Yet another Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homepreneurs a blazing question about running and growing their businesses from home.
Today’s Q is:
What are some of the greatest books you have read that have been valuable to your business?
Tishia Lee from Tishia Saves Time says:
I’m a bookaholic. Seriously. I love books. Even in this day and age with the Kindle and other digital readers, I’d still rather have an actual paperback/hardcover book in my hands! There’s just something about holding a book in my hands, flipping the pages and the smell of it (I can’t quite describe the smell, but like a car has that new car smell, a book has a book smell to it). So it wasn’t surprising that when I started working from home eight years ago I wanted to get my hands on as many business related books as I could.
Because I have read so many books over the years, I’ll pick a few to share with you that have really stuck with me and made an impact. Those are:
- The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey – I read this book several years ago so I don’t remember a lot about it other than he shared 7 habits that people do and it has made them very effective in their lives, businesses – whatever. However, I do remember one thing that jumped out at me and thinking about it now, it seems so silly that this is what jumped out at me. But what really stood out was the habit be proactive. Common sense would tell you that in life and in biz you need to be proactive but for whatever reason I never really ‘got’ that. But it’s so true – in order to be effective people in both life and business it’s up to us to be proactive and take action. Things don’t just get handed to us or just happen – we have to make things happen. We’re in control of our environment (for the most part) and in charge of how much we make, whom we work with and so on.
- Virtually Successful: 8 Simple Ways For Virtual Assistants To Find (And Keep) Clients by Cindy Greenway – I have found some very useful nuggets of information that have been pivotal in my VA biz from this book. What I really like about it is that there are exercises to complete too. It’s not just a bunch of information thrown at you, there are action steps for you to take that will help you in your VA biz. There’s also a sample of a contract, client intake forms and more. If you’re a Virtual Assistant or interested in learning more about becoming one, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book.
The list could go on and on and on. There really have been a lot of great books I’ve read over the last eight years I’ve been working from home. Here are some others that have influenced me and my biz over the years too:
- Solopreneurs are Smarter: Why Solopreneurs Rock The Online Business World by Kelly McCausey
- 21 Ways to Powerfully Network Your Business by Kristen Eckstein
- KaChing by Joel Comm
And here are some on my ‘to read’ list:
- Secrets of Six-Figure Women by Barbara Stanny
- Power Tools for Women in Business by Aliza Sherman
- Huge Profits with Affiliate Marketing by Connie Ragen Green
- Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers by Seth Godin
- Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
As you can see, I wasn’t lying when I said I was a bookaholic 😉 I loooove books!
Stephanie Watson from Barry Publishing says:
- Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur by Pamela Slim – This book is more realistic about starting your own business than some of the other books I’ve read. I’ve never felt like the idea of the “Four Hour Work Week” was all that realistic, at least at start up phase.
The other book I love is:
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries – This book gives you a lot of ideas about how to test your ideas right on your customers, and throw perfection at the beginning out the window. It’s important to truly listen to your customers to find out what they really want and need not by what they say, but by their behavior.
It’s important to learn from both success and failure. You can learn what is needed to success if you have the right processes in place. The real success lies in the so called boring stuff like the numbers and the data.
No book list can be complete for any online business owner without a book from Seth Godin. I love his book from 2005 called:
- All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World. Anything Mr. Godin writes and talks about is important for online business owners to read, but this is an amazing, before it’s time discussion, of how authentic story telling can build your business faster and stronger with good stories.
I try to read all the time, right now I’m into reading more about the vegan diet than business. But I am reading in addition to vegan books, Writing Fiction For Dummies by Peter Economy and Randy Ingermanson because I am working on my first fiction novel about a girl growing up an Army Brat.
Today there is no shortage of books to read. It’s important before you read them to make sure the person who wrote it, really walks the walk and doesn’t just talk the talk. You would be shocked at how many books out there are written by people who have never made a dollar in their lives about “How to make big bucks online.” Before buying into anything they say, check them out, verify their story, and then read the book.
I don’t have an extensive list of books that have affected my business growth in the online space as I am still evolving in this new way of doing business. However, I can attest to many of the books that both Tishia and Stephanie shared above. With that said, I do have 2 books that have been extremely influential in developing my entrepreneurial spirit and both are very classic almost cliché type books that are almost always listed on most “must read business books” lists. But, I have to give credit where credit is due so I will share how they’ve left their mark.
It was the fall of 1998 and my entrepreneurial spirit was in in full speed. I was close to graduating college and just knew I was going to take my knowledge to start a business – something very different from the job oriented pursuit of most college students back then. I approached one of my professors and asked him to partner up with me on my grand idea. He declined. I then moved on to my work boss and convinced her that her home-care customers could benefit from this service I was wanted to provide. She was sold. We planned on contacting the Alzheimer’s Association for information on how they were offering a similar service. I spent a day at their N.J. Chapter and learned as much as I could.
In the end, the plan did not unfold despite my exhaustive research and determination to approach people for partnerships. But I can tell you that what drove me to fearlessly do what I did was because of these 2 books and until this day they continue to inspire my business pursuits:
- Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill – This book really shifted my mindset to endless possibilities in personal achievement. I even gave a copy to my mother for Christmas one year and it motivated her to retire at the age of 51 and move away to Puerto Rico. She started a business there.
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That The Poor and Middle Class Do Not by Robert T. Kiyosaki – This book taught me about the different streams of income and how financially limiting it is to rely on a paycheck from an employer. Once I read this book, I just knew I was going to be a real estate guru. So much that I actually bought a multifamily dwelling shortly after I graduated college.
Despite the various books I have read to date, none have left an impact as these two – although there are many awesome books that are in close proximity.