4 Books You Should Read

Reading is very important if you want to be successful in a career. Reading expands our thinking. We develop new ideas, products, and careers. If you look at people who are very successful financially the majority of them read daily. I see articles about what books Elon MuskWarren Buffett, and others read. Reading increases our knowledge and helps us to become experts in our career. Reading helps us develop skills we need in today’s work world. Reading increases the artistic side that we all have. Reading provides entertainment. Reading is beneficial in so many ways.

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image courtesy of Farrukh @ flickr.com

I have 4 books listed that I think you should read.

The first is 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal by Dan Miller. Dan provides great insight into finding your passion and connecting it with a career. He gives direction on finding work you love. He provides instructions on writing a resume, interviewing, and negotiating. He talks about becoming an entrepreneur. This book has helped me as I’ve struggled with finding what I have a passion for and finding work I love.

The second is Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life’s Riches by Steve Harvey. Steve tells his story and gives guidance for us in finding our unique gift and using it. He talks about how we all have a unique gift and that in using our gift, we should not being restricted by what we think we should be doing with our gift. He shows us how he took his gift and expanded it into multiple streams of income. Steve help me to see that I have a unique gift and to find the best ways to use my gift to help me and others.

The third book is The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D. Dr. Stanley researched millionaires in America and looked at how they built their wealth. He interviewed millionaires by survey, group, and individually. He provides a look at how millionaires built and maintain their wealth. He explores their education, criticism they get, marriage, and faith. Dr. Stanley helps me to start thinking how millionaires think, so that I can become a millionaire.

The fourth book is Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The book explores Lincoln’s journey to the Presidency. The book showcases the skills Lincoln developed in everything he did. The book also shows how we can recognize our weaknesses and overcome them with the help of others. It shows how people who were against us can help us and we can even develop friendships with them. This book also showcases Lincoln’s leadership. This book helped me to understand great leadership and how important it is in any organization.

The fourth book was the inspiration for a great movie. I recommend the movie as I enjoy movies a lot, and movies can move us emotionally. Movies offer inspiration and guidance. Daniel Day-Lewis is a terrific actor and is magnificent as Lincoln.

Do You Have a Bad Boss?

image courtesy of Robert Montgomery @ flickr.com

image courtesy of Robert Montgomery @ flickr.com

Most of us have had a boss that we work for in our career. Have you ever had a bad boss? I think most people who have had multiple jobs will say yes to having a bad boss. Having a bad boss can really effect how a company or organization performs.

Some signs you have a bad boss are:

  • Micromanager of everything going on in the office
  • Picks favorite employees regardless of performance
  • Unprofessional conduct such as flirting with employees or overreacting and scolding employees
  • Delegates work so that they don’t have to do anything (Many times because they don’t know how to do something)

Micromanagers are people who feel they know how to do everything the best way or don’t trust their employees. People many times will feel they know the best way and want everybody to do it that way. Many times the way they want something done is how they best could do something which may not be true for others. Micromanagers can make you feel drained of energy because you have to do things how it works best for them. Micromanagers many times don’t trust the employees. They feel if they are not managing everything the work will not get done. They feel they have to check in on you all the time and know where you are. You feel like you are being babysat by your boss. Micromanagers tend to be people who need to feel powerful or important. A good boss will hire people who they feel will get the job done and who they trust to work.

Even though worker capacity and motivation are destroyed when leaders choose power over productivity, it appears that bosses would rather be in control than have the organization work well.

-Margaret J. Wheatley-

Bad bosses will pick employees they favor over others for reasons other than performance. The boss might prefer someone of the same gender and be harder on those of the opposite gender. They have more in common with an employee and may be lenient with them. Bosses will hold grudges and punish those who have disagreed with them. A good boss will treat employees equally based on performance regardless of personal feelings. They reward those who work hard and perform well.

Bad bosses will be unprofessional in their conduct. They will flirt with or have relations with an employee. They lose their temper easily and will yell and scream at people instead of addressing the issue. They will make rude or inappropriate comments to employees. A good boss will lead by example of how to be professional. They set the standard for appropriate conduct for a business or organization.

Bad bosses get their position and delegate work they are responsible for. They don’t know how to do the work. They don’t manage their time well to get everything they need to get done. A good boss knows how to do their job and will manage their time to get it all done because they value their employees.

Having a good boss can make all the difference at a company or organization. Employees will be more productive. The morale will be high and people will want to come to work. If you are the boss look at how you manage and always work to improve your management of employees.

Are You Exploring Your Options?

Photo courtesy of Recesvintus @flickr.com

Photo courtesy of Recesvintus @flickr.com

Think about all the different businesses that are around today. Think about how many new businesses have been created in the past ten years. Do you ever say, “I wish I would have thought of that”? When working have you ever thought of a way to fulfill a need? Business ideas can come from anywhere. We might be working in career that we love and see a niche market that no one has tapped into yet. We could explore our passion and find a way to use our unique gift to fill a market need. If we are exploring we will have ideas come to us.

You are working in a career you are passionate about and lets you use your unique gift. Working in that career you learn how things are done. While learning and developing your skills you notice maybe a waste or something that is needed but not getting taken care of efficiently. Businesses and whole industries, like people, can become complacent or static. Things change but businesses may not change because they are on top or the market is very difficult to get into. You see a new way to do business or see a way to fill a need in the business. This is how people exploring find and create new businesses and industries.

Look at Apple. Steve Jobs created in his company new products that people did not even know they needed. They made things easier and more efficient. Today most people don’t just talk on their phone; they search the internet, play games, and write and read emails. You don’t have to be the first to market. Be the best and make the most out of that market. Apple was not first with their products but made those products the best and easiest to use.

The great thing about finding and filling a need that no one else does is you can create a very profitable business. Having a very profitable business allows you to invest in your company and to create other businesses.

How Faith Can Help You Be Successful

Photo courtesy of Brian @flickr.com

Photo courtesy of Brian @flickr.com

We have a desire to be successful in business. We feel a passion for our career. We have a strong faith to guide us. Yes faith in God can be your rock. Faith in a religion or spirituality can be a great source of encouragement and guidance when you are an entrepreneur. We can lean into our faith in good times and bad. Faith can play an important part of people’s careers.

Faith in religion or spirituality helps many people in business when times are good and bad. They pray to God for wisdom and guidance. They meditate to have balance in their lives when they feel out of sync. They operate their business on principles of their religion or spiritual belief. People who have strong faith in religion or spirituality will have growing confidence in themselves.

I am a Christian and try to live by God’s standard. Biblical principles are good business principles. Being honest is a very important quality you look for in people when doing business. You don’t want to have someone build your house who you don’t trust. You want the builder who cares and won’t cut corners to get the job done. If you hire someone to come to your house or business you want to be able to trust that person that they will not steal from you. I have started my business to help people and as I study the Bible I look for what God calls me to be and how to live my life for his glory. I am not perfect but I look to God on how to operate.

The Bible has had great influence on the world especially in the western world. I encourage you to read and study the Bible. The Bible is a collection of stories with great principles that can guide you in business and all areas of your life.

Dreaming of Quitting Your Day Job?

Image courtesy of Tiponee @ flickr.com

Image courtesy of Tiponee @ flickr.com

Do you work just to pay the bills? Do you find no reward for the work you are doing? Do you dread going into work some or all days? Do you have a fantasy of what you would be doing now if you did not have to work? I have thought all of these things and work a job I just do not want to be in anymore.

Most Americans today do not enjoy the work they do for a living. People go to work looking forward to their time off. People go to work and don’t work or look for new work. Gallup said in 2014 only 31.5% of employees were engaged at work. I think most of this comes from people looking for a career the wrong way. We look for what pays well or has a stable environment that you won’t lose your job. We used to look for government to provide stability with work but today that is not guaranteed like it use to be. We looked at jobs in middle management to provide good pay but now we have a global economy and someone can do the work cheaper in many countries.

What is your unique gift? What is your passion? Is there a market for it? If you answered all three of these questions the next question you might ask is when you can quit you day job. The answer depends on you and your circumstances. Some people quit their jobs and start a business. Others build a business part-time and keep the day job. Today you have the option to quit the day job, build a business, and work side jobs or side businesses.

You have your business idea and are ready to go. You want to quit your day job now. You need to have a plan long before you quit. You need to save so you have money to invest and to live off until your business earns enough to provide. You need to have a budget for you and for your business. You need to have the ground work for your business completed so you can go full time as soon as you quit. This option is usually not available unless you have the resources to do it quickly. You don’t want to wait on a business idea. If you don’t have a business idea, follow these steps now and research ideas. You will then be set to quit and launch your business full-time right away.

Today many people start their business part-time and build it up before quitting. This is the approach I am using. I continue to work full-time while I build my business. It is not easy but rewarding to have that dream of the day I get to do what I love and not what I have to do. My wife and I started our businesses at the same time and we both work, plus we have a small child to love and take care of.  You take the business slowly and build into it little by little. You will have to do many things at first but as money comes in you can hire people to do things and focus your time on what you do well. It can be tough but it can build you up as you go.

The third option is one that I still am exploring. You can launch your business full-time and find creative ways to earn money to support yourself. You could take a side job and live very frugally until money from your business starts to come in. You can get roommates if you have extra bedrooms that can help pay bills and rent or mortgage. You could sell on eBay or drive for Uber. Think of creative ways to earn and save money. Remember to spend most of your time building your business or the side income can suck you in and you can lose focus.

Remember to choose the path that works best for you. Don’t let fear hold you back. Keep the dream of the day when you get to walk in and give your two weeks notice.

What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.

-Maya Angelou-

You Are a Brand

image courtesy of Keith Watt @ flickr.com

image courtesy of Keith Watt @ flickr.com

Today all people who are on social media are a brand. You are creating an image of yourself for others to see. You only get one first impression. All posts are forever. Remember that when you start to type a comment, post a photo, or like a page. So make yourself a brand to remember in a good way.

People make all kinds of mistakes on social media. I have made a few myself. You might tell a joke that is insensitive to a person or group of people. Tread lightly when you express your views on social issues, politics, religion, or current events. You might insult or belittle ideas. Every time you post, comment, like, or share something you can cause harm to your personal brand.

Jokes can be fun but remember to be careful about the type of jokes. People can be offended or insulted by things you might think are funny. Jokes about groups of people that are stereotypical or racist are just bad. Remember if you insult someone or group of people you turn them away from your brand. They won’t want what you have to offer.

People hold strong convictions and beliefs when it comes to social issues, politics, religion, or current events. You may not agree with someone or something but remember others do agree and you will alienate them. Tolerance is the best word I can offer you when dealing with these subjects.

People think of all kinds of ideas. Someone has an idea for a new business venture or how they want to live their life. You may think the idea sounds ridiculous or just plain dumb. Remember people can become hurt by your negativity. People need to explore ideas and learn from them. Be encouraging to the person, not the idea. Please only offer your opinion if someone asks you. If they ask, talk to them in person if you can or call them. Please leave serious conversations off social media.

Notice I did not say don’t do to anything I talked about. If it fits into your brand you should post it on social media. If you are involved in politics, you are going to post about things that some people don’t like. Remember it is hard to make up for negative thoughts people have of you. You need about ten positives to overcome one negative. This of course depends on how bad the one negative is and how good the ten positives are.

Social media is a great tool to help you brand yourself. It makes it easy for you to have a voice. Use social media wisely. Think about what you are doing while on social media, but also don’t be overly cautious because sometimes we all need to take risk. Be a positive brand.

When You Get Started

Photo courtesy of Nick Green @ flickr.com

Photo courtesy of Nick Green @ flickr.com

Getting started in a new business is a special time. You might be starting out part time and keeping your day job. You might have no day job and are starting your business. Either way your life is in an exciting time.

Most of us when starting a business don’t have a lot of cash to invest. The great thing is you can start your own business today for very little cash. If you have an idea for a business, start with what resources you have. You can barter for services or supplies. You can grow your business from there.

When starting out in your business you might not have the experience and skills needed. That’s ok, you will build experience and develop the skills needed in your chosen profession. How do you build your experience and develop skills? You have many ways to learn and grow to gain experience and skills.

The best way is to learn from those who are already in your profession. You can become an apprentice for someone. You can attend events hosted by that person. Study what the people in your profession study. Get connected with people in your chosen profession.

Another great way is to take what someone has already done and use that to get started. We have all heard of franchises. If you have the cash you could invest in a franchise and prices can vary greatly in cost. Check out this list for best and worst franchises in 2015 by Forbes. Maybe somebody has created a product you could use to host a seminar or classes. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; look to what others have created.

Volunteering is also a great way to gain experience and skills. When you start your business, look for non-profits to connect with. I was playing golf the other day and talking about my business with a friend. My friend is starting a non-profit and is looking for speakers to make videos. The subject of the videos is connected to my field. He asked me if I would make a video and I said yes. Will I make money? No, but I will produce a video that many people will see, plus I’ll be helping a good cause. The one thing is, remember you started your business to make money and don’t want to keep giving away what you hope to charge people. People will not pay if you are always giving away your services for free. Limit your volunteering and have boundaries.

Remember to develop experience and skills. There are many ways to get there. So go get started; you can do it.

Beyond the Just

image courtesy of Cedric Guilleminot @ flickr.com

image courtesy of Cedric Guilleminot @ flickr.com

I have learned that to be successful financially we have to go beyond norms. We need to be creative. Don’t box yourself into being “just” one thing (i.e., “just a writer”). Look at ways to take what is unique about you, mix with passion, and find a market. These are the three steps to creating multiple forms of income.

If you have great ideas for a book or books and all you do is write books you might not get the income you desire. Unless you sell millions of books every year, you won’t generate large amounts of income. Very few people can make money only from writing books.

Yes, most big time writers get books made into TV shows or movies, but still very few. You have to think how you can take your ideas and create products. I learned from Dan Miller and others about generating income from multiple products.

So take the example of being a writer. You could develop several ways to generate income. You could set up a website and write blog posts that are short stories that readers could read for free. That would help with building an audience for your books. Plus you can have a email sign up to help interact and pitch products to your fans. You could sell other people’s books through affiliate links or purchasing and reselling books. You could produce online webisodes of your books.

You will be able to have multiple ways to generate income. Multiple products generating income will produce a greater chance of financial success. Look beyond the “just” and find your creative energy. I want to encourage you to think and write ideas to create multiple products.

Do You Know How to Network?

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photo courtesy of Alexander Baxevanis @ flickr.com

I decided to start looking for a new job. I reached out to people I know to ask if they knew if anybody had open positions in their company. My friend told me the company she worked for was hiring and told me how to apply. I got my application in and the process started. I tell you this to encourage you about the possibilities of networking.

Networking is a great way to help others and help yourself. You help others by being encouraging to them and what they do. You help yourself by having name recognition, and when someone needs your service they will think of you first. Networking is not about you and your needs but building relationship. Don’t think of networking as being out there to sell or pitch your idea or product. You want to sell yourself so that people remember you in a good way. Sometimes you will get that person who is going to be there to help you and will want to hear about your ideas or products.

Today we have all kinds of ways to network:

  • People we already know
  • People we meet in public
  • Networking events
  • Online social networks

Think about the people you already know in your life. Look at your family and friends. How can you serve them? Do you have a relative who is thinking about starting a business and you can offer advice or assistance to help them get started? People you know could connect you to people who can help you or you help them. Just today I had someone who I have known most of my life connect me with someone I have met before to help me advance my career. Talk about what you want to do with your career with people you know so they can help or lead you to people that can. It could be help they provide or that you provide.

Have you ever just started a conversation with someone while waiting in line to get coffee? If you have the ability to connect with people you meet in public think of how to develop those relationships. I recommend you get that person’s contact information. If you give them your business card it could end up in the trash can after you leave. You want to build relationships and that can be hard if you are waiting for the other person.

There are many professional networking events you can attend. These events are great to meet the business professionals in your area. Attend events in other locations. The millionaires who built wealth network at many of these events.

Online social networks like LinkedIn can be a great tool. You can connect with people you know. You can discuss topics online. Some people feel more comfortable at first starting out online before face to face meetings. Today business people have set up online networking with business development. I like Dan MillerMichael Hyatt, and Jevonnah “Lady J” Ellison. Sometimes you pay for business development but also it is about networking and connecting with other.

Networking is a great way to build relationships with people, build your business, and develop new businesses.