Spare Room Tycoon
by James Chan
Nicholas Brealey, 2000, 244 pages, $22.

"Spare room tycoons" is author James Chan's term for the growing number of successful self-employed businesspeople who have traded in hour-long commutes into the city for short walks to their offices in spare bedrooms or dens.

Chan, himself a spare room tycoon for nearly two decades, offers insight and support from the trenches for other spare room tycoons and those contemplating joining their ranks. Drawing on his own experience and the real-life experiences of numerous others, Chan provides not a formula for success as an independent worker, but a framework. As he explains, this book is not a " how to succeed" or "how to do" book, but rather a "how to be" book.

Chan's framework, which he refers to as SPARE, describes the stages of building an independent career. SPARE encompasses self-knowledge, passion, action, realization, and evolution. Chan explains that the five elements of this framework "work like the five strokes of an unending cycle of activity that drives the spare room tycoon." The framework is especially useful for those who are considering striking out on their own for the first time, but it is also helpful for current spare room tycoons who could benefit from a periodic assessment of how their business is faring.

Pitfalls and Rewards

The book covers the potential pitfalls as well as the many rewards of self-employment. From determining just how much to charge for your services to trying to convince your family that, no, you don't just loll around in your pajamas all day, Chan delivers the supportive advice that will keep you focused and sane.

Pursuing self-employment can be a lonely, anxious road to travel. Spare Room Tycoon, filled with specific real-life examples and pragmatic tips, will be an excellent companion as you make that journey.

Copyright © 2000 Soundview Executive Book Summaries