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Creative Ways to Succeed in the Knowledge Economy

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I enjoyed each of these stories that have been floating around.

If you want to be negative, there’s at least one major point you could critique about each of them. The woman making tons of money on Etsy isn’t actually handcrafting most of her items, which is the guiding value of Etsy. The Rideshare Guy is essentially trading time for money. The poets, well, I guess you could say it’s more of a party trick than real poetry.

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To Be More Creative, Schedule Your Work at 80% Capacity

3601990852_541f71970d_z I'm fortunate to work with great partners, including a wonderful design studio right in Southeast Portland called Jolby & Friends.

I was recently with the Jolby crew on a site visit, and one of them mentioned something about how they deliberately operate their studio on an "80% capacity" model.

The idea is that they schedule themselves only 80% full in order to be available for last-minute client requests, as well as their own work. I thought this was really interesting!

I wrote to Steven, the studio manager, to ask more about how it works.

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You Don’t Have to Win at Everything

I had coffee with an aspiring entrepreneur who was struggling with priorities.

“I worry I’m doing everything wrong!” he said.

Everywhere he went, people gave him free advice. They told him about email marketing ... and webinars ... and the latest new social network ... and all the things he had to do to keep up.

"I'm not sure I'll be able to do all these things," he continued. "I can hardly keep up with the list!" Well, that’s the thing. First of all, it’s very hard to fully "keep up" these day. There’s always a new network to learn, a new tool to master. There’s always one more thing that can be done.

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Waking Up at Night with Big Ideas

Long ago, right before I started this blog and began the full-time quest to "go everywhere," I went through a six-month period of thinking about it. When I say I was thinking about it, I mean it occupied my mental world approximately 80% of the time. I was still working and going to grad school during the day, but my attention lay elsewhere.

Then, at night, I'd go to bed with a notebook on my nightstand. I kept it there because almost every night, I'd wake up feeling excited. I'd have another idea or something new to add to the outline.

I loved this story of Benny Hsu making $100,000 from his t-shirt designs—a huge entrepreneurial success on his own, no doubt. But I also related to how the project took over his life and became all he thought about.

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A Better Approach to “Never Check Email in the Morning”

226823992_0eb2580004_z You’ve heard the conventional wisdom: never check email in the morning.

That sounds great, unless your job involves communicating with people, or if you happen to care about what people have to say to you. In either of those cases, you very well might want (or need!) to see what's happened overnight just as you sit down to work.

It's also true, though, that it's easy to get sucked into replies and never end up creating or building or just working on something that requires long-term focus, all because you can't get your nose out of the inbox.

Years ago I found a better way that I still use most days of the week. Here's how it works.

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How Much Money Do You Need to Live Abroad? 13 Questions to Ask Yourself

This is an excerpt from Working On the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom by Nora Dunn.

Traveling full-time can actually cost far less than it does to live in one place. This is due to a number of cost-saving factors, ranging from volunteering in trade for free accommodation, using frequent flyer miles, spending time in places where the cost of living is cheaper (sometimes), and judiciously monitoring your spending.

There's no template solution to how much money you’ll need to begin your life working abroad, but you can use these questions to help gauge the expenses you’ll have and how they will vary based on itineraries, priorities and travel style.

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What If You Had to Work Only One Hour a Day?

I caught bronchitis last winter, and it lasted for more than a week. I spent much of the day sleeping or complaining.

But of course, I still had to work sometime. My energy level was constantly low, but every so often I'd muster enough strength to work through a few tasks or half-heartedly reply to emails before crashing on the couch.

The rest of the time, when I wasn’t sleeping or complaining, I was on the couch reading or watching bad TV shows on my iPad. Once in a while I’d be inspired to boil water for herbal tea. It was rough—even worse than the dreaded man flu.

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The Magic Button of Good Design

At least once a week I receive questions about the design process behind the self-published work I’ve made, in particular the three manifestos I offered a few years ago.

"What software do you use?" people want to know. In other words, how do I “make them look good”?

I'm no designer, but as a writer I appreciate the value of imagery and structure that works in harmony with words. I also know that there’s no big secret to it, nor is there a shortcut.

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Prepare for Tomorrow by Doing One Thing Differently Today

Here’s a trick that will help every time.

Work hard during the day, and cross off as many things from your list as you can. But as you’re winding down, save something. Leave one thing undone.

Don’t actually do that one more task—but do identify it.

Stop before you’re completely ready to stop. Build a bridge to the future, and leave your current day’s work knowing what you’re going to do next.

It will work. Every time.

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To Stop Insanity, It’s Not Just About Doing Things Differently

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
-attributed to Albert Einstein, but likely apocryphal

Whoever said it, you’ve probably heard this quotation at some point. And in one way or another, you’ve probably fallen into the trap of doing the same thing over and over, all the while expecting a different outcome.

I think the real danger of going insane doesn’t come from something new, but rather from something that we’ve been doing for a while.

Most of us are smart enough to realize that if we try something new and it doesn’t work, we can’t just keep trying the same way and expect different results. We might try again, but we’ll usually switch up the tactic. Even mice in a maze will learn to adapt and attempt different solutions.

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Tomorrow’s the Last Day for Online Business Training (+ Free Bonuses & Year-Long Support)

9389852584_cd001db345_z Link: 8 Weeks of Online Business Training

Bonuses: Get Naming Rights to My Firstborn A Ton of Great Bonuses When You Sign Up

(Note: You’ll automatically receive the bonuses when signing up at the above link. There’s no need to do anything else.)

Hey everyone,

Just a heads-up that tomorrow is the final day to register for Marie Forleo’s online business course. I’ve said a lot about it already, so this is just a quick notice and an important explanation about why I decided to promote the course.

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One Log Cabin and 800 Yoga Mats: Some Unconventional Tax Deductions from My Life in 2014

I’ve been working on my tax return this week, which is complicated for a lot of reasons. First, I run several different businesses which all have their own set of accounting. WDS, our annual gathering, has its own legal structure, including a foundation that is completely separate from all my other projects. Last year we started an all-new event that also has its own legal structure.

So yeah, it’s complicated. It takes about 20 hours just to prepare all the info for my accountant, and as with most tax-prep tasks, it’s not usually a fun process. But I do enjoy seeing some of the charges on my statements from the previous year. They remind me of the crazy life I have, and the many fun experiences that I'm fortunate to participate in.

As I went through all the expenses, a few things stood out that I thought were especially interesting or noteworthy. And yes, my accountant usually has a lot of questions for me about these things before we actually complete the return and file with the IRS.

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How to Learn About Entrepreneurship Without Spending a Cent

As part of the promotion for this year’s B-School program with my friend Marie, I wanted to point out two very clear things:

1. I think this course is fantastic, and well worth the cost. If you like the idea of establishing a freedom business, like I’ve done and so many AONC readers have done, this is a great way to get going in a structured program.

2. If you don’t have the money or aren't sure you're ready, you don’t need to pay for this or anything else. You’re not "missing out." There are always other ways you can learn and participate.

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Immerse Yourself in What You Want to Become

38563077_a0e8fc4065_z In reading the transcript of Bob Dylan’s speech at MusiCares, I also liked this part on the origins of his songwriting:

“There's nothing secret about it. You just do it subliminally and unconsciously, because that's all enough, and that's all I sang. That was all that was dear to me. They were the only kinds of songs that made sense.

I learned lyrics and how to write them from listening to folk songs. And I played them, and I met other people that played them back when nobody was doing it. Sang nothing but these folk songs, and they gave me the code for everything that's fair game, that everything belongs to everyone.

For three or four years all I listened to were folk standards. I went to sleep singing folk songs. I sang them everywhere, clubs, parties, bars, coffeehouses, fields, festivals. And I met other singers along the way who did the same thing and we just learned songs from each other. I could learn one song and sing it next in an hour if I'd heard it just once."

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