Hello Business Leaders!
If you want to be a serious AND successful entrepreneur you MUST go beyond your basic knowledge level (or lack thereof) of business. The best, fastest, most effective, and probably longest lasting way to bridge your knowledge gap is to read. And I mean read A LOT. Not just about business either. I often tell clients that to have a successful and healthy business they need to be successful and healthy people! Your business is a reflection of you so Do The Work! If you need to read about be fiscally responsible do it! If you need to learn how to trust people (or find the right people to trust), go for it! When I first started my business I quickly realized how little I really knew about starting, having, or running a business! I didn't come a family of entrepreneurs, and all my life I was told to do the traditional or safe thing ie. go to school and get a job. So when I started my business one of the first things I needed to learn was how to stop being a CONSUMER and how to be a successful PRODUCER. Below is my journey about what resources I used to help position myself as a successful entrepreneur and become the go-to contact for my clients and colleagues. To help you, I organized my recommendations into categories for NEW, advanced, and curious entrepreneurs, and created a FREE guide on all the book recommendations I have collected and how to start your own!
During law school, I lost my love for reading. Honestly, I just didn't have the time. With 20+ page reading assignments from EACH of my classes my days, nights, weekends, and life was filled with learning about my new profession. After law school I was OVER IT! I didn't want to read or do anything seemingly academic. But, I was lying to myself. I LOVE to learn and always have! I'm an intellectual at heart and the more I didn’t feed that side of myself the more I grew dissatisfied and bored (there is only so much reality TV one can take before you consciously know you are killing your brain cells). You have to feed yourself, ALL parts of yourself. And if you want to have a successful and profitable business, ESPECIALLY if you're just starting off you have to feed your knowledge gaps. As a new entrepreneur, you don't even know what you don’t know. Don't just hop from free webinar to free webinar and TRUST what people say they know. Go out and get the info for yourself! Go back to the origin of the newest craze and make your own spin on it. Become serious with your entrepreneurial pursuit of knowledge! You are ONLY as good as your ability to execute (talk is cheap)! And you can only execute what you have been exposed to, trained on, or experienced in. In other words reading will help you to STOP making things up and START becoming the expert you are!
When I decided I wanted to become an entrepreneur I dove right into ALL the books I could find and that fit my budget (shout out to Half Priced Books!!!). I started with my favorite “How To Guides” AKA the Dummy Books! Don't sleep on them, the Idiot & Dummy Guides are a great overview of ANY subject and give a broad, but through analysis of the issues and important phrases. Then I started to get right into the meat and potatoes of what area of business I was interested in pursuing. I bought coaching and consulting (and event planning books - MSP has had a long journey) books to learn more about the industry. These books became my Bible of best practices and resources for quick answers. My next phase of discovery was audiobooks via Youtube and Audible. I wanted to maximize my learning time so I would listen while I cleaned the dishes, commuted to side hustles, and ran errands. I spent hours listening to books about finance, personal development, whatever seemed useful to my journey. On Youtube, I even listened to playlists from my favorite coaches like Marie Forleo, Natalie McNeil, and groups like Young Female Entrepreneurs. Now I'm an avid podcast listener (more of that in an upcoming post), but I cannot get away from reading. Picking up a book or listening is still one of the BEST ways to leap ahead of your peers and quickly apply proven principles to your business.
When I go out to networking events or even online, colleagues are always asking what I'm reading. Even on some of the most popular podcasts, the hosts always ask what they guest would recommend. Having a good book recommendation positions you as an authority figure. Its a badge of honor to say you invested your time and resources in educating yourself and here is how you applied the knowledge. Below are my top 5 book recommendations for new entrepreneurs and like I said above I even pulled together some special lists for advanced, and curious entrepreneurs. To make it easy I organized all my favorite books into a one-stop Amazon store and created a FREE guide on all the book recommendations I have collected and how to start your own!
My Top 5 Business Books for NEW entrepreneurs:
Focus Area - Mindset - Ok this is like the number one book recommended to new entrepreneurs. Out of the all the recommendations I received for this list this book came up 1 out of 3 times! This book is all about the mindsets of the wealthy and how you can adopt them for your life and business.
Key Takeaway - To get where you want to go you MUST surround yourself with like-minded people and spend frequent time "masterminding" for your future. I'm currently in one mastermind with several women for over a year and we ALL have made tremendous growth and created several new streams of income! If you are interested in joining or creating a mastermind drop me a line here!
Focus Area - Business Organization/Systems - This book really hits home how to start running a business and how to not let your business RUN you! Learning how to structure your business for scale from the BEGINNING is invaluable.
Key Takeaway - Just because your title is CEO that means nothing. For success in the business you're pouring your blood, sweat, and tears into you'll need to be clear of your capacity (entrepreneur, manager, or technician) and all the roles necessary to fuel your dream. Once your clear get to the business of getting you out of the business!
Focus Area - Marketing - This book helps you focus your business efforts and actions on marketing your services correctly. Along the lines of Seth Godin's Permission Marketing theory, you should find and focus your efforts on those who want to do business with you.
Key Takeaway - Keep a consistent system of events and activities that will keep you in front of your ideal clients so they think of you when they are ready to purchase.
Focus Area - Networking - This book focus on the value of strategic and consistent networking. Keith Ferrazzi tells us the power of a successful network and practical examples of how you can grow yours.
Key Takeaway - Use every opportunity to build your network, even at other people's events. For example, host a free meetup like I did at the Blogging While Brown 2015 Conference. (Check out the photos of all my networking adventures here!)
Focus Area - Systems/Lifestyle - This book focus on the entrepreneurial lifestyle of Tim Ferris. He worked tirelessly to make sure his business served his lifestyle goals and not the other way around.
Key Takeaway - When you are starting your entrepreneurial journey be clear where and how you want to live. Do you enjoying checking in the office everyday, or do you want to be able work remotely from anywhere in the world? Whichever you choose become intentional with every action to lead towards that goal.
But, that is just the beginning. Once you have operated your business long enough you need to assess what areas you really NEED development in and not just what you think you WANT to focus on. In other words FEED your struggles and MAINTAIN your talents. I LOVE me some pretties so, graphic design, branding, and creating social media posts, came a little easier for me. But learning how to best optimize my website was something I needed to work on (analytics is a science). To determine what books would help me grow I started to compile all of the reading lists I could find. To see my findings and get some new books for your library click here.
This journey has also taught me about productivity and maximizing one of our most valuable assets which is time. One of my next posts will be about my experiments to better maximize my time! Be sure you are registered for my mailing list to get the next post first!
P.S. Want a snazzy mug to sip from while you pour through you newest book? Click here to pick up an official #LeadersRead mug today!