I’m the type of person who would rather snuggle up with a good self-improvement book than spend my time reading a book in any other genre. As a solopreneur intent on providing my clients the best service possible, many of these books fall into the business realm.
Yet, one thing I’ve noticed is that a majority of these writings are geared toward employee-based companies. They don’t really apply to me, so I don’t get as much from them.
That said, there have been a couple of books that I’ve found incredibly helpful and enlightening as a one-person business owner. Here are three that remain on my bookshelf today because, though I regularly go through my office and get rid of the extra clutter, I can’t seem to let their words of wisdom go.
The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything
Admittedly, this business book is geared largely toward companies that do have staff. However, I found the advice provided by Stephen M.R. Covey helpful not only as a solopreneur, but also as a person. Trust is the basis for a good relationship, after all, whether that relationship is with your client, spouse, another family member, or friend.
Over the decade that I’ve been in business for myself (and by myself), I’ve learned that my clients need to trust me if we are going to have a good working relationship. This book helped me hone in on what that trust really means, as well as providing guidance as to how to strengthen it and make these relationships stronger and longer-lasting.
What I like about The Speed of Trust is that it focuses on the trust progression. This begins with learning how to develop self-trust, then transitions into how to develop trust in a relationship. From there, it talks about building trust within organizations, the market, and society as a whole. It even has a section about how to inspire trust in others.
This type of layout allowed me to focus on the types of trust that apply to me and my business. It also makes sense because you can’t trust others until you learn to trust yourself. This can sometimes be hard to do as a solopreneur, especially when you’re on unfamiliar ground.
Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook, Creating Peace of Mind in a World of Volatility
What’s one of the biggest concerns people have when entering into a one-person business? Money. You wonder whether you will earn enough to pay your bills and still have some left to put into savings or toward retirement. Or, what happens if you go long periods of time without getting paid? Can you and your family survive?
Leave it to Tony Robbins to find a way to help squash this fear. In Unshakeable, he talks about “the rules” of money. He also delves into some of the core principles that can help bolster your investments, providing even greater levels of financial freedom. You even learn some of the biggest money mistakes people make, and how to avoid making them yourself.
What I found particularly helpful when reading Unshakeable is that it is written in a way that is easy to understand. It is also very encouraging, helping me to realize that as long as I follow a few basics, I can give myself and my family more financial security.
This security isn’t just about growing your bank accounts or increasing your investments, either. It’s more about finding a way to make your money support the life you want, both now and in the future, and how to make your income work for you.
Getting Grit: The Evidence-Based Approach to Cultivating Passion, Perseverance, and Purpose
In Getting Grit, Caroline Adams Miller explains that authentic grit can be defined as “the passionate pursuit of hard goals that awes and inspires others to become better people, flourish emotionally, take positive risks, and live their best lives.” Is there any greater goal to have as a solopreneur?
One of the things I love most about Getting Grit is that it is filled with countless stories about people who have found their authentic grit, enabling them to live a more satisfying life. The fact that others have had similar struggles, yet found a way to power through and emerge victorious on the other side, fills me with hope.
Like Jack Hairston, who was retired and depressed but, after helping a young man fix his broken bike, wound up realizing his passion, which led him to overseeing a huge bicycle repair warehouse and even creating his own charity that fixes bikes for underprivileged kids. Or Rich Harris, a CEO who, despite his amazing achievements, felt that he lacked the ability to inspire others. Yet, after finding his own grit, did just that and created a stronger, more profitable business as a result.
The whole second half of Getting Grit provides solopreneurs with a variety of tools needed to build grit and create a life that is more satisfying personally and professionally. It talks about developing traits such as patience and perseverance, offering suggestions for making the changes necessary to live a life that continues to build and hone your grit.
These are just a few of the books that have managed to stay on my shelf. I hope they help you as much as they help me. Or, as Charles W. Eliot once said, “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Sounds like my kind of book.