Moving Imagination and Talking About Money

imagination-moversIt should come as no surprise that I love hearing stories of people who are taking the leap to follow their passions. I’m a success book junkie, and I never get tired of reading about those who are doing what it takes to attain success. It’s why I do much of what I do.

J.D. over at Get Rich Slowly has posted part 2 of an interesting interview with Scott Durbin of Imagination Movers, a rock band for kids. It’s a wonderful profile of someone who is doing what it takes to pursue a dream. From Money Interviews: Imagination Movers, part two:

What was your family’s financial situation at the time you started the Imagination Movers?

At the time the Movers started, I was entering my sixth year of teaching. Picture if you will, being the ‘bread winner’ on a teacher’s salary. Ahhh, the luxury of it all. My better half worked full time-ish as an office manager for a web firm and was earning a little less than me. Our income, however, was supplemented by a rental property. Even so, we rented to friends and consequently asked for $150 month lower than market value for the area.

I just recently discovered Imagination Movers. As someone who continuously tries to find music for my little one that doesn’t make me want to drive a fork into my ear to escape, I can say they’re pretty cool.

And be sure to check out part one of the interview.

Are You Living for the Weekend?

Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them.” – John Shirley

rainbowThis week, I saw one of the coolest things while out walking the dog. There was a light fog all around, and the sun shining through created a small, full rainbow. It looked so close, like it was sitting in the open field near where we were walking. I decided to get closer, and as I did, it began to fade. As I reached the point were it appeared to be located, it was completely gone. It was one of those weird, but fun, existential experiences that happen sometimes.

Things always look better from far away, and sometimes may not even exist once we reach them. John Shirley’s quote about the weekend is about the most accurate description I’ve ever heard. I know so many people whose number one goal is to make it through the week of a crappy job, just to get to the weekend. “Everybody’s working for the weekend,” so says Loverboy. That song is still played to death on Fridays.

Now you owe it to yourself. You’ve worked hard all week at a job you hate, and now you plan to go out and celebrate 2 days of freedom. One of the all time masters of comedy – Bill Cosby – captured this ritual better than anyone:

Cosby: Now you’ve got to go. So you come into the bathroom, close the door; now, don’t forget: you owe this to yourself. You’ve worked hard all week. It’s come to this:

[Kneels beside the chair and pretends to lift the lid on the john, then starts moaning]

Cosby: “Ahh, Jesus… Oh, God… If You get me out of this, I’ll never drink again as long as I live…”

[groans again]

Cosby: Now you are ready to put your face in a place that was never built for your face.

How about taking a different approach to the weekend? How about using it to plan and implement your liberation? Take your free time to create a venture that will guarantee your freedom and success. Use the weekend to build a business, and then, you will have real freedom.

The goal is to make it so the weekend isn’t something you struggle all week to get to, but just another couple of days along the journey of success – a time to be savored and enjoyed. Because eventually we will all get to our rainbow’s end, and the question to ask yourself is – what will you find when you get there?

Have a great weekend, everyone…

Ye Coffers Overflowith – When Will you be Wealthy?

money-guyAh, wealth… One of those things most folks seem to be striving for. Money for all the stuff they want, and no worries about bills. But how will you know when you’re wealthy? Have you ever really thought about it?

A lot of people think of getting wealth as some instant miracle – winning the lottery, having a long lost uncle die and leave you a fortune, or suing the pants off some company who didn’t fix the sidewalk in front of their store. That’s not wealth, that’s money, lots of it quickly. And if you’ve heard all the stories about the easy-come, easy-go manner of former lottery winners and litigious opportunist, you’ll know it’s true.

No, what I’m talking about is real wealth. That point when you’ve got enough. What does that mean to you?

No, Thanks – I’m Full

As we work to build our little home based ventures, or to get one off the ground, we imagine a time when we have more coming in than we need. It’s always some vague vision of wealth, a future point in time when our bank account has grown along with our business. It’s important to take the time to really think about and understand our own personal definition of wealth. And there’s no better time then now. Because, how will you know when you’ve arrived, if you don’t know where you’re going?

So how much is enough – $1 million, $5 million, $100 million, a billion, or more? What would it take for you to be done – money-wise that is? Lets say that your business continues to thrive, and I’m going to assume that it’s something you love doing. Now, you still love doing it, but you’ve reached a point where you feel you have enough – houses, cars, domestic staff, boats, cattle – whatever you feel you need. What does that look like? Really imagine it, feel it, experience it. What would it be like when you reach the point when all your material needs are taken care of?

This is one of the most important exercises that you can do. It’s also one of those things most folks never take the time to do. We tend to just plug along, working, building, striving, but there is no real discernable goal in mind. Just to be successful or wealthy – two very subjective words. So take 20 or 30 minutes of uninterrupted time, maybe put on some music, and daydream, brainstorm, and think about your own personal vision of wealth. Here are some questions to get the gears turning:

  • If you had to pick a single figure to represent “enough” for you and your family what would it be?
  • When do you expect to reach that goal?
  • What things do you want or need – the stuff that you feel is important for a full life?
  • What do you want to have money put away for – kid’s college, weddings, retirement?
  • And once you reach the magic figure, what do you do with the money still coming in – give it all away, work for free or donations to a charity, or form and self-fund a non-profit?

Thinking about wealth, and what it means to you, can help shape the way your mind thinks about your business and money in general. By taking the time to establish what real wealth looks like to you, you set in motion the actions to begin achieving that goal. And before you know it, your coffers will be overflowing.

Thoughts on Doing What You Love

ponderingGina Laverde over at Mind Petals wrote a terrific post today called “Three Examples of Why You Must Do What You Love:”

Every career counselor, self help book and Oprah episode I watch suggests that doing what you love is the key to happiness and success. So I know there must be truth to it. But still, when I try to relay this genius realization to thick-headed friends… I’m often left feeling like I haven’t made an impact.

Aside from it being a great post, I pointed it out for a couple of reasons.

  1. I’m always pounding this point home, both here and when I talk to and work with folks looking to start a home-based business. Gina provides some excellent, real-world examples that clearly show this idea in action.
  2. I love seeing counter-points to the schemes that prey on people who want to work from home. There’s tons of junk out there promoting all kinds of get rich quick home-based business ideas that have nothing to do with using your passions and gifts (and end up being get broke quick ideas, instead). As I pointed out yesterday, very few people succeed without these key ingredients.

The stories Gina told are pretty common in my experience. I can’t count the number of people I’ve talked to who went a different route to work from home, rather than capitalizing on what they love and what they do well. The artist who tried a pyramid scheme, the trainer who thought buying into a home-based franchise would be easier than starting a coaching practice, the naturalist who sold cheap jewelry instead of starting the guide business he always dreamed of.

Working from home is one of the greatest things you can do, especially if you are a parent. But if it’s just work, or just a job, you’re better off working for somebody else. The hours are shorter and the pay better. On the other hand, if you are doing work you love and have a real talent for, it becomes an extension of who you are, and a vehicle for real success. Something you can’t get in a box or a recruitment CD.

5 Ways to Overcome the Home Business Blues, Blahs, and Burnout

Why the heck am I doing this? What’s the point? I’m so sick of this $%#@!

spinning-platesThere comes a time in every home-based business life when you reach the point of blah. It has happened to every single person I’ve talked to who runs a home-based business. I, myself, know it well. Maybe you’ve hit what I call the Futility Factor, the point where you’re busting your hump and not seeing any results – working 16+ hours a day, seven days a week, for months to get your business off the ground. Or you’re a few years into it, and things are just getting stale. There are lots of reasons why it happens. The key is to know what to do, when it does.

Just Be With It

Your first option is to do nothing. Just be with your mood – wallow in it, feel it, accept it. Now granted, this is not the usual kind of advice for this stuff. But sometimes, it’s nice just to be with your funk. Churchill called it his black dog. Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, used his melancholy moods to inspire his work. Don’t be afraid to be in a crappy mood once in a while – especially when it relates to your business. Running a home-based business is hard and you’re bound to get down about it. If it’s not a common thing, just sit with your cranky self. Sometimes it’s nice to give yourself permission to be in a foul mood. Enjoy it.

Go Back To Why

There’s a good reason why you decided to go into business for yourself in the first place. You set out on this road with a mission. During times of bad mojo, it helps to go back to that “why.” I’m guessing you’re a pretty smart person. You didn’t just jump into a home-based business without a plan. And even if you did, there was still a reason for it. Sit in a comfy chair, lie on the couch, or curl up in a ball on the floor, and think back to what it was like when you started. What drove you? Why did you make the decisions you did? Hopefully you are following your passion, so those feelings of excitement start flowing back in. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, and the BS that comes with running your own business. It’s important to regularly get back to that place of why you are here, and why you’re doing this. That initial spark can help get you back into full-flame mode.

Be of Service to Others

Many times, it’s helpful to stop making it all about you. I often find that the business blahs stem from the “poor me’s.” By stopping and thinking of how you can be of service to others, you interrupt that thinking, and start to see how what you’re doing is benefiting others. Again, I’m working off the assumption that you are doing something you love, that you have talent for, and that is providing value to others. If you’re running a pyramid scheme just to get rich, this ain’t going to help you. But if you are pursuing your dream, and contributing something of value, then chances are, what you’re doing is benefiting someone else. Ask yourself “how can I be of service to others?” That question alone is often enough to snap you out of your doldrums. Then follow that tread. Think of all the ways your business is providing a service to your fellow Earthlings. It’s a great feeling, and can give you a real boost to move forward.

Take the Day Off

If you’ve been working like mad, burnout is inevitable, even doing something you love. Remember to take time for yourself. Just taking a day to goof-off, see a move, or play with your kids is enough to help you get re-focused on your business. One of the wonderful things about working for yourself, is having the freedom to do this. Take a day off in the middle of the week, and if you need to make it up, work a little on the weekend. Rather than wait for a good day to take off, take a bad day off. Forget about it for a while, then come back refreshed with a new outlook.

Work On Your Favorite Stuff

Another pretty common reason for the business blues is spending a lot of time on the things that you have to do and not enough on the things you want to do. The reality of running a business requires a lot of things that aren’t fun, such as paperwork, filing, or cold calls (for some). These are things you have to do to keep things running smoothly. But if you need a boost, switch to doing the fun stuff – the things you associate with why you love doing what you do. It’s most likely true that you have to do the fun stuff anyway, that it’s part of your core business. So why not rearrange some things so you can work on them first. I’m not recommending putting off all the crappy stuff indefinitely. I’m a big proponent of the Eat that Frog strategy. But if you need a way to lift your mood, filling out tax forms probably isn’t going to do it (unless you’re a CPA and love that stuff – if so, that’s what you should do). You can always go back to that later. Procrastination isn’t always a bad thing.

Bad moods are a part of life, and running your own home business doesn’t make you immune. The bright side is that you are your own boss, so you don’t have to sit in a cube and just deal. You have the freedom to choose. Take advantage of it and learn to work with your moods as they come, and around them when you need to.

This post is part of “5 Things Week” over at Ben Yoskovitz’s Instigator Blog.