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3 Little Known Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

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Last year, I caught a lucky break. I was working a dead-end job at a bank and hated every minute of it. Until one day, I sent an email to one of my favorite online marketers on a whim. I pitched him an idea for a new product to build and sell.

He liked the idea so much that he hired me as a contractor, on the spot. I quit my job and it felt amazing. Until I realized one huge problem: I was completely unqualified for the job. I was a data-driven, numbers geek with zero writing or sales experience. Yet, I was hired to do marketing that would be seen by millions.

So over the next 16 months, I asked everyone I knew and respected how to become a world-class marketer, fast. And it worked. I went from an excel whiz to a professional copywriter who’s sold millions of dollars worth of products online.

One of the biggest keys to my success was reading books. But not just any books. It had to be the best. There are a long list that you’ll find almost anywhere for entrepreneurs and marketers but there are three books below that not very many people know about but it can change their life.

Here are three must read books that very few people know about:

1. The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It. Every Time by Maria Konnikova

maria konnikovaWords have power. And depending on the words you use, you can express:

  • Extreme happiness (“Thank god for this!”)
  • Your love for someone (“Will you marry me?”)
  • Or your deepest regret (“I want to die.”)

People have gone to war over words (The Declaration of Independence). And people have been inspired to stand against the world for a cause they believe in (“I have a dream” speech). It’s clear that words can inspire, convey life-changing thoughts, and express deep emotion.

But they’re also the exact tools con artists use to thrive. And in the book The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time, you get a glimpse into the world of how con men use stories, words, and emotions to rip off the masses.

Note: I do not think marketers should read this book to do any scamming or manipulating of their own. No. The reason marketers must read this goes much deeper. It gets into how to inspire others to take action. Consider this: the only thing that separates a con man from a great salesperson is intent.

For example, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is known as the bible of conmen, but it’s also considered a staple on the shelves of all successful business people. See how it gets tricky?

The book is packed with jaw-dropping stories. But one of my favorites involves Victor Lustig (the man who sold the Eiffel Tower — twice!) and Al Capone (one of the most famous mobsters of all time).

I won’t spoil it by giving away the details. But let’s just say the con man (Lustig) is one of the few people who ever deceived Capone and lived to tell about it. You have to check it out.

“We aren’t robbers, you and I. To rob a fool, you don’t need knives: Just flatter him, tell him sweet lies, And he is yours for life” – Maria Konnikova

2. The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Getting Your Shit Together By John Carlton

John CarltonJohn is a copywriting legend. He pioneered many of the marketing tactics we take granted today. Some say he’s the most ripped-off copywriter alive. In fact, a lot of modern day ads are blatant plagiarism of some of his most successful pieces.

Even still, Carlton doesn’t care. You can steal his words, but you can’t take his swagger and deep understanding of what makes people buy. And that swagger and psychology shines through in his copy. Try reading something he wrote without feeling something well up in your chest and stir you to act.

I’d recommend reading this one with an eye to 2 things:

1. His style. You can soak up his years of marketing knowledge just by giving this one a close read. It’s spunk combined with direct response combined with vivid imagery, and it’s artfully done.

2. How to start your own business. This book is a great guide for getting started as a freelancer, business owner or even an employee who’s going to take control of their career destiny.

Carlton’s been around the block a time or two, He’s gotten a few scars. And rather than make the same mistakes he made, you can get some of those lessons directly from this book. Get it now and get your stuff together.

 

3. Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others By Andrew Sobel

Andrew SobelAndrew Sobel is a high-ranking business consultant who regularly gets in front of billion dollar executives. His secret? It’s not fancy tricks or cheap sales tactics. Nope. It’s a simple concept we’ve all been using since we were kids: asking questions.

Selling is not about cramming your product down the other person’s throat. It’s about catering your solutions to your prospects exact needs. How do you uncover those needs in the first place? Well, Sobel proves that one of the best and only ways to do that is asking good questions.

And the 200+ questions Sobel presents in this book have all been tested at the highest level of sales (where the decision can take up to 6 months) and millions of dollars are at stake. While this book contains tons of answer-eliciting questions, it’s also a masterclass in storytelling.

“Every interaction is an opportunity.Every action has an impact.Every moment is a choice.Are you choosing the impact you want to have?” – Mindy Hall

Have you read any of these books before? Which ones? What did you think? Leave your thought below!

Rob Allen is the founder of Swipe Tribe, where he shows aspiring marketers and small business owners how to increase their leads, conversions and sales with copywriting. You can get his checklist of the 33 best books on copywriting, sales, persuasion, and psychology here.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Evan

    Aug 18, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Hey Rob,

    Thanks for these recommendations – I added them to my reading list. I’m super excited to dive into one of Carlton’s books, as he is an influential copywriter, and one of the best today. Since Gary Halbert has passed, he’s been remarked as one of the best copywriters alive, hands down.

    I think what you’ve got going on at Swipetribe is intriguing as well; I just opted in for your list. Looking forward to hear what you’ve got on copywriting, influence, and persuasion. These are some of the most basic but NECESSARY things to learn if you wanna sell anything to people who need and want it.

    Keep up the great work bro

    – Evan

  2. Jhon jaka

    Aug 12, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Thanks for these book recommendations..

  3. Tim Denning

    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:22 am

    Rob thanks for these book recommendations. I think the first book is the one I want to read the most and I have just got it from Amazon. Thanks for the heads up and for your extensive summaries.

  4. Lawrence Berry

    Aug 9, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Reading is one of the best things you can do for your brain’s efficiency and you your business. You can gain so much knowledge from people who have been there and done that, and these people can help you to avoid the pitfalls that so many fall victim to. I have heard about so many books and I read so often just to keep my brain top notch. Thanks for sharing these books. They seem great and I will put them on my to read list.

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Entrepreneurs

8 Obvious Signs You Were Built for Entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurs are not born but they cultivate the skills of entrepreneurship within them. To be an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate, resilient, tolerant to ambiguity, have vision, flexibility, believe in yourself and be a rule breaker. These are just the few indications that an entrepreneur is growing inside you.

Here are a few unexpected signs that will surely help you in deciding whether you should go for entrepreneurship or not:

1. You are not easily contented

Normal people think of how to celebrate their victory after achievements but entrepreneurs think “What’s Next?” They are always restless and never satisfied with their achievements. They always crave for something new and are ready to take on new challenges.

2. You are a control freak

Entrepreneurs always love to be in charge of their work but at the same time, they need to maintain the balance between controlling business and letting the talented people around take the reins. If a person likes being in charge and can easily convince people to follow their vision, then they can be a good entrepreneur.

3. You are a born risk-taker

Nothing high can be achieved without the risk. Hence, entrepreneurs are calculated risk takers. If you love risk, entrepreneurship is likely going to be a great fit for you.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

4. You like making your own money

A desire that you pay yourself for the accomplishments is a clear calling card of an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs start with working for other people’s ideas for a fair salary, but after getting fed up they start their own business and work on their own ideas.

5. You don’t fit in the crowd

Successful entrepreneurs don’t lead a normal life. They are mostly drop outs, quit lucrative jobs, and do silly things simply because they want to live a life on their own terms. If you are a black sheep and always eager to do something out of the box, then entrepreneurship is your catch.

6. You are an introvert

Entrepreneurs are introverts and hence they recharge themselves in the best way by being alone. Being introverted means that you are more of an “ideas” person and are great at fostering a team environment. There are always certain entrepreneurial advantages that come from being an introvert.

7. You are passionate

Being a successful entrepreneur is not an overnight success. From lack of customers to profits, one has to face everything. Without an undeniable passion for your work, it will be very difficult to cross all the disappointments and hard times ahead. Pick any successful entrepreneur and you will find their passion for their work is the key to their success.

For once, let’s take the example of Atul Gupta, an Indian Born South African businessman who even after many failures in his starting days of business is currently the owner of almost all the sectors, be it mining industry, media industry in South Africa. His passion is the answer to all his failures and his competitors.

“You can’t fake passion.” – Barbara Corcoran

8. Confidence is your success mantra

Entrepreneurs always believe in their abilities and know that they can succeed, but they need to sell their idea and lead a team. In many cases, confidence goes a long way in each of these pursuits.

There are many different personality traits that help entrepreneurs become successful, and these are just a few of the possibilities. If you find any of these listed descriptions being relatable, it’s likely that you’re destined for work as an entrepreneur. Don’t wait any longer. Get out there and change the world!

How do you plan on changing the world? Tell us your dreams in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

Before You Start A Website, Read This.

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Starting A Website - Blogger

Let’s face it, many of us would like to build something of our own. Maybe it’s a community, a platform, a brand, a charitable cause. No matter what you want to build, you’ll need an online presence.

Last week, I caught up with an infamous blogger whose passion it is to support equality amongst the gay community.

This conversation felt like dejavu. I seem to be getting a lot of people ask me about starting an online presence for the first time. Sadly, almost everyone I meet goes about it the wrong way. I too, just like you, had to go through this process once upon a time, so I’ve got some super cool, very simple tips that will help you.

 

Should you start with a website or something else?

This is the very first question you should ask yourself.

Benefits of a website:

You own it.
You control the look and feel of the site.
You can capture subscribers and get their email address.

 

Downsides of starting a website:

No one will find it initially.
You need basic skills to code it, or you must go back and forth with a web developer.
It takes time to build so you may give up too soon.
Maintaining it takes effort.

So there are pros and cons to having a website. In my situation, I got lazy and knew that I would give up if there were too much of a barrier to entry. I chose to do what I’m going to recommend next.

 

Consider leveraging someone else’s website or blog.

I’m one of those people that is not technical and just wants to get started because I know I’ll procrastinate if I don’t.

I chose to leverage someone else’s website which already has a massive following. I chose to join Addicted2Success and use there more than 3 million followers to find my voice. This a great option for you too.

 

Just getting started helps you find your way.

In the beginning, it’s hard to know what direction you will take. Your message, your voice, the topics you focus on, the people you work with, will all change. I found it best to get these things sorted out first before starting my own website.

As I’ve created content, I’ve narrowed in on the topics I write about which are now personal development and entrepreneurship. I’ve finally found my voice which is simple, a tad sarcastic, a little bit funny (says me LOL), extremely vulnerable, and again, hopefully authentic.

Using someone else’s platform works well before you start a website.

 

Social Media is challenging: here’s why.

In my experience, using most social media platforms to start now is one of the hardest ways. It’s not impossible; however, it has got a bit harder.

“The trick I’ve found if you want to start exclusively using social media is that you need to get on a platform early before the organic reach is destroyed”

Organic reach = the ability to have your content shown to people without the need to pay.

The other downside with most social media platforms nowadays is that you can only communicate with your followers through posts. Who gets to see these posts is heavily influenced by what’s good for the social media platform and not what’s good for you. Your creative freedom can be limited.

You also should keep in mind that on a social platform you don’t control the design or user experience whereas you do when you own your own website.

 

Now onto SEO.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

In the old days, this was a big thing if you were thinking of starting a website. Now, it still matters although the game is changing. SEO came about because of Google and people using search engines. A lot of searches are not happening on Google anymore.

Here’s what’s changed:

People use Amazon to search for products.
People use Instagram to find things like restaurants because they can see pictures beforehand.
People find people using Facebook.
People find professionals through LinkedIn.
People enjoy video through SnapChat and Instagram Stories.

As you can see, there are now way more targeted places to search for things. When creating a website, one of the ways it will be found is through Google. There’s a lot of competition to appear and money is often required. It’s no longer so much about keywords, and more to do with the value you bring to a potential user. Measuring this value is becoming increasingly complicated.

 

One approach to consider before starting a website.

Find a platform you love.
Start on that platform first in any capacity you can.
Refine all the elements that make up the one big thing you want to start.

Once you get some traction in the form of followers and engagement, set up a landing page.

Landing page: a single website page that only has one button you can click.

Use this landing page to capture subscribers and begin the early stages of a website. When you feel you have reached the tipping point and you’re regularly getting what you set out to do, then, maybe think of starting a website.

 

Remember this.

Having a website means nothing if people can’t find it.
Having a website means nothing if you are not adding value.
Having a website means nothing if it’s not updated and looks terrible.
Having a website means nothing if you are not in it for the long game (years).

Don’t be so quick to want to set up a website. Really think about what you are trying to achieve. Consider your options and focus on the simplest path forward to finding your passion, your why and the way you can add value to everyone on this planet. Once you’ve nailed all of these, then maybe think about a website.

Alternatively, ignore everything I’ve said and you may find yourself right back where you started, quicker than you think (months even).

 

Instant gratification is the challenge.

“One reason people give up on their beloved website so easily is because we live in a culture that craves instant gratification. If we don’t see one hundred followers on the first day like our cousin Emmanuel, then we think we’ve failed”

 

What I’ve learned through this same process is that the early stages are quiet. Not much seems to be happening in the beginning. That’s because like I said before, you’re still finding your voice. You’re not going to be 100% congruent with all of the elements of your vision until you’ve got some runs on the board and seen what works.

That’s okay. Don’t make the world pity you; make the world see what you have to give through taking action for more than a short period of time.

 

A website doesn’t make you a baller.

There seems to be an element of ego attached to having a website.

“Let me break the bad news to you Johnny: Anyone can start a website and you’re not superior for owning one”

So now we’ve got that out of the way, focus again on what you can do for all of us who may become a follower of your mission. Find ways to inspire us all. That’s what makes you a baller.

 

Authentic and real trumps all (sorry I said the word trump).

Whichever direction you decide to take, know that more than any single element, telling a real story that is authentic will help you the most. People are tired of fake. A website that has a fake founder or a fake message is boring. We’ve seen it all before and no one is tuning into that station anymore.

 

Be different instead of better.

If I had a dollar for every person that told me they want to interview entrepreneurs, I’d be a billionaire. Doing what everyone else is doing and trying to be better doesn’t work. It’s hard and when times get tough, you’ll give up.

Instead, get inspired by something you love and do it differently. If you want to interview entrepreneurs, then maybe do it with your iPhone while riding around on a motorbike in different cities. Maybe dress up in a 1980’s tennis outfit and interview your beloved entrepreneur.

Just do the online thing in your own unique way without trying to be like all the wannabes. That’s how you stand out and have your own website one day that does get noticed.

 

Let’s wrap it up so you can get to work.

There are multiple options to consider before starting a website. Having a website is not the only way to build something of your own. You can use social, try a landing page or leverage someone else’s platform first.

A website is not a big deal anymore. Who you are, what you have to say and the value you bring is what matters – not your website.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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The 5 Most Effective Productivity Hacks for a Busy Entrepreneur

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Technology is both sinner and saint. The Internet and its mobile cousin, the smartphone, have given us incredible gifts: unlimited knowledge at our fingertips and a reach greater than the Pentagon had just 40 years ago.

Despite this, our lives seem to be getting harder and more stressful.. We have become so dependent on technology to the point where it’s become the opposite of what it set out to do – make our lives better. It’s certainly more convenient, but for many people, it’s become an addiction. And no addiction is good.

Numbers don’t lie

According to a national survey from TeleNav, here are some statistics to think about.

  • 66% of smartphone users said they sleep with their phone next to them.
  • 21% of respondents would give up their shoes for a week instead of their phone.
  • 21% of iPhone users said that they would rather go a week without seeing their significant other than give up their phone
  • 34% of iPhone users regularly check their email at the dinner table.

So we have a problem and the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging you have one. The second step is going to work on it.

Here are five productivity hacks that are surprisingly simple, and yet incredibly effective. It’s not a question of if they’ll work for you and your unique situation, but how many of them will you actually put into use.

1. The email trap

This is something a friend learned from Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Academy and was kind enough to share it with me. Want to be 30% more productive today with almost no effort? Stop looking at your email in the first 60 minutes of the day. 90% of people wake up, grab their phone, and check their emails. By doing this, you let other people’s needs and wants dictate your life.

2. Health

Tony Robbins would talk about this back in the 80s with his late-night infomercials, and it’s something he’s gotten even more passionate about as new information is uncovered in the fields of nutrition and neuroscience. Health can be divided into three separate areas: Food, water and stretch.

Food is fuel for your body. You wouldn’t put cheap oil in a Ferrari, so why do people eat fast food? Because they want something quick that fills them up. I get it, and from time to time it’s no big deal, but you want to have a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, and pork.

Hydrating, aka drinking water, is one of the fastest productivity hacks around. Every high-performance coach talks about it. Instead of drinking alcohol, coffee, soda, switch to water. Within a week, you’ll feel a difference in how you feel. You’ll have more energy, sleep better and more productive than ever. Try it and see.

We all know the benefits of exercise, so why is it we find every excuse not to do it. A work-out takes time, you sweat, you feel tired and it can be downright depressing to see how out of shape you are when you haven’t exercised for a long time. Stretching, on the other hand, is quick and easy. No heavy lifting. Just 10 minutes to get your body limber will go a long way to feeling better. Your body will thank you.

“Love is not as important as good health. You cannot be in love if you’re not healthy. You can’t appreciate it.” – Bryan Cranston

3. Oxygenate your body

If you want to give your body a boost then breathe. Not unconsciously, like we all do but consciously like people doing yoga. This takes less than five minutes and you’re good to go. Athletes such as swimmers, runners, and karate fighters understand the power of breathing better than anyone, and how it is a critical component of success. The best part, it’s easier than ever to train yourself to breath better with the help of apps such as Breathe2Relax, Pranayama, Breathing Zone and Relax: Stress and Anxiety Relief.

4. Confirmation email

This was taught to me by my mentor back in my late twenties and it transformed how I dealt with coworkers. We often think that the greatest pull on our time are clients, but what is often overlooked is the frenemy. Colleagues that are seemingly on your side, but are taking advantage of your time and energy.

We have all met them before. They are the ones who pawn off their most difficult, challenging tasks to others. They appeal to people’s kindness and ask them if they can “help” them with something. What they often mean is, “Can you do it for me?” But they know that doesn’t fly so they resort to sneakiness.

When I first learned the technique of the confirmation email, I could hardly believe my eyes because tasks that had been thrown in my lap and taking up much of my time, suddenly vanished. People eventually stopped asking me to help them, because they couldn’t be bothered.

Car salespeople have an expression for these people: tire kickers. In business, to weed out the serious from the not so serious, just ask them to put their request in an email. It’s amazing just how powerful this technique can be.

We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves.” – George Matthew Adams

5. Chunking

My personal favorite productivity hack, and the one I have my clients implement immediately because it’s just so easy. Essentially it’s doing two tasks at the same time, but no, I’m not talking about multitasking. Multitasking is dividing your energy between two or more tasks, which is counterproductive. Chunking is combining two activities together that don’t detract from the other.

Here are some examples of chunking that work for me:

–      Having a meeting while walking

–      Stretching while watching TV

–      Doing breathing exercises while sitting in front of your computer

–      Listen to an audio program while driving

And there you have it, the five most effective productivity hacks for the busy entrepreneur. Easier than you think, more powerful than you realize.

Which one of these was your favorite productivity hack? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Ways College Grads Can Embrace Entrepreneurship

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It’s never too early to pursue your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, yet when you graduate college, you might feel like you’re not quite ready to jump fully into an entrepreneurial endeavor. Perhaps you feel like you don’t have enough experience, or perhaps you’d just like to get a more conventional job and save a little bit of money first.

Perhaps you’re already anxious to start your first business and you can’t wait to get it going. Whatever the case, you can lay the groundwork for your entrepreneurial endeavors early on.

Below are 5 ways new college grads can embrace entrepreneurship:

1. Get a Sales Job

No matter what line of work you’re in, you’re selling something. You’re selling yourself as well as whatever product or service you represent. This is especially true as an entrepreneur. If you don’t know how to sell, you’ll probably have a rough go of it at the beginning and selling definitely doesn’t come natural to everybody.

As a result, you could benefit from getting a sales job early on in your career. This will help you learn the ins and outs of sales, get comfortable with sales rejection, and learn how to persuade people.

If you already know what type of business you want to start, then aim to get a sales job in that industry. This will be even more powerful for you later on since sales is a grind. Nonetheless,everything you learn in the sales job will help you be a more successful entrepreneur later on.

2. Work at a Small Startup

It’s one thing to work at a big company where you feel like nothing more than a cog in a giant machine. It’s a whole different experience to work in a small startup where you interact with leadership everyday and can see how the business runs.

This will give you the opportunity to ask questions, learn from the triumphs and mistakes of the leaders, and see a type of management style up close.

When you start your own company, you’ll be able to see the bigger picture. You can see things from the point of view of your employees as well as your own point of view as a CEO/founder type of figure.

“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?” – Michelle Obama

3. Learn Other Marketable Skills

As an entrepreneur, you need to have a general understanding of a lot of different skills such as copywriting, design, marketing, management, and sales. That way, when you eventually hire for those positions, you’ll know how to spot a potential rockstar employee who has the capacity to do a good job.

Spend some time learning marketable skills, and especially those that are related to the industry you’re most interested in. These skills may even help you get a freelancing gig, which we’ll talk about next…

4. Consider Freelancing

It takes discipline to work and build something on your own. For some people, that discipline is more difficult to develop than others. So, you should consider freelancing online. This will help you get comfortable working from home, and give you the first taste of online success.

Freelancing can add a nice chunk to your monthly income as well, which increases your financial runway and gives you more time to get your eventual business up and running. It’ll also help you potentially make valuable connections within your future industry, which will help accelerate your entrepreneurial success.

5. Move to a City Filled With Entrepreneurs

It’s difficult to understand the lifestyle of an entrepreneur until you’re around it and see it for yourself. So, you should connect with as many entrepreneurs as possible. This will help you understand things from their perspective and get you acclimated with the lifestyle. It’ll also help you determine what type of business you should start.

Luckily, there are plenty of cities in the USA where entrepreneurship is growing rapidly. You can start with any one of these 7 US cities that are great for young entrepreneurs.

All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.” – Pope Paul V

The job market is more competitive than ever, and as a result, working for yourself as an entrepreneur is a smart long term move. It’s never too early to get started with your own entrepreneurial pursuits, even if you’re a new college graduate.

Whether you’re ready to start your first business right now, or you simply want to gain experience to jumpstart your career and lead yourself down a path towards entrepreneurship, these tips will help you make your goals a reality.

How are you making steps towards becoming your own boss one day? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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The Best Way to Accelerate Your Success According to James Altucher

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James Altucher

I recently interviewed author and serial entrepreneur James Altucher and asked him a simple question:  What is the best way to accelerate success in any endeavor? To which James gave me a golden nugget. Or maybe 3 golden nuggets. He gave me what he calls the plus (+), equals (=), and minus (-) process and it blew me away. So simple yet so profound. (more…)

My name is Mani Vaya and I am the founder of 2000 Books where we publish summaries of business and self-help books for entrepreneurs. We also have a podcast where we interview today’s top business & self-help authors. We also have a youtube channel where we publish book summaries in video format. Before starting 2000 Books, I spent 13 years in High-tech industry rising from the ranks of a software engineer to managing Billion $+ cellphone project launches at a Fortune 500 company. Please find my company online at www.2000books.com . You can also find me on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/c/2000books.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Evan

    Aug 18, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Hey Rob,

    Thanks for these recommendations – I added them to my reading list. I’m super excited to dive into one of Carlton’s books, as he is an influential copywriter, and one of the best today. Since Gary Halbert has passed, he’s been remarked as one of the best copywriters alive, hands down.

    I think what you’ve got going on at Swipetribe is intriguing as well; I just opted in for your list. Looking forward to hear what you’ve got on copywriting, influence, and persuasion. These are some of the most basic but NECESSARY things to learn if you wanna sell anything to people who need and want it.

    Keep up the great work bro

    – Evan

  2. Jhon jaka

    Aug 12, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Thanks for these book recommendations..

  3. Tim Denning

    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:22 am

    Rob thanks for these book recommendations. I think the first book is the one I want to read the most and I have just got it from Amazon. Thanks for the heads up and for your extensive summaries.

  4. Lawrence Berry

    Aug 9, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Reading is one of the best things you can do for your brain’s efficiency and you your business. You can gain so much knowledge from people who have been there and done that, and these people can help you to avoid the pitfalls that so many fall victim to. I have heard about so many books and I read so often just to keep my brain top notch. Thanks for sharing these books. They seem great and I will put them on my to read list.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Entrepreneurs

8 Obvious Signs You Were Built for Entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurs are not born but they cultivate the skills of entrepreneurship within them. To be an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate, resilient, tolerant to ambiguity, have vision, flexibility, believe in yourself and be a rule breaker. These are just the few indications that an entrepreneur is growing inside you.

Here are a few unexpected signs that will surely help you in deciding whether you should go for entrepreneurship or not:

1. You are not easily contented

Normal people think of how to celebrate their victory after achievements but entrepreneurs think “What’s Next?” They are always restless and never satisfied with their achievements. They always crave for something new and are ready to take on new challenges.

2. You are a control freak

Entrepreneurs always love to be in charge of their work but at the same time, they need to maintain the balance between controlling business and letting the talented people around take the reins. If a person likes being in charge and can easily convince people to follow their vision, then they can be a good entrepreneur.

3. You are a born risk-taker

Nothing high can be achieved without the risk. Hence, entrepreneurs are calculated risk takers. If you love risk, entrepreneurship is likely going to be a great fit for you.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

4. You like making your own money

A desire that you pay yourself for the accomplishments is a clear calling card of an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs start with working for other people’s ideas for a fair salary, but after getting fed up they start their own business and work on their own ideas.

5. You don’t fit in the crowd

Successful entrepreneurs don’t lead a normal life. They are mostly drop outs, quit lucrative jobs, and do silly things simply because they want to live a life on their own terms. If you are a black sheep and always eager to do something out of the box, then entrepreneurship is your catch.

6. You are an introvert

Entrepreneurs are introverts and hence they recharge themselves in the best way by being alone. Being introverted means that you are more of an “ideas” person and are great at fostering a team environment. There are always certain entrepreneurial advantages that come from being an introvert.

7. You are passionate

Being a successful entrepreneur is not an overnight success. From lack of customers to profits, one has to face everything. Without an undeniable passion for your work, it will be very difficult to cross all the disappointments and hard times ahead. Pick any successful entrepreneur and you will find their passion for their work is the key to their success.

For once, let’s take the example of Atul Gupta, an Indian Born South African businessman who even after many failures in his starting days of business is currently the owner of almost all the sectors, be it mining industry, media industry in South Africa. His passion is the answer to all his failures and his competitors.

“You can’t fake passion.” – Barbara Corcoran

8. Confidence is your success mantra

Entrepreneurs always believe in their abilities and know that they can succeed, but they need to sell their idea and lead a team. In many cases, confidence goes a long way in each of these pursuits.

There are many different personality traits that help entrepreneurs become successful, and these are just a few of the possibilities. If you find any of these listed descriptions being relatable, it’s likely that you’re destined for work as an entrepreneur. Don’t wait any longer. Get out there and change the world!

How do you plan on changing the world? Tell us your dreams in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Before You Start A Website, Read This.

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Let’s face it, many of us would like to build something of our own. Maybe it’s a community, a platform, a brand, a charitable cause. No matter what you want to build, you’ll need an online presence.

Last week, I caught up with an infamous blogger whose passion it is to support equality amongst the gay community.

This conversation felt like dejavu. I seem to be getting a lot of people ask me about starting an online presence for the first time. Sadly, almost everyone I meet goes about it the wrong way. I too, just like you, had to go through this process once upon a time, so I’ve got some super cool, very simple tips that will help you.

 

Should you start with a website or something else?

This is the very first question you should ask yourself.

Benefits of a website:

You own it.
You control the look and feel of the site.
You can capture subscribers and get their email address.

 

Downsides of starting a website:

No one will find it initially.
You need basic skills to code it, or you must go back and forth with a web developer.
It takes time to build so you may give up too soon.
Maintaining it takes effort.

So there are pros and cons to having a website. In my situation, I got lazy and knew that I would give up if there were too much of a barrier to entry. I chose to do what I’m going to recommend next.

 

Consider leveraging someone else’s website or blog.

I’m one of those people that is not technical and just wants to get started because I know I’ll procrastinate if I don’t.

I chose to leverage someone else’s website which already has a massive following. I chose to join Addicted2Success and use there more than 3 million followers to find my voice. This a great option for you too.

 

Just getting started helps you find your way.

In the beginning, it’s hard to know what direction you will take. Your message, your voice, the topics you focus on, the people you work with, will all change. I found it best to get these things sorted out first before starting my own website.

As I’ve created content, I’ve narrowed in on the topics I write about which are now personal development and entrepreneurship. I’ve finally found my voice which is simple, a tad sarcastic, a little bit funny (says me LOL), extremely vulnerable, and again, hopefully authentic.

Using someone else’s platform works well before you start a website.

 

Social Media is challenging: here’s why.

In my experience, using most social media platforms to start now is one of the hardest ways. It’s not impossible; however, it has got a bit harder.

“The trick I’ve found if you want to start exclusively using social media is that you need to get on a platform early before the organic reach is destroyed”

Organic reach = the ability to have your content shown to people without the need to pay.

The other downside with most social media platforms nowadays is that you can only communicate with your followers through posts. Who gets to see these posts is heavily influenced by what’s good for the social media platform and not what’s good for you. Your creative freedom can be limited.

You also should keep in mind that on a social platform you don’t control the design or user experience whereas you do when you own your own website.

 

Now onto SEO.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

In the old days, this was a big thing if you were thinking of starting a website. Now, it still matters although the game is changing. SEO came about because of Google and people using search engines. A lot of searches are not happening on Google anymore.

Here’s what’s changed:

People use Amazon to search for products.
People use Instagram to find things like restaurants because they can see pictures beforehand.
People find people using Facebook.
People find professionals through LinkedIn.
People enjoy video through SnapChat and Instagram Stories.

As you can see, there are now way more targeted places to search for things. When creating a website, one of the ways it will be found is through Google. There’s a lot of competition to appear and money is often required. It’s no longer so much about keywords, and more to do with the value you bring to a potential user. Measuring this value is becoming increasingly complicated.

 

One approach to consider before starting a website.

Find a platform you love.
Start on that platform first in any capacity you can.
Refine all the elements that make up the one big thing you want to start.

Once you get some traction in the form of followers and engagement, set up a landing page.

Landing page: a single website page that only has one button you can click.

Use this landing page to capture subscribers and begin the early stages of a website. When you feel you have reached the tipping point and you’re regularly getting what you set out to do, then, maybe think of starting a website.

 

Remember this.

Having a website means nothing if people can’t find it.
Having a website means nothing if you are not adding value.
Having a website means nothing if it’s not updated and looks terrible.
Having a website means nothing if you are not in it for the long game (years).

Don’t be so quick to want to set up a website. Really think about what you are trying to achieve. Consider your options and focus on the simplest path forward to finding your passion, your why and the way you can add value to everyone on this planet. Once you’ve nailed all of these, then maybe think about a website.

Alternatively, ignore everything I’ve said and you may find yourself right back where you started, quicker than you think (months even).

 

Instant gratification is the challenge.

“One reason people give up on their beloved website so easily is because we live in a culture that craves instant gratification. If we don’t see one hundred followers on the first day like our cousin Emmanuel, then we think we’ve failed”

 

What I’ve learned through this same process is that the early stages are quiet. Not much seems to be happening in the beginning. That’s because like I said before, you’re still finding your voice. You’re not going to be 100% congruent with all of the elements of your vision until you’ve got some runs on the board and seen what works.

That’s okay. Don’t make the world pity you; make the world see what you have to give through taking action for more than a short period of time.

 

A website doesn’t make you a baller.

There seems to be an element of ego attached to having a website.

“Let me break the bad news to you Johnny: Anyone can start a website and you’re not superior for owning one”

So now we’ve got that out of the way, focus again on what you can do for all of us who may become a follower of your mission. Find ways to inspire us all. That’s what makes you a baller.

 

Authentic and real trumps all (sorry I said the word trump).

Whichever direction you decide to take, know that more than any single element, telling a real story that is authentic will help you the most. People are tired of fake. A website that has a fake founder or a fake message is boring. We’ve seen it all before and no one is tuning into that station anymore.

 

Be different instead of better.

If I had a dollar for every person that told me they want to interview entrepreneurs, I’d be a billionaire. Doing what everyone else is doing and trying to be better doesn’t work. It’s hard and when times get tough, you’ll give up.

Instead, get inspired by something you love and do it differently. If you want to interview entrepreneurs, then maybe do it with your iPhone while riding around on a motorbike in different cities. Maybe dress up in a 1980’s tennis outfit and interview your beloved entrepreneur.

Just do the online thing in your own unique way without trying to be like all the wannabes. That’s how you stand out and have your own website one day that does get noticed.

 

Let’s wrap it up so you can get to work.

There are multiple options to consider before starting a website. Having a website is not the only way to build something of your own. You can use social, try a landing page or leverage someone else’s platform first.

A website is not a big deal anymore. Who you are, what you have to say and the value you bring is what matters – not your website.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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The 5 Most Effective Productivity Hacks for a Busy Entrepreneur

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Technology is both sinner and saint. The Internet and its mobile cousin, the smartphone, have given us incredible gifts: unlimited knowledge at our fingertips and a reach greater than the Pentagon had just 40 years ago.

Despite this, our lives seem to be getting harder and more stressful.. We have become so dependent on technology to the point where it’s become the opposite of what it set out to do – make our lives better. It’s certainly more convenient, but for many people, it’s become an addiction. And no addiction is good.

Numbers don’t lie

According to a national survey from TeleNav, here are some statistics to think about.

  • 66% of smartphone users said they sleep with their phone next to them.
  • 21% of respondents would give up their shoes for a week instead of their phone.
  • 21% of iPhone users said that they would rather go a week without seeing their significant other than give up their phone
  • 34% of iPhone users regularly check their email at the dinner table.

So we have a problem and the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging you have one. The second step is going to work on it.

Here are five productivity hacks that are surprisingly simple, and yet incredibly effective. It’s not a question of if they’ll work for you and your unique situation, but how many of them will you actually put into use.

1. The email trap

This is something a friend learned from Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Academy and was kind enough to share it with me. Want to be 30% more productive today with almost no effort? Stop looking at your email in the first 60 minutes of the day. 90% of people wake up, grab their phone, and check their emails. By doing this, you let other people’s needs and wants dictate your life.

2. Health

Tony Robbins would talk about this back in the 80s with his late-night infomercials, and it’s something he’s gotten even more passionate about as new information is uncovered in the fields of nutrition and neuroscience. Health can be divided into three separate areas: Food, water and stretch.

Food is fuel for your body. You wouldn’t put cheap oil in a Ferrari, so why do people eat fast food? Because they want something quick that fills them up. I get it, and from time to time it’s no big deal, but you want to have a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, and pork.

Hydrating, aka drinking water, is one of the fastest productivity hacks around. Every high-performance coach talks about it. Instead of drinking alcohol, coffee, soda, switch to water. Within a week, you’ll feel a difference in how you feel. You’ll have more energy, sleep better and more productive than ever. Try it and see.

We all know the benefits of exercise, so why is it we find every excuse not to do it. A work-out takes time, you sweat, you feel tired and it can be downright depressing to see how out of shape you are when you haven’t exercised for a long time. Stretching, on the other hand, is quick and easy. No heavy lifting. Just 10 minutes to get your body limber will go a long way to feeling better. Your body will thank you.

“Love is not as important as good health. You cannot be in love if you’re not healthy. You can’t appreciate it.” – Bryan Cranston

3. Oxygenate your body

If you want to give your body a boost then breathe. Not unconsciously, like we all do but consciously like people doing yoga. This takes less than five minutes and you’re good to go. Athletes such as swimmers, runners, and karate fighters understand the power of breathing better than anyone, and how it is a critical component of success. The best part, it’s easier than ever to train yourself to breath better with the help of apps such as Breathe2Relax, Pranayama, Breathing Zone and Relax: Stress and Anxiety Relief.

4. Confirmation email

This was taught to me by my mentor back in my late twenties and it transformed how I dealt with coworkers. We often think that the greatest pull on our time are clients, but what is often overlooked is the frenemy. Colleagues that are seemingly on your side, but are taking advantage of your time and energy.

We have all met them before. They are the ones who pawn off their most difficult, challenging tasks to others. They appeal to people’s kindness and ask them if they can “help” them with something. What they often mean is, “Can you do it for me?” But they know that doesn’t fly so they resort to sneakiness.

When I first learned the technique of the confirmation email, I could hardly believe my eyes because tasks that had been thrown in my lap and taking up much of my time, suddenly vanished. People eventually stopped asking me to help them, because they couldn’t be bothered.

Car salespeople have an expression for these people: tire kickers. In business, to weed out the serious from the not so serious, just ask them to put their request in an email. It’s amazing just how powerful this technique can be.

We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves.” – George Matthew Adams

5. Chunking

My personal favorite productivity hack, and the one I have my clients implement immediately because it’s just so easy. Essentially it’s doing two tasks at the same time, but no, I’m not talking about multitasking. Multitasking is dividing your energy between two or more tasks, which is counterproductive. Chunking is combining two activities together that don’t detract from the other.

Here are some examples of chunking that work for me:

–      Having a meeting while walking

–      Stretching while watching TV

–      Doing breathing exercises while sitting in front of your computer

–      Listen to an audio program while driving

And there you have it, the five most effective productivity hacks for the busy entrepreneur. Easier than you think, more powerful than you realize.

Which one of these was your favorite productivity hack? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Ways College Grads Can Embrace Entrepreneurship

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It’s never too early to pursue your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, yet when you graduate college, you might feel like you’re not quite ready to jump fully into an entrepreneurial endeavor. Perhaps you feel like you don’t have enough experience, or perhaps you’d just like to get a more conventional job and save a little bit of money first.

Perhaps you’re already anxious to start your first business and you can’t wait to get it going. Whatever the case, you can lay the groundwork for your entrepreneurial endeavors early on.

Below are 5 ways new college grads can embrace entrepreneurship:

1. Get a Sales Job

No matter what line of work you’re in, you’re selling something. You’re selling yourself as well as whatever product or service you represent. This is especially true as an entrepreneur. If you don’t know how to sell, you’ll probably have a rough go of it at the beginning and selling definitely doesn’t come natural to everybody.

As a result, you could benefit from getting a sales job early on in your career. This will help you learn the ins and outs of sales, get comfortable with sales rejection, and learn how to persuade people.

If you already know what type of business you want to start, then aim to get a sales job in that industry. This will be even more powerful for you later on since sales is a grind. Nonetheless,everything you learn in the sales job will help you be a more successful entrepreneur later on.

2. Work at a Small Startup

It’s one thing to work at a big company where you feel like nothing more than a cog in a giant machine. It’s a whole different experience to work in a small startup where you interact with leadership everyday and can see how the business runs.

This will give you the opportunity to ask questions, learn from the triumphs and mistakes of the leaders, and see a type of management style up close.

When you start your own company, you’ll be able to see the bigger picture. You can see things from the point of view of your employees as well as your own point of view as a CEO/founder type of figure.

“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?” – Michelle Obama

3. Learn Other Marketable Skills

As an entrepreneur, you need to have a general understanding of a lot of different skills such as copywriting, design, marketing, management, and sales. That way, when you eventually hire for those positions, you’ll know how to spot a potential rockstar employee who has the capacity to do a good job.

Spend some time learning marketable skills, and especially those that are related to the industry you’re most interested in. These skills may even help you get a freelancing gig, which we’ll talk about next…

4. Consider Freelancing

It takes discipline to work and build something on your own. For some people, that discipline is more difficult to develop than others. So, you should consider freelancing online. This will help you get comfortable working from home, and give you the first taste of online success.

Freelancing can add a nice chunk to your monthly income as well, which increases your financial runway and gives you more time to get your eventual business up and running. It’ll also help you potentially make valuable connections within your future industry, which will help accelerate your entrepreneurial success.

5. Move to a City Filled With Entrepreneurs

It’s difficult to understand the lifestyle of an entrepreneur until you’re around it and see it for yourself. So, you should connect with as many entrepreneurs as possible. This will help you understand things from their perspective and get you acclimated with the lifestyle. It’ll also help you determine what type of business you should start.

Luckily, there are plenty of cities in the USA where entrepreneurship is growing rapidly. You can start with any one of these 7 US cities that are great for young entrepreneurs.

All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.” – Pope Paul V

The job market is more competitive than ever, and as a result, working for yourself as an entrepreneur is a smart long term move. It’s never too early to get started with your own entrepreneurial pursuits, even if you’re a new college graduate.

Whether you’re ready to start your first business right now, or you simply want to gain experience to jumpstart your career and lead yourself down a path towards entrepreneurship, these tips will help you make your goals a reality.

How are you making steps towards becoming your own boss one day? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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