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  • Avoid the Right Thing

    When I started my first business, The Successful Woman, I thought I'd model it after existing personal development companies. I quickly realized that many of the people making a living as motivational speakers were doing things that I had no interest in emulating. My response to some of the [...]
  • Welcoming Customers

    You'd think that every entrepreneur would consider it essential to welcome potential buyers and clients to their business, but experience shows that's not always the case. Browse at any flea market or craft fair and you'll see numerous vendors who are reading a book or chatting with other [...]
  • Just an Idea?

    According to people who study such things, we’ve gone from the Industrial Age to the Information Age and are now entering the Idea Age. Creative thinking, often scorned by left-brained thinkers, is taking on a new importance. Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, says,  [...]
  • The Business of Uncluttering

    For years, would-be entrepreneurs have been advised to "find a need and fill it." Sometimes those needs are hiding in plain sight. A couple of summers ago, I decided to spend time uncluttering my life. I planned to go through every file, drawer and closet and get rid of anything that no longer [...]
  • How to Support Your Wanderlust

    Been bitten by the travel bug and need a way to finance your dream? You don't have to win the lottery in order to see the world. Finding a way to fund your travel dreams can be a creative adventure in and of itself. While many might forego travel or spend years scrimping to save up for a big [...]
  • Cause to Celebrate

    On a steamy July Saturday several years ago, I accepted an invitation to accompany a friend to the bridal shop where she had chosen a gown. As I sat on the sidelines, I watched groups of women arrive — brides-to-be with mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends in tow. The young women would [...]
  • Broader Horizons Start Here

    Everyone going down the road to making a living without a job immediately encounters a sign saying, "Exit Your Comfort Zone Now." Not surprisingly, many would-be explorers turn around at that point and return to whatever cocoon they have left. Since many people dislike being uncomfortable—even [...]
  • IdeaStarter #7 Motivation vs. Inspiration

    At last night's Golden Globe Awards, Steven Spielberg spoke eloquently about the need to nurture inspiration and not make decisions based on what's easy or popular. I don't hear people talking about that much. No wonder inspiration is dismissed or ignored. For a long time, I thought motivation [...]
  • Book a Paid Adventure

    Peter Leshak is a writer and handyman who spends part of his time fighting forest fires. When a television reporter asked him about this dangerous and difficult occupation, Leshak shrugged off his concerns by saying, "I think of it as a paid adventure." Without doing anything nearly so [...]
  • Two Merchants of Venice

    Even though I haven’t had much personal contact with Venetian entrepreneurs, there are two I will never forget. Claudio is the owner of a small hotel I stayed in on a visit a few years ago. One morning he and I had a long visit about his hotel (a Rick Steves recommendation) and what his life [...]
  • On the Eve of the Most Important Election of My Life…and Yours

    My friend Steve Strauss has a thoughtful and eloquent article that I urge you to read called The True Small Business Candidate. I urge you to read it whether you've already voted or not.
  • A Potential Diamond Mine in Your Back Yard

    Are you living in a place that you love, a place that attracts visitors? If so, you could be sitting on a logical profit center — the proverbial acres of diamonds in your own back yard. Hospitality is big business and there are wonderful small-scale opportunities to meet and greet guests who [...]
  • IdeaStarter #17 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Create your Own Inspiration Station

    We don’t need to push life so much as we need to experience it more elegantly, to be motivated more by inspiration than by ambition. ~ Marianne Williamson If you’re like me, you may have given little thought to inspiration. For much of my life, I believed that inspiration was random and [...]
  • From Seed to Blossom

    When you read a luscious book, you probably don’t think about the numerous rewrites made by the author. Likewise, we seldom get to peek behind the scenes at the long and winding road that brought us our favorite technology tools or movies. Many of those stories would be tedious, of course, but [...]
  • Being an Entrepreneurial Villager

    My flight to London had barely lifted off when my seatmate and I began to chat. I soon learned that the handsome man seated next to me was a former art teacher who reinvented his life and now is a fulltime painter. Since English landscapes are his specialty, he was a frequent flyer to England. [...]
  • How to Spot an Inspired Entrepreneur

    ° They love innovation and ideas ° They ask "what if" alot ° They drop names of people they admire ° They study success ° They are not satisfied with the status quo ° They understand the power of practice ° They show up at gatherings of other inspired entrepreneurs ° They are tireless [...]
  • Ideas Everywhere

      Entrepreneurial inspiration and information are everywhere. Here are a few—in no particular order—that I’ve collected this past week: * Twitter, Twitter, Twitter. I have no idea why Twitter is so addictive, but it is. I’m new to Twitter world, but find myself checking in frequently since the [...]
  • Is Your Business a Contender?

    No matter if you're a newcomer or seasoned veteran of the Joyfully Jobless life, your marketing can get a big boost if you stay alert to media opportunities. One easy way to put yourself in the path of opportunity is via a free service called Help Out a Reporter. Three times a day, the [...]
  • Thanksgiving Week Treasures

      When my sisters and I used to spend time together, someone always went home with a new hair color. These days we’re more apt to be gathered around a computer, as we were on Thanksgiving showing Becky how to upload her photo on her new Facebook page. I am appreciative and thankful that my [...]
  • Overlooked Excellence

    There are only two reasons I bother to set my alarm clock: an early flight or CBS Sunday Morning. Since my local tv station carries this unfailingly informative program at revolving times (it can start anywhere from 6 AM to 7:30 AM) setting my alarm is a calculated guess.  I am kind of a [...]
  • Beating the Work Alone Blues

    One of the most difficult things for new entrepreneurs is the isolation that often accompanies launching a business. If you plan to work alone, you can head off the blues by incorporating these ideas into your schedule. Know your own rhythms. Plan your working time to take advantage of your [...]
  • Cheap Tricks: Marketing at Fairs, Flea Markets, and Special Events

    Community fairs and markets are becoming increasingly popular, providing a nice environment for many artisans to market their wares. To maximize the potential of these short-term venues, consider the following tips. Look like you want to do business. Too many exhibiters at flea markets, [...]
  • Odds & Ends

    The handouts are printed, the hotel has our room set up order, the Mystere tickets are booked. Everything that needs to be ready for another great Compelling Storytelling is in place. Alice Barry and I aren’t the only ones getting more excited as the days grow closer. Here’s a comment [...]
  • Lessons From a Four Year Old

    In her short life, my granddaughter Zoe has played soccer, studied Spanish and taken swim and dance lessons. She's also amassed an impressive library, traveled enthusiastically, hosted parties and is a whiz at doing jigsaw puzzles. When I visit, she and I usually prepare at least one meal [...]
  • Consistent Effort Leads to Consistent Visibility

    How do you become a household name? The simple answer: by relentlessly getting your message out, by generating publicity for yourself, by finding new ways to package information. While this can be a time-consuming activity, having a monthly goal can keep you moving forward. Here are some [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Friendly Fearbashers

    If you quake at the thought of going out on your own and setting up shop, here are some fearbashers that can reroute you back to the road to success. Do temporary work. March into a temporary help agency and get signed up for a short-term project. When you get an assignment, don't think of [...]