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Profit from Experience: The Key to Your Right Livelihood May Be Right in Your Own Backyard



Valerie and her rescue dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 192 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

We all know the story of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Swept away to the enchanting …


How to Make Money by Breaking the Rules



Valerie and her rescue dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 191 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Too many people who want to work at what they love seem to suffer from the misguided notion that there are certain “rules” that must be followed. Let me give you a quick example. At the beginning of every career consultation, I ask clients to describe their ideal life. To prompt their thinking, I pose a series of questions such as what time do you want to get up in the morning, would you like to work at home or outside the home, do you want to work with other people or do you prefer to work alone? The question that gets the biggest reaction is, “Would you like to have summers off?” Invariably someone will say, “Oh, can you do that?”

I’m always tempted to say, “I don’t know, let me consult the official Work-Life Rule Book.” The thing is, I don’t know if you can have summers off or not. But what I do know is this – if the desire to have your summers free is not consciously on your mental radar screen, then the likelihood of it happening is next to nil. If, on the other hand, you were crystal clear that you’d love to take summers off, then you’d be in a better position to make a conscious effort to come up with ways to generate income that would allow for a lengthy work break.

This self-limiting belief that you somehow have to do things a certain way also hampers to a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs. For example, this week alone I’ve spoken with two people who had considered taking the
American Writers and Artists Institute course on how to become a freelance copywriter. The reason they decided against it was they didn’t want to have to write promotional copy for products and services they don’t believe in. Who would? I know I certainly wouldn’t want to pitch Dr. Zildo’s amazing watermelon diet or some shady work from home program.

But where is it written that you HAVE to take on clients you don’t like? I once had a client named Donna whose idea of heaven on earth is to have some kind of a portable income so she can spend months at a time with her daughter in England. Donna enjoys writing and even has a background in advertising. She’d considered the copywriting option in the past but again rejected it because she didn’t want to write about products she didn’t believe in.

Instead of letting this values clash be a show stopper, Donna needed to ask herself, “So, what do I believe in enough to promote?” For Donna it’s the whole mind, body, and soul connection. In fact, her dream job is to organize events for motivational speakers. Because it would be difficult living in a relatively rural area to make a full time living organizing events, we had to come up with a supplemental – and portable – income stream.

This meant challenging the idea that to succeed as a copywriter, or for that matter, in any business, you have to do things a certain way. What if Donna intentionally structured her copywriting business to focus entirely on motivational speakers and authors of mind, body, and soul type books? This kind of niche marketing offers a whole host of advantages.

For one, Donna would genuinely enjoy doing the research on topics she finds interesting. She’d also get a great deal of satisfaction from helping spread the word about concepts and practices she believes in.

Another highly practical advantage is that people in the same field tend to talk to one another. In football terms it’s known as going deep and wide. In my small world, I get to talk to like-minded souls like Barbara Winter and Barbara Sher. I’ve recommended good copywriters to them and they’ve steered me in the direction of great web masters and other vendors. In other words, when you niche market, ultimately you’ll have to do less self-marketing because your business becomes primarily referral-based.

Okay, so what misguided rules are you operating by? Do you think you have to come up with just one way to make a living? Think again. Think you can’t turn your hobby into your career, get paid to work with animals, or that changing course means having to choose between money and happiness? If so, check my ever-increasing list of Cool Jobs at
ChangingCourse.com/cooljobs.htm

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” How can you stretch your mind today? Once you realize that some misguided rules about work and life can, and should, be broken, a whole new world of opportunity can open up.


Have a Great Idea for a Business? Test the Waters Before Diving In



Valerie and her rescue dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 190 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Now and then I meet someone (usually a young person) who tells me they really like helping with people, so they’re thinking about going into Human Resources or HR as it’s commonly referred to. They imagine themselves sitting in their large private office eagerly awaiting a long line of interesting employees with interesting problems in need of interesting solutions.

Ask most people who are already in HR though and they’re likely to paint a very different picture. Instead of spending time helping people, most people in HR spend the better part of their jobs days dealing with the "administrivia" of the business
world – hiring, terminations, benefits, pensions, payroll, and all too often, petty grievances.

A lot of jobs seem different from the outside. Think about your current career or job. Now that you’re there, is it what you thought it was going to be? Probably not.

Fantasy vs. Reality

Entrepreneurs are not immune to this "leap before you look" syndrome. Take the classic bed and breakfast fantasy. Clients often tell me they love the idea of selecting the colors and the furnishings, picking fresh flowers from the garden for the breakfast table, greeting the guests, and generally making everyone feel at home. Once the guests check out, they picture themselves settling into a big comfy chair with a good book or perhaps puttering in a Zen-like perennial garden. Utter bliss.

Once the real estate is purchased, most people don’t have the capital to hire others to do the cooking, cleaning, and bookkeeping. As a consequence, once the decorating is done and the garden is planted, they realize they’ve become a combination short order cook/chamber maid/bookkeeper!

Every business has its more mundane parts – especially in the beginning when you’re bootstrapping your business or are a "solo-preneur." But still, the goal is to love more of the work than not. So, before you leap, you need to check out just how wide the expanse is between fantasy and reality.

How do you test out a business idea? Well, if you truly do want to run a bed and breakfast (and for people who are natural hosts, there are lots of wonderful aspects of running a B & B) the best way to get your feet wet without taking a financial soaking is to become a B & B sitter. Just like it sounds, sitters take over the day-to-day operations of established inns so the owners can go on vacation or otherwise get away. Companies like Deserve a Break actually match B & B owners in Australia and New Zealand with experienced relief workers. Similarly, in the UK, farmers can turn to a decades old company called Loring, King and Loring for relief and contract milking and agricultural staff.

Another option is to go to "school." Sticking with our B & B example, you don’t need to earn a four year degree in hotel and restaurant management to learn how to run an inn. Many B & B’s offer weekend workshops for aspiring inn-keepers and some owners do individual consulting. If there are no classes in your area, contact a local B & B and ask if they’d let you intern with them in exchange for some free staffing time once you’re trained.

Getting Prospective Customers to Put Their Money Where Their Intentions Are

Even large, well established companies look before they leap. Hotel giant Hyatt ran an ad in the New York Times Magazine for its new Life Care community in Briarcliff Manor, New York. What caught my eye was not the fact that a hotel chain is branching out into senior housing, but rather the clever way Hyatt went about testing the waters before making a significant financial investment. Here is the fine print:

Through this marketing material, Classic Residence by Hyatt is exploring the market demand for a Life Care community in Briarcliff Manor. By joining the Priority Reservation Program, you are expressing your interest in future residency at Classic Residence by Hyatt at Briarcliff Manor. A Priority Reservation agreement is not a Continuing Care Residency Agreement. All deposits will be held in escrow at Bank of New York. You may obtain a full refund of the reservation system deposit, with interest earned at the prevailing rates at any time for any reason. If a refund is requested, however, you forfeit your priority number and benefits. Your status in the program is subject to the terms of the Priority Reservation Program, which are explained in the Priority Reservation Agreement. Classic Residence by Hyatt is currently under development, with a proposed opening date of 2009. Hyatt is a registered trademark of Hyatt Corporation.

How smart is that? In this case, it paid off. Hyatt withdrew plans to open the community due to escalating construction costs.

Think you’d like to borrow from the Hyatt model to explore market demand for your own high priced product or service? Before you start cashing any checks, keep in mind that the people sending you money are not investors. And as such you can’t use prospective customer’s money until you actually decide to move forward with your enterprise and your customers have signed a clearly spelled out agreement on the front end. This is definitely one place where you’ll want to employ the services of an attorney. But still, if your business idea lends itself to a similar approach, it’s a fascinating example of testing the waters by getting prospective customers to put their money where their intentions are.

There are lots of ways you can look before you leap into a new business. For example, you can:

  • Talk to people who are doing the kind of work you think you’d enjoy. Find out what they love – and don’t love – about their work, what a typical day is like, and what they would have done differently if they had to do it all over again.

  • Read "how to" books. It may not give you the total picture, but at least you’ll know more than you did.

  • Search for "how to" Web sites. As with reading books, it is not the same as test driving a business idea, more like sticking a toe into the information pool.

  • Work for someone else in a similar business. Depending on the business, you may be asked to sign a non-compete clause. Then again, if your goal is to start a specialized summer camp, the smartest way to see if you’d like running a camp is to first work at one.

  • Take classes. Check with your local adult education program, do a search for schools specializing in your area of interest, or seek out online courses. You never know what’s out there until you look. For example, The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City offers courses in how to write a proposal for a cookbook, breaking into food writing, and how to be a food stylist/ photographer (ICECulinary.com).

  • Join an industry association. In addition to getting their publications, most associations offer conferences, seminars, and other opportunities to learn from and connect with people in your prospective line of work.

  • Hang out with people who are already doing what you think you’d like to do. If you’ve got an inventive mind but have never acted on it join a group like the Inventors Network in Minneapolis (InventorsNetwork.org), Washington, DC (DCInventors.org), or Springfield, MA (IRNetwork.org). You’ll find a list of networks by state at InventNet.com.

  • Find a mentor. Some people will mentor you for free. However, depending on how much time and training you need, you should expect to pay your mentor. If that person is successful in the business you’re considering, it will be well worth the investment.

  • Volunteer, intern or apprentice. I had the opportunity to chat with Steve Curwood, host of Living on Earth, an engaging environmental news and information program heard on over 300 National Public Radio stations. Naturally the first thing I did was pump him for information on how someone would go about getting their own program on public radio. Before trying to pitch an idea, Steve urged anyone interested in being on the air to first volunteer at their local station so they can learn first-hand how public radio works.

  • Take on a few clients or assignments for free. In addition to gaining experience, building confidence, and developing a portfolio or track record it’s a great way to see how you like the work before making a larger investment of time and money.

  • Start small. Everyone wants to go from nothing to having their own full blown business in a day. Not only is it not possible but you’d miss invaluable lessons. But perhaps most importantly, starting small once again allows you an opportunity to dabble in a new enterprise before deciding if it’s right for you. Small steps add up. Changing Course began when I sent away for a cassette tape on how to break into the newsletter business. That was over 10 years ago. Today I have over 22,000 subscribers. The key is to just begin.

Do you have a great idea for a business? There are lots of ways to test the waters before you dive in head first. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."


Business Success Bootcamp for Fitness Enthusiasts

Are you (or is someone you know) a personal trainer, fitness instructor, conditioning coach, or other independent fitness professional… or want to be? Are you passionate about being healthy and fit and helping other people do the same? Do you want to stop working twelve hour days and still grow your business by an extra $4000-$5000 a month?Turn Your Enthusiasm for Fitness into an Income Stream

Then I encourage you to seriously consider grabbing a seat at fitness entrepreneur Ryan Lee’s third Personal Trainer Business Success Bootcamp happening this September in Connecticut (Fair warning: his first two Bootcamps sold out fast). The theme of this year’s mega-event is Work Less Make More.

It would be impossible to share all the rave reviews from past attendees but here are a few standouts to give you a feel for what it’s all about… 

“[The workshop was] awesome, fantastic, fabulous, fun, informative, high energy, non-stop excitement. I will be back. Thanks Ryan, I am amazed and awed.”
~ Susan Ripley, Fit for Teens

“I can surely double or triple my income in the next year. I can’t wait to get back to London and start kicking a_ _!” ~ Gavin Walsh

“As a newcomer to this industry, I learned more valuable and immediately useful information in 3 days than I learned in 12 years of attending events in my previous industry!” ~ Lindee Goodall

“Ryan Lee’s Bootcamp is the single best fitness event of the year. The quality of successful independent fitness professionals is on post above all the best. If you have any aspirations of running your own successful business in fitness, you must attend this event.” ~ Jason White, Strength Radio

Ryan is bringing together a world-class group of speakers on a wide range of income-generating and time-saving topics including…

  • How to earn an extra $100.00 a day with your own fitness blog

  • How to go from being a local fitness professional to an international fitness celebrity (gotta love those big dreams!)

  • Secrets of $75,000 per year part-time trainers: How to transition away from traditional one-on-one training

  • How to put your entire fitness business on autopilot with (I happen to know this speaker and he absolutely knows his stuff)

Ryan has helped over 17,525 fitness professionals to dramatically increase their income. In addition to knowing Ryan personally (you will LOVE him), I’m also in a “mastermind” group with one of Ryan’s star students – a really great guy named Craig Ballantyne out of Canada who is rapidly closing in on a seven figure income. (And speaking of rapids, I’ll be white water rafting, rock climbing, and mountain biking with Craig and a buch of other entrepreneurs next week in Aspen – I’ll be the one returning in a cast! But I digress…)

When you read about the speakers and all of what will be covered I am confident you will be as impressed as I was. But what I KNOW will blow you away is the price. Ryan has made this event affordable and accessible to just about anyone.

To learn more about this impressive business- and income-growing training event for fitness professionals at all stages of their careers, go to ChangingCourse.com/recommends/fitnesstraining
 


Be a Part of Valerie’s New Book

Do you secretly worry that others will find out you’re not as intelligent and competent as they seem to think you are? Do you often dismiss your accomplishments as a “fluke” or “no big deal?” Do you sometimes shy away from or obsess about taking on greater challenges because of nagging self-doubt? Are you crushed by even constructive criticism, taking it as evidence of your ineptness? Are you waiting to be exposed as an impostor, fake, or fraud?

If so, join the club!

It’s estimated that 70 percent of people have experienced these feelings of intellectual fraudulence which are especially common among first generation professionals, creative types (Mike Myers says he’s always waiting for the “no talent police” to show up at his door), students, and others. Fearing that we have somehow managed to fool others “impostors” live in fear that sooner or later we are going to be “found out.”

In March I signed a *big* book deal with Crown Publishing Group to write a self-help book on the so-called Impostor Syndrome. And I am committed to including as many voices and experiences as I can. Simply said, I need your help.

For the next few months I’ll be posing a different question designed to help me better understand how impostor feelings manifest in the lives of my readers. I hope you will take a moment to share your thoughts, stories, fears, and solutions with me so that I may in turn, help more people to feel as smart and competent as they truly are.

Question of the Week

The theme this week is “success.” What does success mean to you… or in other words, how do you define success? Do you see success as being the same or different from “achievement” or “ambition” and if so, why and how?

Please include as much information as you feel comfortable sharing – first name, current occupation, age, race, state/province/country. Share as much or as little as you like. No matter what you share, I think just reading other people’s stories will be enlightening to all.

Thank you in advance for your input and support. I couldn’t do this without you!

Valerie Young
Recovering Impostor
ImpostorSyndrome.com


Turning Problems Into Opportunities

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Valerie and her rescue dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 189 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

"In the middle of difficulty," observed Albert Einstein, "lies opportunity." Some of the best opportunities often originate from problems – either yours or someone else's. For example, like a lot of parents, Deb Cohen's problem was that after her first child was born she wanted to find a way to be a stay-at-home Mom.

Around that same time, Deb became aware of a real problem for most homeowners – namely, finding someone reputable to do home repairs or improvements. By putting these two problems together, she came up with the perfect solution for both her problem and that of her neighbors.

Since 1997 Deb has been owner of a highly successful company called Home Remedies of NY, Inc. (HRN), an organized referral company that matches homeowners with skilled, pre-screened independent home-repair workers.

HRN offers homeowners referrals to reputable home improvement contractors free of charge; the contractors represented in the network pay a commission to HRN for any work secured. If you've seen any of NBC's Dateline segments on unscrupulous home repair men (I would say home repair "people" but I've never seen a segment that featured a woman) then you can imagine what a relief it would be to homeowners to be able to easily find trustworthy and competent contractors.

In fact, a few years back I remember picking up a brochure at my local hardware store about a service that sounded a lot like this one. I only wish I'd looked into it before I hired the fly-by-night guy who replaced my roof last summer. What a NIGHTMARE!

I first learned about Deb when the Work from Home channel at iVillage.com featured her as their "Mompreneur of the Month." I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that Deb's business has become so successful that she has expanded to offer others the chance to launch a Homeowner Referral Network in their community. I felt instantly reassured when I read that, to date, there are more than 400 Homeowner Referral Networks operating in the U.S., Canada and abroad.

What's nice, too, is that aspiring entrepreneurs can choose from a range of business start-up kits at different price points. The kits offer step-by-step procedures on how to start a network in your area and include contractor commission structures, liability information, a complete direct mail and advertising campaign, and how to locate, screen and represent a comprehensive network of home improvement contractors.

All kits include The Complete Guide to Owning and Operating a Successful Homeowner Referral Network and unlimited leads from the HRN Web site. Kits range in cost from $1,995 – $6,495 with the higher priced kits including options ranging from business forms to individual phone consultations with Deb to a turnkey website and an online marketing tool designed for HRN owners to stay in touch with their clients.

This also seems like a good opportunity for someone who wants to start their own home repair/improvement business because HRN takes care of all of the marketing and you are instantly affiliated with a company that is known for referring only quality professionals. If you've had a good experience with a home repair person, HRN is actively seeking referrals from satisfied homeowners.

Deb’s business is just one of an infinite number of ways to turn a problem, complaint or threat into a money-making business opportunity. For example, when the news was filled with horror stories of tainted pet food from China, enterprising people leapt on the opportunity to make and sell organic pet food.

The key to being a successful entrepreneur is to become adept at being what I call an “Opportunity Analyst.” The easiest place to begin is to consciously stay on the lookout for examples of problems, complaints or threats and see if you can come up with interesting income-generating ways that you – or someone – could solve them. Look around you. What kinds of things do you, your co-workers, friends or family complain about? Study news sources. Drive through your local neighborhoods or commercial areas.

If you would like to learn more about this interesting business, visit Deb online at ChangingCourse.com/recommends/hrn and you can read Deb's Top 10 Misconceptions About the HRN Business at ChangingCourse.com/hrntopten.htm

Trust me – there are plenty of problems out there for an enterprising person to turn into a great small business opportunity! If you’d like a little help developing your “opportunity muscles,” join me for my monthly Teleclass, “Turning Interests into Income Opportunity Hour.” Learn more at ChangingCourse.com/courses.htm


When it Comes to Your Dreams, Sometimes the Best Advice is to Ignore Everything Your Parents Told You



Valerie and her rescue dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 188 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Most of the time my parents did get it right. But everything I learned about achieving career …


Recreate Your Life: Summertime is the Perfect Time to Grow a Dream



Valerie and her rescue dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 187 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Has the school calendar of your youth hardwired you into seeing September as the time for new beginnings? If you yearn for a new job, a career change or maybe even a total life makeover – summertime is by far the best time to act.

Summer is synonymous with fun. It’s possible to make a change and still have time for recreation. In fact, the word recreation literally means to “re-create.” And what better way to spend your summer than recreating your life! Here are six ways you can use the rest of the summer to grow a dream:

1. Catch a falling star.

When my best friend, Elaine, and I weren’t building forts or skipping rope we could be found lying beneath a shady tree or a star-filled sky. These weren’t idle pursuits. We were flexing our imaginations. As the most carefree of the four seasons, summers are made for dreaming. It’s the perfect time to gaze upward, to look inward and to imagine what could be.

2. Grow a dream garden.

Look within and you may find the seeds of a dream planted long ago. Left untended though, dreams will fail to sprout. Summer is the ideal time to cultivate our dreams both old and new. Start with good soil. What is it you care deeply about? What makes you happy? What do you want your life to look like? Now get rid of the weeds – the lame excuses, apathy, self-doubt, and fear born from lack of information. Tend to your dreams and watch them grow.

3. Take advantage of the longer days.

Even though those so-called lazy days of summer have gotten a lot busier of late, the additional hours of daylight do seem to add a bit more time to our lives. Once you’ve engaged in some active reflection, use some of this “found time” to start working toward your goals. Even if it’s only 20 minutes a day, it’s all forward motion!

4. Read a real thriller.

As you’re packing for the beach leave the romance novel or who-done-it at home. Instead treat your life like the adventure that it is by picking up a real thriller like Paul and Sarah Edwards' The Practical Dreamers Handbook or Create a Life That Tickles Your Soul by Suzanne Willis Zoglio. Maybe you already have a new direction in mind. Then take this time to read up on that exciting new career.

5. Invest in your dream.

Save both money and time by spending your vacation at home. Make it a real vacation by doing the kinds of things a tourist on a budget might do – go on a picnic, head to a museum, take a day trip. Stash the money you would have spent on a more costly vacation into a “dream fund.” Use your savings to take career-expanding classes, buy some snappy new interview outfit or even start your own business. If your dream includes relocating, do hit the road by using your vacation as an exciting research expedition.

6. Summer is the ideal time to ease into a new job.

With all the overlapping vacation schedules, many organizations operate in a somewhat more relaxed mode in July and August. As a new hire, that means the trial by fire period is apt to be a little less trying. If you’ve been putting off a job move until the fall, keep in mind the slower pace makes summer a great time to learn the new job ropes before the workplace once again launches into fall overdrive.

Recreating your life is about making choices. What choices are you willing to make to grow your dream? Whatever you decide to do, have a safe, relaxing, and inspired rest of the summer!


One Viable Way to “Unjob,” Turn Your Interests into Income, and Still Get a Steady Flow of Income



Valerie and her rescue dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 186 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

I'm all about finding ways to help people to "un-job." One obvious barrier to quitting the 9-to-5 grind to work on your own is the predictability that comes with a steady job.

Getting a regular paycheck is fabulous – that is if you love your job. But if your work is taking a toll on your health, your relationships, and your very soul, then that's a pretty high price to pay for predictability.

So what if there was a way to do something you really enjoy, be your own boss, and still get a predictable flow of income coming in at regular intervals?

Better yet, what if you actually were taking something you already know and care about – fly fishing or knitting or antique toys or selling on eBay - and were somehow able to create a business that brought in a relatively predictable amount of money every month. I'm not talking about a few dollars here and there. I mean anywhere from a several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars a month? Would you want to learn more?

Well, you may recall that around this same time last year I told you about membership programs – sometimes referred to as continuity or subscriber programs. Before I get into the incredible income potential that can come from running your own membership/continuity program, let's take the example of the online dating service Match.com. You may not think of this as a continuity program but I assure you their accountants do! Singles wishing to be listed or to contact singles listed on Match.com pay a monthly subscriber fee. Unless you cancel, your credit card is automatically billed every month.

Another example I've used before is Consumer Reports magazine. For $4.95 a month I get continued access to special reports and information not available on the free portion of their site. Unless I cancel, the subscription fee will automatically be billed to my credit card.

What makes a membership/subscriber/continuity program so popular comes down to this:


1)
Recurring Monthly Income: In both examples, the businesses automatically bill the consumer's credit card every month, resulting in a steady and relatively predictable stream of recurring income.

2) Access: Members or subscribers sign on because they are getting some kind of ongoing benefit dependent on accessing the content. With online dating services, it's the ability to communicate with and potentially meet the love of your life. With Consumer Reports its' access to a regular stream of desirable information.

3) Convenience: The consumer can sign up once without the hassle of check writing or otherwise having to remember to renew. As the business owner, you skip the hassle of sending out invoices because the money is automatically deposited into your bank account. (Sweet!)

4) Affordability: Far fewer people would shell out hundreds of dollars all at once. But if payments are small, then recurring billing makes what's being offered more affordable to the consumer, resulting in increased sales for the business.

Okay, now that the model is starting to make sense, you're probably thinking, "I'm not a big organization, I'm just one person – how can I possibly run my own membership site?" That's the beauty of the Internet and membership site enabling technology. Today, there are thousands of very profitable membership/continuity programs that are one-or-two person operations.

And before you start moaning about how you don't have anything to offer that anyone would want to buy – I met a guy who is making five figures a month running a member site all about crocheting – and he doesn't even crochet!

That's just the thing – whether you decide to go the membership route or just want to find a way to change course…

Turning Your Interests into Income is a Lot Easier Than You Think

The reality is, you don't even have to have personal knowledge of or experience in a particular field or subject area to start any kind of business, including a member program. I'll prove it.

Last summer I had the pleasure of meeting a guy named Todd Brown. Todd is the founder of MassageBusinessUniversity.com, a member site for massage therapists who want to grow their practice.

Before starting this particular member site (he runs several), Todd was in the fitness field. Here is the thing – he is not a massage therapist. Instead, Todd relies on a team of "faculty" with expertise in growing a massage practice to create value-added content for his members. Todd's expertise lies in knowing how to find out what members want and making sure they get it.

What Todd and other successful entrepreneurs get is that competence isn't about knowing how to do everything perfectly. Competence isn't doing everything yourself. Competence does not mean needing to know 150% before you consider yourself remotely qualified to wear the label: "expert." Competence means knowing how to identify the resources it takes to get the job done.

All It Takes is A Little Creativity

Continuity programs always revolve around the delivery of some kind information, instruction, or even entertainment. However, the type of information, and even the delivery itself, can vary widely. For example, I'm a member of master Internet marketer Yanik Silver's "Underground Secret Society." For $87.63 a month, I receive a big red envelope stuffed with marketing tips and templates and a CD with a new before-and-after Web site critique. If you want to get a better idea of how Yanik structured his member program, go to ChangingCourse.com/recommends/secretsociety.

Yanik's program is unique in that he also puts on a big annual event on Internet marketing. In addition to saving on the registration fee, Secret Society members enjoy such perks as reserved seating and an upgraded break area and the chance to network with other members at exclusive cocktail and dinner functions.

At the event I attended, there were at least 200 other Secret Society members. That means from just these 200 members alone Yanik is raking in over $17,500 A MONTH! And these members represent just a small fraction of overall members.

My own member program, the Fast Track Your Dream Program, is set up a little differently. For one, the whole point is to speed up the process of going from having a boss to being your own boss. So the first thing members get is a "Fast Track Kit" full of books and CDs on a range of topics from finding your calling to how to create a step-by-step exit strategy. Members who are really in a hurry can go to a password-protected site to download much of the material immediately.

Fast Track members also get access to a live "Turning Interests into Income" Teleclass every month, three online resource guides, and daily "inspirational nudges." And, to help fight the isolation that Barbara Sher famously cites as THE dream killer, there's also a members-only discussion forum.

If you want to "see" what a member site might look, like you can take a short video "tour" of the Fast Track Community here: ChangingCourse.com/fasttracktour-20.html 

Learn From the Experts

You don't need to know how to set up and run a membership program – or any business for that matter. All you need to do is figure out who does and then learn from them.

Last summer I introduced you to Tim Kerber and Ryan Lee. Tim and Ryan have established themselves as "the" experts on how to set up and run a highly profitable membership business. Ryan's claim to fame is that he went from struggling to provide for his young family as a physical education teacher in the Bronx to earning over a million dollars a year running a dozen different membership sites on different aspects of fitness.

And Tim is the founder and president of a turnkey solution that handles all the technical aspects of a member program called MemberGate. Together Tim and Ryan run a very helpful program for membership site owners called MembershipSiteOwner.com, of which I am a member.

Last summer, Ryan and Tim created a Tele-training program which obviously hit a nerve because the program sold out in less than a week. Tim wrote to tell me that they're going to open the program again sometime in the next few weeks. But before they do, they've put together a short video to give people a better idea of what it's all about. You'll see in the video some actual revenue figures from folks who went through the training last summer. The numbers range from $4,500 to a month to a whopping $193,000 a month!

These numbers are impressive. But don't forget that starting a member site, or any reputable on- or off-line business, takes time and effort. And a member program certainly offers no fast, easy road to riches. But because of the recurring income that membership programs provide, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, it is entirely possible that by this time next year you could be earning enough from your member site to quit your job, or at the very least go part-time.

Learn more about how easy it is to start a membership site and to make it profitable by signing up to watch the first of a series of short videos from Tim and Ryan now:

ChangingCourse.com/recommends/membershipbootcamp

There are lots of ways to turn what you know into income. If you've already been thinking about writing a how-to book, designing and leading workshops, teaching Teleclasses or otherwise profiting from what you already know, you may want to consider adding a member program to the financial mix. No matter which path you choose, it all comes down to just taking that first small step!

P.S. Oh, and one other benefit to you as an entrepreneur is if you ever decide to sell your business, having a continuity program makes your business more desirable because prospective buyers can more easily project future sales.


No Time to Go After Your Dream? How to Turn Your Dreams Into Reality in Five Minutes a Day and Other Tips for Time-Stressed Dreamers



Valerie and her rescue dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 185 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

You’ve already made up your mind that there has to be more to life than careers, cubicles, and commuting. Yet, the prospect of making a major life change when you’re already feeling caught between a “clock and a hard place,” feels overwhelming.

Here are five simple steps even the busiest person seeking a major career change can take to get the process rolling:

1. Turn griping time into planning time.

How much time do you spend every week blowing off steam about your lousy job? Instead of wasting precious time complaining about what you DON’T want, use the time to create a clear mental picture of what you DO want. Then make a plan for getting from here to there. Five minutes a day spent working your plan will move you far closer to your goal than 15 minutes of griping.

2. Keep your goal front and center. 

Get out your calendar and set a target date for when you want your new life to begin. Besides being a great source of motivation, knowing how much time you have until "D-Day" lets you create a realistic plan for hitting it. Next, find creative ways to keep your dream, literally, in your face. As you come across images or quotes that reflect your dream, place them around your workspace, in your daily planner, on the refrigerator – any place you’re sure to regularly "see" your destination.

3. Buy with an eye to the future.

If your dream involves working from the comfort of home, you probably won’t need all those business suits overrunning your closet. Resolve now to make do with the work wardrobe you already have. When you do take the leap, you can donate your business attire to an organization like Dress for Success that assists men and women just entering the job market. Spend the money you’ve saved instead on things you’ll need for your new career or venture – like courses, buying or upgrading a home office computer, purchasing equipment, inventory, and so on.

4. Avoid the nay-seers. 

Erma Bombeck once said, “It takes a lot of courage to show someone else your dreams.” Erma knew that most people – especially those closest to you – tend to discourage change of any kind. Unfortunately, other people’s skepticism, like the flu, can be contagious. And, unless you’ve built up your immune system, these dream killers can knock you for a loop. Don’t look for support from pessimistic family or friends. Instead seek out people who can give your dream the support it deserves. 

5. Do what you can – but DO SOMETHING. 

As one Chinese proverb reminds us, moving a mountain begins by lifting one stone. To keep from being overwhelmed – while still making headway – break your larger goal down into more manageable steps. Then, no matter how hectic your day, pledge to take at least one small step. Before you know it you’ll have turned your dreams into your life.


Breaking Into Print: How to Get Paid to be a Freelance Writer – Fiction or Non-Fiction



Valerie and her wonder dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 184 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

You’ve always been drawn to writing – and to the freedom and flexibility of a freelance writer …


Afraid to Take the Leap? Simple Ways to Face Down Your Fears

Valerie and her wonder dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 183 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

The so-called safe path is always “easier.” Just ask Ursula Clay. Ursula tried to take the secure career path her immigrant parents had chosen for her. In fact, she worked incredibly hard to achieve a level of financial success and security her parents, both high school dropouts, never had. Says Ursula:

“I worked very hard to get through law school at night, all the while working full time and struggling financially. When I finally achieved what I thought was the brass ring – i.e., good salary, fancy title, etc. – it was a thoroughly disappointing revelation that this was the end result of all the hard work. It felt very empty and meaningless, further made so by the birth of my two beautiful children. I just felt as though I could not possibly have been put on this earth to toil way for 12 hour days at a job that kept me away from my family, and which I dreaded going to every day.”

“Unless you walk out into the unknown,” says Tom Peters, “the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low.” After two years of executing her escape plan which included many moments of fear and uncertainty, Ursula is embracing the unknown. “It’s like getting out of college again, and having a clean slate. I do not know where I am going to end up, or what might come my way. In fact, staying home with my kids right now may be the next calling, and after that, who knows!”

Laugh in the Face of Fear 

Anyone who has ever ventured out of their safe little world will tell you they had doubts. When it comes to making a major life change, not only is a certain amount of fear perfectly normal, it’s actually helpful. For example, it’s our healthy fears that keep us from jumping off cliffs. And the great thing about fear is that there are always ways to get around it. 

So try laughing in the face of fear. Am I kidding? No. Ridiculing your fears is actually a very effective technique for banishing them. Let me show you what I mean. 

If I told you the U.S. Senate had just voted to relocate the capital from Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas, your response would probably be something like, “No way!” That’s because the mind rejects that which it considers absurd. It’s the same with fear. The trick is to turn your fears into a ridiculous event in your mind. That way, you allow your natural human reaction to absurdity to take over and dismiss them. 

Try it yourself. Take your biggest fear and take it to extremes. Really exaggerate it. Let’s say you’re paralyzed by the fear of failure. Try picturing your entire family, all of your friends, your neighbors, everyone you went to high school with, even your boss, standing outside your cardboard-box home holding up signs that read: We Told You So!

Pretty ridiculous, right? When you realize that your worst-case fantasy is just that – a fantasy – what felt overwhelming will now feel much more manageable.

Change Is Easy – When You Take It One Step at a Time

Another 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 freelance career on the side. Begin with low-risk steps and gradually work your way up to the harder stuff.

You never know what is going to move you to action. It can be a book, something you saw on television, a chance conversation, a workshop… I was flattered to learn that for Ursula that chance encounter happened when in 2003 she “stumbled upon” the Changing Course website. That was enough to move Ursula to start “formulating an escape plan.” She writes, “My plan consisted of figuring what I wanted to do after I quit my job, and putting myself in a financial position that would allow me to walk away from a well-paying, but unsatisfying career.”

Receiving a consistent message that change was possible says Ursula, “had the effect of pulling me back to my escape plan whenever I started fearing the unknown again, or just got lazy.” For Ursula that message came in the form of this newsletter. For you it might be a support group, a coach, or even a buddy who can check in to see how your plan is progressing.

Even though Ursula has taken the leap, she’s now working on the second part of her goal – coming up with ideas for multiple income streams. The good news is that having faced down her fears once means Ursula can approach her new goal from a far more desirable vantage point. “Now,” she says, “I can read the newsletter on my home computer in my sweatpants while my daughter naps, instead of on my Blackberry while riding the 8:02 pm train back to the suburbs from work.” And to just to underscore how excited she is to be embarking on this new chapter in her life, Ursula signed off with, “Regards from the other side.”

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 fears, you will be rewarded many times over. That’s because, as Anais Nin once observed, “Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage.” Once I found the courage to escape job jail my life expanded in ways I never imagined possible. Life really is better over here on the “other side.” I encourage you to take one small step today to join those of us are enjoying the view from the other side.


Have You Started a Blog Yet?

The reason I ask is that it’s estimated that over 175,000 NEW blogs are launched every day! For many people, blogs are an easier, more natural way to create a presence online as they don’t require a designer or HTML skills.

For some though, they just don’t know where to begin! Anik Singal and Rosalind Gardner have come up with the perfect solution for all of us “non-techies” out there.

Not only do they promise that you can have your blog installed in 10 minutes, they recently ran a COMPLETELY free pre-course that had over 1,000 comments on it from students who were amazed at how easily they were getting their business started on a blog. Now they’re releasing over 1000 videos and a 4 week Webinar coaching group to reveal every detail on how they run their blog business.

If you have a blog or are interested in creating one, check out the newly launched “Blog Classroom” at http://ChangingCourse.com/recommends/blogclassroom and have your blog be one of the many that over 1.5 million posts are made every day.  


If You Think You Can’t Change Course… You’re Right



Valerie and her wonder dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 182 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

You’ve heard the expression that some people see the glass as half full while others perceive the same glass to be half empty? I had the opportunity to see this difference in perception in action.

One summer, my father and I drove to the airport to pick up my some family members visiting from Florida. It was 100 degrees and muggy. "Knowing" there wouldn’t be any parking spaces close to the terminal, my father was inclined to head directly to the back lot where we’d be sure to find a space.

I, on the other hand, was inclined to start with the row closest to the terminal and work my way back. Since my father was literally in the driver’s seat, he reluctantly agreed to check out the last row in the front lot. If we didn’t find something there, he said, we’d proceed directly to the back lot. Not only did we find a spot, but as we were walking to the terminal we passed a primo front row space. His response? "It probably wouldn’t have been there when we were looking."

In other words, I prefer to think that things will work out. My dad presumes they will not. Not surprising, during his adult life, my father held two jobs. He was horribly exploited in his first job and left only at my mother’s constant urging. He stayed at his second job for over 30 years. In part, my father’s long job tenure has to do with that fact that he is a product of a time when there was a different set of rules regarding employer-employee loyalty. You got a good (or even a not so good) job and you stuck with it for life.

There is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with staying in the same job or town or anything else for an extended period of time. My mother’s family has lived in this same area of Massachusetts since the 1600s. My father’s family came at the turn of the last century. I love it here in what is known as the Pioneer Valley, and despite feeling tremendous pressure after graduating from college to go somewhere new, I have never had any desire to move any place else on a permanent basis.

When staying in one job or place too long IS cause for concern though, is when it is not driven by a sense of contentment but by the belief that things will not work out anyway, so why bother. A lousy attitude will kill a dream faster than just about anything else.

If you find yourself automatically driving to the back lot of life, maybe it’s time to do an attitude check:

  • Do you see yourself as deserving of happiness?
     

  • Do you think things will probably work out for the best and, if they don’t, do you see that as an opportunity to try again?
     

  • Do you see yourself as the director of your life or as a bit player operating from someone else’s script?
     

  • Do you think that life generally has it out for you and therefore it is hopeless to even try to change your life? Or do you see life as Helen Keller once described it as being, "an exciting adventure or nothing at all"?

Pessimists THINK a lot about changing course; unfortunately those with a negative attitude rarely ever act on their dreams. If you are prone to pessimism but really DO want to go after your dream of a more meaningful work/life, you may need to first practice viewing things from a positive perspective.

Moving from a pessimistic, hopeless view to an optimistic, hopeful one will not happen over night. It is a goal that must be worked on one day at a time. Start by taking one situation each day and trying to reframe it from a glass half-full perspective. Fake it if you have to. After a while you will find yourself readily being able to not only see the glass of life as half full, but enjoying a long, quenching drink from it as well.

When it comes to successfully changing course, attitude really is every thing. That’s because as Henry Ford once put it, "If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right."


Profit From Your Art

Profit From Your Art

Who says you can’t make money from your art? You don’t have to be a “fine artist” to have your images appear on greeting cards, prints and posters, calendars, on collector plates, in books, animation, for record companies, on coffee mugs, coasters, clothing and fabric, gift bags, fabric, shower curtains – virtually any surface that has a design. This comprehensive course by art licensing guru Michael Woodward spells out step how to get paid for your artwork. He ought to know.

Over the past 30 years, Michael has licensed over $600 million in retail goods.

I personally know an artist who partnered with a manufacturer and earned a 10% licensing fee. The company sold over $800,000 in products netting her over $80,000 for her images.

Given that the artist earns a percentage of these sales, suffice it to say, Michael is not your stereotypical “starving artist.” By combining his personal “tricks of the trade” with a storehouse of information on the art licensing world, he’s compiled the most comprehensive course available today to guide artists and photographers through the licensing maze so they can start earning money from their art and beautifying the world in the process.

To learn more about or order The Art Licensing Course, go to ChangingCourse.com/recommends/art

Read my complete review of Michael Woodward’s Art Licensing Course at ChangingCourse.com/artlicensing.htm


Dreams Can Come True

The 8 Key Lessons to Turning Dreams Into Reality



Valerie and her wonder dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

Early on in his career, college football coaching legend Lou Holtz made a list of 107 things he wanted to accomplish in his life. Among them were to go white water rafting, see the pyramids, meet the Pope, have dinner at the White House with a sitting president and be on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It took Holtz and his wife 25 years but together they’ve accomplished 99 of those original goals.

My own dreams list includes attending a national political convention (okay I’m weird), witnessing the opening ceremony at the Olympics, spending at least a month on every continent, studying with a master antique book restorer, learning to water paint, taking swimming lessons, taking a year-long sabbatical and routinely having summers off.

A big dream that’s been on the front burner for well over three years now has been finding a house with a view. I work at home so where I live is really important to me. I have this thing about wanting to live in the country. Not in the woods though. I need space. Rolling hills, fields, maybe some cows in the background (I love cows!). Think pastoral, bucolic, peaceful, private.

I’ve been doing a fair amount of reflecting on the evolution of this dream and what I’ve learned in the process. What I’ve discovered is that there are eight key lessons to realizing a dream.

Lesson #1: Listen to Your Inner Voices

My obsession with a view began five years ago when I started vacationing on a small peaceful lake in central New Hampshire. There’s nothing much to do there but sit out on the deck and gaze on the reflection of the mountains reflected in the lake and listen for the enchantingly eerie call of the loons.

Despite carting up dozens of books, I found I rarely picked them up because it would mean taking my eyes off the view. I found it utterly mesmerizing. This little voice inside kept whispering, "Pay attention Valerie, pay attention." Like most people, I ignored these inner callings.

As the voice grew louder, it became clear that while everyone enjoys a view, I craved one. I needed the experience of having a view not for just one week out of the year but every day. I didn’t know quite how I was going to pull it off but I knew I had to listen.

Lesson #2: Put Your Dreams Out There

Few people reach their dreams alone. You never know who might help you get where you want to be. It could be a casual acquaintance, your dentist, a neighbor, a coworker… But one thing is for sure, if you keep your dreams to yourself, you’ll never find out.

Throughout the last presidential election, I shared my dream of one day attending a national political convention with anyone who would listen. One such person was a seminar attendee who happened to be very high up at NBC news. Realizing an opportunity when I saw one, I pitched myself as an over-qualified but very eager intern willing to do whatever needed to be done… from making coffee, to making copies to doing van runs to the airport. He handed me his business card and told me he’d see what he could do.

Despite my champion’s best efforts, he wasn’t able to get me in. While witnessing the democratic process in action didn’t pan out, deliberately putting my dream out there got me closer than ever before. And, hey there’s always this year!

Lesson #3: Be Selective About Who You Talk to About Your Dream

While making your dreams known is the key to finding champions, teachers, and other supporters, you also need to mindful of where NOT to look.

Take my friend Carol. She’s a great person, but she’s a bit of a cynic. When I told Carol that I wanted a house with a view, her response was, "Wouldn’t we all?" While walking my dog along a roaring stream, I realized how healing I find the sound of moving water. So I added a bubbling brook to my wish list, to which Carol replied, "Well, you can’t always get what you want."

Carol is right of course. You can’t always get what you want. But does the risk of not reaching a goal mean you just throw up your hands in defeat? As opera diva Beverly Sills reminds us, "You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try."

Lesson #4: Believe You Can

Henry Ford once said, "If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re right." As trite as this last lesson may sound, believing your dream is attainable is fundamental to its success.

I need to be inspired as much as the next person. One place both Barbara Winter and I both go to when we need a boost of inspiration are the
Making Dreams Happen CDs of which we are both a part. Listening once again to one of Barbara Sher’s presentations reminded me of the powerful link between passion and belief.

Barbara was telling the group how deep down inside we all know what we want. "When someone says they don’t know what they want," she says, "what they really mean is they don’t think that what they want is possible." In other words, the reason most people never even attempt to go after their dream is because they don’t think they can.

I knew getting my dream house with a view wouldn’t be easy. First I’d have to do all the painting, repairing, and landscaping required to get my current house in shape to sell. Then I’d have to put the house on the market, which, since I planned to sell it myself meant taking photos, placing ads for open houses, and learning about all the legal hoops involved in selling real estate. I’d also need to spend countless hours scouring real estate listings, going to open houses and doing drive bys. I got so desperate at one point that I wrote to homeowners to see if they’d like to sell.

I knew the most daunting task by far though would be packing. You see I come from a long line of pack rats which meant confronting the monumental task of sorting through and packing 12 years of accumulated stuff, only to begin the unpacking all over again on the other end.

Between my travel schedule and my work commitments, I knew that achieving my dream would not be easy… but I always new it was possible. As Louisa May Alcott once wrote, "We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving… And we all have the power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing."

Lesson #5: Take the Long View

Every so often I get a call for a career consultation from someone who is having one of those "job from hell" days. The desire for immediate relief is understandable. After all when your job is toxic job, you just want o-u-t, NOW!

Like these clients, you probably don’t want to hear this, but, deep down, you already know that making any real change takes time. At the same time, you have to start somewhere. And the fact of the matter is that the next two years or five years or ten years are going to come and go as quickly as the last ones did – whether you do anything about your dream or not.

So where would you rather be when that time arrives – in the same place you are now or where you want to be? Yes, change takes time but it’s the small steps that will get you to that better future. Which leads us to our next lesson…

Lesson #6: Start Where You Are

The key to achieving any goal is to simply start. Start somewhere… anywhere. If you’re up to your ears in debt, then start by making a plan to become debt free. If your life is so busy that you haven’t taken the time to even know what your dreams are, take some time this very week to find a quiet space and tune into your inner callings. If you need information about becoming an equine massage therapist, or bringing your product idea to market, or getting paid for your home design finesse – then get busy finding and then learning from those who have already done it. The bottom line here – do what you can, but do something!

If you’re having trouble getting started, click here for six tips that can help

ChangingCourse.com/articles/getstarted.htm

Lesson #7: Live in the Now

In an interview with Charlie Rose, Helen Hunt talked about how she got the career she always wanted. Although she wasn’t offering it as a tip, Hunt’s own experience of being grateful for what she had is informative. You see, for Hunt the four Emmys, the five Golden Globes, the Oscar and all of the rest were but icing on an already rich cake. Reflecting on her years as part of the "Mad About You" television show’s creative team, Hunt told Rose, "If none of these other things had happened and I’d had only that, I would have been a very, very lucky actress." (To read all of Helen Hunt’s success tips go to

ChangingCourse.com/articles/helenhunt.htm
)

It would have been easy to focus on what I didn’t like about the house I already had – it was a busy street, the houses were too close together, one of my neighbors drove me up the wall. And yet, despite aggressively pursing my dream house, I never lost sight of what I already had.

On the most basic level, I had more than millions of people around the world – a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, heat, safety. It was also a warm, inviting, and aesthetically pleasing home. If I’d lived in that home for the rest of my life, I would have still been very lucky indeed.

The lesson here is to not focus so much on what lies ahead that you fail to appreciate past and present blessings. Taking stock of how rich your life is right now will make any future success all the sweeter.

A Room With a View

It took three years, but here I sit in my fabulous new home in the country. Perched on a hill, the house offers views on all four sides… cows in the east pasture, grand sunsets over the hills to the west, woods outside my office window to the north, and I was happy to report to Carol, a bubbling brook to my south.

Valerie's View"Well that’s nice for her," you may be thinking, "but I don’t have that kind of money." I understand what it’s like to be strapped. When I left my high paying corporate job, my income dipped nearly in half. There have been times I’ve wondered how I’d pay the bills. Over time I’ve managed to build my income up to more than my previous salary. Still, I didn’t buy a "starter mansion" and I’m not a wealthy person.

Money, or the lack of money, is not necessarily a prerequisite to realizing a dream. True, if I hadn’t had the good fortune to have had a starter home to sell I could not have afforded the house I got. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have found another way to get my view.

For example, I could have found a lower priced fixer upper. Or, I could have rented. Even better, I probably could have lived rent free as a property caretaker.

My new dream? I am obsessed with the idea of introducing young people, and especially disadvantaged youth, to self-employment as an alternative to dead end minimum wage jobs. This is all very much in the seed planting stage. If these particular seeds sprout the way I think they will, I hope to make this happen on a massive scale. Oh, and also I want to work three days a week!

Lesson #8: Trust Your Gut

How often has your first impulse been "Yes!" only to have fear yank you back to the safety of non-action? Janet Riben has learned a lot about what can happen when you trust your gut. She writes:

"I have always been impulsive and that is a way to make a lot of mistakes but also a way to find out a lot about yourself, about others and about the feasibility of ideas. At 59 I took off to Prague for a month course on teaching English as a foreign language (TELF).

From there I easily got offers on jobs for teaching English around the globe. Gates were opening and at my ripe age!"

When Janet said gates opened she wasn’t kidding. "I found a job teaching business English in Italy which then led to learning Italian which then led to being the representative of an Italian company in Scandinavia which will soon lead to owning a home in Italy. Before I am 64 I will have my dream house there. All because I followed my impulses. I didn’t listen to naysayers – they weren’t fast enough to stop me – to frighten me out of my dream’s path."

I’ve never met Janet, but her story is a wonderful reminder of what can happen when you listen to that inner voice. As any successful self-bosser will tell you, once you walk through that first scary door and invest in yourself and your dreams some truly incredible things start to happen. To learn more about some amazing international opportunities to learn and then teach TEFL go to
TEFL
.com


Update 6: Find Your Calling By Helping Others Find Theirs

Join Me for Five Extraordinary Days and
Leave With Everything You Need to
Start Your Own Business as an
"Outside the Job Box" Career Consultant

2008 Business Training Summit

Northampton, Massachusetts
May 4-8, 2008

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

If you are someone who is forever thinking up potential business ideas… or turning other people onto resources and alternatives they never knew existed… the kind of person who gets a high from helping others?

If you want to get paid to do what comes naturally, then in a few short months, you could be running your own business as an "Outside the Job Box Career Consultant." I’ll show you how.

Everything You Need to Be Making Money in Less Than a Month

I’m going help you get started faster and with more forward energy and confidence than you ever imagined. That way you can launch a real business in less than a week… and be making money in less than a month.

  • Learn how, step-by-step, to parlay your creative instincts and your curiosity into work you enjoy… and gain not just pleasure, but profits too…

  • "Power-Start" your new business with hand-holding from experts who really know their stuff. So you can avoid those rookie mistakes and be up-and-running fast… and in the right direction…

  • Forget "selling." Learn simple, low-cost and no-cost marketing techniques proven to attract a steady flow of paying clients…

  • Get the "Silver Platter Treatment"… everything you need to start making money in as little as three weeks from your own web site to a professional headshot to six months of marketing mentoring from a leading expert…


I can’t recommend this program enough. It was both the beginning of an exciting journey for me and the realization of a long held desire to help people figure out what they want to do by thinking outside the box… Valerie offers not only the inspiration to help you realize your own calling and jumpstart your own "created career" by becoming a creative career consultant, but she hands you the keys to the kingdom – all the practical tools to get your consultancy up and running, handing down her invaluable expertise and tried and true methods along the way. She trains you to see what others may not, helping to guide your clients to life changing a-ha moments. Don’t miss this opportunity – I’ll always be grateful I didn’t! ~ Susan
 

Early Bird Pricing Discount Extended – 5 Seats Left

After a slew of emails from people waiting for tax refunds or needing more time to make vacation plans, I extended the $1800 Early Bird Discount until Wednesday, April 9th.

There are other ways to save too. Like the $1200 "Pay for your own stay" discount option. And, for those who want to get all of the web and marketing essentials but don’t need the more extensive elements, you may take advantage of an additional $1000 savings.

I’m not trying to pressure you by screaming ACT NOW! The people who are most interested in this unique training and business opportunity don’t really need any reminders gentle or otherwise. They already know that the last two Tele-training programs both sold out.

The new live program in May is going to be more personalized, more intense, and more immediately productive than anything else I’ve ever offered. Because I will be working so closely with the people who do attend, I have decided to severely restrict the number of training slots. Because of my big book deal with Crown, it is also the only training I will run in 2008.


I have recently invested in the "out of the box" career consultant certification program, and I am SO EXCITED!! I say invested because that’s what it is for me, and I’m sure many of you, an investment. It’s an investment in me and my family’s happiness and prosperity. It is the total package! I wake up excited about the additional tools I have at my disposal for starting my new businesses. I am also less anxious about how stressful my current position is because I know that it is just a temporary inconvenience. Nature is change…which means that it is natural to seek change and I am certainly ready for it. Many thank you’s to Valerie and her associates. ~ Rosalyn
 

To learn more about whether the enriching life of an Outside the Job Box Career Consultant or this Certification Summit is right for you go to ChangingCourse.com/livecertification.htm

ONLY 5 SEATS LEFT!

And, if you still have questions, in invite you to join four graduates from the "Class of 2006" for a live – and I guarantee – a very lively Q&A and conversation session on Thursday, April 3 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. You’ll find out where these consultants are (some of their answers will definitely surprise you) and where they’re going… Barbara Winter will be on hand too to offer her first-hand impressions of the people she’s met who’ve come through the program.

If you can’t make the call, post your questions there:
ChangingCourse.com/blogg

I’ll make sure your question gets answered. The call will also be recorded. So if you can’t make the live call, sign up anyway and I’ll send you the recording as soon as it’s available. And by the way, this is definitely NOT a sales call.

Click here to register for the Live Q&A with the Outside the Job Box Career Consultants: http://tinyurl.com/2q4yka

P.S. If you’ve been following my blog, then you already know this is the costliest program I’ve ever offered. Between offering to cover everyone’s lodging and meals and the added expense of hiring a well-known marketing consultant to provide you with six months worth of individual and small group support — my per person costs are well into the thousands.

I’m not a university so I don’t have any kind of scholarship fund that I can draw from. BUT anyone who has ever worked with me knows that when it comes to money, I always strive to be as fair and flexible as possible.

So if you need to, for example, put down a smaller initial down payment… or maybe to wrap the down payment into the monthly installments… or you need to set up some other payment option all together, let me know and while I can’t make any promises, I will try my hardest to work something out.


Who Says You Can’t Live Your Dreams?

Valerie Young and her wonder dog, By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 180 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Dreamers beware: for every dream there are 10 naysayers just waiting to dash it. It almost happened to Beverly Goodman Park. Park was close to 60 when her marriage ended. At an age when most people are contemplating retirement, Park decided to pursue a long-held dream of becoming an attorney. A lot of people told her she was too old. Undaunted, Park went to law school while working full-time, passed the bar exam, and at 61, landed a job at a law firm. Of her critics she says, “I thought this age stuff was baloney.”

Walter Anderson, author of The Greatest Risk of All, says by the time we are in our 20s, we will have heard 25,000 “can’ts.” Don’t expect a lot of support for your “foolish dreams.” Instead, be prepared to reach deep within to turn “can’t” into “can.” Here are two motivation-boosting tips to get you started:

Become the Future You

Dreams, by their very nature, are about the future. With so many present-day demands your dream can start to feel distant. The more far-off the goal, the less likely it is you will act on it.

How can you make sure your dream doesn’t fall prey to the out-of-sight, out-of-mind syndrome? By bringing it into the present. To do this you must become the future “you.” Here’s how: The next time someone asks what you do for a living, try answering, not in terms of the present, but as if you were actively engaged in pursing your dream right this minute. In other words, squelch your pat “I’m an accountant/in sales/a social worker/a homemaker” response and instead try saying something like: “I’m an aspiring mystery writer,” or “I’m looking into returning to school to become an oceanographer,” or “I’m in the process of changing careers to pursue my love of gourmet cooking.”

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t written a single page of your future bestseller, sent away for one college catalog, or lifted a finger to pursue your passion for cooking. What does matter is that the dream that once felt elusive will suddenly begin to feel real. And when that happens, you will be amazed at how much sooner you’ll get the change ball rolling. Before you know it, you will actually BE the future you!

Get Inspired

Someone who knows a lot about the power of “acting as if” is Steven Spielberg. Hoping to fulfill his filmmaking dreams, Spielberg explains that he snuck onto the lot of Universal Studios and became a “squatter” in an empty office. He even bought plastic letters to mount his name in the building directory. Security guards and exec’s alike thought the guy belonged there. His high jinks paid off. Spielberg’s first directorial break came when the studio bigwigs finally saw his first film and liked what they saw.

This and other success stories can be found in Mischief Marketing: How the Rich, Famous, & Successful Really Got Their Careers and Businesses Going. Author Ray Simon reveals how famous people as diverse as Mother Teresa, Duke Ellington, Andy Kaufman, rap artist Big Pun, and Benjamin Franklin really got started in life and how you can use their mischievous techniques to do the same.

As encouraging as success stories can be, learning about another’s failure can be just as inspiring. Did you know that Bob Dylan was booed off the stage at his high school talent show? Or that Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper job for “lacking ideas?” Or that Thomas Edison failed to perfect the light bulb until his ten-thousandth try? How many “can’ts” do you think these dreamers had to endure?

And when faced with a dream-buster, these “failure stories” can make great comebacks, too. Would Parks’ critics have been so quick to discourage had she pointed out that Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was 80 years-old and that, of her over 1,500 paintings, 25 percent were produced when she was past 100?

“Persistence,” said Robert Half, “is what makes the impossible possible, the possible likely, and the likely definite.” As anyone who has ever chased a dream will tell you, disappointment, self-doubt, and failure go with the territory. The trick is to recognize these setbacks for what they really are – bumps in the road, not the end of the road.

Publisher Katherine Graham said it well: “To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?” This is your life we’re talking about here. So what are you waiting for? Catch a dream, have some fun and start turning can’t into can!


2008 “Outside the Job Box” Career Consultant Training 

Join Me this Spring…

And Over Five Extraordinary Days,
Discover How You Can Find Your Own Calling
by Helping Others Realize Theirs

2008 Certification & Training Summit

Become an “Outside the Job Box” Career Consultant
Northampton, Massachusetts
May 4-8, 2008

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

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

What if you had a chance to build a business like mine?

I really do make a living working for myself, doing what I love. A good living.

And you can, too — by following in my footsteps.

People around the world are clamoring for the kind of help I provide. Without a doubt: There’s plenty of room on this path.

Of course, the question you have to answer is: Is it the right path for you? Ask yourself…

  • Are you somebody who’s always clipping out articles for friends and acquaintances? Always turning other people on to resources and alternatives they never knew existed?

  • Are you a creative problem-solver?

  • Do you instinctively jump in to help others?

  • Do you find yourself constantly thinking up potential business ideas?

Find your calling by helping others find theirs...If that describes you, then I bet people like talking to you…

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

It does to me, too. So we already share that in common.

Now I’d like to show you how you can share in my success as well.

And I’d like to do it in a way that will help you get started faster and with more forward energy and confidence than you ever imagined.

A way for you to learn all the hard-won secrets I’ve discovered over the last decade. So you can launch a real business in less than a week… and be making money in less than a month.

  • Learn how, step-by-step, to parlay your creative instincts and your curiosity into work you enjoy… and gain not just pleasure, but profits too…
  • “Power-Start” your new business with hand-holding from experts who really know their stuff. So you can avoid those rookie mistakes and be up-and-running fast… and in the right direction…
  • Forget “selling.” Learn simple, low-cost and no-cost marketing techniques proven to attract a steady flow of paying clients…
  • Get the “Silver Platter Treatment”… everything you need to start making money in as little as three weeks…

The 2006 and 2007 Certification classes both sold out. The Spring 2008 program is going to be more personalized, more intense, and more immediately productive than anything else I’ve ever offered. It is also the only training I will run in 2008.

Registration and Special Savings are Happening NOW

Registration for the 300+ people on the First in Line advance notification list began this past Tuesday, March 18 at noon. The first registration came in within 30 minutes and kind of snow balled from there. There is a substantial early registration discount that is in effect until March 26th as well as a $300 Travel Credit Discount that ends Friday, March 21 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

I’ve also added two other creative ways you can afford to take advantage of this unique training and business start-up opportunity…

I was planning to foot the bill for your lodging and meals. But if you are local, have friends in the area, or are practiced in the art of traveling “on the cheap” you can take advantage of the “Pay for Your Own Stay” option (a $1,200 savings).

Already marketing and web site savvy? If what you really want is to take advantage of the Outside the Job Box career consulting skills/business training and tools only you may opt to forego the extensive web site assistance and 6-months of additional marketing and mentoring with a self-promotion and marketing expert and save yourself an additional $1,000.

Seats Are Limited

To learn more about whether the relaxed life of an Outside the Job Box Career Consultant or this Certification Summit is right for you – and to find out about these new ways to save even more – go to ChangingCourse.com/livecertification.htm

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


Update 4: Find Your Calling By Helping Other People Find Theirs

Advanced Registration Date Set and Program Pricing

Registration Date Set

Barring any last minute technical difficulties, the advanced registration process will begin on TUESDAY, MARCH 18th at NOON EASTERN TIME.

I’m not sending the link now because initially this link is going ONLY to people on the First in Line list because they requested advanced notification. So look for the link in this week’s Changing Course Newsletter. Now for the answer to the BIG question…

Now for the answer to the BIG question…

What’s the Program Price?

You need to understand that it took me a few months to even decide to offer this live training program. The idea has me incredibly energized and excited, but putting together and leading this live 5-day intensive “summit” really, is going to require a lot of work and a lot of intense interaction on my part..

That last part is particularly scary for me. I mean I love working with people on this topic… listening to my previous trainees on those Preview calls talk about how my certification program has changed their lives was incredibly humbling. But the amount of work on my part and all the extra marketing and web support I’m building in also made it incredibly difficult to price.

But after sleeping on it one more night, I have arrived at what I believe to be a fair price.

This is the highest cost item I have ever offered (hence the hold up with my merchant provider). That’s why it’s really important to me that you understand how I arrived at the final cost. I also want to give you some suggestions about how you can decide whether this is the right investment for you.

I’m still going to be sharing ALL of my intellectual property so you’ll know exactly what to do before, during, and after a client consultation. Your still getting a step-by-step guide in the form of my Changing Course Formula to use with your own clients.

But with this live 5-day Summit I’m also paying to…

…get you moving FASTER by bringing in marketing guru Ilise Benun to speak and meet with you during the program PLUS provide you with personalized individual and small group mentoring for a full six months following the program…

… get you moving FASTER by hiring web guru Lisa Tarrant to be on site to get you all set up on the web (everything from setting you up with a website or blog template, domain name, hosting, merchant account so you can accept payment from clients all over the world, and more)…

… get you moving FASTER by having a professional photographer on hand to take a great looking headshot for your site

…AND paying for your 5 days of lodging and meals so you don’t stress about the additional travel costs…

This program will be unlike anything else I have ever done – or ever seen really. But like I said, it’s not for everyone. And that’s really a necessity because I can only accommodate around 21 people and right now there are over 320 people on the First in Line list which means not everyone who wants to will be able to get in.

Part of the sheer joy of being an Outside of the Job Box Career Consultant is that when you start viewing the world through the lens of opportunity as I do – suddenly problems aren’t problems at all…

Instead you begin to realize that most problems come disguised as opportunities. For example…

Problem

Everybody’s financial situation is different. So, when it comes to money, I know that for a lot of people, the price of this program will be an issue. Let’s face it, pricing a product or service is always tricky. And as the buyer, how do you know what’s a fair price?

I know what this program is worth. But how do you determine what the cost of freedom means to you?

Easy. You do your homework.

Opportunity

When my own consulting clients are baffled as to how they should price their SAT tutorial business, walking tours in Rome, or proof writing services I tell them the same thing I’m going to tell you:

Do your homework and make sure you compare ‘apples to apples.’

What does this mean?

The Outside the Job Box Career Consulting Certification Summit in May is NOT a self-study course or a Teleclass. As you’ll learn when you read the entire program description on Tuesday March 18th, this is a highly interactive, live, hands-on training, mentoring, and small business development program.

Since this particular program is happening over 5 days instead of the usual 16 weeks, its also set up to help you generate paying customers literally within weeks of the training summit.

Given the level of training and support you get the Certification Program could easily have been set up as a formal franchise. But making you do things ‘my way or no way’ flies in the face of everything I believe about designing your business to fit your life- and not the other way around.

So while not a franchise, this program gives you the same – and in many cases — significantly more training and support than you would if you bought a traditional franchise.

So now that we’re comparing apples to apples – do your homework. Go to http://franchisegator.com and click on ‘Work from Home’ or ‘Business Services.’

Here are just a few examples of total capital required for some somewhat related businesses…

~ Doody Calls pet waste pick up $45,000-$67,000 (truly a recurring business… sorry I couldn’t resist J)

Okay so here are more consulting oriented examples:

~ Mars Venus Coaching – $31,500 Total Capital Required

~ The Entrepreneur’s Source – $72,500-$81,500 Total Capital Required

~ One Coach: $100,000-$750,000 Total Capital Required and $500,000 -$1,000,000 in Net Worth Required

The Outside the Job Box Career Consulting Certification won’t cost you nearly that much. In fact, once you factor in the extensive level of training, tools and ongoing support, I think you’ll agree that the cost of freedom is actually pretty darn low.

When I delivered this program by Teleclass, there were still plenty of costs for CD duping, printing, and recordings. But nothing like the costs to put on a live event with meeting space and breaks and such.

Especially not a live event where I’m also tacking on six-months worth of marketing mentoring and support… or the kind of extensive web site assistance you’ll receive… and certainly not where your meals and lodging are included.

Given all of the above, I have decided to price the 5-day live Certification intensive at $11,500. With the early registration discount and other incentives it is possible to get into this program for about $3000 less. I’ve also put together a very generous installment plan option to make it as affordable as possible for as many as possible.

If you have to “blame” anyone for the price, blame some of the people in my 2007 program. This whole idea of a higher priced program got started when an attendee sent me this email mid-way through the program…

“Just as a side note, this course has a lot of details that we need. I am becoming surprised that the registration is not set at $8k-10k for all the training. Val, I believe you can do both, bump up the price and have more attendance for the next class.” ~ Craig Duck

Craig went on to say I was delivering way more than he expected. I always strive to over-deliver but I was kind of kicking myself on the under-pricing part.

On the next Teleclass I joked that I was going to make the new price retroactive. The next day I received this email from another attendee…

“YES I agree with Craig you should be charging more!  I told a bunch of folks at the Work at What Your Love workshop last summer that your work is a STEAL.”  ~ Joan McAndrews

Keep in mind Craig and Joan were saying the TELECLASS version should be priced at $8,000-$10,000!

The more I thought about it, the more I realized what I was giving away – and more importantly – what these aspiring self-bossers were getting.

This has been a very long way of saying when you look at your investment in this training summit – at this investment in YOURSELF – you have to consider what it is you are buying. Whether you seize this particular business start-up opportunity or not, when it comes to changing course, this simple truth remains…

ALL change is scary – even positive change. Fear just comes with the change territory. Period. My mantra is “Information will set you free.” The more you know the less there is to be afraid of. So do your homework…

Read or re-read the FAQ by clicking here.

Find a few moments of quiet, and listen to what your heart is telling you. Either way, your gut will never let you down.

And don’t forget to check your email TUESDAY at 12:00 P.M. EASTERN for a more complete overview of the entire Outside the Job Box Career Consultant Certification Program and decide whether it’s the right path for you.

To your dreams,

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence
Changing Course

P.S. To read more about how information can spring you from ‘job jail’ read my article Trapped in a Job You Hate? Where to Search for Freedom go to https://changingcourse.com/2020/2012/05/15/trapped-in-a-job-you-hate-where-to-search-for-freedom/


Update 3: Find Your Calling By Helping Others Find Theirs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOTE IMPORTANT DATE CHANGE

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

So the training dates have moved up one day.

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

Hold the Date! Free Live Teleclass!

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

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

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

To your dreams,

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence
www.ChangingCourse.com

Burning Question #1

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

ANSWER

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://ChangingCourse.com/firstinline.htm

Burning Question #2

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

ANSWER

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

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

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

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

Burning Question #3

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

ANSWER

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

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

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


Burning Question #4

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

ANSWER

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

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

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

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

Burning Question #5

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

ANSWER

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

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

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

Burning Question #6

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

ANSWER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burning Question #7

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

ANSWER

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


Burning Question #8

“How much does the Certification cost?”

ANSWER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burning Question #9

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

ANSWER

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

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

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

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

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

Quite the contrary…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burning Question #10

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

ANSWER

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

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

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

http://ChangingCourse.com/firstinline.htm

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

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


Are Your Attitudes About Money Holding You Back?

Part 2 in a 2-Part Series About Women and Money

Valerie Young and her wonder dog, By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 179 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

Well I’m back from my big New York trip and ready to pick up where I left off in the discussion of women and money. The first part of this article highlighted some common and potentially limiting attitudes some women hold about money including a tendency to feel undeserving or even shame for making – or wanting to make – good money.

Moral and other money-related dilemmas are not unique to women. Yet, having and managing money is often a bigger challenge for women. It’s not surprising when you consider it was not until 1974 that all women got the right to have business credit in their own names. Today the barriers are more attitudinal than institutional. Just ask Gail.

“Making Money is Selfish”

Gail is a consultant and trainer to non-profits. “Many times over the years,” she says, “I’ve encountered and been frustrated by the attitude that there is a special ‘glory’ for non-profits in making do with as little as possible, using outdated equipment and shabby facilities, paying staff little, working them too hard and offering few benefits, expecting the director to also be the janitor, etc., etc.” Adding, “In this framework, for-profit = bad (the “dark side”) and non-profit = good, so apparently money must be a necessary evil.”

Despite having spent more than 20 years working in the non-profit sector herself, Gail could never quite put her finger on what was behind these attitudes. Last summer she attended the Work at What You Love workshop and the light bulb went on. She explains:

“A woman in one of my discussion groups was feeling real anguish that her business idea could make her significant money. She had spent her career in non-profits and felt it would be somehow ‘wrong’ and ‘selfish’ to earn a larger income by working for-profit. The connection that jumped out at me between this attitude and your article is the large percentage of non-profit staff who are women. A coincidence? I don’t think so!”

“No Nobility in Poverty”

Not everyone gets what all the fuss is about. Fayette, a 54 year old single mom and long time small business owner wanted me to know that she’d raised three children and managed to get them all through college. “Had I not been marketing and making money in my business, my kids would not have made it to the point where they are now. All of this I did on top of working a 40 hour a week job.” Adding, “When you are in business, one of the things you are in it for is to make money. My saying is, ‘There is no nobility in poverty.’”

There may not be any nobility in poverty but there sure is a lot of fear about it. Suze Orman cites a 2006 survey in which nearly half the women respondents said they’ve imagined ending up homeless. It’s no wonder that many of the women I heard from are actively exploring their relationship with money. “I may not be happier rich but am I happy being poor?” asks fellow reader and writer, poet and interfaith minister Sandra Lee Schubert. Answering her own question she writes:

“No. So I don’t tell ‘those’ friends about my goals or what I am setting up online. I have joined groups that support my goals. At this moment I want to make MONEY. And I am no longer ashamed to say that. I want an apartment at the river’s edge overlooking Manhattan. I want to be able to afford the kind of medical care to improve my life. I want to buy good clothes. I want to feel generous again. That feeling will come from me. Slowly I am spending money on my education, creating my Web site and laying the foundation.”

At the moment Sandra says none of this makes her feel particularly comfortable, “But,” she adds, “looking at living in poverty in my golden years makes me really uncomfortable.” (You must visit Sandra’s delightful Web site and see an adorable photo of “young Sandra” at Writing-For-Life.com)

Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

Someone who has absolutely no qualms about women entrepreneurs making money is Nell Merlino, cofounder and president of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, the leading national non-profit of online micro loans for women entrepreneurs. Nell is also the visionary behind Make Mine a Million $ Business (MakeMineAMillion.org).

Along withfounding partner, OPEN from American Express®, the Make Mine a Million $ Business program hopes to inspire and support one million women entrepreneurs to reach annual revenues of $1 million by the year 2010. The program provides a combination of financing, mentoring, marketing and technology tools to help grow their businesses from micro to millions.

Someone who has done just that is Garnett Newcombe. Her Los Angeles-based organization, Human Potential Consultants, trains veterans, newly released convicts, and others to return to the workplace. Garnett had managed to grow her business to $400,000 a year in revenues but then hit a wall.

Then, she decided to compete for a spot in the Make Mine a Million $ Business program (think American Idol for entrepreneurs) and made it. Barely a year later, she’s grown her business to $4.2 million and has $18 million more in contracts. And she’s added 70 staff members to what had been a 10 person operation.

In the last article I told you that I’ve never aspired to be a millionaire. But I have to tell you I’m kind of warming up to the idea. Between 1995 and 2005 I probably spent a total of $2,000 on books and courses to help me learn how to grow my business. That’s a total of $200 a year. My business grew steadily to the point where I could pay the bills but not much more.

Then, between the fall of 2006 and 2007, I invested over $25,000 in my own education. This year alone it looks like it will be around $16,000. Just a few years ago, this would have been unthinkable for me. But what I have very quickly discovered is that for every $100 I have spent on self-study programs, a mastermind group, or a live workshop I have made $3,000 back. You do the math.

Change Your Thinking and Change Other People’s Lives

What turns a lot of women off, including me, are the people who make it ALL about the money. Worse is when I hear some big internet millionaire bragging about how he found someone in some developing country to work for him for a few bucks an hour. It’s sickening.

For me it’s not about making money for the sake of making money. I don’t need a fancy car or a bigger house. I don’t even wear half the clothes I already own. It’s not about having more “stuff.” For me, the goal of making more money is that it will allow me to do more for other people.

I’ve always contributed to favorite causes on a regular basis… $50 dollars here, $100 there. But in 2006 I decided to use my good fortune to help those far less fortune than I am by partnering with a wonderful micro-grant organization called TrickleUp.org to donate a portion of all profits from Changing Course.

With your help, in December, I was able to donate $5,000. That money directly helped 50 people previously living on $1 a day to get the seed money they need to start small businesses. When you consider their families the impact is closer to 250 people. But these are just numbers.

Putting a human face on some of these hard working entrepreneurs, I feel incredibly grateful and humbled. (Click here to read these inspiring profiles TrickleUp.org/entrepreneurs/profile.html) In 2008 I hope to double my contribution.

Never Say, “I Can’t Afford It.”

I started to write, “If I can afford it, in 2008 I hope to double my contribution.” Then I remembered some advice I read that said you should never say “I can’t afford it” to anything. You can say, “That’s interesting, but it’s not for me,” or you can say, “Where do I sign up!” or you can say, “I can’t swing it right now.” But when you say “I can’t afford it” unconsciously you’re telling yourself that you not only don’t have the money right now but that you never will.

You might not be ready yet to imagine yourself making a million dollars. And you may not be in a position to give away thousands of dollars. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change your thinking in small but important ways.

I’ve barely scratched the surface on what is a complicated and vast subject. But in doing so I hope to stimulate a conversation that can enable all of us to grow, learn, and prosper…whatever prosperity means to you.

P.S. On a personal note: I was brought up in a very private family where how much you earned was “nobody’s business.” When I share my financial successes in these kinds of public arenas, I assure you it is not to toot my own horn. I’m telling you this because as the Garnett Newcombes – and every single other successful self-bosser I have ever met will tell you – the more you learn the more you earn. Investing in yourself, your education, and your business truly is money in the bank.

P.P.S. And since I’m sharing… The reason I was in New York was because a literary agent set up two whirlwind days of interviews with nine major publishing houses including Simon & Schuster, Collins, Crown/Random House, and Brown Little. The meetings were quickly followed by – are you ready – an auction which resulted in a bidding war. I am thrilled to say I have signed with Crown for a, drum roll please, six-figure contract for How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are. Somebody pinch me! I hope this inspires other first-time authors to go for it!


The Key to Changing Course is to Start: 6 Tips on How to Get Started

 



Valerie and her wonder dog,
“Cokie Roberts”

Sometimes signs arrive when you least expect them. On a recent dog walk along the Connecticut River, I spotted a large white sign tacked to a tree on the opposite shore. The sign contained a single word: Start.

This simple but powerful word got me thinking of all the different places someone who wanted to change course could start. Here are 6 tips to get you started on getting started:

1. Start where you are.

The great tennis player Arthur Ashe once said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Let’s say the main thing holding you back is money. You might start by downsizing your life now so when you do take the leap, you’ll be better prepared to earn less in the short term. Or, you could start by setting up a special savings account to fund your dream. The psychological impact of saving for a dream can be as powerful as the actual monetary earnings.
 

2. Start hanging out with the right crowd.

A client named Eve had been a teacher for 20 years. Whenever she talked about the things she’d love to do – travel, work with dogs, start a summer camp, her voice would fill with excitement. This initial excitement, though, would though always turn to resignation, “I know this is just a pipe dream,” she’d sigh.

The fact that I never see dreams as unrealistic made me think that Eve was probably hanging out with the wrong people. People who have always worked for someone else tend to have a status quo, play it safe, the only way out is to hit the lottery type mentality. Entrepreneurs on the other hand are possibility people. They think “what if…” and “why not?” and then they go out and make it happen.

Where do you find entrepreneurs? You don’t have to be a business owner to join your local chamber of commerce or another organization like Business and Professional Women (BPW).  Even though I’m not an inventor, I joined a local inventor’s group just to be in the company of “yes you can” type people.

3. Start tuning into your gifts

A great place to begin to explore your true calling is by looking back at the kinds of things you loved to do as a child. That’s what Barbara Ewing of Springfield, Massachusetts did. Barbara has known since she was young that she loved to cook. When other kids were outside playing, Barbara would be in the kitchen.

Pay attention, too, to the things you love to do right now. Like Barbara, Cindy Friedman of California shared a passion for food and cooking. When I first met Cindy she was considering becoming a personal chef. Living in wine country also made her want to work somehow with wine.

For Gail Greenwald, a 41-year-old from New York City, that love is yoga. So much so, that after a long day working at her job in a media research company, Gail still had the energy to teach a yoga class. If something makes you happy, it probably contains important clues to your calling.

If you still don’t know what you want to be “when you grow up” then start by trying to find out. You might want to do as Barbara did and start by recalling the kinds of things you loved doing as a kid, start reading Wishcraft, or anything by Barbara Sher, or checking out numerous articles in the Changing Course articles archive at ChangingCourse.com/articles

4. Start listening more to yourself and less to others.

Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Unfortunately, even in childhood, our dreams too often get dismissed. Barbara says that growing up, her interest in cooking was always either viewed as a hobby or as “cute.” She says, “I was never encouraged to pursue this as a career choice,” adding “sadly, I am not alone. If more people would just stop listening to others and instead develop [their] God given talent or skill,” she writes, “we as a society would have happier, less stressed, successful workers (versus the grumpy, stressed, unhappy, successful workers).”

Once you do find your gift, Gail says you should never dive in without doing your homework. Once you do, though, she adds, you should “listen to your heart because your head will tell you differently.”

5. Start letting go of the idea that everything has to be perfect

In his online newsletter, Quick Tips for Creative People, creativity coach Bob Baker writes, “Far too many creative people drag out the artistic process, adjusting a detail here, fine-tuning a nuance there… waiting for a time when the thing is as perfect as they can get it. Others wait years just to start a new project. They require every factor (including their mood) to be in alignment before they’ll even take the first step.”

Perfectionism is the bane of dreams. So is striving to be the “expert” who has to know everything there is to know about a subject before you can take action. And like perfectionism, striving to be the expert can slow you down or, in some cases, bring your goals to a screeching halt.

Why? Because if your definition of competence is “needing to know everything there is to know” then there will always be one more book to read, one more class to take, one more presentation to make, one more book to write, one more degree to earn before you dare pronounce yourself “qualified.”

6. Start taking action

Since attending the Dreams Can’t Wait workshop, Barbara has made tremendous strides in turning her dream of launching her own food line into reality.

She writes, “I have decided on a name for my food brand, contacted the Franklin County Community Development Center and met with director of the Food Center. I have chosen the first six or so recipes I want to use to get the food line started. I have also started formulating the next level (growth) processes. In addition to the contact with the Food Center and development of my ideas, I have enrolled in the AWAI Copywriting and Resume Writing courses. My plan is to use some of the writing income to fund the Food project.” (For more information on these courses go to ChangingCourse.com/awai.htm)

Cindy, too, took action. After 16 years in the software industry in Marin County, California, the 39-year-old decided it was time to get off the fast track. She quit her high-pressured sales job and moved to a less expensive area of the state to work in the fields she really loved, wine and food.

But first she reconsidered her initial idea of becoming a personal chef. “After giving this careful consideration I decided to hold off pursuing it in the fear that I would burn out and not enjoy cooking for my own family and friends anymore… which is something I enjoy immensely.”

The important thing is that Cindy put herself in a position to be open to possibility. So when a part time position opened up in Chico at a very successful wine bar and cheese shop, she went for it. “The customers are demanding and walk in with their dinner menus and ask for specific wine pairing recommendations. This job has turned into much more than just retail sales. I have helped the owner with special events, including wine tasting classes, etc.”

Sometimes changing course happens in phases. Cindy says, “I am exactly where I need to be. Even though I am not running my own business I have flexibility and am able to enjoy being involved with something I am passionate about. Perhaps someday I’ll become such an expert in my field that I can teach community classes about wine tasting basics and pairing wine and food!”

Gail has also taken bold steps to transform her love of yoga into her career. These are the kind of follow up emails every career advisor loves to get. She writes:

“About 3 weeks [after our session] I found a listing on a yoga website for a yoga teacher at a B&B in Cozumel, Mexico. I corresponded with the owner, went down in June to visit and this Thursday I’m leaving for a stay of four months to teach yoga classes in English. I quit my job to follow a more rewarding path.”

Three weeks later another update arrives. Reading Gail’s update should inspire anyone with a dream to start. She writes:

“My decision to go to Cozumel, Mexico involved a surrendering of some sort. I left a steady job, the sites and sounds of New York City, said goodbye to clients, co-workers, friends and family to make room for a new experience. My schedule and transportation options allow me to bike to Playa Azul during the day. I swim in the clear turquoise colored waters at this beach and admire palm trees sprouting out of white powdery sand.

I am able to travel to Isla Mujeres, another island that is a laid back Caribbean paradise of shallow clear waters. It is twenty minutes by ferry from the city of Cancun on the Mexican mainland. An overnight stay at the island enabled me to see the moon lighting a lunar path over the sea and fall asleep to the sound of the ocean’s ebb and flow.

I find myself giving in to afternoon naps. The temperature has been in the 80’s with high humidity. It is perfect for falling asleep below a whirling ceiling fan. There are areas of Cozumel I would still like to explore, but when I feel my body dragging and my eyes closing, doing nothing is more satisfying.”

Not quite ready for such a big change? Then start small. Read a book, take a course, talk to someone who is doing work you’re drawn to, research how other people are making a living from their love of animals, cooking, writing, travel, art, or wherever your own gifts lie.

If you’re waiting for inspiration to strike first, don’t. As Frank Tibolt put it, “We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” When it comes to changing the course of your life, the key is always simply to start.


Are Your Attitudes About Money Holding You Back?

Part 1 in a 2-Part Series About Women and Money

Valerie Young and her wonder dog, By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 177 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

I’m the owner of an online business. I’m also a woman. What that means is I often have to manage something a lot of my male counterparts do not, namely women’s attitudes – including my own – about money. Certainly there are men who have money issues. But when it comes to either investing money in our dreams or making a lot of money ourselves, I find women struggle a lot more than men.

I knew there was no way I could tackle such a complex topic myself, so back in December I asked my readers for input. I’ve included some of their comments here. I hope you’ll add yours as well.

What prompted the discussion about women and money was a Teleseminar I conducted with Alex Mandossian. Alex is an expert on how to develop your expertise and build a list of prospective customers using Teleseminars. During the call, Alex gave example after example of people he’d worked with who’d made tens of thousands of dollars in product sales as a result of introducing themselves to potential customers via a single Teleseminar. He also made a point more than once of underscoring that getting to this level of success takes at least three years.

I got a ton of positive feedback about the call. But I also heard from a woman named Agnes. Agnes told me she wanted to sign up for Alex’s training program but, she said, “I couldn’t help but wonder if it isn’t just a little ‘smarmy’ or something to make soooo much money so quickly? Even though I rationally know there really isn’t anything wrong with it – I can’t seem to put my finger on my own hesitation.”

It was Agnes’s next comment that got me thinking about a wildly popular method for making fast money that no one blinks an eye at – namely, the lottery. She writes, “I would love to win the lottery like everyone else and that doesn’t seem sleazy. I’m not a stranger to hard work and am very willing to work – it’s almost like I feel like I have to work very, very hard in order to deserve to make a lot of money – although now I work very hard and DON’T make a lot of money! Why does that seem ‘okay’ on some level?”

Even people who never play the lottery can relate to the allure of becoming an instant millionaire. I know I can. But clearly there is something deeper going on.

Chance vs. Effort

I don’t know why it seems more acceptable to get rich by chance than by effort, but I certainly can relate to Agnes’s confusion. I’ve been self-employed for about twelve years now. It took 11 years of hard work and sacrifice, but I finally had my first high five figure week. It was a major turning point in my business and in how I looked at money. It was also cause for celebration.

So I made reservations at a pricey area restaurant and treated a small group of friends to a fabulous dinner. When I was growing up, the only fine dining I ever knew was the very occasional Friday night fish fry at Howard Johnson. So it felt great to say, “Order everything you want!” and boy did we! The celebration was in high gear when some mutual friends happened by our table and asked what all commotion was about. “Tell them how much money you made this week, Valerie!” exclaimed my exuberant dinner companions.

I wanted to tell them. In fact I wanted to tell the entire restaurant. But instead of feeling proud, I felt embarrassed. I mean it’s one thing to share the good news with a few close friends, but to talk about how much money you made so publicly? I just wasn’t raised that way. But deep down I knew there was more than just my working class roots kicking in here.

In that moment I remember thinking how I wish I’d won the money on a lottery ticket. No one would blink an eye if I leapt on the table, winning lottery ticket in hand. In fact there would have been high fives all the way around! I know I certainly would have felt different about the whole thing. Intellectually I knew that I had worked, as Agnes said, “very, very hard.” Yet, still, I felt awkward talking about it.

Why is an unearned windfall from an inheritance, gambling, the lottery, or other form of chance somehow more internally acceptable than earning it through our own talents, hard work, and determination? Why do women feel undeserving to be affluent? Why is the desire for financial prosperity considered somehow wrong? I certainly don’t have all the answers but here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

“If I’m Too Successful, People Won’t Like Me”

For better or worse, men’s self-worth is often tied to how much they earn. The downside to this is that it puts a lot of pressure on men to prove themselves financially. On the plus side though I find most men are also a lot more comfortable charging more for their services or with wealth-building in general.

Women on the other hand tend to measure our worth based on the richness of our relationships – not our bank account. Talking about a windfall could be construed as being “too full of ourselves” which could make people think less of us. Being relationship-oriented also means taking care of other people’s feelings. A longitudinal study conducted with young girls enrolled in the gifted class found that if a girl earned an A on a test but her little friend only got a B, she would lie and say she got a B too. Women learn at a young age not to talk about their accomplishments to avoid making others feel bad. 

Some women are afraid that if they are “too successful” other people won’t like them. It may be harder to relate to friends and family, a spouse or partner may be threatened if you start earning substantially more, co-workers may resent your promotion.

I happen to think that maintaining healthy relationships and caring about the impact of our behavior on others is an important virtue and skill. It’s what makes women great managers and in some ways, marketers, and, I believe, what will ultimately save the planet. It’s finding that balance that is the key.

I’d like to see women have both – rich, rewarding relationships and freedom from financial worries. I also want us to find ways to feel good about and even celebrate our accomplishments. For example, these same researchers helped the gifted girls brainstorm ways they could continue to care about their friend’s feelings but also feel proud of their accomplishment.

That leads me to another important clue to understanding women’s attitudes about money. This too has to do with relationships. But here it is about how we feel about money and those who have it.

Our Love-Hate Relationship With Money

Part of my old corporate job included organizing these incredibly lavish sales retreats to reward the top sales people. The events were held in places like Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, or Monaco. We flew in a film crew from New York to shoot video montages, paid a song writer to compose a theme song, constructed elaborate sets. No expense was spared. Needless to say, the sales people qualifying for these events were very well off with no shortage of millionaires. That was when I became consciously aware of my conflicting feelings of contempt and envy around money and people who had it.

So it’s in that context that I try to understand the occasional emails I receive from people – almost always women – who are not just angry, but enraged with me if they are unable to afford to purchase something I may be offering. After all, the reasoning goes, if you really cared, you wouldn’t charge me.

I’m not the only one who has observed this resentment toward successful people. “When do women leave behind the mindset of poverty?’ writes Sandra. “When can they take on the mantle of success and not feel bad about it?” Rather than feeling contempt or envy, Sandra feels inspired. “I like to look to Ali Brown of Ezine Queen for some inspiration. She is not ashamed or shy to flaunt her success. And I mean flaunt in the best way.” I know for a fact that Ali also receives her share of hate mail. (If you aren’t familiar with Ali or her work, and would like to see an example of someone is not ashamed to talk about her financial success go to ChangingCourse.com/recommends/blueprintbox)

Perhaps part of the reason some women have strong negative feelings about people who flaunt their success is that women often devalue their own skills. After all, we think, if I can do it, anybody can. We have a really hard time attaching a dollar figure to our work and an even harder time assigning a high value. Not surprisingly, studies show that women are more likely to take the first salary offer while men are more apt to negotiate.

But here’s the thing. Once you learn to place a higher value on your knowledge, skills, and time, you start to charge more. And when you charge more you become more financially successful. And when that happens, you’ll run into other people who struggle with the same contempt/envy response I had. Some may even secretly want you to fail. This brings full circle… “If I’m too successful people may not like me… and I may not like myself.”

Personally I’ve never aspired to be a millionaire. Even if that were to happen, I’d give a lot of the money away. I mean how much money does one person need? Basically, I don’t want to die a poor old woman and I don’t want you to either.

There is of course much more to say about women and money but I’ll save that for the next issue. In the meantime, I hope you will take a moment to join the conversation at my new blog.


Follow the Trends to Find a Profitable Business Idea

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

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

Trend #1 Back to Basics With Wooden Toys

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

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

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

Trend #2: Safe Water and a Cleaner Environment

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

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

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

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

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

Trend #3 All Natural Products for Kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What Does Gratitude Have to Do With Career Change?

Valerie Young and her wonder dog, By Valerie Young 

This article originally appeared in Issue 175 of the Changing Course Newsletter

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

I don’t think I happen upon these moments any more than anyone else does. I just “see” them more than others do. I believe that’s because gratitude is so central to both my life and my work. I also happen to believe that maintaining a state of gratitude is fundamental to the process of changing course. Yet, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard another career counselor talk about gratitude as an essential element of career change. Come to think of it, I’m not aware of any career related books that talk about the importance of being thankful either.

I think perhaps the reason you don’t hear a lot of career change agents talk about gratitude is that we’re in the business of helping facilitate people moving from where they are to where they’d rather be. Changing your work and life are by definition all about the future. Gratitude on the other hand is very much about the present.  

I understand that it can be pretty tough to be grateful when what you want is freedom, time, and a deep 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. 

And yet if you really want to make a positive change, I believe 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. They write, “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 is a lot wrong in the world. Far too many good people dying in too many bad wars… far too many people losing their homes because of bad loans… far too many people with no job at all. I know, too, that during this holiday season that some of you may be faced with dire circumstances. Yet, “Once we are above the survival levels,” say Dominguez and Robin, “the difference between prosperity and poverty lies simply in our degree of gratitude.” 

Even during my most financially challenging and emotionally discouraging days of struggling to transition from my corporate job to working for myself, I still knew on any given day that I was blessed. I can see. I can hear. I have all my limbs. I am, God-willing, free of disease. I live in relative safety. I have food. I have heat. I have clean water. I have access to medical care. I have transportation. I have friends and family who love me. And I am blessed to have all of you. 

At the risk of going all Oprah on you here, to me living life from a perspective of gratitude is not just an exercise in happy thinking. To me it goes much deeper than that. Melody Beattie described the benefits of gratitude well when she wrote:

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. Yet, life is too short to put off happiness until we have achieved our goal. In other words, 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 today and every day, pause and be grateful for what and who is in your life right now. Go after that better future… but also be here now and savor the journey.
 


Teleseminars Are a Great Solution for People Who Hate to Sell

This article originally appeared in Issue 174 of the Changing Course Newsletter. 

Do you have a business (or an idea for one) but hate the thought of having to “sell”? Do you love sharing information, resources, insight or knowledge with others? Do you have a message or cause you want to promote? If so, the solution may be as close as your telephone.

Teleseminars make it possible to share your knowledge and experience or otherwise and get the word out about your business to people literally all over the world. All you need is a conference or bridge line and a message, and you can reach ten to hundreds of people at a time.

Anyone Can Conduct a Teleseminar… on Just About Anything

Don’t think Teleseminars will work for you? Teleclasses are a great income stream and can be utilized with virtually any business. Check out these interesting markets that are using Teleseminars:

  • Horse Training Secrets
  • Aviation Services
  • Book Promotion
  • Real Estate Q & A
  • Global Warming

As with any business, success begins with finding a topic you feel passionate about. It could be nutrition, the challenges of single parenting, hunting safety, energy conservation, aroma therapy, surviving divorce later in life, urban gardening, traveling solo, baseball trivia – you name it. There really is no end to the topics that can be turned into a Teleseminar.

Some topics lend themselves more naturally to the Teleseminar format more than others. It would be tough, for instance, to teach a motorcycle repair or a cooking class purely by phone. But you could teach a class on how to write and self-publish your own cookbook. Not an expert? Then use your Teleseminar to interview people who are. Then, turn the recordings into a CD set and companion booklet called “Secrets of Canada’s Top Cookbook Authors: How to Write and Promote Your Own Best-Selling Cookbook.”

Or say you create a video series on basic motorcycle repair at home. You could market your product with a free Teleseminar called “The 10 Biggest Motorcycle Repair Shop Scams and How to Avoid Them.” As long as you include valuable information in the free class, your listeners won’t have a problem with you ending the Teleseminar with a special offer to purchase your entire video series.

If you’re just starting out, don’t fall into the dream-zapping trap of thinking you need to have three PhDs or 20 years experience before you consider yourself remotely qualified to be speak on a particular subject. If you have a passion for your topic, I guarantee you already know more than you think you do.

Start by thinking of the three most important things you think people need to know about “surviving divorce” or “safe hunting practices.” Then, for each of these three main points, complete the question, “The three or four most important things someone should know about this point are…” Before you know it, you’ll have a top ten list to form the basis of your seminar.

7 Reasons You Should Seriously Consider Putting On Your Own Teleseminars

Whether you have an established practice, a small business, or are just starting out…

  1. Teleseminars are a great way to get your name out to a larger marketplace and establish yourself as an expert in your field.  
  2. Teleseminars are ideal for people who, like me, hate to sell but love to teach. Informing and demonstrating your commitment to helping others is a great way to build credibility. And being a credible source of information or assistance will ultimately lead people to want to do business with you.  
  3. Teleseminars are a great way to build a list of prospective customers or clients. Once you have a list, you can continue to find ways to share your expertise, educate them about the work you do and what you offer, get valuable referrals, and generally connect with prospective customers and clients.  
  4. Teleseminars make it amazingly easy to create your own information product for future sale. Simply by recording the call, even a free class can be transformed into an ongoing source of revenue.
     
  5. You don’t have to actually “teach” to run Teleseminars. If you have Larry King envy, you can host your own Internet Talk Radio Show and interview top experts and leaders in their field. (Trust me – it’s not as hard as you might think.)  
  6. You can create lucrative joint venture partnerships with other enterprising entrepreneurs who offer products or services that add genuine value to your customers lives. The profit sharing potential here can be enormous.  
  7. Teleseminars are not just about making money. They’re also a great way to promote a cause or otherwise share a message that’s near and dear to your heart.

Experience Not Required

Setting up a Teleseminar is a snap. There’s no need to print up flyers or pay for pricey ad space. Start by promoting your class to your own email list. You can collect payment yourself or through a shopping cart or merchant account.

Technology-wise all you’ll need is a conference or “bridge line.” Once you sign up with a bridge line service, the moderator (that would be you) and your attendees will be assigned a dedicated phone number and pass code which you can send out to your list via an autoresponder.

Then, when class time rolls around, you can hop on the couch (no need to dress up), pick up the phone, push some buttons to get into the call and another to record the class and voila, you’re delivering your message to 10 to 200 or more eager seminar attendees.

There are a lot of bridge lines out there ranging from free to hundreds of dollars per month. Obviously the more expensive bridge lines offer more features, but many of these features are unnecessary when starting out.

FreeConference.com is well known in the industry for offering a free service for up to 150 callers using their Web-Scheduled Standard. They also offer an 800# service with a recording option for a nominal fee. Two other free services I’ve used are FreeConferenceCall.com and TheBasementVentures.com. Normally they work fine but there have been a few technical glitches with each.

Another service I plan to try out is InstantTeleseminar.com by Xiosoft. There is a monthly fee but this includes recording, event templates, a simultaneous webcast for those who prefer to listen in online (this is a biggie), and a number of other bells and whistles.

If you plan to turn your Teleseminars into information products, invest the money to have the call recorded by an outside service such as AudioStrategies.com. They’re reliable, professional, and deliver the MP3 file within an hour of the Teleseminar.

I don’t want to make delivering Teleseminars sound effortless. Anything you do to advance your dream of changing course requires some kind of effort – period. But the Internet has made the whole process pretty darned easy. And, hey if an avowed technophobe like me can do it…

Imagine Turning Your Annual Income into Your Weekly Income

If you’re even considering getting into Teleseminars, the undisputed leader in the field is a guy named Alex Mandossian.

Alex has delivered Teleseminars with many of the world’s top leaders and authors, including Donald Trump, Stephen Covey, and Mark Victor Hansen and has trained over 13,000 students since 2001. Over the past 12 years, he’s helped his clients generate over $203 million in sales.

Over the past few years, Alex has transformed his annual income into his monthly income. To see his actual numbers – and why he believes his marketing strategies can help practically any entrepreneur do the same – visit ChangingCourseTeleseminar.com

Whether you have a business now or are still dreaming about quitting your job to work at what you love, you won’t want to miss this “Teleseminar Secrets Training.” Even if you have no plans to run a Teleseminar, I guarantee it will forever expand your thinking about turning your gift for teaching into a viable way to make a living.


Tools to Help You Go From Creating Debt to Creating Dreams

Valerie Young and her wonder dog, By Valerie Young 

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

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

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

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

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

First Things First

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

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

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

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

Living Debt Free

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

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

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

Goodbye Boss, Hello Kids

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

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

Creating Money for Your Small Business

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

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

Journey to Abundance

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

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


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Praise

A New Direction

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

Julia Raymond
Curvology Studio

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