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


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

5 Ways to Find Reliable Information

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If you plan to package information, publish a customer newsletter or establish yourself as an expert by writing and/or speaking, you’ll find yourself collecting information all of the time. Once you begin doing so, it’s easy to depend on your regular sources and forget about the other options you have for finding useful material.

To make your information gathering more effective, you’ll want to tap into as many sources as possible (without making yourself dizzy).

Before you do, however, set up a system for handling the material that you collect. A series of folders or files labeled with broad categories is likely to be the easiest system whether you are clipping artless of saving online discoveries.

Since ideas are fleeting and can occur at  anytime and anyplace, you have to be prepared to preserve them on the spot.

Although you’ll depend on personal experience for some of your writing and speaking, your work will be livelier and have more impact if you support what you have to say in a  variety of ways.

Here are some sources to consider.

° Conduct a poll or design a questionnaire. We love to know what other people are thinking and doing. As a result pollsters have created a booming business interviewing folks on every conceivable subject. You don’t need to be Gallop to conduct a poll of your own and  publish the results.

If you have a mailing list, you could send a questionnaire to your readers. Or you could  spend a few hours at a mall or airport polling anyone who would talk to you.

Members of an affinity group, conference attendees or trade show exhibiters also make fine candidates for polling.

Subjects might be right in front of you. John Schroeder, author of  Garage Sale Fever,  created a poll by asking folks running the sales he visited how they planned to spend the money they earned from their efforts.

Once you’ve got the results (and it doesn’t have to be highly scientific), write a press release or include your findings in some other work.

° Interview interesting people. Experts in your field, your peers, unusual folks in your neighborhood are all good subjects for interviewing. More and more video interviews are showing up online in blogs and YouTube channels.

The key to a successful interview is to come prepared with questions you want answered. Sometimes that requires doing preliminary research on your subject. At other times, you  can ask your subject for suggestions about topics they most want to discuss. Or you may find a combination of both fits.

° Subscribe to related publications in your field. What are the trends in your industry? New discoveries? Who are the movers and shakers? Keeping up in the information age can be challenging, but the better informed you are, the more credible your work will be.

Take time to glean information from trade journals, general publications and specialty newsletters. Subscribe to blogs that are a fit.

As an expert, one of your jobs is to scour huge amounts of information and pass along the most pertinent to your audience.

° Keep up with the latest books. Of course, you want to keep posted on the newest titles in your field. If you regularly review books on your blog or newsletter, you may find that book publishers are willing to send you review copies of their new titles. (Yes, for free.)

Here’s how it works. First of all, you must request titles that are new or nearly new. When you come across a title that appeals to you, write to the promotion department of the  publisher. Keep your message simple and to the point.

Say something like, “As book editor of Move Ahead News, I would like to receive a  review copy of Fred Brebble’s Secrets of Fabulous Fortunes, which I believe would be of interest to our success-minded readers. Thank you.”

Not all requests will be granted, but when you do review a book, send two copies to the publisher. You may even find an excerpt from your review included as a testimonial when the book comes out in paperback.

° Do hardcore research. Your reference librarian can be a great asset to your research efforts. Take time to get to know what resources your local library has—and doesn’t have.

Backing up your ideas with quotes, examples and stories from other experts in yourfield can add credibility and also demonstrate that you’ve done a thorough job of investigating your subject. Don’t skimp.

Sometimes your information gathering will take on the personality of a detective hunt. At other times, information will seem to drop into your lap.

Either way, the more you have to draw on, the more interesting the search will be for both you and your audience.

Time for a Creative Excursion?

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Julia Cameron calls them Artist Dates. Sarah Ban Breathnach calls them Creative Excursions. Whatever you call them, they’re worth making a regular event in your life.

“The Artist Date need not be overtly artistic,” says Cameron, “think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.”

The purpose of such solo events is to take time away regularly to visit a new place, gather ideas, or just feed your soul. Although it’s […] Continue Reading…

6 Ways to Move Closer to Self-employed Success

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Trying to build a business without entrepreneurial thinking is like trying to build a house with a toothbrush. An employee mindset is not a useful tool for such an important project.

Fortunately, learning to think like a successful self-bosser is something we can teach ourselves. Here are some proven ways of expanding entrepreneurial consciousness.

° Make persistence your personal trademark. We’ve all heard the stories of multiple experiments conducted by Thomas Edison before he figured out how to make a light bulb. Edison’s not the only one, of course, to succeed by not giving up.

During the remarkable renaissance of Tina Turner a […] Continue Reading…

9 Ways to Recharge Your Batteries

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Writers talk about (and agonize over) a condition they call writer’s block. When this occurs even experienced authors report feeling stuck. It’s not just limited to writers, of course. Any creative endeavor can get bogged down when the creator feels blocked.

Psychologists suggest that we can shorten our down time by doing something unrelated to the project that has us stymied. In other words, we can solve the problem by walking away from the problem…for a while.

With that in mind, I polled several of my creative friends and asked them, “What do you do when you need fresh inspiration?” Every […] Continue Reading…

Choose an Inspiring Motto

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They were having a discussion about political slogans this morning on NPR. Apparently, presidential candidates have been using them for decades. Not all of them were effective nor memorable.

Whether we realize it or not, most of us have a collection of slogans that are stored in our brains. Like its cousin the mantra, a slogan regularly resurfaces and repeats itself.

Many of these have been with us since childhood and were more of a warning than a guide to living a great life. Money doesn’t grow on trees. If you can’t do it perfectly, don’t bother doing it.

I’m guessing you […] Continue Reading…

Would Winning the Lottery Make a Difference?

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On the morning of August 25, 1997, the big story on the morning news shows was the Powerball lottery drawing happening that evening. For the first time ever, a lottery jackpot had reached the $300,000,000 mark. Lines were forming outside convenience stores, people were planning a lavish future. A mathematician assured the Today Show interviewer that someone would absolutely win based on the finite combination of numbers..

Although I’m not a lottery player most of the time, I decided that if I didn’t buy a ticket or two I’d miss the excitement when the drawing rolled around that evening. I […] Continue Reading…

A Holiday Suggestion

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Facebook reminded me of this post from three years ago. I think it is equally valid this year.

I’m pretty sure I broke out in a big grin this morning when novelist Jonathan Odell posted a link on Facebook to an interview with him that appeared in today’s Huffington Post.

Of course, I’m always delighted when someone I know is bringing their dreams to life, but this particular dream is one I first encountered when it was a tiny gleam in Jon’s eye.

I’m not certain that I was the first person he’d shared this with, but years ago he told me […] Continue Reading…

Inspiration at Your Fingertips

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When it comes to inspiration, we must invite it in—and seek it out. The more aware you are of the things you find inspiring, the easier it is to tap into those sources.

Don’t wait until you’re feeling stuck or frustrated or cranky before you get a lift.

Inspiration is highly personal so know what feeds yours.

Here are some simple ways to help you live from an inspired place.

° Practice meditation. Practicing meditators tend to have better access to their inner fountain of wisdom and inspiration.

° Build a small collection of movies that you find inspiring and visit them from time to […] Continue Reading…

Do You Use This Power Tool?

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Recently I got an email with a familiar question. It said, “Your book is brilliant. Is there an update planned?”

I wrote back explaining, as I always do, that Making a Living Without a Job is about philosophy, not how-to, and updating isn’t necessary.

Upon further consideration, however, I realized that Winning Ways newsletter really is an on-going update to the ideas in the book.

Are you a candidate for this bi-monthly publication?

Here are some signs that it would be a perfect fit for you:

You’re interested in new resources and stories that inspire.

There’s room for one more on your cheering squad.

You sometimes […] Continue Reading…

Ready to Accomplish More?

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When I first became a practicing goal-setter, I wasn’t very successful. I’d write down big goals and then have no idea how to even begin. Eventually, I made a discovery that seems so simple I didn’t believe it would work—until I tried it.

It now is firmly established as my most dependable operating system. It starts with picking a number, any number.

You don’t have to be a math whiz to put numbers to work for you. Assigning a number to a project can help you focus and, also, give you a finish line.

Open-ended goals have a way of never reaching completion, […] Continue Reading…

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