I found their advice flippant and the tone of the entire book to be very immature. The shifting tense, tone and narration made it feel cobbled together; the "frat guy mentality" approach to business was unenjoyable to read-- the sum of its parts that turned me off.
This may do well in a high school class or freshman college business course because I found the tone to be that of a 18 year old boy; this is a great thing if you want to get your 18 year old son interested in going into business for himself.
The 10 commandments are pretty strait forward and nothing you haven't heard before. Its approach feels like they just winged it and got lucky, they seem to want to party harder than manage a successful business for much of the book. I am very happy for them to have pulled it off, but this book does not detail a formula for success, it is a tale about being in the right place at the right time.
It is not that well written and not very inspiring for the artistic types. If you want to haul junk for people for cash, this is an excellent guide on how to do that. I was looking for a book with fresh approach to starting your own business with a modern appeal; my search will continue.
By the time I finished this book, I was completely shocked at how much it changed my outlook on entrepreneurship. I have read several other books from the "I have a big business, here's how I did it" genre, and I went into this book thinking that this would be nothing more than a publicity tool for the authors to spread their company name. While I'm sure that was part of the motivation for the authors to write this book, I think you will be pleasantly surprised out how well-written, educational, and fun this book really is!
Let it be known that this is NOT a book about effortlessly becoming an entrepreneur. Any author making those claims should be ignored. This is a book about working smart, not hard, to create a business. It's about getting the business to the point where you can work ON it from the outside, rather than working IN it.
The authors give point-by-point details on how they systemized their business from the very beginning, creating positions within the company (all of which were operated by themselves in the beginning) which would eventually be filled by other team members. Such an avenue of business organization allowed them to franchise their business which a much higher degree of success than many others who try.
This is NOT a book about two guys who were in the right place at the right time! This is a book about two guys who found a job they loved (hauling junk probably isn't for everyone, but to each his own), in an industry that was already flooded with competition (anyone with a pickup truck can do the same job), and grew their business by finding ways to do it BETTER than their competition.
I found this book to be very motivational and informative, and would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is ready to branch out from the 9-to-5 lifestyle!
Many workers are disillusioned with the way "work" works in our society. We question giving time and creativity to companies that offer little in return. We are looking for jobs that provide freedom, flexibility, and financial opportunity. Since this describes me at this point in my career, I was excited to read this book. Who could better explain how to be an entrepreneur than two young entrepreneurs still building their multi-million dollar business?
The authors, Friedman and Soliman, begin by telling their interesting stories. Their histories show that both functioned poorly in stifling environments such as school and the corporate world. Their wisdom really hit me: once uncle Sam takes his share, and you deduct everything else from your paycheck, it is difficult to get ahead and live the "dream" slaving away for somebody else. Working for somebody else means that your hard work and creativity make a handful of people very rich; unfortunately, you are not among those people! And, the authors remind us, working for another person is not only unfulfilling, it is also unreliable, as the current unemployment rate demonstrates. So, what is the answer to our work woes? Start a business!
After the authors tell their stories, they begin outlining how to start a business that excites you. Their advice runs the gamut, from choosing the business idea to franchising. Their business philosophy is fresh, and generously considers the needs of team members and clients. The authors are net savvy, idealistic, and know work's proper perspective (i.e. that a person should never sacrifice friends, family, and health for a job). They are also accurate, if slightly gloomy, in their assessment of higher education: it costs a lot and may not necessarily provide the tools to make you successful. Their "Ten Business Commandments for the 21st Century" form the basis of their advice. They include: learn from your mistakes, hire people smarter than you, and "image is everything." While these may sound simple, think of the many business leaders today that rarely follow simple, but effective, advice.
The "Get Ready" chapter contains information about how to begin as an entrepreneur. "Hustle and Grow" deals with developing a vision and business plan for growth, and includes a website address with some free forms to help in the process. The next chapters cover even more business concerns, including finding the right partners, choosing and motivating employees, branding and marketing, communicating in the digital world, and systematizing a business for the long haul (i.e. setting up the systems necessary for a business to be run effectively for a long time). The last chapters include some great business advice, including how to develop ideas, ways to find a niche, and how to stay strong in a bad economy.
I should note that this book may not be for everybody. Starting a business, especially a successful one, is not easy, and requires business sense and specialized knowledge. Friedman and Soliman are natural entrepreneurs: dynamic and hard-working idea people, with educational backgrounds in business. If this describes you, then you will eat up the information. Others will benefit from the book too, but may have to work at it a little more. While some readers may feel that they are too shy, uncreative, etc, to appreciate the book, I would suggest giving it a chance, because a person can learn ways to be more dynamic and creative. Just think back to the time before parents, teachers, and bosses sucked the life out of you! Of course, some people just like being worker bees, and don't even want to start a business. If this describes you, you have no reason to read this book. Something else that may put off some readers is that it is written from a college guy's perspective; be ready to read about partying, pursuing chicks (their term), and metaphors that compare starting a business to a first sexual experience.
Overall, I highly recommend this book for anybody who has ever considered starting a business, or who is dissatisfied with being a cog another person's machine. While reading this book alone will not make you a profitable entrepreneur, it is a great start. The young authors entertain, inspire, motivate, and educate, and offer a fresh, 21st century, and fun approach to starting a business. I operate a part-time business, and a mix of fear and laziness has kept me from taking the risks necessary to make it my full time job. However, after reading this book, I am taking the steps to go from salaried employee to successful entrepreneur. You can too, and reading this book will get you moving!
In the Effortless Entrepreneur, Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman have made an attempt to distill their brief handful of years of entrepreneurship into a set of broad rules for founding and building a successful business. The authors' message is, however, sabotaged by many flippant remarks and superficial insights littered throughout the chapters. The result is a book that just as quickly frustrates and raises doubts as it does try to inspire and offer advice.
The book follows the trajectory of how Friedman and Soliman set out from college to found and grow their business, College Hunks Hauling Junk. We learn that both authors spent much of their college years partying and ignoring rules, both written and unwritten. Their objective: "do as little work as possible." This bucking of the system is something that the authors believe prepared them for a life of successful entrepreneurship.
Indeed, early in the book, the authors observe, "you 'grow up' as soon as you decide to follow the norm and stop taking risks. The best part of being an entrepreneur is that you never have to grow up." Implicit in this observation are the assumptions that entrepreneurship is not about making sacrifices and that only entrepreneurs take risks; everyone else makes sacrifices but doesn't take risks.
Once Friedman and Soliman founded their business, they made a few mistakes, hired people, spent time developing and documenting processes and systems, and then franchising. Along the way, they put together their ten commandments for successful entrepreneurs trying to build a business:
1. Never sacrifice health, family, or friendships for business
2. Learn from mistakes
3. Idea without action are just that ... ideas
4. Identify a vision, a purpose, a plan - and live by it
5. Create systems to make your business effective
6. Work on the business, not in the business
7. Develop staff and customer loyalty
8. Image is everything
9. Focus on just being the best at one thing
10. Hire people smarter than you
The book then explores each of these commandments.
Friedman and Soliman's commandments, per se, are not anything new. Such entrepreneurship experts like Michael Gerber (e-Myth), John Jantsch (Duct Tape Marketing), Alan Weiss (Million Dollar Consulting), Seth Godin, James Stephenson, Paul and Sarah Edwards, and dozens of others, have given similar suggestions for decades. Friedman and Soliman, however, are pitching their motivational story to readers like themselves - young, without families, thinking of starting a career.
This unique spin certainly has its appeal and so it is disheartening to see the authors give a bit of great advice (to determine the best use of your limited entrepreneurial funds, always "make sure each expenditure [has] a true and measurable ROI") alongside a more dubious suggestion (use company money to buy a high-end car such as a Land Rover as a pre-tax "investment"). One wonders which of those two pieces of conflicting advice will be followed first....
That said, I gave the book two stars rather than one because - as an entrepreneur and business owner myself - there is good advice in the book. Their suggestions on how to work ON the business rather than in the business are points well taken. And their advice, rather late in the book, on what makes an effective sales process is very good and refreshingly straightforward.
Indeed, Friedman and Soliman have been spectacularly successful with their business, and there is little doubt that their ten lessons on building a business have been helpful. And yet, when one piece of great advice is quickly followed by some glib observation, the reader is left wondering if it is the ten commandments that led to such success so early on, or just plain dumb luck - with the ten lessons the afterthoughts and rationale to discount the role of luck. Larry King once noted, "Those who have succeeded and don't mention luck are kidding themselves." The Effortless Entrepreneur is a book focused on obscuring the role of luck. And as such, it's advice should be taken lightly...or found elsewhere without the flippant distractions.
Job satisfaction is at an all time low. A recent survey showed that nearly 85% of Americans were planning to look for a new job in 2011. A lot of people are waking up and realizing they have no desire to work hard for other people only to grow personally poorer after inflation and risk being shown the door at the first sign of economic downturn. If this is you, this book could potentially change your life.
The book begins by telling how the authors loved the freedom of college life, then discovered the worst of the corporate world: long hours with little personal or financial reward. They were especially annoyed that their great ideas were making other people loads of cash, while they toiled for relative peanuts. Friedman and Soliman were no strangers to rebellion, like talking too much in school and being unfocused on what the teacher thought was important. However, they turned their so-called rebellion into something positive: a cleverly named junk hauling business.
The middle chapters of a book are a business "how to" but with a twist: when the authors make a point about a dry business topic, they include an interesting story about how they followed or failed to follow their rule. Notice the word "fail." Friedman and Soliman don't paper over their failures. They tell us so that we can learn from their mistakes (one of their 10 commandments of business; those are worth the book's price alone). They cover such topics as sales, marketing, personnel decisions, franchising, etc. in this manner.
The end of the book focuses on other small businesses and how their founders filled a niche and fulfilled their dreams in the process. I found this section helpful since it shows the varied paths one can take and find success in business.
In conclusion, I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. The experiences of the authors resonated with me and I'm now starting a business. That's the beauty of Effortless Entrepreneur. In spite of the outrageous stories and barely legal "marketing" tactics (which other reviewers have mentioned in depth), this book succeeds. It tries to be a humorous hybrid of a "how to" guide and motivational book. It does that brilliantly.
If this book had been available in 1999 when I started by business, things would have gone a lot smoother. (The trial/error factor probably would have been eliminated.)
This book assumes you have the ability to work all 10 areas of your business. In my personal experience, that's pretty hard to do. You may have the vision, but you might be bad at sales. You'll have to bring someone in to do that. That scares the crap out of an entrepreneur who's just starting out because money - making it and not spending it - is all the focus.
I did find a great statement that I plan to use (in some form) in my business. It's this:
"Our goal as a company has been to inspire people to buy from us based upon our entrepreneurial spirit, energy, and our collegiate company culture." As they go on to say, "this is more effective in gaining a loyal client base than telling them we help them get rid of the junk". This was very true for my business as I discovered that I was getting clients who had been drag through the mud by the previous company. I was the "pick up the junk and toss it out the door" person. Instead, I should have directed the client to see me as a solution to their problems...not the trash collector.
Here in 2011, this book is really just a twist on the same approach that's been said before: discover who you want to be, determine what you need to do, and decide what results you want.
Someone just starting out will find this helpful: however, if you're already in the entrepreneur game, you can probably pass this by.
on September 7, 2010
I love this book for many reasons. The story behind the authors' success is inspirational and funny. Most biz books are written by people who are very seasoned business pros. These authors are still in their twenties and have a unique Gen Y perspective that I haven't seen in other business books. Their Generation Text chapter is good for anyone in business to read--explaining how they had to bridge the communication gap with their older and younger employees. The analogies are fun, like practicing marketing and sales skills by picking up girls in bars. When I stopped laughing, I realized their comparisons are dead on.
The emphasis on good customer service and keeping employees happy are key to having a successful business. The authors spell out how to achieve it. These young guys wanted to build a business they'd want to work for and show us how to replicate their programs and systems.
If you want a fun read, even if you're not starting a business, read Effortless Entrepreneur. If you want a great blueprint for starting your own business, read Effortless Entrepreneur. If you have a child in college, buy them Effortless Entrepreneur. Starting a business is the way to go for many people who want to survive the current job market. This book is the handbook for making it happen!
on September 23, 2010
I read a lot of business books. A worthwhile business book should be engaging, educational and -- as a nice bonus -- entertaining. Above all else, the book should inspire you to want to take action. Effortless Entrepreneur delivers it all. This book is a comprehensive, well-organized, fun-to-read guide to business success as an entrepreneur. I especially appreciate the honest and entertaining way in which Nick and Omar share their personal stories of failures and successes along the way.
on September 13, 2010
I wasnt even planning on reading this book. I purchased it for my son who is 19, I started reading the first few pages and couldnt put it down. I think this book is perfect for anyone who has thought about starting a business. Its definitely geared towards the younger generation, the writing style is fun and the book is easy to read. But it was a great even for a 45 year old woman like myself. I found myself taking lots of notes and excited about using this knowledge to help with my own business.
I found the chapter "Generation Text" to be my favorite. The chapter talks about how to hire and train a young staff. Friedman and Soliman explain the nuiances of working with young employees and have great insight as to how to get their attention and how to empower them. Generation text is such a fitting description all my kids are obsessed with text messaging they forget how to communicate verbally! :))
Great read, great story, this book is going to inspire lots of entrepreneurs!
An inspirational book which will get your entrepreneurial wheels turning. For those of you who want to learn how to take what you do and start to really make money at it. The positive attitude, common sense, and inspiration of these two men, who turned hauling junk into a practical get rich scheme (without mafia backing) will give you the strength to turn your personality assets into money-making gold (or at least silver).
This is a book all about being better than your competitors, and making the most out of your personality. It's not a "get rich quick" book, instead, it's the book I was waiting for...how to make money in a competitive market, without going back to the 9-5 office grind.