Recommended Books

Lisa Montanaro Books

The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful, and More Organized Life

Here is your very own portable personal organizer and life coach, offering easy-to-follow steps on the way to an organized, empowered life! Written by Lisa Montanaro

Get on the VIP list to be the first to know when the book is launched & to join the Ultimate Life Organizer Book Club!!

Click to Learn More

Thrive in Your Career

Are you a small business owner or entrepreneur that wants to Thrive in Your Career? Then this amazing little pint-size powerful tips booklet is for you! Featuring 14 expert authors, including Lisa Montanaro, the tips cover all aspects of thriving in your business. The booklet includes tips on organizing, networking, marketing, social media, web presence, writing, and more! So grab your copy and get ready to easily digest information from a collection of experts that can serve as your virtual Board of Advisors and help you succeed in your business and career!

DECIDE® to be Organized E-Book

An Empowering Process for Change

I am thrilled to officially launch my first E-Book, DECIDE® to be Organized: An Empowering Process for Change. Yes, there are many fantastic books and resources that will help you get better organized and stay that way. But, DECIDE® differs in its approach in that it is less about the “stuff” and more about the thinking behind the “stuff.” The DECIDE® process allows you to go deep and examine the connection between decision-making and disorganization. It looks at the way you think and act with regard to organization, and offers an opportunity for an empowering change to occur.

Click to Learn More

Many of these products and services are part of official affiliate programs which pay a referral commission to LMOS based on any purchases you make through these links. However, that is not the reason I recommend them. I only recommend products and services that I believe are of high quality, value, and will benefit you in a tangible way as you improve your home, office, and life.

Return to Top

Organizing Books

Organizing from the Inside Out — The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life
by Julie Morgenstern
A comprehensive organizing book offering tips and tools for organizing your home, office, and life, Organized from the Inside Out has helped hundreds of thousands of people clean up the clutter in their life. Considered by many to be THE organizing book on the market.

10 Minute Tidy: 108 Ways to Organize Your Home by Shannon McGinnis
My colleague and friend, Shannon McGinnis, a professional organizer based in California, wrote this great little organizing book. At 200 pages and cleverly broken up into categories for ease of use, the 10-Minute Tidy is a manageable resource for those of you looking for some guidance (other than a live professional organizer, of course!) as you try to get better organized at home.

It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys: The Seven-Step Path to Becoming Truly Organized
by Marilyn Paul
This book delves into the underlying causes of chronic disorganization. Though it offers some concrete advice, it mainly targets the sources of disorganization, while offering meaningful paths to tackling everything from dirty dishes and filing problems to time management and inner spirituality.

Organizing Plain & Simple – A Ready Reference Guide with Hundreds of Solutions to Your Everyday Clutter Challenges by Donna Smallin
Donna Smallin offers organizing advice with room-by-room, tried and true organizational techniques to ease the burden of managing your money, family, house, time – and life’s big changes.

Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui
by Karen Kingston
Drawing on the success of her first book, Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, Karen Kingston has expanded on the indispensable activity of clearing clutter. Kingston reminds us that clutter is stuck energy that keeps you stuck in undesirable life patterns. Kingston covers the reasons we keep things as well as the amazing stories of people who have cleared their clutter away. More than just junk, clutter is all those things that have negative symbology and that collect stagnant energy. In an age of accumulation, it’s good to see a book that frees up life again.


Return to Top

Life Coaching Books

Take Time for Your Life
by Cheryl Richardson
Life coach Cheryl Richardson helps people create the lives they want. In Take Time for Your Life, Richardson shows you how to switch from being stressed, unfulfilled, and overworked, to “living a life you love” by using a seven-step process. Through seven progressive strategies, Richardson shows you how to live an authentic, high-quality life, embracing your spiritual, emotional, and financial well-being. Richardson recommends enlisting a friend to work through the book with you: a fine idea to help you benefit from all the guidance that this book offers. I read this book years ago and go back to it time and again.

Return to Top

Career Counseling Books

Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar
No More Monday Morning Blues…

If you are dissatisfied with your career and want to break free, you’re about to be liberated! This book offers a-step-by-step guide to finding the “work” that expresses and fulfills your needs, talents, and passions. Using dozens of real-life examples, Marsha Sinetar shows you how to overcome your fears, take the little risks that make big risks possible, and become a person whose work means self-expression, growth, and love! I devoured this book as I was leaving my law career and starting down my path to professional organizing.

Finding Your North StarFinding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha Beck
Martha Beck’s book is the ultimate guide for helping you figure out the answer to the question, “What do I want to do with my life?” Beck is a life coach with a fun, witty, and intelligent style of writing that jumped ship to do what she loves and her book is a wonderful platform for her to help others do the same. When I was struggling with leaving the practice of law and becoming an entrepreneur, I found this book to be pivotal in my decision. There are handy exercises that dig deep and help you really think about your skills, talents, and the type of life and employment that you want. I still have my book to this day with all of my notes in it and use it as a constant reminder that I made the right choice!

Return to Top

Financial Planning Books

2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe and Sound by Suze Orman
The credit crunch, the stock market freefall, the staggering toll of home foreclosures and job losses: The economic crisis that struck in 2008 has left no one untouched and everybody reeling. Seemingly overnight, the financial landscape has undergone seismic changes that suddenly have you asking all kinds of questions: Are your savings safe? Should you continue to invest in your retirement account? Should you keep your home if it’s worth less than what you owe or should you sell it? How do you pay your bills if you’ve just been laid off? The nation’s go-to expert on financial matters, Suze Orman, believes that 2009 is a critical year for your money. There are safeguards to put in place, actions to take, costly mistakes to avoid, and even opportunities to be had, so that you are protected during the bad times and prepared to prosper when things take a turn for the better. No matter what situation you’re in, you will find a plan of action and the answers to your questions about credit, retirement, savings and spending, real estate, paying for college, and protecting your family.SUZE ORMAN’S 2009 ACTION PLAN delivers honest, straightforward guidance—what to do, when to do it, and how to do it—as only Suze Orman can.

Return to Top

Business Books

Thrive in Your Career
Are you a small business owner or entrepreneur that wants to Thrive in Your Career? Then this amazing little pint-size powerful tips booklet is for you! Featuring 14 expert authors, including Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, the tips cover all aspects of thriving in your business. The booklet includes tips on organizing, networking, marketing, social media, web presence, writing, and more! So grab your copy and get ready to easily digest information from a collection of experts that can serve as your virtual Board of Advisors and help you succeed in your business and career! Investment: $5.00

Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice (by Alan Weiss) Million Dollar Consulting:
The Professional’s Guide to Growing a Practice by Alan Weiss
The acclaimed Million Dollar Consulting gives consultants the tools and advice they need to grow a firm that rakes in at least $1 million per year. Alan Weiss, “the consultant’s consultant,” shows step-by-step how to raise capital, reel in new clients, set fees, accelerate growth, and more. This updated and expanded edition will appeal to both Weiss’s many current fans and a whole new generation of readers looking for the best advice available for anyone who wants to build a million-dollar consulting/speaking career.

  The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
In this first new and totally revised edition of the over two million copy bestseller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. Next, he walks you through the steps in the life of a business — from entrepreneurial infancy through adolescent growing pains to the mature entrepreneurial perspective: the guiding light of all businesses that succeed — and shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether it is a franchise or not. Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read The E-Myth Revisited, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.

Can Your Business Run Without You?

What would happen to your business if you became ill for an extended period of time?  Could someone else man the shop for you easily?  Would you be more relaxed on vacation (or at the very least, take a vacation!) if you knew that the business could be better taken care of while you are away?  Have you ever thought about hiring an employee or assistant, but are overwhelmed with the thought of training someone in all of your business systems and processes?  Are you holding onto too many tasks that you know you could be delegating, but don’t have the infrastructure in place to effectively delegate without taking up too much of your precious time as the business owner?  If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are in need of a business blueprint!  It’s time to create an Operations Manual.

What is an Operations Manual and Why Do I Need One For My Business?

Before you started your business and in the early stages, you probably did a lot of planning.  Most likely, you were told to draft a business plan, and you may have even done so.  Unfortunately, most small business owners rarely look at their business plan after creating it, thereby rendering it meaningless on a daily basis.  A business plan is a static document, as opposed to a living and breathing one that serves as a guide to your business systems and processes.  Developing systems and taking the extra step to document them is vital to a business running smoothly and automatically.  Unfortunately, most businesses are lacking in this area.  Business owners get caught up in the daily activities of running the business, and do not take the time to document or blueprint the systems in place.  In the E-Myth Revisited, author Michael Gerber sets forth the idea that all businesses need to be “franchised” in the sense that they can run automatically, deliver a consistent experience to customers, and can be maintained, at least to some extent, without the owner’s hands-on involvement.  While you may not literally be franchising your business, Gerber’s concept broadly translates into developing an Operations Manual for your business.

What Are the Advantages of an Operations Manual?

An Operations Manual makes it easier to delegate and run your business.  However, even if you have no employees, independent contractors, or assistants of any kind, the importance of an Operations Manual should not be overlooked.  It provides structure and clarity by helping you examine the big picture and how each part fits into the whole.  It is also a handy tool for reminding yourself of your business systems when things get busy and you are overwhelmed.  The manual serves as a central location for vital business information, making it easier for you to find what you need in one fell swoop.  In a nutshell, an Operations Manual helps promote a consistent experience for your clients, and helps you avoid reinventing the wheel.

What Format Should an Operations Manual Be Stored In?

An Operations Manual can be hand written if that is your absolute preference, but I would not recommend it.  As this document is so vitally important to your business, you should maintain it in electronic format.  It is easier to revise, send as an attachment when necessary, and be backed up to avoid loss of data.  Some clients prefer to create their Operations Manual using a 3-ring binder approach.  While this may be tempting, if that binder is destroyed or lost, there goes all of your hard work in creating an Operations Manual.  Do yourself a favor and store the manual on a computer (and back it up!) or online at a secure site.

What Should an Operations Manual Include?

An Operations Manual is the manual of all manuals.  It can be as comprehensive as you want and need it to be.  It should serve as a blueprint of your business for you, your employees, assistants (virtual or on-site), and anyone else that is on a need-to-know basis.  The Operations Manual essentially covers everything that goes on behind-the-scenes of your business.  Here are some examples of what an Operations Manual may include, but as you develop one for your business, you will undoubtedly think of many more items to include.

    • Passwords to all of your online and offline business accounts
      (be sure to give some thought to maintaining proper security measures);

List of frequently used business supplies with purchasing/ordering information;

List of business documents;

Prospects intake process;

Client intake process;

Sample email templates;

List of all team members and their contact information;

Procedures for hiring new team members and training them;

Preparing for client sessions, proposal pitches, speaking engagements, professional association meetings, etc.

Client follow-up process.

Take the time to draft an Operations Manual.  It will be time well spent, and you will reap the benefits of it long after you finish the blueprint.

Copyright © 2009 Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC.

Want to Use This Article in Your E-zine or Website?

You can, as long as you use this complete statement:

Copyright 2009. Lisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and operate productive and profitable businesses. Lisa publishes the monthly “DECIDE® to be Organized” e-zine for success-minded individuals, and “Next Level Business Success” e-zine for entrepreneurs. Subscribe today at www.LMOrganizingSolutions.com. Lisa is the author of The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life, published by Peter Pauper Press. Lisa also publishes the DECIDE® to be Organized blog at www.DecideToBeOrganized.com. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how Lisa can help take your business to the next level, contact Lisa at (845) 988-0183 or by e-mail at .

Continuing with my series of business articles in honor of my presentation to entrepreneurs at the IRIS Conference in Denver, below is the second article. It is all about creating an Operations Manual, an idea I will be sharing with the attendees of my workshops this afternoon. I hope it prompts you to blueprint your business soon!

Can Your Business Run Without You?
 
What would happen to your business if you became ill for an extended period of time?  Could someone else man the shop for you easily?  Would you be more relaxed on vacation (or at the very least, take a vacation!) if you knew that the business could be better taken care of while you are away?  Have you ever thought about hiring an employee or assistant, but are overwhelmed with the thought of training someone in all of your business systems and processes?  Are you holding onto too many tasks that you know you could be delegating, but don’t have the infrastructure in place to effectively delegate without taking up too much of your precious time as the business owner?  If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are in need of a business blueprint!  It’s time to create an Operations Manual.
 
What is an Operations Manual and Why Do I Need One For My Business?
 
Before you started your business and in the early stages, you probably did a lot of planning.  Most likely, you were told to draft a business plan, and you may have even done so.  Unfortunately, most small business owners rarely look at their business plan after creating it, thereby rendering it meaningless on a daily basis.  A business plan is a static document, as opposed to a living and breathing one that serves as a guide to your business systems and processes.  Developing systems and taking the extra step to document them is vital to a business running smoothly and automatically.  Unfortunately, most businesses are lacking in this area.  Business owners get caught up in the daily activities of running the business, and do not take the time to document or blueprint the systems in place.  In the E-Myth Revisited, author Michael Gerber sets forth the idea that all businesses need to be “franchised” in the sense that they can run automatically, deliver a consistent experience to customers, and can be maintained, at least to some extent, without the owner’s hands-on involvement.  While you may not literally be franchising your business, Gerber’s concept broadly translates into developing an Operations Manual for your business.
 
What Are the Advantages of an Operations Manual?

 
An Operations Manual makes it easier to delegate and run your business.  However, even if you have no employees, independent contractors, or assistants of any kind, the importance of an Operations Manual should not be overlooked.  It provides structure and clarity by helping you examine the big picture and how each part fits into the whole.  It is also a handy tool for reminding yourself of your business systems when things get busy and you are overwhelmed.  The manual serves as a central location for vital business information, making it easier for you to find what you need in one fell swoop.  In a nutshell, an Operations Manual helps promote a consistent experience for your clients, and helps you avoid reinventing the wheel. 
 
What Format Should an Operations Manual Be Stored In?
 
An Operations Manual can be hand written if that is your absolute preference, but I would not recommend it.  As this document is so vitally important to your business, you should maintain it in electronic format.  It is easier to revise, send as an attachment when necessary, and be backed up to avoid loss of data.  Some clients prefer to create their Operations Manual using a 3-ring binder approach.  While this may be tempting, if that binder is destroyed or lost, there goes all of your hard work in creating an Operations Manual.  Do yourself a favor and store the manual on a computer (and back it up!) or online at a secure site.
 
What Should an Operations Manual Include?

 
An Operations Manual is the manual of all manuals.  It can be as comprehensive as you want and need it to be.  It should serve as a blueprint of your business for you, your employees, assistants (virtual or on-site), and anyone else that is on a need-to-know basis.  The Operations Manual essentially covers everything that goes on behind-the-scenes of your business.  Here are some examples of what an Operations Manual may include, but as you develop one for your business, you will undoubtedly think of many more items to include. 

  • Passwords to all of your online and offline business accounts
    (be sure to give some thought to maintaining proper security measures);
  • List of frequently used business supplies with purchasing/ordering information;
  • List of business documents;
  • Prospects intake process;
  • Client intake process;
  • Sample email templates;
  • List of all team members and their contact information;
  • Procedures for hiring new team members and training them;
  • Preparing for client sessions, proposal pitches, speaking engagements, professional association meetings, etc.
  • Client follow-up process.
Take the time to draft an Operations Manual.  It will be time well spent, and you will reap the benefits of it long after you finish the blueprint.