Never Get A “Real” Job (2010) Book Summary and Insights
Book Title: Never Get a “Real” Job
Subtitle: How to Dump Your Boss, Build your Business, and Not Go Broke
Publication Date: 2010
Author Name: Scott Gerber
Gerber teaches aspiring entrepreneurs the steps to striking out on their own and becoming their own boss. The book guides on how to stay committed to your start up business; even during the rough times, how to stay healthy while still putting in your best efforts, and how to create One-Paragraph Start-Up Plan.
This book dishes out its fair share on entrepreneurship advice, with tips on making the right partnering decisions and effective marketing strategies.
Who is This Book For?
Young and aspiring entrepreneurs looking for inspiration to strike out on their own and start their own business.
For employees looking for an escape from corporate jobs, or looking to develop their great ideas.
About the Author
Scott Gerber is a popular speaker, co-founder and CEO of the Community Company, an organisation which strives to manage community-driven programs for global brands and media companies. He is also a successful author, speaker, and founder of YEC and Forbes Councils.
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In a society that teaches us to strive to graduate from University and aspire to secure that white-collar 9-5 job, this book encourages us to strike out on our own.
Going into the world fresh out of University might intimidate most young people into grabbing the first job offer they get but, this book encourages you to forget the corporate jobs and minimum wages. Forget the traditions of job seeking and applications, this book offers the best, practical advice that has served for the major success stories, and how to avoid failures in the world.
Entrepreneurship Requires Tenacity
Prepare yourself for hardships and hurdles as you step into the world of entrepreneurship. You may think getting and cultivating the ideas for your business is the difficult part but, the odds for success are not in your favour. No matter how brilliant your idea is, the only thing you can count on is that it won’t be easy. So, set your expectations accordingly before beginning.
An unspoken rule in the business world is that failure, hurdles, and hitting rock bottom are an almost guarantee. This doesn’t mean that you should call in your cards and give up. In fact, analysing and learning from your mistakes will help you avoid potentially larger ones in the long term.
Plan for those tough times; this entails strategizing to scale through all scenarios without coming out a complete failure. You can achieve this by thinking through your plans carefully.
Weigh the pros and cons of your plans. The benefits of any plan should considerably outweigh the risks for it to be a wise venture.
Consider the repercussions and longevity of whatever you have cooking. Consider how good of an idea it would be in the next ten years or how much you stand to lose to avoid a dying business and regrets.
No matter what kind of business you plan on starting, a wise move involves a backup plan. You could eventually find that plan number 2 is the more profitable, wise investment in the long run.
It may dim your enthusiasm imagining scenarios where so much goes wrong but, eventually your cautiousness will pay off.
Starting Your Business
Considering all things, venturing into any line of business is about as intimidating as it gets. You have statistics against you for success, your future depends on your success, and you’re still uncertain exactly how to go about the entire thing.
Should all this negativity cause you to retreat or complain about unfairness? No, instead you should take advantage of what you have at your disposal, and make the most.
You have the advantage of being a small business in the early stages and, this gives you the opportunity to foster a closer relationship with your customers. Sure, you don’t yet have a clear strategy or huge funds at your disposal but, you can create a firmer relationship with your customers by being authentic. Customers appreciate when they can relate with a service provider so, take advantage of this and lay yourself bare.
Resources might also be an issue for you but, there are ways to tackle this too. If you don’t have money for a company car, use your personal vehicle. Or, loan your mom’s car, or a friend’s. Before involving these other people though, make sure that your passion commits you to your cause.
You might have had an interest in the business as a hobby before you grew it but, having an interest is never enough. You must consider if,
1. Your hobby is practical enough for a business
2. You are good enough that your business stands out from the competition
3. Your business has/will generate enough interest once launched.
4. Your business would succeed in the tentative early years.
If you confidently answer these questions in the affirmative, it might be time to get your business plans out.
One-Paragraph Start-Up Plan
The typical mind-set is that starting a new business requires first a detailed, comprehensive business plan. The author argues that while this could be of help, you could focus instead on building your business.
One-Paragraph Start-Up Plan is a practical business tool that allows you to test your business ideas in the real world with a strategy that remains as dynamic as your business.
Creating your plan entails that you must first ask some crucial questions: What product/service do you offer? Who is your target market? What are your plans for generating revenue? You should answer these questions with one or two sentences, and this would stand as a rough draft of your One-Paragraph Start-Up Plan.
Next, list out actionable steps called Guess and Checklists. Each sentence from your plan should generate five actionable plans you can begin with. Create a checklist from these and include all expenses and deadlines. With every step you complete, critically analyse it. Test what worked and what you learnt and what parts of the plan you should change.
As you progress, continue testing each step and eliminate the steps that didn’t work while improving on the ones that did. After this time of revisiting your hypotheses and refining your business plan, you end up with a tested and certified marketing plan that would boost your business.
One-Paragraph Start-Up Plan is not like a regular static business plan, it is an evolving, key part of your business.
Think about your business partnership as something similar to a marriage. It requires commitment and understanding, as is difficult to walk away from.
You must be sure of what you are getting into before committing to a partnership. The good ones yield success in the business, and the bad ones sometimes cause a lot more than financial loss. Before stepping into one, ask yourself these five questions:
1. Ask yourself if you really need a partner in your business. What kind of offer does he/she brings to the table you can’t? Can an employee rather than another shareholder fill whatever holes you need filled?
2. Know what kind of partnership model would suit you best. Consider the pros and cons of a standard partnership versus a licensing deal or joint venture.
3. Who is the best candidate for the partnership? Consider all the qualities the person possesses and why they stand out from the crowd. Make sure you and this person have the same goals in sight.
4. How practical is your partnership idea? Before diving straight into one, consider giving it a trial run with some short-term goals.
5. Establish written terms and conditions. You don’t want to end in a messy situation which ends up in court. Before starting out on any partnership, make sure you and the other party are on the same page with defined terms, corporate responsibilities and other conditions.
The Entrepreneur’s Lifestyle
One beauty of living as an entrepreneur is that you get to design your own lifestyle.
While other office businesses hold their steady 9-5 jobs every day of the week, an entrepreneur does not get to just pack up and drop all work at 5:00 pm. Ultimately, however much you invest in your business is what you get back; especially in the beginning stages.
You must also learn to balance all aspects of your business, as an entrepreneur. In the beginning, you might have to wear all hats, juggling different areas of your business and understand them fully. This knowledge will eventually help you when you need to hire employees.
You can make this transition easier on you by establishing a power routine, which will allow you to be productive in your entrepreneurship ventures while still living a healthy life.
You can start by working every day of the week for an entire month. This will give you enough information which will ultimately help you. It will also allow you home in on some of your best skills. At this stage, you must overcome any of your fears or hesitancies because whatever you do not do will not get done. Take notes on the things you succeed at, and the days they occurred.
Next, write these successes under one of three categories; strategic planning, internal operations, or revenue generation. Now, examine the difficulties jotted down in your schedule. Which categories saw the most success and which recorded slow periods? Study the chart and figure out how to improve your productivity.
Continue making adjustments to your power routine until you reach the point of perfection. Then, you can commit to this routine and never deviate. Even if this means giving up your weekends because Saturdays are your most revenue generating days, do that.
Maintaining a Professional Front
In the world of business, you must maintain as much professionalism as you can; this is a basic rule. Therefore, so much revenue goes into generating proper designs, ads, and consulting experts. Your start-up business won’t begin with an immense flow of cash in the beginning, though.
What you need to focus on is your website. Think of your website as the first glimpse your customers will get into what your brand stands for. A professional website should be easy to navigate, and quick to load. You need not spend a ton of money hiring professional services to build your website. You can sample service providers like Weebzly, which offers online tools and useful templates for your business.
Another area that usually takes a huge bite of your money is the expert advice. You can save here by boycotting expensive consultation fees and instead searching up the answers you need on the internet. Or, you could schedule in a lunch meeting with some relevant network of friends or a mentor.
Listen during your consult with this person and pay attention to what they have to say. Remember to remain gracious and send an appreciation message after the meet.
Your business strategy does not end at just creating a website, meeting people and building plans. Once it is up and running, you must brainstorm on how to reach out to and gain customers.
Social media allows us to reach a network of people previously out of reach, bridging the time; distance and language gap but, is it really the most effective means of marketing?
To get an effective marketing up, you must first create a series of words and phrases that describes what your brand is and stands for. For example, when you see the term “online search”, your mind immediately goes to Google.
You should make your brand message about 8 easy-to-read words which promotes what your company does. You must consider the best marketing platforms for your business, and not just spam every channel.
For example, if you offer dog-walking services, the most effective means of advertising would be to hand out flyers at dog parks and interacting with their owners. This way, you create a more lasting impression and may even exchange contact information.
Remember to keep your marketing goals as clear as possible and concentrate on them. Going into the business world on your own requires all the discipline you can get and a clear focus.
“When our parents came of age in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, working for “The Man” was the only game in town. Our grandparents- mostly members of the Great Depression generations for whom jobs were considered luxuries- reinforced the ideas that getting a job and working hard were essential to building a sustainable living.
Thus, the mantra was born: Work hard, get good grades, go to college, and get a job.”
“However, to survive in the real world, there is a different set of secret weapons on which you’ll need to rely: hustler instincts, the intuition for problem solving, and good old-fashioned perseverance.”
“Use your branding and marketing strategies to distinguish your business from the competition.”
“Losers talk about what they want to do; winners get it done. Losers quit because the race is too hard. Winners hustle across the finish line, no matter what it takes.”
Becoming an entrepreneur takes all the courage you can muster but, delivers enough independence and satisfaction every well-delivered plan does.
So long as you can put in the long hours and hustling spirit for the long-term, you can let go of your “real” job without thinking twice.
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