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

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 myself to walk just a bit farther every day.

That means that I now carry my phone with me when I leave the house. I’ve even been considering how I could carry it when I’m home to get credit for all the steps I take during the course of a normal day.

I’m beginning to understand why so many people are crazy about their Fitbits. After all, they keep us accountable—whether anybody else knows about it or not.

This morning, I had a Skype chat with Joan Jontilano who is currently in the Philippines. We had talked a month ago about her next project. Actually, she didn’t have a project, but we threw around some ideas.

A few days ago, she messaged me asking if we could talk again. “I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to talk about,” she said.

She wasn’t kidding. We had a lively conversation. Not only does she have a great idea, her enthusiasm was quite contagious.

What made the difference in just one month?

Joan told me she’d participated in a one week program that clarified her thoughts. “We had questions we had to write answers for plus a Facebook group that was really helpful,” she said. By her own account, she went from freaked out to focused.

Accountability. It can take many forms. Deadlines. Working with a coach. Group check-ins. Doing what you say you’re going to do.

No matter what form it takes, it always involves action. Or a few more steps everyday.

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…

A Week of Riches

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The first goal I ever set for myself was to never have two years that were exactly the same. I had found it frighteningly boring to spend my time going to jobs in the same place at the same time with the same people.

I wanted to welcome surprises and unexpected delights. Self-employment has made that possible in ways I never dreamed it could at the beginning of this journey.

Although much of my work is done at home, I’m always working on new projects and have found all sorts of ways to mix things up. Even so, the past week […] Continue Reading…

Try Giving Yourself Away

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I was startled when the Starbucks barista handed me my coffee and said it had been paid for. “Who is my benefactor?” I asked. She pointed to a young woman with a slightly Goth appearance who had been ahead of me in line.

Although she and I hadn’t spoken, I suspected she’d been eavesdropping on my conversation with the fellow who was part of a group headed to a church camp, as was she.

I went over to thank her and discovered that random acts of kindness seemed to be her specialty. She modestly accepted my thanks and said she was […] Continue Reading…

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