“What resources did you learn from when you first started?”
I am asked this question on a weekly basis. I mean, it makes sense. If you encounter someone who is at the level of success you want to be at, wouldn’t you want to know exactly what they read, watched, and listened to when they started?
What they don’t realize is that no matter what level of business you’re at, learning never ends. I don’t think a single day has gone by in the past 4 years where I didn’t actively try to learn something, whether it be from youtube/reddit/blogs/masterminds/courses. And the more you learn, the better you get at learning.
When I first started, it was actually quite difficult to sift through the BS and gurus to find the real, actionable information. Yes, Gary Vee is very motivational and he single-handedly gave me the drive to start my first company – but where did I learn information that was legitimately actionable?
I owe it all to books.
My first business book was Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” My own dad gave it to me when I was in college. I remember randomly grabbing it on the way to my jury duty (for non-US readers: it’s a mandatory 5-7 hour government process where you just sit in a room and most likely leave the room after just waiting around). I read the entire book while waiting, and it truly changed my perspective on my personal finances. Own assets, build wealth. I’ve been obsessed with accumulating capital ever since!
Let’s jump right into the top 3 books in my life that most affected the way I think and live.
#1) Principles by Ray Dalio
Principles is long, but every page is worth reading. My biggest takeaway from this book is to learn to be radically open minded. It serves as a constant reminder that I am not a master at anything, nor do I want to be. I want to be the disciple.
This ties into what I was talking about earlier – how learning is an on-going process, and even the people you look up to are constantly trying to learn new things every day (that’s why they are in that position in the first place). This may remind you of this quote: “You never want to be the smartest person in the room.”
Being radically open minded also means that I need to consider all criticism and negative comments. What if they are true? What if someone says my content sucks? If I dismiss this comment as not true, then I may have missed the chance to understand why my content sucks and how I could have improved. The biggest sign of someone who is radically open minded is someone who constantly asks questions to find out the truth, instead of telling people what their truths should be. Listen more, speak less.
#2) The E-Myth Revisited
This glorious book by Michael E. Gerber taught me to work ON my business, not IN my business. Starting a small business in which you must do every single task for 8-12 hours / day is simply creating a job for yourself. A true entrepreneur delegates low or no-revenue tasks off his or her plate.
Don’t get me wrong, starting a small business and creating a job for yourself still offers plenty of freedom (set your own hours, freedom from employers), but if scaling is your goal, then you must transition to working on the business.
To be honest, this is still something I am working on. There’s a reason I haven’t ever scaled a brand to 8-figures, and this is probably that reason. I can delegate customer service and fulfillment (typically the ecom entrepreneur’s first delegation), but I’ve never learned or trusted myself to delegate tasks such as media buying, hiring, or business relationships.
The way I see it, 6-figure annual revenue business can be run just fine solo. 7-figure annual revenue businesses need 1-3 employees. 8-figure annual revenue businesses require teams and hierarchy.
I’m at the 7-figure part (with 2 employees!), and this blog will document my journey to 8 and beyond.
#3) The Obstacle is the Way
This short book by Ryan Holiday is extremely eye-opening. It taught me to relish the difficulties and roadblocks in life. What would life be if it was extremely straightforward, with no challenges to speak of?
Life would be boring. And fortunately, that’s not how life, or business, is.
Now relishing your roadblocks or obstacles is not an easy feat… but know this: you don’t control what life throws at you. You only control how you decide to respond to the circumstances in front of you. Every obstacle is an opportunity – you just don’t know it yet.
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