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

5 Ways to Cultivate a Bumper Crop

Barbara Postcard from Barbara 1

The small tree in my front yard looked pathetic. I suspected it might be dying.

So imagine my surprise on a spring morning, when I looked out the window and saw it had burst into bloom overnight. Tiny pink blossoms covered the recently barren branches.

I wonder what else I’ve condemned to a premature death, I mused.

Ever since I read Paul Hawken’s marvelous Growing a Business, I have looked for metaphors in the plant world to help me solve problems and find better ways of growing my business.

Even though I never lived on a farm, I grew up surrounded by small […] Continue Reading…

The Pumpkin Farmer and the Plumber

Barbara Postcard from Barbara 3 Comments

Note: I drove to Ventura again today and got thinking about this story of the Pumpkin Farmer from two years ago. Decided it was worth a revisit.

Yesterday I drove to Ventura where my sister Margaret lives. I’d been assigned the task of finding a vacation rental apartment in Paris for our sibling outing next spring and didn’t know where to begin. Margaret agreed to coach me since she’d already tracked down our Amsterdam accommodations.

In the springtime, this drive reminds me of Ireland because the craggy hills are so lush and green. Right now they’re festooned in shades of beige […] Continue Reading…

Hanging On or Moving On?

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Every few months, I get the alumni magazine from my college. I usually glance through the class notes to see if there’s anyone I remember who has gotten mentioned.

Most of the entries are a bit, well, dull, saying things like, “Now retired after 30 years teaching in the same school” or “Just retired from 40 years at the bank.”

Apparently, my fellow college students were big on staying put in one place.

One time, however, an entry caught my eye. It read, “Retired after thirty-five years as a social worker and probation officer. He now spends his time as a traveler […] Continue Reading…

In Business to Annoy

Barbara Build a Better Business Join the Conversation!  

They’re baaaaaack! Those annoying Internet flashing banner ads that disappeared for a while have returned with a vengeance. They make my eyes cross and my head hurt.

They do not make me think, “Oh, that looks interesting. I’d better check it out and see what I’m missing.”

Same goes for local tv ads that are broadcast at twice the volume of regular programming.

And do you know anyone who adores automated phone systems?

Also rating high on my Annoyance Index is my local supermarket. I only shop there for a few things when I don’t have time to run to the delightful Trader […] Continue Reading…

Signs of Prosperity

Barbara Postcard from Barbara 2 Comments

My friend Chris and I loved an old cartoon in which Ziggy declared, “My idea of prosperity is a checking account with commas.”

We promptly adopted that as our prosperity symbol.

Feeling prosperous is a highly individual thing and each of us has a different notion of what constitutes prosperity.

For many people, alas, prosperity means having more than whatever they currently have.

I think it’s much healthier to find small reminders that we are creating abundance in our own lives. Here are a few of my personal favorites.

* You use up your deposit slips faster than you use your check blanks. (This […] Continue Reading…

The Self-employed Way to Fund a Project

Barbara Postcard from Barbara 3 Comments

Back in 2002, I was having a milestone birthday and thought a celebration was in order. I invited my friends and family to join me in Las Vegas, a place I had avoided for many years.

When I called my travel agent to make arrangements, she laughed and said, “Oh, Barbara, I can’t see you in Las Vegas.”

“That’s the point,” I told her.

As you probably know, that was the beginning of a surprising love affair that led me to moving to that unlikely place. That wasn’t all that happened as a result of that party.

My younger siblings decided to mark […] Continue Reading…

The Joy of Reinvention

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Many people thought my Aunt Agnes was a professional malcontent. I thought she was an adventurer.

When I was growing up, I watched her reinvent herself every few years. She was trained as a teacher, but I don’t remember her working at that. Nevertheless, she always seemed to be instructing me and my siblings about right and wrong.

Besides being the  family morality enforcer, she spent several years running a college bookstore where she became friends with both students and professors. She also took advantage of the academic surroundings and studied Spanish and other subjects that caught her fancy.

After she left […] Continue Reading…

A Simple Idea for Generating Cash Flow

Barbara Catch the Spirit 9 Comments

Although I have shared this before, I am doing so again in the optimistic hope that someone reads it and actually gives it a try.
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 What if I told you that there’s a technique that if faithfully applied would absolutely guarantee your success in starting and building your business? Well, such a technique exists although it sometimes seems like a well-kept secret.
I’ve shared it in my seminars and in my writing, but getting people to actually try it for themselves has been another matter.
Whenever I receive a call or e-mail from someone telling me that they’re stuck, I can be […] Continue Reading…

An Idea That Fits

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We’re on birth alert around here right now. No, I am not expecting another grandchild. The arriving baby belongs to my doula daughter’s client.

I had never heard of birthing doulas until a few years ago when a student in one of my Sacramento seminars told me that she was one.

According to Wikipedia, this is an ancient profession that originated in Greece. A doula is a nonmedical person who assists before, during and after childbirth. The continuous support during labor is associated with improved maternal and fetal health.

How Jennie became a doula still intrigues me.

One morning about seven years ago, she […] Continue Reading…

Business as a Teacher

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Every truly wise person knows that learning is a lifelong endeavor. It appears that we are, in fact, created to keep learning. It’s an obvious condition that is grossly overlooked by employers who do nothing to encourage their workers to learn.

The entrepreneur, on the other hand, can be in a constant state of learning. That’s what attracted me to my own business in the first place.

Most of us who have heard the Eastern proverb that says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” think it refers to an individual who comes to guide us.

I’d like to suggest […] Continue Reading…