5 Books To Read to Grow Your Business and Improve Your Mind

recommended business books

Reading is one of the easiest ways to grow your business and improve your mind. That’s because reading can help you see a problem from a different perspective, approach a customer complaint with wisdom, and provide you with the insight you need to do something new.  

However, sometimes it can be difficult to pick just the right book to read. There are thousands of books already out there, and dozens of new ones are being published weekly. And most of them offer really, really good information. So, which one should you read first?

You might want to consider trying one of these five books.

The Power of Moments by Dan & Chip Heath

In this gripping book, Dan and Chip Heath examine what makes some moments memorable while others seem to slip by entirely unnoticed. In the book, the authors describe the four elements that create a special moment—elevation, insight, pride, or connection.

You can use the insights in this book to create special moments for your subscribers, clients, or customers. These moments can strengthen and deepen your business relationships and life experiences in exciting, new ways.

Permission to Screw Up by Kristen Hadeed

Kristen Hadeed’s book on how to fail is not only laugh-out-loud funny, it’s also authentic and inspiring. In this book, she recounts how she began her business and the mistakes she made along the way.

But she doesn’t just share her journey. She goes on to explain the mistakes she made and what she should have done instead. This book will encourage entrepreneurs who are floundering in their business and give them insights into how to course-correct.

Ask by Ryan Levesque

Some entrepreneurs waste months or even years trying to guess what their community wants their business to provide for them. But with this book from Ryan Levesque, you’ll be armed with the information you need to get real answers that can transform your business.

Ryan breaks down how to create surveys that give you valuable data about your customers and shows you how to create customized sales funnels that turn visitors into raving fans. And if the popularity of this book on Amazon and number of reviews it’s gotten are any indication, Levesque really knows what he’s talking about. If you’re stumped as to how best to serve your customers, you need to read this book


The ONE Thing by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan

This is a short and simple no-fluff guide. The idea behind it is that you can only focus on doing one thing well at a time. I used to pride myself on being a master multi-tasker, but guess what? I never got anything done … at least not really, really well. The secret to success in anything is to focus on one thing, become a master in that, and then move on to the next thing.  

But if you don’t know what that that one activity is that you need to focus on, this book will help you sift through and identify what will give you the biggest return on your time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your business, this book is the essential guide you need to get back to basics. It will help you cut out the numerous modern-day distractions so you can get the work done that really matters.

Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

One of the biggest challenges any entrepreneur faces is to define his/her brand in such a ways so that customers can understand it. With the information contained in this book, you’ll discover how to clarify your brand, share it with your customers, and really connect with them.

The author gives clear advice on how to share the message you’ve been struggling to communicate. Plus, he devotes plenty of time to the seven story points (defining a character, who has a problem, and meets a guide, who gives them a plan and calls them to action that helps them avoid failure and ends in success). Framing your business in this way gives you the chance to engage your customers in a whole new way. 

People love stories. We have since the beginning of time. I like to imagine the cavemen sitting around that campfire and grunting out stories about the greatest hunt, or the dinner that got away before they turned in for the night. While people may crave more sophisticated stories now, the fact is they still love a good story. Your customers are no different. Stories will help them really connect with your brand, so they’ll be excited to buy from you. 

If you’re ready to level up your storytelling abilities and your marketing efforts, grab this book today!

 

why you should read every day

Don’t put off learning from any and all of these fantastic authors. It really is one of the best things you can do for yourself. So, pick one of these books up today, and get reading!

And if you want to receive monthly book recommendations aimed at entertaining you and improving your mind, sign up for my email newsletter, Making the Pieces Fit. You can join here.

5 MORE Reasons to Start a WordPress Blog

5 MORE Reasons to Start a WordPress Blog

 

create wordpress blog

5 MORE Reasons to Start a WordPress Blog

In the last part of this post, I aimed to inspire you with some very good reasons why you might want to start a WordPress blog. In this part, I’m going to finish my list with five more reasons. By the end of reading this full list, I hope you’ll feel like you have to start building your own WordPress blog right away. And, if you do, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section of this post!

1 – WordPress makes search engine optimization easy

WordPress makes it easier for you to add a lot of content that’s relevant, both to what people are searching for and what Google wants to show people (which are kind of related to each other).

What happens when you add content and links to your site (both links to other content within your site and links to other people’s content outside your site) is that it give your site a good, solid structure that search engines appreciate. When you give them what they want, your site will look more relevant, and they’ll be much more likely to send you more traffic.

By doing this, it’s not like you’re trying to game the system or trick the search engines into thinking your site is better than it is. The fact is, WordPress lays everything out in a way that ensures your site really IS that good. It allows you to have blog post titles, links, categories, and tags that are all related to your site’s major content and build a strong foundation. All these things pull together to lead people to go deeper into and through your site. The longer people stay within your site and the more they click through to other blog posts or pages within your site, the more Google sees your site as being highly relevant and highly targeted, and the more likely they are to bring you more traffic.

2 – WordPress is open source (free)

One really good reason for you to use WordPress is the fact that most of what it has to offer is free. Yes, I can’t I believe I waited until number 7 to tell you this, but you probably already know it if you’ve heard of WordPress.

But if you’ve never heard of WordPress before, let me the first to tell you – you don’t have to buy anything, really.  Other website design software programs cost hundreds of dollars to get you up and running, especially if you hire someone to help you create your website. With WordPress, you can get yourself up and running in a pretty foolproof way at absolutely no cost to you. The only thing you pay for is hosting (if you don’t go with WordPress.com), and you would pay for that whether you used WordPress or another program. So, choose WordPress. You can’t go wrong. 

But let’s take a minute to look at what open source means. It means you get a program that a legitimate company has created. They’ve decided they don’t like the structure of selling software. What they want to do instead is offer it for free so that a large community of developers can work on the software and do what’s called crowd sourcing. They all work together in a big crowd of people – hundreds, maybe thousands; it depends on what the project is – and they build a great, collaborative project.

That’s what WordPress is. Not only is it free, but it’s of great value to its users. I know, “you get what you pay for.” I’ve said it myself a lot, and many times it is very true. But in this case, you’re getting a lot that you haven’t paid for, and that’s pretty cool!

3 – WordPress is easy to install; it just takes minutes!

In this reason, I’m going to tell you quite simply WordPress is really easy to install. You can get hosting from a company like BlueHost, or HostGator, or GoDaddy (that’s who I use, and I’ve never had a problem with them).

There are a lot of different hosting companies who offer one-click or two-click installs of WordPress right in your hosting control panel, so you don’t have to worry about transferring files or figuring out how to upload your website to your hosting company.

Basically, you do a one-click or two-click install of WordPress, and you’ve got a website in less than a minute. Seriously, that’s about how long it took me to set this site up. If you’re new to WordPress or self-hosted sites, it might take you a bit longer to read through your host’s training materials or online tutorials, but it still shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to get everything up and running.

And that website that you just set up in minutes can make you residual income for years to come. 

happy blogging

4 – WordPress lets you schedule your blog posts

Now, if you created a website back in the old days, or if you had one created for you back in the old days, you know that you had to go to either your web developer or sit down, add your content, and then upload it when you wanted it to come out.

A great thing about WordPress (one of the things I love most about it) is that you can really plan ahead. You can plan and schedule and pre-schedule your posts to go out for a whole month in advance, if you want.

So, if you have your WordPress website set up as a content management system, you can basically have pre-scheduled posts or website pages that are being constantly added to your site. This is a great advantage to you, because the search engines love it when you have highly relevant content coming out on a regular basis. WordPress allows you to do that without having to constantly be visiting your website and uploading new content. You just set it all up once and forget about it. Then you can set your mind to other business-building tasks while your site is constantly being updated with fresh new content.  

5 – wordpress makes website usability navigation a snap!

So far, all these reasons why you want to start a WordPress blog have focused on YOU, the blogger.

But what’s the advantage for your blog readers if you use WordPress? Are there any?

YES!!

WordPress makes it super simple for your blog readers to navigate your site, and that means they’ll stick around longer and interact more.

It was very difficult to set up the old-school sites for navigation. You used to have to code everything in and think very long and hard about the best way to lay out your site so people can get around it.

WordPress takes out all the guess work! It has all kinds of super navigation abilities built right now. For instance, you see how my site has all those categories listed across the top? I set those up in just a few minutes with what WordPress offers. It’s so simple – and makes everything look so nice! Plus, you will find it easier to get to what you’re interested in by clicking up at the top and selecting something from those drop-down menus.   

You can also use widgets (like the ones I have the side) that show you the different categories the blog posts are in on the site, and you can even use these to monetize your site. Put ads for affiliate products you love and you think other people would love, and definitely put up some way for people to sign up to your email list or follow your blog so you can keep in touch with your readers.

Make it easy for your readers to get to the information they need and/or want, and they’ll appreciate you for that.

If you have a message that you want to get out into the world, you need to use WordPress to create your website. It will save you so much time and money, and it will make your life a whole lot easier!

Seven Creative Thinking Blocks and How to Break Through Them

creativity blocks

Each of us has the power to be creative. It’s part of our natural make-up as human beings, made in the image of God. The trouble is that, too often, we block our natural creativity, thus making errors in thinking and give ourselves more problems than we should. Here are 7 ways to open up your natural creativity and keep the channels unblocked.

1. Don’t Make Assumptions

You know what happens when you assume, right? I’m not trying to be crude, but here’s how the saying goes: you make an “ass” of “u” and “me” (quote often attributed to Jerry Belson, but he gave the credit to his typewriter repair teacher – anybody remember typewriters?) .

Assumptions are examples of lazy thinking. We simply don’t wait to get all the information we need to come to the right conclusions.

Consider this story of a customer at the bank who returns after cashing a check and turning to leave, saying: “Excuse me, but I think you made a mistake.” The teller responds, “I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can do. You should have counted it. Once you walk away, we are no longer responsible.” To which the customer replies: “Well, okay. Thanks for the extra $20.”

You see what could have happened if that teller hadn’t jumped to such a hasty conclusion?

Tip: When you feel yourself wanting to draw conclusions, make sure you wait until you have all the necessary information.

2. See Things From Other Points Of View

A truly open mind is willing to accept that not only do other people have equally valid points of view, but these other points of view may actually be MORE valid.

A story is told that the modernist painter Pablo Picasso was once traveling on a train across Spain when he got into conversation with a rich businessman who was dismissive of modern art. As evidence that modern art didn’t properly represent reality, he took a photo of his wife out from his wallet and said, “This is how my wife should look, not in some silly stylized representation.” Picasso took the photo, studied it for a few moments, and asked, “This is your wife?” The businessman proudly nodded. “She’s very small,” Picasso observed wryly.

Tip: Don’t try to have a monopoly on how things are. Things aren’t always what they seem. Be ready to consider other points of view.

wild mood swings

3. Avoid Yo-Yo Thinking

Some people tend to have a tendency to swing from a highly positive mood one minute to a highly negative one the next, all because of what they see in front of them. It’s like a yo-yo: up one minute, down the next. I’m not talking about Bipolar Disorder here. That’s a different thing altogether that needs to be dealt with under the guidance of a professional counselor or psychiatrist. I’m talking about just your average, everyday mood swings and tendencies to overreact that some people have.

It’s far more healthy (and less nerve wracking) to stay neutral and not let emotions get the better of you. Take a deep breath, count to 10, whatever you need to do to give yourself some time to refocus on the situation and perhaps see things differently.

Tip: Remember that things are rarely as good – or as bad – as you think they are.

4. Get Rid Of Lazy Thinking Habits

Habit can be a major stumbling block to clear thinking, and it’s another example of succumbing to laziness.

Try this experiment. Write down the Scottish surnames Macdonald, Macpherson, and Macdougall and ask someone to pronounce them. Now follow these with the word Machinery and see what happens. Most people are likely to mispronounce it. This is because we tend to think in habitual ways and don’t like what doesn’t fit.

Tip: Don’t think that just because things happened in a certain way once before they will happen like that again. The world is constantly evolving and changing, and we should be too.

5. Don’t Think Like An Old Person; Think Like A Child

Research shows that the number of synapses, or connections, in the brain is greater in a child of two than in an average adult. The reason for this is that a child of two has no limiting worldview like adults do.

Think of a sculptor who starts off with a large block of clay, more than he needs, and then gradually removes the clay as he molds his sculpture. What would happen if he used the excess clay to make

If we use our brains like little children (even Jesus noted how important it was for adults to change their minds to think more like children in Matthew 18:3), accepting everything without judgment, we can actually halt and reverse the brain aging process.

Tip: Don’t worry about the threat of cognitive decline with age. With the right stimulus and passion for learning, you can actually improve your brain’s powers, no matter how old you are.

blind men and the elephant

6. look at The Big Picture, but pay attention to the details

You may know the poem by John Godfrey Saxe called “The Blind Men and the Elephant.” It tells the story of how six blind men of Indostan go to see an elephant and each try to work out what it is from touching it. One blind man touches the tusk, another the trunk, another the tail, and so on. Of course, not being able to see the whole elephant, they come to wildly different conclusions about what the elephant is.

This kind of goes along with #1 above. You have to wait and get all the information before you can make an educated assessment of any situation. Put you want to really pay attention to that information to make sure you’re getting the clearest picture possible. Remember, “God is in the details,” but the devil is too. If you don’t get all the details, or if you don’t put them all in the right places within the bigger picture, you can really mess things up.

Tip: Try to keep the big picture in front of you while looking at details. It will help to put everything in its proper place and context.

7. Think For Yourself

One of my favorite songs ever is the Beatles’ “Think for Yourself.” It’s not a very nice song. It’s like the narrator is telling some former (or soon-to-be former) lover, “Hey, you better start thinking for yourself, because I’m not going to be around to help you.” But I always liked it because of the title and the idea behind it – think for yourself; don’t get your answers about who you are and what should do from other people. Figure it out for yourself. That’s the essence of creativity.

Taking time out to form your own thoughts is still frowned upon within many organizations that prize activity over creativity, like most traditional schools where we send our children to be educated (read: indoctrinated). People who work in creativity-constrained organizations are likely to think the way they are supposed to think, or as others think, or as has always been the way to think.

It’s like the blinded following Hans Christian Anderson describes in his story “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Everyone in the land refuses to see that the emperor is naked and has been duped into believing he is wearing a splendid costume for his coronation. Only a young boy who has not been party to the cultural brainwashing can see the truth and cries out: “Look, everyone, the Emperor is wearing no clothes!”

Don’t be the crowd; be that kid (remember #5?).

Tip: Don’t let others tell you how to think. When others ask your opinion, tell it to them straight.

If you keep these 7 things in mind as you go through your day-to-day routine, you’ll soon find something amazing happening. You’ll be able to come up with fresh, innovative, creative solutions to all your problems – and maybe some other people’s too!