Entrepreneurs - Self Made Success Stories & Book Recommendations

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Marjimmy
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Entrepreneurs - Self Made Success Stories & Book Recommendations

Post by Marjimmy » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:58 am

Hey All,

I'm looking for a little advice in regards to being an entrepreneur and getting started. There is a lot of financial advice here and great book recommendations but I don't believe I ever came across a book in regards to being an entrepreneur. Was wondering for those of you that have taken that route if you can shed some light on books that you found to be MUST reads. Along with a book recommendation, if you wouldn't mind sharing your story as well as how you got started and some of the risks you took.

Thanks
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

Marjimmy
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:14 pm

Re: Entrepreneurs - Self Made Success Stories & Book Recommendations

Post by Marjimmy » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:52 pm

Bumping for afternoon audience. :sharebeer
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

Scrapr
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Re: Entrepreneurs - Self Made Success Stories & Book Recommendations

Post by Scrapr » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:29 pm

I'll start out.

Is there an area that you want to focus on?Are you start up? Early stages?

Every business owner has to sell. Nothing sells then business goes kaput. A lot of people reco Dale Carniege How to win friends... I have not read it. But it must be good

As far as selling I'm not super great at it. (but you should have seen me when I started!) I like Gitomer Little Red Book of Selling. Easy read for little bites. I took it along and if I got a few minutes I'd pull it out and read a chapter. He has a whole series of books. Take a look and see what is useful. He has podcast that I listen to in the car. He's a bit hyper so I can only take small amounts at a time

Give me some idea of where you're at and I can probably come up with something

Ohhh, just saw you wanted my story. Watch The Jerk.....LOL I was born a poor black child

Started up mostly to get vacation money. I liked to vacation in the Caribbean. Not so hard from the East Coast. Much more expensive from the West Coast. Worked a trucking job by night and got my company off the ground by day. After a couple years I quit the day job and went full time. The marketing was pretty simple. Get in front of builders. Volunteer at the Homebuilders Assoc. Sponsor stuff there. Catchy name & marketing pieces. Word of mouth. Evaluate the competition and then be better.

Risks? I tried to keep that down and make no bet the company moves. Slow organic growth. Steady. It allows me to plan. And create a scarcity ethos. We close off when we reach capacity. Don't take on more contractors. Hardest time was the Great recession. Our segment got killed. Lost 2/3rds of our business. Watch friends go bust and lose everything. We hung on by the skin of our teeth. But it was close.

edit: thinking about risk. It's just part of the endemic in construction. There is going to be overbuilt and oversold periods. Find a way to insulate yourself as much as possible

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Entrepreneurs - Self Made Success Stories & Book Recommendations

Post by White Coat Investor » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:51 pm

Lots of Bogleheads know my story.

Book recommendations? I read a couple about how to self-publish a book. That was about it. But I read A LOT of blog articles and watched a lot of Youtube videos on how to do technical stuff. Learned to sell by selling. Still not that good at it.

The story? I realized I was spending way too much time online not to be making money doing it. Combine that with a momentary passion for passive income (that turned out to be anything but passive) and a desire to help docs stop doing dumb stuff with their money, and that was enough to get me going and keep me going long enough to be successful.

A few minor financial risks (most recently a conference) but mostly just risked a lot of time and effort that could easily have not paid off. Bootstrapped the whole thing, but to be fair, that's not so hard in online entrepreneurism.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

livesoft
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Re: Entrepreneurs - Self Made Success Stories & Book Recommendations

Post by livesoft » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:20 pm

I'll add some anecdotes. In my former job, my company would occasionally be involved in buying out small companies from entrepreneurs. As near as I could tell, none of the principals and founders of these small companies had ever set out to be entrepreneurs nor had read books on the subject. They simply had come across some ideas and potential products as part of their normal, everyday work or university studies. Then they just went with it and learned how to make products, hire people, lease space, etc. Then they woke up one day and thought, "Well, how did I get here?"
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AlohaJoe
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Re: Entrepreneurs - Self Made Success Stories & Book Recommendations

Post by AlohaJoe » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:58 pm

Marjimmy wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:58 am
Was wondering for those of you that have taken that route if you can shed some light on books that you found to be MUST reads.
The only books I would consider "must read" are the ones by Steve Blank. I would stay away from individual stories/biographies and I would also not read more than 2 or 3 books; it is easy to read-instead-of-do, to feel like if you just read 5 more books then you'll know enough to guarantee success. The real world doesn't work that way.

Blank's books are targeted at high-tech startups but don't let yourself think his advice doesn't apply to other industries. In a lot of ways his The Startup Owner's Manual is a second edition of his The Four Steps to the Epiphany, so just skip Epiphany and read Startup Owner's Manual instead.

Beyond that, I'd pick one "industry specific" book if you don't already have experience you can rely on to help you better understand the cost structure, basic legal environment, and whatnot. Just as there are books on rental real estate investing and flipping houses, there are books on running a retail store or running a restaurant. So it would really depend on what kind of entrepreneurship you're thinking about.

Iliketoridemybike
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Re: Entrepreneurs - Self Made Success Stories & Book Recommendations

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:09 pm

Started two businesses and I can say not much info ever came from a book. The biggest lessons came early on working for other entrepreneurs and seeing that they were no different than me. They just decided to do it and then so did I.
Best piece of advice I can offer is know where your first order is coming from. Sales are EVERYTHING.

gips
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Re: Entrepreneurs - Self Made Success Stories & Book Recommendations

Post by gips » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:16 pm

book recommendation:
- Getting to Yes, because so much of business revolves around a negotiation

advice:
- model: Before you launch, create a spreadsheet which models expected revenue, expenses, cash flow, etc on a monthly basis. Take it five years out. show it to a friend, a spouse, a financial advisor and incorporate their feedback. Once you launch, compare budget to actual and change model as needed.
- employees: treat your employees well and they will treat you well
- litigation: don't ask yourself "what happens if I'm sued", ask yourself "what happens when I'm sued" because if you're successful, you will be sued, you may have done nothing wrong and you will have to settle (see book recommendation)
- early revenue: Identify cornerstone client before you launch, initial revenue makes everything so much easier

gretah
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Re: Entrepreneurs - Self Made Success Stories & Book Recommendations

Post by gretah » Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:31 pm

Chris Guillebeau's
The $100 Startup
It is a short, concise introduction to being an entrepreneur.

He reviews all the basics and tells you how to get started.

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