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Could Doing Work You Love Be The Fountain of Youth?

Valerie Young

By Valerie Young

I always wrap up my private brainstorming sessions with the same simple question: “Was this helpful?” I’m both proud and humbled to say, 99 percent of my clients invariable answer with some version of, “YES!”

So yesterday I was more than a little surprised when a client replied, “Helpful?! My goodness, you just added 20 years to my life!”

I’m not in the fitness or health fields. My thing is to help people who want to make a living without a job figure out how they can make money doing stuff they really love to do. A more typical answer would be, “Yes, I feel excited,” or “energized” or “relieved” or “determined.” This was the first time someone told me they felt younger!

But then there is nothing “typical” about Kim (not her real name). For starters, at 68 she is no where near “retiring.” In fact, right now she works very full-time as a traveling medical transcriptionist. The transcribing part has become a total chore. It’s the travel part that keeps her sane.

Here again, Kim is not your typical travel lover. She positively thrives on it and has for some 30 years. The whole reason she got into medical transcription was because it allowed her to feed her travel bug. Kim knew she could show up just about anywhere and quickly find work. For someone like Kim who likes plopping down here or there for a few months or years before looking ahead to the next place, the next adventure, travel is not so much an interest as it is a way of life.

What makes Kim even more unusual — and impressive — is that while most of her women friends are holed up at the retirement community, she continues to be a single woman traveling on her own. At this point she’s decided she wants to keep the travel but ditch the j-o-b, which is why she came to me for help figuring out how she could generate anywhere from $500 to $1500 a month doing her own thing.

Are You “Settling?” Most People Are

As soon as I read Kim’s list of pre-assignment list of all the things she loves to do, I knew I could help. Given her wandering lifestyle, it was clear from the get-go I was dealing with someone who was not going to get hung up on a lot of dream- busting “shoulds” and other limiting attitudes.

So you can imagine my surprise when ten minutes into our session Kim began to do what the average person typically does… namely, settling. I can always tell when someone is settling for less than they want — and deserve — because they say things like, “Well, I COULD do this or that.”

Sure, she, or I, or you “could” make money doing all kinds of distasteful things. But why would anyone settle for doing things you “can” do when you’d much rather be doing what you really “want” to do? Like, for instance, doing work that feeds your soul.

Once Kim realized she was settling, it was like someone lit a fire under her. Suddenly she was dwelling not in the tired old world of “reality” but in the far more interesting and lucrative world of possibility.

Kim absolutely loves taking photos. We must have brainstormed a dozen different photography-based profit centers. Everything from doing so-called “round up” articles for travel and other magazines like the 10 Best Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patches in Rhode Island or the 5 Must Do Summer Crafts Fairs… to creating community-based calendars for local banks to give out to their customers.

(If you want to learn more about the roundup articles, I found this nifty article from the Yvonne Russell aka the Idea Catcher at

Sometimes You Need to Think Inside the Job Box… Minus the Box

I even suggested she do something I NEVER suggest… take a job.

I know what you’re thinking. “The queen of self-employment is recommending anyone, much less an insatiable travel bug, take a j-o-b!!” Before you fall off your chair, in this particular case, it makes perfect sense.

You see Kim is a voracious reader. Like a lot of book lovers, she fantasizes about working in a Barnes & Noble. Fortunately she’s also smart enough to know that fantasy and reality are two very different things. I don’t care how much you love books. Standing on your feet all day and having to ask your “supervisor” if you can run to the restroom is nobody’s idea of a dream job.

However, Kim has two young grandchildren with whom she wants to spend more time. (As I told her, two things are for sure… you’re not getting any younger and they are definitely going to get older.) Now that she’s decided to get rid of her rarely used apartment and buy herself a trailer, when she makes frequent trips home, she can park her “house” in her son and daughter-in-law’s driveway.

I figured Kim will want to be with her family during the Thanksgiving to New Year holiday season. Which also just happens to be the one time a bookstore would actually want a part-time, seasonal staffer. Building in a temporary stint at a local bookstore is an ideal way for Kim to get her “book store fix” and make some extra cash without any kind of long-term commitment.

As our session wound up, I suggested Kim get out a map and a calendar and start plotting out a year’s worth of photo jaunts. There are also some other steps she needs to take. Like making the switch to a digital camera and educating herself about travel writing and photography.

There are books on the subject of course. But having experienced first-hand three different travel and photo workshops put on by the American Writers and Artists Institute, I’m a huge fan of all of their courses, including the self-study version of a course aptly called Turn Your Photos into Cash.

Kim may be 68, but she has no intention of slowing down. In fact, her dream just keeps getting bigger… which, in turn, makes her feel younger. She’s a wonderful example of what George Elliot meant when she wrote, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

And speaking of it never being too late… The February “Profiting From Your Passions” workshop and retreat did sell out, quickly in fact. Just today some who was coming in from Virginia had to switch to the March event. So, if you can get to the rolling hills here in Montague, Massachusetts and want that spot, I urge you to act fast because it’s happening this Friday-Sunday. Call me directly at 800-267-6388 EST.

Right now there are five places left in the March 26-28th Profiting From Your Passions program. As importantly, the $500 off Early Bird DISCOUNT ENDS this Thursday, February 25th. So if you are considering coming, consider this your official wake up call to go to and sign up now!

Life is short and none of us is getting any younger. Whether you attend a workshop with me or you simply make good use of your own creative juices, there really are ways you can turn your interests into income. I can’t guarantee finding a way to work at what you love will make you feel younger, but I do know you’ll be a whole lot happier!

CLICK HERE NOW to learn more about this unique highly personalized workshop/retreat designed to help YOU to profit from your passion and to take advantage of the special early bird $500 savings.

P.S. I just checked my AWAI partner link and to my great surprise and disappointment, I see that as of March 1st the Turn Your Photos into Cash course will be discontinued. On the upside, they slashed the price by over 50 percent while supplies last. I’ve personally met many of the professional photographers and others who contributed to this course and they are 100 percent pros.


A New Direction

I decided to take the Work @ What You Love Workshop and also work one-on-one with Valerie. The workshop explored so many unusual and unexpected solutions to my specific questions. I made so many new connections to what clearly works for me in crea...

Julia Raymond
Curvology Studio

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