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10 Books You Need To Read Before Starting Your Business

10 Books You Need To Read Before Starting Your Business

There are essentially two main paths to success in business: either do it all on your own and make a lot of mistakes in the process, or learn from others’ mistakes and cut your learning curve considerably. If you’re like me, then you’ll prefer the latter route.

As an aspiring entrepreneur with a goal of building a profitable business, it might be worth taking the time to read a few books before you get started. You will still need to learn through your own failures, but why not get started on the right foot with a few tips from some experienced and successful entrepreneurs?

Since starting my first online business over 7 years ago, I have read over 250 business books, but these are the ones that have especially stuck with me.

1. Ask by Ryan Levesque

ryanask

    Ryan Levesque is a successful entrepreneur who left a corporate job in Shanghai, China to pursue his passion of starting an online business. Within a short period of time he was able to build over 20 successful companies online and hasn’t looked back since.

    He used to be known as the “secret weapon” for many entrepreneurs, but after a health scare, he realized it was time to share his knowledge with the world. He created his “ask” formula to promote success – which are a series of questions and surveys that help you gain deep insights about your target audience.

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    Ryan Levesque’s book Ask made me look at internet marketing and online business in a new way. Instead of trying to “guess” what my prospective customers need or want, I now use his formula to glean new insights so that I can build solutions that my customers actually want. If you too want to succeed online and don’t want to waste time and money, then grab a copy of Ask.

    2. DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online by Russell Brunson

    dotcomsecrets

      DotCom Secrets is my favorite book from this list. I keep returning to it over and over again when I need to setup or optimize my sales funnels. And what better person to learn from than the master of sales funnels himself: Russell Brunson? Russell has been successfully building sales funnels for himself and his clients for as long as I can remember, but I never really took interest in his work until recently. He offered this book for free + shipping on his website, so I thought I’d see what he’d come up with.  I wasn’t disappointed; it’s become my goto book for sales funnels ever since.

      3. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

      100dollarstartup

        Could you really start up a business on $100 budget? Chris Guillebeau says you can and makes the case by interviewing over 1500 entrepreneurs on their journey to building successful startup companies – many who started with a modest budget of less than $100. Chris Guillebeau himself is an entrepreneur that has a knack for turning ideas into income online and travels the world while living running successful businesses online. This is a great book to pick up if you need some motivation and want to learn some hard-earned lessons from entrepreneurs that have made it online without large budgets.

        4. The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

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        artofwork

          If you’re not starting a business with the single intention of making more money, and would like to do something meaningful – something around your true calling or life’s work — then look no further than the Art of Work by Jeff Goins. Jeff has decided to take a different approach than his colleagues stating that your life’s work isn’t something you follow, but rather something that happens out of tragedy. His book answers the question: what was I born to do? By the end of it, you should gain some clarity on what your vocation may be.

          5. 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More by Perry Marshall and Richard Koch

          80-20perry

            You may have already heard of the 80/20 rule which states that 80 percent of your results come from 80 percent of your efforts. This powerful concept – called the Pareto principle – is elucidated beautifully in Perry Marshall’s book, 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More. Perry Marshall is known by many as the authority on Facebook and Google Adwords.

            His goal in this book is to help business owners save time and money by using the 80/20 rule in their businesses and to boost productivity. When I first read this book, it cleared up a lot of areas for me including how to best use my time, money and effort to focus on the things that mattered in my personal life and business. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to get the most out of their time and money.

            6. Nail It then Scale It: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating and Managing Breakthrough Innovation by Nathan R. Furr and Paul Ahlstrom

            nailitthenscaleit

              I have read all of the lean startup books, but Nail It Then Scale It by Nathan Furr and Paul Ahlstrom – innovation and entrepreneurship experts – takes the cake. It essentially distills the lean startup methodologies and breaks it down step by step for aspiring entrepreneurs so that they have the best possible chance of building a profitable business. Their no-nonsense approach to building a business is a breath of fresh air, as they show you how build a business from the ground up. They say that the “reason most businesses fail is because they do the right things, but out of order”. So by learning the correct sequence to start a business, you have a much higher chance of success. If you want to start your business on the right foot, then check out this book.

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              7. Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products by Nir Eyal

              hooked

                Hooked by Nir Eyal — a behavioral design specialist that helps companies create habits that more effectively engage their users — is a book about building habit forming products. One of the questions he answers in the book is why some people create companies that keep users coming back for more, and why others fall flat?  He gives many examples on how successful companies such as Facebook, Twitter and others have used the power of creating habit forming technologies to hook their customers. He outlines a simple 4-step process that believes is the underlying pattern of successful companies. Whenever I create products, I refer to this book because it’s an extremely intuitive, useful and effective way to create solutions that will keep people hooked.

                8. Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by A.G Lafley and Roger L. Martin

                playingtowin

                  Without a solid business strategy, you can’t win according to A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin. Together, they doubled Proctor and Gamble’s sales, quadrupled its profits, and increased its market value by more than $100 billion in ten years.

                  Their main goal in this book is to show you how to think strategically by asking 5 poignant questions: what’s your winning aspiration, where will you play, how will you win, what capabilities must you have in place to win, and what management systems are required to support your choices? By knowing the answer to these questions, you’ll position yourself to win in business.

                  In the book they give many examples and walk you step-by-step through each of these questions. I strongly believe that all aspiring entrepreneurs should have a strategy in place before they launch their business so that they have a solid roadmap. So whether you plan to start an online business, or build an offline empire, this is a book I’d recommend reading before launching it.

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                  9. Launch by Jeff Walker

                  launch

                    Jeff Walker is the father of product launches. He went from being a stay-at-home Dad to an internet marketing millionaire in a relatively short period of time using his product launch formula. His formula is relatively simple, and will work for anyone that plans to launch their product or service online. Anytime I do a product launch I refer to this book often since it shows you how to do it successfully step by step.  This book is a culmination of all of Jeff’s hard work and successes with his clients who have created over half a billion dollars in sales. If you’re looking to launch online, then definitely consider this book.

                    10. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferris

                    4hhourworkweek

                      The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris was a game changer for me. When I first got started with online business, I was under the impression that I’d be stuck working 60 hours a week if I wanted to maintain my lifestyle and income. But I soon realized how wrong I was. Tim Ferris says that you can create a lifestyle in which you earn more money, and work less, if you automate your business. By setting up systems you can grow your business faster and work less hours. If you’ve been working at a 9-5, then this may seem like an esoteric concept, but it’s certainly attainable as many entrepreneurs have done this, including myself. If you’re looking to escape your desk job, then read the 4-Hour Work Week.

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                      10 Books You Need To Read Before Starting Your Business

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                      Last Updated on January 13, 2020

                      Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                      Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                      Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

                      Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

                      Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

                      Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

                      How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

                      The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

                      You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

                      Physical Signs

                      Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

                      It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

                      In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

                      Mental Signs

                      One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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                      I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

                      Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

                      • The tension in your neck
                      • Difficulties with sleeping
                      • Unable to concentrate
                      • High anxiety
                      • Depression

                      If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

                      Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

                      Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

                      The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

                      Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

                      Desire for an Increase of Salary

                      The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

                      At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

                      Overnight Decision

                      Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

                      Rejected for a Promotion

                      I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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                      Bored at Work

                      Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

                      A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

                      • How long have you worked in your career?
                      • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
                      • Do you receive recognition?
                      • Can you consider working in a new department?

                      If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

                      How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

                      I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

                      One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

                      It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

                      A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

                      You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

                      • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
                      • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
                      • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

                      How to Make a Career Change Successfully

                      The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

                      1. Write a Career Plan

                      A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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                      You can learn how to set your career plan here.

                      2. Weigh Your Options

                      If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

                      You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

                      3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

                      It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

                      A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

                      • Economic factors
                      • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
                      • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
                      • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
                      • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

                        A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

                        4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

                        A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

                        • What is required to be successful in the role?
                        • What certification or educational development is needed?
                        • What are the challenges of the role?
                        • Is there potential for career advancement?

                        A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

                        Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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                        5. Research Salary

                        Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

                        It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

                        6. Be Realistic

                        If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

                        For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

                        Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

                        7. Volunteer First

                        A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

                        Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

                        Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

                        8. Prepare Your Career Tools

                        I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

                        • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
                        • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
                        • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
                        • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

                        Bottom Line

                        It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

                        Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

                        More About Career Change

                        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                        Reference

                        [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
                        [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
                        [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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