Book Review: Effortless Entrepreneur
Effortless Entrepreneur is not an organizing book, but it does emphasize the importance of systems and it uses one of my favorite services as a model. It was written by Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman, the co-founders of College Hunks Hauling Junk. I had the pleasure of meeting Nick at the NAPO Conference this past May (see photo below). He featured his services at the expo, then he delivered the best presentation I saw all week: How To Work “On,” Not “In,” Your Business.
It was at the end of this inspiring presentation that he held up a copy of Effortless Entrepreneur and said “This is our book. Who wants it?” Everyone’s hand shot up. Then he said, “OK, come get it.” Most of us didn’t know what to make of this invitation, but a few ladies got up and approached the stage and one lady charged in from the back of the room to grab the book. That was the first lesson I got from the book: Ideas mean nothing, without actions. So the bad news is, I didn’t have the initiative to get the book for free, but the good news is, the cost of the book is well worth it.
The title of the book is a bit misleading. Nick and Omar did a tremendous amount of hard work to build CHHJ into the booming franchise it is today. It was hardly an effortless journey, but the destination is about as effortless as you can imagine, running a national service-based franchise. They emphasize the importance of being able to have your business run effortlessly without your involvement, so that you can take some vacation time, have fun, and recharge.
The authors introduce 10 Business Commandments at the beginning of the book, starting with “Never sacrifice health, family, or friendship for business reasons.” As they cover various business aspects and examples throughout the book, they regularly cite these commandments. It was very easy to follow and it made a lot of sense.
Much of their approach was based on another favorite business book of mine, The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. In fact, Mr. Gerber is quoted on the front cover, saying “Entrepreneurship has never been simpler or more fun.” On a personal note, my business didn’t start taking off until I followed Gerber’s advice, to work ON my business, not just in it. He says that, even if you have no intention of franchising your business, you should treat your business as if you want to franchise it. This means coming up with reliable, reproducible systems, so that your service always produces the same consistent results, that keep customers coming back. Paradoxically, when your business doesn’t rely solely on you to be in control of everything, you can be more in control.
Nick and Omar not only take you through how their company followed this approach, but introduce a lot of their own approaches. I was particularly impressed with the steps they have taken to develop staff, client, and community loyalty. It is far from a dry business read. Theses guys were very young when they started their business and they share plenty of stories of risk-taking. Some brought triumph and some brought trouble, but there was always an important lesson, that they share with the reader.
If you are a struggling business owner or you’d like to grow your business, I would highly recommend giving Effortless Entrepreneur a read. It’s a helpful and entertaining book.
If you have you have some excess stuff in your home, I would highly recommend giving College Hunks Hauling Junk a call. It’s a great service. You can reach my friend Tom Yewdell, the Fairfield and Westchester franchise owner at 203.817.0400.