Someone recently sent me an email request, and I thought I'd share it here and my response. He wrote:
"Debbie, Weekends are good for reflection and this weekend made me realize something that I have known, but I can now put into words better. I enjoy starting and growing businesses. I wouldn't say I am a serial entrepreneur, but that would be okay to be there some day. We do have plans to start a 2nd biz in the Twin Cities soon. Plans are still in the works.
So, the reason for my email is this... You are the best and closet serial entrepreneur I know. One of the best things that I know in growing in life, period, is having a mentor, or a coach. I am not asking for a commitment on your part and I would bog you down with emails or phone calls.
I am just asking for a solid place to turn to or advice about how to answer all of these questions and "feelings" about wanting to start another business.
Here's the 1st one...
What books or courses or do you recommend specificity on serial entrepreneurship?
What podcasts/ speakers do you recommend specificity on serial entrepreneurship?
What websites you recommend specificity on serial entrepreneurship?
Obviously, I have more questions than answers and I don't want to take all your time. Thank you for all you do and being a great friend."
AND MY ANSWER:
wow, it's good to see you are realizing that we all need a mentor, at each and every stage of business. I have two that I tap into regularly. Those who go it alone and do not have someone who is more successful than they are at business to bounce off ideas and rein in thinking, usually end up wasting time, money, shooting in the dark. So, I am glad you are thinking in this direction.
It's hard to answer your specific questions, so I'll do my best. Most of the books I read do not provide NEW information that I can honestly say "wow, I never thought of that before, I am so glad I learned that". A few books that have provided that type of info was:
1. "The E-Myth" (I read several years ago, learned a new way to approach my business and set out to make changes in my business)
2. Some of the Leadership books by John Maxwell have taught me new insights I didn't have
3. The 4-Hour Work Week had some new ideas I didn't have
but, for the most part, most of the business books we read tend to reinforce what we already know, or inspire us to put into action things we intended to do but never have done. I still read them, and love them. I pull out my Brian Tracy books often and refer to them about Time Management, especially when I'm feeling overwhelmed and not keeping up. Do I learn something new? Rarely. But I need the guideance, reminders.
One of my favorite books about entrepreneurialism is the biography of Benjamin Franklin. I love that book. There are so many examples of businesses he started (first fire department, library, printing press, business networking group, etc.). I get so encouraged because he launched these successful businesses and made a fortune during some of the most economically depressed times ever!
As far as mentoring and getting specific, technical answers to business delimmas and ideas, I think that is best done live and not so much with books. I think you find someone who knows more than you do on that topic, and you discuss the business regularly. I have a non-profit coach that can answer every quesiton I have about building and operating a non-profit. He's on the Board of Lance Armstrong foundation, and he's just smart! The problem-solving calls are an enormous benefit to me, that no book could substitute for.
Online podcasts? Well, I've only used those for sermons in the past. I have not tapped into great business podcasts. I have taken advantage of some online internet marketing courses, since my coaching business is an online business. Those have been FABULOUS for my consulting business and I've learned a lot! Those sources come from:
Yanik Silver, Mike Filsaime, Armand Moran, David Newman, etc. I have subscribed to Mike Filsaime's internet marketing monthly magazine, and a few courses online. All vaulable if you have an internet business. Not all applicable for a maid service.
Here's what I believe when it comes to "serial entrepreneurs". They're a dime a dozen. We all know people who keep starting businesses. The reality is, they keep QUITTING businesses. So, don't fall into the trap of becoming a "Jack of all trades and master of none", make your businesses sound and profitable and then start another one. I still own all four of my businesses and ALL of them make money without my daily involvement (including my consulting business). I have good friends who have sold successful, profitable businesses for a good profit. A good mentor is WHERE you want to be or HAS been where you want to be.
P.S. Here are some of my favorite books (in no particular order):
The E-Myth Revisted
Pour Your Heart Into It
See You At The Top
Good To Great
4-Hour Work Week
The Tipping Point
Blue Ocean Strategies
Selling The Invisible
10 Clowns Don't Make A Circus
Eat That Frog
Guerrilla Marketing Excellence
Why She Buys
Pain Killer Marketing
The Magic of Thinking Big
Profits Aren't Everything, They're The Only Thing
The Sales Advantage
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
The Tipping Point
Developing The Leader Within You
These are just a few I've read in the last 3 years! Hope this helps!