Want to improve your business and your mindset? Ready to supercharge your business growth? Here's a list of my all-time favorite business books. The titles are all linked to Amazon, for your purchasing ease.
I'm a book-aholic, so comment with YOUR favorite business books. I'd love to know if I should add them to my library!
1. The E-Myth Revisted
I was on an airplane when I read this book and my entire mindset shifted while we were in the air. This book made me question how I was running my business and consequently enabled me to make life-changing decisions moving forward.
2. The 4 Hour Workweek
I see this book criticized in some circles, but for me, it was eye-opening. Especially the first half was truly defining as I got serious about managing my time so I could both grow my business and have time for my family.
3. Think and Grow Rich
While on vacation with my in-laws in Mexico, I read this book (after much insistence of fellow successful business owners). I literally walked laps around the pool because I was so excited about the concepts. Don't let the title throw you off. This classic book is a staple for motivated business owners.
4. Rocket Fuel
My husband and I are complete opposites. At first, this caused great friction and misunderstanding as we attempted to grow our company. This book outlined our roles and defined how we can both be great at what we do--in our own way. This book saved our business- and our marriage. If you're working with your spouse or a business partner, I highly recommend it!
5. The Ruthless Management of People and Profits
When I started my business, I was nice. Too nice. It took a lot of reading and mindset correction for me to learn to be nice AND have good boundaries so well-intentioned people didn't unintentionally destroy my business. This book gave me a good start on the right path.
6. The 10X Rule
I tried reading this book while relaxing in the sunshine on my deck, but I got too charged up. I had to go for a power walk and process all my thoughts and ideas! Beware. Reading this book by Grant Cardone will make you want to do big things!
We all have so many circles in our lives. Circles of friends at work, school, and church. Then there's your immediate family and extended family and extended-extended family. It can feel overwhelming to keep up with so many people--making sure no one feels left out or neglected.
I don't want my friends to think I don't love them or don't care, just because I haven't called, texted or seen them lately. And yet there are people in my house right in front of me that can feel neglected pretty quickly, too, if I'm so busy pouring into the lives of my friends and co-workers.
I've been thinking about this lately, and I've been picturing all the various groups of people in my life as circles of friends. I don't want to have wide, shallow circles. I want to have tight-knit, intentionally closed circles of people whom I love and who feel loved by me. I picture them like fields on the plains of Iowa. I want to plant fewer seeds and really tend them-- water them, nourish them, weed them-- so they will be healthy and grow. I want to be like the old family farm that isn't industrialized and impersonal. I want my people to know that they are loved by me. And I want to feel loved by them.
In the last few years, I've spread my seeds far and wide. I guess I wanted to see which fields would yield a crop and grow. Now it's time to tighten those circles and drift away from the places that I'm not called to be.
Sometimes you have to walk away from something that is good to have something that is excellent.
I choose my family: my husband and my kids. I choose to pour into those relationships and carve out time for each one of them every single week.
I choose to call my parents and have meals with my in laws.
I choose to message my closest friends and say, "How are you? I miss you."
I choose to intentionally keep up with the parents of my kids' friends. Because we are doing this life together.
I choose to leave Facebook groups that clutter my newsfeed and distract me from what is really important.
I choose to unsubscribe to emails that are creating clutter and noise in my daily life.
I choose to turn off my phone and really listen as my 9 year old talks on and on and on.
I choose to turn off my crazy cluttered thoughts when I am driving my teenagers around. I'm quiet. I'm ready to listen when they are ready to talk.
I'm so far from where I want to be. But I'll never stop trying to do a little better.
I recently grabbed a notebook and wrote down the name my kids and my friends and my co-workers. I drew circles around them. These are the people I want to pour into. These are the people I'm called to.
Tightening my circles hasn't been terribly difficult, but it hasn't been easy, either. It's a process. But already the fruit of deeper, richer relationships has been more rewarding than I could have imagined. I feel a little more peaceful. I feel more calm. And it makes me want to stay in this place.
I choose to tighten my circles.
I’ve been thinking about you lately. I know you are so busy. You’re juggling a million things. I’ve been where you are. Drowning in lists of things to do, struggling to keep your head above water, and burning the candle at both ends. I get it.
When I started my business, I had so many things to do that I didn’t even know where to start. I would jump from project to project, never finishing anything because I wasn’t sure what to even focus on.
I was stressed out and felt completely alone.
Let’s face it. There’s a lot of business advice out there. Frankly, it’s overwhelming. You can read books and buy training courses, but if nothing is changing for you and if you are still stressed and overwhelmed…then you need something different. You need to know exactly what to focus on next specifically for your business and your circumstances.
I’m going to be honest. 5 years ago, I got really fed up. I was tired of working super hard and never making more money. I was sick of spinning my wheels. I was working morning until night and nothing ever changed.
When I got intentional about my marketing and my systems, and got a one-on-one business coach to help me, that’s when everything changed.
I’ve finally cracked the code for marketing my business. And I’ve been able to put it practically on autopilot. (Meaning I still have to do stuff, but I know what to do and when.) Consequently, I’ve been able to focus on the things I absolutely love to do. I have more time for my family. I feel calm. I feel confident. I have a team, I have staff, and I have tools that work for me. Most importantly, I get to focus on the best parts of my business. The parts that made me start my business in the first place.
You can spend hundreds of hours researching marketing and technology and systems, like I did, or you can take my shortcut and work with me.
When you join my coaching program, we’ll talk every month, one on one. We’ll schedule a phone call and tackle your issues and questions. I’ll be there every step of the way, so you can systematically start conquering some of the overwhelm and chaos in your business. You deserve to feel peaceful, calm, and successful.
You now have a choice.
You don’t have stay stuck, feeling alone and desperate. Stop doing things the same way you’ve always done them! It’s time to make a change.
If you aren’t successful now, how will anything change if you just stay on this same path?
Who will this program work for?
I specialize in helping creative entrepreneurs and business owners because I understand you. I help the super creative people get back to doing the fun, creative stuff by systemizing their marketing and making it run (almost) on autopilot.
Many of my coaching clients own brick and mortar locations, because I own one, too. I know the struggles of paying for overhead and staff and covering all the hours at your location. My business isn’t on a main street, and yet I still drive traffic to my location every single day.
Most of my clients are selling a service or a physical product. I help you communicate with your clients why they should buy from you and I help make the sales process simple and easy—both for them to buy and for you to fulfill.
How does this work?
Our time together will clear up the clutter in your brain and help you confidently move your business forward. If you trust the process, step by step we’ll get you out of the place that you’ve been stuck in for so long. I know what it’s like to be consumed with questions. Should I do X? When should I do it? Will it work? Is there a better way? We need to clear your head so you can stop the spinning.
I know you’re busy! You don’t need more general business information or more stress.
In our private coaching calls, you’ll get more traction and clarity than if you spent hours and hours reading books, watching videos, or attending conferences. (Trust me, I’ve done all of the above.)
I believe in the power of one-on-one coaching.
You can read all the books, attend all the conferences, and watch all the video trainings. But if you don’t get someone one-on-one to look at your business, your life, and who YOU are, you’ll continue to guess and flounder. When we work together, you’ll get clarity and answers and directions. Fast.
What if I need more help getting everything done?
Don’t worry. Many of our coaching clients are not tech-savvy at all. Or, they are just busy and can’t get it all done. When needed, you can upgrade to done-for-you services. We can get your projects done fast so you can get back to the parts you love. By using our business services, you don’t have to find another company and try to explain what you need. We already know. And we can complete the project quickly to get your marketing on track and your business growing in the right direction.
You can get started now. All you have to do is book a call.
Let’s talk and turn your chaos into calm.
Book your call HERE.
Sometimes I feel guilty that my kids make their own lunches. They have to find their own dance shoes and if they lost their theatre book, they find it. I'm too busy to keep tabs on all their "stuff," especially when they didn't put it away in the first place.
Sometimes I feel badly that I don't make fancy snacks resembling zoo animals.
And then I give myself a little shake.
I'm teaching my kids responsibility. I'm preparing them for adulthood.
I'm not raising kids. I'm raising future adults.
There is no way that I'm going to launch my kids into the world without them knowing how to do their own laundry and cook their own meals. They better know how to reply to emails and call when they are running late. They sure as heck better be trustworthy and do what they say they will do.
I'm not going to graduate a child. I'm going to graduate a budding adult.
I got married at the age of 20 and I was ready to take on the world. I credit my parents for raising a strong, resilient, responsible young woman. They didn't baby me or coddle me or run to rescue me when I forgot my lunch or my paper on the kitchen table.
Sure, they were there when I needed them. I knew they loved me. But I went to high school 30 minutes away from my house and there was no way I expected them to drive an hour to give me a forgotten item. I had to deal with it. Take the consequences. Learn from my mistakes.
Sometimes I feel guilty when I shrug my shoulders when my kids say "I can't find. . ." and then I remember that I'm teaching them LIFE SKILLS. Find your own stuff. Better yet, put it away where you can find it next time. Learn from your pain and frustration and change your actions for next time.
No food to eat in the house? Yeah right. Dig deeper in the freezer or pantry. Get creative. Make something. Figure it out. You're not three years old--you're a middle schooler or a high schooler. Soon you'll be applying for jobs and who will rescue you then?? Your boss? I don't think so. You'll get fired and let go and your head will be spinning because not only did no one rescue you, but you got the boot because you didn't do what you promised you would do.
I'm going to do everything in my power to let my kids fall and fail and feel it. . . while they are still under my roof and I can hold them while they cry. I can comfort them, but not rescue them. I will love them fiercely and that includes loving them enough to NOT rescue them at every failure, but rather TEACH them how to change and grow from their mistakes.
It's impossible to be perfect. Trust me. I've tried.
We all fail, fall, and mess up. But we don't need to be rescued, we need to learn from our mistakes.
I'm hiring young adults all the time and I'm so thankful for the parents who instilled values and character into their kids. These are the employees that show up, go above and beyond, and who work for my organization for years and years.
If you're raising kids, raise them for their future employers and future spouses. Don't be a "good" parent, be a wise parent. Teach values and morals and timeliness and honesty. Teach it like your life depends on it. Because your child's future DOES depend on how you raise them now.
When I was in high school, a petition was circling the school. We were outraged about something (I don't remember what, of course) and I'll never forget the principal's response. He wasn't mad. He was calm. But he gathered the high school together and he said: "Protests and petitions won't get you anywhere. Sure, it feels like you're doing something, but the best way to make change is not to sign your name on a paper. It's to stand up and do something. Have that hard conversation. Go directly to the person that has wronged you, and talk to them."
I've never forgotten those words.
The best way to make change is to stand up and do something.
I don't want to be whiner or a complainer. I don't want to be a protester or a petition-signer. I want to get up out of my chair, stand up, and make the small change that I can make.
I remember another day in high school. We were all loudly talking and moving as a herd from the cafeteria through the hallway to our next class. A bulky hand-painted banner had fallen from the concrete block walls and was now being trampled by the entire student body. We didn't even care. We just kept following the crowd. That day, my principal's face was red and angry. He stopped us right there in the hallway. "Didn't you guys see this?? How can you all keep walking and trampling over this poster??" We were dumbfounded. We really didn't see it. And if we did, we simply didn't care. We had our own agenda and our own interests in mind. We kept following the person in front of us, without a thought of the artwork that we were destroying under our feet.
Red-faced, the principal said, "All it takes is ONE person. One person to stop and move the poster so it won't get trampled."
I've never forgotten that, either. I have the power to get out of the crowd, take another look and do something. I can speak up, I can grab what is being trampled and I can get it out of harm’s way.
You don't have to march and protest and sign the petition. Sure, it feels good to be part of the crowd. Something bigger than yourself. But the biggest impact of all comes when just you--just one person--takes a stand and starts that hard conversation. Confronts injustice. Picks up that which is being trampled.
Acting bravely on your own is the most powerful action you can take.
My favorite quote says: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
Imagine the impact if we each did just that.
It was a fun night. We played a rollicking game of Dutch Blitz and ate pizza. The kids ran around and the adults crashed on the couch and laughed and talked. When everyone left, we cleared the paper plates and straightened up the couch pillows. Then my sister called. I heard the frantic tone in her voice right away: "My diamond is missing! I looked down and it's gone!"
"What?!" I replied. "The whole ring or just the diamond?!?"
"The diamond fell out!" she exclaimed. "Please search your house! Oh it could be anywhere! Why didn't I notice? When could it have happened?!" She was rightfully flipping out.
We used flashlights and searched all over the kitchen and in the family room where she had been sitting. The next morning, I used the flashlight on my phone again and crawled all over the kitchen floor. I sighed. This was going to be a nearly impossible task.
I had to leave the house for a meeting and a few hours later I got a phone call from Chris. "We found the diamond!"
"What?! You did?!? Where??" I questioned.
Lydia, 9 years old, had found it in the bathroom, near the sink. It had gotten snagged on the hand towel and fell out. So close to going down the drain. Lost. Forever.
Chris put the lost treasure in a baggie, so we could return it to my sister. It looked so lost and forlorn, out of it's beautiful setting, where it usually perches regally on my sister's finger. I stared at the baggie when I got home later that day. And this is what came to me:
"A diamond out of its setting isn't worth any less, but when properly supported and displayed, its value shines."
In the last few years, I've known what it's like to be out of my proper setting. Lost. Displaced. Alone.
When you aren't in your sweet spot, it can be like thrashing around in the middle of the ocean. There's nothing to hold onto. No side of the pool to grasp. Everything feels like a wide-open space and little old you is just fending for yourself.
Contrast that with swimming in a pool with lane markers. You know exactly where the boundaries are. You swim with ease, cutting through the water with your strokes. You even have guides on the ceiling, so you can swim in a straight line when you're on your back. When you're tired, you can hold on to the side of the pool and rest.
When I saw my sister's beautiful diamond out of its setting, I was almost desperate to see it in its mount again. It just looked lost lying there, without it's supportive prongs.
Do you feel lost? Or are you in the right setting?
When You're in the Right Setting:
1. You feel supported
You deserve to be fully supported by your loved ones and staff. You have delegated tasks so everyone knows what they are doing and you are able to focus on what you do best. You don't have to constantly put out fires. When you check in with your team, they are getting their tasks done so you can get back to focusing on your responsibilities.
2. You feel confident
When you're in the right setting, you hold your head up high. You know what you're doing, you know how to do it, and although things aren't always easy, you know how to tackle the challenges. You've got this.
3. You feel your worth
When you're in the right place in life, you feel valued. You may not always get praised, but when you do, you embrace it. You know it's true. You know you're in the right place and you know that others know it too.
So what if you're NOT in the right setting? What if you're a lost diamond? You're still valuable. You're still worth a lot. You just need to have support and have a setting that supports you. Don't just accept the feeling of being lost. Acknowledge it. And set out to change things. Maybe you need different support staff. Maybe you need a change of scenery. Maybe you need new friends who see you, get you, and support you. Maybe you just need to speak up and say, "Hey. I need more support around here." It's amazing what happens when you use your voice and state your needs.
I hope you feel fully supported. And if you don't, I hope you'll reach out and get help.
Everyone deserves to shine like a diamond and sparkle in the sunlight--in the right setting.
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!