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Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business Paperback – August 25, 2016
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A Forbes Best Business Book of the Year 2015 Winner of the 2015 800 CEO READ Business Book Award in Entrepreneurship When columnist Paul Downs was approached by The New York Times to write for their You re the Boss blog he had been running his custom furniture business for twenty four years strong or mostly strong Now in his first book Downs paints an honest portrait of a real business with a real boss a real set of employees and the real challenges they face Fresh out of college in 1986 Downs opened his first business a small company that builds custom furniture In 1987 he hired his first employee That s when things got complicated As his enterprise began to grow he had to learn about management cash flow taxes and so much more But despite any obstacles Downs always remained keenly aware that every small business no matter the product it makes or the service it provides starts with people He writes with tremendous insight about hiring employees providing motivation to get the best out of them and the difficult decisions he s made to let some of them go Downs also looks outward to his dealings with vendors and to providing each client with exemplary customer service from first sales pitch to final delivery With honesty and conviction he tells the true story behind building and sustaining a successful company in an ever evolving economy often airing his own failures and shortcomings to reveal the difficulties that arise from being a boss and a businessperson Countless employees have told the story of their experience with managers Boss Life tells the other side of that story From the Hardcover edition A Forbes Best Business Book of the Year 2015 Winner of the 2015 800 CEO READ Business Book Award inEntrepreneurship When columnist Paul Downs was approached by The New York Times to write for their You re the Boss blog he had been running his custom furniture business for twenty four years strong or most
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It reads like a novel. Paul takes a subject (business) for which I normally view on par with watching paint dry, and makes it riveting. I could not put it down. If you are operating a small business, this book is for you. If you're struggling, it will make you see that you're normal. If you are just starting out like me, you get his 25 plus years of struggle condensed into one book. Is it a roadmap? No. Nor does it sell itself like that. But it provides a vector and a human face to the road we embark upon.
I cannot reccomend this book enough. And if that isn't enough, I emailed Paul after I finished it. And he emailed me back with real answers to my questions.
Woodworking is one of the most popular small businesses in the country because the entry cost is so low, it's also one filled with unsuccessful and unprofitable businesses. Woodworkers being the tireless bunch that Paul outlines in his book, they often suffer for many years and decades with these unprofitable businesses. Anyone who wants to get into custom woodworking (or any custom made to order business) should really read this book. It really teaches a lot of hard lessons that took me personally decades years to learn. It doesn't necessarily give you the answers to the problems, but it mentally prepares you for the fact that those problems may come. It's good to think about the end result before you start.
This is a great book and not just for bosses. Mr. Downs is a brave man to open up and share such personal details about his business and his life. There's lots to learn here, and it's a good story besides.