Meet Barbara Winter


Barbara J Winter is a pioneering self-employment advocate, writer and teacher who has spent the last twenty-five years pondering the question, “Why aren’t we all self-employed?” Helping others discover the Joyfully Jobless life is her favorite occupation. To readers of Read more

Benvenuto!


Buon viaggio….good journey. How nice to have you along. This blog has been a long time brewing. Hardly a day passes when I don’t come across a fascinating new business idea, inspiring story or useful resource and want to pass Read more

Change of Plans

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So here’s how my week has started. Got up to an email that involved a change of plans for a fall seminar.

My daughter and her family left for a two-week road trip. The road they were planning to take is closed due to a bridge collapse. They rerouted themselves, but forgot to leave a housekey for the sitter.

Fortunately, I have a key to their house and live close by so delivering it was not a big deal.

However, this has me thinking, yet again, about how flexibility is a valuable stress management tool.

This is not something that comes easily for many of us who have had a lifetime of conditioning to follow a predictable path. It’s something we need to challenge and eliminate if we’re going to be self-employed.

Quite simply, it is impossible to create anything of significance if we aren’t willing to embrace unpredictability.

Building a business is one way of acquiring those skills. Another way is through travel.

Several years ago, Nick Williams and I met in Switzerland to do some brainstorming. The trip was wonderfully productive and included a glorious day in Chamonix, France.

We were on the train heading back to Zurich where Nick had a flight to catch back to London. I was staying for another day. “Do you know where you’re staying tonight?” he asked.

I shook my head, laughed and said, “No, but I’ve never had to spend a night on a park bench so I’m trusting that I won’t have to do so tonight.” Of course, I located a perfect place to spend the night.

I know there are many people who would be in a dither without every detail of their travels in place. Seasoned travelers, on the other hand, opt for a bit of unpredictability since that’s where the adventure resides.

Same thing in our business. And the more flexible we’re willing to be, the more evidence we gather that a change of plans can often open the door to bigger and better things.

Remember, too, that a perfectly acceptable answer to the question, “How are you going to do that?” is “I don’t know.”

We take the adventure, accept the challenge, head off in new directions to find out how to do that. If we know in advance, what’s the point?

Test it for yourself—as often as possible.

Things That Last

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We hear a lot about the short attention span of both kids and adults. We see the marketplace flooded with items that are here today, gone tomorrow.

Pet rocks are the poster child of that phenomenon. So are most of the books that achieve best seller status.

The media adores stories about overnight success. They pay no attention once the flash in the pan is done flashing.

It’s always seemed to me that have a few minutes in the spotlight could be the entrance to a lifetime of emotional distress. I’ve avoided going after such temporary attention.

I’m thinking about such matters today […] Continue Reading…

Looking for your Super Power? Try this.

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Due to my respiratory problems, I keep my purse as lightweight as possible. Although I have an iPhone, I usually leave it at home when I’m running errands around town.

That policy was recently changed, however.

On Saturday, my sisters and I spent a lovely morning at the Ojai Lavender Festival. Somewhere along the way, Margaret showed me a feature on my phone I was unaware of. My phone has a step counter? I had no idea.

When I got home late that afternoon, I promptly checked to see how much walking I had done. Seemed like a good idea to challenge […] Continue Reading…

Five Myths About Self-employment To Banish At Once

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Much of the conventional wisdom about self-employment actually qualifies as Urban Myths (and we know how those can circulate).

Sadly, many people who think about becoming Joyfully Jobless are stopped from doing so because of these commonly held, but unfounded, beliefs. Let’s take a look at five biggies.

Only extroverts can be entrepreneurs. A recent study found that almost all kindergartners exhibited entrepreneurial traits. By the fourth grade, however, innovative thinking was on the decline.

Being and introvert or extrovert isn’t nearly as important as wanting to solve problems. Best of all, the opportunities for creating a business that is a perfect […] Continue Reading…

Close Encounters

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Note: This was a post from last August. I’m repeating it because we all need to be reminded of this simple fact.
Like millions of people, I tuned in for the Beatles Tribute on CBS. It was a lovely evening, but it wasn’t anything like my evening attending a Paul McCartney concert several years ago. That experience was magical from beginning to end.

You probably have memories like that, too, when you found yourself in the same room with someone you’d admired from afar. That is not an experience that can be duplicated by technology.

As much as I appreciate the gifts […] Continue Reading…

Leaving Room for Serendipity

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About the time I moved from Las Vegas, Zappos founder Tony Hsieh announced the ambitious Downtown Project which he is spearheading. His bold vision is to turn the languishing area into “Disneyland for entrepreneurs.”

New start-ups are moving to Las Vegas, co-working spaces with names like Work in Progress are buzzing and renovated apartments and condos are attracting entrepreneurial owners.

There’s another aspect to this project that is unique. Hsieh is determined to create a place filled with opportunities for serendipity which he calls meaningful collisions. I share his fascination with the phenomenon.

While the common understanding of serendipity is unexpected good […] Continue Reading…

Travels in Your Own Backyard

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My four-year-old grandson Noah was visiting the other day when I happened to mention something about New York. “Oh,” he exclaimed, “that’s where Lady Liberty is.” I nodded in agreement and was reminded once again about the impact of travel.

Noah was a mere two years old when his family made a trip to New York. He still talks about it. And he still calls it Yew Nork.

Years ago, I became a fan of Helene Hanff after reading her most popular book, 84, Charing Cross. I identified with this frustrated Anglophile who eventually found herself making multiple visits to London.

In […] Continue Reading…

A Journey of Joy

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At the end of last week I made a whirlwind trip to Denver. It’s a trip I’ve made dozens of times so I was nicely relaxed and looking forward to seeing some old friends. I was also teaching three seminars at Colorado Free University, a marvelous adult ed program that I’ve had the pleasure of working with for a long time.

What I didn’t anticipate is how this familiar trip was going to be a festival of friendliness. When my Aunt Marge was alive and I’d go to visit her, she always encouraged me to tell her about my travels. “You […] Continue Reading…

What’s in a Name?

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Business names, like book titles, matter a great deal. I confess that I’m often intrigued and horrified by the names people give their enterprises.

Do we really need another beauty salon named A Cut Above?

Nevertheless, I realize that finding the perfect name can be a challenge and sometimes we are so eager to get going that we opt for an okay moniker knowing we can always change it if a more inspired choice comes along.

You might adopt my hobby and start paying closer attention to business names that you find attention-getting—and those that repel.

When I picked up the crossword puzzle […] Continue Reading…

Becoming Ubiquitous

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In the early days of launching my business, I never turned down a speaking invitation or media interview. That led to all sorts of surprises.

On a warm Saturday evening one September, I got a call from my travel agent. “You’re on television,” she announced. The cable program produced by our library system was rerunning an interview I had done months earlier.

Soon after it was first broadcast, I called to make an appointment with my dentist. As soon as the receptionist found out who she was talking to, she said, “Dr. Klein just saw you on television.”

A couple of months […] Continue Reading…

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