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Update 3: Find Your Calling By Helping Others Find Theirs

Answers To Your FAQs About The “Outside the Job Box” Career Consultant Certification Program & An Important Date Change

If you caught last Friday’s issue (March 7th) of the Changing Course newsletter then you already saw the video where previous attendees in the Outside the Job Box Career Consultant Certification program talked about their experience.

If you missed this newsletter and want to watch the video click here now:

http://ChangingCourse.com/archives/issue179.html

Apparently, their enthusiasm was contagious because ever since then there’s been a flood of interest from people who love the idea of getting paid to help people brainstorm interesting ways to turn their interests into income. Naturally, I’m also getting loads of questions.

I started to reply to everyone personally. But then it just got out of control. So I decided the smarter thing would be to use a FAQ (frequently asked questions) format and post them here at the blog. That way you can post additional questions or comments. I’ll do my best to respond within 24 hours.

I highly recommend you read through the FAQs before the registration period begins at the end of this week. You’ll have a lot of the information you need to make an informed decision whether this program is right for you.

I’ll warn you in advance – some of my answers to your most Burning Questions are on a little long. But I’d rather err on the side of giving you more information than less.

NOTE IMPORTANT DATE CHANGE

Northampton, Massachusetts is a college town and tourist destination. The interest in this live Certification program has exceeded all expectations. Which is great but it also got me worried that there may not be enough hotel room capacity over what is turning into very busy tourist weekend…

So the training dates have moved up one day.

The Certification Program will begin on SUNDAY, May 4th and run through THURSDAY, May 8th. My apologies for any inconvenience or confusion!

Hold the Date! Free Live Teleclass!

On Thursday March 13th you’ll get to hear current and previous attendees talk about their experience in a live Teleclass.

Morning Teleclass: 10:00-11:00 a.m. Eastern
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Evening Teleclass: 8:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

To your dreams,

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence
www.ChangingCourse.com

Burning Question #1

“I love the idea of helping people in their careers (and would also like to work with other coaching goals as well). What attracted me to your program is the level of support you will provide. What scared me about the form was the specific information you wanted (e.g., number of clients, annual income goals, etc) – I just haven’t gotten that far yet (and feel like I need some help sorting all that out). So the primary question I want to ask you is if this training is geared towards people who are a little farther along in the business development process than I am?” Elizabeth

ANSWER

You do NOT need to have any previous business experience to qualify for this training program or business. In fact 90 percent of past program participants had NO previous experience. What they did have – and what you will need — is a passion for helping, for creative brainstorming, for making a living without a job and for helping others discover how to do the same.

The form Elizabeth was referring to is Pre-Qualification and Needs Survey. I amended the survey to make it clear that there are no “right” or “wrong” answers to any of the questions!

So if you have not yet completed the survey – or you started and got overwhelmed –please don’t stress out over questions like whether you already do coaching or currently have a website. You do NOT need either previous coaching/business experience or a website to qualify or to succeed in this program.

Also don’t get hung up on the questions about how many clients you think you’d like to have in a week… your financial goals… whether you’d like to work with clients over the phone or in person… niche markets you might like to work with… and so on. These are exactly the kinds of questions you’ll get a chance to really hone in on during the Certification program itself. Believe me… by the end of the Certification you will be crystal clear on all of these questions and more.

For now these questions are as much for YOU as they are for me. Part of your work as an Outside the Job Box Career Consultant is encouraging your clients to create work AND a life they love… I’m hoping you will use these questions as an opportunity to start imagining what you would like YOUR future life to look like as well.

Once you sign up to be on the First in Line priority notification list you will automatically receive an email with a special link to the survey. If you are not yet on the list you may do so now at:

http://ChangingCourse.com/firstinline.htm

Burning Question #2

“How do you get people to pay for this service?”

ANSWER

Honestly, I’m not sure if the questioner is asking, “How do you convince someone that your services are worth paying for” which is a marketing question. Or whether it literally means, “Considering that these consultations occur over the phone,  are do clients pay by cash, check or credit card”?

I already covered the marketing question in the March 1 Certification Update which you can jump to now if you like. So let me come at this question from the nuts and bolts “How do I receive payment?” perspective.

As part of the Certification, web guru Lisa Tarrant will be on hand to help you set up a merchant account so you can accept payment via credit card. You will also get an Intake Script to use when a prospective client calls. Talking about money makes some consultants uncomfortable. The script explains exactly how and when to ask for and process a client’s credit card payment.

Essentially people give you their credit card information at the time they book an appointment. However, the consulting fee is not charged to the client until after the consulting session. In other words, you would never pre-bill for services that have not yet occurred. Once you process the credit card your consulting fee is automatically deposited into your bank account. (That’s my favorite part!)

Burning Question #3

“I have done traditional career counseling in the past and found that I didn’t enjoy working with groups of people. I prefer the one-on-one counseling. To be successful at coaching, however, it seems like a great advantage to work with groups. Is it possible to be successful without doing workshops and training sessions?” Laurie

ANSWER

Yes! It is not at all necessary to do group work to be an Outside the Job Box Career Consultant. I do one big workshop a year – all of my other consulting work on this topic is done with individual clients.

While you can certainly apply what you learn to a workshop setting, the Certification is all about working with individual clients. Most people prefer working with someone who offers a one-to-one approach because the time is 100 percent dedicated to them, their passions and goals. Working one-to-one also means you get to work with more people because there is no travel involved for the client.

Since the consultations are conducted over the phone your client can be from anywhere in the country – indeed in the world. Which leads me to the next…


Burning Question #4

I’ve already heard from people from as far away as France, England, and the Bahamas. Armelle asks, “Does your program work only for working in the US, or is it global enough for people from Europe to benefit?”

ANSWER

The yearning for freedom, control, and satisfaction are truly universal. Fortunately, not only is this the kind of business you can run from anywhere in the world but the tools and techniques you’ll be learning really can work anywhere! I have personally worked with clients from Great Britain, Italy, Pakistan, Spain, and Australia.

And I’m sure my international friends have thought about this already but with the dollar the way it is right now this program will be a steal for attendees traveling in from abroad.

If your goal is to reach an international audience, there are lots of sites around the world looking for fresh content. Some in some unexpected places… like Fred Ouma’s article “Are you bored by your work” that appeared at a site called The New Vision which promotes itself as Uganda’s largest website (http://www.newvision.co.ug). Contributing articles to sites and publications like this isa great way to become internationally known!

How cool would it be for the U.S. and Canadian consultants to team up with the international consultants to offer some kind of “live your dreams” tour and retreat for people who love to travel!

Burning Question #5

“I am a 69 year old wanna-be. I currently work [at a job] and need to “retire” to my own business. Would you advise someone in my age group to consider the program?” Myra

ANSWER

Age is really not a factor in your ability to do this kind of consulting work or to be successful.

Without knowing you and going “just” on age though I would suggest you consider “riding the horse in the direction the horse is going.” What I mean by that is you might specialize in working with people over 60 who are either retired, semi-retired, or fully retired but need or want to continue to generate an income but are sick and tired of having a traditional job. You would have a lot more credibility in this niche than someone who is 30, 40, 50…

I would offer this same advice to someone in their twenties or thirties. Several people in this year’s Certification program plan to target other young people who want to ditch their job-job for more a more satisfying livelihood and more freedom.

Burning Question #6

“I am interested in how some of the previous graduates of the course are doing with their own businesses.” Jan

ANSWER

Previous program graduates are in different places depending on two things — their interests and how much time and energy they’ve put into developing their businesses.

From the “class of 2006” for example, one person has written a book aimed at his niche market (attorneys) and created over 300 podcasts with career change experts… Several have launched their own online newsletters… Some are leading workshops while others are focusing exclusively on individual clients.

One Canadian consultant has just returned from a Florida meeting with a mastermind group she has joined with other entrepreneurs… Still another quit her job as a school teacher, enrolled in a six week course in black and white photography in Maine and is moving to the mountains of North Carolina to pursue two income streams – photography and career consulting.

The current Certification program is still in progress. Everyone is pretty much where I would expect them to be. They are working on their web sites and their marketing plans.Everyone has completed at least one practice session with actual clients – some have conducted two or three practice sessions.

Here are just a few of the many testimonials people enrolled in the current Certification class have received from their practice clients:

“Arthurine-you are a truly gifted and amazing Outside the Job Box career consultant!  I deeply appreciate my consultation, and I am looking forward to moving forward to some of the ideas you gave me.  Thanks a million!!”

I believe Craig really will be good at being a full time consultant, and recommend him to others for a great job. I enjoyed working with him, and look forward to emailing him with my future career expansions!”

“Michelle is great! She has a lot of enthusiasm and that gave me energy. She is very easy to talk with. She also offered some good ideas, and seems to really care about what she is doing.”

“Gail was great. The session was exactly what I’ve been looking for a long time. I’ve met with several career coaches, but this is the first time I felt I got worthwhile feedback. It was a great experience… the process doesn’t consider what you’re good at, but rather what you love. And what could be better than doing what you love and getting paid for it. Gail, I think you’ll be enormously successful in this field.”

Can you imagine what a high it was for these new consultants to get this kind of feedback?!

Most of the consultants in the current class also collaborated with me to record a CD called Advice From the Dream Team II. This is something I will be doing for attendees in the May program as well.

Not only do you get a public forum to pass along on your collective words of wisdom but now you also have your first information product. This is something you can then sell if you like, offer as a free bonus, or otherwise use to promote yourself and your new business.

Some of the people in the current Certification are zooming ahead. One has already filled a four-week program she designed around what she learned in the Certification and another just received her first speaking invitation!

Burning Question #7

“What is the certifying body for this type of certification?”

ANSWER

Changing Course is the certifying body. I am certifying that you understand the Changing Course Formula (TM) and have been trained in my methods and processes.


Burning Question #8

“How much does the Certification cost?”

ANSWER

I am still crunching the numbers so I don’t have a firm answer yet. I have some figures in mind but the reason I haven’t yet totally settled on a final tuition is that there are a lot of “parts” to consider.

Obviously since this is a live event it means there are major costs that were not a factor when pricing the Teleclass version of the Certification. Since I know a lot of people are interested in putting on public seminars themselves, I thought it might be useful to have a better idea of what goes into producing an event like this.

If you’ve ever put on a live workshop then you know that booking five days of meeting space that include morning and afternoon breaks (this is where the hotels make their money!) very quickly runs into thousands of dollars.

But if it means getting to deliver the training in person where I get to work with you – and you with each other – in a much more personal way then is possible with a Teleclass, then to me it’s worth the extra cost.

Another big expense I need to factor is the many thousands of dollars in per participant expenses. This includes things like printing and duplication costs for all of the materials (a very big step-by-step consultant manual, actual client consultations case studies on CD including written transcripts, all of client case studies loaded onto your own MP3 player so you can listen in at the workshop, the entire contents of my Fast Track Tool Kit (http://ChangingCourse.com/fasttrackyourdream.htm) among other things.

The current program includes a lot of marketing training and tools all of which will be included in this live version as well. This training is all about getting where you want to go faster.

To facilitate this business acceleration process, one big and very costly difference between the Teleclass version and this live program is that directly following the training portion of the program that I will be delivering personally, you will receive six months of mentoring with marketing expert Ilise Benun of http://Marketing-Mentor.com

I went into great detail about the marketing mentor portion of the Certification program in a previous post (click here to go there now). Cost wise Ilise normally charges $900 for three months of individual and small group mentoring.

But, to help ensure your rapid success, I’ve arranged for a full six months which means you get $1800 worth of mentoring and training.

You will be working closely with Ilise to identify three achievable marketing goals and then receive the training and mentoring you need to reach them. The importance of this kind of support cannot be underestimated. In fact I thought it was so important that you and Ilise meet in person that I am paying her normal speaking fee and travel expenses to bring her to Northampton to speak to and meet you all personally.

Another big difference between this program and the Teleclass version is that we are going to do much of the work of getting you ready to do business on the internet for you. That means I’ll be hiring internet guru Lisa Tarrant to come in to walk you through setting up your own web site or blog template, registering your domain name, setting you up with a host, and applying for a merchant account so you can process payments by credit card.

In addition I’ve also paid a professional copywriter to create pre-written marketing copy for you and to then work with you to create a personalized bio that works even when you have no previous track record. I’m even paying a photographer several thousands of dollars to be on site to take a professional head shot for your website or blog. (So bring your favorite outfit and colors!)

When you consider the level of support you’re getting it’s like having an entire business handed to you on a silver platter.

I’m also doing something that you just don’t see in the seminar or training business. I’m covering your lodging and meals for five days.

The event is being held at the historic and elegant Hotel Northampton (we’re not talking “budget hotel” here). With the Certification coming during graduation season they’re able to charge premium rates. But you don’t have to worry about that because it’s on my tab.

My brain is pretty full right now, so I know I’m forgetting some things. But hopefully I’ve given you an idea of what some of the major expenses I need to factor into the final price of this training and business development opportunity.

All of these costs I just outlined can be quantified. That’s not the hard part. There are two things that make pricing this particular training more difficult.

For one – and this is significant – you need to understand that I am giving away literally ALL of my intellectual property. And I do mean all. Every technique and process that I have taken a decade to develop is at your disposal to use with your own clients.

For example, if you’ve had a consultation with me you already know that each of my clients receives a password-protected link to a complimentary copy of “Finding Your True Calling: The Handbook for People Who Still Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up.”

This 100-plus eBook is not just a “bonus.” Finding Your True Calling is your client’s pre-work. The pre-work is a way for your clients (and you) to prepare for the consulting session. When you sign on for the Outside the Job Box Career Consulting Training Program you will be granted exclusive usage rights to Finding Your True Calling for 2 full years.

That means for the first two years of your business you can use Finding Your True Calling with as many of your paying clients as you like, as often as you like. The hardcopy version of this book sells on Amazon for $24.95. The electronic version is not available for purchase separately at any price.

However, with your exclusive product licensing agreement you’ll have unlimited access for two full years. Having a tool like this available any time you need it is a great way to kick off your new business and instant credibility.

The marketing tools and support you will receive will be comprehensive. All the handholding and help you’ll get with your web site and blog will save you tons of time and hassles. Getting to use my eBook with your clients for free is great. But all of these things are really just the frosting on the cake.

The CAKE is getting to tap into a decade worth of knowledge and experience about what it takes to help your future clients to turn their interests into income… the incredible store of information and resources I have amassed… and the proven process for working with clients that I have perfected with literally hundreds of clients.

I’m going to be breaking down every nuance of my 5 Step Changing Course Formula ™. Once you master this powerful process you will know exactly what to say and do with your paying clients.

When you stop to think about it you can get marketing and web support just about anywhere. You can have the best marketing plan and the coolest web site in the world. But what are you going to do when you get a live client on the phone? Do you know what to say? Do you have a process? I do. And I’m going to teach it to you.

Sharing with you all of my intellectual property is not the only thing that makes this Certification so hard to price. The other big thing I need to factor in is my time.

Instead of delivering the content every other week for 90 minutes over the phone, for the first time ever, I will be conducting the program in person. That means you’ll be getting lots of individual attention from me.

I love meeting and working with people in this intense way. But frankly its a lot more work on my part. From the time we begin on Sunday, May 3rd at 9:00 a.m. to the big farewell barbeque at my house here in the country on Thursday, May 8th, I will be giving you 110 percent of my time and attention.

I know that for some people the cost will be a make or break thing. I knew when I came up with the idea of a live, five-day intensive that a lot of people would be priced out. And I definitely do not want anyone taking out a second mortgage on their home to pay for this program.

A couple of people indicated on the survey that they thought at $5000 the Certification would be “expensive but still worth it.” Now that you have some insight into what this live program is costing me to put on –and more importantly what you will gain in terms of essentially being handed your own business and then giving you everything you need to ramp it up very, very quickly… I hope you understand that there is just no way I can offer this level of intensive, live training and ongoing support and cover all of your lodging and meals at anywhere near that price. I would go broke.

That is a very long way of saying all I can say on the price right now is that I will have a firm answer this week. I promise to let you know before registration begins so you know what to expect.

In the meantime I do want to point out something you may not have thought of: Even if you are just starting out, you can deduct the cost of this training in 2008 as a legitimate business expense.

It’s true! As far as the IRS is concerned, as long as you are making what they call a “good faith effort” to earn a profit in the future – you can begin deducting any money you invest in building your business right away. And what could be more proof of your intention to succeed then signing on for an extensive training course designed to help launch you into your own profitable business!

Burning Question #9

“Is this really something that someone with no prior experience in career counseling can do?” Elizabeth

ANSWER

Absolutely! I would be really surprised if you did have prior experience doing the kind of non-job career consulting that I do because, frankly, I don’t know anyone else who is doing it!

You do not need a special degree or previous training to do this kind of work. What you are training to do is to brainstorming ways your clients can turn their interests into income.

Before I go any further, there are two things you really need to know right up front.

One, if you’re looking for more traditional career counseling training that incorporates things like skills assessments and personality profiles – this program is definitely not for you. You see, I’m not particularly interested in what a person is “good” at. I mean I’m good at typing and mowing the lawn but that doesn’t mean I want to do either for a living!

This program is NOT about counseling people who want to be a junior accountant, a human resources manager, or a pharmaceutical rep. In fact it has nothing whatsoever to do with the world of job searches, resumes, or interview skills.

Quite the contrary…

Being an Outside the Job Box Career Consultant is all about helping people see all the different ways there are to make a living doing what they love without a “job-job.”

Likewise, this program will not train you to become a general “life coach.” Don’t get me wrong. There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t offer your clients ongoing coaching to help them keep their dream on track. But this program will not train you to be a coach. If that’s what you’re looking for, I can refer you to some excellent coach training programs.

So, what’s the difference between a consultant and a life coach? 

For one, coaches typically work with clients over a period of several months, even years. I work with people on a one-time basis. That’s because I have a laser-like focus on one goal and one goal only. And that is helping my clients generate creative alternatives to working 9-to-5. 

Once again, you may decide to structure your practice to offer multiple sessions (and frankly you’ll make more money if you do). But 99 percent of my clients tell me they got exactly what they needed in just one session.

The other difference between a consultant and a coach is that, generally speaking, the job of a life coach is to guide people to discover their own answers. But the way I see it, if my clients already knew how to make a living doing what they love – they wouldn’t be calling me.

People hire me because they want expert advice. They also want someone who knows about resources for people who want to start a doggie day care or become a motivational speaker or have a flair for home design or become a travel writer…

When you sign on for the Outside of the Job Box Career Consultant Certification Program, you’ll learn how to give your clients the ideas, information, and advice they need to get out of the grind of working for someone else and to profit from their passions.

Again, this course will not teach you to administer and interpret tests and inventories. You won’t be learning about job hunting strategies. And we definitely won’t talk about how to use the Labor Department’s Occupational Handbook.

In a nutshell… this course will prepare you to take a client’s interest in say gardening, dogs, art, or the environment and a) immediately see possible income streams and b) point them to the resources they need to turn a particular interest into a successful small business.

The Career Consulting Skills side of this program will be extensive.

I’ve spent the last decade helping people tap into their deepest desires and work at what they love. Much of what I learned was through trial and error. When you do something for so long, you start to figure out what works, and frankly what doesn’t.

Once you learn all the core concepts as part of the Certification process I will arrange for you to work with several practice clients. This is where you get to practice doing the initial Client Intake, communicating with the client about their pre-work assignment, preparing for the session, using the client’s pre-work to actually conduct the brainstorming session, and doing the follow up.

By far this has been one of the most beneficial aspects of the program because it’s where everything you’ve learned about the Changing Course Formula ™… about where to find information and resources the client needs… and about the techniques for working with clients all come to life. A consultant enrolled in my current Certification program just signed up her first paid client — a referral from a very satisfied practice client!

In addition to getting to try out your new found skills, the practice sessions are also a way for people with no previous experience to establish a track record. That way when a paying client calls you’ll have some real life success stories to share. Plus you walk away from the practice sessions with something worth its weight in gold — client testimonials that you can proudly display on your web site.

Just because I had to learn all of this stuff the hard way doesn’t mean you have to. The Changing Course Outside the Job Box Career Consulting Certification Training Program is designed to give you all of the training, tools, and support you need to effectively consult with clients and to get your first paying client in as little as 4 weeks.

Burning Question #10

“Is there still room in the May class?” Pat

ANSWER

If everything goes as planned it looks like registration for people who are on the First in Line list will begin on Saturday, March 15th.

Registration for the general public will begin two days later on Monday, March 17th.

If you have not yet signed up to receive advance notification you can do that now at:

http://ChangingCourse.com/firstinline.htm

If you want to speak to me directly, feel free to call me at 413-535-5107. And, don’t be surprised when I answer the phone myself – it’s just me and the dog – and he won’t lift a paw around here!

I’d love to hear your questions or comments. I’m especially interested to hear why you feel drawn to do this kind of work… Click on “comments” now to share.


Update 2: Find Your Calling by Helping Others Realize Theirs

What could be more fun than sitting at home (or anywhere in the world really) and brainstorming with people over the telephone about creative ways they could make a living without a job − and actually getting paid to do it! Or running workshops on how to turn interests into income?

I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to know that the work you do makes some small difference in other people’s lives. Helping someone see possibilities, recognize their gifts, and connect the dots so they can turn their interests into income, is something that just comes naturally to me. Maybe it comes naturally to you too.

If you’re a creative thinker, are entrepreneurial, love to brainstorm, and want to get paid to do what comes naturally, then in literally days, you could be running your own business as an “Outside the Job Box Career Consultant.” I’ll show you how.

Like me, you could work from home, brainstorming with people on the phone about creative ways they could turn their passions into profits and work at what they love…

That’s what I do. And I can show you how, step-by-step, you can recreate my success…

…how you can grow a business that capitalizes on your interests and talents… and feeds your spirit while it fills your wallet.

And I’d like to do it in five days this May. That’s right. Five days. 

“This kind of ‘work’ is more than work… the clients really appreciate/enjoy it immensely… there’s such a sense of gratitude from them… and I’m feeling that I’m involved in something so big… so sacred… Thanks!”
~ Kelly Williams, Certification Program Participant, 2007

Right now, it takes 16 weeks to go through my Outside-the-Box Career Counselor Certification Program. They don’t feel like long weeks. Actually, they whiz by. But still. That’s four months.

So, the first week in May, I’m going to shave that 16 weeks down to a very intensive five days.

They’re going to be five days with full access to me. Five days when you’ll clear your mind of other distractions. You’ll have my undivided attention and guidance. And together we’ll concentrate on creating and building for you a business that’s both fulfilling… and viable.

A business helping other people make their dreams a reality.

It’s not just my expertise that’s important here. You’ll get to meet and then spend a full six months being personally mentored by Ilise Benun author of The Art of Self-Promotion and four other marketing guides. Together with this internationally known marketing expert you will create and carry out a personalized strategy for generating a steady stream of clients.

Something else happens when you get singularly-focused people together in a room. There’s an energy that builds… and an amazing way that good ideas form, and then get molded and polished and transformed into something even better…

That’s what this immersion program, this “summit” is all about. And I’d like to invite you to be a part of it.

I’m going to teach this group everything I’ve been teaching in my 16-plus week certification program… and more.

Plus the people with me at this summit in May are also going to walk away at the end of these five days with all the initial “hurdles” to starting a business cleared.

And by that I mean: You won’t just walk away with a plan of action for yourself. But you’ll leave with things like a name for your company… business cards… your own Web site domain name and host… marketing copy… a personalized, professional e-mail address… and, well, you get the idea.

You really will be on your way. In five days.

And, too, you’ll be on my radar screen. And on the radar screen of all the other people you meet at this summit.

That’s an invaluable thing. Because when you have people who understand what you want to do, thinking about ways they can help you do it — you have a powerful network for success…

The Spring 2008 Outside the Job Box Career Consultant Certification program will take place Sunday, May 4 through Thursday, May 8th in Northampton, MA.

Over 150 people have asked to be on the First in Line list to receive updates and advance notification of when the registration period will begin. The yearning for freedom, control, and satisfaction are truly universal… I’ve already heard from people from as far away as France, England, and the Bahamas.

Fortunately, not only is this kind of business you can run from anywhere in the world but the tools and techniques you’ll be learning really can work anywhere!

To learn what previous attendees had to say watch the video…

Outside the Job Box Career Certification Video

REGISTRATION INFORMATION: I am planning to open up the registration process at the end of next week.

The 2006 and 2007 Certification classes both sold out. The Spring 2008 program is going to be more personalized, more intense, and more immediately productive than anything else I’ve ever offered. If you have not yet gotten on the “First in Line” list to get updates, including advanced notification of when the registration doors open, you should to do that now:

ChangingCourse.com/firstinline.htm

“This program is a great opportunity for anyone interested in helping othersto change course. It’s something that can put you in business immediately after completion, if you choose. It’s fun, challenging and inspiring. I’m so excited about doing this and full of ideas. Thank you, thank you for giving me all the tools I need to get going.”
~ Barbara van Wickland,Certification Program Participant, 2007 


One Person Who Really Can Change Your Life

I’ll only take a few seconds of your time. If you really are serious about wanting to look in the mirror and see the boss, then there’s someone I really want you to meet… You see, through my work at Changing Course, I’ve met thousands of aspiring self-bossers just like you. I know first-hand that the number one thing that keeps people like you from quitting your soul-sucking j-o-b is you have no idea how to actually make money doing the thing you love.

  Valerie Young with Jeff Walker

  Jeff Walker and Valerie Young

That’s why you must meet marketing guru (and I’m happy to say new friend) Jeff Walker. Jeff not only introduced me to marketing techniques that have – and I am not exaggerating here – literally doubled my income, he also happens to be one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

Jeff is one of the only big internet marketing gurus I know who genuinely cares about the “little guy.”
I cannot remember a time when I’ve been chatting with Jeff at some conference or workshop when someone didn’t come up to say that his program changed their life. I’m talking about people with little business in the crafts market, pets, horse training…

One of his most inspiring success stories is about a guy named John who put his family in debt (we’re talking food stamps here) in his quest to make and market a board game. John was a success at making the game. It was the selling part that bombed. That is, until he met Jeff…

Over the years, Jeff has helped hundreds of regular people to launch small businesses in such diverse niches as health food, knitting, horse training, even business coaching in Poland. And, like you, the overwhelming majority had no previous marketing experience…and I do mean NONE.

I know you want to change course… preferably yesterday! That’s why I’m so excited to have a way for you to “meet” Jeff via a short talk he put together. In this talk he explains why you need to start thinking now about what it will take to succeed – even if you aren’t anywhere near starting your business… or having anything to sell. As you move through the video series he also shares more and more meaty content.

The case studies Jeff shares here, and in the follow up videos, are very real. I know because I’ve personally met and talked to dozens of people who have learned and prospered from Jeff as I have. These are people who have launched very successful small businesses and in a very short period of time were able to replace their salaries. This is not hype. It is fact.

You don’t need to enter your email address to watch the video. It’s free to watch. But you DO NEED to sign up to watch the follow up case studies, which Jeff tells me are even better than the first. If there is any doubt in your mind that it’s really possible to make good money doing work you enjoy, you really do need to watch and learn from my friend Jeff.

The first 1-2 minutes of the video may not make a lot of sense to you unless you’re already familiar with the people and world of internet marketing. But hang in there for some really inspiring “regular Joe and Joanne” make good stories.

Again I highly recommend you continue to watch and learn by signing up to view Jeff’s other case studies. I guarantee they will be eye-opening. Click here to meet Jeff now ChangingCourse.com/recommends/jeff

P.S. Jeff is very upfront about the fact that he’d love you to buy his new product launch training program. I wish there was a way I could impress upon you how much what Jeff has to teach you could help you accelerate your path to entrepreneurial freedom. (Hey, the fact that I’m willing to put this horrible photo of myself out there should tell you that I’m raving fan.) But even if you ultimately decide not to make a purchase, I am confident that you will learn valuable information you can start using right away.

P.P.S. Don’t have a product or service yet? Drop an email to brainstorm@ChangingCourse.com, and I will try to set you up with one, or perhaps a team of Outside the Job Career Consultants, to help you do a little creative brainstorming on how to turn your interests into one or more viable business ideas!


Find Your Calling by Helping Others Realize Theirs

Valerie YoungWhen I left the corporate rat race a decade ago, I did it to take control of my time. My life. But I did it for another reason, too: because I really wanted to feel as if I was doing some good in the world.

It’s not that I’m so incredibly altruistic. It just feels good to do good. It gives you a little high. You help somebody and you feel rewarded.

Now, I feel that sense of satisfaction every day. Plus I get paid for it.

You could too.

If you’re interested in following in my footsteps… you could work from home, brainstorming with people on the phone about creative ways they could turn their passions into profits and work at what they love…

That’s what I do. And I can show you how, step-by-step, you can recreate my success…

…how you can grow a business that capitalizes on your interests and talents… and feeds your
spirit while it fills your wallet.

And I’d like to do it in five days this May. That’s right. Five days.

“This kind of ‘work’ is more than work… the clients really appreciate/enjoy it immensely… there’s such a sense of gratitude from them… and I’m feeling that I’m involved in something so big… so sacred… Thanks!”

~ Kelly W., Certification Program Participant, 2007

Right now, it takes 16 weeks to go through my Outside-the-Box Career
Counselor Certification Program. They don’t feel like long weeks. Actually, they
whiz by. But still. That’s four months.

So the first week in May, I’m going to shave that 16 weeks down to a very intensive five days.

They’re going to be five days with full access to me. Five days when you’ll clear your mind of other distractions. You’ll have my undivided attention and guidance. And together we’ll concentrate on creating and building for you a business that’s both fulfilling… and viable.

A business helping other people make their dreams a reality.

It’s not just my expertise that’s important here. Something happens when you get singularly-focused people together in a room. There’s an energy that builds… and an amazing way that good ideas form, and then get molded and polished and transformed into something even better…

That’s what this immersion program, this “summit” is all about. And I’d like to invite you to be a part of it.

I’m going to teach this group everything I’ve been teaching in my 16-plus week certification program… and more.

Plus the people with me at this summit in May are also going to walk away at the end of these five days with all the initial “hurdles” to starting a business cleared.

And by that I mean: You won’t just walk away with a plan of action for yourself. But you’ll leave with things like a name for your company… business cards… your own Web site domain name… a personalized, professional e-mail address… and, well, you get the idea.

You really will be on your way. In five days.

And, too, you’ll be on my radar screen. And on the radar screen of all the other people you meet at this summit.

That’s an invaluable thing. Because when you have people who understand what you want to do thinking about ways they can help you do it — you have a powerful network for success…

I’m really still working out the details about this event. I do know it’s going to be more personalized, more intense, and more immediately productive than anything else I’ve ever offered. And to be honest, I haven’t even put a price tag on it yet.

I’ve created a First-in-Line List — and I’ll be sending updates to the folks on it, letting them know how it’s shaping up. (To put your name on it, go here: ChangingCourse.com/firstinline.htm)

And, naturally, I’ll let the people on that list know first when I’ll be opening the doors to registration. (Sometime in the next few weeks — just as soon as I’ve got everything finalized.)

I’m not sure yet how many people I’ll be able to take — somewhere between 15 and 20 I think. Quite possibly fewer.

In any event, it’s going to be first-come, first-served. And I suspect the seats are going to go fast.

If you’d like to have first dibs at a spot — and ongoing updates about the program — put your name on the First-in-Line List here: ChangingCourse.com/firstinline.htm


Follow the Trends to Find a Profitable Business Idea

Looking for an inspiring or innovative business idea? One surefire place to look is to trends. Depending on your interests it might be trends related to the U.S. housing market, global warning, parenting, fitness, food, pets, technology, travel, dating, sports… the options are really limitless.

Today we’re going to look at three examples of how entrepreneurs benefit from the trend of safety. As you will see, each one is connected to the safety trend in a very different way.

Trend #1 Back to Basics With Wooden Toys

If a year ago I had told you wood-working types that you could run a successful business building simple wooden toys you would have said I was nuts. But with millions of recalled toys manufactured in China containing lead paint and other dangerous chemicals, the makers of domestic wooden toys were swamped with holiday orders.

Ron Voake operates Vermont Wooden Toys (VermontWoodenToys.com) out of his home in Norwich, Vermont. His company makes over 135 different kinds of wooden toys from “riding size” fire trucks to doll carriages to blocks. According to an article in the New York Times, wooden toy makers like Ron can barely keep up and are hiring extra employees. “Every time there was a story about a recall,” said the 61-year-old Voake, “I got flooded with orders.”

Voake isn’t the only toymaker to benefit from the trend toward safe toys. Mark Rainville of Maple Landmark Woodcraft (MapleLandmark.com) in Middlebury, Vermont was also deluged with orders. With toy orders up 60 percent in the last quarter of 2007, he and his holiday staff of 45 were working 16-hour days. It’s clear from his company’s Web site that Mark is seizing on other current trends like the buy local movement and environmental responsibility. And speaking of the environment…

Trend #2: Safe Water and a Cleaner Environment

When Stacey Griffin graduated from Tulane School of Social Work in 1995 she was more interested in healing kids than the environment. Five years later she opened a psychiatric facility for low-income children and adolescents (MilestonesMHA.com) in New Orleans. Then she lost it all to hurricane Katrina. Safe, clean drinking water was just one of the many problems in flood ravaged New Orleans.

During the time she was rebuilding her staff and agency, Stacey got an idea from her then 3-year-old daughter who had a strong preference for juice boxes over water bottles. Why not package drinking water in juice boxes?

Initially she was discouraged to find that two other companies were doing it. When she looked closer, though, she found that one specialized in disaster relief and the other geared their product to kids. That left a huge unfilled niche – environmentally responsible people like me who hate the wastefulness of creating, shipping, and then land-filling plastic water bottles.

Stacey started Aqua2Go in 2006. She got a lot of help from her husband who worked on the business in addition to his full-time job. Things really took off when Ellen DeGeneres featured Stacey’s water boxes on her show. The very next morning a big merchant who Stacey had been working hard to contact called her at her home. Today Aqua2Go is in selected Target department stores, Winn Dixie super markets, Whole Foods in Louisiana, and other major retailers. (I plan to print out info about Aqua2Go at WaterOnTheGo.com and present it to manager of my local Whole Foods store.)

Every day 40 million plastic water bottles go into the trash or becoming litter (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5279230), putting a huge a burden on local landfills. Some communities like San Francisco have responded by banning city departments from buying bottled water for their offices. This trend toward municipal bans, the need for safe drinking water on the go, and a growing awareness about global warming all point to continued success for entrepreneurs like Stacey.

Trend #3 All Natural Products for Kids

This next example comes from Kristen Bassick of Stuff4Sprouts.com. Like Stacey, Kristen’s business idea was also inspired by her children. In Kristen’s case it was to find a natural way to treat the persistent dry skin of her own children, or little “sprouts” as she likes to call them.

So at the urging of her husband who was throwing money at products that didn’t work, Kristen decided to start her own line of kids’ skin care products formulated without using nut oils, animal products, paraben-based preservatives (to which some people are allergic), soy, artificial colors, or chemical fillers. Her company’s promise also serves as her motto: To produce products with “Nothing weird.  Nothing gross.  Just good stuff for dry skin.”

My Canadian friends who love the idea of all natural products for kids and prefer to shop local should check out an online company in the Toronto area called ParentingByNature.com. In addition to a wide range of products like an organic baby skin care line and cloth diapers they also carry wooden toys!

I love Canada but I have a soft spot for Kristen’s business because she is one of the many success stories to come out of my annual Work at What You Love seminar. I’ll let Kim share her progress report in her own words:

I came to the seminar last August unhappy with my “job” and with an idea for a new business venture.  But I was terrified by the idea of building a “business” with employees, and a building, and a manufacturing site…and all that stuff that just seemed like more than I wanted to take on.

Sitting there listening to all of the stories of micro-business owners, who didn’t have a “job” and didn’t have what I had initially thought that a “business” would need to be, opened my eyes to what was possible.

I launched my company in September after two years of putting all of the pieces into place.  Manufacturing is outsourced, distribution will be soon.  I work from my home office, available for all of the things in my actual life that demand my presence.

I was lucky to be on the receiving end of a well-timed downsizing/severance at my corporate job and now have the chance to move Stuff for Sprouts to the next level. Life is good and my new jobless job is so completely cool I just had to share!

I said I was going to share three business ideas but there is actually one more safety-related trend worth mentioning. This one is actually not a new trend. In fact, it’s been kicking around for quite some time. I call…

Safety Trend #4: Thinking Up New Excuses For Staying Stuck

There’s nothing safer than staying miserably where you are. And one of the best ways to play it safe is to come up with a litany of excuses about why dream making is always easier for the next person.

Admit it. How many of you zeroed in on the line about Kristen’s well-timed severance package and thought, “Hey, I could start my own business too if I had money coming in from a severance package!” Maybe you would and maybe you wouldn’t. But did you also see the line about spending two years putting all the pieces into place?

I’ve worked with my share of desperate people who had a full year to find and work on a business idea but waited until they had one month of severance pay left to call in full out panic mode because they were going to have to find another j-o-b. There are plenty of other people out there with either the time or the money to start their own thing – but because they are too afraid, or they lack confidence, or they don’t know where to begin, or all of the above, they do nothing. Kristen did something.

As Shirley Hufstedler said, “If you play it safe in life, you’ve decided that you don’t want to grow anymore.” If you are tired of contributing to the negative trend of coming up with reasons why you can’t leave your safe but ultimately soul-sucking job then do this one small thing. Get yourself a small notebook and label it Trends = Ideas. Then start actively being on the lookout for the thousands of trends that can be the catalyst to your brilliant business idea.

One you have an idea, take a step. Any step. Once you get the entrepreneurial ball rolling, it’s hard to stop. Besides, as Hufstedler put it, “Security is not the meaning of my life. Great opportunities are worth the risks.”


Tools to Help You Go From Creating Debt to Creating Dreams

Valerie Young and her wonder dog, By Valerie Young 

This article originally appeared in Issue 173 of the Changing Course Newsletter

The traditional kick-off to the holiday shopping season in the U.S. is Thanksgiving. This year ads started popping up before Halloween.

It’s been said that holiday debt is the gift that keeps on taking. According to a survey done last year by Consumer Reports, the average bill for holiday shoppers using credit cards to buy gifts will be $626. The average American household carries $9,000 in credit card debt throughout the year and then holiday debt gets piled on top of that.

A big question for anyone looking to ditch their job and join the ranks of the self-employed is, “How can I afford to change course?” And if you’re drowning in debt, the thought of being able to strike out on your own feels all the more impossible. There are all kinds of books and other programs out there to help you get out of debt and/or create prosperity. Over the last year and a half or so I’ve had the opportunity to cross paths with a number of authorities in the field. Each offers a different take on the money theme… finding it, keeping it, and managing it.

If you need to get your financial house in order before you can change course, here are a few people and resources I believe are worth checking out.

First Things First

I first told you about Joan back in 2006. What makes Joan’s story so compelling is that she spent most of her adult life in a pattern of under earning and compulsive debting. After her two brothers tired of bailing her out, Joan discovered the 12-step program Debtors Anonymous (DebtorsAnonymous.org). It worked she says, for a while.

After building a successful business she once again ended up in serious debt forcing her to close her business and declare bankruptcy. Eight years later, at age fifty-six, Joan relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico with a mere $200 in her pocket. Losing her business propelled Joan to learn more about her financial dysfunction by digging deeper to untangle the deep emotions and family issues associated with money.

Today Joan uses what she’s learned to help others who are similarly stuck in unproductive money patterns. Her money self-help manual, Building Your Financial Muscles, contains exercises and resources for people who are searching for a way to relieve financial pressures and change the way they deal with money. Joan also offers a number of different audio programs with titles like, “Let Go of the Aloneness” and “Discovering Your Core Financial Issues.” More recently she’s expanded into tools specifically for entrepreneurs with a CD/workbook set called, “Marketing Your Micro-Business.”

Another new addition is a facilitator kit for people who want to run support groups for others struggling to become financially healthy. Right now the facilitator kit costs $89 . If you get ten participants and each pays up to $20 per meeting then you can earn $200 per meeting. To learn about Joan and her unique approach to financial health go to ChangingCourse.com/recommends/prosperityplace

Living Debt Free

Whether you are drowning in debt, or just love the idea of living debt free, you should get to know the work of a fellow named Leo Quinn. I had the pleasure of meeting Leo last June at a workshop I attended in Denver. I discovered over breakfast one day that not only was he one of the event speakers, but with 27,000 loyal subscribers, he’s also a well-respected expert in the debt-elimination field. In fact, Leo had been doing this work long before the Internet boomed.

His most popular program is called “How to Own Your Paycheck Again.” Just to be clear, if you are not able to pay your bills or are teetering on bankruptcy, this is not the program for you. Leo specializes in working with people who want to get rid of their debt so they can live on less, retire early, or just generally spend less time working and more time doing the things they want to do. Personally what I like about it is that you can take the money you would have used to pay your credit cards or mortgage and apply that to your new business.

Normally “How to Own Your Paycheck Again” costs $97. But when I called Leo for this article he offered to extend a special $50 discount for Changing Course readers when you order before November 21st. With an iron-clad money-back guarantee you have nothing to lose but your debt. Learn more at ChangingCourse.com/recommends/leoquinn

Goodbye Boss, Hello Kids

“In the middle of difficulty,” observed Albert Einstein, “lies opportunity.” Some of the best opportunities often originate from problems – either yours or someone else’s. One of the all too common problems that savvy savings expert Darlene Arechederra saw was that of two-income families in which one of the parents (usually the mom) wants to stay home with the kids but can’t afford to. Knowing that nothing is impossible if you know what you’re doing, Dar developed a self-help program called Goodbye Boss, Hello Kids.

For the same reason my site is called Changing Course and not Jump off a Bridge, Dar talks about the need to create a transition strategy, or a “bridge” as she calls it, from where you are to where you want to be – which in this case is home with the kids. A few of the lessons working parents receive in this 10-minute a day course include Finding Money to Grow Your Coming Home Account, Eliminating One of the Biggest Expenses for Working Women, Strategies To Help You Come Home Sooner, and How Bosses and Co-Workers Can Speed Up Your Journey Home. Learn more at AffordtoStayHome.com.

Creating Money for Your Small Business

What if you don’t have kids or just want to escape your job-job to work at what you love? Well, in addition to helping her clients to “unearth potential home business ideas that make their heart sing,” Dar also helps future home business owners create the money they’ll need for their cottage industry or home business. (Fast Track members be sure to log into the Money Matters section of FastTrackHeadquarters.com to find Dar’s “5 Must-Know Secrets to Creating Money for Your Dream” in the current Money Matters e-Tip. It’s a must read for anyone who needs to find the money to jumpstart that great business idea.)  

I came to know Dar when she enrolled in my 2006 Outside the Job Box Career Consulting Certification Program. Initially I was fascinated by her expertise in helping women specifically and people in general become financially savvy enough to jumpstart a small business. But what really intrigued me is that Dar is an introvert training for a career in a field you would think would better suit someone who is more outgoing. But like a true entrepreneur, Dar has turned what some might consider a challenge into an asset by specializing in working with other introverts! She even has a free blog called CreativeCareersForIntroverts.com. Now how smart is that?!

Journey to Abundance

Finally there is Fast Track Your Dreams member Kamin Bell. Kamin started her professional career as the U.S. Navy’s first female African-American helicopter pilot. She then went on to become a Mary Kay Sales Director and consultant. From here Kamin transitioned to having several small business ventures, the most recent of which is to publish her first book, Journey to Abundance. Kamin sent me a review copy in September and I was genuinely impressed. Using the true story of her own financial ruin, fear, and crisis of faith, Kamin takes you along with her as she discovers the abundance and prosperity God wants for us all. Whether you are Christian by faith, or simply feel guided by a Higher Power as I do, you can not help but feel enriched, encouraged, and informed by Kamin’s story and by the thought-provoking exercises she has designed to set you firmly on your own journey to abundance.” As part of the book’s pre-release Kamin is giving away a free chapter KaminBell.com/abundance

There are many paths to financial well-being and prosperity. As we move into this period of holiday spending take some time to be mindful of the role that money plays in your life. If excessive giving will put you farther into debt perhaps this is the time to realistically assess your finances, your dreams, and how your relationship with money may be serving or undermining your goals of changing the course of your life.


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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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