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

The Gift of Delay

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delPrado FamilyAfter spending ten days with my siblings in Lucca, Italy, I planned to take the train back to Venice, have a bonus afternoon in my favorite city, then fly home the next day.

That plan began to unravel when I went to buy my ticket and discovered a 24-hour train strike was scheduled for exactly the time I wanted to travel. After making numerous telephone calls to find an alternative option, I was assured that some trains would still be running.

What I wasn’t told was that I’d be making a 5 hour sidetrip to Bologna. That little surprise didn’t arrive until we’d all gotten off the train in Bologna. Many of my fellow travelers were visibly upset.

Realizing there was nothing I could do about the change in plans, I decided to look for the gift in this delay. I also suspected I was being naively optimistic.

Nevertheless, I attached myself to the del Prado family from the Philippines who were backpacking around Europe with their five delightful children. I had noticed them on the train and was curious to learn more about their adventures.

Wing, the mother, was not coping with the delay very well so I invited her to have a cappuccino with me.When I answered her question about what I do (I’m a self-employment advocate), she said, “You’re talking about me!”

I spent the next several minutes learning about her business selling handmade children’s clothing. Then I chatted with the eldest son, Ramon, who had started a business as an animator and was about to have his first film shown on television.

Since we weren’t sure exactly when our train to Venice would actually arrive, we couldn’t explore Bologna. So we hung out and spent the time together chatting and laughing and surmising about the time when we’d finally arrive in our destination.

While getting to know these entrepreneurial folks was great fun, the thing that everyone noticed about the del Prados was how kind the children were to each other. Despite being together for days, they seemed to enjoy the company of each other and the shared adventure they were having.

That same kindness was extended to me and when we finally parted at the train station in Venice, we were all on the verge of tears. The father said, “Thank you for making our trip so pleasant. We’ll always think of you as Auntie Barbara.”

As I walked off into the darkness toward my hotel, I immediately noticed that the sidewalk was covered with water. Raised platforms had been brought in to make walking possible. I struggled to navigate the temporary walkway in the dark pulling my suitcase.

When I got to the hotel, I asked about the flooding and was told there’d been such a storm all day in Venice that it looked like a hurricane was coming through.

Had I arrived at the time I wanted to, I’d have gotten drenched and had to spend the afternoon and evening in my hotel room.

Meeting the del Prados was a lot more fun than that—and a reminder that delays can come bearing a gift.

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 […] Continue Reading…

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…

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