photo-6Many of us delve into reinventing ourselves at some point. After a move, a breakup, a job loss, when the kids are grown and move out… Any number of ways the carpet gets yanked out from under us can trigger the need to take that good, hard look in the mirror. Some reach this precipice, take the leap, and land with grace on the other side, while others fall to pieces.

I’ve taken a good look at a few of my friends who are on the “landed with grace” side of the precipice, and I notice that they have a few things in common:

1. They Started a Business
Each of them now runs a successful business. From wine pairing, sewing, crafting handmade jewelry, weaving, making pottery, drawing henna designs, running a restaurant, each of them found something they loved to do, and further: that they were good at doing. Rather than looking for a job that would let them do what they love, they turned what they love into their job. Daily they spend time doing what they love, and they even report that the mundane parts of running a business are better than doing that same mundane task for someone else.

2. They Use Their Stuff (and Improve Upon It)
My friend Patty makes amazing handbags, designing them for what she herself would want to buy: high quality materials, superb stitching, ornate and functional buttons and zippers, and she really thinks through where to put every pocket. It takes a lot of hard work on her part, and the final product certainly shows. And she isn’t afraid to upgrade the designs as her needs change. For instance, when switching to a touchscreen phone from a smaller flip phone, she started designing larger and more convenient cell phone pockets in her handbags—a detail not overlooked by her clientele.

3. They’re Open to New Ideas and Concepts
I attend an Open House a couple times a year, put on by my friends who make jewelry and who started inviting all their artistic friends to come and showcase our own items, from books and clothing to even other jewelry artists. I’m always amazed at how everyone gets together to compare notes. The artists use these gatherings as opportunities to learn from and encourage one another rather than roll their eyes or feel jealous about someone’s sales.

4. They Make Informed Delegations
Each of my friends strives to know their business, from rules to trends to the price of gold. But rather than take time away from their craft to run out and learn everything else about social media, web hosting, computer support, tax codes, investing, heart surgery—you get the drift, they learn enough to have a solid grasp on what needs to be done and what it should cost, and then they trust their hired experts to do what the experts do. They then use the countless hours that they freed up from micromanaging and put it to good use furthering their craft.

5. They Give Back
Whether they donate to charity or help support local artists by bringing talented people together, my successful business friends make sure to give back. They’ve been there; they know what it’s like to be down and out, or to feel unfulfilled in their work lives. And now that they’re making a living doing something they love, in any way they can, they give back, because they know how good they’ve got it. Subsequently, the more they give, whether in time or money or advice, the more they seem to get back in terms of friendships, connections, and realizing a job well done.

Putting Yourself in Your Work~
Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. Her current writing projects, including her daily blog endeavor, #Project365, can be found at