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What’s a “Passion Noodle?”

Take 6 minutes to listen and find out!


Winter skyline off the west porch
Winter skyline off the west porch


You don't need to know what's around the corner!
You don’t need to know what’s around the corner!


 When it snows it is soooo quiet. Perfect for noodling new ideas and hearing those inner voices…

I’d love to hear what you think of my first Passion Noodle.  What passions are you noodling turning into profits right now? What your biggest block to noodling about your own hopes and dreams? This is your life folks. Noodle away!

What Does Gratitude Have to Do With Career Change?

As I drove alongside the Connecticut River today, I spotted two snow-white swans gliding elegantly atop still waters. I felt so blessed to have been in that place at that time to experience such a serenely beautiful moment. I feel …

Clues to Your Calling May Be in What You Are Missing!

By Valerie Young

Most people just skip over articles or even entire publications if they don’t see an immediate application to their life. Not me. The more unrelated to my life, the more intrigued I am. 

Case in point was a supplement in my local paper that was dedicated to equestrians. I like horses and all, but I am not even remotely connected to the horse world. To me, that’s all the more reason to dive in.

I scanned the articles, but as usual, what I was really drawn to were the advertisements. Why? Ads reveal all kinds of interesting ways people with a particular interest have found a way to earn a living. Among the ads for such obvious businesses as tack shops and veterinarians was an ad for “quality equine laundry.” Who knew?

I quickly discovered that the company will “clean, refurbish, and return each blanket spotless, repaired, and wrapped with tissue in a zippered plastic case.” They also promise to make Velcro stick again and to air-dry the blankets on a special rack to avoid shrinkage. This enterprising company will arrange for pick up anywhere in New England.  

Another headline in my local paper trumpeted the fact that a guy had recently bought a local trophy and engraving shop. I don’t have a big need for trophies, but I know when it comes to entrepreneurs, there’s always more to a story than the headline.

I was right. It seems the new shop keeper, then 51-year-old Russell Wilkinson, has had a pretty varied background. According to the article, Russell had worked in construction, been an electrician, owned his own shoe repair shop, been a security chief at a local park, delivered packages for UPS, owned a local restaurant, and trained to be a scuba diving instructor in Key West.

People often ask Russell why he doesn’t just get a regular job. His reply? “If I’d done that, it would have been the biggest waste of the most expensive education a person can have.” Read that line again. It’s a powerful reminder that despite all the pressure to find that “one thing” you’re good at and then stick to it for the rest of your life, having a varied occupational life – whether as an employee or an entrepreneur can make life a whole lot more interesting.

It also reminds us that no experience is wasted. So many people went to school for things that have nothing to do with the work they do today. I never view past training, jobs, or even relationships as wasted time. All of our past experience adds up to lessons learned and therefore who we are today.

Clues to your calling, clues to success are all around you. As you go about your day make sure to tune into things that, on their face, seem unrelated to your life. Keep your eyes – and your mind – open and you just might find more than you expected.

Teleseminars Are a Great Solution for People Who Hate to Sell

Alex Mandossian

Alex Mandossian

I’m not one to throw around big promises like “Turn your annual income into your monthly income.” But I met a guy who, through much trial and error and hard work, has successful managed to do just that… and quite a bit more.

His name is Alex Mandossian. And in less than three years, he was able to turn his annual income into a MONTHLY income… all through the revenue-generating power of his telephone.

That’s impressive. Equally impressive, though, is what Alex has to offer other entrepreneurs who, like me, love teaching but hate selling. He made his fortune because he figured out that it’s a lot easier to educate customers than to try to “sell” them. And it’s a lot more profitable too.

Alex is a master at marketing by teaching, at earning by helping, and at succeeding by helping your customers succeed. He’s delivered Teleseminars with many of the world’s top leaders and authors, including Donald Trump, Stephen Covey, and Mark Victor Hansen and has trained over 13,000 students since 2001.

Over the past 12 years, Alex has helped his clients generate over $203 million in sales. And he’s agreed to share what he’s learned with you.

Be My Special “VIP” Guest

On Thursday, December 3rd Alex will
reveal time-proven Teleseminar secrets that can dramatically boost my sales and profits WITHOUT spending a dime more on advertising or promotional costs in a live training call at 9:00pm Eastern.

By the end of this call, you will have access to…

  • The 8 unique advantages Teleseminars have over traditional marketing methods

  • The 7 embarrassing mistakes marketers make when conducting their Teleseminars

  • The 4 case studies of how authors, coaches, entrepreneurs and independent professionals have turned Teleseminars into “stand-alone” profit centers

And of course much, much more …

If you hate selling, but love teaching or bringing on guest speakers or otherwise using the power of Teleseminars to grow your business, grab your seat before it’s gone.

Your VIP Discount Code

Claim your $79 discount and register for only $20 using VIP Discount Code: AM3964

Click Here to Register:

Full Disclosure: If you follow a link that includes the words “,” and you then decide to purchase something from that expert/company, Changing Course earns a referral fee. To learn more about the Changing Course Seal of Approval Policy click here.


The first 200 people to register will also receive Alex’s new “Insiders Guide to Teleseminar Profits for Independent Professionals.”

If the idea of turning your annual income into your monthly income seems like way too much to money to be believable then try thinking in more modest terms like doubling your income. Is that worth 90 minutes of your time?

Alex only teaches this unique training once a year and on Thursday, December 3rd you’ll get to eavesdrop on one of the biggest and most important Teleseminars of the year. If you have a schedule conflict, then get registered anyway because Alex gave me his word that he’d record the call and make it available Friday, December 4th.

Here’s the link again:

Fascinating Ways to Make a Living Doing What You Love May Be Closer Than You Think: Start Your Own Opportunity File and Open Your Mind to Endless Possibilities

By Valerie Young

You don’t have to look very far to find fascinating ways to turn interests into income. Opportunities are literally everywhere… if you’re looking, that is. It seems I can’t turn on the television or radio or open …

Transparency in Your Business – Legal or Otherwise

By Valerie Young

If you have a small business, or are planning to start one, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued new regulations that could affect you.

The Consumer Protection Agency put out a series of super short videos

Getting Paid to Brainstorm

Are you constantly thinking up potential business ideas for yourself or other people?

Are you forever turning friends and acquaintances onto resources and alternatives they never knew existed?

Do you instinctively jump in to help others brainstorm ideas?

Perhaps deep down they’d love to be a pet photographer… or write children’s books… or run a spiritual retreat center… or become a personal chef… or bring their product idea to market… or find a way to get paid to travel.

Well, they’re hardly alone.

Job dissatisfaction, downsizing, and the growing desire for more work/life balance are forcing people to think about alternative ways to make their living. And this migration out of corporate America has created a unique opportunity for career consultants and coaches.

If you love brainstorming, teaching, coaching or otherwise pointing out interesting ways other people can make money doing what they love, this is your chance to get paid to do what comes naturally…

My “Passions into Profits” Coach Training & Business Start Up Program is the first and ONLY entrepreneurial track career coach training system to hand you a proven blueprint that will enable you to…

  • Create a unique income stream to serve clients with entrepreneurial interests

  • Gain access to specialized training, tools and resources for creating careers outside traditional structures

  • Gain the tools you need for faster business growth

  • Discover literally hundreds of creative ways to make a living without a job — examples you can use with your clients again and again.

  • Quickly find key resources that help your clients turn their business dreams into reality

  • Know specific techniques you can use to help your clients develop expertise and a track record even when they have zero experience or training

  • Learn cutting-edge marketing strategies — as well as proven standbys — to help you build your Passions into Profits Coach training practice… fast!

The opportunities are endless and the timing is right….

  • people whose jobs are secure now realize the wisdom of starting some kind of small business on the side…

  • people whose jobs are being eliminated now realize that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by starting their own business. After all you can’t fire yourself!

  • people in the early stages of retirement are looking for ways to earn some extra money – preferably by being able to work at home…

Reserve your seat now for this informative Webinar. Limited seats are available, reserve yours now at

Want the Perfect Career? Take a Page Out of Helen Hunt’s Success Book

By Valerie Young

Starting out, what kind of career did you want? When PBS’s Charlie Rose put this question to Helen Hunt, the actor replied confidently, “This one.”

Can you say that?

Sure she’s a famous movie star at the …

Want to Be Your Own Boss? Ask These Three Questions First

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In the last few weeks I’ve talked to over a dozen people who all desperately want to change course. When I ask them why, they all say the same thing. “I want more control and flexibility over …

Sir Richard Branson Rock the Kazba Event

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Fall 2009 Registration Now Open

“To love what you do and feel that it matters,
how could anything else be more fun?”
Katharine Graham

If You Love Brainstorming, Teaching, Coaching or Otherwise Pointing Out Interesting Ways Other People Can Make Money Doing What They Love, Then Please Don’t Miss This Chance For You to
Get Paid To Do What Comes Naturally

  • Are you constantly thinking up potential business ideas for yourself or other people?
  • Are you forever turning friends and acquaintances onto resources and alternatives they never knew existed?
  • Do you instinctively jump in to help others brainstorm ideas?

If that describes you, then I bet people love talking with you…

Maybe they even seek you out. And why wouldn’t they? After all, thinking creatively about ways to make a living without a “job-job” is something that just, well… comes naturally to you I’ll bet.

It does to me, too. Now I’d like to show you how you can share in my success as well. Since launching Changing Course in 1995, I’ve heard from literally hundreds of people who would love to get paid to do what I do:

“I’ve spent much time trying to find my own calling, and I realized that what I really like to do is help other people realize their dreams.” ~ Jean

“To see someone’s eyes light up when I’ve given them a great idea, is an incredible feeling. People are so grateful when you show them that a new path really does exist.” ~ James

“I’ve been doing this kind of thing for years for free – I might as well get paid!” ~ Gretchen

The “Passions into Profits” program is the first and ONLY entrepreneurial track career coach training system to hand you a proven blueprint.

You get everything you need to be able to offer private coaching or run workshops to show people viable ways to make money doing what they love – and get paid to do it.

To date over 130 people from as far away as Singapore, Kenya, Norway, Australia, the UK, Barbados, even Kazakhstan have learned how to launch themselves into a whole new first-time business or create a profitable add-on income stream to their existing coaching business.

This is an amazing opportunity to start your own business doing what you love – brainstorming creative ideas to turn passions into profits!

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to what people in the program had to say…

Schedule Your Free Business Brainstorming Session Today

If you are seriously considering training to become a Passions into Profits Coach so you can get paid to brainstorm with private clients or run workshops, read on…

There are two versions of this program:

The Passions into Profits Coach Training only

Or, the Passions into Profits Coach Training Marketing Jumpstart version

The last thing I want is for you to sign up for something that’s not right for you. And if you do sign up, I definitely want you to hit the ground running!

To decide which option – if either – is right one for you and to see how you can your own at-home business started for under $500, click here to schedule one of a very limited number of 15 minute Business Brainstorming sessions with me. *International callers, Valerie can phone you. (Sorry this offer is only for people considering becoming a Passions into Profits Coach. To schedule a personalized 90 minute career consultation with Valerie call 413-535-5107)

I have been circling around it for years and for various reasons and fears haven’t moved forward full steam. Somewhere inside I think I still didn’t believe that people would actually hire me or find me believable.  Not anymore…I am so impressed with all of the information we have received in this course… I feel so much more prepared and informed.

Of course I suspected I would feel this way because I have watched you for years and have always been impressed, which is why I signed up in the first place. I knew I would learn lots, especially about marketing and succeeding in my own business.

Lynn Burkholder, Ontario



“For the first time in the human experience, we have a chance to shape our work to suit the way we want to live instead of always living to fit in with our work… We would be mad to miss the chance.” ~ Charles Handy

 Don’t miss out on this opportunity for this free 15 minute session with me… here’s the link again:


Want to Make a Change? Be Curious



It was a beautiful fall day when I passed through the gates for probably the 45th time on my nearly annual pilgrimage to The Eastern States Exposition. At least that’s what it was called when I was growing up. Since then marketers have shortened it to The Big E.

The Big E is a huge state fair, except it encompasses all five New England states. This is the first year I went alone. Gratefully alone.

No negotiating with friends or family about whether to listen to the presentation on sheep shearing (I vote yes), or enjoy seeing the pride on the young people’s faces as they compete for ribbons and bragging rights for their well-groomed cows (a must), or talk with the volunteer historical interpreters in the authentic village square called Storrowtown Village (that’s another yes for me!), or whether to eat the clam fritters in the Rhode Island building, the apple pie in the Vermont building, or the lobster roll in the Maine building (yes, yes, yes).

Andrew Rice, professional sheep shearer and farm consultant, Brattleboro, VT

Young people and old alike
travel from several states away to
show their livestock

Crafts demonstration at Storrowtown Village

This year I got to do whatever I wanted, for as long as I wanted. And what I love best is being curious.

I actually didn’t plan to turn my trip to the Big E into newsletter writing assignment. But with so many interesting entrepreneurs and lifestyles all around me, I couldn’t help myself. Here’s what I learned, and how my curiosity can help you to change course.

Don’t Be Sheepish

Tom Colyer of
Greenwood Hill Farms

I spent a lot of time chatting with retired Navy Captain turned merino sheep rancher Tom Colyer of Greenwood Hill Farms in Hubbardston, Massachusetts

  • I learned that… 80 percent of the lamb that is sold (and therefore eaten) in the United States happens along the eastern seaboard states from Washington, DC north to New England. What that tells me is that, unless you are a vegetarian, there is an opportunity to creatively work with the various state sheep councils to encourage chefs in other parts of the country to put lamb on the menu.

  • I learned… you can dye wool with Kool-Aid (you can get a FREE GUIDE TO DYING WOOL WITH KOOL-AID just for stopping by the Greenwood Hill Farm site)

  • I learned that… it’s a lot more profitable for people who raise sheep to
    spin and sell their own yarn then to sell the wool in bulk

  • I also learned there is a demand for sheep shearers to service smaller farm operations like Greenwood. Time magazine even did an article last February on the effort to train more shearers. And, according to Tom, some of the best shearers are women.

Lesson: It is amazing what you can find out if you just talk to people. What would you want to ask Tom that I didn’t?

The “Crazy Tomato Lady”

Marybeth Draghi the “Crazy Tomato Lady”

In the Connecticut building I met an exhibitor named Marybeth Draghi from Little Acres farm in Glastonbury, CT. Marybeth’s delicious heirloom tomatoes have earned her the title of “Crazy Tomato Lady.”

She’s grown from a small stand to selling her tomatoes at three Whole Foods stores (two in West Hartford and one in Glastonbury), at the famous Stew Leonards chain in Connecticut and New York, and with more chains and outlets in the works.

Are you curious how Marybeth landed these major accounts? I was. Are you ready? She asked, and the store manager said yes.

Lesson: Speak up. Ask questions. Talk to people about what you do… or hope to do. The door to opportunity opens when you open your mouth. What would you want to ask Marybeth that I didn’t?

Cleaning Up in the Soap Business

From the Blue Heron Soap booth, I learned that, like a lot of businesses, this one was born out of necessity. Owner Peggy Manthei’s daughter had sensitive skin. Her search for a solution led to tinkering with her own soaps and years later Peggy and husband Carl continue to make all the soaps personally.

Money questions can be a little more delicate but my curiosity got the best of me. “Is it really profitable to truck all this soap from Minnesota for a 3 week fair in Massachusetts?” I asked. The young man grinned from ear to ear and said simply, “We get $6 a bar.” Enough said.

Obviously the fair circuit is an effective marketing strategy. According to the show schedule on their web site, this year alone they’ll be in North Carolina, Chicago, Tennessee, South Dakota, and elsewhere.

Lesson: When you think about marketing your product or service, do a cost-benefit analysis. If your marketing investment is $1,000 but you have the chance to make $2,000, then you’re ahead of the game. What would you ask the people at Blue Heron Soap that I didn’t?

Doggedly Pursuing a Passion

From the young man at the Annie’s Pooch Pops All Natural Dog Treats booth, I learned that a business you might assume to be local and/or online exclusively actually has quite a mobile marketing strategy. Between Annie, her son, or her son’s friend, they sell at over 200 of these kind of fairs and shows a year!

But it was from Annie’s website that I got the bigger story. Like most businesses, this one started small and grew. In the beginning, all the baking happened in Annie’s kitchen. For a while they rented a restaurant kitchen during off hours. “Cooking from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. wasn’t easy,” says Annie, “but the crew, with additional help from friends, began to see treat sales take off. After six months and no sleep, we moved into a converted 4000 square foot barn in Northern New Jersey horse country where we remain today.”

Lesson: Starting any business requires sacrifice and hard work. Period. Ask yourself. “What do I love enough to work that hard to grow?” What would you want to ask Annie and her team that I didn’t?

Finding the Unexpected

There were also a few surprises at the Big E. For example, also in the Connecticut building was a guy selling something you would not normally expect among the alpaca socks and maple syrup vendors. But there was Kirk Sinclair along side a stack of his books, Systems Out of Balance: How Misinformation Hurts the Middle Class.

According to his business card, Kirk is a “Middle Class Advocate, Social Systems Analyst, and Rabble Rousing Bard.” He’s also the token middle-aged guy in a rock band that plays at local colleges. I have not read Kirk’s book (but plan to), but after I met him, I recalled that last year I bought a book at the same fair from a woman who’d traced the history of her Native American grandmother.

Lesson: Being an entrepreneur means sometimes showing up in surprising places. Where can you show up? What about offering piano lessons at the farmer’s market or negotiating with a local clothing or paint store to conduct puppy training demonstration a well-blocked off section of their parking lot?

Perseverance Pays

The great thing about visiting the same booths year after year is you get to see what’s changed. The fact that a vendor is back itself tells you the investment in time and money was worthwhile.

Case in point, last year I helped myself to a free sample of Kathie Rosenschein’s SuperSeedz Pumpkin Seeds (yum!). My family was not as keen on my curious mind, but I managed to chat long enough to find out that this mother of five’s business was starting to take off.

When I went back this year I discovered Kathie had started selling her gourmet pumpkin seeds on QVC! If you place an order, I highly recommend the curry flavor. Even if you don’t buy, check out Kathie’s first stint on national television talking about her product on QVC.

In a past life, I delivered a few seminars at QVC headquarters in Pennsylvania and got to talk to the product evaluators. What I learned was that it’s not that hard for even small business owners like Kathie – or you – to get product on their network or on the Shopping Network.

Lesson: Stick with it and great things can happen and never assume you’re too small.

After Curiosity Comes Action

Have you ever been curious about what it would be like to sit down with one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time… a living legend?

Sir Richard Branson

I am. So, as a select few of you already know, a few days ago I plunked down 5 figures (gulp!) to grab one of only 10 spots in a private brainstorming session with Sir Richard Branson! Yes, THAT Sir Richard Branson – the billionaire founder of Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines, and numerous other Virgin enterprises.

Why would I spend such an outrageous sum of money simply to satisfy my curiosity? Good question since money alone does not impress me. If it were Donald Trump, as interesting as that would be, at that price, I’d pass.

What DOES impress me is that, like me, Richard Branson is a passionate social entrepreneur. Not only will I get to pick the brain of one of the most brilliant entrepreneurs on the planet, but my entire $10k will go to support not one, but two amazing organizations.

A few hours after the brainstorming session I’ll be heading to the annual Rock the Kazba fundraising gala. For some cool videos of last year’s big gala click here.

The Eve Branson Foundation seeks to improve the lives of women and girls in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco by providing the tools they need to create marketable goods – and thus become economically self-sufficient.

Her organization is part of Virgin Unite which harnesses global resources and entrepreneurial energy so that business becomes a force for good. What I especially love about this organization is the emphasis addressing both social and environmental problems and on helping disadvantaged youth to develop and launch businesses.

I plan to pick his brain about how best to bring the message of turning passions into profits to a larger, potentially global audience. The time is so ripe for this message of hope.

It’s been decades since Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel traveled the country conducting interviews for his book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. Among them was a woman named Nora Watson who said, “I think most of us are looking for a calling, not a job. Most of us, like the assembly line worker, have jobs that are too small for our spirit.”

I think the same can be said for dreams. Most people have dreams that are too small for their spirit. Your dreams need to be as big and as powerful as you are. That means learning to think bigger about your work, your life, and your gifts. Simply said, I want you to want more both for yourself and for all those you touch.

You and I are on the cusp of an incredibly exciting movement!

It’s a movement where job placement and career counselors are starting to understand that the old ways aren’t working. It’s no longer enough to push people into accounting or engineering or pharmaceutical sales. People today want more. They want to find ways to turn their passion for cooking or sports or travel or art or healthy living into a viable way to make a living via a small business.

Richard Branson has plans to reach out to disadvantaged youth in the United States. So I’m thinking there may just be a way for the people who have gone through my Outside the Box/Passions into Profits Training Program to get involved somehow.

Plus, when I reach out for corporate sponsorship and begin to license this training program to university career centers, how cool will it be to say, “Well, when I was chatting with Richard Branson about this idea…”

To be perfectly clear, I have no idea what’s going to happen when I meet Sir Richard Branson. After all, I haven’t even met the man! But hey, an hour earlier I was making a poached egg. Suddenly I’m booking airfare to LA to meet with a billionaire social entrepreneur!

You never know what can happen when you are curious, when you dream big, and when you honor your dreams with action.

On a more serious note, while there’s no connection to Branson’s organization, Lisa passed along this inspiring story of a desperately poor 14 year boy from Malawi whose curious mind led him to figure out how to build a windmill from trash. William Kamkwamba did not speak or read English. Instead, he relied on the pictures in library book to guide him.

Being curious will change your world. As young William reminds us, being curious can change the world for the better as well.

In the next 24 hours, I challenge you ask at least one small business owner at least one question. Then post your question (and the answer) at the Changing Course blog so we can all grow from your curiosity!

P.S. Have questions for Valerie about the NEW “Passions into Profits” Coach Training coming up soon? Email them to

Turning Passions Into Profits

When the October issue of More magazine arrived, I tossed it into the pile with the other mail. I didn’t remember subscribing to More. But then it wouldn’t be the first time I ordered something and then forgot I did it. Turns out I had forgotten more than I realized. 

Two days later I got a call from a producer named Noreen from WPIX Channel 11 in New York City. She was calling about my interview on career re-invention in the latest issue of – you guessed it – More magazine!

In my defense the More interview happened months ago. I’d given several other interviews since then and with writing a book and everything, it just slipped my mind. Anyway, Noreen loved the article and wondered if I could come to New York to do an on-camera interview.

I’m not telling you this to impress you. I’m telling you this because over the course of the next few days I re-learned some valuable lessons about turning passions into profits that can benefit you as well.

Pay Attention to What Excites You

You would think being interviewed by a major New York television station would be exciting enough. But really the highlight of my 3-day romp around Manhattan (besides seeing the fabulous Broadway show Wicked) was the opportunity to sit down with mega-entrepreneur and social media phenomenon Gary Vaynerchuk at his enormous offices in the Village.

Here I am with Gary Vaynerchuk in his office

Talk about turning a passion into profit! While working at his immigrant parent’s New Jersey liquor store, he realized that the average person not only didn’t know a lot about wine. And because of the snob factor, most were too intimidated to ask.

So he set up a small video camera at his kitchen counter and started taping himself talking to the average Joe and Jane about wine. And with that Wine Library TV was born! 

If you haven’t seen Gary teaching people about wine, you’re missing out. All too often people think the only way they can be successful is to some somehow turn themselves into someone they’re not. Not true.

Just by being himself – in fact because he was being himself – Gary’s viewership swelled to over 80,000 a day, and his family’s wine business grew from $5 million a year to over $60 million. Since then he’s made television appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Ellen DeGeneres, NBC’s Today Show, and elsewhere and has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today… the list goes on and on.

There was a time when starting a business meant you had to have a big marketing budget. But gone are the days when you have to spend $50,000 on an ad in the New York Times or have a commercial during the Super Bowl to get noticed.

Gary’s latest passion is letting everyone who wants to profit from their passion know that money is no longer a barrier. I’ll let Gary tell you himself…

Gary is about to release a new book called Crush It: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In On Your Passion. It goes on sale starting Tuesday, October 13th but you should reserve your copy now. In a minute I’ll tell you how you can get a free copy.

Pay Attention to What Excites Other People

If you see other people getting excited about something, it often signals an opportunity. When I was in New York, the winners of the annual Vendy Award were being announced. It’s an award that goes out to the best street food vendors in the city.

The fact that New Yorkers are excited about being able to buy gourmet waffles or falafels from the side of a truck, or that the one-year-old Big Gay Ice Cream truck which sports toppings like toasted curried coconut or wasabi pea dust, was among the Vendy Awards finalists, tells you that people in your community would probably be excited to have a way to get that same kind of fast but good food in your area. (Okay so maybe the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck might be somewhat less popular among some members of some communities, but you get my point.)

Similarly, you’d expect an entrepreneur like Gary Vaynerchuk to be passionate about turning passions into profits. What I didn’t expect was the enthusiastic response from the people at WPIX. It was really just a five minute interview of me sharing many of the same tips I’m sharing here with you and about the importance of dwelling in the world of possibilities.

But when the interview ended, Noreen and Bart the videographer were positively breathless. “That was so inspiring!” said Bart “We never get to talk to people like you!” Then Noreen said, “Have you ever thought about having your own TV show?”

As flattering as it was, honestly, I was more struck by their excitement than by any future fame. Noreen talked about how hungry people are for this kind of information. I’ve already begun to think about how a "Passions Into Profits" make-over show might work! Even if it doesn’t happen, it’s exciting to know that more and more mainstream people are open to the idea of being their own boss.

Hang Out With People Who Are Already Profiting From Their Passions

The whole reason I was going to Manhattan in the first place (besides meeting with my editor at Crown Publishing) was because my friend Carrie Wilkerson AKA The Barefoot Executive asked me to film a segment for her new online TV show.

Carrie Wilkerson the Barefoot Executive and me before our shoot.

Carrie also invited a soon-to-be-new friend and kindred spirit, marketing guru Suzanne Evans.

Suzanne, Carrie and me at the studio 

Perry Lawrence, Ask Mr. Video

Someone else along for the excellent adventure was my friend Perry Lawrence from I got to know Perry when we were both in Aspen on a Maverick Business Adventure trip. To say that Perry is a “nice guy” is truly an understatement. He’s also passionate about helping people create their own online television series, something else we’ll talk more about in the coming weeks.

Take Action

Loving something alone is not enough to turn it into a business. You have to DO something with your passion. If the path is not clear, here are some ways to get started:

Apprentice: Find someone already doing what you want to do and see if you can study under them. You’ll need to work for free or pay for the individual attention or both. Still, there’s no better way to get hands-on training than to learn from a master.

Volunteer: If you want to work in radio, volunteer at a radio station. If you want to stage events, volunteer to help someone stage their event. If you want to start an organic farm, put in some time at an organic farm. An hour a week or one weekend a month can add up to give you valuable experience and contacts.

Take a Course: Most communities have continuing education programs through a community college or the state university system. For example, I recently signed up for a course through my local community college on how to be a talk show host. I could have just as easily registered for cheese making, transforming trash into art, or import export – and come next spring, I just may!

When I take courses like this it’s not so much about me wanting to be a talk show host or make cheese or import things. For me it’s about fueling my mind so I can pass that information along to you and to the people who have taken my Outside the Job Box Career Coach Training program so they, in turn, can share it with their clients.

Pay Attention to Coincidences

Check this out…

  • I “just happened” to have been interviewed by More magazine. And Noreen, the WPIX producer, “just happened” to see it and think it would make a cool story…

  • I “just happened” to be on my way to New York when Noreen asked if I’d come to their New York studio for an interview…

  • I “just happened” to register for a $39 course on how to be talk show host a week before Noreen suggested I have my own show…

  • Carrie “just happened” to hear about me because she heard me speak on a recording that was made at an Ali Brown event…

  • Carrie “just happened” to set up that amazing meeting with Gary Vaynerchuk…

  • Carrie also “jut happened” to invite Suzanne Evans who I am now partnering with to help more aspiring entrepreneurs who hate to market….

Most importantly, I believe that none of this is coincidence. I believe successful people make their own luck. We reach out, we show up, we act – even when we don’t yet feel fully confident – and we put in the effort.

Are you still in search of your passion? Or do you wonder how to turn your passion into money? Trust me, there are “forces” that are trying to communicate with you every day. It could be a bumper sticker on that pokey car you got stuck behind, a random conversation with someone at the hardware store, someone you saw on television, or indeed this very newsletter.

So often you really do know what you need to do. You just need to pay attention to the voices guiding you and allow yourself to go there.

Get Paid to Help Others Turn Their Passions Into Profits

What I’m passionate about is helping people change course to work at what they love. I also love teaching people how to do what comes naturally to me.

Even though I have not met many of them in person, I consider the previous graduates of my Outside the Job Box Career Coach training program to be a part of “my tribe.” It’s hard to meet everyone. Some live as far away as Singapore, Kenya, Norway, Australia, the UK, Barbados, Canada, and even Kazakhstan!

Others I have met only over the phone or through the special “Connect & Collaborate” networking site we set up just for the consultants to meet, share, and support one another. (Like the two California coaches who recently discovered they live in the same town and met for lunch to brainstorm ways they might work together. How cool is that?)

Some of the people who’ve completed the training are taking private clients. Some are doing group coachings. Some are running workshops. Some are writing articles, running blogs, writing books, and creating information products. Some are still in the process of creating their web sites or devising their marketing strategies.

There is one thing that everyone who has gone through the Outside the Job Box Career Coach course shares in common. And that’s a strong passion for helping people see how they too can profit from their passion. In fact, I’m very seriously thinking of renaming the entire program the "Profit from Your Passions Coach Training Program"!

Is This Your Passion?

To date over 75 people have signed up for the Self-Paced version of this one-of-a-kind training program bringing the total number of trainees including those who have attended the Teleclass version and my live program to over 125 people worldwide!

I’m particular proud of the Self-Paced program. That’s the system I developed to allow people anywhere, regardless of time zone or circumstance, to learn how to be an Outside the Job Box Career Coach.

When we met up with some of these people last spring, Lisa asked them to share their thoughts with you. It’s energizing to see people so passionate about their work and about the opportunities the future holds…

Registration Starts Next Week

Starting next week, I’ll once again open registration to another very limited number of trainees. In the meantime, I’m working on some very cool bonuses including even more tools to help you start earning money, faster.

For starters, the first 35 people to register will get a free copy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book Crush It: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In On Your Passion. Plus I have another video Gary did to share with you. As you can see it was a total video fest!

I’ve also got some very cool brainstorming calls coming up just for the people on the Priority List. Being on the Priority List guarantees you’ll also have a head start on registering before I open the course up to all 40,000 people on my list.

If your passion is teaching, coaching, writing about or otherwise helping others turn their passions into profits then make sure you get your name on the list!

Go there now:

As Lou Stoops wrote, “It has been estimated that well over ninety percent of the things people worry about never happen! What a waste to spend time pondering ‘what ifs’ when we could be pursuing ‘what might be!’”

A passion is a terrible thing to waste. Find yours, then imagine what might be if you really got serious about profiting from your passion!

To your dreams,

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence
Passions into Profits Expert

Live and Work in Paradise: How to Transition to the Right Job in the Right Place

Valerie Young

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 215 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

What if you could earn a living working not only at what you love but where you love as well? If location …

Why We Wind Up On The Wrong Career Path And What To Do About It

Valerie Young

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 214 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

You don’t have to look very far to find people who’re trapped in the wrong job or profession. Carpenters who should have been accountants. Accountants who should have been horticulturists. Horticulturists who should have opened an animal shelter.

Having worked with career changers for nearly a decade, I’ve found there are four reasons why people get, or stay, on the wrong career path. You’ll soon see that the obvious reason – money – didn’t make the list. That’s because, unless you are truly at the subsistence level, I find that money is all too often an excuse used to mask deeper issues. Let’s take a closer look at what some of those issues might be.

1. Listening to Your Head and not Your Heart

Billy Wilder once said, “Trust your instincts. Your mistakes might as well be your own instead of someone else’s.” Instinct speaks to us in many forms. Sometimes it’s an unsettling flutter in the solar plexus warning you that something isn’t quite right here. Other times instinct whispers encouragingly in your ear, “Go this way.” And sometimes instinct makes itself known as an unmistakable and heart-pounding, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

I learned the hard way about ignoring these internal yellow, green, and red lights. It was 1993 and I was commuting 90 miles a day to my corporate job when a marketing job came up in a smaller company with half the commute. I had a good interview with the Vice President of Sales to whom the position reported.

He seemed like a decent enough guy, confident and amiable in that way people in sales often are. A week later we were on the phone negotiating my salary. When I tried to discuss a higher salary his whole demeanor abruptly changed. His voice took on a kind of annoyed edginess that teetered on rude.

A flag went up immediately. Instinct said, “There’s something not quite right about this guy.” After a sleepless night I did what a lot of people do when money or fear or both are involved: I let my rational mind shout down my wiser inner voice. “It’s still a great salary." “The benefits are good." “It’s so much closer to home." “He was probably just having a bad day.”

Of course my instincts were right. My new boss turned out to be an egotistical fist pounder who could be charming and rational one minute and a raging bull the next. This experience taught me a valuable but painful lesson about instinct. More often than not, the heart has a far more sophisticated early warning system than does the head.

2. Turning Other People’s Dreams into Your Own

Whenever I do a career consultation, my clients are assigned the task of putting together a list of things they love to do. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of working with an engaging young engineer from Portland, Oregon named Manish. It was clear from the beginning that Manish was struggling to come up with his list. I think a lot of the problem had to do with the fact that he’s spent years living someone else’s dream. But I’ll let Manish tell you his story in his own words:

"When I was young and unsure of what I wanted to be when I grew up, I asked my dad ‘What would be a good job to have when I grow up?’ He told me, ‘an engineer.’ I didn’t really know what an engineer did, but I figured I could do it. I made it a goal of mine to become an Engineer and made a point to take classes in school that would prepare me for this line of work.

I was enrolled in an engineering prep class in high school, and one day we got to visit a local universities engineering department. From that point on, I knew that the engineering field was not for me, but did not listen to my inner-voice and continued towards my goal. In fact, I found myself more curious about the people around me than anything else. I found myself almost distracted by everyday behavior and didn’t pay much attention to the engineering department tour. More on this interest of mine in a minute…

While in high school, I spent a lot of time with my older brother of 7 years in his garage working on, and mainly playing with, cars, motorcycles, boats, etc. Now I can’t remember if it was because of my lack of technical savvy or my continual rambling on about ‘psychological stuff,’ but my brother would interrupt me now and again by saying, ‘Are you sure you want to be an engineer? You should go into Psychology.’ I never took him serious, or anyone else who told me this, because I thought every other career was less than being an engineer. So without putting any thought to it, I continued towards my goal.

When I entered college and signed up for my engineering coursework, I was faced with the reality of engineering not being very interesting to me within the first term. To top it off, I wasn’t very good at it either. Still determined to achieve my goal, I told myself I can’t give up (so stubborn of me). So I ended up in a field similar to engineering called Safety Engineering or Occupational Health and Safety.

Safety had some technical stuff to it, but it also had some behavioral stuff to it. I thought I had hit the jackpot… but to make a long story short, I hadn’t. Safety was 10% fun and 90% not. I’ve been in the field for a little over six years now and I’m ready to make the jump. Funny thing is, my wife says that I’ve been talking about getting into school counseling or any other field since I started in my first job out of college. I wonder why I never listened to myself…until now :)"

Manish is certainly not alone in turning a deaf ear to one’s inner calling. Classrooms and professions are filled with people who are living someone else’s dreams. That’s because it’s not the major, or the job, or the career path itself that’s so hard to let go of. What’s hard to give up is other people’s approval – especially if they happen to be people you love and respect. Walking away from a career, even one you know deep inside is all wrong for you, means risking that esteem. As Manish is learning though, it’s never too late to start listening to the one person who knows more than anyone else about your true gifts and interests – you!

We’ve all received – and perhaps continue to receive – a lot of subtle, (and perhaps not so subtle) messages about what we should “be” work-wise. But outside pressure isn’t the only reason Manish and a lot of other people push on in dogged pursuit of a profession for which there is little real interest. That leads us to two more closely related reasons why otherwise intelligent people get and stay on the wrong career path.

3. Not Being Willing to Admit you Made a Mistake

As Manish’s story also demonstrates, the real pressure that keeps us on the wrong path is self-generated. At some point along the way, Manish shifted from fulfilling his father’s notion of the ideal profession to not wanting to give up on what had become a personal mission. Despite his brother’s attempts to point Manish toward the right road, he opted to continue on like a driver who stubbornly refuses to admit he’s lost.

The good news is Manish has wisely decided it’s time to pull over to ask for directions and is now heading toward his true gifts. The bad news is there are far too many other lost drivers on the highway of life who are still unwillingness to admit they’re going the wrong way.

Despite the occasional story about a physician who left to become a florist or an attorney turned singer, the overwhelming majority of unhappy people choose to stay miserably stuck largely out of pride. For a lot of people it’s a lot easier to keep that lousy job than to stand up and admit to the world that they zigged when they should have zagged.

4. Not Wanting to “Waste” the Degree

Then there are those who really did love their chosen career – at least in the beginning. But over time, they and their occupation, well, they just grew apart. If this sounds familiar, chances are what keeps you on the wrong path is, just like a relationship gone bad, it’s hard to walk away from a career into which you’ve put so much time and effort to say nothing of the financial investment.

Take my friend Donna. After earning her master’s degree in social work some fifteen years ago, she went into private practice as a family therapist. For the first five or so years, Donna got a lot of satisfaction out of helping others. For the last ten though, her work has felt more like a burden. So what keeps her there? It’s simple. Donna doesn’t want to “waste” the degree.

Now I know it’s not easy to turn your back on an established career, especially if it’s one that pays well, has some prestige associated with it, or required earning some kind of advanced degree. And yet, think about the logic here. If you identify with Donna’s dilemma what you’re really telling yourself is. “I’ve wasting the last 10 years of my life so I might as well throw away the next 20 as well. To hell with my true gifts, I’ve got more suffering to do"

John Powell once said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” If you identify with any (or all) of the four reasons for getting and staying on the wrong career path, don’t waste time despairing. Instead learn and then act.

The fact of the matter is we all get lost from time to time. That’s life. The danger comes when we fail to heed the road signs and thus remain stuck in the breakdown lane. I have an abiding belief that everything in life happens for a reason. The key is to find the lessons.

Even my job with the boss from hell offered invaluable lessons and experiences. In addition to getting to travel the country, I learned in no uncertain terms to trust my instincts. That job was also just the catalyst I needed to make my final exit from the j-o-b world. And, as importantly, it introduced me to meet people who’ve been integral to helping me succeed as a solo entrepreneur.

What should you do if you find yourself on the wrong career path? We’ll, if you’re living with the consequences of having long ignored your better instincts, get a pen and paper, find some quiet space, and put your listening ears on. Then write down everything that little voice has been trying to tell you but this time without censor or rationalization.

If you’ve been living someone else’s dream, then take a good look at what’s really going on. Some questions you might want to ask yourself are: What does having other people’s approval or meeting someone else’s needs help me avoid or get? What price am I paying for this approval? Does the cost outweigh the benefits? If so, it’s time to start exploring your own dreams.

If you’re hanging on to a job or career because of all the time and money you’ve invested, then the first thing you’ll want to do is to let yourself get close to your fear. I’m not talking about the fear of letting the world know you made a mistake or financial angst. What I’m talking about is getting in touch with the one thing that should really scare the heck out of you – namely, never getting to experience what your life would be like if you pursued your true gifts and passions.

Once you’ve let that little reality sink in, sit down and write a “Dear John” letter to your past love. Tell your career that while it has been a good and faithful partner for some time that you have simply fallen out of love. It will understand. Then pick up a paintbrush, look into culinary school, or otherwise start courting your new love interests.

It’s easy to find yourself on the wrong career track. When that happens, the key is to stay alert for warning lights, watch for the signposts along the way, learn from those inevitable detours, ask for directions, and then start slowly inching your way onto that big expansive highway called Your Life! As George Bernard Shaw once observed, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."

Innovative Ideas May Be All “In Your Mind”

Valerie Young

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 213 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Aspiring entrepreneurs – especially those who are “creativity-impaired” – can take heart in knowing there is more than one way to generate ideas for products or services.

Capitalize on Mistakes

Some of the best product ideas were unintended. Did you know, for example, that Post-It-Notes were the result of what 3M Company researchers at first thought to be a bad batch of glue?

Then there was Thomas Sullivan, a New York City tea importer who, in 1908, found that the sample tins of tea he normally sent to customers had become more expensive. His solution was to send less tea and to have the samples sewn into small silk bags. Sullivan’s customers assumed that these convenient bags were meant to steep in hot water and orders started rolling in for this new product innovation now known as the tea bag.

Sleep On It

One of the best times for idea development is in the early stages of sleep. Both Thomas Edison and artist Salvador Dali often used their nap time to stimulate creative thinking. The men would nap in a chair while holding a small metal object (Edison held a ball bearing, Dali, a key).

The object would eventually clank to the floor, awakening the nappers with a start. Edison and Dali would then quickly jot down whatever ideas or intuitive connections may have been in their mind.

Pay Attention

Did you know that burrs were the inspiration for the popular clothing fastener known as Velcro? When you start looking at the familiar with fresh eyes you’ll be amazed at the creative business possibilities you might see.

Be Ready

Keep a notebook and pencil or a small tape recorder handy at all times. After all, you never know when or where the inspiration for your new enterprise may strike!

Trust Your Gut

Speaking of Post-It-Notes, back in the late 1980s my then employer held a course on innovation. Attendees were put into small groups to brainstorm new product ideas and then present the best idea to the entire class. As I watched the other groups writing their favorite idea on flip chart paper and hanging them on the wall with masking tape, the light bulb went on…

What if flip chart pads were manufactured to work like giant Post-It-Notes for easier hanging? Being a trainer myself, I thought it was a great idea. My group didn’t agree and picked another one instead. What was at the time a novel product improvement is today pretty much the standard for flip chart pads. I may have missed out on a fortune but I learned an invaluable lesson – trust your gut and go for it.

Still Don’t Know What You Want To Be “When You Grow Up?” Here Are 3 Ways To Find Out

This article originally appeared in Issue 212 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

If you’re well into your career but still aren’t really sure what you want to be “when you grow up,” join the mid-life career crisis club! Here …

Concerns Regarding Russell Brunson’s Micro-Continuity Program/Offer

Note from Valerie: I received the following comments from two fellow dreamers about Russell Brunson’s Micro-Continuity Program on my Facebook account and wanted to address it in a broader format as I’m sure others may share the same concerns and …

Carrie Wilkerson stole my idea!

What if you had 25 fearless female entrepreneurs… each one an expert in her own right, who all agreed to spill their best success secrets on everything from how to promote your business to how to find your passion… and …

Who Says You Can’t Live Your Dreams?

Valerie Young

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 211 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Dreamers beware: for every dream there are 10 naysayers just waiting to dash it. It almost happened to Beverly Goodman Park. Park …

Dreams Can Come True: The 7 Key Lessons to Turning Dreams into Reality 

Valerie Young

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 210 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Early in his career, college football coaching legend Lou Holtz made a list of 107 things he wanted to accomplish in his …

Can You Really Start Making Money in 48 Hours?

I know this sounds a little far-fetched, and if you know anything about me, then you know that I don’t like hype or far-fetched promises about overnight success. So, when I read the headline promising you could start a business …

This Gave Me Chills…

Ashley Smith once said, “Live your life to the fullest potential and fight for your dreams.”

Imagine, after spending years of grueling workouts, of local meets and state championships, that your dream of competing in the Olympics came down to a single match…

And then in a matter of minutes, it all slipped away forever.

That’s what happened to Russell Brunson. It’s been over a decade since his bid to compete in the Olympics came to a crashing halt.

But now, ten years later - all grown up and with a wife and three kids - amazingly the guy is fighting back… 

I was fortunate to be in the audience the day Russell took the stage and first made his moving announcement. I don’t know about anyone else, but I had chills.

When you hear someone who is willing to put everything on the line – to walk away from a multi-million dollar business and risk it all to pursue a dream – you can’t help but be inspired to dust off your own lost dreams.

Watch this inspiring 3-minute video to see how Russell almost lost his dream – and more importantly – his brave decision to reclaim what he lost…

Here’s the video:

I not only respect Russell as an athlete and competitor but as a fellow entrepreneur.

When his Olympic dreams died, this regular guy from Idaho funneled all that energy into helping people with little to no internet experience grow highly profitable businesses using a model he calls “micro-continuity.”

I figure if this guy can figure out how to make money online teaching people (okay teenage boys) how to make potato guns (did I say he was from IdahoJ), anybody can follow this model. Including you.

Russell Brunson and Valerie Young

Like I said, I was there in the audience a few weeks ago at Ryan Lee’s big Continuity Summit when Russell laid out his entire micro-continuity process. I was blown away at how much solid practical content he shared that two weeks later I hopped a plane to Florida to hear him again. What he had to share was THAT good.

If you missed my article on how continuity - or RECURRING income as it’s known - can provide you with a predictable and steady monthly flow of money, you can catch up now at

Most importantly, as you watch Russell’s Olympic dream video I want you to think about YOUR OWN DREAM.

Whether you want to work from home or become a writer or help raise self-esteem in teens or get paid for your art, remember the wise words of George Eliot - “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

To your dreams,

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence

P.S. I hope you’ll share this inspiring video with your friends and family. Most of all, I hope you share it with the young people in your life.

Here’s the link again:

Use Your Summer Vacation to Start Working at What You Love

Valerie Young

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 209 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Remember writing those "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" essays way back when?

Summertime may not be the endless carefree season it was when you were a kid, but it’s still a great time to jumpstart your dream of working at what you love.

Here are three ways to use your summer vacation to grow a dream:

1. Become a Dream Detective

Imagine yourself a Dream Detective… someone who has an uncanny nose for scoping out unique business ventures. Like any good detective, you’ll want to take lots and lots of notes. Whether your vacation plans take you to the beach, the mountains, or the city, make sure to pack a small notebook along with the sunscreen and maps. But this isn’t any old notebook… it’s your Dream Notebook!

The idea is to use your Dream Notebook to capture as many cool business ideas as possible. If you’re traveling with kids you might even want to enlist their help by making a game of it. Maybe you’ll spy an interesting business in the airport terminal or along the roadside. Or perhaps you’ll find an existing business that’s come up with a unique income stream, like an outdoor cafe that, for a fee, will walk patron’s dogs while they dine.

If the business itself is nothing new, but they’re using some neat marketing tactic to get customers in the door, add the marketing idea to your list as well. For example, I read about a CPA who partnered with a hotel to offer weekend guests a completed tax return by checkout. Two unlikely business partners who profited from a creative idea.

The purpose of capturing cool business and marketing ideas is to shift your thinking away from the more limiting idea of "job" to the more option-expanding concept of “livelihood.” But that’s not all. Even if you have no interest in starting your own soft-serve ice cream shop/kids bookstore (with a fun hand-washing area dividing the two,
of course), a summer camp for Star Wars fans, or an antique stove repair business, just by paying attention to the wonderfully vast number of ways there are to make a living without a j-o-b can help fuel your own creative thinking.

2. Use The Longer Days To Start Working On Your Dream

Even though there’s still only 24 hours in a day, the extra hours of sunlight somehow make the day feel longer. Use the “extra” time to start actively working on your dream. For example…

If you still don’t know what you want to be “when you grow up,” read a book about tapping into your true calling. (You'll find numerous suggestions in the Changing Course Bookstore.)

If you’re in the exploring stage, consider taking an adult education course through your local college. I did a random search for courses and found such intriguing topics as How to Write and Sell Movie Treatments, Leather Bookbinding, and Opening Your Own Bed & Breakfast.

If you have a business idea in mind, you could spend the time researching your business, building your website, or working on your marketing plan. The point is to find a way to shine some of that extra sunlight onto your dreams.

3. Invest in Your Dream

One way to invest in your dream is to start spending less and saving more. If you need to save money to put toward your new home office or to purchase inventory, consider vacationing at home and stashing away the money you would have spent on a costly vacation into your “dream fund.”

The other way to invest in your dream is to make a conscious decision to spend money in the service of your dream. Sometimes the smartest (and quickest) way to start working at what you love is to invest in the skills, training, experiences, materials, or other resources you’ll need to launch your dream.

Coleman Cox asks, “Now that it’s all over, what did you really do yesterday that’s worth mentioning?” Looking ahead instead of back, the question will become, "How did YOU spend your summer?" Hopefully the answer will be, “Launching my dream of working at what I love!”

How to Turn Simple Ideas Into Financial Freedom

Valerie Young

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 208 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact on your life. Two weeks ago I attended a workshop in Stamford, Connecticut …

Time to Break Out of the Job Box: Readers Share Cool Ideas for Turning Your Everyday Interests Into Money-Making Small Businesses




By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 207 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Part 2 of a 2 Part Series

(Catch up on Part 1)

There is no limit to the ways you can make …

The Surprising Four Letter Formula for Success… It’s Not What You Think

Everyone is always looking for ways to get the “secret formula” to business success. The older I get, the more I see that in one way or another, the secret to success always comes down to one very simple little …

Time to Break Out of the Job Box: Readers Share Cool Ideas for Turning Your Everyday Interests Into Money-Making Small Businesses



By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 206 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Part 1 of a 2 Part Series

In his hour-long interview with Charlie Rose, Bill Gates said something that made me grab for my pen. He said, “This is the best time ever to be someone who is curious.” How true. There are so many fascinating ways to make a living without a job. To see them, though, requires a certain amount of curiosity.

Like Barbara Winter, I’m constantly “interrogating” people about their work. When I spent the night in the hospital last year, I asked a (very taken aback) physician, “Why did you decide to become a hospitalist?”

Then last month I spoke at a gathering of women optometrists meeting at a hotel in Atlanta. While I was testing out the microphone system, the hotel was setting up for a chocolate fondue and martini reception. When I saw a nice young man from a local company wheeling in vats of liquid chocolate, I pounced. I’m sure the hotel staff thought I was a bit odd, but I was curious to learn how someone would dive into chocolate – as a business, that is.

I’m not the only one who is curious. I recently held an “Opportunity Detective” contest where aspiring entrepreneurs competed for a spot in my Outside the Job Box Career Expert course. Contestants were asked to submit 10 unique small business ideas. Here are just a few of the many fascinating ideas I received. Sprinkled among the business ideas are some lessons from me on how you, too, can break outside of the job box!

For Creative Entrepreneurs, Problem = Opportunity

When you view the world from the eyes of an entrepreneur, you understand that some opportunities come disguised as problems – and all the more so in these challenging economic times. For example, there’s a company in California that (and don’t ask me how) somehow sprays green coloring onto brown lawns so homes that are For Sale or bank-owned look lived in.

Not long ago, a cooking show featuring recipes from the Great Depression would have gone largely unnoticed. But today, 91 year old Clara Cannuciari’s Great Depression Cooking segments have been picked up by all the major news outlets. The videos, shot in her kitchen by her grandson, were such a hit on YouTube that he’s packaged up the DVD to sell. They’re also monetizing the site with Google ads, but I could easily see getting big time corporate sponsors like Ronzoni or Idaho potatoes. If you could use a smile check out Clara’s site or track her down on YouTube.

Try the problem = opportunity technique yourself. Think of something challenging or stressful, then find a way to address it. Take for example, weddings. You already know about professional wedding planners. But perhaps the only thing more stressful than planning a wedding is cancelling one. It was Opportunity Detective contestant Erika Harris who turned me on to an actual business someone started as a professional event canceller. What is especially noteworthy about this business is that, like many enterprises (mine included), it started with a personal crisis.

In 2008, Lindsay Riggin went through the painful process of cancelling her own wedding. Obviously it was tough. But it also made her realize that she may be able to put her social work degree to work by helping others in the same position.

Today, this Chicago-based entrepreneur helps her clients by doing everything from notifying guests, calling vendors, re-negotiating contracts, and answering etiquette questions. Obviously, handling all these details takes someone who likes organizing things and has good people skills. But Lindsay also puts her counseling background to good use by offering therapeutic support and advice to individuals or couples.

Like the organizing/detail part, but don’t have a counseling degree? Here’s a work-around: Partner with a therapist in your area to deal with the emotional fall out and you handle the practical side of things!

Finally, sometimes other people see our gifts before we do. When a friend saw John having lots of fun with women at a conference, he encouraged John to create a training guide on “Dating For Over 40 for Men.” John’s friend even offered to market it for him!

This business may turn out to be a great funnel for John’s other idea. He even has a name for it: “No More Nervousness - Complete Confidence for The Best Man - Prewritten Toasts and Speeches for Everyone Who Has to Talk at a Wedding or Reception.” (Personally I think John could start a little side business helping people come up with catchy book and product titles… he’s obviously got a knack for it!)

There are lots of benefits to surrounding yourself with other entrepreneurs. For instance, John has another friend who is a Wedding DJ, and this is one of many add-on services John and he are considering. If you don’t know other entrepreneurs, then make it your plan to seek them out.

And in these challenging economic times, it is all the more important to look beyond – or at least in addition to – the traditional job path.

“Growing” Teen Entrepreneurs

A lot of people share my passion for reaching out and helping teens start a business. When I was at Yanik Silver’s Underground Online Marketing seminar in Washington, DC last month, the entire first row was reserved for young entrepreneurs. One came as far away as the UK – by himself!

Supervising and advising all of those teens at the event was a dynamic woman named Shonika Proctor. According to her business card, Shonika is the “speaker, author, consultant, and doer” at (That’s her to the right of me in the photo.) Her organization focuses exclusively on training, coaching and promoting entrepreneurial teens across socioeconomic backgrounds and across the globe. Virtual coaching (via phone & Skype) is available for those outside of the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

I just revisited and learned that MTV is seeking contestants for a Teen CEO Reality Television Show. Obviously you would have to be a REALLY cool parent to put your family out there on national TV, but if you’re a bit of ham, it’s a great way to get exposure for your teen’s entrepreneurial dream. Unfortunately, the deadline is April 10th so go to ASAP for details and to learn about this and the other cool things they’re doing to support teen entrepreneurs.

Teens and children were another popular theme amongst Opportunity Detective contestants. For example, David’s dream is to help fathers and children spend more time together by teaching families how to start businesses together. “I want to take teenagers and get them involved in entrepreneurship [as a way to give] the vast majority who will not go to college a different option than 'just a j-o-b.'”

Here are examples of seven cool full-time businesses David says were all started by teens:

  • Popsy Cakes” -- Cupcakes on a stick! The brainchild of an 18-year-old girl enrolled in an entrepreneur program
  • Creating videos and music for special occasions and events
  • Eco Dog Treats - vegetarian dog treats
  • E&E Basket Company – gift baskets for all occasions
  • Tutoring and strategy business for college students
  • Online SAT preparation
  • Selling imported Peruvian jewelry

Walter from Canada shared this enterprising example of an even younger entrepreneur. “Grade eight Ottawa student Charlie Sobcov invented a painted, plastic window decal to save migratory birds from ‘skyscraper slaughter.’ Birds can see the ‘stop signs,’ but the paint color makes the removable decals invisible to humans. Although he’s still only testing the decals, he already has orders coming in.”

Remember how I said problems are an entrepreneur’s best friend? Walter shared another neat example of the problem-opportunity approach in action. After waiting 15 minutes in the icy cold for his bus, only to discover that he had missed it, 16 year-old student entrepreneur Eric Forkosh decided, "There has to be a better way…" So Walter reports, Erik created a hand-held Bus Alert that uses radio signals to alert him when the school bus is coming. How many kids, and parents, would love that!

Home-based businesses are very popular with the home schooling community. Another Opportunity Detective contestant named Olivia tells of homeschooled teen in her area who turned her love of plants and animals into a nature class for homeschoolers. “She teaches plant identification, how to track animals, animal and reptile habitats, etc., taking students on them on nature walks and has the class outdoors,” says Olivia. How cool is that!

Olivia has been teaching her own children to think outside the job box for a while now. Her 11-year-old even has a cake decorating business! Helping children is her passion. “I’m always looking for what their talent is and guiding them that way. After studying home-based businesses for 3 years (I’m a scanner), I’ve decided I want to help women find their uniqueness and how to profit from it. I was shocked when I found your website. It’s what my heart is! Teaching women to spot their children’s gifts and to help them think ‘outside of the box’ instead of just going down the same beaten path as everyone else is another area I want to help with.” Adding, “They’re our future!”

I couldn’t agree more! What I love about Olivia is she “gets” that there really is a way to take the thing she loves to do and share that with others who want to do the same thing. Don’t you wish you had a mother like Olivia? I’m also a huge fan of combining multiple interests into one or more income streams. For an interesting approach, one reader is taking that combines teen entrepreneurs and the green theme, go to the In the Garden section below.

The Opportunity Detective contest yielded dozens of other fascinating small business ideas. Proof that a curious mind is key to thinking outside the job box! What can you be curious about today? Practice flexing your Opportunity Detective muscles by making it
your mission to chat it up with at least one business owner you come in contact with today. It could be the person who owns the corner store or the dry cleaners… or perhaps your chiropractor, yoga instructor, the trainer at your gym, the neighbor down the street. Entrepreneurs, like ideas, are everywhere. You just need to look.

P.S. I was supposed to pick just one winner of the Opportunity Detective contest. Note to self: Never run a contest where I have to choose! I ended up choosing 4 lucky winners. They are Erika, John, Jerry and Raghu. Their curious and creative minds have earned them a complimentary spot in the Outside the Job Box Career Expert Course. I feel fortunate that they will be joining this growing community of well over 125 Outside of the Job Box Career Experts!

Too many people waste time daydreaming about being rescued by “Mr. Job,” the career equivalent of waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right. This kind of passive approach is sure to disappoint. Face it: The only person who’s going to liberate you from job jail is you! If you want to be your own boss then take a proactive lesson from Jonathan Winters who said, “I couldn’t wait for success,” he reportedly said, “so I went ahead without it.”

Post Your Burning Questions on the Outside the Job Box Career Expert Course

The doors are now open at for the Outside the Job Box Career Expert Course. If you still have any questions after reading the course description, please post them here.

“Meet the Consultants”

Career Change for People Who Want A Life

Who better to talk about the Changing Course “Outside the Job Box” Small Business Idea Consultant Program then the people who have taken it?

When you watch this video of people who have taken the course, you’ll see how great it is to get to hear from people “in the know!”

Inspired to Learn More?

Click Here for More Information

The Doors Will Be Opening Soon For You to Get Started with Your “Outside the Job Box” Career….

If you were on the call last night, which was totally inspiring, we unfortunately didn’t have any time to answer questions. So I’m opening up my blog now, if anyone has any questions, please click on the comments button below and I will do my best to answer all of your questions within 24 hours.

Also, here’s more information about last night’s call and if you want the replay – this was a fantastic free 60-minute telephone seminar on which you’ll hear me, Valerie Young, Founder and Dreamer in Residence at Changing Course and Career Change Expert for People Who Want To Do Their Own Thing, interview Tom Kennedy, a former consulting client of mine who took the ideas we talked about and ran with them, and two graduates of the Outside the Job Box Career Expert Course, Cheryl Young and Sherrie Porterfield.

All three of these individuals offered a unique perspective on why now is the perfect time to start your own home-based business. In fact, Cheryl kicked off the call by sharing a little bit about her work with the National Department of Labor with the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education and how they are working to prepare people on unemployment to transition to entrepreneurship.

In fact, it’s not too late to get on my First In Line Priority Notification List. If you’re interested in taking your passion of helping others find their calling, sign up to be on my First In Line Priority List for my Outside The Job Box Career Expert Course. I have over 900 people signed up on the priority list and only 150 spots. When you’re on this list you will have a full 24 hours to decided if this course is right for you before I then open the course up to my list of over 40k people.

So if you’re at all interested in my course, sign up now to be on the priority list.

Don’t forget, if you have any questions, please use the comments button below. I’m happy to answer all your questions!

To your dreams,

And the Winner of the Opportunity Detective Contest IS…

We had so many wonderfully creative entries to our Opportunity Detective Contest. Thanks to EVERYONE who entered and took the time to share your inspiring ideas with the all of us.

With so much entrepreneurial creativity, picking a winner was an incredibly tough decision. In fact, “Note to Self…” never hold another contest, because it is just too hard to pick! But we finally did.

And the winner is… drum roll please!

Okay, I couldn’t pick one winner.

So I picked FOUR winners all of whom will receive the complete set of ALL of the Outside the Job Box Career Expert training materials — hundreds of pages of training manuals, training CDs plus marketing jumpstart CDs, templates of all forms, scripts, and email templates, and more… The program materials alone are valued in the thousands. Add to that the income potential from actively using your new-found knowledge and skills to grow your own small business, and the value is incalculable!

Let’s Congratulate the Four Lucky Winners Who Are:

Erika for persistence (key to success for entrepreneurs!)

John for juggling multiple income streams… as we speak!

Jerry for community spirit and for applying what he will learn to help his own struggling community!

Raghu for already deciding to reach out to fellow IT people in Silicon Valley to offer a free seminar. California, like Michigan and Florida, is hit so hard right now. So go Raghu.

In a world where everyone talks about changing course but few ever lift a finger to get that ball rolling EVERYONE who entered the contest is a winner in my book.

I’ll leave you with the words of George Bernard Shaw who once said, “The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.” THANK YOU for deciding to act!

Thanks again everyone!
Valerie Young

Do You Love Thinking “Outside the Job Box”?


Enter the “Opportunity Detective” Contest
for Your Chance to Win Big…

You’ve been an idea-person all your life. Now here’s your chance to formally exercise your Outside the Job Box muscles – and get a chance …

Want more fulfillment in helping others discover their passion?

Are you one of those people who gets jazzed and excited about helping others discover their passion? Or maybe you’re currently a coach and realize with this down economy adding another skill to your practice would help bring some more clients and ultimately boost your income.

Today I’m writing about a unique chance to hear from three students currently enrolled in my Outside the Job Box Career Course. These are regular people just like you.

The only difference is that they are all actively working towards launching new careers as home-based career consultants and workshop leaders.

On Tuesday, March 31, you’re invited to a free 60-minute telephone seminar on which you’ll hear me interview Steve Coxsey, Janice Bennett and Laurie Cauthen as we talk about what it takes to get started helping other people discover their true calling. You’ll get to learn first-hand how three regular people are turning their knack for brainstorming and for thinking “outside the job box” into an exciting entrepreneurial opportunity!

Steve, Janice, and Laurie promise to share valuable advice, insight, and lessons useful to ANYONE looking to change course — regardless of where your own entrepreneurial path may lead you.

Sign Up Right Now To Join This Free 60 Minute Call on
Tuesday, March 31 at 8:00pm Eastern Time


On this free 60-minute telephone seminar, you’ll discover:

~ How you can turn your passion of helping others discover their out of the box careers into a business.

~ What are the tools, tips and tricks you’ve discovered along the way to help you find your own passion.

~ Pro’s and con’s of starting your own business in this down economy.

~ Why you don’t even need to leave home to start your business of being an “Outside of the Job Box Career Expert.”

~ Tips for creating a track record when you’re just starting out. (This is valuable information for any new entrepreneur!)

~ How new business owners can avoid the “expert trap.”

~ Valerie’s “Leapfrog Strategy” of how you can take your passion and turn it into a business.

~ What type of things you will need and how to get started for a lot less money than you think.

~ How you can design your career practice around your personality and fit it into your life style, not the other way around.

~ Strategies for taking that leap of finally doing what you love and moving full force to help others find their true passion and gifts.

Again, go here now to register for the call this coming TUESDAY, March 31 at 8:00pm Eastern:

In the words of J.K. Rowling, “It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” What choice will you make today in the service of YOUR dream of changing course to work at something you love?

I look forward to “seeing” on Tuesday!

To Your Dreams,

Valerie Young

Founder and Dreamer in Residence at Changing Course and Career Change Expert for People Who Want To Do Their Own Thing

P.S. If you love the idea of finding your calling by helping others find theirs, then you just CANNOT miss this call. There’s no cost to participate in this 60-minute telephone seminar except your normal long distance charges.

P.P.S. We only have 200 lines available for this call and we expect to fill them all. If you are inspired by the real life stories of real people who are actively following their entrepreneurial dreams, then I urge you not to delay. Register for the call now at:

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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...

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