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

Spooky Questions

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I know Halloween is long past, but I came across this piece I’d posted on my blog five years ago and decided it was worth another visit. I also shared it in Joyfully Jobless News in November. It’s a reminder that the learning never ends when you’re building a dream.

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My mailbox has been getting some truly spooky messages lately. It’s not the first time, of course, but I’m still startled when I get one of these cries for help.

The scariest of these messages goes like this: ”I think I want to start my own business. What should I do?”

I also shiver when someone asks, “I want to write. What should I do?”

No, these aren’t zombies asking the question, but they send chills down my spine because they remind me that too many of us are lacking some basic tools—tools that could get us pointed in the right direction and keep us heading that way.

The next time someone asks, “What should I do?” I’m going to send them this list of answers.

° Start an investigation. Do your homework. Head out to the library. See if your community has resources that can be of help. As Jim Rohn said, “If you wish to find, you must search. Rarely does a good idea interrupt you.”

° Make space. If you’re going to start a new project, you need to make room for it. That frequently means you must first clear out some space. Frequently, that requires spending your time on things that don’t serve your true goals.

“What I discovered,” says architect Sarah Susanka, “is that when you make the time and space for what you long to do, everything else shifts to accommodate it. It never works the other way around. If you wait until there’s time to do what you want, you’ll be waiting until your eighty-fifth birthday.”

° Listen to informed sources. Seems so obvious to me, but I’m astonished at how often people take advice from people who don’t know. The more you investigate, the wiser you’ll become about who has the information that you can use.

° Learn to synthesize. Adopting and adapting in order to produce something new is a time-honored tool of the creative spirit.

If you’re growing a business, that means paying close attention to the things you like and don’t like as a consumer and asking yourself which policies and procedures you will integrate into your own enterprise—and which you’ll consciously avoid.

° Break your goals into 90-Day Projects. Give your projects a theme. Immerse, don’t dabble.

At the end of 90 days, evaluate and decide if you’ve accomplished your objectives. If not, decide if you are up for giving it another 90 days.

° Remember this: “Good things as well as bad are caught by a kind of infection,” writer C.S. Lewis pointed out. “If you want to get warm  you must stand near the fire; if you want to get wet you must get into the water.If you want joy, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.

“They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very center of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you; if you are not, you will remain dry.”

Throughout our Joyfully Jobless Journeys we’ll need help. New goals require new information, new ideas, new connections.

Don’t hesitate to look for it, but also realize that the ultimate responsibility for making your dreams happen is in your hands.

8 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting a Business

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It’s National Boss’s Day, a day that I celebrate heartily since I have the perfect boss. It took her awhile to figure things out, of course, but lifelong learning is one of the gifts of self-employment.

When I started my first business, I didn’t know another self-employed person who was creating something unique. There was no internet and not many books that were written for someone wanting to start a one-person operation. It was all trial and error…lots of error.

Today there are abundant resources, but some of the most important things I learned still aren’t being acknowledged. Here are eight […] Continue Reading…

Patiently Impatient

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This past weekend I did my first seminar series of 2016. In the nearly thirty years that I’ve been a gypsy teacher, this is a startling contrast to my previous years when I was teaching every month.

This unusual experience began with the evil virus I contracted in March. Not only did I have to cancel several events, I was unwilling to book future classes not knowing when or if I would recover.

As I headed to Sacramento I was filled with trepidation. Would I remember how to do this? Had I gotten rusty?

Fortunately, my classes had delightful participants and I […] Continue Reading…

The Gift of Delay

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After 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 […] Continue Reading…

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…

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