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What does it REALLY take to build a business and live your dreams?

Perhaps you’re wondering, “Can’t I just do this myself?” I get it. You are a savvy professional with years of experience. Lots of people start businesses, so how hard can it be?  Well, very hard—80% of new businesses fail within the first three years. Not because the business owners didn’t work hard. In fact, they probably worked harder than they ever did in their day jobs.

What they lacked was a proven, step-by-step plan to succeed. That’s where BrainPower comes in. Here are some books, tools and technology I love. Check them out and see if they are right for you.

BrainPower Bookself

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Start With Why

By Simon Sinek. Millions of people have watched Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on the importance of knowing why we do what we do. Most organizations and entrepreneurs focus on what they do and how they do it. Those that become world-class focus on their why. From Martin Luther King to Steve Jobs, learn how great leaders and entrepreneurs act, communicate, and inspire differently, and how you can, too.

Blue Ocean Strategy

By W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. This international bestseller has been published in over 41 languages for good reason. Based on a study of 150 strategic business moves across 30 industries, the authors argue that going head-to-head with one’s competition is dangerous and ineffective. Instead, businesses that enjoy long-term success make their competition irrelevant by creating “blue oceans” of uncontested market space.

Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us

By Seth Godin. I love everything Seth Godin writes. In Tribes he talks about the challenges and opportunities leaders face in today’s information and expert age. He encourages you to think deeply about leading employees, customers, investors, believers, and those you interact with on a regular basis. You will learn why tribes form and what it takes to lead them.

Talk Like Ted

By Carmine Gallo. No matter what business you’re in, you need to learn to deliver your message in a captivating and compelling way if you’re going to be seen as a credible authority, build a loyal customer following, and create sustainable profits. This book reveals the public speaking secrets of nine of the world’s top speakers and shows you how to inspire, persuade and motivate any audience with your words (while keeping stage fright in check).

The E-Myth Revisited

By Michael Gerber. The follow-up bestseller to The E-Myth, this must-read book dispels many of the myths about starting and running your own business. It points out how our assumptions, expectations and technical expertise can prevent us from being successful business owners. It explains the critical risks, opportunities and actions for each stage of the business lifecycle, as well as the often overlooked but absolutely critical distinction between working in your business and working on your business.

Launch

By Jeff Walker. This book’s lengthy subtitle, “An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula to Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams,” tells you all you need to know about it. Written by the “$400 Million Dollar Man” and creator of The Product Launch Formula, this is a must-read for anyone who wants to make real money selling products online.

Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got

By Jay AbrahamJay Abraham has grown more than 400 companies (including many Fortune 100s). His book provides “21 ways to out-think, out-perform and out-earn your competition”—and it delivers. You’ll revolutionize the way you look at your skills, processes, products, services, networks and ideas (even the ones that appeared to be failures). You’ll stop leaving money on the table, find new ways to add value, explode your profits and convert your customers into a passionate sales force.

Money: Master The Game

By Tony Robbins. Tony’s first book in almost 20 years, shares insights gained from interviewing 50 of the most legendary financial minds of our time. I won’t lie—this is a long, long book (over 600 pages) and sometimes a gruelling read. But it’s well worth the effort if you want a clear, step-by-step path to retiring earlier, generating multiple income streams, taking control of your investments and achieving lifelong financial freedom.

Tools & Technology

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mac computerMac Computer

It’s not impossible to run your online business from a PC, but Macs make it so much easier and more fun. Sleek designs, intuitive interfaces, software that lets your imagination run wild—what more could you ask? Are they more expensive? Yes. Are they worth it? Definitely. I run my business, blog, TV show and life from my Mac suite of products (iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac and Mac Desktop). If nothing else, Apple is an inspiring example of branding and how to use an integrated product suite to drive consumer loyalty (and sales). And no, they don’t pay me a commission.

Digital-Marketing-Hong-Kong_Blog-aweber-templatesAWeber

The most valuable asset for any online business is its email list. There are highly sophisticated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software programs available like Ontraport and InfusionSoft. But if you’re just getting started, these programs are a big investment (both in terms of cost and steep learning curves). A simpler, less expensive, but still powerful way to start is with AWeber. Used by over 120,000 companies around the world, this software allows you to build, grow, segment and analyze your email lists. You can also use it to create and distribute newsletters, automate email-marketing sequences and enjoy easy integration with WordPress, PayPal, shopping carts, and social media.

New Kajabi Kajabi logo

Building and offering courses online can be a very time consuming, expensive and complicated process. Uploading multi-media components, collecting and processing payments, tracking student progress, incorporating up-sells and managing affiliates can quickly become overwhelming. Thankfully, I recently discovered New Kajabi. It’s one of the fastest, easiest ways to get your courses online and start selling. Simple setup, great customer service, the ability to customize your branding and a low monthly cost make this my favorite product of 2016.

 

Wake Up Productive LogoWake Up Productive

One thing busy entrepreneurs need is more time, especially if your goal is to balance your business with a lifestyle you love. This online course by Eben Pagan guarantees you will double your productivity in 90 days. I’ll admit, I was skeptical, but boy did I have a lot to learn. By dropping my multi-tasking addiction, overcoming “habit gravity” and committing to short weekly exercises, I was stunned with what I was able to accomplish in 90 days. I grew my business, learned to play the piano, lost 15 pounds, and finally cleared out the clutter in my office – all while working less and feeling more energized. While the program platform feels a bit clunky and some of the videos are a bit dry, I highly recommend this program because it works.

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