Take yourself on an idea adventure.

The more people who own little businesses of their own, the safer our country will be for the people who have a stake in their country and their community are its' best citizens.

~ John Hancock

Postcard from Barbara

8 Ways to Feed Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

Postcard from Barbara

Even after all these years, I marvel that I managed to become self-employed. Besides the lack of encouragement I had starting out, I scarcely knew anyone who worked for themselves. 

The existing information on starting a business wasn't much help, either. Apparently, according to the experts, starting a business involved hiring employees, setting up pension plans, aspiring to build a huge operation. Years later, the "Go Big or Go Home" troops came in insinuating that anything less was not worthy of consideration.

I wanted to be free of dysfunctional organizations, not create another one. But I needed help figuring things out. After floundering for a bit, I thought I had found the answer.

As it happened, Success Rallies were popping up all over the place and for the price of a ticket and a few hours' time, I could join several thousand other success seekers in a large auditorium and be motivated to greatness.

After attending a couple of these high energy events, I decided that I was not interested in personal growth as a spectator sport. While many of the speakers were well-intentioned (and well-paid), their impact was minimal.

So I quietly set about to find my own way and, I hoped, a better way. I discovered small-scale enterprise was a perfect fit for me. A few years later, I was astonished and delighted to learn I wasn't the only one who felt that way. E.F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful, was the first book I'd seen that was a thoughtful exploration on the benefits of small-scale enterprise. 

Increasingly, more people are reaching the same conclusion about size. As Seth Godin says, "Big companies are big companies because they're very good at doing yesterday's business."

The difference between a big business and a small one, it seems to me, is the difference between a dinosaur and jaguar. Small can be fast, agile, and connected. That agility extends to events as well. If you are ready to make your business better, not bigger, Small, Sassy & Successful will give you ideas and inspiration for doing just that. 

There won't be 3,000 people at Small, Sassy & Successful.  There will, however, be time to connect, explore and get your questions answered. Best of all, you'll have the opportunity to share time and ideas with others who think that small is still beautiful.

Upcoming events are scheduled in Seattle, WA, Houston, TX and Nashville, TN. If you’d like to collaborate and bring it to your part of the world, send me a message at barbara@joyfullyjobless.com.

You can find out more of what Small, Sassy & Successful offers at www.joyfullyjoblessweekend.com

8 Ways to Feed Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

My definition of job security is having a strong, healthy entrepreneurial spirit. That can only occur if that spirit is fed regularly with activities and thoughts that are nurturing. Here are some of my favorite ways to do just that.

Give yourself a change of scenery. It may be efficient for factories to standardize their production lines, but our creative selves thrive on variety. Take a different route when running errands, take a sabbatical, take a vacation, take your laptop to the park. You can be productive without being routine.

Tithe your time. Don’t just send a check to support things you care about. Find ways to share your time. When Joe started his own insurance agency he decided to spend 10% of his time doing volunteer work. Eventually, he worked his way up to 50% volunteer time.

Did his business suffer? Not at all. He made so many contacts along the way that his insurance business grew naturally. 

You could also look for ways to volunteer and spread some entrepreneurial spirit at the same time. Mentor a kid business or offer your services pro bono to an organization you admire.

Create a research project. What would you like to learn more about? Look for a way to fund your research. Start by checking the grant directories at your local library. You’ll be astonished by the funding sources that often are overlooked and unspent. Get clear about how this will enhance you personally and entrepreneurially, then begin looking for a match.    

You could find yourself photographing mosaics in Morocco or interviewing artisans in Ecuador. Use your imagination to come up with a fresh research project that excites you.

Share what you already know. Write a tip sheet and get it published—or publish it yourself and distribute it. Mentor a new entrepreneur. Put your experiences together and teach a seminar. There’s no better confidence builder than sharing your unique insights and experiences. 

Find great entrepreneurial stories. There are thousands of inspiring stories out there. Make it your hobby to find them. After all, it’s your tribal history. Offer praise. Master the art of writing an exquisite fan letter. Catch others doing something good and let them know you noticed. It’s good for them and good for your soul.

By the way, although e-mail is quick, a handwritten note is even more special because they’ve become so rare.

Learn how to synthesize ideas. We should have learned how to do this in school, but I fear many of us haven’t. For instance, I was reading Jim Miller’s Savvy Senior column in my local paper. 

He was asked by a reader how to find a reliable handyman. He offered dozens of suggestions. As I read what he had to say, I thought that anyone wanting to have such a business could find some great suggestions for marketing themselves using the suggestions in Miller’s article.  

It’s equally important to look at enterprises that are nothing like yours and figure out what you can adapt from their way of doing things or their overall philosophy.

Attend with a friend. I always like to see pairs of people showing up together in seminars. I realize that sometimes a friend comes along hoping to discourage their companion from doing anything foolish. 

However, sharing a learning experience with an entrepreneurial friend can be a great way to extend and deepen the lessons learned. There’s nothing like building dreams with someone who gets it.

Record your journey. Keep an illustrated journal of your entrepreneurial life. Don’t just include the big events; do a photo essay of an ordinary day in the life of your business.The sooner you begin this, the better. It might become your grandchildren’s favorite storybook.

Buon Viaggio,  

Barbara Winter

P.S. On occasion, I may receive a commission or compensation when you participate or purchase a product or service I recommend. That being said, I strive to always offer useful content and resources in each issue of Joyfully Jobless News. 


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Joyfully Jobless

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