Join a tribe, create your sewing circle, make a living and a difference

Last week, I put out a call for people who love to sew but hate to market. I was thrilled at the overwhelming response from readers and astonished at what some had to say. Many of the emails I received were from people looking for a “work-from-home JOB”.  Why would  someone who for a long time went by the name “self-employment muse.” want to “hire” you?
If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that my mission is to help people create meaningful self employment, that I once had a payroll of over one hundred. While I loved knowing that my business was enabling people to earn a living, it broke my heart when the business could no longer support that many employees. I am committed to empowering people to be responsible for their own livelihood and not be at the mercy of a boss.
It’s my conviction that the creation of small businesses will be the cure for a sick economy; that the only real security is self employment. When I put out that call last week for people who love to sew but hate to market, it was in response to all of you who say you are looking for a way to make a living doing what you love. You love to create but not sell. I LOVE marketing, letting people know about cool products, especially handmade items.  So, what I’m looking for are people who want to be self employed, want to have their own business and be their boss. I don’t sew but I have a product that I know will sell if you, the crafters, supply it.  It’s my goal to create a tribe of entrepreneurs who love what they do and have control of their own time, income and environment.

If it’s a job you’re looking for, I’m not your gal.  But, if you’re seeking inspiration and guidance to be your own boss, to join a tribe of inspired entrepreneurs, let’s talk. You have the equipment since you already sew. You can do all the sewing yourself or create your own community, your sewing circle. And we’ll all be making a difference, making income doing what we love. That’s what inspired livelihood is all about.

Love to Sew but Hate to Sell? I Need your Help.

Recently, inspiration for a product has been so noisy, so constant, it wakes me from a sound sleep. The timing couldn’t be worse since I have a number of plates spinning and deadlines looming but when an idea wants attention so desperately that it keeps jumping around in front of your face,  it can no longer be ignored. So, a few nights ago, I woke up at 3AM and doodled down the design, made notes on sourcing materials and marketing the product.
Because any business I create must meet certain criteria that support my core values, I’ve been considering how this project will impact lives. My design is handcrafted and labor intensive so it makes sense to outsource the production.  My first thought was to teach women in a developing country to make the product, enabling them to earn a fair wage and support their families. Then I thought about the unemployment rates in our own country and all the women who’d benefit by the opportunity to work from home.
I thought of Detroit and all the families whose incomes were dependent on the auto industry. Having spent years in home furnishings, I know what outsourcing overseas has done to the Carolinas and the affect it’s had on entire communities.  So, wouldn’t it make sense to use this idea to create livelihood for families in our own country? I’m going to start here but I need your help. Who do you know who loves to sew and would love to work from home on their own schedule? Let’s see how many women we can help create their own livelihood. Is this you or someone you know? Let’s do this together. I’d love to hear from you.

Jewelry Design, Surfing, Bali, making a living AND improving lives of women and children?

Designing jewelry and belts, surfing, traveling to exotic Bali, protecting the environment and helping to improve the lives of women and children. Is it possible to make a nice living combining these diverse interests?

That’s the kind of question I get from clients.

My friend and mentor, Barbara Winter, shares this story of Inspired Livelihood in action:

Last weekend when I headed to California to visit my family, I had a short list of things I wanted to do while there. One of those items was to visit Betty Belts, a small shop in Ventura which had recently bestowed one of their tote bags on my sister Margaret in a store contest. Although I didn’t need a belt, Margaret insisted I needed to see the store.

She was absolutely right. From the moment we entered this cozy shop, I knew we were in a special place. I learned that the store is named after a pioneering woman surfer who inspired other women to master the sport.

We began our visit by admiring the beautiful silver jewelry made by the group of artisans that stock the store. Owner/Designer Donna von Hoesslin was puttering about the place. Within a few minutes, I discovered that she was passionate about jewelry, the environment, surfing and Bali, Donna has found a way to integrate all these passions into her life.

She also proudly announced that her business had recently reached its seventh anniversary. The shop is a recent addition to the successful online business that Donna’s run for most of that time.

When I admired a bracelet she was wearing she told me the story of its inception. She and several members of Team Betty had gone to Bali, Donna challenged them to each come up with a new jewelry design, give it a name and choose a cause that would receive 15% of the profits from its sales. The bracelet she was wearing was called Compassion and the designer had been so moved by the huge number of stray dogs in Bali that her cause was a pet rescue mission there.

Jewelry wasn’t all that this shop had to offer, however. There are magnificent scarves imported from Bali, large framed photographs of surfers taken by Donna’s boyfriend, and her own signature beaded belts.

I’m quite sure that Margaret and I were both smiling when we walked back to my car.
“I just love meeting people who love what they do so much,” Margaret said. Of course, I agreed. All that passion is positively contagious when it’s put to such good use.

After I got home, I paid a visit to her gorgeous Web site where I read, “Donna von Hoesslin takes her inspiration from her love of the ocean and the beach lifestyle, combined with the influence of 17 years of living in Europe.

“She believes in giving back where she can and does so by supporting many causes, among which are environmental fundraisers, at-risk youth, women’s surfing (through athlete and event sponsorship), 1% For The Planet Membership, Coop America, and support for the mostly female artisans in Bali who make the products and much more.”

This lovely field trip reminds me that people who practice inspired livelihood just keep spreading all that goodness around.

Barbara Winter shares ideas and inspiration with other creative entrepreneurs through her blog Buon Viaggio, her long-running print newsletter “Winning Ways” and “Joyfully Jobless” News ezine. In addition, Barbara conducts seminars and retreats across the country and internationally. Since it first appeared in 1993, her book “Making a Living Without a Job” has been a handbook for thousands of people. An updated edition hit the market in Sept, 2009 and was an instant best seller.

If you know you want to find more meaning in your livelihood doing what you love and making a difference in a few lives, your community or the world, April is the time to step up and get started.

Are you having trouble figuring out how doing what you love can improve lives and earn the income you need?

I had such a tremendous response to the March Idea Generating special that I’m extending the offer through April. I’ve bundled my “Idea Generating” sessions and you can now sign up for a package of 3 Private One-to-One Phone Sessions with me for $270. My single session rate is $185 an hour but because NOW is the TIME to TAKE ACTION, I’m opening up a limited number of session hours to a select few who are ready to Spring into Action.

you can purchase a
3 Session Package for $270 ( less than half the usual hourly rate.)

Find out More about these Idea Generator Sessions

STOP beating yourself up for not accomplishing what you planned to earlier this year. Forget those New Years resolutions. Winter is hibernation season in nature for a reason. But, NOW is time to SPRING into action!