The Art of Non-Conformity

I lost my job in 2008. I was a legal secretary for a real estate development firm.

They let me go a month after I got married. My husband got let go a month BEFORE we got married.

That following year, from October 2008 to October 2009 was one of the hardest years of my entire life. I thought we were screwed forever. I thought I was broken. I didn’t want to get another secretary job, not only did I not enjoy it, I wasn’t very good at it. I didn’t even know where to start another life, how to do it. I had no money, I had nothing.

My brother told me about a website.

The Art of Non-Conformity.

I started eating this website. I knew inherently that there was something here. Something for ME here. I read posts like, “How To Be Awesome” and “Why You Should Quit Your Job and Travel the World.”

I read every article, every blog post. I didn’t know what else to do except keep reading this guy who told me I didn’t have to live like everyone else.

Soon I realized tour guiding, which I had been doing as a volunteer, was a skill I had. And it was something I loved. And from Chris Guillebeau, the author and awesomeness of AONC, I learned that I could make tour guiding my full-time job. That there was MORE security in starting my own business, than working for someone else.

In January 2009, I started my first ever Pedway Tour – and the rest is history.

Once in a feat of I don’t know what, I found out Chris was coming to Chicago for an event. I wrote to him and asked him if he’d like a tour. AND HE DID. This was the greatest thing ever. I couldn’t believe it. I was going to get to meet Chris. He came into town with J.D. Roth and we walked around, but we were so interested in each other and life, that we barely even toured. We just talked. And it was one of the greatest days of ever, for me and my business.

One thing I realized about Chris, and I hope this doesn’t come out wrong, was that he was a regular guy. He was a REALLY nice guy, but a normal, everyday fellow. He wasn’t larger than life. He was like me. And that just egged me on even further. He really was making his way by being an awesome, but totally down-to-earth guy.

And as they do, an opportunity popped up. A few weeks ago Chris mentioned he was looking for more cities for his book tour for The 100$ Startup.

I jumped.

I asked him if he had Chicago on his stop and he didn’t have it yet. I was so excited to be able to return the favor. The oh so many favors this man has done for me, just by writing, and I offered to help.



Chris Guillebeau from The Art of Non-Conformity will be here, September 11, 2012. We’ll be hosting him at Fizz (great upstairs, GREAT) from 7-9. The event is FREE. There will be drinks and conversation and awesomeness.

If you want to be inspired, please come. We’d love to have you. And I promise you, if you need a talking to, if you need an ass-kicking, if you need a gentle hand, if you want to meet people who are pulling awesome out of their bodies – come. Come one, come all. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

The happiness I feel of my “right work” has everything to do with Chris and his website and I can’t wait to spread the word.

I’ll see you there.


This is a video of me Chris took while I was giving him his tour!

4 thoughts on “The Art of Non-Conformity

  1. And just as Chris’ awesomeness has spread to you, Margaret, your awesomeness is spreading to us. Thank you so much for this post…and I’ll see you there!

  2. Why isn’t the event listed on the Fizz website event schedule? I’m really interested in attending, and was looking to see if we needed reservations or anything like that. The I realized I couldn’t find anything about the event on the site 🙁

  3. Hey CK! I dunno, I’ll check with Fizz, see if it’s on there. But the event is free, you don’t need resos, just show up at Fizz at 7 and you’ll be good!

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