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Book Review: Making a Living Without a Job by Barbara Winter

Updated on August 3, 2016

I was in a foul mood when I went to visit my Dad and stepmother in Florida. After a bad and expensive semester at a private college, I was stuck in a depression. It wasn't long into my summer break when I found out that I couldn't afford to go back. My financial aid package had been cut in half, leaving me with no choice but to transfer to a state school, where I will most likely receive little to no financial aid because of the late transfer. I will probably have to take a semester off to save money, which means I'll be that much farther from graduating and being done with the academic world for awhile.

It didn't help that my best friend was telling me what a stupid decision I was making. "You'll be screwed no matter what," she said. "Just take out the loans and come back to school."

I didn't know what I wanted, but I knew that taking out private loans wasn't it. But by the time I had reached Florida, I was depressed, going through an existential crisis and was really wishing for the ability to go back to childhood.

Then I saw a copy of Making a Living Without a Job on their bookshelf.

This is where I was before reading Making a Living Without a Job.

Making a LIving will teach you to become happy and achieve what you want, even when those around you do not.
Making a LIving will teach you to become happy and achieve what you want, even when those around you do not.

Since I've always wanted a more flexible lifestyle than most jobs seem to give, I've read quite a lot of information about being your own self-employer and having passive income. A lot of them even walk me through the steps of making a living without a job. But none of them-- from Tim Ferriss to Pay Flynn-- have actually managed to get through to me and helped me achieve success. I was beginning to think that I just couldn't do it and was quite skeptical about Making a Living. In fact, I didn't pick it up for two days. But I'm certainly glad I did.

Unlike a lot of the books and blogs I've read, Making a Living is less about what you exactly have to do and more about believing you can do it-- the first step of anything.

Until now, I'm not sure if I've ever truly believed that I could make a living without a steady paycheck. But the stories of Barbara herself and others have helped me believe it's possible. Making a Living is less a how-to manual and more a self-help guide for self-discovery and motivation. Barbara teaches about it's possible to do your own business with hard work and positive thinking. Not only does she talk about living without a steady paycheck, but she also shows how you can have multiple profit centers for your own secure income, and even how to have fun during lean financial times. Some of the most useful things to me are this:

  • How to come up with many different ideas for profit centers from your assets, or interests
  • How to enjoy financially lean times instead of stressing about it
  • How to make the transition from an unfulfilling but financially lucrative job into a lifestyle you're happy with
  • Why having a lot of money and capital to start with can actually hinder your business
  • Why setting goals for all aspects of your life is important
  • How to turn marketing on a budget into a creative adventure
  • There's no such thing as "bad" or "low class" work, only work you enjoy and work you don't.

A few Amazon reviews complain about Making a Living not having any real concrete information. I call BS to that. There might not be checklists and step-by-step instructions (which often don't work anyway. Life isn't one-size-fits-all) but there is a ton of useful information for just about everyone. I was reading an out of date version of the book and still got a lot of information. By the time I finished the book-- three weeks after I started it-- I had several new profit center ideas and plans for expanding my existing profit centers. My attitude has changed for the better and now the idea of taking a semester off fills me with excitement, not dread. It'll give me a chance to work on my own profit centers and achieve some of my goals, like getting my driver's license or publishing my own book.

What I also like about Making a Living is that it doesn't tell you what to do. Even though a lot of the information out there is about working for yourself and creating the lifestyle you want, they tell you what to do for a living. Create a course, a niche site, a membership website. If none of that sounds good to you, then you won't make money.

While all of those are fine ways to make money, it's not everything and well-meaning advice can be limiting. Making a Living is all about removing those limits, even for those with regular jobs. One story that really stuck out to me was that of an accountant who actually liked being an accountant but wanted to travel more. So he bought an RV and used that as his home an office, traveling around the country, going from town to town, offering his services for helping people and businesses get their financials in order. After finishing up projects in one town, he'd go on to the next.

This book is great for not only those wanting to have their own businesses, but for those who just need some guidance in their lives. I recommend it to anyone who doesn't feel happy with their current situation, or just needs some reassurance that living without a steady paycheck is a sustainable and enjoyable lifestyle.


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    • Kara Skinner profile image

      Kara Skinner 17 months ago from Maine

      Thank you!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

      Great job of intertwining your own motivations with the book review.