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  • Zen and the Art of Growing a Business

    One New Year’s Day during my daughter’s college years, she called to  tell me about her celebration the night before. “The party I thought was going to be fun wasn’t,” Jennie said, “and the one I thought was  going to be boring was terrific.” “What a great metaphor,” I replied.  “Oh, Mom,” [...]
  • IdeaStarter #15 Refuse to Have Boring Problems

    During the bleakest time of my life, my neighbor John stopped by to see how I was doing. Relieved that someone cared about me (I told you this was bleak), I rattled off a lengthy list of my latest woes. When I finished, John put his arm around my shoulder, smiled at me and said, “Barbara, [...]
  • IdeaStarter #18 More Ways to Find Good Ideas

    Ever since Marcia Yudkin has been sending out her weekly Marketing Minute, I've looked forward to each one. She always comes up with suggestions that are both creative and practical. When the following article arrived in my mailbox last week, I knew I wanted to pass it along since it is a great [...]
  • E-mail Worth Reading

    After we opened our gifts last Christmas, my daughter said, “I was going to give you a Blackberry, but I didn’t want to feed your e-mail addiction.” Although I protested that it wasn’t that bad, she had evidence to the contrary. What Jennie doesn’t understand is that my e-mail is usually full [...]
  • Great Businesses for Bookworms

    Jan Dean and I became friends because of our mutual love of books. Several years ago, Jan was doing conferences and workshops in northern Texas on starting a home based business. She ordered Winning Ways, the newsletter which I publish, and promptly wrote me a charming letter telling me about [...]
  • Do Talk to Strangers

    Since my Do Talk To Strangers Policy is a vital component of traveling, I began to consider how I actually go about it. I realized that some of it is purely intuitive. For instance,  when a stranger plunks down next to me on an airplane, I take a breath, take a look and see if I’m moved to [...]
  • Time to Learn?

     Been wondering if you should take time to attend Compelling Storytelling  or some other Special Event? Here are a few signs that the time is right.   √ You’ve reached all of your goals. √ You’ve reached none of your goals. √ You are in need of some fresh ideas. √ You’d like to get a new [...]
  • Five Tips for Better Storytelling

    So what does it take to be a great storyteller? The fundamentals are pretty simple. ° Curiosity. Bernice Fitz-Gibbon, who not only produced innovative ad copy, but also trained many successful copywriters, wrote, “I have never known anyone who bounced out of bed in the morning, delighted and [...]
  • What Gary Did Right

    When Gary Buehler moved from Nebraska to Colorado, he brought with him his wife Duncan, toddler Adam and Hasselblad camera. After years of honing his skills as a photographer, he was ready to set up shop. They settled in Nederland, a little mountain town above Boulder. Shortly thereafter, we [...]
  • PS to Booklovers’ London

    Right after I sent out my Joyfully Jobless News today where I mentioned Booklovers' London, the new stop on Inspiration Station, I got this tip from Londoner Ken Titmuss who shared this little treasure. He writes: A very special bookshop  I can recommend is the one at Old Street Tube station. [...]
  • Travel Tales

    Mythology and literature have frequently told tales of people who went on a journey and in the process discovered more about themselves. Some of these stories, such as Homer's Odyssey (written in the 9th century BC) and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (from the 14th century), remain staples in [...]
  • Teaching from Experience: How to Get Started

    It's been 18 years since I first began teaching adults and I still find it an invigorating and profitable experience. Teaching adults has taken me all over the country and abroad, given me visibility in my community, brought interesting new people into my life, and led to the publication of my [...]
  • Have a Nicer Flight

    Many things improve with age; airline travel is not one of them.  Even before increased airport security slowed things down, the flying experience was loaded with stress-inducing delays and rude behavior. Frequent flyers just grit their teeth and bear it as best they can, but a bit of [...]
  • IdeaStarter #11 More Options, Please

    Another barrier to building an inspired business is what I call Either/Or Thinking. Too often, that’s simply a manifestation of scarcity thoughts. Consider conventional career guidance that encourages us to believe we must have a Single Lifetime Career. In this scenario your 17-year-old self [...]
  • Making Your Business Visible

    British entrepreneur extraordinaire, Richard Branson, has long been noticed for his willingness to do outrageous things in order to promote his empire.  The irrepressible Branson, who reminds me of a naughty gnome, explains his frequent media appearances by saying, “Everyday television and [...]
  • Turning Personal Experiences into Profit Centers

    Shortly before the end of the year, I was talking to Karyn Ruth White and the subject of resolutions came up. “I don’t really make them,” she said. “But I do sit down at the end of the year and write about ten lessons I’ve learned in the previous year.” Then she added, “I’ve even had a couple [...]
  • How you gonna do that?

    One of the leading characteristics of entrepreneurial thinkers shows up in their approach to goal-setting. I was reminded of that this morning when I was talking to Lisa Tarrant, who spent the weekend holding her first tag sale. She said it had been a success and she was getting ready to list a [...]
  • Lost or Found?

    There's no question that we are living in rapidly changing times, but what's not given much attention in all the emotional conversation is that the outcome will not be the same for everyone. Some people will come through these times bitter while others will end up better. Money has nothing to [...]
  • Great Things To Do With a Gift of Time

    Every business has times that are less busy than others. You can use this time to fret and worry that your entrepreneurial life has come to an end—or you can view it as a gift of time to do some of those things you’ve been telling yourself you’ll do when you have time. It just makes sense, it [...]
  • IdeaStarter#10 Ask Idea-generating Questions

    Yesterday I mentioned that "How you gonna do that?" is a question that stops the idea flow. I’ve always been annoyed by cynical queries, but  it wasn’t until I read The One Minute Millionaire by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen that I really began to understand why questions matter so [...]
  • Equipped for Chaotic Times

    Earlier this year, the Las Vegas Sun ran a brilliant piece by Tom Breitling which began, “The economic news is relentless. Home foreclosures. Teetering mortgage companies. Tottering airlines. Brands that once rode high are going bankrupt. Job losses. Dangerous levels of public and private debt. [...]
  • Cheap Tricks: Marketing On A Shoestring

    Very few people start a business because they love marketing. And yet, without marketing it's unlikely that a business will succeed. Whether you're a webmaster or window washer, an artist or an accountant, you know that success is dependent upon securing business and that attracting and [...]
  • Feeding Your Joyfully Jobless Spirit

    Entrepreneur is not a job title. It’s the state of mind of people who want to change the world. ~ Guy Kawasaki My definition of job security is having a strong, healthy entrepreneurial spirit. That can only occur if you feed yours regularly with activities and thoughts that are nurturing. Here [...]
  • Less Can Be More: Businesses for People Who Don’t Like to Market

    Many would-be entrepreneurs get frightened off by the thought of marketing. They tremble at the erroneous notion that marketing is about finding universal acceptance, and they assume they're doomed to a life of rejection or cutthroat competition. If that sounds like a thought you've had, let [...]
  • IdeaStarter #8 Go Gather

    One of the most popular ideas from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is her suggestion to schedule regular Artist Dates to stimulate fresh thinking. In Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach recommends the same notion which she calls taking Creative Excursions. It’s something I’ve done for a [...]
  • Winning Ways

    We’re all pilgrims on the same journey, but some pilgrims have better roadmaps. ~ Nelson deMille New ideas, information and inspiration arrive in your mailbox (your real mailbox, not the one on your computer) six times a year when you subscribe to Winning Ways newsletter. In my own [...]
  • Work at Home Opportunistas

    There was no shortage of candidates for the Most Annoying Person Award that I was mentally planning to bestow. At the top of the short list was Billy Mays, the guy who screams at us in TV ads to buy wrenches, foot powder and cleaning products. But he had stiff competition from Stephanie, a [...]
  • Love a Good Mystery?

    Classes on "How to Become a Private Detective" have enjoyed great popularity in adult ed programs and I think I know why. For as long as I can remember, mystery writers have delighted us with tales of amateur sleuths who always outsmart the professionals. It's logical, then, that some of us [...]
  • Eight Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Started a Business

    It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. ~ Dag Hammerskjold When I started my first business, I didn't know another self-employed person. There also was no Internet and not many books that were written for someone wanting to create a one-person operation. It [...]
  • It’s About Time

    My local tv news just featured a booming business called Vegas Errands. The owner is a young woman who responded to an ad on Craigslist, and ended up starting her own service business. As the story reported, business is booming. That didn’t surprise me. Asked whether they would rather [...]