You Need to be a Little Crazy is a book for entrepreneurs, anyone currently running a business or considering joining us crazy types by starting a business. and I were “networked” together by Michael Simmons of The Student Success Manifesto fame. Barry has his own including a blog. His site details his current endeavors as a business speaker, author and angel investor.
Is it me or do successful business people often move on from running a business to doing public speeches about business? Maybe it’s just easier, more enjoyable and more profitable to talk business than run business? (or is being a business speaker just like running a business!?) Reading Barry’s book certainly highlights some of the pitfalls of taking the business owner path and I can see why being a business speaker might be a good option. I’m sure it’s a lot of fun too, mingling with business people, talking business, helping others with their business without having to worry about what’s going on with your business (how many times can you say business in one paragraph!).
As I read You Need to be a Little Crazy I immediately noticed that the writing style was a little more casual than some of the other entrepreneurship books I have read recently. It felt more like Barry was talking to me, recounting his own stories and that of some of his mates and business acquaintances. This book certainly doesn’t read like a textbook.
What this book did for me was to point out some of the more “human” concerns when managing a business. As I mentioned to Barry, I didn’t particularly learn anything new that made me jump up and down inspired (this could just be me) but I enjoyed having some important points refreshed. In particular, it reinforced some recent personal decisions I have made, for example, to be more outgoing and active with my networking. Barry detailed quite a lot of tips in the book regarding networking, most of which I already put into place. If you are new to networking you will gain a lot from his insights. In particular networking for networking/friendships sake rather than going into it for business gain is a very important attitude adjustment that will make the whole process that much more nice and relaxing too! If you read the book you will learn why this attitude will make a difference and may still lead to benefits for your business.
I’ve known for a while that I need more human contact since I generally work by myself from my laptop at home. I’ve gone through all kinds of ideas to address this concern, from getting a part-time normal job (so I would have workmates) to building an entrepreneur’s hangout where business folk that couldn’t afford an office could come together and lease a large space, saving money by sharing costs and creating a great business environment. Even if everyone is working on their own projects a really positive working environment can be created as entrepreneurs help each other by sharing ideas and experiences (have you ever put a bunch of entrepreneurs into one room in a non-competitive, collaborative environment? It can get crazy fun!). Unfortunately, because I plan to move around a bit I decided committing to anything permanent, like a part-time job or office, is not for me. Instead, I’m filling my days with lots of networking and friend meetings which I hope will be enough social human contact to satisfy my needs and also expand my business network. If anyone in Brisbane or anywhere for that matter want’s to talk entrepreneurship or business – network me!
The group that could benefit the most from Barry’s book is anyone considering leaving their current job to go it alone and start their own thing. I have trouble empathizing with this group because I started a business straight out of university and never did the full-time career job thing. Barry’s story is quite different from mine however as he spent 10 years at IBM before venturing to a smaller firm and then his own businesses. Having worked full time means you may have become accustomed to a lot of benefits that go out the door when you start a business. Barry’s book will certainly point out to you how much your lifestyle will change if you choose to walk the entrepreneur’s path.
All in all, I enjoyed You Need to be a Little Crazy because it reinforced the fact that I am not alone. My experiences as an entrepreneur are not unique and there are millions of people just like me enduring the highs and lows of running a business. For those that are not entrepreneurs (but why are you here?), you may not realize how important it is to feel this camaraderie.
EVERY friend I went to school with that I still keep in touch with has chosen the standard “get a normal job” career path. As an entrepreneur, your lifestyle is soo much different from these people that it can be difficult to even find a common ground to form a relationship from. For an Entrepreneur running a business becomes the main activity in life and if you can’t talk to others that understand your motivations, experience similar situations and know what you are going through it can be tough. In the same way, as I can’t emphasize with working folk because I don’t share their frame of reference. After reading Barry’s book I don’t feel quite so alone and I know with a little looking I can find many more people just like me.