Self-Made Me by Geoff Burch Review

Self-Made Me by Geoff Burch Review


Review

iHubbub Reviewer, Rosalind Brookman has just put down her copy of Geoff Burch's new book Self-Made Me and gives it top marks for being so user friendly! Here is Rosalind's take on this book for anyone who is self employed or aims to go self employed ...

'Self-employment guru Geoff Burch likes analogies; in this book he compares self-employment to ‘the good ship Freedom’; rebel guerrillas and an individual in a kayak. Employed workers’ environments become beehives, a steam engine, training an elephant and a worker himself is compared to an aspiring vegetable (it makes sense in context…) amongst many other, equally interesting, concepts.

Geoff doesn’t use business jargon – almost the opposite in fact. He is plain speaking, and pitches this book at exactly the right level for those people who might be thinking about stepping out on their own. It’s not an in-depth look at how to run a business; there’s no ‘how to manage your year-end accounts’ or ‘how to set up a pay-role system’ – it’s more ‘Self-employment for Dummies’. 

He starts off by asking the reader to examine their motives for becoming self-employed – what they are good at, what they can offer – is what they can offer actually needed by anybody? – can they also provide the service behind the product?   

Geoff moves on to talk about finding and copying good business models (this includes one of the most amusing analogies of looking at a burglar’s business model – although he stresses he doesn’t actually recommend being a criminal!) to ensure that your business follows the path of a succeeding business, rather than a failing one.  

He also looks at the importance of good value to your customers; of marketing yourself correctly to ensure your customers know who you are, what you offer and what you can give them that other people offering the same product can’t.

It’s all about managing expectations; both your customers and your own, and making sure that you are aware of every pitfall before you start. Geoff cites examples of people who have suddenly felt that ‘there is a need’ for a certain kind of business in their area, and happily (and blindly) set out to fulfil that need without doing any market research first.

When you see what not to do written down it looks obvious; such basic stuff, but as he says, it’s amazing how many people go ahead and do exactly that, and then wonder why they fail almost immediately.

Realising and grasping opportunities is a major theme throughout the book – instead of setting up your business, sending out a few leaflet to advertise yourself and then sitting back wondering where all your customers are, Geoff urges the reader to get out there (once you have established that there is in fact a market for your services of course) and push yourself forward, to always be looking for that extra opportunity that will bring business your way.

Geoff teaches that you should regularly stop being the person in charge of your business, to step outside and become your customer for a while. What does your company look like to them?

What do they hear when you pick up the phone to them?  How does your website operate when they try to buy your product? Only by constantly repositioning yourself as the very person you are trying to sell to can you see exactly what you are doing right, or more importantly, wrong.

The only thing that lets this book down is typos – pg. 218 for example: ‘I received an email a while back from someone in Singapore who wanted me to collaborate with them on a book they were written.’  This is one of several proofing mistakes, and it’s disappointing; they jar your eye as you read and interrupt the flow of an interesting narrative.

Throughout the book Geoff speaks at length about professionalism and the importance of appearance - perhaps he should scour a freelancer’s website for a more competent proof reader next time?

Whilst mistakes that should have been picked up are irritating, they don’t change the fact that this is ultimately a book packed full of enthusiasm and motivation from somebody who is clearly passionate about being free from a 9 to 5 life; of being told what to do by a company who are only interested in you being a conforming cog in their machine. 

Geoff speaks from the heart, and passes on the knowledge he has gained from his years of self-employment in the hope that the reader will listen, take it seriously and free themselves too.'

iHubbub Quote

"Geoff Burch is self-employed, highly successful and keen to share his knowledge with you in this book - if you're thinking about breaking away from the 9 to 5 grind then the first thing you should do is buy Self-Made Me and let his experience guide you forward."


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