout having to twist yourself or conform your beliefs to “fit in.”
  • The #1 secret to “get past the gatekeeper.” (Belinda has a brilliant example of how one outside vendor actually got past her own secretary back when Belinda used to hire outside vendors for her company.)
  • How to get decision makers to pay attention + take you seriouslyeven if you have no experience working in corporate yourself!
  • The BIGGEST thing you need to know about corporate decision makers BEFORE you try to connect.

… And more!

Ready to get some of Belinda’s insider secrets on landing BIG corporate contracts?

Go to BigCorporateConnections.info to reserve your seat for Belinda’s online presentation Tuesday, March 22nd at 1 PM EST.

And see for yourself how landing a single corporate contract could change everything.

P.S. Belinda used to be one of the corporate decision makers who hired outside help.

But now she’s a small business owner that lands corporate contracts of her own.

Because she’s been on both sides of the fence Belinda has a unique advantage when it comes to helping other small business owners and service providers do it too.

If you’re at all curious about the world of corporate contracts, I highly recommend you listen in to what Belinda has to say next Tuesday, March 22nd at 1 PM EST.

RSVP at BigCorporateConnections.info now.


What the Lobster Man Can Teach You About Changing Course

In the 16th century Francis Bacon defined a wise man as one who “makes more opportunities than he finds.”

He could have been describing Dan Zawacki… aka the lobster man.

photo of a whole red lobster isolated on white background

The Chicago-based sales rep for Honeywell was tired of the same old holiday gift ideas for customers.

So he came up with the idea of giving each one a live lobster along with a stick of butter.

But Dan had a lot of customers and lobster is pricey. So he arranged a barter with a lobster fisherman in Maine.

When the lobsters arrived, he added a stick of butter and personally delivered boxes to his customer.

Dan was so bowled over by the response that he decided to open a small side business shipping live lobsters complete with pot, crackers, butter and bibs to crustacean-lovers coast-to-coast.

In the beginning, Dan worked out of his bedroom, storing his lobsters in a used tank in his father’s garage.

The first year he netted only $4,000.

Then one day his boss heard Dan pitching Lobster Gram, Inc. on a local radio station and promptly fired him.

I first wrote about Dan back in 1997. At that point he was a decade into his business and doing well.

Fast forward another decade and a half and Dan is doing very well!

In 2006 Lobster Gram opened an 18,000 square foot distribution center in Biddeford, Maine.

Five years later they opened a store in Chicagoland to serve the local lobster, steak and seafood lover market.

Closeup of delicious grilled lobster tails served with asparagus and bearnaise sauce

His company counts Macy Gray, Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman among their famous clientele. Fans who likely heard about Lobster Gram the same way I did – in the media.

The company has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC as well as in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Oprah’s “O” magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Readers Digest, TIME, Men’s Health, USA Today, and many more.

But it was a chance encounter with QVC buyers in New York that put Lobster Gram into the national spotlight in a big way. Today they’re one of QVC’s hottest products airing some 60-70 times a year.

The last sales numbers I could find were from 2007. At that point Lobster Gram’s revenue was a cool $12 million.

Maybe you’re not looking to make millions.

But if you want to create a livelihood that allows you to live and work on your own terms, then Dan’s example has much to teach you.

7 Immediately Usable Lessons from the Lobster Man

1. Pay attention

Creative ways to make money are all around you. Click To Tweet

Most people just aren’t paying enough attention to even notice them.

Dan saw his Honeywell customers’ reaction to their unique gift as the opportunity it was.

What About You?

Are you consistently paying attention to income generating opportunities.

If not, make a list right now of the kinds of things people around you — friends, family, co-workers — complain about, worry about, or get excited about?

Once you find a good example, ask yourself how could someone (it doesn’t have to be you) turn that into a small profit center or a full-scale small business?

Blueprint of bulb lamp. Stylized vector illustration.

2. Keep your current job — or get a new one

Seeing an opportunity is one thing – acting on it is quite another. The question of course, is… Click To Tweet

Realistically, most people can’t afford to just quit their job to start a business. Which is why Dan kept his day job until he was forced out.

If you also need that paycheck take my friend Suzanne Evan’s suggestion and think of your job as your business loan.

Note: If you log 50+ hours a week, waste hours on a long commute, or work in a toxic environment, before you launch any business, you may need to first turn your attention to finding a new “business loan.”

What About You?

Is your goal of a better future worth toughing it out for a while at your j-o-b aka your “business loan”?

If your current situation allows no time to work on your business are you willing to look for a new job even if it means a reduction in pay?

3. Bootstrap

Just because he had a good sales job doesn’t mean Dan spent a bunch of money on his business right out of the gate.

Instead, he worked with what he had using his bedroom as his office and his dad’s garage as his warehouse.

He bought his initial lobster tank used.

And remember, he bartered for those initial gift lobsters!

What About You?

Are there things like office equipment, inventory, how-to books you can buy used?

Is there garden, studio, office or other space you can barter for? What about services like web design, proof-reading, or copy writing?

4. Treat your profit center like a business

From the beginning Dan regarded Lobster Gram as a business.

After all, look at all the media coverage he got.

People who see their passion or their idea as a business do things like create a PR plan. For Dan that didn’t mean hiring a pricey PR agency.

Instead, I’m guessing Dan did the same thing I did initially to get my own business into these and many more publications in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Brazil…

2013 media

He sent press releases and followed up with phone calls.

If you currently have a small or even a side business, start small by pitching to local daily, monthly, or even monthly publications. Check out local radio too.

The great thing about PR is once you get that initial press, reporters, freelancers, and producers start coming to you.

In the last two weeks alone I was interviewed by Redbook and  interviewed as part of a 30 minute BBC documentary.

But none of these things would have happened for Dan or me if we hadn’t treated our profit center like our business and not our hobby.

What About You?

If you already have a small business — or even a solid idea for one — have you thought about, never mind, done a business, PR, and marketing plan?

What would you do differently if you treated your work as a serious business rather than a hobby?

5. Be realistic about the money

Dan didn’t expect his business to replace his salary right away.

To the contrary, the fact that he made any money served as proof of concept. Proof that had to soften the blow when Dan was fired.

moneyAfter all, if he could make $4,000 working his business part-time then he could make a lot more by going at it full-time.

It took me a decade to replace my corporate salary. Looking back there are things I could have done to earn get there quicker. (Like this next lesson.)

But still, like Dan, I didn’t start my business expecting to replace my corporate salary after just a year or two… and neither should you.

What About You?

Would you keep going if your business only brought in a few thousand the first year seeing it as a sign that you’re on the right track?

What about the second – or the fifth year? If yes, have you determined the threshold you need to hit before you quit your j-o-b to grow the business full time?

6. Hustle then hire

Dan started Lobster Gram while still employed at his job-job.

It’s not easy running a business nights and weekends. (Trust me I know!)

But Dan wanted to make a go of selling lobster tails, so he was willing to work his own tail off to make it happen.

Like most small business owners, Dan started out as a one-man show.

It was only once Lobster Gram got too big to handle that he brought on employees.

You’re not going to afford to hire help right away. It took me ten years before I felt comfortable enough to bring Lisa on – and even that was scary.

Looking back, I wish I’d done it a lot sooner.

What About You?

Even if you don’t want to manage people, can you outsource things like bookkeeping, website upkeep, and/or administrative tasks?

(To be clear, if you imagine outsourcing to mean hiring other people so you just pop your head in now and then to check on things – review all of the above.)

7. Do the thing that scares you

In an interview Dan said he really nervous on his first live QVC show.

Being on live TV in front of millions of viewers would make anyone nervous.

Dan went on TV anyway.

Maybe it was the fact that he made 600 sales in six minutes… but after that Dan said he “got the TV bug.”

If you’re scared to put your work out to potential clients or customers or are afraid of rejection or public speaking, all I can say is…

Join the club.

Everyone has fears and insecurities – no matter how experienced.

Comic high angle portrait of a middle-aged businessman with a scared fearful expression raising his fists to his face as though beseeching help, isolated on white

I’ve been speaking on the topic of confidence for 30 years.

But in a few weeks I’ll be giving a talk to 300 people at a Silicon Valley networking event being held at Apple headquarters. (If you’re in the area, this is one of rare talks that’s open to the public!)

Am I nervous? It’s freakin’ Apple – so you bet I am!

But I also know that the solution is not to wait until you’re no longer afraid.

Instead you need to act despite your fear, prepare like heck, and know that even if you fall flat on your face you’ll at least have information you need to regroup, adjust, improve or tweak… and then try again.

(If lack of confidence is among your top 3 challenges, you may like to know I’m working on a new program called 5 Weeks to Confidence. Stay tuned for details.)

What About You?

In what ways does self-doubt hold you back?

Instead of asking ‘What would I do if money were no object?’ ask, ‘What would I do if confidence were not a factor?’

The Bottom Line

All business owners experience setbacks and made missteps along the way.

There are moments of uncertainty or self-doubt… times when sales slow and money is tight. It happens.

At the same time, going from having a boss to being your own boss is a lot less complicated then people make it out to be.

Fundamentally, changing course comes down to the 7 simple things Dan did.

If Dan can do it, so can you.


Super Simple Ways to Test Your Idea

You have a great idea for a small business. Or for a workshop or a book or a website.

Now what?

Contrary to what you might think, the next step isn’t to dive into the deep end of the pool.

After all, there’s a reason why I named my business ChangingCourse.com and not Jump-Off-a-Cliff.com.

Fear aside, jumping in without adequate information is just… well… dumb.

Especially when there are simple ways to test the waters. Here are four ways to do just that.

Do small product tests

Sometimes the thing you need to test is the idea itself.

Which is exactly what cycling enthusiast Robin Bylenga did – to great success.

When the single mother of three was laid off from her job at L’Oreal she took a job at a local bike shop.

It was there Robin got the idea to create a bike shopping experience aimed at the female market.

To test the concept, she bought $5oo of women’s biking apparel to sell at a local race.

When she turned that into $1,500 in sales Robin knew she was on to something.

Closeup of three bright colored city urban woman bikes tires row outdoors in the park

Today Robin is the owner of Pedal Chic with stores in Nashville, Tennessee and Greenville, South Carolina.

The same advice applies in other markets. For instance, want to go into import export?

Experienced importers will tell you not to invest in a cargo container full of inventory before you know how it will sell.

Instead return home with just enough to fill a couple of suitcases to test both products and price.

Take advantage of free market research

Even when you know a specific business is viable, you still need to test it in the marketplace.

And you can do it without spending a dime.

For example, in the late 70s I launched a line of humorous greeting cards.

In addition to selling locally, I got them into bookstores in New York City, San Francisco, Hartford, Conn., and Provincetown, Mass.

But before I invested thousands in printing, I created a feedback form and had friends rank each idea on a scale of 1-5.

Awesome added on top of a customer evaluation form with red pen ** Note: Shallow depth of field

Even if someone loved a given card, I always asked the question: How can I make it even better?

Social media didn’t exist back then. Today you can easily poll your Facebook pals.

You don’t have scores of available friends on or off-line to get free input. I do it all the time!

Say you want to run workshops or write a book…

Or you’re can’t decide on a domain name.

Just do what I do and turn to the person sitting next to you on a plane, train, bus, café – wherever – and ask them.

When I do this, it sounds like this:

Excuse me, can I get a quick opinion on something?

(Who doesn’t want to give their opinion! Especially when it’s quick!)

If you saw these three headlines/book titles/business names on a magazine cover or online – which would you pick/click on?

If a majority of people choose one over the other – go with it.

Work for someone else in a similar business

You could start a sports camp or launch a clothing line and figure it out as you go.

Or you could first get a job working at a sports camp or for a clothing designer.

Working in a similar business offers an invaluable insiders perspective.

Best of all, if you do decide to go out on your own, you just got paid to learn!

That’s what long time Changing Course reader Kristi Kelley did.

Here’s how Kristi says working for someone else rapidly accelerated her entrepreneurial journey:

In 2013 I quit my corporate job and went to work for a local, very well respected floral and events company here in Dallas.

I started as a contract employee helping on a “as needed” basis in their wedding and events department.

After about 3 months, I got accepted into their floral design apprentice program which was supposed to last 12 weeks.

Then after 7 weeks they said I was ready and sent me to their retail shop as a designer there.

I worked at the shop for about 9 months before I quit on good terms to start my own business.

Colorful flowers isolated on a white background

Kristi was not asked to sign a non-compete clause. However, depending on the business, you may be asked to do so.

Today Kristi is the proud owner of Stem and Style.

She’s working from home, already has several regular corporate clients, and Kristi says she couldn’t be happier!

Volunteer

A few years ago I had a chance encounter Steve Curwood.

Steve is the host of an engaging environmental news and information program called Living on Earth heard on over 300 Public Radio International (PRI) stations.

Lone Wolf howling in cold winter environment. ** Note: Slight blurriness, best at smaller sizes

(Right now they show is featuring fascinating research on when wolves howl.)

I immediately had the same question you should have when you meet someone doing something unique or interesting– namely:

What does it take to [fill in the blank]?

Obviously, in this case I wanted to know how a person goes about getting a show on PRI?

Steve’s advice was simple:

Before you try to pitch an idea, first volunteer at your local station to learn first-hand how public radio works.

This same advice holds true for many situations.

You may not be able to volunteer full time.

But you can find time to volunteer if even for a few days or weeks – enough to understand how things really work from the inside.

Testing out your idea helps you answer all sorts of burning questions – like:

  • Will it work?
  • Will people pay me for it — and if so, how much?
  • If it does work, will I like doing it?
  • If so, what will it take to get where I want to go?

So, what are you waiting for? Test!

Add Your Two Cents With the Changing Course Tribe

Your thoughts mean a lot to me.

More importantly, what you have to say can help inspire the other 27,000 change seekers who’ve received this article.

So, what did you just learn or re-learn?

What thoughts, ideas, or experiences on this topic can you share with your fellow change seekers?

What’s one way you can use what you just learned to help you change course?

We’d love to hear from you!


Steve Harvey Wants You to Quit Your Job – Here’s Why

BURBANK - APR 26: Steve Harvey at the 42nd Daytime Emmy Awards Gala at Warner Bros. Studio on April 26, 2015 in Burbank, California

Steve Harvey has a lot to teach the world about working at what you love.

He knows even more about what it takes to do it.

If you don’t know Steve Harvey he’s a stand up comedian, turned actor, turned radio host, turned day-time TV show host, turned author.

What you may not know is how passionate he is about inspiring people like you to follow your bliss.

Or why Harvey thinks you need to quit your j-o-b in order to do it.

Or the one thing he says you should definitely count on happening once you do.

Click on the video to hear Harvey’s inspiring and surprising advice

Now that you’re all pumped up to, in Harvey’s words, “live in your gift…” I have some really bad news for some of you.

Sadly, Most People Will Never Jump

If you watched the video then you know Harvey says that once you jump, your parachute probably won’t open.

In fact, he says you can count on getting pretty banged up and bloodied along the way.

But that’s okay… because, like Harvey says, you’ll live through it.

For Harvey, surviving the jump comes down to faith in God.

You don’t have to be religious to understand that jumping requires a certain “leap of faith.”

But getting to live your gift jumping is about something else too.

Something contained in Harvey’s own backstory.

He grew up in West Virginia, the youngest of five children. His dad was a coal miner who would later die of black lung disease.

After college Harvey tried different paths.

He sold insurance, delivered mail, cleaned carpets, even took a shot at becoming a professional boxer before finally finding his calling in comedy.

So Harvey jumped into the highly competitive world of standup comedy.

And just like he said, his parachute didn’t open.

In fact, Harvey was homeless – for a very long time.

After a divorce he was sending most of his meager nightclub earnings back home to support his two kids.

Things were so tight that when a couple of gigs fell through Harvey suddenly found himself forced to live out of his 1976 Ford Tempo.

Reflecting on that time in a 2013 People magazine interview Harvey said:

“It was so disheartening. A week is really the maximum you can do. This was three years! It was rock bottom. But even in my darkest days, I had faith it would turn around.”

And turn it around he did. But not right away.

Harvey continued to try to make it as a standup, all the while being homeless.

His big break came when he got the gig hosting Showtime at the Apollo.

LOS ANGELES - MAY 13: Steve Harvey is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on May 13, 2013 in Los Angeles, California

From there he worked in a number of films before going on to star in a show that ran on the WB network from 1996 to 2002.

Harvey still hosts the weekday-morning radio show he began in 2000.

When he’s not being the newest face of the long-running TV gameshow Family Feud – a show that’s seen a ratings surge – Harvey is busy hosting his own day-time talk show.

Along the way, he’s racked up a pair of Emmy’s and scores of NAACP awards.

And if that weren’t enough, Harvey also wrote a best-selling dating advice book for women.

Clearly the man is a multi-talented go-getter whose faith has served him well.

At the same time though, Harvey was rewarded for that faith by being willing to make the sacrifices required to live in his gift.

He did it first by putting the welfare of his children above his own.

He did it again when he doggedly pursued his calling despite homelessness… a situation he endured for three long years.

Compare Harvey’s sacrifice with that required of another man with a dream.

“Joe” tells me he hates his job, knows he has gifts and interests, but doesn’t know how to make money doing.

Joe said he really wanted to be a part of my recent weekend long Work @ What You Love virtual workshop – but he couldn’t.

The problem?

Joe lives in the west coast so he’d have to be on the webinar at 7:30am. And as he put it, “That would suck because I like to sleep in on the weekends.”

The workshop sold out and if the evaluations are any indication… lives were changed that weekend. Sadly, Joe’s life was not one of them.

You don’t need to spend a single day living out of your car.

But are you willing to get up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later to go after your dream?

Are you willing to put down the remote control and take one small step each day to take control of your life?

If not, then I suggest you do as I told Joe: Stick with your j-o-b.

What about you? Do you truly want to experience the joy of being able to “live in your gift”?

If so, then I invite you to learn from Steve Harvey’s inspiring example… and jump.

To help you make a safe landing, I created a planning guide designed to help you LOOK before you leap.

10 Steps To Escaping The Job World

It’s called the 10 Steps to Escape the Job World and Create the Life You Really Want Personal Planning Guide.

This is an invaluable resource that helps you track your dreams, identify the exact steps you need to take, and make a concrete plan for creating the kind of balanced, satisfying life (and work) you deserve.

Your 127-page Personal Planner includes all sorts of useful tools for getting your new life off the ground – a Business Plan template, a Multiple Income Stream worksheet, a worksheet outlining the 10 different places to look for support so you can put together your personal Dream Team… and much, much more…

Click here to Learn More.

 


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