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Superpowers, Part II

Those of us who are self-employed, as well as anyone who performs intellectual work of some kind for a living, are continuously faced with a dilemma.

The dilemma can be stated in the form of a two-word question: What's next?

Many of us encounter this dilemma numerous times a day, whenever we first approach the machines that guide us through our work.

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Beginnings, Process, and the Calm Before the Storm

Greetings from East 42nd Street in New York City. I'm here to begin a new journey as The $100 Startup goes out to the world tomorrow. Here are a few notes on the early beginnings. It all started back in 2009. I had established the blog and began a new way of life: writing for a living. Or mostly, writing because it was what I wanted to do more than anything else ...

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First Steps to Working for Yourself (Follow-Up)

Last week I presented a scenario from one of our readers. Anna was recently laid off from a middle management job, and rather than look for work, she was hoping to become self-employed for the first time. What are the first steps? she wanted to know. I said that I would share my answer, but first I wanted to hear from the rest of our community. If you're in a similar situation or are just curious, you can read some of the answers and see if any advice serves your needs. I've copied a few of my favorite responses ...

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Everyday Decisions: Getting Started with Working for Yourself

Anna wrote in with a common question: how to get started working on your own?

I hear these questions a lot, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Despite the variations, most of them have a common theme. Here's how Anna put it in her message, which I'm sharing with her permission:

I was recently laid off after working in a middle management position for the past four years. The layoff was sad, but not completely unexpected. The company has been losing money, and while I'd like to think I was irreplaceable, I know the truth is that they simply had to eliminate some positions ...

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An Academic Confession

A long time ago, I sent a thick packet of information to Yale, explaining in considerable detail how awesome I was and why they should accept the honor of my giving them tens of thousands of dollars a year. They sent me back a short, polite letter, saying that while they were happy to accept my initial contribution of $75, they had plenty of other applicants, even more qualified and more awesome than me, all willing to pony up the tens of thousands of dollars for the next few years.

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How to Do the Right Thing

From time to time, I write about the general subject of thinking for yourself—also known as why you don't need to take anyone's advice about much of anything. Whenever I do, I always receive lots of concerned emails from people who make their living by telling other people what to do, explaining why “surely” I don't mean to imply that their clients should stop giving them money to help them make their decisions.

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When You Travel, You Find Yourself Alone

Greetings from St. John's, Newfoundland—the "east east" coast of North America, and the first stop of my book tour to every province in Canada. I'll be on the road for the next two weeks. Articles will continue to be posted as always, but email and the rest of my work may be delayed as I explore the frozen north. For my trip eastward and your life wherever you are, here's a poem from John O'Donohue that I especially liked ...

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The Agenda: Wrap-Up

I started writing the Agenda series in Algeria two months ago, in preparation for the book launch and a week of guest blogging at Powells.com. There are a few points I left out of the series, most of which I decided were irrelevant to the message. For example, I'm very passionate about travel and entrepreneurship, but I didn't write much about them in the series, because these are two expressions (not the only ones) of the non-conformist life. Not everyone wants to travel or own a business, and while I'll continue to do much of my work for those who do, I also understand that there is more than one way to create your own independence.

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Non-Independence Day

I didn't write an Independence Day post last week partly because I've been on the road. Burkina Faso is a fun enough place to visit, but there were no fireworks displays at night to celebrate America's intent to withdraw from King George's Britain. But the other reason is that I think of a celebration of independence much like the Thanksgiving holiday. The holiday later in the year is all about eating pie and being grateful. I like both of those things; I just think that being grateful (or eating pie!) shouldn't be reserved for one special day.

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