Working your passion: I want your questions + Vegan news you can use (3/17/13)

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by JL Fields on March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! No green beer for me today but I am hoping to find something green and yummy at the Neat Market and/or Nooch in Denver today!

I want to thank you for the overwhelming response to my new vegan Kitchen Coaching and Weekly Home Cooked Meals service in Colorado Springs. I am so excited to work with my new clients!  Looking for a little help in the kitchen? Read more here!

I also want to thank you for understanding about my lack of news links last week. Sometimes a girl just needs to snowshoe. Today I am going to share links to news and blogs but, first, I have a question:

What do you want to know about professionalizing your passion?

Last year I made a decision to walk away from a good-paying job and a retirement plan to work my passion – to help people along their vegan journey which I know will lead to the reduction of violence against animals. A dream come true! I wrote about how I went about this and dubbed the transition How to Retire Before you Retire.

Many of you have reached out to me for career coaching to do the same thing; you want to re-imagine work and professionalize your passion. But I know more of you, my fellow vegan activists, want help making small steps toward changing the world for animals. So I thought I would write a few posts here on how I moved from full-time higher education fundraiser to part-time nonprofit and education consultant and part-time vegan cook, coach, educator, and writer. What do you want me to share here that will help you?  Please leave your requests in the comments below, or email me.

And now, the news!

This week’s vegan links and news

If you’re hungry, try these recipes:

This week on the blogs

JL goes Vegan

TUESDAY:  Vegan Lifestyle Class Begins + Peanut Butter Advocacy (Curry Peanut Butter recipe!)

Curry Peanut Butter with Herb crackers 500

WEDNESDAY: Cooking while not in the kitchen: the rice cooker to the rescue! (Garlic Lentils & Kale Recipe)

Rice Cooker Garlic Lentils & Kale

FRIDAY: Colorado Springs, I’m ready to cook for YOU! Announcing Plant-Based Kitchen Coaching and Weekly Home Cooked Meal Services!

JL Fields Vegan Cooking Services in Colorado Springs

SATURDAY: Vegan-Friendly Tabor Mountain Bakehouse Relocates to Colorado Avenue

Vegan Soup, Salad, and Bread at Tabor Mountain Bakehouse

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  • You are such an inspiration, my friend! I love what you are doing. One of the things I’d be totally curious about is how you planned your finances for ‘the big leap’. Did you save up in advance so that you’d have a buffer for the transition? How much did you put aside–one month, two, three, etc? And did you have a Plan B if the vegan coaching didn’t take off and you needed to earn some money quickly? As you can see, for me it would all be about the security–I am not a huge risk-taker and I’d want to feel like I could relax into the new field without worrying constantly about paying the bills!

    I’m also really curious about how you decided what programs to offer–did you already have some ideas in mind, or did they evolve based on what people were asking for?

    Thanks, JL! 🙂

    • JL

      Great questions, @twitter-48088321:disqus! I will definitely address these – thanks!

  • On the medicine front- of course all meds sold in the US have been tested on animals, so even ones that don’t directly have animal products aren’t technically vegan. One of my pharmacology professors in nursing school put a bonus question on an exam about which of the thyroid-class medications to avoid in vegans- I put the right answer, but also wrote a note on the test that I found the question pretty offensive as a vegan, since all medications are animal tested, and while avoid desiccated animal thyroid hormones is more vegan, it’s not totally vegan, and we should be aware of that as providers. That said, if you’re a vegan who needs meds, you need meds. There are somethings that a vegan diet and clean living won’t fix alone.

    • JL

      All good points! And such a good reminder that the vegan journey isn’t about perfection but about doing the best we can on behalf of animals. Thanks for chiming in, @twitter-29026893:disqus!

  • I know this is kinda basic, but I’ve always struggled creating a budget. What do you use to manage yours? Spreadsheet, Google doc? How do you plan it? I’d love to know!

    • JL

      This is a great suggestion, @facebook-100001600461823:disqus! I will definitely cover this (teaser: I never met a spreadsheet I didn’t love!).

  • Robin P

    I’d like to learn how I, as a reader, can help all of you great bloggers be more successful. I love to learn and I spend tons of time absorbing new knowledge (and a lot of that knowledge comes from you and other great bloggers). I also love to write, but I don’t have the time or talent to start my own blog. I’ve tried and it just didn’t click. What can I do to help change the world for animals and also keep you guys going strong?

    • JL

      @google-9c116d7110005a5aec346b279d04e241:disqus, your question warms my heart, first of all! Secondly, I love this question and I’m going to put a lot of thought to it! Because we all come at our activism from different vantage points. Thank you, thank you for inspiring me to dive deep into this!

  • Well, one of the areas I have struggled with is understanding many of the ‘behind the scenes’ technicalities of blogging. Communicating my message and sharing my recipes is the fun and lively part that I enjoy. But, I’ve always felt I lack technical knowledge about how to optimize what I am blogging. You seem to have a great grasp on what stats are important, what we should analyze, how often, how to use that information to change/update things, etc. For new and established bloggers, where should they begin to learn these technicalities to improve what they are doing – and as efficiently as possible if they have full-time jobs or are full-time mamas! 😉

    • JL

      Oh, @facebook-663511674:disqus, that’s a big one! I’m not much of a technical wizard but I have put a lot of thought into how I can utilize this forum to move vegan activism form and much of that is technical. Great suggestion!

  • wow, so much exciting stuff going on for you!! I love reading your updates right now, and also love when you take a bit of time off to go snowshoeing 🙂 That’s how you stay focused, right, by taking a bit of time here & there to fulfill yourself! At least, that’s what I keep telling myself… 😉

    Ok, I have a question that’s kind of more big picture than details – how do you figure out what your passion is? I’ve read a lot of books, listened to a lot of speakers, done a lot of ‘exercises’ – and I know what I enjoy, and what I want to share with the world, but sometimes I wonder if there’s something more I could do or add or refine. They often say that your passion is what you would do if money weren’t the goal, but there are so many things I would do if I didn’t have to make money. And I know that we all need to make money – not just for the sake of making money, but for giving a value to our contribution, and enabling us to live and spread our energy to others. I also see a lot of others struggling with this question, so I’d also love to get your thoughts for them 🙂

    • JL

      Oh, this is such a great question and philosophical discussion, @heathernicholds:disqus! I will definitely try to tackle it in a post. This point is terrific: “They often say that your passion is what you would do if money weren’t the goal, but there are so many things I would do if I didn’t have to make money. ” And that’s just it – I thought about what I wanted to do and tried to figure how to make just enough money to live so that I could be tremendously happy doing work I love and would impact animals lives but that I didn’t go broke doing it! LOL More on this…thanks!

      • excellent, I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts 🙂

  • Christy

    What do you do when you know your passion and are living it but it’s always a struggle to make ends meet? If you have to do work that isn’t directly fulfilling your passion it takes away from the time you get to spend on your passion. What risks are acceptable to take in order to live your passion fully? Thanks!

    • JL

      @939421d82bd32cae7801e5ec56c45a59:disqus, these are great questions – I will work on responding to them!

  • mj

    First, I love your blog (I know I say that anytime I comment on a post, but I can’t stop! I love it!), and second, I have learned so much from you! We share the same passion, and watching you grow your passion has been an inspiration to me! I would like to do the same. I am looking forward to your posts about your journey. Any advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps is greatly appreciated! Can’t wait to read those future posts! Thank you for all you do!

    • JL

      @2a3ab45f615b99b59f08d2b52da45bf8:disqus , thank you SO much! I can’t wait to share ideas – I love the idea of a peaceful army of activists out there working on behalf of animals!

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  • Genevieve

    I am so thankful you are accepting questions about how to get started with a vegan business, thank you JL!

    I suppose my biggest problem is I am SUCH an introvert and like Ricki below crave a security blanket. I am so scared of failing and ruining my life. I am interested in possibly starting a vegan meal delivery service but am concerned I will not be “taken seriously” without a credential. The only school I am interested in for cooking (NGI) is over 30k and I don’t want to go into debt. I am confident in my abilities and have been cooking unprofessionally for a decade, but worry this will hurt me. With little capital how does one start? How does one get over being shy and insecure in their abilities?

    In addition to being concerned about that, I wonder how you marketed yourself? I would be interested in reaching out to non-vegans and making my business a form of activism more than reaching out to those already converted. I also worry about treading on other people’s businesses. There is another vegan delivery service in my town and I worry about competition (but I guess that’s the point of business?).

    I suppose my big questions are: how do you effectively market yourself in a big city while being terrified of failure? How do you get over the fear of failure? How do you get the motivation to get started? Did you have a plan or just jump in and make it up as you went?

    Thank you!

    • JL

      @e0874729087748a98d2372a11f6fc060:disqus, thank you for bringing up these issues! Marketing is a big one and I have lots of thoughts on it – I will most definitely address – marketing to both the veg and non-veg crowd (by the way, the majority of my students and clients are not vegan and don’t read vegan blogs!)

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