Off the Shelf - July

Here’s what I’ve been reading. What about you?



Josh Turner

The author says point-blank that this concept is not rocket science, and he’s right. However, sometimes we still need to hear it from someone else. This is a quick read filled with valuable information and motivation. The process, Turner says, is a simple one, which he outlines in general terms and then dives into each step. Generally, you must get in front of prospects, convert a percentage into leads, and then convert at least one lead into a client. Without leads, your business is in the danger zone. Getting those leads, Turner says, is easier if you can position yourself as a leader and expert. People — prospects — will then want to talk to you. And getting in front of people is how small business owners can stay off of the cash-flow roller coaster, which prevents growth. Turner urges readers to take advantage of online tools like email but especially LinkedIn and Facebook groups.

The detailed, five-step Booked process is as follows:

Step 1: The Foundation — clearly identify your ideal prospects and optimize your profiles

Step 2: Your Leadership Platform — generate appointments (appointments = sales calls = consultations = strategy sessions) and start a Facebook or LinkedIn group

Step 3: Building Your Database — after an initial blitz, reach out, on an ongoing basis, to new prospects; do this every day

Step 4: Your Messaging Machine — figuring out your numbers (# of prospects you need to reach goal) and which messaging campaign is right for you

Step 5: Email Blueprint

Turner includes scripts to use in Step 3 and notes the importance of doing this every day as well as scripts for each of the types of messaging campaigns in Step 4. He acknowledges that there are a lot of moving parts in the Booked process so it’s critical to stay organized and do prep and planning. He suggests that 30-60 minutes each day, five days a week, is the sweet spot for the system to work for you.

I had this book on my Kindle for a while before digging in. Even though a few entrepreneurs told me they enjoyed it, the title made me think it was geared more toward salespeople. I’m glad I gave it a shot!

Here are some of my favorite takeaway quotes from Booked:

“You can’t grow by cutting costs. The only way to grow, or to remain stable, is to generate a consistent flow of leads.”

“Follow up and persistence is the key to maximizing your results.”

“A well-designed email campaign can add 10-20% response rate to the overall system.”


The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You

Jessica N. Turner

This book is another one of those no-brainers, right? I love the snippets from real women she surveyed (found myself wanting to track a lot of these women down, either to hug or high-five them — or both) and the quick and easy “exercises” she has throughout, like noting who someone is that you compare yourself to and listing three blocks of 5 to 15 minutes you can find throughout your day. The exercises are all simple and un-intimidating (AKA, maybe we’ll actually do them). Turner talks about the challenge of finding balance, no matter our circumstances: married or single, with or without children, income, age. All women struggle with this concept in different ways. It looks different for me (41, married, and without children, full-time entrepreneur) than it does for my sister (31, married with an almost-three-year-old and a newborn, teacher) than it foes for our mother (62, married, four adult children, full-time executive). And that’s just in my immediate family.

In the first part of the book, Turner has readers EXPLORE. The chapters cover balance, pressures, guilt, and comparison. You won’t read much here that you haven’t read and heard before, but it’s the groundwork. She then moves into the DISCOVER part, which she calls the heart of the book. I couldn’t agree more. Here is where she covers shifting our perspective, identifying ways in which we can care for ourselves (such as health, spiritually, our passions), and finding that time for ourselves. In this section she mentions one of my favorite metaphors for life: Put on your oxygen mask first. Then assist others. In the third part Turner teaches us to MAXIMIZE. This is where we prioritize and learn to use our time efficiently. She includes a discussion of helpful versus wasteful multitasking that I really enjoyed. (My business coach talked recently about how multitasking isn’t really a thing, and that really our brains are just toggling back and forth among activities. Maybe that’s why so many of us feel like we’re on the hamster wheel.) She also includes a discussion of asking for and embracing help, as well as an honest mention of obstacles that can slow us down, such as financial restraints, interruptions, and disorganization. Finally in the fourth part, LIVE WELL, Turner talks about community and rest, choosing joy and giving thanks.

The tone of this book is that of one girlfriend talking to another, and breaking down what we all know we should be doing. If we could each implement even one or two of the results from exercises in the book, we can call that progress.

And as always, some of my favorite takeaways (There were lots!):

“Just because something is a good thing doesn’t mean it is good for this moment in your life.”

“When you make room in your schedule to breathe, you make room for you — and that is key to discovering fringe hours.

“Self-care needs to be included in what you should be doing. It is not a privilege. It is a necessity.”

“Acknowledgment of your passions is significant, courageous, and meaningful.”

“We must refuse to let our calendars control us.”

“The prioritization of our passions benefits us in every way  — internally (spiritually, mentally, and emotionally) and externally (in our relationships with other people and how we interact with them).

“Gratitude transforms us from the inside out.”


All You Could Ask For

Mike Greenberg

All You Could Ask For follows the lives of three women — Brooke, Samantha, and Katherine — who don’t know each other but whose lives intersect late in the book through a listserv for women with breast cancer. I wished their stories intersected earlier in the book because there was no common thread for me as I read (other than that they all came from Greenwich, Connecticut), making me wonder why and how the three characters, who were so vastly different, would come together. Were they sisters? All friends of a mutual friend? I knew before reading the book that breast cancer was involved (because I am a fan of the author and had heard him talk about the book) but was unsure how it came into play as I read.

The novel is about female friendships and support, yet the characters meet so late in the book that I didn’t really get enough of that. What I loved was that the characters were developed well enough that as each was diagnosed and dealt with both her diagnosis and treatment, I felt that we (readers) understood the characters well enough to see why they reacted the way they did. Even if we didn’t like it, we understood it. The battle is the same yet the battle plan is different for every single person dealing with the horrible disease. We all know a Brooke, a Samantha, or a Katherine. We can all understand how powerful a force having female friendships is. I hate to call this a “feel good” book since the subject matter is mostly certainly not that, but it’s nice to know that these friendships exist in real life and in books. My hope is that anyone dealing with a struggle has these friends to call upon.

What have you been reading?