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After 25 Years, Parting Advice from the Dreamer in Residence at Changing Course

I’m writing to let you know that after a quarter of a century as the Dreamer in Residence at Changing Course, I’m stepping down.

If you read my recent post “Regret Nothing”, you’re probably not surprised.

I told you about some recent losses in my life and a family member battling cancer.

I talked about how times of loss or crisis remind us to take nothing for granted, most especially time.

About how now — more than ever — we need to ask ourselves, what would I most regret not doing?

It’s a question I asked myself in 1995. For me, the answer was crystal clear.

The thing I would most regret is never being my own boss.

What a Ride!

That journey began with the crazy idea to publish a newsletter for other burned out cubicle dwellers.

Over these 25 years, I’ve had experiences I could have never imagined possible.

I’ve gotten business advice from Sir Richard Branson and Gary Vaynerchuk.

I was invited to speak at a travel writer and photography class in Paris and at an International Living magazine conference in Panama.

Changing Course has been cited in dozens of newspapers and magazines in the US and Canada including The Wall Street JournalThe Boston Globe, The OregonianRedbook, Kiplinger’s, Self, Woman’s Day, and many more.

Entrepreneur’s Start Up magazine not only dedicated an entire page to my 10 Steps to Escape the Job World and Create the Life You Really Want they even sent a photographer to my house!

I helped hundreds of coaching clients connect the dots between what they love to do and how they can make money doing it.

Over 350 people from 19 countries took my course on how to get paid to brainstorm.

I led half a dozen Work at What You Love workshops around the country with Barbara Winter.

At the end of each, Barbara and I would turn to each other and say, “I think we helped change some lives today.”

Among them, Dyan DiNapoli who transformed herself into the Penguin Lady only to far surpass her wildest dreams.

And, as I noted in my recent tribute to the late Barbara Sher, I had the incredible experience of co-leading a four-day retreat in the Rocky Mountains with the very women who inspired my own dream, Barbara Winter and Barbara Sher.

I’m not telling you this to impress you.

I’m telling you this because far too many people only see the successful end result.

They don’t understand that every business big and small, started from nothing more than an idea.

Starting Out in 1995

One sure way to kill a dream is to wait until you’ve got everything 100 percent figured out before you begin.

For example, I began as the Making a Living Doing What You Love newsletter.

After two issues though, I realized that loving your work is nice – but it’s just the frosting on the cake.

The “cake” was being able to live life on your own terms.

So I came up with a new name, one that better spoke to people like me who were desperate to take the leap from having a boss to being their own boss.

I’d never published a newsletter, but I found a training program on cassette that gave me the basics. (I think I found them in a classified ad in Entrepreneur magazine.)

I bought some basic publishing software for my Mac and a designer friend at my old job did the initial layout.

A few years later I realized people might actually pay me for the informal advice-giving and resource sharing I’d already been doing with shuttle drivers, wait staff, and other disgruntled employees.

Mind you I had no formal training in either coaching or career counseling.

Which was fine because I had no interest in administering skills assessments or personality profiles or doing any of the other things traditional career advisers do to help people find their dream “job.”

I wanted to help people create their own job.

So one day I just hung out my shingle as an “outside the job box” career coach.

Over time other entrepreneurially-minded “idea people” told me they’d love to do what I do.

So I used lessons learned from my own experience to create the first and only training program to teach them how.

In the mid-90s getting on the “world wide web” meant knowing HTML.

I didn’t have a lot of money, but I did have a phone.

So I called a local community college to see if students in their HTML class needed a case study.

I got a free website and the two 40-something career changers who created it got to build their portfolio.

This was my first site.

Why Now?

For starters, when I launched the newsletter I was 40.

Last November I turned 65.

This is where you immediately go to the comments section to say, OMG, you don’t LOOK 65! 🙂

My mom died unexpectedly of a heart attack five months before her much awaited retirement. I’ve already outlived her by four years.

She left behind boxes full of material for quilts she’d never get to make and a lifetime of photos she’d planned to organize but never got the chance.

I know too many people who lived for their retirement day only to die just before or shortly after.

My Dad couldn’t wait to retire.

He liked to say he was going to spend the first few months sitting in a rocking chair.

Then after a few months, he was going to start rocking… very slowly.

I have no intention of sitting in a rocking chair.

In fact, I’m incredibly busy leading webinars and sketching out a new book.

And I’m looking forward to having more time to pursue other interests like actively addressing climate change and learning to do mosaics.

The other reason I’m stepping down is simple: It’s time.

Jon Stewart announced his retirement from The Daily Show by saying, “This show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host.”

The fact is, I’ve been struggling with this decision for a while now.

Up until recently, I was juggling three investment properties. Happily, I’m down to one.

On top of that, I also have a thriving speaking business on something called impostor syndrome.

Learning that there was a name for the secret fear that others will discover we’re not really as intelligent, talented, or qualified as others “think” we are, was the impetus for my graduate research.

I’ve been leading workshops on the subject on and off since the 1980s.

Then in 2008, I got a six-figure book deal with Random House.

It took me two and a half years to write the book. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

When it finally came out in 2011 speaking invitations picked up.

In the last three years, they’ve exploded.

I’ve been to Portugal, Switzerland, England, and Denmark and spoken at organizations like Google, Microsoft, Dell, Blizzard Entertainment, Rakuten, Oxford University, NASA, the National Cancer Institute, and my personal favorite, Romance Writers of America.

The point is, all this obviously left a lot less time to focus on Changing Course.

And it wasn’t fair to anyone – most especially you.

What’s Next for Changing Course?

The other thing Jon Stewart said was, “In my heart I know it’s time for someone else to have this opportunity.”

It felt wrong to just hang out a “closed” sign. Especially now when more people than ever need help.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce that the perfect duo stepped forward to take the strong foundation I’ve built and run with it.

Drum roll, please…

Meet the new Dreamers in Residence Arthurine Walker and Kate Fessler!

Kate and Arthurine will introduce themselves in more detail next time.

What I can tell you is that you’re in really good hands.

I met them when they took my Profiting from Your Passions coach training.

Even though they were both in the Class of 2007, since it was a teleclass, Kate and Arthurine didn’t meet until they teamed up to take over the reins at Changing Course.

It seems fitting that 13 years later the students would go on to take the teacher’s place.

For now, I’m not going anywhere.

The three of us are working together on an upcoming Work at What You Love Virtual Workshop. Stay tuned for details soon!

And I’ll definitely be involved in promoting and teaching the Profiting from Your Passions Career Coach Training Summer School.

Before I wrap up my final newsletter, I’d like to share some parting wisdom on what it really takes to change course.

Parting Advice #1 You Don’t Need Confidence — Really

If I’d waited until I felt ready… until I thought that I knew enough… until I felt confident – I’d still be in my cubicle.

In 1998 USA Weekend magazine article was dedicating an entire edition to the impact of the 1990 recession on families.

The editor asked if I could contribute some tips for two-income households looking to downsize to one income.

I knew nothing about it.

But I said yes anyway.

I mean, how hard could it be?

I called a financial planner for his advice and talked to a few couples who’d done it.

Add to that a dash of common sense and voila! I had my own sidebar of tips and free advertising for Changing Course to their millions of readers.

Fast forward to 2020 and every one of us has a PhD in Google.

You don’t need confidence to start a business because you don’t need to know everything.

You just need to be smart enough to figure it out.

Just say yes and learn as you go.

Parting Advice #2 It Really Is All Small Steps

Most dreams die because we give up too soon.

I know how easy it is to feel like you’re not making progress.

That’s why starting in 1996 I started documenting the things I’d accomplished each year.

It was my way of assuring myself, See Valerie, you are making progress.

Everyone wants to be in their dream life right now. But that’s not how it works.

Michelangelo didn’t sculpt David in a day. He literally chipped away at it bit by bit.

Take for instance this very announcement.

It took me f-o-r-e-v-e-r to write.

I didn’t edit it once; I edited it at least 20 times!

The thing is, you’re not “writing a book or a blog post or your website.”

You’re writing a sentence, then another one and another one.

You’re not “becoming a speaker.”

You’re outlining your talk (which trust me, you’ll then change hundreds of times).

You’re not “starting a landscaping business.”

You’re looking up local competition to see how you’ll do things differently, better, faster, higher-end, or more affordable.

Then you take another small step and another and another.

It may not sound glamorous, but it really is all small steps.

The important thing is to begin.

Parting Advice #3: Besides, It’s Not About You

One of my clients had spent years lovingly caring for an ailing parent.

After “Kim’s” mother passed she began to write a play about her experience.

Then she stopped.

Kim wasn’t afraid of failure she was afraid of success.

“What if my play is a hit,” she said, “then I’d have to play big.”

I invited her to imagine a sold-out theater full of people…

… to feel the excitement in the crowd…

…to know that among them were people who’d been through a similar experience and were eager for their own joy and pain to be honored by the words she’d scripted…

…to watch as the lights dimmed and the curtain rose to reveal an empty stage…

…and finally to picture herself, the almost playwright coming out to announce…

“I’m sorry, there will be no play tonight. I was too afraid of being great to write it.”

Can playing big be scary?

You bet.

It’s even harder if you’ve spent your life putting others’ needs before your own.

Even when you do manage to convince yourself that you are worthy, to suddenly move your own dream to the front burner can feel selfish.

All the more reason you need to see that everyone loses when you play small.

There are people out there right this very minute who want and deserve to benefit from your full range of knowledge, abilities, and skills.

So instead of the proverbial question, “What would you do if money were no object?” ask yourself, What sort of difference could I make if fear was not a factor?

Speaking of dreams…

You’re Invited to My Retirement Party!

Stay tuned for some sort of Valerie’s Retirement Party + Changing Course’s 25th Anniversary + Grand Re-Opening celebration.

With COVID-19 it’s not yet clear whether all or parts will be virtual. Or if it will be one party or separate celebrations.

No matter what, it won’t be until at least the fall.

For now, I’d love to hear from people who, via Changing Course, have been inspired to live the mission I established 25 years ago…

Live life on purpose
Work at what you love
Follow your own road

When did you start reading the Changing Course Newsletter – and why?

Was there a resource or an idea in the newsletter that sparked your own entrepreneurial journey?

Was there a particular book or audio that helped you?

Were you on one of the many teleclasses I ran with inspiring self-bossers like the maker of I Love Chicken Poop lip balm or the guy who started a successful online Bible study business or the woman whose craft instruction business was so successful her husband quit his job to join her?

Did we do a career coaching session together?

Did you attend one of the workshops…

Making Dreams Happen in Boulder, Colorado?

Work at What You Love in Northampton, Massachusetts; Madison, Wisconsin; or Ventura, California?

Dreams Can’t Wait in Kennebunkport, Maine?

Did you come all the way from Alaska or Sweden or Israel or Mexico or Montreal to participate in one of the small retreats I ran at my home in Montague?

Did you venture off to Ecuador for the Relax, Renew, Reinvent workshop?

I’d love to hear from you here! 

(just scroll down to the comment section below)

And, please don’t worry if you don’t think you’ve done “enough.”

Or if you started and stopped or otherwise got stalled.

As Mary Ann Evans, writing under her pen name George Eliot, wrote, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

Heck, Gramma Moses didn’t start painting until into her 80s!

Finally, I’m deeply grateful to Lisa Tarrant for leaving her job-job 19 years ago to go on this crazy ride with me (and for being shorter than me :)) I couldn’t have grown Changing Course without her.

Thanks too, to Melinda Ashley for jumping into a whole new world of virtual assisting to lend us a hand!

Most of all, I want to thank all of you for honoring me with your attention all these years.

Knowing you trusted me with your dreams has meant the world to me.

How Do You Overcome Your Fear of Failing?

For the second time in as many weeks two clients talked about being “terrified” of failing.

No one was talking about putting up their home as collateral or sinking their life savings into a venture. In fact, in both cases the stakes were relatively low.

Sadly, for some people the mere prospect of failing can be paralyzing.

Every entrepreneur experiences failures on the way to success. I am certainly no exception.

While still in my corporate job I had a side business selling a line of humorous greeting cards. I spent months drawing each card, surveying my friends to see which ones people liked best, and then invested a couple of thousand of dollars getting them printed.

They sold pretty well in small gift stores in San Francisco, Boston, NYC, Hartford, and Provincetown, Mass. But about a year into it, I realized it was the wrong business for me.

Did I spend more money than I made? Yup. But it never felt like a failure.

To the contrary:

  • I felt proud of myself for giving it my best shot (as my friend Sue said at the time, “Everyone I know talks about what they’re going to do… you do it.”)
  • I learned a ton about the greeting card business, which in my current capacity as a Profiting from Your Passions® Career Advisor I’ve been able to share with others looking to launch their own line
  • And it gave me more confidence to move on to my next venture

If you really want to change course to work for yourself, then you absolutely must readjust your emotional response to failure.

This means embracing some fundamental truths about failure

Truth 1: You’ll strike out more often then not.

In baseball a .333 batting average is considered outstanding. If you’re not a baseball fan, what this means is that for every 10 pitches, the batter only has to hit the ball three times to be considered exceptional.

Even the legendary Babe Ruth “only” batted .342. The point is, you can be at the top of your game and still strike out more often than not. No one bats 1000 so stop expecting yourself to be the exception.

Truth 2: Failures offer valuable lessons – and opportunities.

Instead of seeing your flops as evidence of your incompetence, think of them as information you can use to do better next time. For example, after the hundredth rejection letter aspiring romance writer Diane Cosby says she stopped counting. But she never gave up.

Instead she said she worked harder at her craft by doing more research and taking more classes and then following the advice of romance writers whom she admired. Slowly she got better.

Even then it took writing many more novels and a continuous stream of rejection letters before a New York publisher took on her eighth book, “His Captive” set in medieval Scotland.

Instead of giving up ask yourself:

  • Do I need to develop or hone a certain skill?
  • Do I need more practice or a different approach?
  • What will I do differently next time?
  • What lessons can I glean from this setback or experience?

The sooner you glean the learning value following any “failure” the better. The key is to fail forward.

Truth 3: Not taking risks may be the riskiest move of all.

People often comment on what a risk I took in leaving my well-paying corporate job. The fact of the matter is, I didn’t just up and quit.

I planned the move for over a year and I did it in stages – a process I documented in The 10 Steps to Escaping the Job World and Creating the Life You Really Want.

Besides, so much of changing course comes down to shifting your thinking about what “risk” really means. What should terrify you is…

  • Continuing to turn your back on your natural gifts… the reason your were put on the planet
  • Risking your health by staying in a toxic job…
  • Leaving a legacy that reads, “She could have helped a lot of people… but she was too afraid to try”

Truth 4: Choose what kind of failures you want to have.

In his commencement address at Macalister College, radio show host and author Garrison Keillor encouraged his audience to “have interesting failures.”

Let those words sink in for a moment. Have interesting failures.

Not only do you have a choice about how you handle failure, you also have a huge say in what kind of failures to have.

From time to time you’re going to miss the mark. So why just be a failure at parallel parking or math when you can come in third at the National Jigsaw Puzzle Championships, only write one children’s book, or get your photos into only a couple of galleries?

The fact that you never fail is proof of only one thing – you never acted. Or as Denzel Washington told another group of graduating students, “If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.”

The Choice is Yours

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

It’s one thing to quietly promise yourself that you’re going to push past your fears and finally act on those long buried dreams.

It’s quite another thing to announce to the world your intention to write a children’s book, become a motivational speaker, sell your jewelry, or whatever it is you’ve been “terrified” of doing.

And yet making a public commitment is one of the best ways to ensure that you’ll actually follow through.

Sure the naysayers are watching and waiting for any setback so they can say, “I told you so.” But if you make a point to tell the “right” people I guarantee they’ll be cheering you on.

Once these people see you taking steps, they’ll be inspired to act on their own dreams. That’s because action is contagious!

And putting your intention out to the world is a first step in creating that all important accountability.

What if right here, right now you were to commit to do something you had previously been too afraid to try? Just complete this sentence:

In the next 48-72 hours I’m going to ______________________________________

But don’t stop there.

Share your commitment with the world by publically posting it on the Changing Course blog.

Changing course is infinitely easier – and less scary – when you break it down to small manageable steps and then share that step with other change seekers.

As Margaret Bourke White said, “Action stops fear.”

Every day you get to choose settling over reaching, inaction over action, and continuing to live your life the way it is over the life you want and deserve. It really is your choice.

And every day is an opportunity to start anew… to make new choices.

Which will you choose – fear or action?

The more you know the less there is to fear.

To read Step 1 of the The 10 Steps to Escaping the Job World and Creating the Life You Really Want click here.

Note from Valerie: For a limited time you can download a recording of entire The 10 Steps to Escaping the Job World and Creating the Life You Really Want for under ten bucks. That’s less than a dollar a step. 🙂 Click here for this special offer.

In the next 72 hours, I’m going to…

What if right here, right now you were to commit to do something you had previously been too afraid to try? Just complete this sentence:

In the next 48-72 hours I’m going to ______________________________________

Post your answer below!

How to Make Money By Breaking the Rules

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.

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 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.

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.

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
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.

What are your earning and learning plans for March?

Let me know what your plans are!

 If You Must Have a J-O-B, Go for One That Makes a Difference

By Valerie Young

Let’s face it, unless you’re independently wealthy, you can’t just up and quit your day job and be running your own profitable small business immediately. That’s why I love Suzanne Evan’s suggestion that you think of your …

Surprising Year-End Tax Deductions for Dreamers

By Valerie Young
As 2010 comes to a rapid close, I suppose I should be writing an inspirational message about the New Year.

How about a little practical inspiration that can help your wallet?

Every January 1, I set aside time to reflect on my 2011 goals.

But the last week in December is when I make sure I’m taking advantage of every benefit of being self-employed I possibly can.

Benefits you may not be aware are available to you, too.

You see, in the wise words of my friend and Making a Living Without a Job author of Barbara Winter:

“The American tax system is set up to benefit the very wealthy and the self-employed.”

That may not surprise you, especially if you already have a business.

However if you haven’t started your business – no make that ESPECIALLY if you haven’t started a business – there are some important tax facts that may surprise you.

SURPRISING TAX FACT #1: You have to have already started making money to take a deduction

This first one always comes as a surprise to people who haven’t yet launched a business…

Even if you don’t earn a dime until next year – or even the next 3 years — you can still write off legitimate business expenses you had in 2010.

It’s true.

As far as the United States Internal Revenue Service 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.

SURPRISING TAX FACT #2: Home or Away – as Long as You’re Working it’s Deductible

You probably already know about deductions for things like office supplies, books, and magazine subscriptions.

However, when your investment is intended to generate a profit, you may be able to deduct other things.

If you work from home, you can deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage and utilities. Even certain home repair expenses – like a portion of the cost of the new roof I put on or, in some cases, things like landscaping or snow plowing.

It gets even better.

If you take a 7 day vacation to the Caribbean or Florida or London and while you’re there you spend a day calling on local businesses or perhaps scouting out future seminar locales, your expenses for that day should be deductible.

For the last few summers my company (that would be me!) sends me to a lake in New Hampshire for a week to write. I deduct the mileage to and from the lake and groceries to keep me happily full as I work on my laptop from the deck.

SURPRISING TAX FACT #3: Learning is tax deductible!

You may not yet know “how” to make money doing your own thing…

But did you know that your investment in LEARNING how qualifies as a legitimate business expense?

After all, what could be more proof of your intention to succeed then investing in education and training designed to launch you into your own profitable business.

Live Training and Events

If you pay for a live class or a conference in 2010 that isn’t happening until 2011 you can still deduct it now. For instance, if you want to start a business around your love for cooking, or dogs, or clowning check out:

Basic Business Skills

Maybe you already work for yourself but need to improve some more general business skills. You can deduct tuition fees for courses on:

  • Presentation skills: Communispond offers a great course that I took and later taught back when I was in corporate training days.
  • Sales training: My friend Carolyn Herfurth runs a sales bootcamp for people who hate to “sell” (next one starts next week but if you sign up today – it’s deductible this year)
  • Writing your own web site marketing copy There’s not a date set yet but you can sign up for notices about when Matthew Goldfarb is doing his weekend class again

Business Building Training

You can also deduct the full cost of any learn-from-home programs designed to help you start a business. Some of my favorites are:

Profiting From Your Passions®

Okay this part is blatant self-promotion, but just as an example, because the Profiting from Your Passion® Career Coach Training Program is a business launch program, it also qualifies as a tax deductible expense.

If the idea of getting paid to brainstorm interests you, there is another incentive to act on your dream this year.

Order by December 31st, and get up to $1,375 in savings and bonuses. This includes the opportunity to qualify for a private marketing session with me.

Deduct Travel Expenses Too

Even if the event itself is free, you can still enjoy some tax breaks. Last year I attended Entrepreneur magazine’s annual Growth Conference in Miami. This is me with keynote speaker Guerilla Marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson.

Even though the conference is free, I was still able to deduct my travel expenses.

The 2011 conference is happening January 20th in Atlanta If you go I urge you to come prepared to pitch your business to the editors. (The line is long, but it moves fast and you’ll meet really neat people!)

Just book your airfare or pre-paid hotel reservations in 2010 and you can deduct these expenses this year.

Unfortunately I can’t make it this year because I’ll be gearing up for the $99 No Travel/No Brainer Work at What You Love Virtual Workshop happening January 22-23.

I’m still working out some details but if you would like advance notification when I do, click here.

No matter how your learning occurs, the point is it’s probably tax deductible, and if you pay in 2010, you can take the deduction before you take the course.

With any of these programs, even if the course materials don’t arrive until 2011 – as long as it’s on your credit card before December 31, 2010 – and it meets the “good faith” criteria, it’s considered a legitimate business expense.


If you want to be your own boss, you need to start thinking like a self-employed person.

I hope I’ve opened your eyes to ways you can realize the 2010 benefits of the American tax system before you’re even officially self-employed.

More importantly, if losing my Mom at the too young age of 61 taught me anything, it’s to not defer something as important as your dreams.

Time is ticking folks. Please don’t let this year end without taking at least one small step in 2010 to get you closer to where you want to be in 2011.

In the wise words of Audré Lorde:

“When I care to be powerful – to use my strengths in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

You can find lots of additional information on deductible expenses and other tax matters on the Self-Employment/Small Business section of the IRS web site at

My Canadian friends can check out

If you live outside the US or Canada I encourage you to learn about possible the tax benefits for entrepreneurs in your country.

Warning Bad Bosses Could Cause a Heart Attack – Literally

The fact that you’re a Changing Course reader tells me you probably don’t need a whole lot of convincing about the benefits of being your own boss.

But even I was taken aback by the results of this study on the very real health consequences of working for a boss who is especially insensitive to your need for some semblance of work-life balance.

Here’s the link to the article that appeared in the Toronto Globe and Mail. It’s one you definitely want to share with the people you love:

If you ever needed an incentive to change course – this would be it!

To your dreams,

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence

P.S. For even more incentive to be your own boss…

Keep your eye out for a special report later this morning on “Surprising End of the Year Tax Deductions for Dreamers.” Even if you haven’t yet started a business, you may be surprised at the ways you can benefit right now.

How One Income-Generating Idea Leads to Another

Valerie Young, Dreamer in Residence,

Valerie Young

By Valerie Young

I take what you might call a more organic approach to organizing. The good thing about being “filing flexible” is that putting together this week’s list of unique ways to make a living without a job meant looking no farther than the foot high pile of newspaper and magazine clippings on my office floor.

But here’s the fascinating part. Despite grabbing a dozen clips, I only got as far as the first one. That’s because when you are an “Opportunity Analyst” like I am, one opportunity invariably leads to another. This is especially true when you start tuning into trends because they are ripe with profitable ideas. Let me show you what I mean.

At the very top of the pile was a section of The Old Farmer’s 2007 Almanac called Tastes & Trends 2007. One such trend to watch for is what are called “ethical wills.” According to an unnamed survey, to some benefactors, gifts such as morality, faith, and religion are more important than money. “Think of it as a love letter to family and friends,” says author of Healthy Aging Andrew Weil. “This makes you take stock of your life experiences and distill from it the values and wisdom that you have gained.”

The editors at the Old Farmer’s Almanac instruct us to watch for Web sites, books, and consultants to teach us how to create ethical wills. They were right. A quick Internet search led me to It was there that I found a listing by state of professionals and organizations using ethical wills.

A few more clicks and I discovered that in nearby Longmeadow, Massachusetts, attorney and personal historian Marian C. Broder of Memories Recorded has created multiple income streams around ethical wills. In addition to leading “workshops on writing ethical wills, transmitting values and telling family stories for community centers, synagogues, book clubs, libraries, support groups and individuals,” Marian also “works with individuals to craft statements that can be presented at life events and works with parents to draft documents of values and beliefs for children’s guardians to accompany estate documents.”

Then there is documentary film maker Carlyn Saltman of Carlyn lives and works in the even more nearby village of Turner’s Falls. This fascinating woman combined her training as a holistic counselor, hospice volunteer, and award-winning documentary filmmaker to help clients create ethical wills on Video, DVD, paper, or all three. As interesting as I found the idea of videotaping an individual’s ethical will, I was even more intrigued to discover that Carlyn has also tapped another huge trend – pets.

For Carlyn, producing pet videos was a natural outgrowth of videotaping people. She explains that, “pets usually get into the act in the course of filming a memoir or portrait documentary of their humans. They are family members, too, and they usually know it. Sometimes their unconditional love enriches our lives as much as our human relationships do. So it’s no wonder that beloved pets are popular subjects in their own right.” This is yet another great example of one income stream very naturally leading to another.

Then literally on the same Old Farmer’s Almanac page as the ethical will piece was a finding about cat lovers. If you happen to be a cat lover seeking to change course though, this finding equals opportunity. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, not only do five percent of cat owners hold birthday parties for their cats, cat owners also splurge more on gifts than dog or other pet owners spending on average $30 per year. Imagine offering cat or dog birthday packages in your area complete with sirloin cake, hats, pet photo sessions, and party favors!

And talk about trends! A quick hop over to the Association’s site ( led me to a much longer list of pet related trends and statistics. The information aspiring entrepreneurs will perhaps find most interesting is the 2010 Pet Products Trend Report. Now I already knew that Entrepreneur magazine had designated pet owners as one of the top 10 markets. But I had no idea that big name companies like Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks, Origins, Harley Davidson and Old Navy are now offering lines of pet products ranging from dog shampoo, pet attire, and name-brand toys to gourmet treats and food.

Another more well-known trend is for big chain hotels to promote themselves as pet-friendly. In addition to pet pillows, plush doggie robes, check-in gift packages that include a pet toy, dog treat, ID tag, bone and turn down treat, some higher end hotels even have a licensed dog masseuse on staff.

So where’s the opportunity for the pet-loving entrepreneur? My guess is that a lot of the smaller chains, independently-owned hotel and motels, and Bed & Breakfasts would like to be pet-friendly but don’t want to go to the fuss of pulling it all together. So, why not create a pet-welcome package where you provide the hotel owners with all the necessary products? Throw in a dog walking service or doggie-care package so guests can go out on the town without worrying about a barking Fido back in the room, and you’ll really distinguish yourself from the competition!

But I’m not done yet. The Opportunity Analyst in me definitely perked up when I saw that film maker Carlyn Saltman has wisely seized another opportunity – teaching what you know. Much to the displeasure of financial planners and realtors, baby boomers are avid do-it-yourselfers. So for people who have video skills and equipment and want to complete a personal history project of their own, Carlyn will set up a schedule of telephone and/or in person consultations to guide them through what she says can be a daunting undertaking. Even if you are just starting out in your business, make the addition of teaching others what you know a part of your longer range income stream plan.

Finding interesting and profitable ways to make a living doing what you love is easier than you think. All that is required is an inquisitive mind, the willingness to be open to the ways that one opportunity may lead to another, and faith to act on a good opportunity when you see one.

Changing Course… in the Bathroom???

That reminded me of a funny story I thought you may be able to relate to…

A few years ago an enterprising woman named Karen spent her Thanksgiving hiding out in her in-laws’ bathroom.

And it was all because she forgot a cardinal rule of changing course…

Never Discuss Your Dreams With People Who Have Forgotten Their Own

Two years ago Karen forgot that lesson.

Instead she made the mistake of announcing to the entire family gathering that she wanted to start her own business.

For the next 3 days, she was forced to listen to a bunch of crabby relatives insist that her business idea would never work…

Keep in mind that none of her husband’s relatives have ever actually run a business themselves.

But, when it comes to self-employment, little things like accurate information and actual experience never stopped anyone from being an all-knowing, yet totally uninformed, expert!

Karen’s Brilliant Idea for Keeping Her Dream Alive

Anyway, Karen wrote to tell me she’d come up with a “unique” strategy for getting through the next holiday weekend at the in-laws.

She downloaded some of the audios from the “Making Dreams Happen” program into her MP3 player!

That way, on the long drive to and from the relatives… and during all those football games… even when she steals away for those extra lengthy bathroom breaks she can listen to powerful reminders that her dream is realistic – and that dreams do happen.

There’s Nothing Else Like It — Anywhere

Karen plans to grab as many inspiring moments as she can (even bathroom time) listening as Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter and I enthusiastically share our unique strategies for Making Dreams Happen!

Making Dreams Happen is the ONLY audio program ever that features not one, not two, but three internationally-recognized career and life change experts…

~ Best-selling author and Oprah guest Barbara Sher best known for books like Wishcraft (over a million copies sold!), I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, and her latest book for people who love too many things — Refuse to Choose

~ Barbara Winter, best-selling author of Making a Living Without a Job and expert on multiple profit centers

~ And me, Profiting from Your Passions® Expert and author of an upcoming book on the confidence for women, Valerie Young

Because “Making Dreams Happen” is all-digital, you can download it right onto your computer… or your MP3 player… or even onto discs if you want.

That way you can listen at home… while you travel… while you exercise – even in the bathroom if you want!

Plus, my international friends will be happy to know that this fully-downloadable version eliminates those outrageous shipping costs.

You don’t have to hide out in the bathroom, but you may want to take advantage of your holiday down-time to give your dreams the attention they deserve.

And, if you act this week, you can do so at a considerable savings.

Make Your Dreams Happen – And SAVE $50!

On the hunt for bargains? Now you can use your holiday time wisely AND save money.

Between now and Monday you can get INSTANT access the complete set of Making Dreams Happen – over 20 hours of dream-enabling audios – and SAVE $50!

To learn more about Making YOUR Dreams Happen go to:

Then as you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner, give thanks that you don’t have to spend Thanksgiving hiding out in the bathroom like Karen.

Instead you get the unique opportunity to tap into the collective wisdom of three top experts, all dedicated to helping you make your dreams happen!

Happy Thanksgiving

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence

P.S. I’ve never had anyone tell me they listened to me in the bathroom! But hey, if that’s what it takes to get a little alone time with your dreams, then you gotta love the determination!

Act now. Your chance to save $50 on Making Dreams Happens ends soon. Here’s the URL again:

Please don’t let your dream slip away (offer ends today)

This really is a no brainer.

If after all this time, you’re still

  • Unsure of your CALLING… or your GIFTS
  • Trying to figure out PRACTICAL ways to turn your passions into PROFITS
  • Suffer from procrastination, FEAR, and low self-confidence
  • Need the ONGOING support of your own TEAM of enthusiastic cheerleaders…

Then it truly is a no brainer for you to seize what may very well be your ONE AND ONLY chance to:

Find your calling…

Discover ways to turn your interests into income so you can make money doing what you love…

Overcome the self-doubt and fear that keeps you stuck…

Become part of an on-going “Dream Team” to end procrastination and get moving…

PLUS get the chance to work one-on-one with an internationally recognized expert – ME 🙂  (up to a $1200 value alone)

PLUS instantly receive over $150 worth of valuable life and career shifting resources

AND SAVE $100!

But you must act TODAY.

The Changing Course No Travel “Work at What You Love” Virtual Workshop and Retreat Early Bird $100 SAVINGS ENDS TODAY November 19th.

Because of the high-interaction nature of this workshop, seats are limited.

When you watch the videos from people who’ve attended the live version of this life-changing workshop, you’ll realize why grabbing your spot – at a $100 SAVINGS truly is a “no brainer.”

Dreams take Action.  Take action and save over $1300.

I know you want to work at what you love.

I am guessing that money is tight.

I know, too, that if you’re not a big traveler, then coming to a live event by yourself can feel daunting.

So, here’s what I’d like to do…

If you watched the heartfelt videos from people who’ve attended one of my previous “Work at What You Love” workshop & retreat…

The ones where one person after another… after another… looked you in the eye and told you point blank:

“If you really want to find a way to make a living doing what you love —
then you HAVE to find a way to come to this AMAZING retreat!”

If you read the true-life success stories of people like Gail, Serena, Judy, Ashley, and others who literally in a matter of MONTHS, have made incredible progress on their dreams — with several actually quitting their j-o-b-s…

And you’re STILL on the fence about attending the upcoming “Work at What You Love” Workshop & Retreat because of money or worries about traveling on your own…

I have some really good new!

I’ve come up with a way to help you realize your dream of working at what you love… have more fun doing it.. and SAVE OVER $1,300.

In few weeks, an intentionally very small group of people (no more than eight) will gather in my living room in the hills of western Massachusetts.

And I want you to be one of them.

The people who have already signed up know how vitally necessary it is to really slow down and tune into their dreams in a deeply intimate way.

But mostly they come seeking the answer to the essential question they — and YOU – have been asking forever…

“How can I do work that I love AND make money?”

Whether you want to totally replace your mind-numbing job. Or just find a creative way to bring in an extra three or four figures a month on the side…

Either way, like I said, I’d like to extend a unique opportunity for you and a friend to attend the November 12-14, 2010 workshop at an enormous savings.

Normally the 3-day workshop including materials, most meals, and a private, pre-workshop coaching session with me (which alone can run as high as $1200) — is $1497.

But when you sign up for the “Work at What You Love” workshop & retreat — you can bring…

…a friend
…your spouse or partner
…a buddy from work
…your mom
…your brother
…your cousin
…your postal carrier
…the server at Starbucks…

WHOEVER you want for only $197 extra.

If you both paid separately, the two workshop seats would cost just under $3,000. But when you sign up together, your companion can attend the retreat for only $197 more.

That’s an automatic total savings of $1,300!

Assuming you split the savings, you and your companion are attending the entire retreat for only $847 each.

When you consider that I charge close to that for a few hours of personal coaching, I think you’re agree this is a remarkable offer.

Plus, since you’re sharing hotel and other travel expenses, your total savings is actually much higher.

I hope this offer to save you over $1,300 — and give you an excuse to share your journey with a friend or loved one gets you off the fence and onto the road to right livelihood.

Register here now:

As Margaret Bourke White once wrote, “Action stops fear.”

So call your friend and tell them you’ve found a way you can BOTH work at what you love!

To your dreams,

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence

P.S. There are so few times in our life when a decision really can make the difference between living life as it is… or as you wish it to be. This is one of those times.

To learn more about how you and a friend can be among the only 8 people to attend the live November 12-14, 2010 “Work at What You Love” workshop & retreat and SAVE over $1300 visit:

P.P.S. I am very sincere when I say, if I can help you brainstorm other creative ways for you to attend “Work at What You Love,” please don’t hesitate to reach out.

“Work at What You Love” Workshop & Retreat

November 5-7, 2010* Montague, Massachusetts

(For Maximum Benefit & Attention This Event is Limited 8 People Only)

If the idea of loving what you do appeals to you, make a promise to yourself right now to take the first bold step on behalf of your dreams. Join me at my home in November where you and a very small group of fellow dream seekers will…

  • Discover the powerful secrets to turning almost any passion into a money-making small business
  • Receive personalized coaching from an acclaimed expert to help you to define your true calling… overcome obstacles… so you can begin to take the leap from having a boss to being your own boss…
  • Walk away with your own step-by-step plan to make your dream of working at what you love a reality — and the support to follow through…

Give Yourself The Time And Space You Need To Tune Out The “Noise” Of Your World As It Is And Tune Into Your Wildest Dreams…

Come as you are… leave with your dream — and a plan in hand. I could go on and on about this amazing event. Instead, I’ll let the a few of the people who were there tell you what they thought…

Only 6 Spots Left!

If Past Retreats Are Any Indication, This Event Will SELL OUT To hear from more change seekers and to learn about how this highly personalized workshop/retreat can help you profit from your passion and achieve your goal of a richer, more rewarding life CLICK HERE NOW.

George Eliot wrote, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” Isn’t it time you finally made the commitment to discover the work you were meant to do? November 12-14th Montague, MA Click Here to Learn More

* Love to Attend But Can’t Travel? Register for the Virtual Work at What You Love Workshop

December 3-5, 2010

Since I began offering these retreats in my home last year, I’ve heard from hundreds of people who would LOVE to be there. Unfortunately because of work, family, health, and/or funds they simply can’t get to a live event. I don’t want anyone left out of what truly is a transformative experience. When you watch the video and read the true success stories from the “In the Garden” section here — you’ll see for yourself! So I’ve put together a highly convenient and affordable “virtual” workshop! Click here to learn more. When you attend the Virtual Work at What You Love workshop you’ll still get the full benefit of being coached personally by me on interesting ways you can turn the things you love to do into income (this portion of the program alone represents up to a $1500 value). Plus, you also still gain all of the support, encouragement, and input that comes from working pursing your dream with a small group of determined change seekers… people who often see your gifts before you do! Spaces are still limited. Learn more here

Inspiring Stories of Working @ What You Love & Gentle Reminder

I love my “job”!

I just hung up the phone from talking with Gail Ruth, one of the eight people who attended my very first “Work at What You Love” Workshop & Retreat in February.

The fact that Gail traveled …

3 No Cost Ways to Beat the “I Hate Monday” Blues

There are so many small steps you can take to change course. Here are three FREE things happening THIS WEEK.

If you even do one I guarantee you will be farther along the path to loving Monday… and every day!

1) Rub Virtual Shoulders With Movers and Shakers

Quick: What do Billie Jean King, Warren Buffet, President Obama, Marlo Thomas, Hillary Clinton, Olympia Snow, Geena Davis and over 30 other “movers and shakers” have in common?

They’re all part of a star studded Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit happening this week in DC. The event is officially closed, but you can watch the LIVE streamed video of the entire streamed FREE Oct 5-6, 2010

Learn more at

2) “Where Money Meets Meaning”

That’s the tag line of the sold out social entrepreneur convention called Social Capital Markets Convention happening October 4-6, 2010 in San Francisco.

If you love the idea of using business to change the world, you can be a part of this amazing event via LIVE streaming video — again, for FREE!

Many of the discussions may be at a higher level than you are currently thinking — but how fun to be a fly on the wall so you can begin to expand your own vision of how your future business could make a difference!

Learn more at

3) International Happiness at Work Telesummit

I am so honored to join 12 internationally renowned speakers from the UK, Europe, Australia, Singapore, and India all sharing their secrets and scientific research on how to be happy at work.

Not only can you gain valuable insight on happiness at work but this is an amazing opportunity to learn from these authors, coaches, trainers and business owners across cultures. And because I’m participating in this Telesummit, you can attend as my special “VIP” guest at no charge.

Even if you can only do one of these events, just taking action — any action — sends a powerful message to the brain that says I am ready to start living my dream of changing course!

Learn more here:

Bonus Resource

This one is not free but it is an amazing resource at a very reasonable price. Plus, I can use my connections to save you even more.

You see Barbara Winter my friend and author of one of my all-time favorite books, Making a Living Without a Job, is part of a live seminar called “Joyfully Jobless Jamboree” happening in Austin, Texas on October 15-16th. 2010

To learn more about Barbara and the impressive line up of speakers go to

Not only will you be well on the way to saying “I am the boss of me,” but you can SAVE $50. Just enter this discount code to claim your savings: BOSSOFME (all caps/all one word)

If you get to the Jamboree look for the “Idea Detectives” booth where you can get a free mini-brainstorming session from a certified Profiting From Your Passions coach!

Okay I just gave you 3+ ways to say goodbye to the “I hate Monday” blues and hello to My New Life! Now you need to take action.

To your dreams,

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence

Want to Change Course? Be Curious

By Valerie Young

View From the Other Side

This week I want to talk to you about how curiosity is central to the process of changing course. But, for any of you who are curious about what’s happening here…

In August, I learned I’m a 4-out-of-5 match to be a bone marrow donor to a 61-year-old. I feel blessed for the chance to help someone in this way. Ironically, he’s the same age as my mom when she passed. There are a lot of hoops still to jump through before the actual procedure. I should know more in a few weeks but assuming all goes well, I’ll head to Mass General Hospital sometime in the next 4-6 weeks.

On a far more minor health note, the poison ivy on my hands finally cleared up. Note to self: No more weeding.

Earlier this month I led a workshop for over 100 students from Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University in Nashville on overcoming the Impostor Syndrome. I loved helping these bright, soon-to-be medical professionals to feel as competent as everyone else knows they are. This Friday I’ll do the same for grad students and faculty at Michigan State.

Speaking of workshops — I wasn’t sure my speaking and writing schedule would permit me to offer another Work at What You Love workshop & retreat this year. But, after going back to watch the videos from the June workshop, I knew I had to. So I did a bit of shuffling so I can again welcome eight career seekers into my home in November. (If you’d like to come, see Featured Resource below for details).

The other big news is — drum roll please — I submitted to Crown Publishing/Random House what I *hope* is the final version of my book — working title The Confidence Project. Woo Hoo! As happy as I was to have met this monumental goal, I won’t breathe easy until I hear what my new editor thinks.

I say “new” editor because as some of you may recall, I handed in what I thought was the final version of this same book exactly one year ago… only to arrive in New York and learn my then editor — the same editor who helped make Tim Ferris’s The Four Hour Work Week and other books mega-best-sellers — was leaving the publishing world for television.

As disappointed as I was, you just have to roll with these things. My new editor had a different vision for the book. So three revised outlines later, and a lot of editing, and we’re now looking at a September 2011 pub date! Lesson re-relearned: Things always take longer than you think!

Speaking of lessons…

Learning is All Just a Day at the Fair!

William Arthur Ward once said, “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” Little wonder then that the most successful people are also the most curious.

This week I’ll make my annual pilgrimage to The Big E. For those who haven’t been, The Big E is an enormous multi-state fair encompassing all six New England states that happens every September in nearby West Springfield, Massachusetts.

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

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

Crafts demonstration at Storrowtown Village

Thanks to the Avenue of States I can “visit” all six New England states in about 90 minutes. Each state has its own building with tourism exhibits, local vendors, and my favorite — food!

Annual staples are the clam fritters in the Rhode Island building, lobster rolls and baked potatoes in the Maine building, and apple pie with cheese in the Vermont building. Of these, which do you think consistently has a line of eager customers wrapped around the building? I’ll reveal the answer at the end of this article.

Mostly I’ll be doing what I love most — being deeply curious. In my case, that means learning as much as I can from the interesting entrepreneurs and other characters working the fair.

Before I come back with even more stories, I thought it would be fun to revisit some of the people I met last year as well as the valuable lessons you can learn simply by being curious!

Don’t Be Sheepish

Tom Colyer of
Greenwood Hill Farms

Last year I spent a lot of time chatting with retired Navy Captain turned merino sheep rancher Tom Colyer of Greenwood Hill Farm in Hubbardston, Massachusetts. Being curious led me to discover that…

  • A whopping 80 percent of the lamb that is sold (and therefore eaten) in the United States happens to come from Washington, DC north to New England. To me that signaled an opportunity for someone to creatively work with the various state sheep councils to encourage chefs in other parts of the country to put lamb on the menu.
  • You can dye wool with Kool-Aid (you can get a free guide “how-to” guide at the Greenwood Hill Farm site).
  • It’s a lot more profitable for people who raise sheep to spin and sell their own yarn than to sell the wool in bulk.
  • There’s a big demand for sheep shearers to service smaller farm operations. Time magazine even did an article on the effort to train more shearers. And, according to Tom, some of the best shearers are women.

Lesson: It is amazing what you can find out if you just talk to people. Based on what you read, what are you curious to know more about?

The “Crazy Tomato Lady”

Marybeth Draghi the “Crazy Tomato Lady”

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

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

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

Lesson: Speak up. Ask questions. Talk to people about what you do… or hope to do. The door to opportunity opens when you open your mouth. What would you be curious to ask Marybeth?

Cleaning Up in the Soap Business

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

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

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

Lesson: When you think about marketing your product or service, do a cost-benefit analysis. If your marketing investment is $1,000 but you have the chance to make $2,000, then you’re ahead of the game. What about working the fair circuit are you curious to know?

Doggedly Pursuing a Passion

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

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

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

Finding the Unexpected

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

According to his business card, Kirk is a “Middle Class Advocate, Social Systems Analyst, and Rabble Rousing Bard.” He’s also the “token middle-aged guy” in a rock band that plays at local colleges and a very active blogger.

Seeing his book reminded me that the previous year I bought a book written by a woman who’d traced the history of her Native American grandmother. She was selling it from a card table in the alley way between two state buildings.

Lesson: It pays to show up in surprising places. For example, you could offer piano lessons at the farmer’s market or negotiate with a local clothing or paint store to conduct a puppy training demonstration at a well-blocked-off section of their parking lot. Just like the internet — marketing and sales is all about traffic!

Okay did you guess what is, hands-down the most popular food item at all six state buildings? It’s the lowly — but loaded — baked potato. When you consider how little potatoes cost, it would be interesting to see how a baked potato vendor truck would do! Something that seems quite popular in the UK and New Zealand!

Can You Really Fire Your Boss in 90 Days or Less?

Before I answer the question, “Can you really fire your boss in 90 days or less?” I need *you* to answer a question for me:

QUESTION: Do you work in a high stress job you don’t enjoy… or for a …

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

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 …

Do You ALWAYS Have to Love What You Do?

I realize that coming from me what I am about to say will sound like heresy. After all, for 15 years I’ve built my reputation on being all about working at what you “love.” Turning your “interests” into income. Finding your “calling.” Profiting from your “passion.”

But what if you just want (or really, really need) to make money NOW?

…Or what if you’re actively building your dream business but the money just isn’t coming in fast enough?

…Or what if THE most important thing right now is to get the heck out of a toxic work environment?

….Or what if you are desperate to find a way to spend more time with your kids before they’re old enough to start changing <ul>your</ul> diapers?

Well, then you have a decision to make don’t you?

You can wait until… divine inspiration hits you over the head …or your current passion-driven enterprise generates the money you need to quit your job …or you win the lottery …or you suddenly get a huge inheritance.

OR you can find the business equivalent of what Barbara Sher calls the “good enough job.”

In other words, loving what you do is but one path to self-employment and/or money.

The Good Enough Business

After I quit my corporate I still had bills to pay like everyone else. So I spent many years working for my former employer as a freelance workshop leader while building Changing Course on the side.

Did I love traveling around the country standing on my feet all day delivering time management workshops to corporate audiences, a good portion of whom were what we refer to in the training business as seminar “hostages?” Nope.

I kept this “good enough income stream” because I needed to a) pay my mortgage and b) fund my business. I could have gotten a job-job. But then I would have been really miserable.

Instead I opted to do something that was not my first love so I could realize two out of three of my goals: 1) Working for myself and 2) working from home. Sacrificing my third goal, which was of course to working at something I love, was a temporarily strategy. It was what allowed me to build Changing Course — which I *do* love — and ultimately do that full time.

As much as I am in the profiting from your passion business, I realize there are either situations or in some cases, personality types for whom “loving” your work is secondary. People for whom making a lot of money or working from home trumps passion.

And that’s okay.

The message that not everything you do to earn money has to be your first love is especially important for women for whom the passion part tends to overshadow the financial part. There are men who fit this category too. But generally speaking men’s self-esteem is more driven by how much they earn.

Which is why you’ll find lot more men opening Subway franchises or diving into internet businesses that are purely about making money. For them the passion IS making money. The business is a means to an end. With the end being the ability to control one’s time and life… in other words, to be your own boss.

Three Examples

Gelato Shop Owner

A few days ago ABC News did a story about career changers from around the world traipsing to Italy to learn how to start a gelato business. There were a number of Americans in the group including a 74 year old, which was pretty cool (pun intended). (You can watch the video here

Business is booming for Gelato University Carpigiani in Bologna which offers both on-site and online courses on how to make the Italian ice cream gelato. The equipment alone costs $70,000 which makes me think that for some, owning a gelato shop is not as much a labor of love but a way to money providing a product that their future customers love.

That’s not to say that making ice cream can’t be fun. And it’s definitely more romantic than making Big Macs. But in reality it’s probably not substantially more fun than making submarine sandwiches or burgers. And like any restaurant or food vending business it comes with its share of challenges.

Affiliate Marketer

While women especially are sitting around trying to come up with the perfect passion-driven product, there are plenty of guys (and I do mean guys) who are making a killing selling other people’s products via sites like

It’s called affiliate marketing. Basically it means you promote someone else’s product. When someone buys, you earn an affiliate commission. I earn about between $20,000-$30,000 a year as an affiliate.

This is peanuts to those who are known as “super affiliates.” Basically they spend their days at their computer earning thousands of dollars a day driving traffic via affiliate links. Personally I would be bored out of my mind.

Another difference is I carefully vet all of my affiliates and in most cases know the person behind the product personally. Super affiliates are interested in selling which ever product earns the biggest commissions.

But I don’t want to be a passion snob. Even though its not my “thing” I know there are plenty of people who based on the earnings potential alone would be all over this.

Will you make wads of money? I have no idea. I have no personal experience as a super affiliate so all I can do is tell you what I’ve seen other people do — including two 30-something guys who are in the Maverick Business Adventures group with me who are now in the millionaire club as well.

Another is a young Indian-American named Anik Singal who I met maybe six years ago when I was speaking at an American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI) copywriting bootcamp in Del Ray Beach, Florida. At the time Anik was still in college majoring in engineering. Being an engineer was what Anik’s immigrant dad wanted him to be. But Anik wanted to become a successful entrepreneur. Happily Anik won.

I’m not sure if Anik ever did try his hand at freelance copywriting. I do know he used what he learned about persuasive writing to successfully sell an eBook he created to teach other students ace exams with minimal effort. (Like they say, “teach what you know!”)

With that success Anik moved into learning about and then teaching about affiliate marketing. Soon he was the undisputed king of affiliate marketing training. At one point his company was training internal affiliate managers for major corporations.

Anik wrote me last week to say that he and his business partner Saj (who I do not know) are selling some kind of system for making money via Clickbank. Like I said, this is not my thing, so I have not tried it and as such can’t vouch for it. What I can vouch for Anik and the fact that he is a very well-known and respected person in the internet marketing world.

If you can get past this not being your passion, it may be something you — or perhaps someone else in your family considers. For example, I can totally see my two nephews doing it.

The thing is Anik and Saj are only offering their Clickbank affiliate marketing program today and tomorrow (July 5-6). I just sent the link to my nephew. If you are curious, you can check it out at

And speaking of the American Writers and Artists Institute…

Freelance Copywriter

Last week I invited AWAI Executive Director and long-time friend Katie Yeakle to host a teleseminar to talk about the field of copywriting. Joining us on the call was college administrator turned freelance copywriter Mindy Tyson McHorse from New Mexico.

If you were on the call, you learned among other things that copywriters are the people who write the direct mail letters you receive in your home mail box, fundraising letters, web site copy selling a product or service or any kind of writing intended to persuade the reader to take action — buy, donate, subscribe, etc.

You also learned that anyone who can write a simple letter can learn the basic formula of copywriting. In my experience most copywriters make about $50,000-$60,000 a year. Some, who work hard at their craft, can get to the six figure mark. Mindy is in her second year and rapidly approaching these earnings.

I have personally used AWAI trained copywriters six or seven times and typically paying in the $2,000-$3,000 range for a sales page (a good example being

I never got around to asking Mindy if she “loved” writing marketing copy. It’s safe to assume that for more people this kind of work is first and foremost a “life style” business — AKA the good enough business. Meaning, the vast majority of people who do copywriting do not have a burning passion to write marketing copy. Rather they are drawn to the flexibility that freelance copywriting affords. Given that Mindy was a new mom when she started down this path I assume that was the main draw for her as well.

If you missed the call and want to listen in here is the link to the recording:

FYI after the call Katie threw in an additional bonus called Getting Your First Client (a $99 value). That offer ends this Wednesday, July 7th.

Finally, you may wonder if this is a “scam.” If you don’t feel confident in my opinion then it may help to know that a vice president of marketing for a respected company like Nightingale-Conant would not agree to a) hire AWAI graduates to write copy for them or b) to address their annual training event if it were a scam. I know because I was there and invited her to lunch later that day.

There are no guarantees that you or anyone else will make money at this or anything. Whether it’s copywriting or affiliate marketing or gelato making success all comes down to effort. What I can guarantee is that AWAI has been in business for 13 years and is in no way shape or form a “scam,” there really is a need for copywriters, and that once established you can make good money writing marketing copy.

Unlike gelato making, there is also a money back guarantee so there really is nothing to lose.

Bottom line: If your number one goal is to make money doing what you love — and nothing short of that will do — then stay the course. But if you are open to other ways of generating income that may not be your first love, but allows you to be your own boss, then the good enough business may be something to consider.

What NOT to do!

Jeff Walker & Valerie at a Product Launch Formula Workshop

Last week I sent you a super short email inviting you to watch a video. After I sent it, I realized I should have explained exactly *why* I am so jazzed about both the content of the video AND the guy behind it.

Simply said, if you are really serious about wanting to look in the mirror and see the boss, then you must meet marketing guru (and I’m happy to say my friend) Jeff Walker.

Jeff not only introduced me to marketing techniques that have – and I am NOT exaggerating here – literally *doubled* my income, he also happens to be one of the friendliest and most down to earth guys you’ll ever meet.

In the online world, Jeff Walker is famous for being the master mind behind the big internet marketing guys regularly making more money in a week than most people see in their entire lives. But you don’t need to be a Tony Robbins to benefit from Jeff’s stuff.

Because Jeff is one of the few big internet marketing “gurus” I know who *genuinely* cares about the “little guy.”

Over the years, Jeff has shown hundreds of regular people how to launch small businesses in such diverse niches as health food, knitting, horse training… even business coaching in Poland. I’ve met dozens myself. And the overwhelming majority started out with no previous marketing experience… and I do mean NONE.

There’s something else Jeff is known for — and that’s packing his videos with solid training without a lot a fluff or hype. For example in the new video that just went up today Jeff exposes some huge marketing blunders by people everyone “assumes” have it all together…

But this is not all about the big marketers… in the second half of the video, Jeff profiles how someone who did incredibly well started from scratch — and I do mean from SCRATCH!

Go watch Jeff’s video now:

You don’t need to enter your email address to watch the video. It’s free to watch.

But you DO NEED to sign up to get the behind the scenes case studies based on true stories of highly successful people.

I encourage you to pay attention to how you can put these simple but incredibly powerful strategies to work in your current — or future — business, including what to AVOID when launching your business or product, no matter what your niche is.

Here is the link again:

To your dreams,

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Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence

P.S. If you want to be an entrepreneur yourself, then you *must* start learning from them. I know Jeff Walker, I know his program, and I see the results everyday in my own business and life. I can’t recommend him or his videos highly enough.

If you like what you see, than make sure you sign up to watch the entire video series before they take them down:

Click here now

7 Secrets to Getting UNSTUCK Fast: Lessons from Fellow Travelers on the Road to Right Livelihood

Valerie Young

By Valerie Young

We all know what it’s like to desperately want to make a change and at the same time be hopelessly stuck. Getting stuck is easy. Fortunately, getting unstuck is a lot easier than you think as well.

And I’m not just going to tell you how – I’m going to “show” you. Well, actually four of your fellow change seekers are going to show you.

You see, I finally got around to downloading some client testimonials. What I realized is that while each of the people you are about to meet went on camera to share their experience from my March Work at What You Love workshop – in fact each, in their own way, offered a tiny clue about how to get unstuck.

For starters, all Alison Talbert knew when she arrived on my doorstep was that she’d had enough.

Enough confusion… Enough waiting and hoping that her dream job would simply materialize before her eyes… Enough settling when what she really wanted to do was to soar – which leads me to secret #1.

Getting Unstuck Secret #1:
Turn the Thing You Love To Do Into Your Livelihood

After two years of being stuck in indecision, Alison saw her chance to get unstuck and she took it. She can tell you herself what moved her to get on a plane to spend three days brainstorming interesting ways she could work at what she loves.

As importantly, I want you to hear how out of confusion comes great clarity. Alison has an exciting plan to run women’s relaxation and renewal retreats to Ecuador. How does breathtaking scenery, a bit of spiritual wisdom from a local shaman, and all the $20 therapeutic massages you want sound?

There’s more to Alison’s story that can help you get unstuck, but let’s look first at another common sticking point.

Getting Unstuck Secret #2:
You Don’t Have to Do Pick Just One Thing

Lynn Cassidy’s school and work history reads like this: Two years doing intensive right brain work followed by a few years doing left brain work. It goes on like this for years.

If you are what Barbara Sher calls a “scanner,” then you may be stuck thinking you have to pick one thing. Nonsense. Like Lynn, you can learn how to take your dilemma and turn it into a business.

What do you see as your “problem?” Are you in the midst of a painful divorce? Have you trained for a career only to realize it’s not what you want to do? Whatever it is, I bet there is a way you can, as Suzanne Evan’s says, “make your mess your message.” Find a way to get paid to help others with the same challenge.

Getting Unstuck Secret #3
Get — and Give — Support

It’s true, misery does love company. Fortunately for you, dreams absolutely thrive on the company of enthusiastic supporters.

For one, dreams are contagious. When you hear about someone else’s dream, you can’t help but cheer them on. You remind them of how smart they are, how talented they are, how perfectly suited they are for their dream. And they believe you!

There’s another reason why it’s important for you to be a part of any small gathering of change seekers. Other people often see your gifts before you do. Where you see only obstacles, others see opportunity. Their belief in you is so unshakable that you can’t help but start believing in yourself.

There’s another benefit, too. When you are in the company of other people who are pursuing their heart’s desire it makes you more confident in your ability to go after your own. Suddenly you realize, “I really can do this!”

That’s why I intentionally keep my workshop/retreat small. It’s amazing how close you can get to people in such a short period of time. And the weekend is just the beginning. All of the people featured here are now engaged in weekly brainstorming and accountability sessions with their fellow participants. That way, they are sure to get the kind of ongoing support they (and you) need to nudge a dream along to action.

If you don’t have an accountability partner – get one. Meet once a week in person or by phone. You will be amazed how fast you get unstuck simply by getting and giving support.

Getting Unstuck Secret #4:
Stop Saying “I Don’t Know How”

We all walk around with these falsehoods in our minds: I don’t know enough. I don’t know how. No one would pay me to do that.

This kind of faulty thinking almost derailed Alison’s dream. You can get away with telling yourself you “don’t know enough” in the privacy of your own home. But that’s not going to fly in a room full of cheerleaders. In this case, a group who happened to know that Alison had made eight trips to Ecuador including once to attend an intensive import-export class and, in a previous life, had been a travel agent.

Frankly, if Alison had made only read trip, just read a book on import-export, and had zero travel industry experience, I’d still say she was qualified. Why? Because you don’t need to know everything before you begin. You just need to be resourceful enough to figure out what you don’t know and be willing to learn as you go.

Getting Unstuck Lesson #5:
Focus on the Parts You DO Know

Maybe you, too, have been stuck in a perpetual state of confusion and indecision. You don’t know what your passion is, you don’t know how to monetize it, you don’t know how to find the money or the time or the courage to change course. All these things may be true.

But what if you spent your energy focusing how much you already DO know? For instance you know…

…you want to experience the joy of doing work you truly love…

…you want to enjoy far more control over your time and your life…

…you want to do work that matters somehow…

Okay, so now what do you need to do to get more clarity? Is it read a book? Listen to an audio? Talk to someone who is doing work that intrigues you? Taking action on the things you do know will not only get you unstuck a lot faster than wallowing in what you don’t know, but action is the only thing that will give you the answers.

Get Unstuck Lesson #6:
Do What You Can – But Do SOMETHING

Before I try to convince you to grab one of the extremely limited spots in what I can honestly say is a life-changing workshop, I need to say something: I really do get that not everyone can travel to attend a live event. Maybe money is tight or there’s no one to watch the kids.

If you really can’t join me, then I totally understand. I also feel good knowing how much totally free information and advice I’ve made available to you right at to say nothing of the 228 free newsletters I’ve put out over the years.

If you can’t afford to attend this particular workshop, then promise me you will do something – ANYTHING – to honor your dream of changing course. If I can’t convince you that taking action feels great, then maybe Ashley Hain’s enthusiasm will…

Getting Unstuck Lesson #7:
Understand That Sacrifice is Not a Dirty Word

I also know that there are plenty of people who really can afford to come to this or other workshops but because they are “stuck” they do nothing. Then there are others, like Jill Scott who “think” they can’t afford to make a change:

The point is anything worth having involves a certain amount of sacrifice. No time to work on your business idea? Make the sacrifice of missing your favorite TV show once in a while. Take money you would have spent at Starbucks or a manicure and stash it away in a dream fund instead.

If you aren’t willing to give anything up in the present to get something better in the future, then you really don’t want it badly enough.

Stop Being a Spectator Of Other People’s Dreams

If you really want to get unstuck, then you have to stop watching others realize their dreams and take action on your own. You know what I’m talking about…

You follow all the gurus, but you never take their advice. You read all the books, but you skip the exercises. You watch all the cooking or gardening or travel or antiquing shows… but always as an observer.

I’ve recently spoken to three different people who have been on this journey with me for the entire 15 years Changing Course has been in business! That amazes me. It also makes me incredibly sad because while they love watching my dreams unfold – they have done relatively little to launch their own.

If any of this rings a bell, then with great love and compassion I have to tell you this: If you could have done it on your own, then you would have done it by now. So let me help you.

On June 25, 26, and 27th I will be conducting what may very well be my last Work at What You Love Workshop & Retreat here at my home in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. Even I do something like this again, it will definitely be the last one I do at this price. And I want you to be there.

Obviously, I know not all 23,000 of my readers can’t come. In fact, because the workshop portion is being held right in my home I can only accommodate around eight people. That way you get plenty of attention from me – and the chance to really connect with one another.

The Early Bird Registration price for the last Work at What You Love Workshop & Retreat ends on Tuesday May 31st – and with it, your chance to SAVE $500.

What I am charging for these 3 days is actually less than what my hourly rate is about to go to. Plus, your registration includes most meals, $159 worth of change enhancing resources, and a one-hour “Profiting From Your Passions” discovery and brainstorming session with me prior to ever arriving at the Work at What You Love Workshop & Retreat. Like Jill said, you can’t afford not to come.

Listen, I know what it’s like to be stuck. I’ve not only been there, but at times, I still get stuck myself. The difference is I know the secrets to getting unstuck. And now you do too. You’ll find all the details at

P.S. I realize you may not be 100 percent certain if this workshop/retreat is right for you. So here’s what I’m willing to do. Book editing wise, this is total crunch time for me. Which means I plan to be here working for the better part of Sunday and Monday.

If you email me at to let me know you want to talk on either day, or anytime next week, assuming there are still spaces, then I will hold the early bird price for you until we talk.

It’s obviously important to me to have the right mix of people at the workshop. If I don’t think it’s the right workshop – or the right time for you – I will definitely tell you.

Even Cokie had a good time as you’ll see in this fun clip…

Are Women Entrepreneurs Different From Men?

By Valerie Young

I’ve been an entrepreneur on and off for the last 25 years and worked with women entrepreneurs for some 15 years now. So I was not the least bit surprised by the findings of a recent Kauffman …

What Do Paula Abdul, Gary Vaynerchuk, Richard Branson, and Baby Bull Named Boris Have in Common?

My Year in Pictures and What It Taught Me That Can Help You Too

By Valerie Young

I talked to a friend recently who, despite starting out the year with the best of intentions, feels really discouraged about how little …

Pocket “Spare Time” Income Doing Something You Love

Love to Travel? Love to Eat? Love to Play with Your Dog?

Whatever you love, you can turn photos of it into cash (in your spare time)—and get paid to do something you’d gladly do for free.

Listen in on a special call on April 1, 2010 as three professional photographers talk about how they do it… and how you can get started, too… no experience necessary.

Details here:

Can You Really Start a Business in a Weekend? Lessons From a Master of the Quick Launch

By Valerie Young

Is it really possible to come up with a great idea on a Saturday, be in business by Monday and grow sales to the $1 million mark in a year? It is if you’re willing to ditch …

Barbara Sher was absolutely right

“When you get near people who are pursuing their heart’s desire,” says Barbara Sher, “you can see the intensity on their face. Life is just too short to live without that kind of focus.”

Powerful words.

Yet, reading them is one thing. Actually SEEING THEM IN ACTION is quite another.

I invite you to experience — if only for a few short moments — what it really feels like to be in the company of people who are deep in the throes of pursuing their heart’s desire…

Lisa and I had a ball putting this video together. And it was even more fun to actually be there.

Listen, there are no right steps or wrong steps. No right pace or wrong pace. But if you want to love what you do, then you do have to do something.

If you learn nothing else it is that there can be no change without changes. In the words of Confucius: “Keep moving. Slower or faster does not matter as long as you do not stop.”

Life is short. Why put the life you really want on hold one more day when you can take that first important step in the service of your dreams?

To your dreams,

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence

Profiting from Your Passions

George Eliot wrote, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” Isn’t it time you finally made the commitment to discover the work you were meant to do?

Join Me and a Very Small Group of Change Seekers in

“Profiting from Your Passions”

(An intimate gathering of only 6-8 participants)

A Life Changing Workshop and Retreat for
People Who Don’t Know What They
Want to “Be” When They Grow Up…
But Can’t Wait to Find Out!

March 26-28th, 2010*
Montague, Massachusetts

  • Tap your wildest dreams… and create a step-by-step plan to make them happen right now
  • Discover the powerful secret to turning almost any passion into a money-making small business
  • Work with an acclaimed expert to define your true calling… overcome the obstacles… and begin to take the leap to a more meaningful, balanced life…

(Only 5 spots left)Save $500 Before February 25th

If the idea of loving what you do appeals to you, the way I see it… here are your options: You can keep plodding along week after week hoping that inspiration will somehow, someway suddenly strike and – in a flash – your true calling will be revealed.

Or, you can make a promise to yourself right here, right now to take the first bold step on behalf of your dreams. In other words, you make it your business to discover what it is you truly want to do.

If you chose the latter, then I’d like to help…

Personalized Help in An Intimate Setting

Normally I work with people on a one-to-one basis in 90 minute laser brainstorming sessions. I call them “laser” sessions because I have a laser-like focus on my client and how they can take one or more of the things they love to do and turn it into a income-generating small business.

But, over three days in February and March I’m bringing a very small group of people together for the first ever Profiting from Your Passions Workshop and Retreat.

One reason I am intentionally keeping the group small is so that you get to experience a personalized laser brainstorming session with me. This is where I take my 15 years of experience helping people from as far away as India and Ireland to profit from their passions and apply all that know-how directly to you and your specific gifts and interests.

You’ll come away with an attainable vision for your new life, a do-able plan for making your dreams happen, and the confidence you need to take the leap.
Whether you dream of starting your own import-export business… writing a best-selling novel… owning a dude ranch… working with kids… living in the south of France… whatever your passion… deep inside you know what you really love to do, the life you dream of having…

And this March 26-28, 2010 at the Profiting from Your Passion workshop and retreat in Montague, Massachusetts, you’ll learn how to harness that vision… and build a life around it that not only provides you a living… but feeds your spirit, too.

The Ideal Place to Start Simplifying and Slowing Down

As important as “what” will happen at this unique workshop and retreat, is “where” it will be happening.

Rather than sit in some windowless and utterly uninspiring hotel meeting room, you will explore your inner calling while you relax in my living room with a cup of tea, enjoy the view, and converse with a very small group of like-minded souls.

I’ll be hosting this event at my uniquely designed “Greek-style” home here in Montague, Massachusetts. Montague is at the foothills of the Berkshires in what’s known as the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. Just 90 minutes from Boston and three hours from New York. And about an hour north of the Hartford, CT airport. There are several excellent B&Bs nearby and a moderately priced hotel all within 10 miles.

My Daily Walking Road

Though close to civilization (and some fabulous restaurants), it feels a world apart. I’m certain you’ll find it one of the most memorable places you’ll ever have the pleasure of enjoying.

The landscape exudes calm and quiet and can’t help but remind you of an era when the world was simpler…and life was slower.

It’s the ideal setting for a workshop and retreat meant to focus, in part, on just those things… simplifying, slowing down, balancing life…

Perch yourself where you have a view, and drink in the palpable sense of possibility.

Quite frankly, it would be impossible for you to gather on your own, in just a few short days, the wealth of knowledge, the excellent contacts, and the high-energy momentum for change that you’ll gain at this workshop and retreat. As I write this, three of the spots are gone, leaving only five left. If you’re ready to finally give your dreams the attention they deserve, please don’t miss this opportunity.

SAVE $500 — Early Bird Ends THURSDAY, February 25th

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

Early Bird Savings Ends Today

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

“I love what I do and do what I love.”

These are the very words a wonderfully gifted artist named Louise Minks uses to describe her life.

Can you say the same thing about what you do? Take a moment now to think about exactly how you would describe your life as it is today.

Now read how Louise describes her life…

“When I am not visiting with customers or painting at my gallery and working studio in a restored 1834 mill, I am off to my favorite painting locations, usually in New England and not far from home.

Sometimes I’m lucky enough to bunk with friends so I can paint in Kenya or travel with a daughter in Guatemala, returning to work on a series about the rainforest. Other painters join me to paint in the Southwest or Vermont or Martha’s Vineyard. In the winter, I’m likely to explore new painting ideas or old favorites like junk cars and trucks.”

Sounds like heaven doesn’t it? When you see the photos of Louise at work (, you’ll be even more determined to take control of your own destiny as well.

One reason I wanted you to meet Louise is because it’s important that you know people like this really do exist and you really can make a living doing what you love.

Having role models like Louise help you counter all the naysayers who tell you to forget your silly dreams and stick with your job… no matter how stressful it is or how miserable it makes you.

The other reason I wanted you to meet Louise is because I just signed her on to be a part of a unique event called, “Profiting from Your Passions” — a highly personalized weekend workshop and retreat get-away I’ll be facilitating right in my home in beautiful Montague, Massachusetts from February 26-28.

I’m calling it a workshop/retreat but it’s essentially me doing
3 days of intensive private consulting and brainstorming with a very small group of only 6 or so people. There will be plenty of exercises designed to get your mind buzzing and answers flowing.

The “retreat” part is important too. The view from my expansive living room windows alone will make you think bigger about your life… and your dreams.

In fact Louise is just one of several local artists and entrepreneurs who have generously agreed to host a stop on the “Profiting from Your Passions Tour.” On the tour, you’ll get to meet Louise in her peaceful studio by the water and chat about how she managed to turn her dream into reality.

While everyone attending the workshop will have their own gifts and interests, the destination is the same — to hone in on what you love to do and then figure out how you can make money doing it. And with my expert guidance and 15 years experience, that’s exactly what will happen.

If you love the idea of…

~ living life on your own terms…
~ discovering what it is you truly love to do…
~ determining viable ways to turn your passions into profits…
~ learning from inspiring entrepreneurs who are already making a living without a job…
~ walking away with a plan — and a built in weekly support group to make sure you follow through…

…Then don’t miss your chance to get away from the noise of every day life where you can take maximum advantage of the tools, the information, the guidance, the perspective, and the support you need to FINALLY be able to say, “I love what I do and do what I love.”

To learn more about the “Profiting from Your Passions” Workshop and Retreat — including travel details — go to

Life is short. Isn’t it time you made the commitment to finally figure out what you want to be “when you grow up” and how to actually make money doing it?

To your dreams,

Valerie Young
Dreamer in Residence

P.S. I’m waiting to hear back from a few more entrepreneurs who you’ll get to meet and learn from in February. I’ll keep you posted as I do.

The whole point of doing this intimate workshop is to give people the kind of personalized laser coaching that’s impossible to do in a large 75-150 person seminar. Since I can only accommodate a very small number of people in my home, I expect Profiting from Your Passion workshop and retreat to fill quickly.
Here’s the link again:

Passion Noodle: Tuning In To Your Passion

 In today’s 3-minute Passion Noodle you’ll learn a simple technique for tuning in to your passion. Tomorrow I’ll share another quick tip for discovering what you love to do and how to profit from your passion.


Not only can you profit from the things you love to do… you can make a difference too. This morning I saw this great story on ABC’s Good Morning America about how a choreographer with NO medical background what-so-ever used ballet to help a man with cerebral palsy to transform his body.

If I had a passion for dancing and children I would be all over this story to see how I could reach out to this niche and make a living while making a difference.

Don’t have a medical degree? Remember, neither did this man’s teacher. What she had was a passion for dancing and the determination to share what she knew with someone else and a willingness to learn along the way.

Here’s the link to the article but be sure to watch the video too:

What’s a “Passion Noodle?”

Take 6 minutes to listen and find out!


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


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


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

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

What Does Gratitude Have to Do With Career Change?

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

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

By Valerie Young

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teleseminars Are a Great Solution for People Who Hate to Sell

Alex Mandossian

Alex Mandossian

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

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

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

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

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

Be My Special “VIP” Guest

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

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

  • The 8 unique advantages Teleseminars have over traditional marketing methods

  • The 7 embarrassing mistakes marketers make when conducting their Teleseminars

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

And of course much, much more …

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

Your VIP Discount Code

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

Click Here to Register:

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


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

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

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

Here’s the link again:

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

By Valerie Young

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

Transparency in Your Business – Legal or Otherwise

By Valerie Young

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

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

Getting Paid to Brainstorm

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

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

Do you instinctively jump in to help others brainstorm ideas?

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

Well, they’re hardly alone.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Gain the tools you need for faster business growth

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

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

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

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

The opportunities are endless and the timing is right….

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sir Richard Branson Rock the Kazba Event

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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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