Remember when you were looking for your last job? You considered yourself your own small business, thought of yourself as being in “beta”, constantly striving to evolve and make yourself better, learning new skills along the way.
The Start-Up of You is not a book about looking for a new job, but in essence it recommends that you do things every day that we usually only do when looking for a new opportunity. To quote the cover of the book: “Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform your Career.”
LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffmann, and Ben Casnocha co-authored this book and argue that professionals need an entirely new mind-set and skill set to compete. The old paradigm of climbing up a stable career ladder is dead and gone. No career is a sure thing anymore. Entrepreneurs are used to working in uncertain, rapidly changing conditions and that is the environment in which all of us have to fashion a career. This means that a career strategy has to be approached the same way as an entrepreneur approaches starting a business.
Other highlights from the book:
- Think like entrepreneurs and create networks that outlive the initial start-up phase
- Every person is a small business, and should be constantly planning and adapting as businesses do
- You can’t be complacent. Always evolve and improve.
- Your personal asset mix is not fixed – you can and should learn new skills
Not surprisingly, the main value of the book to most people discusses networking. The book recommends a small inner circle of 8-10 key people – professional allies – and an outer and larger circle of contacts. The more you view networking from a “we” rather than “I” perspective, benefitting both parties from the relationship, the more effective your networking efforts will be.
As the book concludes: “So start tapping into your network. Start investing in skills. Start taking intelligent risks. Start pursuing breakout opportunities. But, most of all, start forging your own differentiated career plans; start adapting these rules to your own adaptive life. For life is a permanent beta, the trick is to never start stopping. The start-up is you.”