If you have read my blog before you may be aware that I am a big fan of Stephen Key’s method of licensing ideas without spending much money. Stephen Key’s previous book “One Simple Idea” is one of my favourites on invention and licensing so I was excited when Stephen emailed me to say he has a new book coming out soon. This time still called “One Simple Idea” but aimed at “Startups and Entrepreneurs“. The book will be out on November 5th from Amazon and Barnes and Noble and I am very keen to get reading. Stephen has also volunteered to do a Skype interview when I have read the book.
You also can get special bonuses ordering the book through the Inventright website
One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs
A brief Synopsis from One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs from the notes Stephen sent me
One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs, helps people understand how to kick fear to the curb and start a business. There are four major things to do to be able to make a dream become a reality.
Keep it simple
If you focus on simple ideas, it can help you face your fear and overcome anxiety. It isn’t necessary to reinvent the wheel to start a business.
Ways of testing an idea
It may seem like a huge undertaking to try and test a simple product, but there are easy ways to do this to help shove the anxiety of starting a business aside.
How to plan
The best way to plan your business is to do the math. The bottom line is, at the end of the day, can you put money in your pocket?
Keeping it going
This is one of the most daunting things to consider when starting a small business.
Everybody has an idea. The idea of starting a business is frightening, but these things helped me understand how to take away the risk, and find the courage to jump off the ledge.
On holiday this year I took my usual light 🙂 reading including The $100 Startup – Fire your Boss, Do What you Love and Work Better to Live More – Chris Guillebeau (yes that really is one title).
While not all the startups in the book were started with less than $100 a few were, and the rest were completely on a Shoe String plus they were all quite diverse. For the book, the author interviewed many entrepreneurs, but they weren’t necessarily millionaires, just everyday people who had managed through design or chance to create a business that they now loved and could make a living from. This is surely something that would appeal to most creatives and inventors. Along with his own experiences the author sprinkles key points (crib sheets) amongst the stories. It’s refreshing to have a book that’s not just about making money on the internet.
The stories range from a man who was made redundant and ended up selling surplus mattresses a friend wanted to get rid of, to furniture makers on a ranch switching to horse riding ranch holiday experiences. One of the stories which stood out most or me was of two graphic designers who were a little bored of their jobs. The duo wanted a nice map they could use to plan a route of their vacation, but when they couldn’t find one they decided to create one themselves. Unfortunately (or as it turned out fortunately) the smallest run they could get printed was 50 which cost them $500, a lot of money when you only really want one for yourself. They decided to see if they could sell the rest, which they did and now have made it into a full time business.
If you like inspirational stories plus business books with advice thrown in this is definitely a book you will want to read.
You can get the book from Amazon here
(this is an affiliate link which means that if you buy through it
I will soon be rich I get a small commission and eventually I will be able to buy more books to review)
A Review of The Design Entrepreneur – turning graphic design into goods that sell by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico
In the interest of full disclosure just to let you know I was given this book and asked to review it if I liked it, fortunately I do, so here goes. The book “The Design Entrepreneur” felt very on par with what I am trying to do at the moment as it’s about graphic designers who have gone above and beyond producing design work from clients to using their skills in other entrepreneurial ways.
The book looks at different designers who in turn are interviewed a little about the sort of graphic design work they do and then goes on to discuss their other entrepreneurial endeavours. There are a multitude of different ways that the designers have used their skills, from creating their own products including toys, disaster souvenirs (yes you read that right), notebooks and posters to running magazines, art licensing companies, online businesses, and clay animation classes.
I liked the diversity of areas that the designers had moved into even if the work of some of them was not necessarily to my taste.The only thing that was really missing from this book was to delve into why the designers chose to look beyond their normal client work and the difficulties they met along the way.
Take a look at a few of the pieces of work featured in the book.
Nicholas Callaway – Callaway Arts and Entertainment
Nicolas Callaway in collaboration with toymaker and illustrator David Kirk produces a range of products, animated TV Programs and fashions
Shephard Fairey – Studio Number One
Shephard Fairey produces and sells posters
Jeffrey K. Johnson – Spunk Design Machine
Spunk Design Machine has manufactured and sold educational products for kids and design fonts and products
Jet Mous – Jet Mous Ceramics
Jet Mous re-purposes the shapes of manufactured fabric softeners to cast colourful clay vessels such as vases
Click here to buy the book – The Design Entrepreneur
Please note this is an affiliate link which means if you buy through it I get a commission and may eventually be able to save up to buy a new pencil.
Below is a fascinating video where James Gardner author of a new book Sidestep and Twist talks about how many of the big inventions and ideas in history have not really made much money, whereas slight innovations and improvements on those ideas have.
I think the book may be one to add to my wishlist, what do you think?
Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance – Jonathan Fields is a book which will resonate with anyone who has creative ideas. The book initially explores the idea of a correlation between creativity and the tolerance to uncertainty, after all anyone who starts a creative project can never fully predict the outcome.
Have you ever had a new invention idea but been paralysed by the fear of criticism so much that you heave held back and not shown anyone. Perhaps have thought of the worst case scenario of becoming completely broke having ploughed loads of money into your idea? “Uncertainty” explores these issues and the author invites you to reframe your thoughts to looking at how you would build yourself back up should the worst and most unlikely things happen.
Jonathan also offers various other techniques to overcome creative anxiety. These activities include building in rituals into your day outside if your creative endeavour, this could come in various forms and be as simple as going for a walk at a certain time each day. Jonathan also suggests some form of relaxation or meditation techniques and building aerobic exercise into your routine to help alleviate some of the stress.
From my own personal point of view I know I become paralysed by having too many ideas and not knowing which to pursue, so much so, that I don’t end up developing as many of them as I should. Even in my day job as a freelance designer I have a big fear of a blank piece of paper at the beginning of a project and that’s after 20 years working in the design industry.
You can download a free sample chapter of the book if you are interested here.
In the interest of full disclosure – I received a free digital copy of Uncertainty as I was on one of Jonathan’s email lists.
Watch the incredibly poignant trailer for the book below
I also recommend Jonathan’s previous book Career Renegade
Have you ever wanted to known the best strategy to create compelling information that would entice and keep visitors cooming back to your website and become your future customers and advocates? If the answer is yes then Launch, by Michael A Stelzner is a book you will want to read, it was one of my light reading holiday books 🙂 .
Although not specifically directed at inventors with products to sell, the principles in this book can be applied by anyone who wants to generate more traffic to their website and build trust within their target market. Instead of just trying to sell your product invention by saying how wonderful it is, this book encourages you to find out what information your potential buyer would find useful and give them exactly that. For example, say you had invented and manufactured a great new travel toy for kids to keep them amused while in the car, then maybe you could set a blog up about kid friendly days out. The ideas behind this is you tap into your market keep them coming back for new ideas, and you never know they just might buy your toy to keep their kids amused in the car on their day out. The audience you grow through the blog could also extend your business and create a platform for you to sell or eventually advertise other related products or services.
The key to this book is how to use blogging to build an audience, and if you have never tried it, this book will definitely give you food for thought on what you could achieve. The book author grew his website www.socialmediaexaminer.com to becoming one of the most prominent websites on social media in just few months and made 1.7 million dollars in it’s first year. His website gives away free valuable articles and tips on social media every day and makes the core of it’s income through events that it holds only a few times a year,
This books won’t teach you how to set up a blog, but it will enlighten you on the types of content you should produce to get the best results. When I say content I mean the type of blog posts or free downloads you should produce, from How to’s, to list posts, to interviews with industry experts. It also offers advice on when and how much to market your product or service in relation to the free content you produce.
As well as an emphasis on the good old “content is king” there is also information on how to leverage industry experts in your niche through the likes of interviews and webinars. This has the mutual benefit of additional exposure for your expert and creates original content for you. If you are really lucky your industry expert might also mention the interview on their blog too. All this content is a benefit on several levels, it increases your chance of being found on google, it makes you appear an authority in your niche, plus as people read more and more of your content they will start to like and trust you.
If you know your blogging basics, but want more if an insight into a blogging strategy I would definitely recommend this book.
Watch a couple of videos below with the author Michael A Stelzner talking about his book “Launch”