As independent business consultants and soloprenuers, we have to make personal development a priority. I’ve said it before: we need to make time for me. It’s easy to be excited about training when it means paid time away from the office. When the training and lunch budget both come out of the same pocket, it gets harder. So, here are some great reads you can fit in between client demands and developing new services to diversify your income.
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
We’ve all seen cows. Here in Texas, you drive past herds of them between business parks on the highway. No one thinks much about them, but a purple cow? Now that would catch your attention. In possibly his best book, Godin shares a vision for creating unique products and services that are worth marketing, or as he calls them, purple cows. Click here.
Driven to Distraction at Work by Edward M. Hallowell
This book is one of my current favorites and helps to uncover the science behind workplace distractions and how we can focus our efforts and ultimately be more productive in our work. For myself, I like to keep a very organized calendar to help keep me focused and working at maximum productivity levels. This book helps uncover the science behind how technology in some ways is actually making us more unproductive and what we can do about it. It’s a must read for consultants and those of us who live and die by our mobile phones. Click here.
Never Be Closing by Tim Hurson and Tim Duanne
In this sales manifesto, authors Tim Hurson and Tim Dunne share a new sales philosophy based on problem solving and finding real solutions for the buyer that create win/win solutions. Rather than constantly “selling” Hurson and Dunne encourage a more in depth conversation that leads to satisfied customers, more sales and repeat customers that will recommend you when the sale is long over. Click here.
Free Agent Nation by Daniel H. Pink
One of my favorite authors that I had the opportunity to hear speak several years ago at SXSW. Pink explores employment, from the traditional office of the 1950s to today’s growing trend of self-employment. Pink offers inspiration for those looking to join the nearly 40% of workers escaping the cubicle to strike out on their own. Click here.
The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom
This book on the power of leaderless organizations is a must for consultants braving the new business world of the 21st century. The authors search history and science to bring explanations of the power of flat-structured institutions where everyone is responsible for success and leadership happens from within. As this business model increases in popularity, having an understanding of what makes it work can help you navigate new ways of thinking and may help you see some old problems from a new perspective. Click here.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
In this powerful book about self-limiting beliefs, former surgeon Don Miguel Ruiz shares ancient Toltec wisdom for a modern audience. Following a near death experience, Ruiz realized he had been allowing the world around him to dictate many of his personal beliefs and standards and that this was limiting his ability to reach his full potential. By making and following some simple agreements with yourself, Ruiz found grace, peace and unconditional love. Click here.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This classic book broke the barrier between business and personal relationships. Before Carnegie, the two were often considered mutually exclusive, but with his special brand of optimism, Carnegie shares wisdom on relationships that transcends the barrier and makes relating personally in business not only acceptable, but essential. Click here.
Join me in starting a reading list for 2016. I challenge you to start with a few of these if you don’t have one already.
It’s important to constantly be consuming new ideas, especially as a consultant. Every new perspective you explore can help you understand your clients and provide service on a deeper level. As an independent consultant working in HR, always remember, making time for your own development is not only not selfish, it is essential. You are the only that will make you the priority and you have to do it, not just for yourself , but in order to be the best you can be for your clients.