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21 Books Every Entrepreneur Needs to Read Now

21 Books Every Entrepreneur Needs to Read Now

You know something? From my experience in business, I’ve learnt one thing…

If you can’t sell, you will fail.

It doesn’t matter how great your product is – because even the best products need salesmanship. Great products sell themselves is a myth. Great products appear to sell themselves, the truth is – grand master salesmen make it appear that the products are selling themselves – they’re called grand masters for a reason (hint: because you don’t even know they are selling you on it). And because people didn’t feel like they were being sold – they came up with the idea that great products sell themselves…

Great sales people, that’s all there is to say…

So if you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you gotta read the books in this list and you gotta read them…like…NOW!

1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Mindset is critical before you start. If you want to be rich, you need to think and act rich. Napoleon Hill studies hundreds or rich men to find out the common secrets rich people possess that the common folk don’t.

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2. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

One of the masters of Advertising… David Oglivy. Built one of the biggest advertising agencies and shares basic selling principles in this book.

3. My life in Advertising by Claude Hopkins

Claude Hopkins is the inventor of coupon sampling and test marketing. He changed the advertising industry when advertisers used to focus on how creative their advertisement was, Claude focused on the advertisements that had the highest return. This book shows his life in advertising (as you can tell from the title) a long with selling lessons on the way.

4. Start by Jon Acuff

Fears and worries are available in every single one of us entrepreneurs. We need someone to help us change that fear into awesomeness… that’s what this book does.

5. Zero to One by Peter Thiel

A rare and unique book written by a billionaire. In fact it’s the only book written by a billionaire in this list. Peter Thiel, co founder of PayPal (yeah Elon Musk’s old friend) shares some interesting facts about entrepreneurship like no other entrepreneur has ever written – or at least I haven’t seen. Maybe the stuff he presents is more visible to those who live in Silicon Valley, but whether you live there or not you can now learn it from someone that’s already there.

6. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

A must read for today’s innovative entrepreneurs. In fact if you don’t read this book, you don’t know anything about entrepreneurship. Your product launch won’t succeed without this.

7. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Robert compares both a poor and rich dad. You’ll be able to see what makes such a difference in people’s life…perhaps something you’ve been curious to know the answer to.

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8. The 100 Dollar Start Up by Chris Guillebeau

Already an expert? Worked for someone before? You have a skill that you can offer as a service. This book shows you how to launch a quick business at a really low cost and start earning 6+ figures. It also features people like Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger.

9. The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

There’s plenty of work to do, but not enough time to do it all. Besides, who wants to live their life just working non-stop? Tim Ferriss shows you how to outsource and eliminate unproductive jobs AND earn more at the same time.

10. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen

This goes to the tech entrepreneurs out there, from the innovation master Clayton Christensen. This book has been cited by Steve Jobs a long with the rest of the entrepreneurial community. It gives you rules for taking control of innovation.

11. Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins

In the past, advertising was just a random guess. It was all about creativity. Results were not measured. Everything was just chaotic and return on investments were poor. Until Claude Hopkins came and turned it into a science. He tested thousands of ads and analyzed each one. He knew what worked and what didn’t. So if you want consistent results, you need to know why and what works. Even Gary Halbert, one of the top copywriters went through this book over 25 times!

12. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Effective people get results. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is the type of work they do. These 7 habits are what make all the difference.

13. The Startup Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank

This is a guide by Stanford professor Steve Blank. The steps in this book are taught at over 100 universities including Stanford. As entrepreneurs we’ve always wanted someone to show us the way…this is it….your guide to building a startup from scratch.

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14. Rework by David Heinemeier and Jason Fried

Rework is all about unconventional ways. It shows you how to succeed faster by being the opposite. A must read for those who hate the old traditional way of doing things.

15. Launch! by Scott Duffy

The difference between a successful idea and an unsuccessful idea is how it launches to market. Therefore knowing how to take your idea to market strategically is the most important step to success. It’s just like racing a car, if you fail at starting the car you get nowhere in the end and if you start late, you lose the race. This book shows you how to go from idea to market in 90 days.

16. The E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

You know how there’s a lot of reasons why some businesses don’t work and all the myths that surround business? Well…this book clears that up for you and walks you through the life of a business. You’ll be sure you’re building a healthy business – it’s sort of like learning from other people’s mistakes.

17. No BS Price Strategy by Dan S. Kennedy

Pricing isn’t as straight forward as it seems to be. Prices are what determine how much cash you can make and grow your business. If you price too low, you’ll suffer a slow painful growth or even a business “death.” On the other hand if you price too high then you’ll put the customers expectations so high when they see such a price tag…

So study this part well regardless of how easy it may look.

18. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

If you can influence people, you can sell to them easier. It’s the difference between an influencer and a follower. Imagine people following you because YOU influence them. Just by learning what’s taught in this book, you will become more influential in your field.

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19. Getting to Yes: Negotiating an agreement without giving in by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury.

Whether your customers can negotiate the price for your products or not, you will have to negotiate with your suppliers and employees at some stage.

In fact, negotiation isn’t just important in selling, but also helps in getting people to agree with you. Imagine always hearing a yes?

20. Spin – Selling by Neil Rackham

Selling a low value product isn’t the same as selling a high value product – it’s been tested and studied by Rackham. More than 35,000 sales calls done by 10,000 people over 12 years and the results presented in this book. But it doesn’t end there…leading companies of today use these strategies to earn top dollar.

21. Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness by Jeffrey Gitomer

I left this for last not because it’s the worst, but because it’s an ultimate classic. It’s a short and simple book with a few principles that will help you close sales today and in the future. Jeffrey also explains the why behind it all, so you’ll get to know why you’re doing something rather than blindly following tips someone told you about.

So there it is. 21 books to stack in your personal library if you want to be a one of those successful entrepreneurs who can sell their ideas, products and services.

Featured photo credit: book sale loot/ Ginny via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

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Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

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Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

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Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

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  • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
  • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
  • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
  • Is this aligned with my passion?
  • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

7. Be Prepared to Let Go

It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

The Bottom Line

Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

Reference

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