Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do Something That Makes You Happy ~ It's the BEST Way to Make More Money!

"If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world it will come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature."
- Bruce Barton, American author and advertising executive

Do you know that you can make money doing something you love? Honestly, we hear a common complaint from people who are passionate about a skill, talent or interest ... "But I can't make money doing this!"

And we have to agree with them; they are 100% right. They can NOT make money doing what they love because of their own lack of belief. But take a good look around at all the people who are making LOADS OF MONEY doing what they love -- how come they can do it and you can't?? In sports, in entertainment, and in every industry imaginable there are plenty of people who are making plenty of money. There is no scarcity, money flows abundantly all around us, and there is every reason for you to stop holding yourself back and jump right into that stream!

We've heard parents with talented kids warn them to have a back-up skill because you "can't make money doing (fill in the blank -- usually something creative)." No wonder so many people are reluctant to do what they love. They're afraid.

Is there something that makes you joyful and excited? How about something that feels meaningful and brings a sense of satisfaction and happiness? Whatever does that for you is something we recommend you do or have MORE of.

There are unlimited ways to creatively add more money streaming into your life that you aren't aware of at the moment. You don't need to limit yourself to one endeavor, and you can even have money streaming in that's not the result of something you DO ...you are a creative being with multiple and expanding skills, talents and abilities that you can apply in so many ways. Take some baby steps by increasing the amount of time you FEEL GOOD, whatever that is for you. And start playing with the thought that maybe it is possible, that perhaps you can do more of what you love and find ways to love more of what you do.

go for it,
Devin & Maria

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What do you mean by "Self-Reliant Living"?

People have been asking us about "self-reliant living" ...what exactly IS it?

Are we talking about those passionate folks who choose to live completely "off the grid", out in the wilderness or on a remote farm growing their own food, collecting rainwater, making everything they can themselves? Well, this certainly is an extreme example of Self-Reliant Living.

But let's get down to the nitty-gritty. Even though many of us might fantasize about living off the grid, we choose to live in the city or suburb for unique reasons. Devin and I have lived in Dallas, Texas, for the last 27 years because it gives us access to virtually anything. We worked our professional advertising company from our home here (even before it was cool to home-biz), birthed 2 of our kids here, kept them out of school here, entrepreneured them here, and connected with other amazing self-reliant families and individuals here ...yes, here in Dallas.

For us, self-reliant living is about living authentically, following your own guidance even when it's way outside the scope of what most people do, including:

• Creating your own ways to earn money
• Taking care of your own health when possible
• Choosing how to raise and teach your children
• Supporting them to embrace their own choices
• Promising to stay true to your values, but allowing for change
• Providing confidence and guidance to anyone wanting greater self-determination in their life

Our motto is "QUESTION EVERYTHING." Do you know kids who ask WHY? all the time and won't accept because I said so as an answer? Well, they're on track to becoming fully self-reliant adults!

Self-reliant living is about personal empowerment. It's trusting yourself and listening to your own inner guidance before setting foot onto a path. It's being excited about the amazing adventure of living life on your own terms and trying things out that maybe have not been done before (or that maybe are a little scary).

We subscribe to Mike Dooley's daily "
Notes from the Universe", and this recent note is descriptive of how self-reliant living can begin:
The Evolution of a Dream
-- Dream is implanted into brain.
-- Dreamer becomes thrilled.
-- Dreamer becomes terrified.
-- If no action is taken, terrifying thoughts grow into flesh-eating monsters. Dream is considered unrealistic.
-- If action is taken, terrifying thoughts are revealed to be paper tigers. Confidence soars, miracles unfold, and dreamer begins to saunter.
Either way, nothing remains the same.

We started by creating our own business at home, and then expanded self-reliant living into family choices that some may consider extreme, but that we know are true to our values and beliefs. What about you? Is there something you'd rather be or do that seems impossible? Are there preferences you're not living because you don't think you can??

Call or email us if you could use some inspiration, motivation or even celebration on your self-reliant path! We would love to hear from you.

Devin & Maria

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Step 1 ~ Self-Employed Home Business Basics

Okay ... you're ready to shift to the self-reliant path! It starts with creating your own business, but don't get scared yet because we can help you sort through getting this part going.

There are hundreds of books and manuals available that teach entrepreneurs how to run a traditional business. But when it comes to getting a solid foundation for your home-based business, good instructions are not easy to find.

So we're going to show you the simplest, lowest cost ways to make your home business a reality in 7 EASY STEPS. Your belief in yourself will build at each step ... are you ready for STEP #1? Here is what you need to do FIRST.

Step #1: IDENTIFY Your Business ...who are you, and what is your Business?

-- Are you offering a Product or Service?
-- Who do you believe will want to buy your product or service?
-- What unique NAME will it have?
-- How do you Register and Claim that business name?
-- Do you need an EIN or simply your own Social Security# for your business?
-- How much do you have for initial start-up costs?


• Are you offering a Product or Service?
It's important to determine which category your business falls into. PRODUCTS normally require parts, a manufacturing process (even if you do it yourself), and you often need an inventory of your products that are ready to deliver to customers on demand.

On the other hand, offering a SERVICE requires no inventory, parts or manufacturing. Services may include coaching or consulting, health-related services, advertising, organizing, personal assistance, home maintenance or repairs, technical support, day care, photography, interior design and much, much more ... but you get the picture of what we mean by a SERVICE industry, right?

Either way, you want to be aware whether you have a PRODUCT or SERVICE business, because each requires a different approach. We'll get into more depth on that in later posts!

• Who do you believe will want to buy your product or service?
This is called your MARKET. You've got to figure this one out before you spend your $$$ on marketing. Here is the most important question to answer: can you define your IDEAL customer ... the person who would most love and use your product/service?

The more clearly you can define your ideal customer, the more focused and effective you will be when you develop your plan to contact them.

• What unique NAME will it have?
This may be challenging ... you need to find out if anyone already has the name you want to use! It is helpful to talk with people who know you and get their input on this. Before you get set on a name, search on GOOGLE to see what the internet pulls up on what you've chosen. Besides having the name locally, you most likely will want to create a larger internet presence as well, so checking out names online is essential for your future growth. You can go to
GoDaddy and see what names are available for websites, as this is a factor to consider in choosing a name. Once you've decided on one, register and claim your name!

• How do you Register and Claim that business name?
First, you want to register with your County Records office as a "DBA", which stands for "doing business as". In our area, it costs $12 to register and keep a name for 10 years, then you can renew it for 10 more. Most County offices now have an option to register online, so check that out before you drive to the County Records office!

Then go back to
GoDaddy to claim your internet domain name. You'll find several options, but try to purchase a dot com (http://www.yourname.com/) as this is the most desirable.

• Do you need an EIN or can you use your Social Security# for your business?
You can either use your Social Security# or an EIN (Employer Identification Number) for your business. What's the difference? Not much when it comes to filing your taxes, because both are linked to YOU. You can apply for and get an EIN online at

If your business name is tied to your own name (example: Whitworth & Associates), using your SS# may work fine. We have an EIN because we want to keep our business accounts and personal accounts separate ... this makes bookkeeping so much simpler! If you have questions about what's best for you, find a good home-business accountant and take their advice.

• How much do you have for initial start-up costs?
You're going to need to spend some money to get started, no matter what type of business you have! You'll also need a monthly budget, so figure out what it's going to cost to set up and run your business for the first 6 months.

Start-up costs can include product inventory, internet costs (domain name, website, maybe a shopping cart, etc.), logo and design of sales materials, marketing, computer and other office equipment and supplies. Make a list of everything you can think of. If you know others who have their own business, ask them about any hidden costs you may not be considering.

We've created a FREE REPORT titled "The TOP 10 Secrets for Home Business Success." If you want a copy, just email us and you can download it at no cost!

It's important to BE PREPARED in all the areas we've outlined here. Good preparation = greater confidence in getting your home business off to the best start. Once you've done these things, take a deep breath, give yourself a pat on the back, and let's move to your next step!

Self-reliant living is on the way,
Devin & Maria

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Self-Employed Home Business Journey

After a few short stints at various jobs, it was clear to both Devin and I in our early 20's that the employed life was not for us. Even though we were productive and well-liked on the job, working on someone else's schedule and being paid according to someone else's criteria did not fit into our idea of freedom and happiness. Neither of us EVER enjoyed punching a time clock, adhering to a dress code or having performance reviews.

Interestingly enough, Devin hired me when I was 24. He had already struck out on his own, a real maverick entrepreneur. We met on an interstate highway in a very bizarre turn of events (read the story, soon to be published in an upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul book; watch this blog for details!) ...he hired me, and then made it a permanent contract.

Our 30-year journey of unemployment has been on a long and winding road. Of course, there have been road bumps, pot holes and dead ends. We have had a few major wrecks along the way, usually out in the "wilderness" with no one to help. It could be pretty darn scary during the fog, the storms, and in those moments of contemplating the vast UNKNOWN.

Have you ever taken a road trip through the Rocky Mountains? There are times on those switchbacks that you feel way too close to the edge, in danger of rolling down the steep precipice ...then, just moments after, the most awe-inspiring landscape takes your breath away and you're filled with immense GRATITUDE. It's the same with being on your own, being self-employed, self-responsible, self-reliant and along the way, self-fulfilled.

This road trip metaphor is perfect for the entrepreneurial home business journey ...being successfully unemployed is not a destination, but an ongoing adventure. It's never complete; it's like one great unpredictable itinerary with new and often exciting scenery around each twist and turn in the road. YES ...it can be gut-wrenching. YES ...you may sometimes wonder what in the heck you're doing this for.

The truth is, we wouldn't trade this self-reliant way of living for anything!

This blog is our way of providing some confidence-building SIGNPOSTS along your own journey, whether you're just starting to consider breaking free and working for YOU, or you've been self-employed for a while. We can give you a general map to guide you on the way to being successfully unemployed and feeling free to do and be what is best for your life.

Stay tuned ...

your partners in self-reliant living,
Devin & Maria

**WARNING** --- the unemployment path is not for everyone! You probably know people who prefer going to the same vacation destination year after year ...the same hotel, same activities, predictable food, tried and true and SAFE. They take comfort in schedules, like it when someone else leads the way, and prefer not being responsible for what happens in their life. THIS BLOG IS NOT FOR SAFETY-SEEKERS.