Book Review: “Dream Year”
“Dream Year: Make the Leap from a Job You Hate to a Life You Love” by Ben Arment
c.2014, Penguin Portfolio
$27.95 / $32.95 Canada
As resolutions go, this year’s is a big one.
It’s a New Year’s resolution that you won’t break, for once: you’ve decided that you’re going to change a lot of things— love, finances, and work, for starters. Especially work, because you’re fed up and frustrated.
And there’s the biggest catalyst, says Ben Arment. Frustration is “the fuel” that really lights an entrepreneurial fire—and in the new book “Dream Year,” he explains how you can nurture your spark.
All year long, you’ve struggled to get up in the morning, grumbled all the way to work, grumped through your day, and you can’t do it anymore. You’ve decided to bring your dream to the world and that’s good because, today, “nothing is stopping you from constructing your own system to sustain your livelihood.”
“You,” says Arment, “are the only gatekeeper for your dream.”
To determine what you’ll do in your new endeavor, remember that working your dream doesn’t mean starting anew. Consider things you’re already pursuing (like a hobby or interest in a certain field), check that your idea fits the four hallmarks of a “sweet spot,” then ask yourself what you’d do if you didn’t need to have a conventional job. Be realistic, though; not every dream leads to money.
Next, take your idea and determine how it differs from the ones others have already had. Does it solve a problem? Will it resonate with potential customers? Can it make a profit – and if so, how? Will it set your new business apart from similar competitors? Can you break industry rules to see that it does?
Learn the fine art of asking; not knowing how could keep your dream from becoming a reality. Name your business right by seeing how others do it wrong. Know the difference between the dream and working the dream, and don’t underestimate the importance of getting started. Surround yourself with talent, lead but delegate if you must, and don’t catch yourself slacking. Remember that you can’t know everything, so always be open to learning. Know the reasons why others have quit … and then don’t.
I’ve surely read my ration of Start Your Own Business books over the past dozen years and each is a little different. “Dream Year” is no exception.
By sharing real-life stories and methods he uses in his Dream Year program, entrepreneur and author Ben Arment uses inspiration to guide readers through the process, from frustration to fruition, of being their own boss. That, along with repeated reminders that starting is essential to the journey, is absolutely helpful. What sets this book apart from others of its ilk, conversely, lies in small didn’t-think-of-that details which (fair warning!) could be overly hasty or even daunting for entrepreneurs-to-be.
Still, this is a decent book so my advice would be to read it awhile and, when it becomes overwhelming, put it aside while you work it for a year. You’ll be ready for the rest then because, for you, as entrepreneurial guidebooks go, “Dream Year” could be a big one.