“The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur” Book Review

From time to time, I’m sent books to review and feature on my Secrets of Success blog. Since this book fits the entrepreneurial theme, I wanted to share my review of it here.

The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your LifeThe Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life by Kimberly Palmer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you’ve ever been stressed out trying to make financial ends meet, or worried about losing your job, author Kimberly Palmer’s new book provides a roadmap with steps for adding a “side-gig” or going into entrepreneurship full-time.

Starting out by describing her own story of gaining control over her own schedule so she could balance out demands of family life and making a living, Palmer gives her own take on this new economy by showing her own journey.

One of the things that makes this book enlightening is that she tells the stories of many other entrepreneur and employees with side-gigs. Each person has their own reasons for wanting to create a new product or service. Some are following a dream, while others are replacing an income lost through a lay-off or business failure. But they’re all driven to have more control over their lives and create an income outside of (or in addition to) the traditional job market.

In addition, Palmer includes a list of the “Top Fifty Side-Gigs,” and “Five Common Pitfalls to Avoid” along with worksheets and exercises to help you get started. If you’re looking for more control over your schedule, and more freedom to express your passions while getting paid, then this book is for you. Whether you want to become an entrepreneur or create a new revenue stream to add to your full-time job, The Economy of You provides a snapshot into the new economy a new way to look at work. (Received a copy of this book for review.)

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7 Steps to Get Moving & Get Free from What’s Holding You Back

491214032_06d57d2f6a_bHave you ever felt that if you had more money, or more degrees or knew more of the “right people” you’d be okay?

Perhaps you feel that you’re too old to go for your dreams.

Or maybe you believe you don’t have the advantages that others do.

Ever had these types of thoughts?

It’s so easy to become blocked by your own fears and limited beliefs. But what can you do about it?

If you’ve been reading my book, “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life,” you’re already familiar with the steps I recommend to create a success mindset.

Here are some additional tips:

1. Forget about being an overnight success. No matter what their PR says, most successful people did not achieve success overnight. They worked on building it step by step over time. If you’re holding yourself to some standard that you think you should be following, stop right now.

2. Be willing to make mistakes. Successful people are risk takers. Instead of beating themselves up when they fail, they learn from their mistakes and make better choices next time around. You’ll never know what will work until you are willing to take a chance on failure.

3. Stop waiting for permission. Successful people are leaders. They don’t wait for others to tell them what to do. Ask for what you want. Don’t wait for someone else to validate your choices. If you do, you might be waiting a very long time.

4. Get used to hearing the word, “no.” The way to get to “yes” is to be willing to hear a lot of “no’s.” The popular series, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” was rejected by over 100 publishers. Imagine if the creators had quit before their “yes?”

5. Be good to yourself. It can be tough to go for your dreams. Practice self care and treat yourself with respect and love. Successful people believe in their dreams because they believe in themselves. If you see the glass as half empty (or believe that you weren’t even good enough to get a glass) you won’t believe you can have what you desire.

6. Release resentment. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Once you define what you want (and believe you can achieve it) nothing will stand in your way. That may sound too easy – but it really isn’t easy to stay focused on our path. It takes work to really believe in what we can accomplish.

7. Define your own success. Success is not the same for everyone. For some it means a certain dollar amount, for others it may mean living in a big house. Believing in one definition of success is a trap. Create your own definition and set your own goals. Only you know what is right for you.

Back when I worked in corporate, my idea of success was defined by my manager or by what I saw others doing. But I prefer to define my life path myself. Instead of following the crowd, I decide what’s right for me.

One of my long-time goals became real when I wrote and published my first book, “Think Like an Entrepreneur.” It was exciting to see my book finally in print. That’s when I realized that I could make my dreams into reality, but I had to believe and take action on those dreams.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

You can find the ebook, print and audio book versions of “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life,” on Amazon.com.

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc

Originally posted on the Secrets of Success blog.

Feeling Stuck? Why You’ve Got to Leap Before You Look

203433676_6d05c3f43f_o“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

A lot of times we get stuck because we’re afraid to take the next, best step.

We know what we desire. What we crave. But we’re afraid to go for it. Or we think we don’t deserve it.

So we suffer through terrible jobs, un-fulfilling careers, and all kinds of compromises that only make us feel like shit.

What happens when someone who has multiple talents wants to do various things to express themselves in the world?

The desire to do more than one thing is what draws a lot of people into the entrepreneurial world. It was a big draw for me. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t understand it.  And some might even be threatened by it.

Years ago, I was told I was “too technical to write.” That’s an exact quote from an HR manager. At the time, I was a software developer and I’d finally made the decision to transition back into writing.

So, I applied for a writing position at a very well-known financial publication. My resume listed my previous writing positions, my B.A. degree in English, my A.A.S. in Advertising & Communications degree, my experience as a copywriter–but none of it mattered.

When the HR person saw the IT experience on my resume, she refused to accept that a writer and a coder could exist in one person. So she dismissed it. I even offered to send writing samples. She said, no.

On another occasion I interviewed for a position as a development writer at an arts organization. This time the HR manager was fine with my technical background. But when he sent me to talk to the department manager, she ignored my portfolio, the book I’d written, the blog posts and articles I’d done, and focused entirely on my technical writing.

Yet again, according to someone’s limited thinking, I could only do one thing.

I’m sure you’ve been to interviews like that. Where you knew the decision had already been made before you even opened your mouth. This was one of those times.

Funny how after I became a freelance writer, no one had a problem with me having a technical background. They hired me to write copy, articles, brochures, etc.–and never questioned my previous work experiences.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably had someone sell you short. They’ve dismissed you, or overlooked you or been sure you weren’t the right fit.

Not because you couldn’t do the work, but because you didn’t fit their expectation of what  you should be.

We can go into the whys and wherefores. The limited thinking, the fears, the “-isms” that some people are unable to get past–even when they have evidence to the contrary.

But nobody’s got time for that.

That’s one of the reasons I decided to explore entrepreneurship. Why I was ready to break free of the restrictions of the corporate world. I wanted to chart my own course. Control my own destiny as much as I could. Stop trying to fit into a box that I didn’t belong in, just to make other people more comfortable.

Have you ever limited yourself? Talked badly about yourself to make others feel better? Been afraid to claim your gifts because of what others might say?

Lowered yourself to a level where no one will accuse you of thinking you’re “too” good, or too valuable?

How did it make you feel?

If you’re doing that now, how is it working for you?

My guess is, it isn’t.

There comes a time when you’ve got to step out in faith. I’m not talking religion here. I mean faith that you know what’s best for you. That you have to follow your star, your destiny, and go where your heart is leading you.

I’ve learned that you can’t find your fulfillment outside of yourself. Validation isn’t coming from outside. Wining someone over who doesn’t get you (or like you), is not going to do anything to help you get what you need.

It’s about feeding your soul. Answering your call. Doing what’s right for you.

It’s about stepping out in faith, even when you don’t see where you’re going to land.

You really can do it. No matter how crazy, scary, bleak it might look at the moment.

I believe in you.

Just have faith.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Photo Credit: moriza via Compfight cc

Diving in the Deep End

Lane linesAfter years of wishing and hoping, I wrote and published 2 novels in a little over 2 years.

So of course after the writing and publishing came the promoting–which is probably the hardest part.

Like a lot of writers, I’m an introvert. I can interact with people and give talks in front of them without fear. But I’d much rather be reading or writing than out socializing.

Recently I connected with 2 other writers and we’re going to do 2 workshops at a local writer’s conference.  Though I’ve taught classes and workshops in front of people, I usually don’t seek out opportunities to present fiction writing topics. Besides, there are so many authors with more novels and more experience in the fiction world. What could I have to offer?

That’s wrong thinking, of course. If I really believed that, I wouldn’t have taken any risks at all in my life. If you only do things that you have years of experience doing, you’ll never do anything.

So while I was registering for the workshop, they had options for a reader/writer mixer. Usually I’d say no because, as I mentioned, I’m an introvert.

A couple of years ago at this same conference I went to a workshop with a very successful author – NY Times Bestseller successful. She was so nervous that she was almost shaking. I felt for her.

Later when I had a chance for a brief encounter at the mixer at the end of the day, I could tell she was more at ease within a smaller group. Yes, I get it. It can be tough to put yourself out there, no matter what your level of success.

Not only did I sign up for the mixer, but for the book signing too. I’ve only done one book signing, years ago at Borders for my Think Like an Entrepreneur book.

Unfortunately Borders was on its way out at that time, and this particular store was tucked away with limited foot traffic. Most people either came in to look for a specific book or were just wandering around to kill time.

But even with the small amount of exposure, I did sell and sign 5 books–one to the store manager! (Who knew by then that her job was going away, and that she’d better start planning her next career move.)

At the conference, not only am I doing workshops, but I’m also going to sign books and participate in a mixer. My first in-person activities as a published fiction author. This won’t happen until next March and I’m already getting nervous. Being vulnerable will do that. And when you’re about to take a step towards your dream, it’s easy to find reasons not to move forward.

What if no one wants a signed book? What if the mixer is makes the introvert in me want to run away? What if I put myself out there and nobody cares? I’m not a NY Times Bestselling novelist. Not only that, but I’m an indie publisher to boot. In some circles, being an indie publisher is on level with having the plague.

But I have to start someplace, don’t I? Even if no one’s clamoring for my autograph, or if I don’t get to mix with the cool kids, I’ve still accomplished something. I actually finished two novels. I didn’t just dream it. I did it.

And though I feel like I’m about to jump into the pool without a life vest (Yes, I was one of those people in high school who found excuses to get out of learning to swim.) it’s going to be worth it.

They say that if you decide to do something and it scares you, it’s a good thing.

If that’s true, then this is a stop on the path between where I am now as an author and what I’m becoming as I continue to write and publish.

I’m not going to let fear stop me from diving into the deep end.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Photo Credit: Powerhouse Museum via Compfight cc

Is Work Supposed to Make You Miserable?

3412124019_1677173f6e_oYears ago I had a coworker who used to say that work wasn’t supposed to be fun, that’s why it was called, “work.”

He also said that the corporate world was a “necessary evil.”

I’m not sure what he meant by that.

At the time I interpreted it to mean that it was necessary because (at least at the time) corporate jobs paid more and provided  benefits and perks.

The evil part was the crap we had to put up with. If you’re in corporate (or a recent escapee) you know what I’m saying.

For some reason in the corp world, it’s not enough to come in and do your job. You’ve got to navigate the politics, the inertia, the pressure not to announce that the emporor has no clothes when he’s bare-ass naked.

We make those compromises in order to stay employed. To pay our bills and keep food on the table. We detach from the bullshit and check out of our lives for 8, 10, 12 or more hours a day so we can get by.

But does work have to be this way?

It isn’t that way for everyone. There are corps where the environments are more positive and encouraging. More innovative and more healthy.

So, I’m not saying every large corp is just waiting to suck your soul dry. Some are and some aren’t–and you don’t have to necessarily go to a large company to have that experience either. I’m sure you know that there are just as many smaller workplaces that can make you run screaming. Or already have.

When I was a kid, people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. The future
was limitless at that point.

But as you get older, you get different messages. From your family, from the people you hang out with, from people who love you and from those who hate you. You get hammered into shape like hot metal. You can do this…you can’t do that…who do you think you are to want to…

Depending on your experiences you might have been encouraged or pushed back
at every turn.

Right now you might be broken and bloodied. But know this, what you are here to create and produce, will call you forward.

You may not hear the call.

You may ignore it.

You may have to fight to realize it.

But it’s calling you.

It’ll be hard to hear it if you’re disconnected from your thoughts and feelings, sitting in a grey cube, just trying to get through the day.

Recently, a question was posted on Clarity.com (where I have a page). The poster was frustrated because he wanted his work to matter. He was tired of being put into positions that led nowhere.

As I read it, I felt like I was reading a question I could’ve posted at one time. I could feel his desire to know where he should go to do work that excited him. The despair at all the well-meaning advice steering him this way and that.

I’ve been there. It’s tough to try to fit into a box, knowing that you don’t belong there. Yet feeling a lot of pressure to conform to a “norm” for working.

From time to time I’ve had to return to the corp world as a contractor. Freelancing
can be feast or famine. Sometimes the lean times last longer than I’d like. But that’s still a work in progress as I add other income streams–and as I listen to my own call that’s pulling me forward.

My desire is that work shouldn’t be something miserable, or frustrating. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the desire to do good, fulfilling work and get my bills paid.

That’s what inspired me to write Think Like an Entrepreneur four years ago. That’s why my own words continue to keep me moving forward. I’ve been on the employee and entrepreneurial sides of the working world.  I know perfectly well that it’s not easy.

But what I know for sure is you won’t get anyplace if you don’t get your mind right first.

You must have a way to push out the naysayers…the haters…the status quo keepers.

Your work is your expression in the world. It’s what you’re here to do. Whether you do it in your own business or in someone else’s, you must do it.

Once you discover what you’re here to do, you have the right–and the responsibility–to do it.

To live it and share it with the world.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Photo Credit: Hartwig HKD via Flickr cc

Why You Should Stop Looking for the Meaning of Life and Just Live It

2698736515_b056df0614Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
—Mark Twain

There comes a time when we start asking questions that don’t have easy answers.

Why am I here and what am I supposed to be doing with my life?

It may start as a nagging feeling or it may be a deep down yearning for a different type of experience than the one you’re having right now.

Some people are searching for their purpose and others are just trying to get through another day. Wherever you’re at right now, the meaning of your life is yours to determine.

So how can you tell what your life purpose is?

Ask yourself, what makes me happy? What comes easily? What brings me joy?

If you’re struggling to find it, stop.

The meaning of your life is not in the struggle to be someone you’re not; it’s in surrendering to who you really are.

Copyright © 2010 – 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Excerpted from Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

Sometimes You Just Need a Time Out

2722567195_6eb35e63ab_bWhen I was at AT&T, I had a project leader who, if you asked her to prioritize your work would say, they’re all priorities.

When you’re already overwhelmed and tired of running, that’s the last thing you want to hear.

Is your to-do list growing faster than your ability to actually DO anything on the list?  Where did all these tasks come from?

Am I just saying yes to too many things? Probably.

How do I prioritize? Is the new important thing more important than the older important thing I added to the list a couple of days ago?

For entrepreneurs it’s just as bad. There’s always that hot new thing that we must do now. That call we have to return. That new software we have to check out. The social media updates…the webinars that seem to pop up hourly…the “there’s only 2 spots left so you’d better sign up now!” email pitches for new programs.

I’m tired of being busy for the sake of being busy. It’s time to check my priorities and see if the items on my list are really that important.

Do I have to update that web site right away? Or can it wait? Will all life collapse into a black hole in deep space if I don’t tweet everyday? Will my friends drop me if I stay off Facebook for few days? Or for a week?

If I say no to more things, will that free up some time?

When I was in corporate, having a messy desk and working your ass off was a badge of honor. Having the ability to multitask like a madman (or woman) was the ultimate ego trip. Everyone called on you to help them. Your manager loved you (because you could be counted on to work endlessly). You were tired and stressed, but so what? You were getting things done!

I’m busy, therefore I am.

But at the end of the day, what are we really accomplishing? Did your project turn into a hot mess because you were doing too many things at once?Are you exhausted because you’re trying to do it all? Not getting sleep or eating properly because the to-do list never ends?

Perhaps it’s time to scale back. Scratch some stuff off that list –or delegate some tasks (if you can) to others.

Maybe it’s time to decide how you want to make this life journey. Will it be a continued marathon where you dream of arriving at some magical place where all your “to-do’s” will be done?

As for me, I’m stepping off the treadmill. Climbing out of the hamster wheel. Turning in my multitasker of the year award and giving myself a time out. Life is going by in a blur, and it’s time to slow it down.

Being busy is not the same thing as being productive. It’s time to enjoy the ride.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Are you ready for a time out? Or are you already on one? Share your comments below!

 Photo Credit: Brice Canonne via Flickr cc

Know What? Your Story is Not Your Destiny.

13405599515_c06216d86e_b“If you can’t fly then run; if you can’t run then walk; if you can’t walk then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is important to believe you can manifest your desires in spite of what you see around you in this moment. Hold the vision for what you want and make the decision to move forward.

There’s something deeply disturbing about giving up the things that we are comfortable with. Even if we’re not terribly happy with our situation, there can be a certain comfort in knowing what to expect day after day. A reason for that is because our sense of self is wrapped up in a certain way of life.

We are much more than what we do during working hours, just as we are much more than the names we’ve been given. We are also much more than our physical appearance, our ethnicity, skin color, age or sexual orientation. Deep down we are more complex than even we can realize. Our lives are the sum of our experiences, and each of these experiences has given us a story about who we think we are.

No doubt you’ve heard that people live from their perceptions, or that perception is reality. Our perception…our story is what we live through. It defines us. It’s the roadmap we look at to tell us where we are and what is happening around us.

In the end, we cannot change the world to suit us. However we can change how we respond to the world.

Where we run into trouble is when we allow those stories to become part of our identity. I’ve met many people who say that they can’t write, or they hate writing. I’d guess that somewhere in that person’s past they were made to feel that their writing wasn’t good enough.

So, they accepted that story as their reality. The same is true for people who have been told they are stupid, or ugly or not quite good enough to be successful.

When you decide to make a change in your life, you are starting on a journey of discovery. You will be made to pull off layer after layer of the stories and beliefs that you’ve held for years.

Sooner or later we’ll have to address the part of ourselves that we suppressed so that we could live according to our stories. When that happens, it becomes impossible for us to pretend to be what we are not.

That’s when the work begins. Going through that experience enables us to discover who we really are.

Copyright © 2010 – 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Excerpted from Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

Photo Credit: Niels Linneberg via Compfight cc

How to Fail Your Way to Success

21252022_8fdda98341“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan

If people aren’t making mistakes, they aren’t learning.

Instead, you get people who pretend to know what they don’t know – which just creates more problems in the long run.

When you’re afraid to fail…to stumble…to look silly…you will stay stuck in your comfort zone. Mastery is nice, but it’s also darned boring.

You have to be willing to fail if you want to grow.

Failure is a tough thing in our society. Everyone loves a winner, the saying goes. But those winners had to fail, probably more than once, on their way to winning.

There are no overnight successes. There are just people who kept going when others gave up.

Copyright © 2010 – 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Excerpted from Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

Photo Credit: Stitch via Compfight cc

Thoughts about failing your way to success? Share them below!

Terrified about Transforming Your Life? Here are Some Comforting Words of Advice.

2283533573_81a55025ae_b“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” -Albert Einstein

The other day I got an email from a gentleman named, Tim. He asked me for advice about looking for a new job. He was unemployed and money was running low, but he wanted to make a fresh start.

How much courage does it take to transform your life after it’s come undone? Having been through this situation myself more than once, I’d say it takes quite a lot. That’s the difference between those people who survive and those who thrive. Survival is going from one crisis to the next, always shocked and a little surprised that you made it. Thriving is a totally different experience.

When you thrive you are not expecting doom at every turn. Your life isn’t just an endless journey through anxiety and insecurity. Yes, things do happen and life is not always a big bowl of cherries. I’m not saying you’ll never be hurt or disappointed; but I am saying that how you react to those things will determine your life experience.

We can spend a lifetime blaming this one or that one, being a victim of circumstances and believing that someone else took our stuff. Lots of people do it everyday. If that appeals to you, I certainly won’t discourage it. However, if you love your life no matter what-you are thriving. That’s something no one can ever take away from you.

At the end of Tim’s email, he admitted to being uneasy about the changes he was about to make. He acknowledged his fears, but then he said he wanted a better life and was going to take the steps to get it. From the outside his life may not look very attractive, but with that admission he’s already made the move from surviving into thriving. I’m excited for him, and I’m looking forward to hearing about his progress.

How about you? Are you ready to make the move? If so, here are some steps you can take.

  • Get clear of negative people and negative influences. If someone is always telling you what can’t be done or how awful everything is, you won’t benefit from being in that energy.
  • Take some quiet time everyday. Whether you call it meditating or being alone with your thoughts, take time for yourself.
  • Keep learning new things. Once you decide you know it all, you will never grow beyond that point.
  • Write down your ideas and your goals. There’s something about writing them down that makes them real.
  • Laugh. Not only is laughing healthy, but it’s much more attractive as well. Who would you rather be with-someone who laughs or someone who’s always grumpy?
  • Love yourself, a lot.
  • Embrace life. Don’t wait for some terrible event to occur before you appreciate what you have.

I’ve been in survival mode and in thriving mode, and I can tell you that thriving is much better. No, fear doesn’t completely go away, but it stops being a way of life. We all have the power to go from surviving to thriving, and in the end it’s up to us to make it happen.

Copyright © 2010 – 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Excerpted from Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

Photo Credit: Emmanuele Contini via Compfight cc

Thoughts about making transformations? Share them below!

*Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life will be a free ebook download on Amazon.com from 10/21-10/25.*