Hello, all:This is my first post to this board, though I've been a lurker for awhile now.So, I'm looking at the possibilities of becoming a Self-Employed Fool. Right now, I work in IT, doing programming, database work, web development, etc. in the D.C. area. I'm weighing the idea of becoming an independent contractor/consultant in the same field, or the idea of trying to break into something completely different.Anyway, I have a beach vacation coming up and, in addition to my Travis McGee mystery novels, I'm looking for educational/inspirational reading material that might be helpful for making a decision.So, are there any books that you've read that you wish you read before making the leap? Are there any other books that have been inspirational or invaluable in your decision to become self-employed?Any suggestions would be appreciated.Thanks!CayoConch
So, are there any books that you've read that you wish you read before making the leap? Are there any other books that have been inspirational or invaluable in your decision to become self-employed?One of the best books I ever read was "Growing a Business" by Paul Hawken - $10.40 at Amazon ... I read it YEARS ago, but I still carry in my mind one of his major themes, which is that having too much capital to start a business is often a problem, not an asset. Money doesn't buy creativity and it doesn't let you "learn the ropes" one little step at a time, which you just have to do regardless of what business you're in. You NEVER know as much as you think you do. And as anyone in a business for themselves can tell you, it's super-easy to spend, spend, spend, and there are plenty of eager sales people out there trying to suck money out of small entrepreneurial ventures (particularly startups). Sadly, I think a lot of entrepreneurs get discouraged when, for example, that $400 a month yellow pages ad brings them very little business, and then they end up exhausting all their capital on it and other foolish expenditures that just weren't well thought out. Anyway, check that book out .. it's a quick and easy read and will probably make you think about some things in a new way.james
This sounds like a great suggestion, I'll add it to my list!Thanks,CayoConch
I don't know if this would apply to *just* becoming a independent contractor, but I would recommend the book E-Myth, by Michael Gerber. It is great for helping people who "work for themselves" to change the way they view their business. He wrote the book to address the fact that many people start a business to do something they like, only to end up hating it after several years. I read it at the time when I was working for a very small consulting firm, and it perfectly described the state of the company.I used to consider myself a contractor (i.e., a highly-paid temporary worker), more than a business owner. I now try to look at my business as a real business, and I've found Gerber's ideas to be challenging and encouraging.I hope you enjoy your vacation (or enjoyed it, if it's already past). Bob
On James' recommendation, I checked out this book from the library. I'm halfway through it, and it's WONDERFUL. Thank you for mentioning it, James!PrrpleGrrl, who will be getting her own copy of the book
Most likely your biggest issue is going to be SELLING your services. Getting enough business to survive is the issue most profesional service providers have trouble with that KILLS them. I would recomend a book on selling profesional services, one I recomend is called "The I hate selling" book. "Selling the invisible" is another one that I would recomend. You'll only be able to make so many mistakes before you go out of business. My sugstion is to learn about all the ones others have done and NOT do them. This is very simple and very hard. Finding people who have done what you've done and asking them where they screwed up when they started or what they would do diffrently is a good place to start. In that light, I also would recomend a book written by a mentor and friend of mine called "Guts and borrowed money" I would read that book and pick up on all the "mistakes" someone who made it did, and not do them. Most people DO NOT EVER spend time learning about mistakes, and I think they are one of the most valuable learning tools ever.
One of the best books I ever read was "Growing a Business" by Paul Hawken - This is a good book. Thanks for recommending it.
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