Entrepreneurial You by Dorie Clark. Harvard Business Review Press: Boston, MA (2017). 254 pages. US$28.00 (hard cover).
My home office is about three miles from my gym. During the winter, when the sun sets early, I walk to the gym rather than ride my bike. You just can’t trust that cars will see a cyclist! Walking gives me 50 minutes a day to listen to podcasts or music. I often listen to the Harvard Business Review’s podcast.
A recent episode included an interview with Dorie Clark on the topic of portfolio careers. I knew I had to read the book after listening raptly to stories of entrepreneurs diversifying their income streams. And, “Entrepreneurial You” did not disappoint.
“Entrepreneurial You” is a great book for engineering managers, professors, and anyone who works more than one job. Some of us already own small businesses and can use Ms. Clark’s guidance to grow our influence while others can reference the book as they consider free-lancing or post-retirement careers.
The first two chapters of “Entrepreneurial You” teach us to build our own brand. Just like a product has an expected reliability, each person must establish himself or herself as a trusted expert in his or her own field. “We have to find a way to build trust with the people in our audience and make them want to do business with us,” (pg. 19, emphasis added).
Part Two of “Entrepreneurial You” offers tactical and operational guidance for entrepreneurs to build portfolio careers. Chapter 4, for example, illustrates steps to become a coach or consultant. Chapter 6 advises how to set up a podcast and monetize the activity. Finally, Chapter 8 describes how many business people have set up exclusive events and conferences for specialized audiences to share and learn from one another. So, even if you are not considering another gig, you can use the information from these chapters to enhance organizational communication.
In Part Three, the author describes various online avenues to expanding one’s reach and influence. To be honest, Chapter 11 on affiliate marketing makes me a bit uncomfortable, but the author assures us throughout the text that moving out of our comfort zone is a pathway to growth. In this chapter and others, she emphasizes the importance of growing a mailing list (also important for any engineer working in sales or marketing).
Ms. Clark concludes “Entrepreneurial You” in Chapter 12 with the advice to choose from the buffet of options in the book to construct a portfolio career that fits our own unique lifestyle. For example, while growing my business is important to me, it’s also a priority for me to work out at the gym every day. Understanding who you are, and your own strengths and weaknesses make you better suited to selecting appropriate, diversified income streams.
I really enjoyed reading “Entrepreneurial You.” You can listen to the HBR podcast here (about 20 minutes) to see if you want to invest another 5 or 6 hours reading the book. My copy is highlighted and dogeared as I continue to review and revisit much of the information presented. I highly recommend “Entrepreneurial You” for anyone who has embarked upon or plans to begin a free-lance, portfolio careers as an engineer, engineering manager, or consultant.
What is your biggest challenge in managing multiple careers?
Teresa Jurgens-Kowal, PhD, PE, PMP, CPEM, NPDP
Global NP Solutions, LLC