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The Myth of the Starving Artist


Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

Artists are routinely discouraged from pursuing their passion into adulthood.

In fact, there is perhaps no more occupation that symbolizes popular notions about “unrealistic” careers than that of so-called starving artist.

Certainly there are lots of artists, actors, musicians, and other creative types who take low-paying side jobs while they’re “waiting for their big break.”

Most people who desperately want out of their own low-wage jobs aren’t waiting for anything other than to hit the lottery. Yet no one talks about the “starving secretary” or the “starving bus driver.”

These creative types may be waiting… but at least they’re waiting with a purpose! At least they’re showing their art or going on auditions or otherwise practicing their craft.

The fact is, you really CAN get paid for your art!

That’s why I’m so excited about this week’s Guest Article by licensed Profiting From Your Passions® expert Linda Tomsho.

An article Linda begins by posing an important and to some perhaps, SHOCKING question…

Namely, are you a “HO” or are you a “HO” or a “BO”? I’ll let Linda explain!

Making Money From Your Art
Are You a “HO” or a “BO”?

Guest article by Linda Tomsho

“Being good at business is the most fascinating kind of art.  Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” – Andy Warhol

Every summer I look forward to the Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh’s big art event of the year, where hundreds of artists and performers come to show their best work.

While visiting the Festival, I attended a talk by Rebecca Harris, Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University called “Women Artisans to Entrepreneurs.”

Her point was that many women artists (and men as well, in my experience) neglect the business end of things. “I don’t understand all that business stuff, and I don’t have time for it. I’m an Artist, and if I create great art, people will seek me out.”

If that sounds like you, the question my business coach, Suzanne Evans, would ask you is this…

“Are you a HO or a BO?”

dollarinhandIn other words, are you a Hobby Owner who creates art but doesn’t effectively monetize it?

Or are you a Business Owner, serious about growing your market and making a real living?

Essentially, if you don’t see your art as a business, you’re probably indulging in an expensive hobby instead of creating a viable livelihood.

If you really do want to become a serious working – by which I mean self-employed – artist, then you need to treat your artwork or your crafts or whatever it is that you produce, like a real business.

After all, there’s a lot of competition out there. So if you want to break out of the pack and make a real living doing what you love, you have to leverage your talent with sound business practices – and thinking.

1) Think of yourself as a professional artist – right now

artists palletYou may need to begin by changing your mindset about who you are and what you do.

Even if you’re still paying the bills by waiting tables or telemarketing, you need to define yourself as an artist and therefore as the owner of an art business.

That means you should be studying everything you can find about how to succeed in your industry. For example, how to get your work into galleries or how to sell on Etsy…

Depending on what kind of art you create, you should be educating yourself about the lucrative world of art licensing.

You also need to have a website and a social media presence.

Finally, you should always be thinking about building your portfolio and actively looking for opportunities to promote yourself and your work. That means networking at least once a week and attending events where you can expand your connections.

2) Don’t quit your day job (yet)

laptop-insideworkingObviously the plan is that someday your art will earn enough to support you. But the fact is, most artists or performers I know who are on their way up have a day job.

Maybe you have what career coach and author Barbara Sher calls the “Good-Enough Job” – a job that 1) isn’t toxic and 2) doesn’t demand more than 40 hours a week.

In other words, you can support yourself without getting stressed out and still have time to work on your goals. Or you can have a side gig that pays the bills.

Either way, if you can think of your j-o-b as a “business loan” for your art business it will make it more tolerable!

3) Always be looking for multiple income streams

manwithlightbulbSomething that you enjoy doing that hopefully fits in with your creative work and what you want your life to look like. You could offer lessons to others… start a podcast… write a book… or sell your work to a greeting card company.

Use your imagination!

Start small with just one or two “alternative profit centers,” then add more if you want to. If one doesn’t work out, you can always bag it and try something else!

4) Create your personal brand

What do you want to be known for? What’s your niche?

You could be like Linda Barnicott, a pastel artist whose claim to fame is beautiful nostalgic paintings of Pittsburgh scenes.

Or you might become famous as the photographer who creates those distinctive images of newborn babies, post-industrial landscapes, or maybe even dressed-up Weimaraners (it worked for William Wegman!).

When you have a recognizable brand or niche, you become more memorable.

Linda Tomsho headshotLinda Tomsho is the CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of Different Drummer Coaching. As a licensed Profiting From Your Passions® coach, she helps clients connect the dots between their interests, skills, and experience to discover their “right livelihood,” then guides them through the process of starting their own business using Valerie Young’s “Life First, Work Second” philosophy.

Linda started her career in the corporate marketing world but soon realized the cubicle life was not for her. Being a self-bosser allows her the freedom to pursue multiple passions including blogging about movies, writing, dog rescue, cooking, travel, and curating her eclectic collections.

Linda lives near Pittsburgh with her husband Matthew and canine companions Bijou and Zelda. She is the mother of 3 adult children, each following a unique path of their own.

As a cancer survivor, Linda understands the importance of making the most of our time on this earth. If you dream of creating a life that suits you and working at something you love, don’t waste another minute!

Visit her at Different Drummer Coaching, and to book your FREE 30-minute Discovery Session, send an email to with your phone number, time zone, and best time to reach you.

14 Ways to Craft a New International Career

Hong Kong Old Pagoda And New SkyscrapersI recently became a contributor to this wonderful publication that’s 100 percent dedicated to help aspiring self-bossers like you find portable streams of income and other ways to fund your international lifestyle.

What if you could live and work in Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong or another bustling international hub?

Or perhaps working from a quaint villa in the Italian country side or an island bungalow is more your thing?

If so, I have some fabulous resources to get you there faster!

  1. International Living magazine

    International Living magazine is one of the best resources if you’re really serious about moving overseas. In each issue they detail in-depth information on moving or retiring overseas, making money, saving money and learning all the ins and outs on buying property abroad. You’ll also hear from expats who have already made the move.

  2. Incomes Abroad

    I recently became a contributor to this wonderful publication. What I love about it is it’s 100 percent dedicated to help aspiring self-bossers like you find portable as well as on-location ways to fund your international lifestyle.

    If you muse about the day you can leave the stress of the rat race behind, grab control of your life, and head off on an adventure abroad – with an income that went with you…  with Incomes Abroad to guide you, that day could be a lot sooner than you think.

  3. International Career Coach Dominika Miernik

    It can be hard enough to land a satisfying (or any) job or start a business if you’re a native. Being an ex-pat is even trickier.

    That’s where having an experienced career coach can definitely help. Like the multi-talented and multi-lingual Dominika Miernik.

    Originally from Poland, Dominika lived and worked for many years in the UK. Today she operates her own successful career coaching practice in Rome where she specializes in working with ex-pats.

    And if self-employment is your thing, Dominika is also a licensed Profiting From Your Passions® business idea generator.

Either way, Dominika has generously offered to share nine of our 14 ways to launch your international career — and life.

Guest Article

9 Ways to Launch Your International Career

by Dominika Miernik

In our increasingly global economy more people than ever are choosing to live and work in another country. There are lots of reasons my clients decided to chart a new international career and life.

What about you?

Maybe you’d love to start your own business or create a portable business you can run from anywhere.

Or maybe after spending years in a 9-to-5 job you’re looking to really shake up your life with a new career in a strikingly different location.

Then again for you, an international move may be a necessity. For instance, despite having much to offer opportunities may be limited in your own country. Or, perhaps your partner was transferred overseas and now you need to craft a new livelihood as well.

Regardless of the reason for an international career move, the question is always the same: How do I start this new journey?

Here are nine simple steps to help you to plan your international career.

  1.  Plan, Plan, Plan

First and most important, prepare an action plan. To begin, take some time to reflect and ask yourself:

  • How would I like my life to be?
  • What would I like my international career or business to look like?
  • What are my personal, professional and financial goals?
  • What do I really want?

Then write down a random list of steps which you can take to achieve your goals.

For example, if you are thinking of swapping to a part-time job and work on your business simultaneously, you may first want to speak with your boss or manager to discuss this possibility.

At the same time, you’ll want to prioritize your goals by giving each one a deadline. For instance, when exactly will you speak with your boss?

Solid plans will give you clarity and guide you to your vision.

  1. Do your research

Who What Why When Where Signpost Showing Confusion Brainstorming And ResearchStop for a moment and think about your background. What do you have to offer to a new employer or the market? What are you good at?

If you want to get a job, search for companies you’d like to work for in the location you want to live.

If you’re looking to start a business, explore your business idea including the practicalities of being your own boss abroad. For example, check whether or not your visa or work permit limits your options for starting a business.

Analyze the local business sector to identify your clients or customers. Are there natural partners you can tap for collaboration or cross-promotion? Who are you your local competitors?

  1. 3 Get visible and make contacts

Explore international networking groups. They’re a great way to make new contacts, learn about the country and local culture, and learn the language.

Networking is also a great way to develop contacts that can lead to a job or new clients or customers. Just be sure to resist the temptation to tell the people you meet that you’re looking for a job as it can put them on defense. Instead, say you’re open to new international opportunities, share your future vision, and ask them about their own careers and strategy.

If you want to start a business abroad, look for local business networking opportunities and join in. You’ll also find plenty of entrepreneurs to connect with offline and online.

Once again, show interest in their business and ask lots of questions.

  1. Expat yourself as an international assignee

When possible, get a job with a company in your home country where you know the potential exists to be sent on an international assignment. Not only can international experience boost your career, but you can get a taste for living abroad at the same time.

Here too, show your interest and willingness to move aboard or work on international projects and ask lots of questions.

  1. Become an entrepreneurial expat

If you’re already working at an international job but dream of being your own boss, know that there’s no one right way to go about starting a business.

For example, you don’t have to give up your full time job and sacrifice your full time pay check right away. Rather you can start small by working at your job during the week and focusing on your business evenings or weekends.

Or you can negotiate a part-time contract and do your business at the same time.

Once you have a business idea make sure it will fit with your desired. If so, then go for it.

  1. Dive in

moneytreeYou can always move abroad and then look for a job when you get there. While this is definitely the most challenging strategy, it’s not impossible.

The key is still to make a plan for each step.

Maybe you saved some money which you can invest to start your new life. If not, then you need to consider your financial commitments and come up with a way to fund the first few months in a new country.

  1. Get a taste for your new career and international home

Before uprooting your entire life, look for ways to test out your new professional path or business idea as well as a new country.

You could for instance, take a three month sabbatical. Depending on your business or business idea, if you are doing actual work while you’re there, it’s possible you could turn this time into a tax-deductible business expense.

Another way to see how you like living abroad is to volunteer there. If you sign up via a registered non-profit you may be able to deduct your travel and living expenses.

Only when you’re there, will you find out if a particular career path and place is right for you.

  1. Get support

Starting an international career, whether it is a traditional job or starting your own business, is exciting. But sometimes it can also be tough.

With any major work life change its easy to lose your energy and motivation. Plus when you’re in a very different culture where you don’t speak the language your self-esteem can decrease quickly.

That’s why you need to surround yourself with people who will support you.

If you don’t have people in your life who support your dream, then shore up your confidence by reading positive stories of others who’ve successfully made the move.

If you’re serious about making a change and need a business or career coach, then start there.

  1. Visualize

Goal Puzzle Shows Business Targets, Objectives And AimsBelieve in yourself and what you can achieve by imagining that you have already turned your dream into reality.

“Seeing” yourself happily living the international life– if even in your minds-eye – can help you gain the courage to leave your comfort zone and reach your professional goals.

These simple steps really can help you start working at what you love and live the global lifestyle you want.

Remember, a good action plan is the first step to success. It will help you keep on track and will automatically motivate you to go further with your career project.

DominikaMiernikInternational Career Coach and licensed Profiting From Your Passions® career expert Dominika Miernik helps multi-passionate expats discover their dreamiest career path or find the perfect business idea so they can live the global lifestyle.

After a decade of living, studying and working internationally Dominika decided to reorganise her life to make work fit into her life instead of the other way around. She draws from her professional experience and psychological training to help her clients create realistic action plans so they can thrive in their international careers. V

Visit to get your FREE career coaching e-course “Clarify Your Career Goals in 3 Days.” Contact Dominika to schedule Free Expat Edge Session to discover how to start working at what you love and fulfill your ambitions.


Two More Resources to Help You Launch Your International Life

Like Dominika said, volunteering can be a great way to get a taste for international living.

Whether you ultimately want to make a living while making a difference – or just want a unique way to get your feet wet – here are two resources to get you started: 

  1. Global Volunteers
    Volunteer vacations are a great way to immerse yourself in another country while helping with local projects.Enter Global Volunteers which organizes one- to three-week volunteer opportunities in Asia (China, India, Vietnam), Europe (Italy, Portugal, Greece, Poland, Romania), North America (Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, St. Lucia, US), South America (Peru and Ecuador), and the Pacific (Cook Islands).

    Volunteer vacations in North America are on the Blackfeet Nation and Crow reservations in Montana.

    Examples of volunteer activities include teaching English at a center for visually-impaired students in Vietnam, joining local efforts to promote girls education or assist with recycling in order to promote eco-tourism in Costa Rica, teaching conversational English in Cuba and Italy, working with at-risk or disabled youth in Greece, and many more.

    You can spend another vacation in a tourist trap. Or you can sign up to make a real difference in someone’s life… yours. All fees, including airfare, are tax deductible for U.S. citizens.

  2. helps you turn your values into your vocation by connecting people who want to do good (idealists) with opportunities for action and collaboration. It has a searchable database of over 100,000 non-profits where you’ll find job postings, volunteer opportunities, internships, events, and more.Site can be accessed in Spanish or French.

Keep the international conversation going! If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be — and why? If you’re not on Facebook just scroll to the bottom of the page to post your answer there.


A Foolproof Way to Make a Tough Decision

Which of these tough calls have you had to make:

Pretty young woman making a decision with arrows and question mark above her head

  • Take the job… or decline and hope for something better
  • Quit a toxic job… or stick it out and pray things gets better
  • Sign up for that great conference or the workshop… or pass this time and hope it comes around again
  • Relocate to a new home or community or country… or stay put

We all need to make major decisions regarding our work lives.

Two years ago I had to make a major work-life decision that had me twirling in circles.

You see most people (including ME) would rather not have to make decisions at all. Decisions make our head hurt.

After all, what if we make the wrong choice? That would really suck!

So instead we try to ignore whatever it is that prompted the need to decide in the first place and hope the whole issue/problem/opportunity just quietly goes away on its own.

Of course the obvious problem with this approach is No Decision = Status Quo.

But as my friend and massively successful business coach Suzanne Evans points out, there’s a far more serious consequence, namely:

“Indecision is a form of self-abuse”

Like I said, two years ago I had to make a tough decision when I was presented with an unexpected opportunity to buy a great house 20 miles south of the great house I already lived in.

I really wasn’t looking to make a move.

And with two major projects in the works, it couldn’t have been a worse time to juggle trying to sell one house and buy another.

All that packing and unpacking… Dealing with renovations at the old house… dealing with renovations at the new house… Time away from my business…

Still though, there was something calling me about this new place.

I loved the view… the closer proximity to the airport… the view… the fact that the house came with an attached apartment… the view… the beautiful neighborhood… the view

And did I mention the view 🙂

True, this new view was incredible. But then again, I really loved this peaceful meadow view from my current home.


I was SO torn!

That’s when I remembered…

If You’re Having A Hard Time Deciding It’s Because Your Heart Is At War With Your Head

heartAll my head could think about was all the work I faced buying and selling a home.

My head reminded me of everything else I had on my plate right now.

When my heart would try to intervene my head would drown it out.  “There will be other houses with nice views Valerie…” And “You can always move when the timing is better.”

Still I felt called to this new home.

The best thing to do was just not think about it at all. Problem solved.

That’s when I realized by ignoring the decision I had in fact made a choice.

By not consciously deciding one way or the other, I was choosing to stay exactly where I was. And that didn’t feel great either.

Like I said, I’m not a fan of self-abuse. So instead I employed a technique I’ve used many times with my own clients who were struggling with indecision.

It’s remarkably simple, and virtually foolproof.

Flip a Coin – Seriously

A hand holding a quarter just about to flip a coin.

To some the suggestion that a flip of the coin should determine the outcome of a major life decision may sound… well, flip.

But I assure you it works. Prove it to yourself. To start think of a decision you need to make. Then…

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Take three really slow, deep breaths
  3. Now focus your emotional attention on all the reasons  you should say no.. Picture the downsides… imagine all the nagging “what-ifs” involving money, fear of failure, fear of success actually happening…
  4. Next focus your emotional attention on the part that excites you… the opportunities it presents… all the things you find so appealing about saying yes…
  5. Imagine how you will feel tomorrow if you say Yes
  6. Next imagine how you will feel tomorrow if you say No
  7. Then picture your life a year from now if you had said Yes
  8. Next picture your life a year from now if you had said No
  9. Open your eyes and flip a coin – heads is Yes; tails is No.
  10. Finally take one more deep breath and tune into your reaction

This last step is critical.

Because no matter how your coin flip turns out I guarantee you are going to have one of two reactions.

Do You Feel Relief? Or Do You Feel Disappointment?


If you feel relieved, then you know for certain in your heart of hearts what’s right for you.

If you feel disappointed, then chances are your head is getting in way.

Disappointment is a signal that you’re allowing fear, self-doubt, and other needless dream busters to rule your life.

No matter what the outcome, keep this in mind:

If you still decide to say No – ask yourself: “Am I okay with wherever I am today being where I am in a month… or a year… or five years… or possibly for the rest of my life?”

The choice my friend is yours.

Either way flip a coin and then follow your heart. It’s always worked for me.

By the way this is the fabulous new view I enjoy from my new house…


I’m half an hour closer to the airport. Plus I renovated the attached apartment and it now generates anywhere from $1,600-$2,400 a month in passive income.

Bliss + Convenience + Cha-Ching!

Shameless Plug

Right this moment, a few of you are trying to make the exciting decision to join a wonderfully international Tribe of like-minded “idea people” for my upcoming Profiting From Your Passions® coach training.

If the answer to the coin flip exercise is YES, consider this a gentle reminder that the Early Bird discount ends today.

If want to change your life and save money, I urge you to register by midnight TONIGHT before the $500 savings plus the other valuable bonuses end.

Is Fear Killing Your Dream?

Comic high angle portrait of a middle-aged businessman with a scThe closer you come to leaving the security of your 9-to-5 job to do your own thing, the greater your level of excitement… and fear.

Anyone who has ever ventured out of their safe little world will tell you they had doubts. Me included.

The thing is, when it comes to making a major life change, not only is a certain amount of fear normal, it’s actually helpful.

After all, there is a reason I named my business and not

The healthy part of fear is what will keep you from quitting your job in a huff before you’ve put some other things in place.

Fortunately, there are ways to deal with fear before it permanently derails your dream of changing course.

Take it S-L-O-W

If you already have a business idea, the best way to manage the fear of venturing out on your own is to start small.

If the thought of just up and quitting your day job frightens you, start building your client base on the side.

Small rapid experiments are better than one huge step.

For instance, instead of dropping six figures on a franchise, you could get a job working for that, or a similar, business to see how you like it.

Or instead of buying a bed and breakfast, try becoming a bed and breakfast sitter.

Begin with low-risk steps and gradually work your way up to the harder stuff.

Laugh in the Face of Fear

Asian woman pointing and laughing at you, closeup portrait.Did I tell you I’m closing my Changing Course business to take a senior level position at a toxic chemical company in New York City? The job pays half what I earn now and requires a horrendous three hour commute.

Do you believe me? Of course not.

The reason you don’t is because the mind rejects that which it considers absurd.

Which makes ridiculing your fears a highly effective technique for managing them. That way, you allow your natural human reaction to absurdity to take over and dismiss them.

Try it yourself. Pick your biggest fear and take it to extremes.

Paralyzed by the fear of failure?

Then picture everyone you ever knew standing outside the homeless shelter you are now forced to live in, holding a sign that reads: “We Told You So!”

Pretty ridiculous, right?

When you realize that your worst-case fantasy is just that − a fantasy – making a proactive change can now feel far more manageable.

Calculate the Risk-Reward

Fear of the unknown keeps far too many people miserably locked in job jail.

It’s why my mantra for the last 20 years has been, information will set you free.

After all, the more you know going into something, the less there is to fear.

At least that’s what the 854+ people who signed up for my recent information-packed Paid to Brainstorm webinar discovered.

The vast majority were there because they were curious about becoming a licensed Profiting From Your Passions® Business Idea Generator.


What they discovered is the program hands “idea people” like them, a proven system to they can use to help future paying clients to connect the dots between:

  1. What they want their life to look
  2. The things they love to do
  3. And ways they can make money doing it.

Still, I know that training for this – or any new career – can trigger another fear: “What if I make the wrong choice?”

I totally get it.

Over the years I’ve had plenty of clients who’ve spent tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on their education only to realize they hate being a nurse, engineer, college professor, electrician….

Not so with my training.

For starters, considering everything you get with the Profiting From Your Passions® program, the cost to attend is surprisingly low. (And it’s even lower if you register soon.)

Still, let’s say you take the course and then decide you’d rather write children’s books and then make money helping others do the same like former student and friend Beau Blackwell did.

skyladderThen the worst case scenario is you’ll have mastered a system to instantly recognize income-generating opportunities – a skill you will use quite literally for the rest of their life.

If you missed the Paid to Brainstorm webinar, you can watch the Replay here.

Just go to now.

Don’t wait long though, because the webinar replay is only available for another two days.

Also, for a very limited time, is your chance to save an additional $250 on the cost of registering for the upcoming Profiting From Your Passions® coach training.

Combine that savings with the Early Bird discount that ends Monday, July 20th and your total savings is $500.


I don’t know about you, but as worse case scenarios go, learning how to turn your interests into income — seems like a pretty low risk for an exceedingly high reward!

The Best Solution of All

Several people who were on the webinar wanted to know the same thing:

How do I get over the fear of starting something new?

If you have the same question I’ll tell you what I told them:

Stop trying. Seriously.

With any change – even positive changes like a new job, relocating, starting a business – you should expect a certain amount of fear to just go with the territory.

So if you’re waiting until you’re no longer afraid to pursue this or any dream — nothing will ever change.

And do you really want look back on your life with a lot of regretful “what ifs…”?

Instead of worrying about the unknown risks, change the question from, “What will happen if I take this leap?” to “What will happen if I do nothing?”

Let’s face it – no matter what your dream – shaking up your life is scary.

As Tom Peters said, “Unless you walk out into the unknown, the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low.”

Remember, courage is not a matter of losing your fear so you can take action; courage comes from taking action. And that, in turn, helps you overcome your fear.

When you can act despite your fear, you will be rewarded many times over.

Life is short my friend. The thing you should be most afraid of, is doing nothing.

Most People Never Even THINK of This

lightbulbRight now 26,584 people subscribe to the Changing Course newsletter.

That alone tells me you probably want to find a way to be your own boss.

That might mean starting a business that can generate enough income to replace your current salary.

Or maybe you just want to supplement your retirement earnings or otherwise start a little side gig.

There’s just one little problem… you need a great idea!

Surprisingly most people fail to see the vast array of opportunities hiding in plain sight.

In fact, all you need to do is follow the trends!

  • Millennials are driving cars far less often than previous generations
  • More women are traveling internationally their own
  • Aging baby boomers… the so-called “silver tsunami”

Whenever something is increasing or decreasing in significant observable ways… you’ve got yourself a trend.

A trend that, IF you pay attention, can lead to an opportunity to make money doing what you love!

Here are three examples to get your wheels turning and kick your transition into self-bossing into high gear!

Trend #1 Rise in tainted imports

In a world where 3-year-olds play video games on their parent’s devices, it seems unlikely that the simple wooden toys of my youth would make a come-back.

But then a few years ago millions of toys manufactured in China were recalled due to lead paint and other dangerous chemicals.

Couple that crisis with the growing trend about product safety and voila!

Opportunity Knocks

planeAccording to an article in the New York Times, home-based wooden toy makers like Ron Voake of Vermont Wooden Toys 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.”

Trend #2 Increasing Interest in All-Natural Products

Even when a product is considered safe, an increasing number of consumers are gravitating to organic and all-natural products.

Opportunity Knocks

Canadian parents and grandparents seeking all natural products can shop online at a family-business called by

Started in 2004 by mother of three and long-time cloth diaper advocate Tamara Champion, the site sells a wide range of products like organic baby skin care line, cloth diapers… and wooden toys!

A big attraction for those who create or re-sell natural products is consumers will pay a premium for them.

auntieelsielogoI recently dropped $6 on a small package of Aunt Elsie’s Cookies at my local farmer’s market.

I did it despite my working class sensibilities saying, “Six bucks! Are you nuts?!”

So why did I buy? Because…

a) I like to support local entrepreneurs

b) I prefer all-natural, non-processed foods

c) They were a gift for my Dad,

d) I was really hungry… so sorry Dad

When I asked Aunt Elsie why she decided to start her business, her answer spoke directly to another trend… and opportunity!

Trend #3 People who want to do work that pays the bills… and feeds their soul

On Saturday I’m doing a live encore of an information-packed webinar for “idea people” called Paid to Brainstorm.

There’s a section of the webinar titled:

“Why Helping People Think Outside the Job Box Is the Next BIG Wave”

How can I make such a bold claim?

Because of the sheer number of trends that support it. Like the fact that:

  • half of survey respondents rated having a job they enjoy as “extremely important.”

  • 57 percent of Canadian women said they dream of launching a business doing “something they love.” (Bank of Montreal)

  • baby boomers aged 55 to 64 represent the most significant spike in people starting their own businesses in the US and Canada

There are SO many trends to support this claim that I put them all together in a handy free fact sheet


Trends can definitely stimulate a cool business idea. But they serve another purpose too.

Trends offer hope.

Hope that because researchers have proved that the marketplace is hungry for more funny dog videos… or are willing to spend more for natural products… or evidence that supports a need wherever your passion lies…

Then your dream of being your own boss really is achievable.

This hopefulness was clear from people who heard my talk on Wednesday

At the end of the presentation I asked people how they felt about their ability to use their creative mind to generate income.

Here’s just a small sampling of what your fellow change seekers said…

Tina – Inspired
Deborah – Confirmed
Kenny – Excited
Tina – Inspired
Clarissa – Curious and Hopeful
Butch – Courage
Deborah – Confirmed
Dori – Excited
Jennifer – Intrigued
Henry – JOY
Deana – Freedom
Gigi – Encouraged
Marsha – Validated-finally
Shaun – Not feeling flighty
Nicki – AUTHENTIC!!!!!!!!!!!
Rosalyn – Freedom
Henry – Fulfillment
Lynda – Transformation!

So if you want to find your great idea – and feel hopeful about being able to make it happen then get yourself a small note book and label it Trends = Ideas= Hope.

Then actively be on the look-out for the thousands of trends that can be the catalyst to your own brilliant small business idea – and life!

If what you read in the fact sheet spoke to you and you…

  • Are a creative problem solver who instinctively jumps in to help others  

  • Are always turning other people on to resources they never knew existed  

  • Constantly think up potential business ideas  

  • Love thinking creatively and “outside of the box” 

Then there’s still time to join me this Saturday, July 11th from noon-2PM ET for my LIVE Paid to Brainstorm encore.

That’s where I’ll personally share with you key elements of my proven system for connecting the dots between what you love to do… and how you can make money doing it.

This informational live session is FREE. Once you attend, check your email for a gift… just for showing up!

Share Your Ideas

Do you have a business idea based on a trend? Know about some trends that can help a fellow dreamer?

Share your ideas and stories below.

Avoid This Dream Crusher At All Costs

make your dreams come true - motivational slogan on a napkin witThis is a cautionary tale.

One that if heeded, will definitely help you to go from talking (and talking and talking and talking…) about being your own boss… to actually having your dream life.

Like many cautionary tales, this one starts with an encouraging one… and some advice.

The advice part is this: If you’re still looking for a money-making idea, you may not need to look any further than your own circle of family and friends.

In Kristen Bassick’s case that inspiration was her children – or little “sprouts” as she likes to call them.

Kristen wanted to find a natural way to treat her kid’s persistent dry skin.

After throwing away money at products that didn’t work her husband urged her to start her own line of all natural kid’s skin care products

stuff4sproutsToday Kristen is the proud owner of Stuff 4 Sprouts. Her company motto is to produce products with “Nothing weird. Nothing gross. Just good stuff for dry skin.”

I am particularly proud of Kristen because she attended one of my Work at What You Love workshops.

Take a moment to read this letter I received from Kristen and see what jumps out at you:

When I came to the seminar I was 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 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!

Got “Grass Is Greener” Syndrome?

grassisgreenerThere’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.

I call it the “Grass is Always Greener” Syndrome.

For instance, did you zero 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!”

If so, 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 received a full year – sometimes two – of unemployment checks.

They had income and they had all the time in the world to find and launch a business idea.

But instead they waited until they had just one month of severance pay to act.

Money-In-Glass-jarThen they called me in full out panic to schedule a Find My Perfect Business session, terrified they were going to have to find another mind-numbing 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. And so can you.

As the American judge who served as the first United States Secretary of Education Shirley Hufstedler once said, “If you play it safe in life, you’ve decided that you don’t want to grow anymore.

If you are tired of coming up with reasons why you can’t leave your safe but ultimately soul-sucking job then do something about it.

When you finally do get the entrepreneurial ball rolling, you’ll find it’s hard to stop.

Besides, as Hufstedler put it, “Security is not the meaning of my life. Great opportunities are worth the risks.

Tomorrow I’m offering a free informational Webinar called Paid to Brainstorm: Why Helping People Think Outside the Job Box is the Next Big Wave.

If you…

  • Are you a creative problem solver who instinctively jumps in to help others?
  • Are you always turning other people on to resources they never knew existed?
  • Do you constantly think up potential business ideas?
  • Do you love thinking creatively and “outside of the box”?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, I urge you to join me and the 430 people (and counting) who have already registered.

The webinar is free, but you do need to register. Then look for an email about your free gift just for showing up!

Your Story Matters

Is the “Grass Is Always Greener” Syndrome undermining your dream? If so, how? Share your story in the comments below!

Still Searching for the Perfect
Business Idea? How to Brainstorm
Your Way Out of Job Jail

manwithlightbulbAnyone who knows me knows, I LOVE brainstorming cool business ideas.

And with next week’s informational webinar on How to Get Paid to Brainstorm fast approaching, I’m even more obsessed than normal with the topic.

In fact, as soon as the webinar hit 200 sign ups, I knew I had to make July unofficial Business Idea Brainstorming Month!

So in celebration of both that – and Independence Day here in the US – I figure it’s the perfect time to gather with friends and family to help you gain your own independence from job jail!

The Power of Brainstorming and Why Two Minds (Or Three or Ten!) Are Better Than One 

The whole concept of brainstorming has been around for so long, it may just seem like common sense.

In fact, the notion of gathering people together to encourage them to come up with wild and crazy ideas was actually invented by an advertising executive back in the 1950s!

Fortunately, today brainstorming is used everywhere as a powerful solution finding tool for groups and individuals.

And for anyone seeking the perfect business idea, brainstorming definitely has benefits. That’s because brainstorming:

  • leverages the brainpower of every participant, each bringing their own unique experiences to the group
  • shakes up our accustomed ways of thinking and clears the way for new ideas that otherwise might never see the light of day
  • allows group members to shed their usual inhibitions, communicate freely, and generate off-the-wall, innovative ideas 

Added bonus: Researchers find that fast and varied thinking causes people to experience elevated mood and energy levels.

In plain English: Brainstorming actually makes you happy too!

10 Ways to Have Productive – and Fun – Business Idea Brainstorming Session 

ineedidea1) Appoint a facilitator. As fun as brainstorming can be… some people can get pretty excited or (defensive) about their business ideas.

This first tip is optional. But still it never hurts to have a neutral facilitator whose job is to keep the idea generation moving and on topic.

2) Establish a time frame and stick to it. People can only stay focused for so long, so limit sessions to no more than an hour. Remember, shorter is better!

3) Begin with a specific outcome in mind. Instead of trying to find answers to the question: “How can I make a living without a job-job?” focus on a specific outcome like, “How can I turn my passion for [fill in the blank] into income?” Doing so will save time, keep people focused, and yield more useful ideas.

4) Set an idea target. I once participated in a brainstorming exercise where one group was told to list as many birds as they could. The other group was instructed to list 30 birds. The group without a target stopped at around 18. But the group who was given a numerical target met and exceeded their goal.

The lesson for aspiring escape artists: Be even more specific by asking the group to come up with 20 ways you could paid to write, make art, serve others, or whatever your passion.

5) Combine group and individual brainstorming: Studies have shown that combining the two is far more effective at generating ideas than group brainstorming alone.

That’s because allowing time for people to think and learn about the topic on their own before the session begins produces better results.

6) One person speaks at a time. When you have a great idea it can be hard to contain yourself.

But when people talk over each other, a great idea can get missed! So breath and remember that everyone will get their turn to talk.

7) No judgments! Okay so maybe you’re pretty confident you’re not going to be invited to be a pitcher in the major leagues. So what? The whole idea of brainstorming is to make people feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, no matter how weird or unlikely.

The more accepting the group, the better the ideas will flow. Too much judgment and analysis at this stage kills creativity.

8) Encourage off-the-wall ideas. Those crazy ideas are where creative quantum leaps come from. They’re the true expression of where our imaginations take us before we start nitpicking.

And big ideas that seem impossible at first may lead eventually to revolutionary new thoughts.

9) Build on other people’s ideas. Be positive and encouraging. Say “Yes, and…” not “Yes, but…”

So instead of “Yes, but you’ll need a lot of money to open a B&B…” or “Yes, but you don’t have space for an art studio…” or “Yes, but don’t have any coaching experience…”

You want to say, “Yes, and I’m sure we can figure out a way to fund your dream… find a space… help you gain experience.”

10) Quantity over quality. Nobel Prize winning scientist and humanitarian Linus Pauling got it right when he said,The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”-

The whole point of brainstorming is to generate as many new ideas as possible and crank them out quickly. You can sort them out at the end of the session and build on the best ones.

Opportunity Knocks  

lightbulbAnd if in the process of your brainstorming session you discover you…

  • love thinking outside the job box
  • are constantly coming up with neat business ideas
  • are forever turning other people on to cool resources…

Then I encourage you to join me and hundreds of your fellow “idea people” from around the globe to discover how you too can get paid to do what comes naturally!

To learn more and register for this free webinar go to Paid to Brainstorm.

Got Courage?

Excerpt from the forthcoming book Redesigning Your Life.

pf_1“What would life be if we did not have the courage to attempt anything?” ~Vincent van Gogh

Picture this: You’re sitting on your couch, gazing out at the night sky, enjoying a nice cup of chamomile tea.  Your mind is wandering, you are daydreaming. (Yes, at night!)

Your thoughts turn to something you’ve always wanted to do.

Skydiving, perhaps? Moving to Bali? Becoming a freelancer or starting your own business?  Writing a blog about the meaning of life or your political views or about your adventures with cooking traditional Chinese dishes? You think: “It’s time to do something about this.  What am I waiting for?  I’m going to put together a plan right now and start letting people know that I’m finally doing it!” You feel excitement.  Super-strong motivation.  This is fun!

Then suddenly it strikes!

And you know it has, because your stomach feels twisty, your chest is tight, your palms are sweating.  Your motivation level drops to an all-time low! You are suddenly overcome by…


Fear of the unknown, fear of being hurt, fear of being criticized, fear of exposing yourself. Fear of being vulnerable.  I looked up the definition of fear this morning, and this is what I found:

  1. noun: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
  2. verb: to be uneasy or apprehensive about.
  3. reality: something that holds us back from doing the things we really want to do; often unhealthy and stressful; a great big annoyance.

(Okay, I made up definition #3! But it’s true, isn’t it?) Fear is an insidious thing.  It comes in all shapes and sizes, and often disguises itself as logic or high standards.  We think: “Oh, it doesn’t make sense to leave a job with benefits behind. That would be foolish.” Or: “I just wouldn’t be able to do it justice. I would need a lot more practice first, and where would I find the time?” Or, we feel it wouldn’t be fair to “others.”  It would be inconvenient for them.  So we shelve our plans till the time is right.

We all feel the fear at times. 

It’s a more or less natural part of being human; the survival instinct is a strong one.  If we feel in danger, our natural inclination is to back away slowly and then run to safety as fast as we can!

But what’s the real danger here?

Who is most likely to be hurt if we do not pursue our dreams?  The first and most obvious answer is: we are.  Be it a dull ache or a sharp pain, conscious or not, we will carry it with us throughout our lifetime.  That’s how unrealized potential feels.


Beyond ourselves though, there’s a cast of thousands who will also feel the hurt.  Aware of it or not, they’re waiting for us to share our gifts with them. Whether our gift is teaching or healing or crafting or building or inventing or guiding or inspiring.  Or dancing or playing baseball, building a new social media platform, or horse breeding. Whatever your gifts, there is someone out there who needs them. Just as we need the gifts of others.

Consider the curious case of Vincent van Gogh.

vangoghAlthough he struggled personally and financially in his lifetime, his collective works changed the world forever.  His legacy of beauty and inspiration is incalculable.

But he didn’t go instantly from thoughts of becoming a painter to being a one-of-a-kind artistic genius.  Vincent had fears and obstacles, the disapproval of his father, and trouble putting enough money together for his paints.

He was not the most socially adept person on the planet, and this led him to painful relationship issues.

So, how did he capture the world and reflect it back so uniquely?

He practiced.

He experimented.

He failed.

He learned from his failures.

He questioned his abilities. He feared he would never achieve what he had set out to do.

Yet, he kept trying.

He found a support partner and sponsor in his brother Theo.

He actively studied the masters, including his contemporaries.

He followed his passion.

He moved to Paris, the hub of his artistic universe, then followed the light to Provence.

He spent a great deal of time in nature.

Most importantly?

He didn’t wait!

Vincent van Gogh died at the age of 37.

It’s hard to imagine a world without his Starry Night or Sunflowers.

What if he had waited?

You may be thinking: “Hey, he was a genius, he was born that way.  Not everyone can do something like that.”  But you know what?  You have your own unique genius. You have something in you that no one else has or will ever have.

So when you feel drawn to pursue a passion, go for it!

It may be scary, you may stumble and fall. (We all do!)

But if you strive to follow the “Vincent Path” — moving through the fear, practicing, experimenting, failing, trying again; and most importantly, starting now — your gifts will unfold and develop in the most delightful ways.

And then…the excitement and motivation will return.

This is fun!


The Secret to Finding a GREAT Business Idea

bigstock-Blueprint-of-bulb-lamp-Styliz-58749746The Nobel Prize winning scientist and humanitarian Linus Pauling said, “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.”

After all, the more paths you have to get where you want to go, the better your odds of getting there.

In fact, in my two decades at Changing Course I’ve found that next to fear, the biggest thing keeping people trapped in job jail is lack of ideas.

And that’s a shame.

Because if your dream is to have a portable business so you can live and work from anywhere…

Or if you crave ditching the cubicle to work from home as I do…

Or if you want to find a way you to get paid for your creativity or your writing…

Or you otherwise want to be your own boss – then a great idea is your ticket to freedom.

For instance, last week I posted seven unique ways you – or someone – could cash in on the booming wedding industry.

I say “someone” because the fact is it’s always easier to come up with ideas for other people.

Which is actually very good news.

Because if you search only for cool business ideas for yourself, then you run the very real risk that opportunity will pass you by.

Let me explain…

Why You Need To Be An Idea Junkie

If you opted to skip the wedding article because you have zero interest in a wedding-themed business – then you are missing not only the point but you are also potentially missing the boat to freedom.

fearThat’s because when you only look for ideas for yourself, then you’re far more apt to hit a wall.

Maybe it’s the “That will never work” wall…

Or, the “I can’t make enough money doing that” wall…

Or, the “But I don’t have any experience” wall…

Sound familiar?

But when you get in the habit of seeing money-making opportunities unrelated to your unique gifts or interests, you are fearless.

And because there are no walls, you’re more receptive to possibility.

Knowing that things are possible, you’ll also see how one great idea can lead to another!

And before long, you’ll find the perfect path for you.

Share the Wealth

Ideas are meant to be shared.

Thankfully, many of your fellow travelers on the road to right livelihood not only read the wedding article, but they know how fun it can be to brainstorm with others – if even virtually.

dollarinhandFive generous souls took up the Brainstorm Nation challenge and posted their own money-making ideas for all of us.

Handy with a sewing machine? Debra suggests you could make custom bridal headpieces, purses, garters, and ring bear pillows.

Lee Ann Vermeulen-Roberts from Holland by way of California took a different approach.

Being a singer, songwriter, musician, and creativity coach herself, Lee Ann naturally came up with performing live music (singing or instrumental) during the ceremony itself or being a DJ at reception.

Once you have a great idea, you need to know where to start.

So building on the helpful resources already in the article Debbie DiClaudio Orwat from Colorado posted:

If you want to be a wedding planner has a lot of free information and articles on getting started.

Finally, for Denise Washington the wedding theme was personal – and timely!

If you have a knack for finding bargains, and you enjoy entertaining on the cheap, Denise shared a great idea for a profitable and FUN niche.

brideYou see Denise is getting married on July 24th and wisely she is doing her wedding on a budget.

So she knows first-hand that some people can or choose to drop $50,000 to well over a million dollars on their wedding, for others there is a real need for budget wedding planners and coordinators who know how to put on an event for $15K or less that still looks nice.

And Debbie adds, there is also a need for wedding planners/coordinators who specialize in showing people how to do-it-yourself (DIY) regarding flowers, dresses, decorations, and the like.

But our bride-to-be didn’t stop there. Denise generously offered not one, not two, but NINE more income-generating ideas!

1. Wedding vows writer
2. Graphic designer for programs, invites, placeholders, etc.
3. Wedding toasts writer
4. Engagement and/or wedding scrapbook (digital or printed) creator
5. Wedding day video production
6. Engagement story video production
7. Silk flowers floral arrangements and bouquets
8. Specialty garter belts
9. Offbeat wedding coordinator (roller derby, superheroes, zombie)

You see there truly is no shortage of ways to make money doing what you love!

Tap A Tribe of Idea Generators

freshideasStill I know there are lots more ways to cash in on the booming wedding industry. And when it comes to brainstorming, more brains are always better than one!

And who better to tap than people who get paid to come up with neat business ideas?

So I headed over to the private Facebook page for graduates of the Profiting From Your Passions® coach training to get their thoughts.

Cathy Summers of Inspired 4 Life Coaching in the UK also had a musical idea. But instead of singing at the ceremony, she suggested organizing an entire chorus.

childrenschoirWhen I read Cathy’s pitch to the happy couple to “hire your own chorus of angels,” I thought hmmm, wouldn’t it be interesting to organize a children’s choir! You make money as the organizer and the kids learn the value of earning their own money too.

For planner types, Cathy also suggested hanging out your shingle as a travel planner to design and run local excursions and otherwise manage travel for out of town guests.

Someone who knows a lot about weddings is Tim Grover the Career Optioneer at Changing Life Bulbs. That’s because for 25 years prior to changing course, Tim owned his own DJ service.

Since leaving the business, he’s observed a few new trends other aspiring DJs could offer. Like playing music videos in the background, bringing in a live drummer (presumably to give more of a live feel to recorded music), and providing tambourines and cowbells for guests to get into the act.

Finally, building on Denise’s pre-wedding video ideas, LA-based Solo-Entrepreneurship coach Susan Baker of wrote:

…my hubby is an editor and I have a background as a producer so our wedding video was editing together and interspersed with in depth interviews with both of us as well as b-roll [background shots or video of the couple] – I suspect this would be a huge hit with other couples.

Turns out Dr. Pauling was right.

The best way to have a good idea truly IS to have lots of ideas – and a Tribe of idea generators in your corner doesn’t hurt either!

It’s why I chose as my company motto: Changing Course begins with a great idea.

Armed with an idea you then need the courage to act on it.

If fear is holding you back, you’re in luck!

Keep your eye out on Monday for a great article on courage by another graduate of the Profiting From Your Passions® program — Redesign Strategist Peggy Fall of

And if you love coming up with small business ideas like Cathy, Tim, Susan, and Peggy, stay tuned!

Summer School for the Profiting From Your Passions® training program begins in July.

For more information on this first and only class for people who want to get paid to brainstorm sign up here now to get on the early notification list.

Join the Brainstorm Nation Family! 

Do you have additional ideas for self-bossers who want to break into the wedding business?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post!

Don’t use Facebook? Just scroll to the bottom of this page to post your ideas!

Want to Live Happily Ever After? Start a Wedding Business!

Placing_a_wedding_ringWith all the talk from some about how marriage is “under siege,” you’d think it was a dying institution. Nonsense!

In fact, the wedding industry is booming. And with 2.5 million weddings being celebrated last year, there’s never been a better time to launch a business catering to happy couples!

So how did an industry that’s been around for over a century become red hot again?

Demographics and Cultural Shifts = Opportunity

Part of the credit goes to the Millennial Generation, or what statisticians call “Baby Boom 2.0.”

Since the late 1980s, the US birth rate has surpassed 4 million a year, the threshold that is officially considered a baby boom. The first wave of this demographic group is now in their mid to late 20s so just entering the marriage market.

Another major shift is marriage equality.

Currently more than 70 percent of the US population lives in jurisdictions where same sex-couples can legally marry.

And 19 countries – the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, Britain, Luxembourg, Finland and Ireland – outright acknowledge same-sex marriage.

moneytreeThis seismic shift in social attitudes toward the GLBT community has a huge financial upside.

In the first year of legalization alone, gay couples made up 17% of the total weddings in Washington State. According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, same-sex weddings infused $39 million into Washington’s economy – and that only includes couples who actually reside in the state.

Both same-sex couples and Millennials are statistically a little older when they marry and thus have higher incomes.

That means they have a bigger budget to spend on all the bells and whistles – fancy catering, posh venues, and other amenities.

They’re also more likely to want a unique wedding that expresses their personal values and interests.

And current or aspiring small business owners are perfectly positioned to reap the benefits, especially if you can offer a niche service or product.

You already know the obvious ones… wedding photographers, florists, and caterers.

If any of these float your boat, there’s always room for talented people to join in the fun.

In fact, if you’re highly organized, love managing projects, and are a romantic at heart you can train to become a certified wedding planner. Click here for a list of schools.

At the same time there are lots of other, less obvious ways you can grab your share of the $100 billion wedding industry.

Maybe one of these 7 ideas may be your perfect full or side-line business:

  1. Wedding tableDay-of-Event Coordinator – If you are highly organized but don’t want the responsibility of organizing an entire wedding consider hanging out your shingle as a Day-of-Event Coordinator.
    Unlike a traditional wedding planner, a Day-of-Event Coordinator specializes in running the show on the big day, making sure things run smoothly and preventing wedding-day disasters.
  1. Wedding Officiant – A number of online interfaith organizations will ordain you as a minister, entitling you to legally perform marriage ceremonies.
    At I learned you can make up to $1,000 for a single wedding. During the busy summer season you could easily officiate two or more weddings a week. Cha-ching!Obviously prices vary regionally. When I entered my zip code I found local officiant Amanda Brown whose fees to preside over a wedding and write the service start at $550.There’s more to officiating weddings than understanding scripture or asking objectors to speak now or forever hold their peace.Which is why, it may be worthwhile for you to check out the training offered by the Celebrant Institute. (A very outside the box idea itself – and one with room for competition… from you!)Using Amanda’s fee as an example, the $2,400 you’d pay to be trained by the Celebrant Institute would be recouped after officiating just four weddings.

    Plus you can deduct the cost of the training as a business expense. Sweet!

    And for couples who are outside your geographic range or for do-it-yourselfers, you could always follow Amanda’s wise example and create a Do It Yourself (DIY) course on UDEMY on how to write your own wedding ceremony.

  1. Same-Sex Wedding Consultant –That means the demand for wedding consultants who know the ropes for same-sex couples is skyrocketing.
    A same-sex wedding expert can recommend officiants and venues for the ceremony and can refer the couple to specific vendors who are gay-friendly.Live in a state or country that bans gay marriages? Remember, problem = opportunity.In these locations you could perhaps specialize in destination weddings and “Elopement Packages,” including travel, accommodations, and touring.
  1. "Dancing lesson 16507650" by Jerry Daykin from Cambridge, United Kingdom, upload by Herrick - IMG_0975. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - Dance Lessons – Have a background in dance? More and more people are seeking out instructors for private classes for the couple (or perhaps a group class for the wedding party) who want to make a big impression when they hit the dance floor at the reception.
    Here again prices vary.In pricey London it appears you can fetch £80 for a single hour to as much as £495 for more sessions. (In dollars that’s around $89-$550).For the same number of lessons in Billings, Montana you can ask $48-$335.
  1. Pre-Wedding Boot Camp – Everyone wants to look their best for the big event. Services offered might include fitness training, teeth whitening, skin treatments, and hair removal.
    If you don’t have the skills or licensing to provide hair and makeup services on the actual wedding day then partner with practitioners who can.
  1. Start a Wedding Website – If you’re tech savvy then create a website as an aggregator for wedding information and tips and/or to match couples with local vendors.
    The vendors pay a fee to be on the site and you can earn more cash as an affiliate or by accepting ads.
  1. Close Up Of Detail On Wedding Breakfast Dining Table Setting WitCreate a coordinated wedding themeNot just old-fashioned stationery – more like personalized branding complete with a custom wedding theme for stationery, table linens, even decorative banners.

Thanks to social and cultural shifts, the wedding industry is hot again. And with such a wide range of opportunities, there’s something for every aspiring entrepreneur.

Join the Brainstorm Nation Family! 

Do you have additional ideas for self-bossers who want to break into the wedding business?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post!

Don’t use Facebook? Just scroll to the bottom of this page to post your ideas!

7 Ways to Cash In On the College Market


I just returned from on a whirlwind 5-city speaking tour in beautiful British Columbia.

Coincidentally, my topic – the impostor syndrome – was also a major theme of actress Natalie Portman’s Commencement address at her alma mater, Harvard.

May is the time when millions of students graduate from college.

And if you want to be your own boss, May should also be the time when you start thinking about creative ways to tap the college market.

Within a 10 mile radius of my home are three Ivy League colleges, a small super expensive private college, and a large state university.

If you live near a college you know how much the student population contributes to your local economy.

If you want to be your own boss, then these same students can boost your personal economy as well!

There are lots of ways to profit from the lucrative student or faculty market. Here are 7 ideas to get you started.

Sell to Parents

Conventional business wisdom says to avoid a target market that lacks a lot of disposable income. When it comes to college students however, you’ll want to ignore that rule.

For one, there are plenty of students attending elite schools who have money to spend.

More importantly, there will always be parents with both the desire and the financial means to provide every advantage for their pampered offspring.

So let’s begin with ideas aimed primarily at parents of current or college bound students.

1. Private admissions consultant Competition at elite colleges and universities is fierce. So much so that according to USA Today, there’s a huge surge in parents are willing to plunk down as much as $3,000 for a “private admissions consultant” to assist with their kids’ college application. How huge? In 2013, 26% of applicants to Stanford University hired a consultant – triple the number from just a decade earlier.

Man underwear2. Student concierge Wealthy parents are eager to eliminate anything that might otherwise distract their child from his or her studies. Enter Lana Drew’s Student Concierge Service.

Parents of students attending elite Brown University and other colleges in Providence, Rhode Island tap Lana’s “Lifestyle Management” services to do anything from moving into dorms to handling dry cleaning and laundry to installing a sound system. Her company even has doctors, attorneys, and bankers on call to assist her client’s offspring as needed.Clearly aimed at wealthy parents who will gladly pay to give their kid every possible advantage, Lana’s concierge services start at a whopping $2,500 a semester and can go much higher.

3. Care package creator understands that virtually all parents (and grandparents) want to make college life a little easier – and fun. The site offers an assortment of care packages for different occasions like new students, final exam period and Sample cpa exam questions, or graduation.There’s definitely room in this space for you to put together your own care packages of healthy snacks or junk food, toys, birthday cakes, funny t-shirts, gift certificates to a local yoga studio, iTunes… get creative!

duster-with-glove_M11i8PKu4. Dorm cleaning service – College janitorial services are typically limited to bathrooms, hallways, and other public areas. A lot of students with dorm or fraternity/sorority rooms that resemble those in the film Animal House would love to hire someone to clean up.

Since they’re small, dorm rooms can be cleaned quickly. And if parents aren’t willing to cover the cost then suite occupants may be willing to split it.

If you don’t want to do the actual cleaning yourself then build on the Dorm Mom app model and find local students to do the work.

5. Tutor If you’re knowledgeable in a particular academic subject, earn money helping a struggling student pass a class. If you’re targeting undergraduates, marketing-wise you may want to target the paying parent, it may be the parent footing the bill.

When I was studying for the Graduate Entrance Exam (GRE) I personally hired a math tutor to help me brush up on my algebra and geometry.

So don’t forget to tap all those students either applying for advanced degree programs or who need to pass final licensing exams also need help preparing for the various examinations.

If you don’t want to deal with promoting your services yourself then sign up with a clearing house like Take Lessons. Algebra tutors on their site get paid $15-$35 for 30 minutes of tutoring.

Push pin on sudy text6. Coach ADD/ADHD/autistic students – Most schools have on-site professionals to assist with students with a variety of special needs including attention deficit and/or hyperactivity or autism.

That said, there’s plenty of room for customized private coaching for those students who need one-to-one help to negotiate the maze of university bureaucracy, deal with the social and academic demands of college, manage money, stay fit, and juggle laundry and other chores new to many young people out on their for the first time.

Parents are already paying through the nose for tuition. What’s another $200-$500 a month to ensure their son or daughter graduates?

7. Career advising for lost students – Imagine spending a small fortune on your kid’s tuition only to have him or her drop out, flunk out, or graduate but still be utterly directionless.

My friends Tim and Martha were dismayed when their daughter Katie flunked out of her pricey private high school. So they sent her to a private career counselor.

In addition to doing a bunch of testing, the counselor arranged for Katie to spend a month with a volunteer organization in Latin America as well as other experiential outings.

The bill… $3,000 plus the cost of travel!

Once again, you don’t need to be the one providing the counseling. You just need to find the counselors and promote and manage the business.

With 21 million college students in the US and another 1.7 in Canada, there’s ample opportunity to cash in on students — and their paying parents.

And since college doesn’t start up again until the fall, that gives you a full three months to start putting your ideas in place. So… what are you waiting for? Your future profit center is waiting for you!

We’d Love to Hear From You

Have another idea for tapping the lucrative college market? Share it with your fellow Changing Course change seekers here!

If you don’t use Facebook, just scroll down to post there.

The best idea will receive a FREE copy of Being Realistic is Killing Your Dream (a $19 value)

How to Cash in on a Trend… And This is No Game

Chess against grunge background

By far one of the best ways to come up with a cool – and profitable – business idea is to pay attention to trends.

For example, if you spend much time on public transportation, in coffee shops, or other public places you’ll see people of all of ages compulsively playing Angry Birds or other games on their devices. (I am an admitted Solitaire junkie!)

But did you know there’s a huge surge in the popularity of good old fashioned board games like Monopoly or Dungeons and Dragons?

According to a recent segment on NBC news, board game sales increased 10 percent in 2014. Sales of the childhood favorite Operation are up a whopping 40 percent!

Fueling this increase is another trend — the growing desire to unplug from our devices and connect on a more personal level.

Some entrepreneurial souls are cashing in on the board game trend in a big way. And with a little creative thinking, so can you.

Cup Of Coffee And A Couple Of Cookies Making A Welcome BreakTake for instance, the aspiring entrepreneurs from Gold Ira Company Glendale, CA who launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to open a game-themed café. It took just two months to raise the funds to open GameHaus Café.

Besides enjoying the wide-ranging menu of drinks and casual fare, for a $5 cover charge customers can access over 900 board games. The café also hosts events like International Table Top day at a cost of $15 for the day.

Other game bars and cafes like The Uncommon in population dense New York City are heavily events driven with specific dates and times regularly reserved for lovers of chess, Star Trek, and other games.

Even though they’re in a pricier area, The Uncommon also charges just $5 a head. Undoubtedly, the owners know the games are a way to bring the customers in. The real money is made on the food and beverage side.

The mark up on coffee alone explains why it’s known in the restaurant industry as “black gold.”

Still, when you consider 100-200 people at 5 bucks that’s an additional $500 to $1,000 a day in revenue! Even if they pull in that many people over the course of an entire week, you’re looking at $26,000-$52,000 annual profit just on the cover charge. Not bad for a one-time purchase of a bunch of board games.

Opportunity Knocks

moneytreeExamples of location-specific businesses like these are ripe with opportunities for people who want to change course. After all, being a brick and mortar operation means they can’t be everywhere. So unless these café owners plan to offer franchises, anyone can replicate or modify what is now a tested business model.You can now even get some of the best coupon deals online and save money with it.

You could of course open your own bar or café. But if you’re looking for a more modest investment or something that doesn’t require you to be tethered for hours on end to a physical location, there are other potential options.

Set Up a Board Game Events Company I can see a lot of restaurant or coffee shop owners loving this idea but not having the time or energy to set it up.

What if you purchase a bunch of new or used board games to rent out to restaurants looking to host their own events?

To earn even more, provide a done-for-you service that, in addition to publicizing the event, includes board game delivery and set up. For a more engaging experience (at an additional charge), include MC services where you lead quirky contests complete with equally quirky prizes.

The restaurant or café gets the additional food and drink revenue and you keep the cover charge.

Whether you offer your services to existing businesses OR you rent out space to host your own events, consider offerings specific to different demographics groups. For instance:

Singles: What better way to meet a potential romantic partner than at a low pressure environment like board game night? In addition to lots of laughter, you definitely learn a lot about a person based on how they play individually competitive games like Monopoly, Scrabble, or Battleship or a team game like Pictionary or Taboo. Be sure to bring name tags for this one.

Single Parents: The kids get to meet and have no-tech fun with their peers. The parents get a much needed break playing games or conversing with other adults. For single parents who need to get employee, business, or school related work done you can set up workstations with printers.

Rent out Saturday mornings at a dinner-only restaurant, a childcare center, or other space. Set up a cereal buffet bar for the kids and maybe some children’s films for the toddlers and you’ve got yourself a great weekend business.

Family playing board gameFamily Game Night: Pizza for the kids… a glass of beer or wine event for the adults…  What could be more fun? If your venue does not have a liquor license check with your local officials to see if a “bring your own” permit is available where you live. Or host an alcohol free event.

There could be college student, young professionals unplug, or new guy or gal in town night. Game days for kids with special needs or corporate team building events. Afternoon events aimed at retirees. Even bring your dog to game day complete a supervised romper room for canine play.

Once you start thinking outside the job box you’ll quickly see the possibilities are truly endless!

Finally, for the record, you can still tap into this trend without organizing events. That’s what the founders of Board Game Quest did.

The site began as a simple blog. It was a way says founder and avid gamer known simply as Tony to, “play games, post reviews and session reports, and maybe encourage others to discover something new.” [Wonder if the reason Tony and the other staffers don’t use last names is because they’re in the process of changing course from having a job-job to being full-time self-bossers…]

However, like so many enterprises that started out small, things grew from there. Today Board Game Quest features weekly board game reviews, news, interviews with game designers, and information on upcoming board game related Kickstarter campaigns.

That’s why its so important not to wait until you’ve got it all figured out. Instead just jump in and be open to where your business takes you!

The key is to stay alert to trends. When you find one that peeks your interest, look for proven — or creative — ways to build a business around it.

Join the “Brainstorm Nation” Family!

When it comes to ways to make a living without a j-o-b, lots of heads are always better than one!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post including other interesting ways someone could turn similar interests into income! (Non-Facebook users, scroll down to the comment section.)

25 Cool Business Ideas for Introverts

Shy Bold Signpost Means Introvert Or ExtrovertWhen you picture a successful entrepreneur, you probably imagine someone with an outgoing, talkative personality. The kind of person who loves to socialize and meet new people.

The person you probably don’t picture is someone who is quiet, who becomes overwhelmed and exhausted by noisy environments, or avoids spending too much time around other people, especially large groups.

So where does that leave the stereotypical shy, socially reserved introvert who wants to start a business?

Better off than you think!

For starters, most experts see introversion/extraversion as a spectrum with few people at the extremes. Instead most of us fall closer to the middle. What about you?

Take the Quiz: Are You An Introvert?

  • Do you feel exhausted after an evening out with a lot of people (like at a party or networking event)?
  • Do you find you really need quiet time alone, for example, just reading, meditating, listening to music, or watching TV?
  • Do you tend to prefer to socialize in a very small group (just a couple close friends)?
  • Do you find it difficult to initiate a conversation with a stranger?
  • Do you label yourself (or do other people label you) as shy or quiet or socially inept?

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you’re probably closer to the introvert end of the spectrum. But that doesn’t mean you’re not cut out to start your own business.

Hugely successful entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett are not the kind of guys you’d find chatting it up at a party. And there are plenty of actors, professional speakers, and other performers who can “do” extrovert but are in fact quite introverted – myself included!

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, it’s important to know yourself and where your energy lies. In fact, think of your energy like a battery; if you are an extrovert your batteries are charged by social interaction, if you are an introvert your batteries will be drained.

That means you need to play to your strengths and get help in the areas where you’re weaker. For example, if you are an extreme introvert, you may prefer to run a home-based business rather than founding a company that requires you to interact with employees.

Or if you really do want to build an empire then like Zuckerberg, Gates, and Buffets then just know you’ll probably need to partner or hire an extrovert who loves the social stuff.

25 Small Business Ideas for Introverts

As an introvert it’s important to find the right business for you.

For instance, an online business where you sell new or used products or where you create and sell information products (written materials, audio downloads, etc.), can be a great fit for introverts because it allows all the freedom, control, and income of self-bossing with less of the frequent people contact that you find so draining.

Another benefit to a web-based business is you get to use your online interactions and presence to determine the persona the world sees. So you can be reserved Rachel or Rick at home and Rock Star Rachel or Rick in your business!

But selling stuff online is not your only option. Here are 25 other ideas that are well suited to people who enjoy solitude:

  1. Webmaster or IT consultant
  2. Artist
  3. Graphic design
  4. Photography
  5. Copywriter (using words to sell a product or service or to promote causes)
  6. Fiction writing (romance, novels, etc.)
  7. Blogger
  8. Genealogy
  9. Social media consultant
  10. Editing and/or proofreading
  11. Web designer
  12. Craft-related businesses
  13. Creating patterns: Sewing, knitting, woodworking
  14. Creating software or apps
  15. Woodworking
  16. Cooking/baking
  17. Clothing designer
  18. Working with animals
  19. Growing and selling flowers, vegetables, and/or herbs
  20. Errand service
  21. Translating
  22. Bookkeeping
  23. Fixing things: Cars, appliances, clothes alterations, broken pottery, antique clocks/watches
  24. Making things better: Custom cars, motorcycles, campers, etc.
  25. Building things: Furniture, boats, decks, etc.

Success Strategies for the Introvert Entrepreneur

Once you find your perfect business, you need to take action. To help ensure your success you’ll want to follow these simple strategies:

  • Find your passion. Your enthusiasm for your business can help you overcome your reluctance toward social interaction because you’re so eager to share it with the world.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses. Introverts may have social issues to overcome, but they have a knack for seeing the big picture and focusing on the important details.
  • Know what drains and energizes you. If you know that client meetings, long phone calls, or networking events drain you, try to schedule your day to include blocks of time for things that recharge your batteries like listening to music, meditation, reading, or even watching TV or playing a video game.
  • Automate and delegate. When you’re juggling a lot of balls it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Create systems and automation that will allow you to remove people from the equation – i.e., eliminate the need for employees, for making personal phone calls, etc. And where you can’t eliminate it, delegate heavily people tasks to a Virtual Assistant (VA) or others who are more extroverted.
  • Seek out other introverted entrepreneurs. This may sound counterintuitive, but a fellow introvert is more likely to understand where you’re coming from and is more likely to respect your social boundaries. Having other like-minded entrepreneurs around you – even if only virtually via social media– will also give you more confidence
  • Step out of your comfort zone. Finally, you may be an introvert but if you want to be your own boss then you still need to stretch yourself. Join a Toastmasters club to conquer your fear of public speaking. If you must attend a networking event set a goal of talking to just four people.

To this last point, you may even choose a business precisely because it pushes you to talk to strangers.

For example, according to International Living magazine editor Jen Stevens, one of the many great things about travel writing is it gives introverts a built-in excuse for initiating conversations with owners of inns, shops, cafes and others along the journey who can add value to your article.

(As an aside: If you’d like to learn how to become a travel writer, I highly recommend The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program.)

With so many ways today to build a small business, to communicate with clients and customers, and to make business connections without ever venturing into public, you don’t need to be bigger, louder, funnier, or more charming to build a successful business.

Instead, be true to yourself, find the right business for you, and then take action!

Join the “Brainstorm Nation” Family!

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, when it comes to ways to make a living without a j-o-b, lots of heads are always better than one!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post, including any ideas you have for the introvert entrepreneur! (Non-Facebook users, scroll down to the comment section.)

How to Get Away With Murdering Your Dream

In my two decades at Changing Course I’ve grieved the premature death of hundreds of perfectly viable business ideas.

Ideas which were totally possible – some even brilliant.

Ideas which if acted upon could have sprung their owners from job jail and made a difference in the world as well.

But sadly their owner let them perish.

There are a lot of ways to kill a dream.

For instance you can believe all those life-long cubicle dwellers who love to tell you that being your own boss is just a pipe dream.

Or you can become so overwhelmed with the thought of acting on your great idea that all you want to do is zone out in front of the television.

Or you can become consumed with the “what ifs.”

  • What if no one likes, wants, or buys my stuff?
  • What if I fall flat on my face?
  • What if I don’t know enough or am not smart enough to pull it off?

So much so that you never pause to consider what your life will be like in the far more likely event that you actually succeed!

There are dozens more of course. But by far the most common way to get away with murdering your dream is to simply keep it to yourself.

After all, if no one ever knows about your big idea they can’t possibly judge it – or you.

If you don’t share your business plan then no one will know that you didn’t lift a single finger to get it off the launch pad.

If you never let your idea see the light of day, never show your art or share your writing then no one will expect anything from you.

In other words, when you’re accountable only to yourself, then there’s no real consequence for failing to follow through.

That is of course other than spending the next ten or twenty years stuck in a job-job. 

If you think that’s too high a price to pay, then you have a choice. You can continue to slowly starve your dream to death through sheer neglect.

Or you can decide to get off the misery-go-round.

If you wisely chose the latter, here are two simple steps you can take right this very minute.

Step 1: Publicly Declare Your Intention

For five years I produced a wonderful workshop called Work at What You Love which I also co-led with and my good friend and author of Making a Living Without a Job Barbara Winter.

make your dreams come true - motivational slogan on a napkin witIn the final hour of this multi-day seminar participants were instructed to stand and publicly declare an intention. One by one upwards of 150 people rose microphone in hand to publicly give voice to their dream.

And now you can too.

The ground rules of a public declaration are simple:

  • It must be summarized in one sentence.
  • It can’t begin with “I’d like to…” or “Maybe I will…” or “It would be great if I could….” Instead, your declaration must begin with the words “I’m going to___”
  • It must include a commitment to act.

Some of the intentions shared over the years are downright inspiring!

“I’m going to be the penguin expert on a tour of the Galapagos.”

“I’m going to open a bakery-café that caters to stay at home parents and their kids.”

“I’m going to spend six months every year in the south of France.”

“I’m going to write the biography of my grandfather’s life.”

“I’m going to move to an island and open a bike repair shop.”

So you have a choice. You can murder your idea and no one will ever know.

Or you breathe life into your dream by scrolling down to either the Facebook OR the general comments section to make your own public declaration now.

Step 2: Find people who want to see your idea succeed as much as you do

The forces of fear, self-doubt, and overwhelm are mighty. That’s why you need a team of people who want to see you realize your dream as much as you do.

People who will be there to support one another, to hold each other accountable for making slow steady progress, to offer new ideas and solutions, to help one another overcome the inevitable setbacks, and to celebrate the wins big and small.

It’s interesting. Left on your own and you can feel hopeless.

But when you’re in a group like this, somehow you feel empowered. You become almost “bigger” than you usually are.

You feel a confidence that’s sometimes impossible to muster on your own. Yet with this network of supporters cheering you on, you’re inspired to go on… to plow ahead with a certain audacity that you might not normally feel you have in you.

As importantly, your productivity will soar. With a dream team behind you, you will get more done in six months than you would otherwise accomplish in six years!
Group Of Business People Are Focused On The JobThe people on your dream team can be friends, like-minded co-workers, even total strangers. You can meet in person or via conference call.

Regardless of who’s in your group or how you communicate the key is commitment. To truly succeed your dream team must commit to meeting weekly for no less than six months.

I’ve been a member in three business-building groups myself and each one has helped me grow in leaps and bounds.

I’m so convinced of the power of having a “mastermind” behind you that I recently created a formal Changing Course Dream Team.

The people who’ve already joined a dream team did so as a result of signing up for the recent Work @ What You Love workshop. (If you missed it and still want to take the class, you have until February 14 to get the complete webinar recordings.)

You don’t need to have attended Work at What You Love to join a Dream Team. That’s why I’m opening up the Dream Teams to my larger Changing Course newsletter readership.

These Dream Teams are set to begin in the next two weeks.

Right now there only 5 spots left. Once you sign up you can select your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice from various days and times.

Don’t murder your dream. Instead take a moment now to learn how you can join a Changing Course support group and to discover 5 ways a dream team can help you achieve your dream.

Even if a dream team is not for you, I encourage you to scroll down this page to publically declare your intention today. After all, a dream is a terrible thing to waste!

I hope you enjoyed this preview and I hope to see YOU in a dream team!

There Are No Coincidences

I’m not one to throw around words like “magical.”

But time and again I’ve seen what happens when people step into their dreams.

The smallest step can lead to pure magic.

Take Stephanie.

We were barely into our Find My Perfect Business coaching session when Stephanie made an off-handed reference to a dream she’d long abandoned.

That’s when I learned of her decades-long fascination with the world of public policy – an interest sparked by her high school boyfriend.

The topic continued to tug at her heart… and so did the old boyfriend.

As she talked, Stephanie’s entire voice changed. She was animated, excited… happy.

I was instantly reminded of something renowned mythology scholar Joseph Campbell said…

“The way to find out about your happiness
is to keep your mind on those moments when
you feel most happy, when you are really happy
– not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy.”

But Stephanie followed a different path and spent the last twenty years in the mental health field.

She was convinced it was just too late to transition into policy making. For starters she really didn’t want to go back to school for yet another masters’ degree.

Besides, even if she could break in, she lives in the Midwest and the vast majority of policy jobs are in Washington DC.

Stephanie was not opposed to moving. It’s just that her other lifelong dream was to live by a lake.

Neither of Stephanie’s dreams looked promising. Or so she thought…

I challenged Stephanie to back up her discouragement with actual facts by researching the question, “how to get into public policy.”

To further light a fire under her I issued a two week deadline.

Stephanie sprang into action!

She began reading books and articles.

She called think tanks and set up multiple informational interviews with people working in the field.

She found, and then promptly joined, a public policy group that advocates on behalf of people touched by mental illness.

Not only was a pricey public policy degree not necessary to enter this field, but her new peers were so impressed with Stephanie’s mental health credentials; they invited her to chair the group!

It gets better!

Stephanie also discovered a prestigious public policy center located two hours from home – and it’s on a lake!

And in another remarkable twist of fate, after not seeing her old high school boyfriend for decades Stephanie bumped into him in a parking lot!

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote,

“At The Moment Of Commitment The Entire Universe Conspires To Assist You.”

Goethe understood amazing things happen when you stop wishing and start acting.

Confusion makes way for the gift of clarity…

People come out of the woodwork to help you…

Answers that eluded you for years suddenly appear…

Experiences you never imagined possible are now available…

I am living proof.

I started the Changing Course newsletter in 1995 with a whopping two subscribers!

In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined where my business would take me.

12115_1That I’d sit down for an intimate Q&A with billionaire social entrepreneur and adventure seeker Sir Richard Branson.

Or that while in Los Angeles I’d attend a star-studded fundraiser Branson hosted called Rock the Kasbah.

(I managed to snap this photo of Branson chatting with Sharon Stone and this one of Paula Abdul.)


There were other stars on hand – stars in the coaching and online world. People like Ali Brown and Mari Smith, Eban Paegan, Joe Polish and Yanik Silver.

12115_4spacer 12115_5spacer 12115_6

12115_7Starting out I could have never imaged meeting Gary Vaynerchuk (known to his 1.11 million Twitter followers as Gary Vee) at a New York cafe and picking his amazing entrepreneurial brain – something his corporate clients gladly pay $75,000 to be able to do.

Or that Arianna Huffington would personally email me to ask me to blog for the Huffington Post or that Forbes magazine editor Steve Forbes’ office would call for a signed copy of my book.

When I stood up to give my first very shaky public talk it was simply inconceivable that major corporations and universities like IBM, Procter & Gamble, Boeing, Harvard and Stanford would later pay me thousands of dollars to speak for a single hour.

Or that I’d land a six-figure book deal or that my book would go on to be published in five languages – including Russian.

Starting out – none of these things seemed possible. Now I know better.

“At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.”

And it all began with taking one small step.

Why not make today the day you step into your dream and see for yourself how even the smallest step can lead to pure magic.

And speaking of magic…

You still have two days to join the enthusiastic tribe of change seekers from as far away as New Zealand and Egypt who already signed on for the first-ever Work @ What You Love Virtual Weekend Workshop.

Join us live online. Or take the workshop on your own schedule. Your choice.

Either way, it’s an incredibly low cost way to open the door and let a little magic into your life!

The Biggest Regret of All May Surprise You

Regrets are an inevitable part of life. Fortunately not all regrets are created equal.

Some regrets are minor.

You regret buying those too tight shoes just because they were on sale….

Or picking up the phone as you were trying to leave the office….

Or ordering the fish when everyone in your party is raving about the pasta.

The good news?

Regrets like these (often referred to as “First World problems”) are ones we can learn from and hopefully, minimize the chance of repeating.

Utmost regrets, on the other hand, are more problematic because the consequences are so much bigger.

Utmost regrets, are also more difficult – and sadly, sometimes even impossible to reverse.

worryI’m referring to the kinds of things you’d absolutely hate to know would one day be etched on your headstone.

Vivian could have been a great writer, if she’d tried.

Sam could have changed a lot of lives, if he’d had the courage to act on his idea.

Ordering the fish is one thing. Bailing on your dream of helping unadoptable kids or entering a writing contest is quite another.

Elizabeth Berg learned a lot about dreams. However, she learned even more about regrets while working as a nurse with terminally ill people.

In an article titled, Dreams Are Not Enough, the award-winning novelist wrote movingly about how not pursuing our dreams may be the riskiest move of all.

It is a lesson she learned from those whose time had almost run out.

Those dying people I cared for believed, as most of us do, that they would have time for everything. So they put things off… Then suddenly their days were almost gone. They were out of the time they thought they would have forever. And while I bathed them, they stared out the window and talked about what they had missed. They might say, ‘I always wanted to see Hawaii, but… I don’t know. I never did.’ The sense of regret was so strong that we both ached. I wanted to lift those people up out of bed, put them in a wheelchair, and take them to the airport. ‘Hawaii, please,’ I wanted to tell the ticket agent.

Everyone has dreams, sadly far too often they get put on hold.

Asking, and then answering her own question, Berg writes:

“What happens to our dreams? They die of lack of nourishment, that’s what. ‘Later,’ we say, and when we turn around, they’re gone.”

The Worry Factor

According to many of the 1,200 elders who took part in Cornell University’s Legacy Project, there is a powerful link between regret about the past and worry in the present.

When asked what they most regret when they look back on their lives, the answer most often given was they wished they hadn’t worried so much.

The way 102-year-old Eleanor sees it,

You just can’t go on worrying all the time because it destroys you and your life, really…. You have to put it out of your mind as much as you can at the time. It’s a good idea to plan ahead if possible, but you can’t always do that because things don’t always happen the way you were hoping. So the most important thing is one day at a time.

And 87-year-old James Huang agrees…

Why? I ask myself. What possible difference did it make that I kept my mind on every little thing that might go wrong? When I realized that it made no difference at all, I experienced a freedom that’s hard to describe.

The thing that takes a lot of people by surprise is this.

regretnothingWe waste our lives worrying about the “unknown risks” that change can bring, when in reality we should be more scared of the known risk of spending the rest of lives in the same place we are today.

If we fail to at least try to create the life we really want, we risk making good on Benjamin Disraeli’s often quoted prediction that “most people die with their music still locked up inside them.”

The sudden loss of my mother at just 61 totally changed how I viewed time (we can choose how we use it), money (things work out), and life (it’s all too short).

I won’t lie. Walking away from a good job with good benefits was – and still is – not without risk.

Yet I knew that the real risk was looking back at my life and saying, “I was miserable; but at least I had a good dental plan.”

What Will You Most Regret?

Take a moment now to choose the THREE things you would most regret not doing in your lifetime.

Now name one small thing you can do today – not tomorrow, not next week or next year, but today – to help prevent this utmost regret from occurring.

I invite you to post it either in the Facebook comment section, or scroll down for the general comments area.

If one of your three utmost regrets is spending your life in a soul-sucking job, I have good news.

As I write this, 108 of your fellow change seekers from six countries and 32 states have signed on for the fast approaching Work @ What You Love Virtual Weekend Workshop.


If you share the dream of finding your calling and a way to make money doing it in order to live a life where you get to calls the shots, then don’t worry…

You still have time to join us. The Early Bird 96% SAVINGS ends Tuesday, January 20th.

But don’t wait too long, because after midnight January 20th, the price DOUBLES.

Spending twice as much money is not the worse regret in life. But wouldn’t it be nice to invest the money you’ll save in the service of your dream?

Can’t Make the January 24-25 Dates?

No problem. You can still get access to the Work @ What You Love Roadmap.

For a limited time you can pre-order recordings of the entire 2-day workshop. That way you won’t miss a thing. Plus you can take the class on your own schedule and pace — and retake it as often as you like.

To make sure you get maximum value from the replay, you’ll also receive a complete set of the Work @ What You Love handouts.

Whether you join us live or you take the Work @ What You Love workshop on your own schedule… remember this:

When you go to bed tonight, try not worrying about what will happen if you fail. Instead worry about what you have to lose by not ever trying.

Yes You Can – And I Can Prove It

Fear… self-doubt… procrastination… Are these dream-busters keeping you from going after your dream of being your own boss?

Why wouldn’t they?

“By the time you’ve hit your 20’s,” says Walter Anderson, author of Courage is a Three Letter Word and The Greatest Risk of All, “you’ll have heard a whopping 25,000 ‘can’ts’.”

Twenty-five THOUSAND… that’s a lot of “can’ts.”

“You can’t work at what you love and make a good living.” “Impossible. Can’t be done.”

What most people call “reality” is a very poor place to nurture dreams… and to share them with others? Forget it.

Erma Bombeck once said, “It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”

Erma knew that other people’s fear, skepticism and negativity can be as contagious as the flu. And unless you’ve built up your immune system, these dream stompers can knock you – and your precious dreams – for a loop.

Don’t believe me? Try this at your next gathering…

Announce to your family and friends that you’ve decided to quit your job to become a writer… or a personal organizer… or do your art… or be an aroma-therapist… or flip houses… or pursue your love for history… or travel the world for a year… or whatever it is you’d love to do.

What do you think their reaction would be?

Would they encourage you to “go for it?” Or might it sound more like this…

“Yeah right, in your dreams.”  “It’ll never work.”  “Better to play it safe.”

If you listen to the naysayers out there, the message is loud and clear. Stay stuck, don’t even dare to hope, forget your dreams.

Is it any wonder you’re probably finding it hard to take control of your life and whole-heartedly pursue your dreams?

Think about how all the “It’ll never work,” “Forget your crazy dreams,” “You should be happy that you have a job,” messages have buried themselves deep into your psyche and affected how you see the world.

For example, if you sat down right now and took a personal inventory of your life, would your list look something like this?

  • cautionI’m miserable in my job. But it’s impossible to make any money doing what I love.
  • I feel like life is passing me by… but there’s nothing I can do about it.
  • I keep thinking there has to be more to life than this…. I suppose I should just forget my crazy dreams

Sound familiar? Okay, so what do you do?

Well, for starters you might want to think about what will happen if you do nothing.

Close your eyes and picture what your life will be like if you continue to be ruled by your fears and self-doubts and heed the red lights thrown up by your well-meaning family and friends.

In other words, imagine staying where you are right now… day after day, year after year dragging yourself through the work week until you retire.

Pretty scary isn’t it?

Now imagine feeling encouraged and empowered to go after your dream.

Picture yourself looking back at your life and basking in the self-satisfaction of knowing you went for it…. If you like the way that felt then you’ve already begun to experience how powerful it is to readjust your thinking. You see the thing is…

doorfieldIf you really want to create a more balanced, rewarding life doing work you truly love, you’ll need to create a mindset that will instantly turn ‘can’t’ into ‘can.’

There will always be dream dashers.

But the world is also full of people who believe in the power of a dream. You just need to find them.

Fortunately you don’t have to look all that far. A few years ago I compiled a book filled with the voices of just such people.

People like best-selling authors Barbara Sher and Barbara Winter, creativity expert Bob Baker, motivational speaker Steve Simms, and a dozen experts join a chorus of Changing Course readers who allowed me to share their success stories.

Think of Yes You Can as the inspirational kick in the pants you need to take control of your life and go after your dreams.

It’s a message I deemed so important that I’m giving a free copy of Yes You Can away to all the people who’ve been signing up for an online workshop I’m leading called Work @ What You Love.

WWL-VirtualGifting Yes You Can is my way of rewarding you for taking decisive action to turn can’t into can. There’s still time to get yours, but you must act by Thursday, January 15th at 4PM(16:00).

I hope you can join the enthusiastic tribe of change seekers who’ve already registered to attend Work @ What You Love.

There’s just no better way to adjust your mindset than by “hanging out” with people who know how to guide you along your path and give you that inspirational jolt you need to realize that yes you can.

On any given day we all need help remembering this – myself included.

It’s why as a child Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez’s father told her to start each day with this single thought…

“Today is going to be a great day. I can, I will.”

WWL-VirtualThe Half Price Early Bird Price is Still Available – But the Yes You Can Bonus Offer (a $29 Value) Ends Today


Remembering My Boy Cokie “Roberts”

If you are a long time subscriber of the Changing Course newsletter than you will no doubt recall this early photo of Cokie and me that appeared in each issue.

We were both a lot younger then!

Cokie was a fixture at the “Work at What You Love” workshop/retreats that I used to hold in the living room of my former home in Montague Massachusetts.

Mostly he just hung out while the participants were busy making plans for how to make a living with a j-o-b.

Other times he preferred to share the teacher’s chair and actively participate in the discussion.

But I’ll let Cokie tell you in his own way, what he loved most about these gatherings…

He was just a year and half when I took him home from a no-kill shelter. The staff there had named him Pokie.

I suppose it was because whereas every other dog would run at the sight of food, Cokie would take his oh-so-sweet time making his way to his dish.

You’d have to really be a dog lover to watch this next video. With that warning, here’s Cokie NOT rushing to his dish.

In fact he was almost never in a rush. Unless that is, there was a squirrel involved. Then he was, I used to tell him, faster than a greyhound!

I wasn’t crazy about the name “Pokie.” At the same time I also didn’t want to confuse him with an entirely new one. So I settled on Cokie.

Despite being a boy, just for fun I added “Roberts” onto his name in honor of a longtime favorite NPR correspondent, Cokie Roberts.

I must admit I did take adolescent humor in the annual call from the vet’s office reminding me about using best vacuum cleaner for pet hair is the best way to please bring in a stool sample from Cokie Roberts. Although I’ve never shared this with Ms. Roberts, I like to think she’d be amused.

Cokie offered many life lessons – like during our morning “delicious selection of treats” ritual

When I first got Cokie there were no cameras in cell phones. In fact, there were no cell phones!

I have some earlier photos of him packed away somewhere.

But finding them and then figuring out how to use my new scanner? Well, that’s just more than my brain can handle today.

Instead here are a few favorites from the last 7 years…

Waiting for the vet… It was not his favorite place (understatement) yet I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Diamond and the team at Valley Veterinary.


He’d much rather be in his bed…


Preferably dreaming…

Or sledding with the dog sitter (who knew!)


Or snuggling on the couch…


I used to always tell Cokie he was “smarter and braver than Lassie.” You decide…

Good Boy! He got it right!

Like any self-bosser, Cokie worked really hard!


Yet Cokie still found time to hang out with his many friends.

This is him with his girlfriend Megan. (He always liked older women.)

In fact, the minute I said her name, Cokie would immediately cock his head trying to understand… Is she here? Are we going there? Where’s Megan?!


And waiting at the door with his hiking pal Mercie.

Cokie even loved cats.

In fact a neighbor’s cat used to rub up against him purring and licking his ears.

Apparently mistaking the cat’s “advances” Cokie tried to have “relations” with her.

When I asked my vet if this was normal behavior in dogs he answered with an emphatic “No.”


Cokie’s first toy was a monkey.

So after that all toys were known as monkeys. He had a cow monkey, a giraffe monkey, a bear monkey…


Some years before she passed away my mother admired this porcelain dog she saw in a store in Vermont. So my sister Susan surprised her with it.

Though my mother never got to meet Cokie, the resemblance to my future dog is remarkable – even the same red collar!

My dad recently gave me the statue. At first I couldn’t bear to see it. It was too soon. Today his look-alike sits in my office. In the spring I may put it on his grave.


Finally, two of my favorite photos: Basking in the sun on the porch at the old house in Montague.


I guess like his “Mom,” Cokie understood that life is all about taking the long view.


Thanks for letting me share these thoughts and images of Cokie.

Mostly, thank you for letting me share him with all of you for the past 14 years. You rock.

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5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Part 2

When it comes to changing course, money – or rather the lack of it – stops a lot of people in their tracks.

So to help, I’ve put together a five-part series on creative ways to fund your dream.

You may not be able to take advantage of every idea or resource. In fact, none of the five ideas may be right for you and your personal situation. You need to read them anyway. Why?

First, the strategy that may not be a fit for you today may indeed be the one that launches your dream a few years from now.

Second, just knowing that options truly do exist will remind you that your crazy dream is not so crazy after all.

And finally, one of the ideas or resources you see here may be perfect for someone you know. Pass it on and you just might change a life!

Strategy #2: Get Your Priorities Right

Comedian and actor Chris Rock remarked in an interview, “Having money doesn’t make you rich. Having options makes you rich.”

Arianne and Scott Bennett didn’t have either. The couple desperately wanted to travel. But they didn’t have any expendable income.

However they were both able to afford their $4.50 pack a day cigarette habit. Smoking had become a priority.

So in 1998 they both decided to quit and stash the money they saved into a travel fund. Ten months later the couple had enough money to fly to Amsterdam where some friends had recently moved. Check the e cigarette reviews

falafelThey loved the canals and the old world charm. But what Arianne and Scott really fell in love with were the many falafel shops. So they returned to the states to open their first Amsterdam Falafel shop and today run a booming franchise business.

Arianne and Scott’s dream began with a simple decision to put their money into something that would bring them joy. Can you say that about where your money goes?

If not, where can you cut back? Could you cancel or downgrade a pricey cable bill. Pack your lunch. Skip the daily latte. Whatever you do be sure you redirect the money you save into a special Dream Account.

For my friends Linda and Waino saving money isn’t a strategy. It’s a lifestyle.

Throughout his life Waino had a series of low-paying jobs, including school bus driver and hired hand at a dairy farm. Linda started out as an English teacher but soon discovered a love of making pottery.

For the last 30 years she’s thrown pots in her well-lit basement studio. In the spring and fall, Linda teaches pottery classes at a local college. And for a few weeks each summer, she runs classes for kids in her studio.

Of course like everyone, there are times when, Linda feels pressured by the demands for her work. But while her employed friends get a measly 2-3 weeks of vacation, Linda takes ten.

Freshly-Harvested-VegetablesThe couple grows much of their own food. So she takes three weeks off in May to plant their massive vegetable garden. The entire month of August is spent reading books, playing cards, and swimming at a rustic cottage on a remote lake in Maine that the couple own with Linda’s sister and her husband.

After a hectic few month run up to the busy Christmas craft season Linda takes three weeks off in January to cross country ski from her front door and to catch up on things around the house.

This isn’t Linda’s only vacation time. In the last few years she and Hanne Eidberg cross-country skied their way across a part of Switzerland, spent a week with other long-time friends and me in Cozumel Mexico, and last year she accompanied a friend to Ecuador.

Did I mention that Linda and Waino’s combined income has never been more than $50,000? If you’re wondering how they can do all of this and still afford to take over ten weeks off a year, it has everything to do with priorities.

The couple prides themselves on living a full but frugal life. Ardent environmentalists, they repair rather than replace, buy only what they need and for everything else they go used, barter with friends, or go without. They raise chickens for the eggs and grow and preserve a fair amount of their own food.

The mortgage on their small but comfortable home has long been paid off and they have more saved for retirement than the vast majority of those earning two-to-three times more.

If you live in pricy areas like New York City, Boston, or San Francisco it’s not always easy to live on less. So if you’re ready for a change of scenery, consider relocating to a more affordable place where your dollar will go much further.

cafeIf you’re up for re-prioritizing in a big way, you could always go international. Running an existing portable business or starting a new business in another country is actually pretty doable. There are ex-pats opening cafes, using Skype to continue to work with clients back home, and importing crafts and other products back home.

Getting a job in another country can be a major challenge, but it’s not impossible. The reason Linda went to Ecuador was to accompany a friend who couldn’t afford to retire in the U.S. and wanted to check things out. On her first visit the friend got a job teaching English and has since relocated there full-time.

You don’t have to retire to benefit from this list of best places to retire from International Living magazine.

Nor do you need to move, raise your own chickens or grow your own food. But, if you’re serious about finding a way to fund your dream – and enjoy more life – then consider ways you can live on less. In a word: Prioritize.

As Margaret Young said:

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”

Strategy 1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash
Strategy 4: Barter
Strategy 5: Know Your Options

Chocolate, woodworking & romance oh my!


15+ Cool Places to Plug Into Your Tribe, Learn How to Really Make Money Doing What You Love, and Partner With Kindred Spirits Who Share Your Passion

In 2015 there will be literally hundreds of thousands of conferences happening all over the world on topics related to just about every interest imaginable – yours among them.

That’s why I decided to shelve the standard holiday greeting and instead take this week to turn you on to 15 cool events that just might change your life.

For example, if you’ve ever fancied yourself a romance writer but just aren’t sure where to begin, a conference can be the perfect way to find your tribe and learn at the same time.

coupleThere are dozens of conferences for or featuring romance writers including the upcoming Georgia Romance Writers, California Dreamin’, and Ottawa’s Romancing the Capital conferences.

Find Your Tribe and Learn at the Same Time

At the California event you can attend dozens of talks and workshops on topics like creating realistic historical heroines, the eight hero/heroine archetypes, how to write sizzling scenes, creating audio books, time management for writers, and finding a publisher.

Romance not your thing?

Then how about dogs, athletics or fitness, using horses to heal humans, beading, African American music, blogging/podcasting/web TV, historical woodworking, Latinos online, chocolate, selling on eBay or Amazon, or countless passions?

You don’t have to already be actively working in a given field to attend a conference. If you train dogs or think you’d like to then check out the Association of Professional Dog Trainers convention in Dallas.

beadsIf you make beads or think you’d like to there’s the International Society of Glass Bead Makers conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Or for a far more international experience head to The Borneo International Bead conference in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

Do you dream of becoming a successful blogger, podcaster or web TV content creator? Then check out the 2015 NMX event (formerly known as Blog World) in Las Vegas.

Want to become a successful blogger, podcaster or web TV and tap into your Latino tribe at the same time?

Hispanicize, whose companies include Latina Mom Bloggers network, Being Latino, Hispanicize Wire, and the Hispanic PR Blog is putting on their 6th annual Hispanicize Week 2015 in Miami.

Billed as “the iconic, largest annual event for Latino trendsetters and newsmakers in journalism, blogging, marketing, entertainment and tech entrepreneurship,” the organizers expect to draw more than 2,100 of the nation’s most influential Latino professionals from the industries of blogging, journalism, music, marketing, film and business over the five days.

horseLots of horse lovers have long been fascinated by programs that use horses to help disabled children, veterans and others suffering from post-traumatic stress, and others to learn, heal, and grow.

If you’re one, then either get yourself to Utah for the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) conference or stay posted for details of the next international conference.

And talk about your niche within a niche – for $350 you can register for Colonial Williamsburg’s “17th Annual Working Wood in the 18th Century” conference specifically on 18th century writing desks.

In addition to an inside look at the design, construction, and evolution of 18th-century desk forms, this year’s event features a tool swap and the chance to chat with editors from Fine Woodworking magazine.

chocolateBummed to discover that you just missed Colonial Williamsburg’s conference on “400 Years of Chocolate: Aztec to Artisans”?

Then you’ll be happy to know you can still attend the World Chocolate Forum in London or dozens of other chocolate business gatherings in China, Mexico, and scores of other countries.

For a very different sensory experience, there’s the historic National Association of Negro Musicians National Association of Negro Musicians conference in Washington, DC. The organization awarded their first scholarship in 1919 to Marian Anderson. How cool is that!

Always wanted to open your own gym or other fitness-related business? Then head to the Athletic Business Conference & Expo happening next November in New Orleans. Although the agenda is not yet set, the organizers describe it as a premier educational event and trade show for athletic, fitness and recreation professionals.

Or perhaps you want to sell tangible or e-products online. If so, there’s the Summit for Marketplace Sellers at Amazon, eBay, Sears, Etsy & More happening in May in Philadelphia.

None of these ring your bell?

There’s always the totally free Entrepreneur’s 2015 Growth Conference this February 4th in warm (!) Miami.

Unlike the highly niched gatherings you just learned about, conferences like this that attract people with wildly diverse businesses are ideal if…

  • You live in the area and want to spend a fun and informative day with like-minded people
  • You have a blog, podcast or other business where you profile interesting entrepreneurs
  • Your customers or clients are small business owners.

Regardless of the topic, conferences are a great place to meet and learn alongside “your tribe.”

Plus since most have some sort of expo or tradeshow, attending a conference is also a great way to find potential business ideas and partners.

Want A Solid Business Idea Before You Go to Any Live Event?

Since 1995 I’ve helped thousands of people go from confusion to clarity.

If you’re still trying to find a way to connect the dots between what you love to do and how you can get paid to do it, schedule one of a limited number of Find My Perfect Business consultations today.

To find out if a Find My Perfect Business consultation is right for you call 413-535-0451 eastern.

Outside the US send an email to with your Skype ID and I’ll get back to you with a meeting time.

Let 2015 be your year to change course!

Want to MEET Barbara Corcoran?


7 Reasons You Need to Attend Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2015 Growth Conference

In 2014 I flew down to Miami to attend Entrepreneur magazine’s Annual Growth Conference. It was hands down one of the best events I’ve ever attended.

Four years later the conference is back in Miami.

There are at least seven reasons why you should move heaven and earth to be there on February 4th.

barbaracI’ll get to how you can meet – and perhaps even be on stage with Barbara Corcoran – in a moment.

But I’ll start first with perhaps the most surprising reason of all.

(I was going to save this reason for last. But I moved it first out of fear that you’d say, “I can’t afford it” click away and never get to reasons 2-6.)

#1 The Entire Conference is Freakin’ Free!

Thanks to long-time sponsors UPS the cost to attend the entire conference is zero, zilch, zippo!

And that includes a continental breakfast and a fabulous sit-down lunch with a table full of fabulous people in your new Entrepreneurs Tribe!


Of course if you’re not local there’s the cost of getting to Miami.

But your travel expenses are freakin’ tax deductible – even if you’re just starting out and haven’t yet made a dime!

According to the United States Internal Revenue Service, as long as your efforts demonstrate an intention to earn a profit, you can begin deducting any money you invest in building your business right away.

Or as the IRS puts it…

You do not need to actually make a profit to be in a trade or business as long as you have a profit motive.

That means you can deduct the cost of airfare, Amtrak, lodging, rental car, ground transportation, parking, and a portion of meals.

And for my friends up north, did I mention the conference is in hot Miami in frigid February? Now that’s my kind of tax-deductible trip!

Then there’s the amazing Barbara Corcoran and reason #2 to be there. 

#2 You’ll Be Inspired to Think BIG

barbara-corcoranIf you’re a huge fan of ABC’s reality hit Shark Tank like I am, you’ll love hearing from this year’s keynote speaker real estate mogul turned entrepreneur investor Barbara Corcoran.

If Barbara can parlay a $1,000 loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business which she later sold for $66 million – then you can certainly make a go of your business.

#3 You’ll Receive Expert Advice

Upon registering you also have the chance to apply for the chance to be one of three lucky entrepreneurs to take the stage with Barbara Corcoran.

Once there you’ll have five minutes to pitch your product or business to receive 1-1 advice from Barbara herself.

What if you don’t make the cut? No worries, you can still jump into a speed mentoring session with a variety of business experts from SCORE.

Conference organizers describe it as your chance to:

Get ideas and answers to your toughest challenges from experienced professionals in marketing, finance, accounting, sales, business management, human resources and more. You’ll move from coach to coach in quick-format pacing, so come prepared to share your challenge succinctly to get the most from this session.

#4 You’ll Learn A Ton

Successful entrepreneurs are all about continuous learning.

You can choose from breakout sessions on a host of topics from branding yourself and your business to choosing the right business structure to funding your business to getting the media to notice you – and more.

#5 The Chance to Pitch Your Company to Entrepreneur Magazine

Years ago I was lucky enough to get a full page feature in the former Entrepreneur Business Start-Ups magazine.

If you already have a company, then you have the chance to pitch your story to the magazine editors.

Here’s how it worked when I attended:

First you stand in a big line which moves pretty quickly and is filled with other fascinating entrepreneurs.

The organizers let a dozen or so entrepreneurs into the pitch room at one time. Once in you grab a seat across from a random editor and launch into your 3 minute pitch.

At the 2010 conference I pitched to then media editor Justin Petruccelli. I had to do it again I’d definitely research the different editors ahead of time to determine which would be most likely to be interested in my particular business.

Regardless of the outcome, just the process of planning your pitch is an incredibly useful exercise for any entrepreneur.

#6 Meet Movers and Shakers

You won’t find any snobby gurus here. To the contrary, the movers and shakers at this conference are all too happy to chat with participants.

Counterclockwise: Entrepreneur Editor in Chief Amy Cosper, 2010 keynote and the late guerilla marketing guru and multiple best-selling author Jay Conrad Levinson, Founder and Chairman of BNI Ivan Misner, and 2009 College Entrepreneur of the Year Bradley Ericson.

movers and shakers

#7 Meet the Most Amazing Entrepreneurs

Honestly, to me the best part of the conference is the opportunity to connect with other amazing entrepreneurs.

feverishpopsLike the engaging Felecia Hatcher. After being laid off from Nintendo in 2008 Felecia and her husband Derick and another partner founded Feverish Pops in Miami.

They began with two ice cream carts they purchased on Craig’s List.

Today Felicia’s company offers handcrafted flavors like Pineapple Basil, Chocolate Salted Coconut Watermelon, even spiked varieties like Ginger Vodka. For more info please visit

Clients include Paypal, Google, TRUMP, JCrew, Tom Cruise, Universal Music, Cirque de Soleil, Bacardi and the US Census Bureau.

And Feverish Pops has been featured on the Cooking Channel, NBC Today Show, Modern Luxury Magazine, Black Enterprise, Air Tran Magazine, and elsewhere.

Four years later and a few million brain cells less, I don’t recall the names of all the amazing self-bossers I met there. But I do remember what a lot of them did.

Like this very happy franchisee of a Schakalad Chocolate Factory store, the successful retail store consultant, and the couple who started Atomic Tattoos now in locations across Florida.

amazing entres

As for these three people… Well I have no memory of their names or businesses. And I definitely don’t remember why this guy was wearing a kilt!

I included them as a reminder of how fun it was to be in a room full of smiling people who all share one thing in common…

A great idea and the confidence to act on it.


Learn more about the 2015 Entrepreneur Growth Conference.

Still Trying to Find Your Calling? 

Imagine how much more exciting this conference would be if you have a solid direction.

There’s still time to roar into the New Year knowing exactly what you love to do and how you can get paid to do it.

Schedule a FREE Find My Perfect Business 15 minute Personal Assessment.

Call my direct line at 413-535-0451 eastern today. Or send a Skype invitation along with your time zone to drvalerieyoung.

Make 2015 the year you say, “I’m finally going to find a way to work when, where, and how I want!”

3 Ways to Find Your Tribe

Caroline Myss wrote, “We evolve at the rate of the tribe we are plugged into.”

Put another way: Who you hang out with now has a lot to do with where you’ll wind up later.

Take “Angela.”

A big reason why she’s failed to evolve into the professional singer she was meant to be is because Angela has never been plugged into the right “tribe.”

Angela grew up imitating legendary singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horn while part of a family of country music fans and surrounded by friends into heavy metal.

singerAs an adult Angela never lost her desire to be a jazz vocalist. She has the talent and the drive.

But Angela is still immersed in her old tribe.

The problem isn’t one of differing musical tastes.

The problem is no one in Angela’s life has the knowledge, experience, or interest in supporting her dream.

Angela needs to find her “tribe” – in this case professional singers who know it’s possible to be paid to perform because they’re doing it themselves.

Everybody Needs a Tribe

In order for you to evolve from employee to self-bosser then you need to find your tribe too.

If you’ve found your passion, then you know who what your tribe looks like. But what if you can’t figure out how to find them?

That was Jessica’s problem. She writes about wartrol review :

questionHi Valerie

My Aunt Cindy recommended your website 7 years ago and I have been following you ever since. My husband and I have begun creating a new life around much of your advice.

After years of searching and experimenting with my different skills and hobbies and creating my own successes, I am starting my own coaching business.  

I want to immerse myself with wonderful people who are doing what I want to do but I am struggling to find seminars, conferences, online groups, anything. I can find individuals online across the country, but I want to meet people in real life. Where can I begin?

Jessica Nason
East Killingly, CT 

Jessica’s tribe is other coaches.

Your own tribe may be other fiber artists, eBay sellers, or whatever it is that you are either doing or dream of doing.

If, like Jessica, you can’t find a local group you still have options.

Option 1: Expand Your Tribe

If you can’t find an industry-specific group then join your local chamber of commerce, inventor group, or any gathering of entrepreneurs.

If Jessica joined a women business owners group I guarantee a number of members will be coaches. That means she can network with her specific tribe and meet prospective clients at the same time!

hercornerKeep in mind too that not all Tribes need to be local. Sorry to leave out my male readers, but if you’re a woman business owner you can join a really neat organization called Her Corner.

Founded by my friend Frederique Irwin, the organization recently launched a new, free Community Membership level with lots of free discounts and perks to help you grow.

It’s a great no cost way to collaborate with other members, get access to discounted products and services, and tap into the collective wisdom of other women business owners who are equally committed to growing their businesses.

Option 2: Start Your Own Tribe

If you want to be in a group made up of people in your specific business– and you can’t find one in your area – then start one!

Like Jessica I couldn’t find a coach networking group in her area either. However, I did find the 2015 Directory of Connecticut Holistic Health Practitioners which lists dozens of life/spiritual and other coaches and practitioners.

Armed with that information, Jessica could easily invite specific coaches to meet for coffee or drinks. Or, for a less targeted approach, she could use Meet Up to start a coaches group in her area.

Option 3: Change Seekers Need a Tribe Too 

If you’re still in search mode you may be thinking… “But, how can I find my tribe if I don’t know what I want to do?”

It doesn’t matter whether you know the passion part of profiting from your passion. What matters is you know you want to be free from job jail.

If you’re surrounded by people who are diehard employees – and you don’t want to wind up as a lifer yourself – then your tribe is other freedom seekers.

One way to connect with your tribe and learn at the same time is to gather a group of likeminded friends or co-workers together for a book reading group.

The War of Art, Making a Living Without a Job, or Your Money or Your Life are all good choices.

Even if you don’t have a specific idea you can still take a business start-up or marketing class through your local adult education program.

Or if you live in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa or the U.S. Virgin Islands it should be easy to find a class offered by one of the 900 Small Business Development Centers.

Even if you’re in search mode you still need to hang out with the people who are where you want to be.

Unless you live in a highly remote location you’re bound to find local business owner, inventor, artisan, and other meet ups in your area.

If you want to evolve into working when, where, and how you want – being plugged into the right tribe is essential!

Finding your tribe is easier than you may think. You just need to try.

Still Looking For A Way To Earn A Living Without A J-O-B?

Another year is almost gone. Isn’t it time you got the clarity and direction you need to get out of job jail?

Schedule a complimentary Find My Perfect Business personal assessment today. It could be the best 15 minutes of your life.

I’m so committed to helping you find your perfect business that I’m willing to give you my personal phone line.

Call me during normal business hours at 413-535-0451 eastern. Outside the US hit reply now to set up an appointment via Skype.

Obviously, I can’t possibly spend this kind of free time with all of my 27,000 readers. In fact, I only have a handful of assessment appointments a month.

If you really want to find your perfect business so you can start living on your own terms, I urge you to call for your Find My Perfect Business personal assessment today.

Add Your Voice to the Changing Course Job Tribe

Thousands of heads are always better than one!

Who is your Tribe? What other options, ideas, or additional resources do you see for finding one’s Tribe? If you could create the ideal Tribe – what would that look like?

Cool Jobs #16 and #17

Get Paid to Speak or Hold Cool Events – Or Both!

Picture yourself delivering a presentation or leading a workshop on a topic you love.

Maybe that topic is spirituality, abundance or effective leadership. Or what about how leading with spirit results in an abundant bottom line?

Or perhaps you’d love to speak about how sports or learning to play a musical instrument can be a metaphor for academic or business success.

Or on how to find your true calling, self-care for caretakers, or a thousand other topics.

excited groupNow imagine earning four – or even five – figures per speaking gig sharing your passion with others.

Welcome to my life!

I became a paid speaker at 26. My first gig earned me a whopping $150. Good money when rent was $400!

Last year I earned six figures speaking, and this year I’m on track to do the same.

Over the years I’ve addressed well over 70,000 people at countless organizations from Intel to the YWCA.

And I’ve had the honor of sharing the main stage with the likes of Martha Stewart and Gloria Steinem (now that’s a combination!)

I’m not telling you this to impress you.

Rather, it’s because I’ve learned a thing or two about how to succeed as a professional speaker – including what mistakes to avoid.

The 3 Biggest Mistakes Aspiring Speakers Make
and How to Avoid Them

The first mistake is actually the worst one because it keeps a lot of talented people with a message to share from ever even trying to get into the speaking business.

Mistake #1: Thinking You Don’t Know Enough

Far too many perfectly capable people think they don’t have enough knowledge to talk about a subject. If you’re one then I have news for you.

speakerYou really don’t know everything there is to know about your topic. But guess what? Neither does anyone else.

There’s always more to learn!

A related mistake is the misguided belief that you can’t possibly speak credibly on a topic unless you have an advanced degree – or indeed any degree.

You don’t need three PhDs and 20 years of experience. You just need to know more than your audience does. As the saying goes, to 3rd graders, 4th graders are gods!

Look at talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Despite regularly dishing out “expert” and often controversial opinions and advice on human behavior, “Dr. Laura” as she is known and is not a physician as many of her listeners presume.

Nor is she a psychiatrist, or even a psychologist. Although she did go back and study marriage counseling after starting in radio, the “doctor” designation is from a doctorate in physiology where she studied the effects of insulin on rats.

In fact, an effective counter to the internal or external pressure to be highly credentialed is to proudly proclaim yourself as the “anti-expert.”

In her book French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guilano lets readers know right up front that she’s not a nutritionist, a psychologist, an exercise physiologist or any other kind of “ist.”

Instead, Guilano says, she’s just a woman who happens to have observed and experienced the French diet and is sharing that knowledge with people who’d like to eat well and not gain weight.

Mistake #2: Not Understanding How Speakers Get Paid

There are three ways you can get paid to speak. You can

a)     Get hired by organizations

b)     Earn money from your adoring audience

c)      Generate revenue from event sponsors

Which model or models you choose depends on your topic, your financial and business goals, and your personal preference. Let’s take a brief look at each.

Get Hired by Organizations

Other than running the occasional workshop or retreat for people who want to change course, this is my primary business model.

Because my topic – confidence – is so far reaching I can speak to a variety of different audiences.

Speaking at corporations

Having worked for a Fortune 500 company I’m comfortable working with such diverse companies as Boeing, IBM, Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s Europe division (sweet!) and Motley Fool.

motleyfoolAnother plus of speaking to for-profit companies is they pay the most!

A topic like “how to raise sane, healthy teenagers” or “how to find your calling” typically won’t fly for employee training. But there’s another way most people don’t know about – so called “spousal meetings.”

Lots of large corporations hold at least one multi-day, off-site meeting a year where attendees (usually executives or top performing sales people) are encouraged to bring their spouse or partner and sometimes the kids too.

While the employees attend mandatory meetings, their family can choose from a range of age-appropriate activities which include speakers!

Speaking at colleges and universities

I’ve spoken at over 70 major colleges and universities. Depending on your message you can specialize in addressing undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and/or staff.

Whenever you can try to maximize my travel time by grouping my speaking gigs based on location.

For instance this year I will have spoken at Cornell (4x) and nearby University of Syracuse, at North Carolina State University and the neighboring University of North Carolina as well as two California trips to speak at Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and University of the Pacific.

Professional or industry associations or charitable organizations

Large professional or industry associations need keynote and break out session speakers for their national, regional, or state-wide events.

Examples from my own experience include American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Alberta Business Women, and Utah Women Attorneys.

Charitable organizations also hire speakers for their fundraising events. Like the dog chef who travels to speak at events put on by the SPCA and other dog shelters.

These organizations tend to operate on a shoe-string, so expect to earn the least here. Keep in mind though that you may be able to arrange selling your book after your talk or to get a professional videotape of your talk.

Earn Money From Your Adoring Audience or From Sponsors – Or Both

If you know what you’re doing you can make insane amounts of money running your own events.

Registration fees

Registration fees are the most obvious source of income. These can range from $5o for a couple of hours to $5,000 for a multi-day event.

Toss in some big name speakers and depending on your audience it’s not unheard of to charge as much as $25,000.

If the material you’re delivering is intended to help your audience to use the information to earn money themselves, then you can charge more. Here again, it has to do with your topic.

Naturally people are willing to pay more for an event on how to make 7 figures selling information products than they are for one on how to write your first screenplay.

Product sales

Another model is to keep the registration fee low – or even free – and instead earn money from so-called “back of the room” sales.

Most often this would mean selling books, CDs, videos and other information products – your own or other peoples.

However, if your event is on fashion or how to write a best-selling cookbook, then you could just as easily sell clothing and accessories, make up, cookware, and other topic appropriate products on site.

Masterminds and other coaching or mentoring programs

Income from registration fees and products can be substantial. But in addition to these revenue streams, the most financially successful speakers use their events another way.

They still provide attendees with valuable content.

However, the secondary goal is to use the event to showcase your credibility and value in order to inspire a smaller segment of the audience to sign up to join your coaching or mentoring program.

It worked for me. I signed on to “mastermind” with three different experts this way. In all three cases it was money well-spent.


Selling sponsorships for your event is another highly lucrative and often under-used way to get paid to speak.

Depending on your topic, sponsors could be a local newspaper or bank, a major corporation, or even a solo-practitioner like a chiropractor or life coach.

Sponsors win because they in front of potential customers in a forum that aligns with their brand and message. You win because sponsor fees can cover part or all of your event costs.

Case in point is Entrepreneur magazine’s annual Growth Conference (an event I highly recommend). The event is free to attend because UPS foots the entire bill – including lunch!

When you can attract 5 to 25 corporate or other major sponsors at the $5,000, $15,000, $25,000, and even $50,000 level, then my friend you are looking at serious revenue.

Bottom line, putting on your own events is a great avenue if:

  • There aren’t a lot of organizations who are willing or able to pay you to speak on your particular topic
  • Your topic is entrepreneurial in nature and/or your primary audience is business owners
  • You want to offer coaching or mentoring after the event
  • You have products to sell
  • You can attract enough attendees to make your event attractive to sponsors

Mistake #3: Not Investing In Your Success

Whether you’re just now launching your speaking career or are a seasoned pro who wants to increase your bottom line, from a financial perspective the BIGGEST mistake you can make is not being willing to make even the smallest investment in yourself and your business.

Speaking skills not as strong as they could be?

You don’t need to spend a dime to join a local chapter of Toastmaster or watch Ted Talks.

To get there much faster though I suggest you attend a formal training program where you can learn from someone who is more experienced, skilled, and further along than you.

LarryValThat’s what I did. This is me and my speaking mentor five time New York Times best-selling author and television personality Larry Winget.

As someone who has earned the right to command a $25,000 speaker fee, I knew he could help me take my own business to the next level. And I was right.

Everyone can become a better speaker. That includes me. Like all great speakers, Larry never stops practicing his craft and neither should you.

Working with Larry cost me a small fortune.

Fortunately, there are two free resources that are happening this very week.

Own the Stage: 7 Strategies to Create a Speaking Business that Attracts Clients, Connection and Cash Flow

This three-part video series is compliments of Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA.

darnyelleA sought-after speaker and award-winning business coach, Darnyelle has been featured in Black Enterprise, Essence and O Magazines and has shared the stage with some of the greats – Suze Orman, Les Brown, Brian Tracy, Lisa Nichols, Willey Jolley, Delatorro McNeal, and Ali Brown… to name a few.

Darnyelle will share the tips and techniques that helped her launch a speaking business that generates $20,000 a month from corporate and other speaking gigs. These include:

  • A sure-fire technique to turn your audience into raving fans and grow your own “groupie” line
  • The three different types of speaking engagements and how to maximize your earnings in each
  • Must-have marketing materials you need to get you booked again and again

Video 1 comes out today (September 4th) so you’ll want to register for Darnyelle’s speaker training series now.

Sold Out to 7 Figures: The LIVE Event Formula for Cashing In

bariIf you’re already comfortable on stage and are ready to put on your own events there is simply no one out there better to learn from than Suzanne Evans of Hell Yeah Coaching and Bari Baumgardner of Sage Event Management.

You may not know Bari by name. But you may recognize some of her clients.

Bari and her team have planned and managed highly profitable events for people like Ali Brown, Lisa Sasevich, Fabienne Frederickson, Adam Urbanski, Bernadette Doyle, and many others.

Two words that describe Bari are class act.

suzanneOn the other hand there’s my friend Suzanne Evans. (One of the things I love most about Suzanne is that she’d be the first one to laugh at that transition.)

In just a few years this unapologetically big, brash, tell-it-like-it-is business coach has built a multiple 7-figure company.

But style will get you only so far.

What landed Hell Yeah on the Inc. 500 list of fasted growing companies in the US not once, but twice, are their sold-out live events.

After started out with 11 people in a crowded conference room of a dingy chain hotel quickly turned into almost a thousand enthusiastic attendees at a swank luxury hotel.

If you want to put on highly profitable live events this is your chance to learn from Suzanne, Bari and other event professionals.

Get all the details here.

More importantly I hope you realize that with the right message, the right training, and the determination to make a difference in the lives of your audience that you too can get paid to speak.

Get a C.L.U.E.

There are two types of people in the world: Chronic complainers and chronic complainers with a clue.

Both groups can always find something to gripe about.

The difference is, the clueless complainers will go to their grave railing against everyone and everything. Which, of course, only confirms their biggest complaint, namely: “life sucks and then you die.”

“In the middle of difficulty,” observed Albert Einstein, “lies opportunity.” What makes clued-in whiners different is that they have grasped the fundamental genius of success:

Lead to rush nutrition solutions which
Ultimately, with effort,
Equal opportunity

In other words, take just about any problem or situation worthy of complaint — annoying telemarketers, bed bugs, lack of eligible dating partners.

Then add a dash of creative problem solving and you’ve got all the makings for a whole range of positive possibilities. For more info visit

Last time I featured great resources for earning money by:

  • Creating floral arrangements

  • Growing and selling plants from home

  • Working on the farm with a little help from farm school

In This Issue

Today we’ll look at three more cool jobs for aspiring self-bossers.

Each has the potential to solve a problem for someone else while putting money in your pocket!

  • Man Camp – teaching what dads forgot to teach

  • Breaking up is hard to do – but you can help!

  • For some breaking up is fun to do – divorce parties and other ideas

As always, some of the cool ideas you’re about to “meet” come from people in an international community of licensed Profiting From Your Passion® coaches. I hope these ideas inspire you to make your own job!

Cool “Job” #13: Man Camp – teaching what dads forgot to teach

Like many entrepreneurial ideas, this one came disguised as a problem.

My friend Beau Blackwell was lamenting the fact that his father never taught him how to replace a toilet, trouble shoot a stalled car engine, or other stereotypically “guy stuff.”

hammer“Wouldn’t it be great,” said Beau, “if young guys like him could go to “man camp”? Indeed!

If you know how to do basic home maintenance or auto repairs you could teach the classes yourself. If not, find some retired guys who can.

Building On That Idea

You could of course earn money from registration fees. But there are other ways to go.

For instance, you could round up one or more local sponsors to foot the bill. Instead of it being your event it could be billed as Man Camp sponsored by Homey Hardware Store or Best Ever Used Cars.

In addition to sponsor income, being connected with a local business has other advantages like instant credibility, sponsor help in promoting the event at their location, on social media, and on their website, as well as increased chances for local media coverage.

Another way to generate revenue is to work the food and beverage angle.

I remember my friend Barbara Winter telling about a famous herb farm that used to operate in Connecticut. They didn’t have a license to serve food. So they charged a fee to tour the gardens that included a free lunch!

beerSo what if you tap a local brewery as a sponsor? That way you can include a free sample which in turn allows you to up the registration fee. (Just don’t teach classes involving any buzz saws!)

Man Camp is a great idea. But as a home owner there are a lot of things I wish my dad had taught me too – things that neither of my two brothers learned either.

So you could always organize a similar class for women who tend to be less intimidated learning how to dry wall or change spark plugs in the company of other women.

Cool “Job” #14: Breaking up is hard to do – but you can help!

brokenheartAnyone who’s been dumped knows that breaking up really is hard to do.

You don’t feel like eating. Everything reminds you of your ex. You obsess about how incredible they were while developing amnesia about their faults.

As you’ll learn from an informative and entertaining video called The Science of Love, there’s a physiological reason why you have a hard time getting over your beloved.

brainAccording to researchers, the same regions of the brain are activated during a breakup as when an addict is going through withdrawal.

So it stands to reason that a step-based model like Alcoholics Anonymous could be used to facilitate recovery from heart-break as well.

The video features several newly single people trying out five steps like identifying three things you learned from the relationship and mediation.

Building on That Idea

The 5-step process got me thinking about things like offering Break Up Recovery Coaching, Break Up Support Groups, even Break Up Retreats to cool locations.

You don’t need to be a psychologist or other mental health provider. Rather if you have coaching experience or simply organizing skills, you can partner with someone else to do the emotional heavy-lifting.

singingThe video ends with a singer composing a customized rap song for the people featured in the video.

If you have a knack for songwriting, this could be just the cool job for you!


What If You Could Get Paid to Share Cool Business Ideas?

  • Are you an idea person?

  • Do you love to brainstorm?

  • Would you like to get paid to do what comes naturally?

You’re not alone!

In less time than you think you can train to become a licensed Profiting From Your Passion® coach.

Here’s what one student had to say as she started digging into the course material…

The resources on the student site are unbelievable. I can’t even imagine the time, energy, finances and mental/physical exertion you have poured into this.


Most of what I have experienced appears to have lead me to this work! Thanks again for all the work you have put into this program.


Robbie Penney
Bakersfield, CA

An accelerated version of this online course begins September 8th. Seats are limited.

Click here to learn how you can get started for as little as $379.

Cool “Job” #15: For some, breaking up is fun to do — divorce parties and other ideas

Some newly single people moved from healing to celebrating and there are party planners who are all too eager to help them do it in style.

According to a growing number of party favor and event planning companies specializing in divorce parties, business is booming.

Today you can buy divorce party favors like “pin the tail on the ex” and divorce party coasters. Others like Kissed the Wrong Frog and fabletics sell clothing, lip gloss, and shot glasses.

The owner of Los Angeles-based The Divorce Party Planner books at least three parties a month. At $5,000 to a whopping $20,000, helping people celebrate a new beginning can also be highly profitable.

Building on that Idea

If you prefer a service-based business, a quick search of other major cities like Atlanta and Denver didn’t turn up any divorce party planners there. So, why not become the go-to planner in your area?

Don’t know where to begin? Pick up a copy of Divorce Party Handbook.

If you’re not into the angry ex going to a strip club with her gal-pals scene that means there are others who feel the same.

So why not offer an alternative for divorcees looking for more Zen-like or spiritually-based rituals. It could be as simple as a weekend at a local retreat center or spa or as high-end as a group trip to Sedona or Machu Picchu.

If you want to specialize even more, you could create events that appeal to gay divorcees, Jewish divorcees, devout Christian divorcees – add your own here.

Not a people-person?

Then set up an online store selling divorce-themed party favors and other products.

No offense to really dated looking The Divorce Shower Store (the link to Myspace nailed it) – but it wouldn’t be hard to come up with a more polished look or one aimed at an upscale market.

With enough traffic you can also attract ad revenue.

To increase your search engine optimization (SEO) and stand out from the competition at the same time,you can use one of the best seo in montreal agency or supply visitors with a steady stream of articles on topics like surviving the divorce, rocking it as a single parent, and getting back in the dating scene.

Or maybe you’re more the creative type? For a premium, you can offer divorce voodoo dolls customized to resemble a cheating ex.

Or you can design your own products like this funny “break-up prevention” T-shirt I saw in the Pittsburgh airport which would make a great coffee mug or wall plaque too.

The marriage may have ended, but the possibilities for creative self-bossers to create their own cool job are truly endless.

Add Your Voice to the Cool Job Tribe

Thousands of heads are always better than one!

How would you build on any of these cool jobs? What other options, ideas, or additional profit centers did you picture? What other cool jobs have you spotted lately? Post below!

Cool Jobs: Flowers, Farm School, and More

Like many people of northern European descent, my people “don’t do heat.”

Fortunately, the Northeast is being rewarded for enduring the relentless snow storms of last winter with truly spectacular summer weather.

The days have been largely sunny and warm. Nights have been delightfully cool and at times downright chilly.

Best of all, there have been virtually none of the 90-plus degrees and muggy stretches we usually see.

The corn fields are tall, flowers in full bloom, and the many local farmers markets in full swing.

Last time I shared 3 cool “jobs” you can create or build on:

  • Get paid to share your love of crafts
  • Invent a new toy
  • Cater to kids

In This Issue

In this issue we’ll look at three more cool jobs for people who love the bounties of summer. In one case, you don’t even need to work outdoors!

  • Design floral arrangements
  • Grow and sell plants from home
  • Get back to the organic farm

As always, some of the cool ideas you’re about to “meet” come from people in an international community of licensed Profiting From Your Passion® coaches. I hope these ideas inspire you to make your own job!

Cool “Job” #10: Design floral arrangements

You don’t have to work out doors to arrange flowers.  But you do need to know what you’re doing.

There are some great illustrated instruction books on Amazon:

Conferences are a great way to both get a feel for any field and to engage in continuing education. Consider attending the American Institute of Floral Designers national symposium, June 30 — July 4, 2015, in Denver.

Can’t afford to register? Starting later this fall the Institute’s foundation will once again take applications for scholarships.

They also offer a series of online courses for $79 or you can find a list of approved education partners in the US and internationally.
Cover-Florist-205x311If you’re serious about floral design as a business (or even a j-o-b), check out Fab Jobs Guide to Becoming a Florist.

The guide can help you decide whether to buy an existing shop or a franchise or to open your own place and includes sections on how to write a business plan, required tools, equipment and supplies, finding and working with growers and wholesalers, marketing, delivery options, and more.

If being your own boss isn’t your thing, you’ll also learn how to get hired as a floral designer working in a small flower shop, for a chain, for a wholesaler, or in a grocery store.

Cool “Job” #11: Grow and sell plants from home

mikemcgroartyMike McGroarty from Perry, Ohio has made thousands of extra dollars running a thriving home-based plant business.

According to Mike, you don’t need an entire farm to get into this fun and profitable seasonal business. In fact, he says you can do it on a mere 1/20 of an acre of land and sell your plants literally from your driveway.

People kept asking Mike how they too could make extra money growing plants from home.

Hint: When people want to know how you do something, listen to them, because it’s opportunity knocking.

Wisely, Mike did listen, and today he also sells a low-cost e-guide that that spells out how you can set up the same system where you live.

Cool “Job” #12: Time to get back to the (organic) farm

organicfarmAre you an organic food enthusiast who loves the idea of getting out from behind a computer and working the land? Then follow the trends my friend.

Between now and 2018 the organic food market in United States is forecasted to grow 14%.

If you just want to dip your toe in the water, check out World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. For a $40 membership you get a directory of 1,927 host farms in all 50 states, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico that offer a variety of educational opportunities

You spend half a day on the farm (which includes room and board). Depending on what host farm you select, you can learn about growing vegetables, keeping bees, building straw bale houses, working with animals, making wine, and much more.

Or maybe you’re ready to dive into farming in a big way but lack the necessary knowledge and skills. If so consider applying for the year-long training offered on the 183-acre Farm School in Athol, Massachusetts.

You can choose from such wide ranging subjects as dairy farming, food preservation, forestry, green house propagation, pest and disease control, acquiring farm land, business planning, marketing and much more.

They also have an optional three-week winter trip to a farm in Tuscany. Sweet!

At $18,000, which includes housing, it’s definitely not cheap. But when you see how former students have crafted their own cool jobs or enterprises, you may decide it’s an investment worth making.

A less expensive (but also more limited) training option can be found at the Organic Farm School situated on the historic Greenbank Farm on Whidbey Island in northwest Washington State. The publicly owned farm consists of 500+ acres that include fields, forest, wetlands, and a 10-acre economic development center.

Tuition for their 7.5 month program is $5,200 (payment plans are available) plus $180 a month for housing.

Both farm schools also exemplify the beauty of multiple streams of income.

In addition to selling farm fresh products, the Athol farm has a summer youth camp, runs its own accredited middle school housed in a converted chicken coop, and hosts children on field trips from other schools.

The Whidbey Island location runs a community school that offers shorter classes taught by volunteers and rents out space for wine tastings, dog shows, and other local events.

Add Your Voice to the Cool Job Tribe

Thousands of heads are always better than one!

How would you build on any of these cool jobs? What other options, ideas, or additional profit centers did you picture? What other cool jobs have you spotted lately? Post below!

3 New Cool “Jobs”

A really cool job. Everyone wants one. Right?

But what if you also want to do your own thing? To enjoy more flexibility and control over when, where, and how you work?

To put the life side of the work-life equation first?

Then my friend you need to create your own cool job.

It’s not as hard as you might think. Nor is it the fast-easy path to overnight riches that some gurus make it out to be.

Fundamentally, making the leap from having a boss to being your own boss comes down to two things:

1)      A great idea

2)     The courage to act on it

The good news is there truly is no end to the creative ways to make a livelihood without a job-job.

Creative Options For People Who Want to Do Their Own Thing

Last time I shared 3 cool “jobs” you can create or build on:

  • A cool way to share your of love of wine
  • Imitating master artists
  • Baking and delivering warm cookies and cold milk

In This Issue

In this issue you’ll discover how to:

As always, some of the cool ideas you’re about to “meet” come from people in an international community of licensed Profiting From Your Passion® coaches.

I hope these ideas inspire you to make your own job!

Cool “Job” #7 Share Your Love of Crafts

There are hundreds if not thousands of craft-related websites. What caught my eye was one that brings together two unlikely passions.

Geek Crafts combines geeky stuff (or what some might call nerdy) like Starwars, Harry Potter, and Wonderwoman and, of all things, crafting!

It’s also a great example of how you don’t actually have to “do” crafting. Instead you can dedicate yourself to scoping out cool crafting ideas like they do.

Plus, the blogger bios are a fun reminder that there’s more to life than office politics and commuter traffic.

paulyTake Pauly who tells us that he lives in the fabled lands of Canada” with his wife, son and “a small zoo.”

For his day job Pauly “travels all over the world” where he says he “sees the inside of many airports, hotels and taxi cabs.”

During his own time though, he “enjoys cross-stitch, as long as it is geeky.” Who knew?

Pauly and full-time crafter wife Redd co-run a store on Etsy called Geekopolis.

Oh yes, Pauly says he’s also “totally a Viking.”

Building on That Idea

When you calculate in materials and time, it can be tough to make any real money selling individual craft items. So a lot of people just give up.

But what if there were a way to sell just your crafting IDEAS?

Enter the craft pattern and education site You Can Make This. Once your project has been accepted, the company shares it with their eager crafters. Then when your pattern sells you get 50 percent of the revenue.

Side note: The business was founded by stay-at-home mom and avid crafter Kim Christopherson. It was so successful her husband Ryan was able to quit his technology job to join her. Sweet!

Cool “Job” #8 Invent a New Toy

As kids Mike Cheshire and Tom Aiezza they knew their parents weren’t keen on them playing Frisbee in the house. So they fashioned their own smaller disks out of jar lids, shaved bottle caps… whatever worked.

The childhood friends teamed up after college to produce the same mini-Frisbee toy.

flickerzRather than go to China, they hired a plastics company in Southern California to produce a first run of 7,500 Flickerz. Total cost from prototype to mold to finished product was only $10,000.

Stellar sales at 12 independent toy stores meant they were on the right track. Today their site features lots of video demonstrations. But back then the pair had posted a video of themselves doing trick throws that they posted on LinkedIn of all places.

A toys sales rep saw it and told them they needed to go to a toy fair happening in two weeks. Mike and Tom quickly put down $2,500 for half a booth and with that, Jungo Toys was officially born.

In 2012, they sold between 50,000 and 60,000 discs. Before long they were able to begin paying themselves.

In 2013, Jungo sold 120,000 units. This year they expect to double again breaking the half a million mark in revenue. Customized versions with an organization’s logo are especially profitable because there’s no packaging or sales commissions to pay out.

Building on That Idea

Having such a low price point has had an unexpected benefit. One non-government organization purchased a batch of Flickerz to keep kids standing in food lines amused. And for children at an orphanage in Kenya it’s the first toy they ever owned.

This could be a great opportunity to start a non-profit that matches non-government organizations serving poor children or those in refugee camps with toy manufacturers willing to donate over-stock toys.

Have an idea for a toy?

I found this article by the folks at Sesame Street.

blockbusterCheck out The Blockbuster Toy! How to Invent the Next Big Thing

Or if you’re further along in the process or don’t mind investing $1,250 for immersion education, consider learning from industry experts at either of these mega-events:

Cool “Job” #9 Cater to Kids

When you walk into the romantic, candle-lit dining room at Chandler’s Restaurant in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, the last word that would come to mind is “children.”

But when you realize they are part of Yankee Candle’s huge flagship store known for its Disney-like Bavarian Christmas village, then it all makes sense.

Every month the restaurant hosts a mother/daughter luncheon. Guests dress up in feather boas, tiaras, and fancy attire to enjoy an “award winning kids menu” while listening to a reading of one of the books in Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy series.

It must be a hit because Chandler’s recently added kid’s cooking classes for $25.00 per child. This includes instruction, recipes to take home, lunch, and complimentary lunch for one accompanying parent.

It’s a great deal for the parent and smart way for the restaurant to attract first-time diners.

Building on That Idea

That got me thinking. Someone who loves creative marketing and children could fashion themselves into an internationally recognized children’s event expert. (I like to think big!)

You could research other innovative ways normally adult-focused businesses are using kid-friendly events to bring parents and their credit cards in the door. Then sell your findings in the form of an e-book or marketing white paper.

Or simply use it to custom design children’s events for restaurants, retail stores, libraries, even car dealerships or dental practices.

Resource for a Change

Attend the SCORE Awards Gala Without Leaving Home

In celebration of their 50th anniversary, on Thursday, August 14 at 7:00pm Eastern SCORE is live streaming their Awards Gala

This is a great opportunity to get some inspiration and potential ideas without ever leaving home!

Two honorees that caught my eye are:

Garbage to Garden A Maine-based company picks up your food scraps and returns them as compost. If you love this idea as much as I do, this could also be a great opportunity to contact them to see how you might work together to launch this same business where you live.

Lulyboo The founder and inventor of this baby bed carrier worked with two Score mentors. One guided her to grow the business while another helped her script and produce a video entry for a local entrepreneur forum. The video came in 1st place netting the founder a cash prize of $10,000.

Add Your Voice to Cool Job Tribe

Thousands of heads are always better than one!

How would you build on any of these cool jobs? What other options, ideas, or additional profit centers did you picture? What other cool jobs have you spotted lately? Post below!


The Big End of Summer
Income Generation Idea Sale!

You Really Can Live Life
On Your Own Terms.
All You Need is A Great Idea

Ideas are powerful. When you finally see a way you can make money doing what you love, something remarkable happens.

Suddenly the fear, procrastination, overwhelm, self-doubt and all the other dream killers suddenly take a back seat.

An idea gives you direction. Without your own idea, you’re destined to watch others pursue their passion while your own life passes you by.

Over the span of 19 years, I’ve helped thousands of aspiring self-bossers just like you to connect the dots between what you love to do and how you can make money at it.

And the most important “dot” of all? Making sure that all ideas pass the all-important Life Test. That way you can put your life first – and work second.

Now for a limited time you can schedule a personalized Income Generation Idea and Action Planning Strategy Session for the significantly reduced price of just $499.

That means for under five hundred bucks you can get one – or quite possibly – multiple income generating ideas.

Not sure what you love to do?

“The way to find out about your happiness,” said renowned mythology scholar Joseph Campbell, “is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you are really happy – not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy.”

fytc coverThat’s why to help you re-discover your lost passions, your laser session includes a copy of It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Calling: A Handbook to Help You Find Your Passion and Get a Life.

And if you worry that the thing you most love to do won’t pay the bills, think again!

Once you discover the utterly liberating concept of multiple streams of income you’ll realize that more is possible than you ever imagined.

Normally this option-inspiring guide is $19.99.

But it’s yours free when you book your Income Generation Idea and Action Planning Strategy Session.

Unfortunately, my busy travel and speaking schedule means I can only make this offer to the first 10 people.

If you really want to discover how you can get paid to do what you love click here to secure your spot at this special End of Summer Sale rate of just $499.

Next, get out your calendar and call me at 413-535-5107 eastern time during normal business hours. I’ll do a brief intake and schedule your one hour session.

I’ve taken a lot of career assessment tools and they always end up telling me I’m creative – which I already knew – but they still leave me stumped as to what to DO with my creativity to actually make a living.

Valerie gave me a lot of good ideas that really made me think. She helped me see how many different possibilities there are in the world for us creative types.

Lynette Turner
Los Angeles, CA

I am still trying to catch my breath after our call! I am very satisfied with the way things went… You were giving me ideas, tips and resources until the second our call ended.

Bob Nelson
Chicago, IL

Someone booked an  Income Generation Idea and Action Planning Strategy Session just before this blog was posted.

That leaves just 9 available spots.

This End of the Summer “Idea Sale” will sell out.

To reserve your spot on my schedule or see more cool jobs go to :

3 More Ways to Get Paid to Do Work You Love

Some of the cool ideas you’re about to “meet” come from people in an international community of licensed Profiting From Your Passion® coaches.

I hope these ideas inspire you to find and grow your own income-generating idea!

  • Get Paid to Share Your Love of Wine
  • Get Paid to Imitate the Masters
  • Get Paid to Bake Cookies

Great Idea #4: Get Paid to Share Your Love of Wine

winebulanceLove turning people onto great wine? So did the couple who started a mobile in-home wine tasting service called Winebulance.

People looking for a fun way to learn about wine with their friends can schedule a knowledgeable Wine Consultant to show up at their home in a well-stocked van to educate the gathering on some of the company’s favorite wines.

Revenue comes from wine sales. But the main focus is on having local wine shops pay $2,500 to implement the business model in an exclusive territory. The shop owner can buy, lease, or rent the van.

Coincidentally one of the class exercises in the Profiting From Your Passion® coach training involves a Wine Educator.

The exercise asks students to come up with ways a wine educator could make money. I’m not going to give away all the answers. But here are a few examples to jog your thinking:

  • train wait staff at new or established restaurant
  • run wine tastings for vineyards
  • run tours through wine country
  • hold wine pairing events at restaurants

The exercise was inspired by a client who left her draining Silicon Valley job to pursue her love of wines. After re-locating to a less pricey part of California and taking a minimum wage job at a gourmet food and wine shop, the client earned her certificate as a wine educator.

Want to be a Wine Educator?

A quick search uncovered several Wine Educator programs in the UK and Australia.

In the US the Society of Wine Educators is one of several organizations that offer a self-study version with testing sites in various states. Other organizations, like the Culinary Institute of America offer live classes.

Great Idea #5: Get Paid to Imitate the Masters

juliaNo one actually paid high school senior Julia Reidhead to use acrylic paints to turn a second hand wedding dress into a beautiful Van Gogh inspired prom dress.

Instead the 18-year-old from Mesa, Arizona did it just for fun.

Building on That Idea

But that doesn’t mean Julia – or anyone with an artistic flair – couldn’t make money painting replicas of famous works of art!

You could paint custom lampshades, shower or window curtains, bed spreads, clothing, furniture, walls… virtually any surface.

Great Idea #6: Get Paid to Deliver Warm Cookies and Milk

cookies-1113tm-pic-1134If you love to make cookies you could of course open a bake shop. But then you’d have all that overhead.

Instead why not launch a Cookies & Milk Delivery service like this one in Davis, California started by a philosophy major at UC Davis and his recently graduated girlfriend.

The couple bakes the cookies at a downtown commercial kitchen then delivers them still warm along with ice cold milk to their addicted fans.

Building on That Idea

Maybe you don’t live near a large university or aren’t keen on being in the delivery business or have employees?

I can imagine warm cookies and milk working well out of a food truck. If you’re a night person you could park the truck near a busy bar scene.

If you’re not a night owl then find someone who is. That way your asset – the truck – is still earning money while you sleep.

Bake in the morning. Then during lunch time take your cookie truck to playgrounds frequented by preschoolers and their caretakers or large office complexes. Afterward, head to a large high school to catch hungry teens just as school is letting out.

The Bottom Line

Make Your Own %&#*#@ Job

skaterEvery summer there are millions of aimless teenagers who were unable to find a summer job. But not for lack of trying.

They filled out applications at the mall and at fast food restaurants. But no luck.

It simply never occurs to these teens – OR their parents – to MAKE A JOB.

  • Wash cars
  • Mow lawns
  • Paint fences
  • Babysit
  • Clean garages
  • Sweep the sidewalks in front of store fronts
  • Design websites
  • Teach adults how to use social media
  • Refinish furniture
  • Repair computers or lawn mowers

lawn chairFor instance, have you ever tried to find a lawn chair in August? The stores have already moved on to selling snow blowers!

Enter a local kid who used to snag discarded lawn chairs and reweave the seats. Every day he’d have 20 or more on display in front of his house selling at $7-$15 a pop.

In other words — Get Creative!

Can you blame these kids? After all, most adults are astonishingly uncreative about ways to make money that don’t involve getting a job-job.

In most industrialized countries people have lost the ability to connect the dots between a need and a solution we could provide in order to earn money.

sheepInstead we’ve become a nation of occupational sheep.

And the old way is no longer working. So get creative people!

As George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.


The Big End of Summer
Income Generation Idea Sale!

You Really Can Live Life
On Your Own Terms.
All You Need is A Great Idea

Ideas are powerful. When you finally see a way you can make money doing what you love, something remarkable happens.

Suddenly the fear, procrastination, overwhelm, self-doubt and all the other dream killers suddenly take a back seat.

An idea gives you direction. Without your own idea, you’re destined to watch others pursue their passion while your own life passes you by.

Over the span of 19 years, I’ve helped thousands of aspiring self-bossers just like you to connect the dots between what you love to do and how you can make money at it.

And the most important “dot” of all? Making sure that all ideas pass the all-important Life Test. That way you can put your life first – and work second.

Now for a limited time you can schedule a personalized Income Generation Idea and Action Planning Strategy Session for the significantly reduced price of just $499.

That means for under five hundred bucks you can get one – or quite possibly – multiple income generating ideas.

Not sure what you love to do?

“The way to find out about your happiness,” said renowned mythology scholar Joseph Campbell, “is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you are really happy – not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy.”

fytc coverThat’s why to help you re-discover your lost passions, your laser session includes a copy of It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Calling: A Handbook to Help You Find Your Passion and Get a Life.

And if you worry that the thing you most love to do won’t pay the bills, think again!

Once you discover the utterly liberating concept of multiple streams of income you’ll realize that more is possible than you ever imagined.

Normally this option-inspiring guide is $19.99.

But it’s yours free when you book your Income Generation Idea and Action Planning Strategy Session.

Unfortunately, my busy travel and speaking schedule means I can only make this offer to the first 10 people.

If you really want to discover how you can get paid to do what you love click here to secure your spot at this special End of Summer Sale rate of just $499.

Next, get out your calendar and call me at 413-535-5107 eastern time during normal business hours. I’ll do a brief intake and schedule your one hour session.

I’ve taken a lot of career assessment tools and they always end up telling me I’m creative – which I already knew – but they still leave me stumped as to what to DO with my creativity to actually make a living.

Valerie gave me a lot of good ideas that really made me think. She helped me see how many different possibilities there are in the world for us creative types.

Lynette Turner
Los Angeles, CA

I am still trying to catch my breath after our call! I am very satisfied with the way things went… You were giving me ideas, tips and resources until the second our call ended.

Bob Nelson
Chicago, IL

Someone booked an  Income Generation Idea and Action Planning Strategy Session just before this blog was posted.

That leaves just 9 available spots.

This End of the Summer “Idea Sale” will sell out.

To reserve your spot on my schedule, sign up now

The Power of An Idea

Changing Course is well… changing course!

My vision for the newsletter I founded in 1995 was reflected in its motto.

Live Life on Purpose
Work at What You Love
and Follow Your Own Road

I still seek to inspire those who know there is more to life than office politics and commuter traffic.

But first and foremost, I’m an Idea Person.

So is Ernie Zelinski, author of Real Success Without a Real Job. In fact, Ernie says creative thinking is the thing that helped him generate over a million dollars.

No wonder he refers to creativity as “the poor person’s wealth.”

It was this passion for generating creative ways to create your own job that led me to my new motto…


Over the span of 19 years, I’ve helped thousands of aspiring self-bossers just like you to connect the dots between what they love to do and how they can make money doing it. 

Once you arrive at a great idea – the kind that makes you with excitement – you’ll find something remarkable happens.

Suddenly the fear, procrastination, overwhelm, self-doubt and all the other dream killers suddenly take a back seat.

I’ve seen this with my own coaches, most of who are themselves starting a business for the first time.

Right now there’s a lot of entrepreneurial ideas flying around on the private Facebook group we set up for people currently enrolled in the Profiting from Your Passion® career coach training.

It inspires me every day to see this international community of “Opportunity Detectives” in action.

That’s why starting today, I’m launching a new series designed to help you – and all 27,000 Changing Course readers – to find and grow your own Great Idea! 

In fact, many of the fascinating ways to turn interests into income you’ll see in this new series come directly from these inspiring coaches.

In This Post

Great Idea #1: Play the Name Game

Have a knack for coming up with cool business names? Now you can get paid to do it.

namingforceTraditionally a company or entrepreneur in search of a cool name for their enterprise, initiative, or product had to hire a pricey ad agency.

Enter Naming Force.

This online naming agency gathers names from registered members (U.S. residents/18 and over) and then uses crowd sourcing to help select the best name for their clients.

Here are a few examples of recent winning names:

  • Thumbs Up! for a don’t text and drive campaign
  • Cordinazer for a cord management system
  • Meter Mate for a parking meter payment app

If the name you submitted gets selected, you receive a cash award.

You can also get a cool name for your own website or product for as little as $100. Since the right name can make or break a business, I’d say that’s money well spent.

Learn more or register here.


Great Idea #2: Get Packing

getpackingThe majority of parents scramble to scrape together enough money to send their kid to summer camp.

Turns out, wealthy parents have a different problem – finding the time to pack their child’s bag for summer camp.

So they’re paying personal organizers up to $1,000 to pack their kid’s bag for them.

If you happen to live near a city or affluent suburb with a greater number of people in the higher income bracket, then you really only need to find 5-10 clients to make a nice chunk of summer cash.

And if parents will pay to ready their youngster for summer camp, can packing their college-bound teens be far behind?

Great Idea #3: Get Paid to Teach

Do you love to share your knowledge or expertise, but don’t know how to attract students?


Maybe you’ve already thought about making money tutoring people on things like math, chemistry, reading, or academic test preparation.

Or perhaps teaching others how to play an instrument, cook healthy meals, do improv, or learn a second language.

The problem of course, is finding enough students to pay you!

That’s where Take Lessons comes in.

This free teacher-student matching service allows teachers to post a free profile so your local, in-home, or online class can be found by the thousands of students who visit the site every day.

When students sign up, you receive 75% of student fees.

Plus you get mobile tools, marketing resources, and live, online lesson options to increase your reach even more.

Since Take Lessons began in 2006 the company has paid out more than $21 million dollars to its teachers.

So, what are you waiting for? Go teach something!

Free or Low Cost Dream Launchers

#1 New Book Offers Recipe for Success [Limited Free Copies Available]

Launch is the title of my friend, mentor, and former stay-at-home dad Jeff Walker’s new book.

The subtitle pretty much says it all…

An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula
To Sell Almost Anything Online,
Build A Business You Love, And
Live The Life Of Your Dreams

If this sounds like hype, I assure you it is not.

In Launch Jeff outlines the exact process used by over 10,000 people around the world to start or grow a successful online business.

Using case studies of real people who used his high-end product launch formula program (PLF), Jeff lays out the actual steps you need to create your own product or service, find interested consumers, and turn them into enthusiastic buyers.

People have used PLF in every type of market and niche you can think of and realized tremendous success.

In fact, it’s almost become a hobby of Jeff’s to keep track of many of those markets. Here’s just a partial list of some of the markets:

  • dating advice
  • test preparation
  • Photoshop tutorials
  • loan officers
  • realtors
  • juggling
  • college admissions
  • baseball coaches
  • mixed martial arts
  • SAP programmers
  • knitting
  • crocheting
  • dog training
  • mutual fund investing
  • trading (forex, futures, stocks, etc)
  • dressage
  • real estate investing
  • learning guitar
  • training doctors to read ultrasounds
  • business coaching (around the world)
  • raw food
  • massage therapy
  • romance (writing love letters)
  • personal trainers
  • medicinal herbs
  • fiction writing
  • horse training
  • learning piano
  • dog agility training
  • marching band accessories
  • tennis instruction
  • yoga
  • youth soccer coaching
  • pet care
  • songwriting
  • health food
  • hand analysis
  •  meditation
  • brain science
  • self-defense

There’s another reason I know Jeff’s launch formula works. I used it.

For years I resisted spending more than a hundred dollars here and there on marketing. Then, on the recommendation of a trusted and extremely successful entrepreneur, I bit the bullet and bought Jeff’s program.

I followed the formula exactly. Not only did it work just the way Jeff said it would, but I generated more revenue in six months than I had in the previous six years – combined.

You don’t have to spend the kind of money I did to master the product launch formula.

Because in an effort to generate pre-book buzz for Launch, Jeff is giving away a limited number of copies – for free. You get:

  • The exact formula that Jeff’s students have used to generate more than $500 million in sales in hundreds of markets.
  • The 9 weapons of mass influence that cause people to BUY (they’ll be the cornerstone of your successful launch)
  • How to use the Seed Launch to get paid BEFORE you even start your business (or create a product)

Plus you also get some amazing bonuses.

Whether you already have a business or are just getting started Launch truly is your recipe book for success.

As legendary entrepreneur and star of Shark Tank Daymond John said,

“Surround yourself with a team of advisors [who] have the same agenda. Do homework. Research every single thing that you are doing. Take affordable next steps. Take a step forward, learn and then repeat.”

If I could pick just one advisor in the entire world it would be Jeff Walker.

#2 Tap Into Insane Income Working from Home

shandabannerThere really is a way for you to work from home, make good money, and actually have a life.

Here’s my personal endorsement.  I know Shanda Sumpter. A few years ago I hopped a plane to California to co-create a product with her and have personally witnessed how she has built a business that gives her true freedom.

Shanda doesn’t just pitch it; she’s someone who has figured out a formula that works for any business that produces a lot of FREE TIME!

Put it this way…


Shanda does triathlons which means she works out 17 hours a week (and it shows!).

She also takes off every third week, checks out over December to go skiing in Canada and spend the holidays with her family.

She also has a full staff, makes millions of dollars, and is extremely determined to show you how to build your business so that you can “HAVE a bigger LIFE”!

She’s also one of the most genuine people I know.

Here’s what Shanda is doing that I think you should check out.

Making money and having money should give you freedom. There IS a way that you can set yourself up for that.

Most free giveaways are TRAPS to get you to buy something.

I promise you this ISN’T. Anything offered on this Free Training is well worth your time and investment.

Plus, you don’t have to buy anything to attend and learn.

Go here now to REGISTER for Shanda’s Exposed Livestream Training.

And get ready to live a Bigger Life!

The Bottom Line

Finally, if you really want to change course there are two super important things you need to know about business ideas.

1)   Embrace the liberating power of multiple streams of income

I wasted a lot of years searching for that one Big Idea that would generate enough income to completely replace my corporate salary.

But once I turned my attention to building smaller profit centers, over time I not only matched my former salary, I far surpassed it.

2)   Think small

Everyone is so hung up on how they’re going to make their first $50,000-$100,000 that they don’t do anything.

What if instead you focused on making your first $500 or $1,000?

The fact is if you can make $500 or $1,000 a month, then you can figure out how to grow that into significantly more.

But you have to start — somewhere. So let it be here!

Want to Be a Changing Course Opportunity Detective!

Have you come across a cool business idea or income-generating resource you’d like to share? Send it to

Better yet – share it here on the Changing Course blog!

How to Get Out of Job Jail

Winston Churchill said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Optimism is essential to success. All the more so if you want to make the leap to being your own boss.

In fact, the ability to view the world through the lens of opportunity is by far the fastest path to freedom.

That’s because, as you are about discover, difficulty that’s been keeping you locked in job jail may be the very thing that can set you free.

For starters, have you ever thought…

“I have so many interests that I can’t decide”

ezine1Kate is interested in lots of things. So many that she has a hard time picking just one. This makes Kate what my friend Barbara Winter calls a “scanner.”

She’s “addicted to scrapbooking,” spends hours happily researching information online, and before she got stuck with a stressful two-hour-a-day commute Kate was an avid golfer.

Unfortunately, none of Kate’s interests have anything to do with her j-o-b as a financial analyst.

Kate feels trapped. Which is ironic given her other passion. Writes Kate,

“I’m always looking at possibilities and trying to help my friends or co-workers or even total strangers who know they’re on the wrong path. One friend who is a cat lover calls me the answer lady because I’m constantly researching cool things she could do in the cat world”

In fact, Kate says getting paid to do what she’s done all along for free is “too good to be true.”

However, her excitement is short lived.

Her new worry? “What if I go in one direction only to discover it wasn’t my true calling after all?”

As a result Kate isn’t acting on any of her passions for fear that by saying ‘”yes” to one path, means closing the door on others.

Not so says Barbara. In Refuse to Choose she writes,

“…a scanner can’t choose one direction. It’s like telling a parent to choose one child to feed. A parent knows she has to feed all her children. And a scanner must find a way to follow every path that interests her.”

In fact, rather than a barrier to self-employment, having multiple interests means Kate has multiple ways she can earn money.

She could partner with a local travel agency to offer golf outings to exotic locations two or three times a year…

She could teach courses on scrapbooking throughout the year…

Or since people like to hunker indoors in the winter, scrapbooking could be a seasonal business.

That way Kate could still make money combining her love of online research with her knack for generating business ideas for cat lovers, travel lovers, sports lovers…

Better yet, she could specialize in helping other scanners!

Not only will life be more interesting, but in the end, having multiple profit centers means Kate will probably end up making more money as well.

Speaking of money… Do you worry that if you do what you love, the people and the money just won’t follow?

“Will enough people really pay me for this?”

Some people spend so much time fretting about whether there’s enough of a need to start their business that they wind up doing nothing.

Tim wants to quit his job in human resources to do freelance writing from home. But he knows it will take a while to match his former salary.

A self-described “dog guy,” Tim thought about also doing some dog sitting. But with so many kennels in the greater Washington DC area, he doubts he’d make much.

It’s a costly assumption to make.

Twenty five bucks a night may not sound like a lot, but when you travel as much as I do, it adds up! Last year alone, I paid my own dog sitter close to $1,200 to care for my aging dog Cokie in her home.


In a span of 10 minutes Tim could sign up for, a new service that matches dog owners with in-home pet sitters.

Most sitters in the DC area charge $25-$40 a day. But a woman who bills herself as the “dog whisperer” commands a whopping $80 – per dog.

And guess what? She’s got more reviews than most of the competition!

Determining market potential for any potential business is basically a number crunching exercise.

calculatorIf Tim found just three clients who, between them had five dogs, and they booked 70 nights a year ($80 x 5 dogs x 70 nights) he’d have a pretty sweet $28,000 income stream!

(If you want to learn more about how to calculate potential earnings check out my article on the Profiting From Your Passion® FAQ page.)

Joanne also wants to work from home. She’s intrigued by the idea of becoming an “outside the job box” career coach, but like Tim, she worries about the need.

“I work in a large dysfunctional organization. There’s a big shake up going on and lots of bad management decisions. Everyone is miserable — including me.

I’m the one everyone comes to for advice about how to get through this mess but I know they aren’t the types to quit their jobs to follow their bliss.

I desperately want out but I’m just afraid there’s not enough of a market out there for this kind of work.”

Let’s review…

She and everyone around her is “miserable,” but Joanne doesn’t think there’s a market for someone who can help burned out cubicle dwellers find relief?

Is every disgruntled employee a potential client? Of course not. But even if it were somehow possible to work with every person on the planet, Joanne only needs to reach enough people to get launched and then grow from there.

If for every 100,000 employees, 5 percent were open to the idea of making a living without a job – that’s 5,000 people.

Then there’s the finding that the most significant spike in people starting their own businesses is among people aged 55 to 64.

With 10,000 baby boomers retiring every single day for the next ten years, this market alone is enormous.

Kate, Tim, and Joanne don’t have a problem. They have an opportunity. Once discovered, the ball is officially in their court.

As Wayne Dyer said, “There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there’s only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.”

It’s Never Too Late to Re-Learn Important Stuff

It’s been a while since I sent this newsletter.

In fact, even I was surprised to discover the last issue was last June!

Instead I’ve been sharing ideas and resources largely through short blog posts.

Today I felt tugged to return to my roots.

Roots that began when I published the first Changing Course newsletter way back in 1995.

(Okay now I feel old!)

cokievalThis is Cokie and me in the early days.

Cokie was probably three-years-old in this picture. Now he’s 15.

At least I can still see and hear. Cokie… not so much. But gratefully the old guy is hanging on.

A lot has happened since 1995. Heck, a lot’s happened since my last newsletter!

Over the last few months I’ve had opportunities to re-learn two important lessons.

Lessons that can help you realize your own dream of working at what you love, living life on purpose, and following your own road.

Know When Good Enough Is Good Enough

Is chronic perfectionism killing your dream?

Are you waiting for everything to be absolutely perfect before you launch your great idea… your small business… your new LIFE?

Maybe you want to start a blog or write a book or give motivational talks. But instead you endlessly tinker and tweak and adjust, making sure everything is just so… but never begin.

Trust me I’ve been there.

Over the years though, I’ve learned that all my high-minded notions of “quality standards” and “getting it right” really just equaled paralysis.

On the whole, the male entrepreneurs I know operate from a very different definition of quality. The mantra repeated by multi-millionaire speakers at the numerous marketing seminars I’ve attended always comes down to some variation of this:

“You don’t have to get it right you just have to get it going.”

One marketing guru went even further telling procrastinating perfectionists that, “Half ass is better than no ass.”

His wording may be crass but the fundamental truth remains:

If you wait for everything to be perfect you’ll never act.

Whether it’s a product, a service, or an idea, you have to put version one out there, get some feedback, improve on it, and then create a new and improved version from there.

You can always course correct as you go.

But at some point you must decide it really is good enough.

It’s a lesson I relearned just last week while recording a presentation.

I spent the better part of a day doing dry runs before finally hitting the dreaded “Record” button.

Everything was going great until around the 35 minute mark, and I coughed.

Could I have stopped and re-recorded the whole thing? Yup.

And if someone had hired me to create the video I would have.

But this was a free video I produced for a select group of people who want to learn more about an upcoming training program on how to get paid to brainstorm.

So instead I kept going.

Earlier in my entrepreneurial journey I would have been compelled to make it perfect.

Instead I chose to think most viewers would forgive the cough.

And to recognize instead the considerable effort I put into finding statistics about the boom in the numbers of people embracing self-employment and the examples of creative business ideas.

Plus the entire second half of the video is basically a free marketing lesson.

Lessons I knew this audience could use to launch or to grow a business regardless of whether they ultimately sign up to train with me or not.

So yes, I coughed. And guess what? Life went on.

Don’t Get Too Wedded to Your Dream

In October I realized a long-held dream of getting onto Oprah’s radar when I was interviewed for O magazine on how to feel more confidence.

omagazineWhen the issue finally came out I was so excited I babbled to the cashier, the other customers at the newsstand, truly anyone with a pulse – “I’m in this magazine!!!”

As honored as I was, in all honestly, my real dream was to be a guest on Oprah’s TV show.

But the show ended its 25 year run a mere two months after my book came out. Talk about a near miss.

What I learned from this experience is that people don’t fail to achieve a dream.

The failure is giving up when things don’t turn out the way we imagined.

I’ve had plenty of clients who fantasized about owning a bed and breakfast, but they didn’t have the money to buy their own place.

Happily, some discovered it much more satisfying (and less stressful) to have B&B owners who need a break to pay them to be bed and breakfast sitters instead.

Others realized that the part they really liked was the idea of decorating the place. Washing sheets and making breakfast at 6am… not so much. So they pursued decorating instead.

As the Rolling Stones reminded us, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might get what you need.”

5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Part 5

When it comes to changing course, money – or rather the lack of it – stops a lot of people in their tracks.

So to help, I’ve put together a five-part series on creative ways to fund your dream.

You may not be able to take advantage of every idea or resource.  In fact, none of the five ideas may be right for you and your personal situation. You need to read them anyway. Why?

First, the strategy that may not be a fit for you today may indeed be the one that launches your dream a few years from now.

Second, just knowing that options truly do exist will remind you that your crazy dream is not so crazy after all.

And finally, one of the ideas or resources you see here may be perfect for someone you know. Pass it on and you just might change a life!

Strategy #5: Know Your Options

3102014_1Ever wondered how most successful small business owners get the money to launch?

Entrepreneur magazine did and what they found might surprise you!

Of businesses less than five years old, with annual sales in excess of $1 million, a whopping 69 percent started out by using their own money to fund their business.

3102014_2Going it alone, pulling yourself and your business up by your bootstraps otherwise known as “bootstrapping” is all about getting things done while spending as little as possible and not raising outside financing.

That’s why the first four ideas in this series focused on small ways for you to bootstrap your dream. (If you missed these, then start here.)

But bootstrapping isn’t your only option.

You have five basic options for finding the money to fund your entrepreneurial dream:

OPTION 1: Using Your Own Money

OPTION 2: Debt Financing – Borrowing with the expectation that you will repay the loan

  • Borrowing from friends and family
  • Borrowing money from a bank
  • Borrowing from a micro-lender

OPTION 3: Equity Financing – Getting others to invest in your dream in exchange for a financial stake in your business

  • Friends and Family
  • Other “Small” Investors
  • Angel Investors/Professional Investors/Venture Capitalists

OPTION 4: Getting a grant

  • Private Grants
  • Government Grants and Other Assistance
  • Grants for Social Entrepreneurs
  • Grants and Funding for Creative Types
  • Grants for Non-profits

OPTION 5: Crowdfunding via sites like Kickstarter or Indigogo

  • Friends and family
  • Your social network
  • Total strangers who support your dream

You can stick to just one option. For instance, I bootstrapped the start-up of Changing Course and then continually re-invested earnings back into the business as needed.

Or you can put together various combinations.

Say you wanted to open an art gallery. You could kick in some of your own money, get a loan from your Aunt Gracie, and secure a grant from a local arts council.

So what option do successful small business people use? According to that same Entrepreneur survey:

  • Private investors — 21 percent
  • Friends and family — 21 percent
  • Line of credit from a bank (presumably using their home or other property as collateral) — 18 percent
  • Bank loans — 12 percent
  • Credit cards — 10 percent

Know How Much You Need

3102014_3Before you can even consider how you’ll get the funds, you need to know how much money you need.

If your goal is to start a small, one-person, home-based business as say a freelance writer, consultant/coach, or web designer then you’ll probably need relatively little start-up money. In this case Option 1 – bootstrapping is the way to go.

But what if you have what I call a “Big Dream”? In the past I’ve worked with clients who wanted to:

  • Open a dude ranch in the Canadian Rockies
  • Start a non-profit to help impoverished people in South Africa sell their crafts
  • Renovate a historic building into a multi-purpose art space

Big dreams tend to involve things like looking at things like renting or purchasing property, hiring employees, finding donors, travel expenses, and/or purchasing equipment or inventory – all of which require more start-up capital.

So here you’ll probably need to borrow money, find investors, seek corporate sponsorship, or all three.

In other words, the amount of money you need to change course depends on your business needs and your plans for growth.

Assess Your Entire Situation

3102014_4Once you know how much money you’ll need, you need to decide which funding option is right for you. Which strategy you choose depends on three things:

1) Your current financial obligations or circumstances

2) Your comfort level with risk

3) How quickly you want to change course

For example:

  • If you have a couple of kids about to enter college you’re in a very different financial situation than if you’re a 21-year-old who just graduated college and is living at home
  • If you’re the sole provider of a family, either as a single parent or part of a two-parent family, you’re in a different situation than someone who is only responsible for themselves
  • If you’re an individual that makes a lot of money but are drowning in credit card debt, you face different challenges than if you earn far less but spend within your means
  • If you find yourself faced with a “once in a lifetime” chance to purchase a special piece of property or a coveted business that’s up for sale then you may be willing to take out a loan, court investors, or otherwise assume a greater financial risk in order to seize the day

The Benefits of Bootstrapping

Even if you ultimately decide to use other options, starting out, the easiest way to fund your new business is to use your own money.

After all, you don’t have to fill out any applications or worry about your credit score. There are no investors to try to woo. And you don’t have to worry about repaying anyone.

At least that’s what Shep and Ian Murray discovered.

After graduating college the two brothers felt stifled in their respective Manhattan desk jobs. They longed for the laid back days of summer they’d spent as kids on Martha’s Vineyard.

3102014_5So inspired by the mega-success of another Massachusetts island business Nantucket Nectars, they quit their jobs in 1998, took a $7,000 cash advance from their credit cards, and launched designer neck tie business Vineyard Vines.

In true bootstrapping style, they ran the business themselves for the first two years. Today they have a whole team of employees.

Things have really accelerated in the last five years. The Murray’s went from a single Edgartown retail store to:

  • Having their ties worn by every living president as well as other high-profilers as John Kerry, New York Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg and financier Warren Buffett
  • They’re on track to generate $100 million in sales thanks in large part to the decision to invest in their business by expanding to offer a complete clothing line for men, women, and children
  • Doubled the number of stores to 20, including new locations as far away as Plano, Texas, and Newport Beach, California
  • And signed licensing deals with the NFL, NHL, and MLB
  • And Vineyard Vines’ clothing is the “official style” of the Kentucky Derby

Not bad for a couple of bootstrappers!

Whether you want to build an empire as the Murray’s ultimately did, or are just looking to start a small self-sustaining business, the fundamental steps to funding a business remain the same.

Step 1:  Believe in your dream

Step 2: Find a way to fund it that best fits your situation and goals

Step 3: Take action!

Ready to start bootstrapping your own dream? Start with one of these strategies from the entire 5 Ways to Fund Your Dream series:

Strategy 1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It
Strategy 2: Get Your Priorities Straight
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash is available
Strategy 4: Barter

5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Part 4

You want to make the leap from having a boss to being your own boss. The only problem? M-o-n-e-y!

I wish I could tell you there was a 1-800-Free-Money hotline. Or give you the name of some government office that writes big, no-strings attached checks so people like you can just up and quit your job to start a business.

But I can’t. So that means you have to find another way.

Strategy #4: Barter

innWhen freelance photographer Roger William Theise found out I was from Massachusetts he positively gushed about a recent vacation to Cape Cod. He was especially taken with the charming seaside village of Chatham, home of the famous lighthouse.

So the Ithaca, New York-based shutterbug approached the keepers at one of the more upscale inns with a unique proposal.

Roger would take flattering pictures of the inn and once back at his studio he’d email the best shots. If the owners were unimpressed, they were free to keep the photos no questions asked.

However, if innkeeper liked what they saw, then Roger would be rewarded with a free one-week stay the following summer. It worked!

The enterprising photographer could have made the same pitch to owners of restaurants, clothing stores, fishing expedition boats, gourmet shops… The possibilities are endless!

More importantly, there’s no reason why the timeless practice of bartering couldn’t work for start-ups too.

What Do You Need?

If you have an idea you haven’t acted on – or began only to stall – ask yourself this question:

What do I need right this minute to get my business moving?

If you’re like most people, your first response is “money.”

It’s entirely possible that you’ll need a hefty business loan or an infusion of cash from angel investors later on.

But in the pre-launch phase most people tend to have more specific needs. Needs that have to do with gaining practical experience, training, knowledge or information, or all of above.

Things like…

  • training in how to use Quickbooks®, Adobe Illustrator, Final Cut Pro, or another type of software
  • someone to write a grant proposal for that non-profit you want to start
  • advice, mentoring, or coaching
  • someone to help you put together a crowd-sourcing campaign so you can raise tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) in start-up costs
  • marketing help
  • professional editing of your screenplay, book, or information product
  • the opportunity to assist or shadow someone doing the kind of work you’d like to do
  • web-design or tech support
  • A professional headshot or product shots

Some of these things you can get at no cost by reading QuickBooks for Dummie’s or tapping a grant-savvy friend or relative to walk you through the process.

Other times what you need is going to cost you. If funds are tight, then bartering might be the perfect solution. After all, everyone has something they can offer in exchange. You can:

  • run errands
  • cook or bake
  • care for kids or pets
  • proof-read
  • prepare taxes
  • organize things (files, garages, closets)
  • hem clothes
  • do research
  • clean
  • do basic home or auto repair…

In fact, if you know how to edit, take great photographs, write grant proposals or do any of the things on the list above – then you have something to barter.

5 Rules for Barters

Once you’ve determined what you have to give in return, consider these five rules of etiquette before, during, or after any barter.

1)      Make sure the other party wants what you have.

If the person lives with a professional chef, your offer to prepare and freeze a week’s worth of dinners probably won’t fly. Nor does it make sense to pitch pet-sitting to someone who doesn’t own animals.

Instead, make a list of things you can offer in exchange and let the other person choose.

2)     Make sure the exchange is relatively even.

Someone once asked me to wave their entire $3,000 seminar fee and wanted me cover their travel expenses to boot. What would I get out of the deal? A couple of hours handling the registration desk – something I could hire out for under $100.

Andy LaRoche, Pittsburgh PiratesI understand it’s not always possible to do a perfectly even exchange. After all how do you put a price on spending a weekend shadowing the director of a successful sports camp as some of my own clients have done? But common sense should lead you to propose something that’s more equitable.

3)     Get the agreement in writing.

Taking the time to summarize the agreement in writing can save a lot of headaches or even resentments later on.

You don’t need a formal document. A simple email thanking the person and asking if the terms you’ve outlined reflect their understanding will suffice.

4)     Do what you said you’d do – and then some.

Unfortunately I’ve been on the receiving end of less than satisfactory barter agreements. So while it should go without saying, make sure you follow through and do an outstanding job.

And if the value of what you’re getting exceeds what you’re giving then find a way to exceed the agreed upon expectations. Show up with or send some home-made treats or flowers. Offer to stay late. Or do more than agreed upon exchange. What you do is less important than that you express your appreciation.

5) Be gracious.

Note Card & CoffeeBartering with someone you don’t know is a leap of faith. If you initiated the barter, make sure you take the time to send a hand-written thank you card.

What about you?

Do you have a successful (or horror) barter story to share? What tips would you add to this list? I’d love to hear from you!

Strategy 1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It
Strategy 2: Get Your Priorities Straight
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash is available
Strategy 5: Know Your Options

5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Part 3

You want to make the leap from having a boss to being your own boss. The only problem? M-o-n-e-y!

I wish I could tell you there was a 1-800-Free-Money hotline. Or give you the name of some government office that writes big, no-strings attached checks so people like you can just up and quit your job to start a business.

But I can’t. So that means you have to find another way.

This next idea (#3 in my 5 Ways to Fund Your Dream series) is so simple that you may have overlooked it.

Best of all… anyone can do it.

Strategy #3 Make and Stash Some Extra Cash

For the last nine-and-a-half years of her life, my mother worked as a custodian at a local state university. It was the only way she could see to earn a pension since my Dad didn’t have one.

One of the perks of the job is that college students consume a lot of cans of soda – and beer. And for my Mom that meant extra cash.

canThat’s because Massachusetts is one of 11 states with a bottle bill, which means consumers get 5 cents for every return. That may not sound like a lot. But my Mom made an extra $100 to $125 a month on the cans students discarded.

What would you do with an extra $1,200 to $1,500 a year?

Before you make up your mind that this kind of money isn’t nearly enough to fully achieve your dream, ask yourself instead how even small chunks of money might move you closer to your dream?

In other words:

  • How many photography, cooking, woodworking, beekeeping, or marketing classes could you take?
  • What kind of advanced training could you get in coaching, solar energy consulting, horticulture or wherever your interests lay?
  • What supplies or books could you buy?
  • What kind of equipment could you purchase or upgrade?
  • How much of someone else’s time could you buy in terms of business coaching, housecleaning, or administrative assistance?

I’m not suggesting you start collecting cans off the roadside (although plenty of people do and they aren’t all homeless). In fact, there may be ways you can make extra money that will also bring you closer to your dream.

For instance, if you love to paint and you enjoy teaching others check out a company called Paint Nites. The brainchild of co-founder Dan Hermann, Paint Nite® “is a new concept blending two timeless pastimes: painting and drinking cocktails.”

paintBars and restaurants with an extra room win because they get paying customers in the door on a slow night to enjoy a drink while taking a fun painting class.

Artists and teachers win because they earn the majority of class fees while Paint Nite® does most of the marketing.

Paint Nite® wins because they profit from a smaller share of the class fees and they get a free venue for their classes.

To learn more and to apply to either host a class or teach one, go here.

Maybe sewing, quilting, jewelry making, or other crafts or hobbies like photography or scrapbooking are more your thing. If so check out You Can Make This.

How it works is, you create the design and the how-to guide and the company features it on their site. When someone buys it, you as the content publisher earn 50 percent of the sale price.

I interviewed company founder Kim Christopherson maybe five years ago. Turns out after just one year, her website was so successful that husband Ryan was able to quit his job to work with Kim full time.

How did she start? It all began when she turned to eBay to earn extra money by selling her crafts.

So, what about you? What can you do to bring in an extra $100-$200 a month?

If you love to shop can you snag great designer clothes at Goodwill, Salvation Army or close out sales and sell them at pricier consignment shops or online?

Could you tutor kids in math or language or an instrument?

Can you make extra money teaching, consulting, or supervising others on how to write a grant, wallpaper a room, build a tree house, use Adobe Illustrator® or anything else where you have some knowledge or skills?

mugEveryone has stuff you don’t need that you can sell on eBay or Craigslist? Heck I have a dozen old Starbuck’s city series coffee mugs I bought for $10-15 each that now fetch $40-$90 just sitting in a cupboard.

There are all sorts of ways to earn extra money – money you can specifically earmark toward starting your small business.

What you’ll soon realize is that the money itself isn’t the important part. The important part is that you will have taken proactive steps to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Strategy 1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It
Strategy 2: Get Your Priorities Straight
Strategy 4: Barter
Strategy 5: Know Your Options

5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Part 2

When it comes to changing course, money – or rather the lack of it – stops a lot of people in their tracks.

So to help, I’ve put together a five-part series on creative ways to fund your dream.

You may not be able to take advantage of every idea or resource. In fact, none of the five ideas may be right for you and your personal situation. You need to read them anyway. Why?

First, the strategy that may not be a fit for you today may indeed be the one that launches your dream a few years from now.

Second, just knowing that options truly do exist will remind you that your crazy dream is not so crazy after all.

And finally, one of the ideas or resources you see here may be perfect for someone you know. Pass it on and you just might change a life!

Strategy #2: Get Your Priorities Right

Comedian and actor Chris Rock remarked in an interview, “Having money doesn’t make you rich. Having options makes you rich.”

Arianne and Scott Bennett didn’t have either. The couple desperately wanted to travel. But they didn’t have any expendable income.

However they were both able to afford their $4.50 pack a day cigarette habit. Smoking had become a priority.

So in 1998 they both decided to quit and stash the money they saved into a travel fund. Ten months later the couple had enough money to fly to Amsterdam where some friends had recently moved.

falafelThey loved the canals and the old world charm. But what Arianne and Scott really fell in love with were the many falafel shops. So they returned to the states to open their first Amsterdam Falafel shop and today run a booming franchise business.

Arianne and Scott’s dream began with a simple decision to put their money into something that would bring them joy. Can you say that about where your money goes?

If not, where can you cut back? Could you cancel or downgrade a pricey cable bill. Pack your lunch. Skip the daily latte. Whatever you do be sure you redirect the money you save into a special Dream Account.

For my friends Linda and Waino saving money isn’t a strategy. It’s a lifestyle.

Throughout his life Waino had a series of low-paying jobs, including school bus driver and hired hand at a dairy farm. Linda started out as an English teacher but soon discovered a love of making pottery.

For the last 30 years she’s thrown pots in her well-lit basement studio. In the spring and fall, Linda teaches pottery classes at a local college. And for a few weeks each summer, she runs classes for kids in her studio.

Of course like everyone, there are times when, Linda feels pressured by the demands for her work. But while her employed friends get a measly 2-3 weeks of vacation, Linda takes ten.

Freshly-Harvested-VegetablesThe couple grows much of their own food. So she takes three weeks off in May to plant their massive vegetable garden. The entire month of August is spent reading books, playing cards, and swimming at a rustic cottage on a remote lake in Maine that the couple own with Linda’s sister and her husband.

After a hectic few month run up to the busy Christmas craft season Linda takes three weeks off in January to cross country ski from her front door and to catch up on things around the house.

This isn’t Linda’s only vacation time. In the last few years she and a friend cross-country skied their way across a part of Switzerland, spent a week with other long-time friends and me in Cozumel Mexico, and last year she accompanied a friend to Ecuador.

Did I mention that Linda and Waino’s combined income has never been more than $50,000? If you’re wondering how they can do all of this and still afford to take over ten weeks off a year, it has everything to do with priorities.

The couple prides themselves on living a full but frugal life. Ardent environmentalists, they repair rather than replace, buy only what they need and for everything else they go used, barter with friends, or go without. They raise chickens for the eggs and grow and preserve a fair amount of their own food.

The mortgage on their small but comfortable home has long been paid off and they have more saved for retirement than the vast majority of those earning two-to-three times more.

If you live in pricy areas like New York City, Boston, or San Francisco it’s not always easy to live on less. So if you’re ready for a change of scenery, consider relocating to a more affordable place where your dollar will go much further.

cafeIf you’re up for re-prioritizing in a big way, you could always go international. Running an existing portable business or starting a new business in another country is actually pretty doable. There are ex-pats opening cafes, using Skype to continue to work with clients back home, and importing crafts and other products back home.

Getting a job in another country can be a major challenge, but it’s not impossible. The reason Linda went to Ecuador was to accompany a friend who couldn’t afford to retire in the U.S. and wanted to check things out. On her first visit the friend got a job teaching English and has since relocated there full-time.

You don’t have to retire to benefit from this list of best places to retire from International Living magazine.

Nor do you need to move, raise your own chickens or grow your own food. But, if you’re serious about finding a way to fund your dream – and enjoy more life – then consider ways you can live on less. In a word: Prioritize.

As Margaret Young said:

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”

Strategy 1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash
Strategy 4: Barter
Strategy 5: Know Your Options

5 Ways to Fund Your Dream

When it comes to changing course, money – or rather the lack of it – stops a lot of people in their tracks.

So to help, I’ve put together a five-part series on creative ways to fund your dream.

You may not be able to take advantage of every idea or resource.  In fact, none of the five ideas may be right for you and your personal situation. You need to read them anyway. Why?

First, the strategy that may not be a fit for you today may indeed be the one that launches your dream a few years from now.

Second, just knowing that options truly do exist will remind you that your crazy dream is not so crazy after all.

And finally, one of the ideas or resources you see here may be perfect for someone you know. Pass it on and you just might change a life!

Idea #1: Find a Contest Related to Your Dream and Enter It

If you’re a writer or an artist or you love to make music or fancy cakes or you have a great business idea or a host of other things, why not enter a contest?

penguinIf you think it’s a total long-shot let me tell you about my friend Dyan DiNapoli aka The Penguin Lady.

Dyan didn’t enter a contest. But she did have a dream of working with sea animals at an aquarium. Not everyone supported her decision to go back to college to pursue the required degree.

It’s not that they thought she wasn’t up to the task. Rather they worried that the odds were not good, telling Dyan, “It’s too competitive.”

I loved Dyan’s response: “I just kept reminding myself – somebody’s going to get that cool job. It might as well be me.”

The same thing applies here. Someone is going to win that contest. It might as well be you!

In fact, it was a contest that launched the writing career of a registered nurse named Elizabeth Berg. Her first attempt came at nine when she entered a poem contest in American Girl magazine. Twenty five years later Elizabeth entered and won a writing contest sponsored by another magazine.

She penned magazine articles for ten years before writing her first novel. Today Elizabeth has numerous New York Times best-selling books to her name.

To be clear, entering a contest is not the same as sitting on your hands hoping to hit the lottery. Rather in each case you actually have to take positive action in order to win.

Finally the great thing about entering a contest is that even if you don’t win the contest you’ll still have won because you’ll have improved your craft and learned a ton along the way.That’s how some of the biggest Agency SEO have made it.

To get your own creative juices flowing, I’ve pulled together three of the countless contests happening this very moment.

The Staples’s Make Your Idea Happen Contest

Can you capture your great idea in 100 words or less? Well, you’ll need to if you want to win one of 10 prizes office supply giant Staples is giving out.

winnerGrand prize is $25,000, first prize is $15,000, and second prize $10,000. All prizes are all in the form of tech and office store products of your choice.

Plus winners receive something even more valuable. Free specialized business coaching from an impressive line-up of experts including a well-known chef, jewelry designer, and author.

And a lucky seven runners-up can cash in on $5,000 in products.

But you’ll have to act FAST because entry is due February 3 at 5PM eastern. That’s TODAY!

The only catch is you have to “Like” them at Facebook to enter and give them more pay for twitter followers. (A very clever marketing tactic you may use in your own business.)

Once you hit “like” you’ll find helpful sample entries and bios of the panelists. So… what are you waiting for!

Pillsbury Bake-Off

I grew up hearing about winners of the Pillsbury Bake-Off. The prize back then was $10,000. No small sum at the time.


Today the grand prize is a cool $1 million and a spot on Queen Latifa’s show! To learn about all of the recent winners of the 46th bake-off – and most importantly — to get on their list for news of the next one, go here.

Pillsbury isn’t the only game in town. King Arthur flour sponsors baking contests at dozens of state fairs.

And if cake decorating is your thing this Cake Decorating Classes site lists upcoming contests in the US, Canada and the UK.

Baking and cooking contests are so popular that there are entire websites dedicated to the topic – which is a cool business idea itself. Two I found are Cooking Contest Central and Contest Cook.

John Lennon Songwriting Contest


Since 1997 this international songwriting contest has awarded millions in prize money and products to amateur and professional songwriters who submit entries in 12 categories including rock, hip hop, Latin, gospel, country, children’s, and more.

The contest is open year-round and features two sessions — with 72 Finalists, 24 Grand Prize Winners, 12 Lennon Award Winners and 1 “Song of the Year.”

You don’t need a professional recording and instrumental compositions are encouraged. Entries will be judged on originality, melody, composition, and (when applicable) lyrics.

This year’s prize packages total over $300,000.00! Among the judges are Bob Weir, Jesse Harris, The Black Eyed Peas, The Bacon Brothers and The Veronicas!

What if you don’t win? Then enter another one and another one until you do.

Your Turn

Know of another contest? Get an aha? Or even just a boost of inspiration? Great! Scroll down to post your thoughts and ideas here!

Strategy 2: Get Your Priorities Straight
Strategy 3: Make and Stash Some Extra Cash is available
Strategy 4: Barter
Strategy 5: Know Your Options

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The Difference between prosperity and poverty

I saw the most incredible sunset the other day. I had to pull my car over to soak it in, this fleeting sky painting.

These small gifts don’t show up in my life more often than anyone else’s. I think I just notice them more.

I’m sharing this monument capital group holdings because few, if any, career advisors talk about gratitude as an essential element of career change.

When you think about it, career counselors and coaches are in the business of helping you move from where you are to where you want to be. In other words, changing your work and life are by definition all about the future.

Gratitude on the other hand is very much about the present.

It’s not always easy to be grateful when what you want is freedom, control over your time, and the satisfaction of knowing that the work you do matters. But what you have instead is a soul sucking job that leaves you no time to see, never mind smell, the roses.

Yet if you really want to make a positive change, it’s imperative to shift from a state of constant yearning for what you don’t have to being mindful of those blessings, however small, that you do have… right now.

Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin talked about this concept in their groundbreaking book Your Money or Your Life writing,

“So much dissatisfaction comes from focusing on what we don’t have that the simple exercise of acknowledging and valuing what we do have can transform our outlook.” Said another way, ungrateful people make lousy self-change agents.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that there are a lot of people in dire circumstances. Circumstances made all the more difficult during this holiday season.

Yet, say Dominguez and Robin, “Once we are above the survival levels, the difference between prosperity and poverty lies simply in our degree of gratitude.”

Even during my most financially challenging and emotionally discouraging days (and trust me there have been many), I still knew that I was blessed.

After all, I can see. I can hear. I have all my limbs. I am, God-willing, free of disease.

I can walk down my street in relative safety. I have food and a home and heat.

I have clean water, access to medical care, transportation.

I have friends and family who love me. And I am blessed to have all of you.

Living life from a perspective of gratitude is not just an exercise in happy thinking. According to Melody Beattie there are actual tangible benefits:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity… It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

On the bulletin board at my post office hangs a quote from the Women’s Theology Center in Boston. It reads, “We must go slowly, there’s not much time.”

Achieving a dream takes hard work, perseverance, and, yes, time. Life is too short to put off happiness until we have achieved our goal. With a dream, as with life, the journey is just as important as the destination.

As you enjoy a drink of clean water, a warm bed or the company of a loved one this Thanksgiving season and every day, pause and be grateful for what and who is in your life right now.

Take positive action to go after that better future. But also be here now… and savor the journey.

What are YOU grateful for today? Take a moment to scroll down and share.
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You really only need two things to become your own boss

What do you think it takes to create a successful business? Money? Time? Both?

Before I answer that question I’d like you to meet someone who came up with a great idea on a Saturday, was in business by Monday and grew sales to the $1 million mark in a single year.

Her name is Maria Elena Ibanez.

It all started at a routine appointment at her hairdresser. There she happened to strike up a conversation with another customer who had a background in the Latino food business.

This impromptu meeting stimulated Maria Elena’s hunger… for opportunity. So much so that in that instant she made up her mind to become a major player in the Latino food industry.

That was in 2002.

By the end of year one, her business, Intermark Foods had $1 million in sales from four food products. By 2009 Maria Elena had led her company into the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Company for three years running.

It’s important to note that Maria Elena already had a background in business. In fact, she’d already launched two successful international computer distribution businesses and sold one. So, starting a business was nothing new.

But this new enterprise took her into an entirely different industry. In fact she knew nothing about the food business what so ever. Zip. Nada.

What she lacked in industry knowledge, Maria Elena made up for in her confidence to act on an opportunity when she saw one.

So, what can you learn from this “weekend business launcher” that can help you jumpstart your own entrepreneurial dreams? Plenty! Here are 5 essential lessons to get you started

Lesson 1: Find People Who Know More Than You Do

Stop thinking you need to know everything before you can begin. As Woodrow Wilson once said, “I use all the brains I have and all that I can borrow.”

There are lots of ways to tap the expertise of other people. You can partner with a subject matter expert, you can apprentice with an expert, you can pay someone to consult with you from time to time, or all of the above. The key is to ask!

Lesson 2: Create Your Own Crash Course

You don’t need to get an MBA or have worked in a field for 20 years to figure out the basics. Maria Elena ordered a couple of cases of books on Amazon and spent a few weeks creating her own crash course in the food and grocery industry.

Pretend your boss told you to put together a three month self-paced training program on how to make money growing irises in your backyard or how to get a syndicated talk radio show. You’d figure it out right?

If you want to be self-employed you need to start acting like the boss of you! Get busy making a list of what you need to know to move your dream forward.

Next create a plan for how you will learn what it is you need to know. Will you do a web search? Read a book? Make a phone call?

Then take one small step, and another and another until you have completed the plan.

Lesson 3: Trust Your Instincts

How many times have you seen a great business idea only to second guess yourself because you told yourself, it’s too “obvious”? Or, “If it’s such a good idea someone would have done it by now.” Nonsense.

Maria Elena built her brand by targeting an under-served niche in the Latin food market — dairy foods. How did she know to specialize there? Simple. She walked the aisles in the supermarket and looked for what was missing.

The key is to trust your instincts. If something looks like an opportunity, acts like an opportunity, and your gut is screaming, “Yes!” then pay attention!

Lesson 4: See Problems as Opportunities

Successful business owners understand that opportunities often come disguised as problems. For instance, Maria Elena could have pulled back during the slow economy. Instead she capitalized on it.

Cheaper rent and more available brainpower looking for work are just two reasons why she says an economic downturn is the best time to start a business.

What problem can you capitalize on right now? Lost your job? Can you use the extra time between job hunting to read a book on marketing or create a small profit center?

No idea what kind of business you could start that might actually build on the things you enjoy doing? Make a list of friends who know you well enough to recognize your unique gifts or interests who may recall any long lost dreams you’ve perhaps lost sight of.

Then invite them to help you come up with business ideas that would make best use of your own unique genius. Warning: Only invite friends who support your desire to be your own boss. Otherwise your brainstorming session will probably lead you back to working in a cubicle.

If that doesn’t work, hire an entrepreneurially-minded career coach who knows how to connect the dots between what you like to do and how you can make your own job doing it.

Lesson 5: Free Yourself From Analysis Paralysis

I know people who are still working on a business plan or website they began nearly a decade ago. They constantly plan and tinker and research and think… But they never launch.

Notice Maria Elena did not spend years, months, or even weeks locked in analysis paralysis. She made a decision one day and two days later was in full blown action mode.

She acted so fast in fact that the Latino food expert Eric Lefkofsky she met at her hairdressers on Saturday reported to work in Ms. Ibanez’s home office on Monday!

The Bottom Line

You don’t have to run out and start an empire tomorrow. But imagine what you could do if you just dove in and started somewhere…. anywhere!

Will you make mistakes along the way? I certainly hope so. Because if you aren’t making mistakes, then you’re not learning anything.

Will you go from $0 to a million dollars in a year? Clearly Maria Elena Ibanez’s story proves that some people do. But this is definitely the exception.

Does that mean you shouldn’t start? Not at all.

It took me seven years before I became an “overnight success!” However, if I’d understood these simple lessons earlier, I’m certain I could have cut that time in half.

There’s one more thing I wish I’d had more of sooner. And it’s not what you think.

You see, everyone thinks it takes money to make money. Not true. I’ve had clients who had lots of money. Some had both money and plenty of time to launch a business. And in all cases, I was able to help them craft a viable idea for their first profit center.

And yet they still couldn’t get out of their own way for one reason and one reason only: Lack of confidence.

You see, it really takes just two things to change course: A good idea and the confidence to act on it.

What about you?

Do you have a great idea but lack the confidence to act? Do you have abundant confidence but are stuck on the idea part? Do you have both? Neither?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

How to Turn a Problem Into A Profitable Product

I recently had an encounter that opened my eyes – big time.

It happened when I hired a guy to perform the inspection on the new house I’m buying. I quickly learned that John has 11 children.

If that wasn’t amazing enough, he and his wife are getting set to pack the family into a huge caravan and crisscross the United State home schooling (or should I say “road schooling”) the kids as they go.

car(Okay they’ll need a bigger car than this one and you need to substitute a bunch of boxes for a whole bunch of kids… but you get the idea.)

So how can a guy who inspects houses for a living afford to take several years off from working to travel and spend time with his family?

Turns out he and his oldest son developed an app for his smart phone that makes the capture and sharing of inspection information both easier for the inspector and more user-friendly for the consumer.

They’re about to license their SaaS to a group of housing inspectors for a cool quarter of a million dollars. Cha-Ching!

That got me thinking about how a lot of people – and women especially – shy away from technology-related business ideas. That’s a real shame because we’re losing out on tremendous financial opportunities.

For example, yesterday I emailed you about a woman named Esther from the Netherlands.

Esther is a busy mom with zero entrepreneurial experience who started a successful software business in her living room.

What’s remarkable is that she didn’t have any idea what she was going to create. And she had only limited money to invest in a business.

Even more surprising, she has no experience in software. None!

So, how did she do it?

Esther’s journey began when she stopped thinking “I have to be an expert” and started thinking “find painful problems.”

If that doesn’t make sense yet, that’s ok. It will soon…

Because once you find whole a bunch of people who all share a common painful problem then you’ve got the essential foundation from which to launch a highly profitable small business.

In John’s case, it was other home inspectors. For Esther, it was photographers.

But it could also be any business owners or practitioners: Auto-mechanics, restaurant owners, personal trainers, chiropractors, or attorneys. The list is endless

Talk to people who are in the same occupation or situation and I guarantee you’ll learn about a shared problem or challenge.

John already knew the challenges he and other home inspectors faced. And his son was a self-described geek.

But Esther created a business from nothing by simply asking questions, selling her product before it existed, and using that money to hire an expert to build the product for her!

Okay so how does this process work? I’m sure you have plenty of questions…

You’re not alone!

Which is why I’m hosting an Educational No-Pitch Webinar called:

How to Find Product Ideas And Pre-sell Them Before You Build Them (And Then How to Find & Hire Experts to Build the Product for You!)

It’s going to happen live on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 1:00PM.

The Webinar is being taught by Dane Maxwell.

Dane was referred to me by a trusted mutual friend who until recently was the educational director at the mega-affiliate site Clickbank. And the referral came just a week after my house inspection.

Both of these tidbits are important because as much as I hate to admit it, I’m wary of things I don’t understand.

You see, despite running an online business since 1998, I’m not the least bit technically-savvy. (Just ask my assistant Lisa!)

I mean before I met Dane I’d never heard the term “SaaS.” Now I know it stands for “software as a service” and according to Wikipedia the SaaS market is b-o-o-m-i-n-g.

So I sat in on one of Dane’s webinars and was practically jumping out of my seat with excitement about the possibilities for those searching for a viable way to become your own boss.

If you want to learn how Esther and others have created a recurring stream of income with no idea, limited money, and no software experience for settlement and annuity – then you do not want to miss this educational, no-pitch Webinar.

How to Find Product Ideas And Pre-sell Them Before You Build Them (And Then How to Find & Hire Experts to Build the Product for You!)

Thursday November 14, 2013
1:00 PM Eastern
12:00 PM Central
11:00 AM Mountain
10:00 AM Pacific
18:00 GMT

Register here now

If John, Esther (and score of others) can do it… so can you. See you Thursday!

Losing Your Way

In a 2010 issue of More Bailey Jack recounts the years she spent in low pay, low satisfaction jobs. Her true love was art.

But everyone “knows” there’s no money in art… right?

Sadly, like so many people who fail to listen to their heart, Bailey had lost her way.

It wasn’t until her 50s that she finally found her footing and with it a new livelihood as a working artist.

Even if she’d wanted to take classes, Bailey couldn’t afford them. So she taught herself to paint. And as it turns out she was really, really good at it.

But how could painting ever pay the bills?

After all she worked from 3am to noon, including weekends and holidays. Since she could never attend weekend art shows she never bothered to apply.

And on her meager earnings she couldn’t afford to buy canvases anyway.

“A vicious cycle became my life,” writes Bailey.

Then one day while she was painting in her studio, a neighbor named Dr. Pam Barge came knocking. The certified life coach, and now friend, sat Bailey down for a long talk.

roadmapPam told her that without some sort of roadmap… a plan… Bailey would keep going in circles and getting exactly nowhere.

It was a break through moment for Bailey. “Sometimes a stranger has to open your eyes and ears to hear what your heart is speaking,” she said.

That very night, before going to her “dreaded, low pay unhappy environment job,” she wrote out a six month plan. One that would focus on the steps she needed to take and ways to overcome the obstacles holding her back.

That’s when Bailey came up with a creative way a way to afford “canvas.” After all, any surface can be a canvas. Right?

So she began to use whatever was available. She painting on bead board, vintage doors, cast away wood, even recycled cabinet doors. But she needed more. But with no money… what to do?

dogShe approached a contractor whose yard was filled with discarded kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately he wasn’t interested in giving them away or selling them.

Sadly a lot of people would have given up. Not Bailey.

Instead she painted a portrait of the contractor’s dog and offered it to him for free.

It worked!

Before long the guy was stacking old doors on her front porch by the dozens.

Bailey also squirreled away bits of money to pay the fees to get into juried art shows and began approaching galleries.

It was in one of these galleries where a buyer from HGTV saw one of her paintings and promptly bought it for one of the shows.

From there Bailey’s art career took off. Check out a small sampling of her delightful work here.

Today her creations, all in the same whimsical style as the dog and Princess Leyla paintings shown here, are featured in galleries throughout Georgia and Florida.

ladyShe gets to travel the southeast to attend juried shows. And a once far off dream is her livelihood.

Best of all say Bailey, “I love the fact that I am creating everyday some image that may make someone happy.”

Finally putting an end to what Bailey so perfectly described as her “ridiculous journey of avoidance,” came down to two simple steps:

  1. Listen to where your heart wants to go and
  2. Devise a concrete roadmap to get there.

Whether you’re 25, 55, or 75 — life is way too short to avoid your dreams. So what’s your plan?

I’d Love to Hear from YOU!

What’s YOUR take away from Bailey’s story? Scroll down to share now.

And please take a moment to like us at the Changing Course Fan Page.

Realizing a Dream in Mid-Life

Much of my own inspiration comes from you my readers. People like Mary Alice Murphy who wrote to share her story.

Mary Alice lives in Silver City, New Mexico, a place she describes as “a gorgeous little town in far southwest New Mexico tucked into mountains with desert not too many miles away.”

Mary Alice spent most of the first five decades of her life not really knowing what she wanted to be “when she grew up.” Then at 58, it happened!

That’s when Mary Alice realized she wanted to be a newspaper reporter. She worked for a small local paper for ten years before being laid off at 68.

newspaperMost people in the same predicament would have just retired. But did I mention Mary Alice loves being a reporter?

“I not only continued being a newspaper reporter, but” says Mary Alice, “four days after being laid off, I had The Grant County Beat — my own local online news source — up and running.”

Overnight she went from employee to small business owner.

That meant needing to tackle things like becoming an LLC, getting financial advice, and finding a good but affordable webmaster.

By far though, the biggest challenge is the same one that dogs all off and on-line publications – generating ad revenue to pay the bills.

There are two things that are getting Mary Alice through this inevitable lean phase typical of the first few years of any business.

cameraladiesFirst there was the support of friends, some of whom she’s enlisted as unpaid or in her words “pitifully paid” writers.

The other thing that keeps Mary Alice going, “are the wonderful testimonials I receive from friends, as well as strangers, about how my news is ‘the best in town,’” she says, adding, “I thrive on compliments.”

Who doesn’t! In fact, I find central to most of my own clients’ dreams is the desire to somehow make a difference in the lives of others.

Mary Alice found her passion at 58 and then changed course in a big way at 68. Happily for both her and her many readers, the Beat goes on.

“It’s not making me rich,” writes Mary Alice, “but it’s keeping me happy and occupied!”

Your Turn

Do you know what you want to be “when you grow up”? Who do you turn to for support? What spurs you on to push through the tough times?

Share your story now either here or at the Changing Course Fan Page.

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