This is Jae Ruax, I'm the Founder of FIENA and this month I'll be talking about the journey of entrepreneurship and the audiobooks that inspired me!
Mark Zuckerberg. Ariana Huffington. Walt Disney. They make entrepreneurship sound glamorous; but in reality, it’s not all fun and games. Entrepreneurship can be difficult. It requires grit and hard work.
Of course, your journey will depend on your back story. If you start with, for instance, a 500K cash injection, your journey will be very different to an entrepreneur who bootstraps with little or no budget for five years. However, I think in both cases the key to survival in entrepreneurship is applying tried and tested models of...well, you know what? Everything.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you’ll find everything you need to guide and mentor you in books. And I'm talking audiobooks.
Of course, money and investment CAN buy experience, but a company still needs to be spearheaded right by the founders. Even if you had 500k - splashing cash in the wrong places can sink a business- just as a bootstrapped entrepreneur investing time into the wrong areas of a business could in those crucial first years. Knowledge really is key.
For me, what’s helped along the way is knowing that I’m not alone. Others made the same journey as me. And they have succeeded. So - Here we go! Here are the audiobooks that changed my entrepreneurial game and helped me level up.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE (Phil Knight)
I listened to this audiobook in Winter 2018. We weren’t growing at the speed I had wanted at the time, and we were facing operational challenges. Two things stood out to me.
ONE: Shoe Dog emphasized to me that YES Nike is a household name now, but it hasn’t always been. Nike was once run out of a small room with two staff, one of which was the founder. It was also at this time the Nike Founder was bombarded with complaints and unhappy customers who didn’t like the quality of the Nike shoe! This gave me perspective to understand that every great product has its bumps in the road. As a founder your job is to listen and improve the product or service. Greatness comes from evolution, constant progress and dedication to the end goal.
TWO: The day before they went to print their packaging, the Nike team didn’t have a name for the company. Let me repeat. They didn’t have a name. The team were completely out of ideas and they were about to register as Dimension Six. The morning that the patent paperwork was due in 1971, Nike's co-founder got a call from Jeff Johnson (the first employee of Nike). He said he had a dream of the word Nike and that's what he thought the company should be called. And that’s where the name came from. It LITERALLY appeared in his dream. Now, that’s a sign if you ever heard of one! I can't imagine Nike ever would have been as successful with the name Dimension Six. And I love the magic and mystery in how the team found the name. I do believe that the universe guides us, if we’re open to listening, so it's great to stay open to signs, ideas and inspirations. Hard work gets you far, but I think good luck and a bit of help from the universe is also important!
The 5 AM Club - by Robin Sharma
In entrepreneurship, you have peaks and troughs. You have periods of momentum when everything goes swimmingly and you have lulls of frustrations and dead ends. Every job has this, but in entrepreneurship the stakes are higher. If you’ve quit your career, got rid of your steady income or have investors that are expecting returns, you constantly have a heightened pressure to deliver. Add in that fuel of passion and ‘I-Have-To-Do-This’ sense of urgency most entrepreneurs have and it’s all systems go. All the time.
I listened to the 5 Am Club during lockdown when the world was in a panic and the
future was uncertain. The 5 Am Club reinforced to me that at any point in your journey you can reset. By that I mean reset focus, reset energetics and reset the tone. Entrepreneurship is creation. You can wake up one day with an inspiration that turns into an idea that is the catalyst of your brand to grow. Or not grow.
It makes sense to create habits and routines that lead you to be your highest, most
creative and best self. This book helps you do that. In a metaphysical kind of way. The 5 Am Club is about subconsciously retraining the way your mind works, to be open to miracles, to let in the best that life has to offer, to revel in the marvels and magic of everyday and treat every day as an opportunity to go BIG. This in turn, creates a space for you to create great work. Even if you don’t actually get up at 5am every day, it’s the energy and the sparks of this book that makes the difference!
Robin Sharma is great at storytelling and it shows. This book will get you motivated, out-of-the-fatigue, and ready to create a whole universe of greatness. At least it did for me!
The E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don't Work & What To Do About It
I listened to this audiobook back in 2016 right at the beginning of my entrepreneurial
journey and while it’s not as entertaining as the above two it still deserves a mention.
When I left my corporate brand management career in 2015, I knew how to market and how to ‘brand’, and thought that would get me by. Now after 6/7 years in entrepreneurship I know a whole lot more about tech, sales, HR, PR, operations, accounting and customer service. You catch my drift? As a founder, it helps to know your departments and their functions inside out and this book helped me understand this. I remember walking around London Fields in East London (where I lived at the time) scrawling frantically in my notebook, taking it all in. Gerber lays out the different operations and systems needed for a business to thrive and describes the pitfalls of not employing them. It’s not enough to just do one thing well. You have to do it all well.
This book, just as the title goes, also does very well at giving case studies of failed
businesses and why they failed so you know what not to do. A must for someone just starting out.
My message for this month is to explore the edges of greatness through the world's legends and leaders. Their experiences are there to guide you!
So go on - dive in! Audible offers monthly membership for only £7 - and you get to read a new book every month https://www.audible.co.uk.