10 Amazing Books for New Entrepreneurs

10 Amazing Books for EntrepreneursI really love to read. I love to read so much, that I actually worked at a library in college. It was amazing; when patrons didn’t need help, I could read to my heart’s content. *sigh* I had an endless supply of books  and because I had to shelve them, first dibs when new ones came in. It remains one of my favorite jobs to this day.

However, I’ve never been keen on reading business/self-improvement books, until I realized that I really wanted to start my own business. When  you couple that with the fact that I am a researcher at heart anyway, I started inhaling a ton of books in order to be the best entrepreneur I can be.

Here are my absolute 10 favorites in no particular order:

48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller – When I began having panic attacks and health issues at my day job, I realized something needed to change. I heard Dave Ramsey talk about this book several times over, and never picked it up. A little voice in my head said, “Now. Read it now” and I am so glad I did. I realized why I was falling into a pattern of giving my all at work only to be let down and end up discouraged; because I was working a job and not following a calling or passion. Dan recommends that you do work that you would do even if you weren’t getting paid to do it, and that is a philosophy that I intend to live by.

Do Over: Make Today the First Day of Your New Career by Jon Acuff – Jon Acuff makes this list not once, not twice, but three times. I adore him. He is so down to Earth and funny and his advice is always incredibly practical. Reading his books feels more like having a conversation with a friend than reading a self-improvement/motivational book. In this book, Jon talks about how you need to make investments in your career, in a career savings account so to speak. This is investing in relationships, skills, character, and hustle. His writing will simultaneously give you a step in the right direction and make you feel better all at once.

Quitter: Closing the Gap Between your Day Job and Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff – This book helped me when I was at the end of my rope at my day job. It prevented me from quitting way too soon. This book talks about how you need to use your day job to help finance your dream job and how to fall in “like” with your day job until you can make the transition. This book talked me off the proverbial ledge. Jon knows this from personal experience as he did what he refers to as the reverse Superman: he would go to conferences and speak over the weekend, take a flight home, and change his clothes in his day job restroom and get to work. It’s an excellent motivator and helps you keep life in perspective.

Start.: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff – Ok, I promise this is the final Jon Acuff book on my list. This is another really good book to get you up and motivated. It also explains how the linear path to a career used to look: you start low at a job, work your way up, earn a pension, retire, and then do something you love. Jon explains how the rules have changed, and how you can be starting new at 30, 40, or 50 in a career. He explains that there are 5 stages in the working life: Learning, Editing, Mastering, Harvesting, and Guiding. Jon also gives you sound advice for going through each stage in your career.

Business Boutique by Christy Wright – I actually finished and reviewed this one quite recently. I like it because it’s one-stop shopping for any woman who wants to start her own business. At the end of each chapter, there is a short exercise that essentially will help you assemble all of the pieces you need for a business plan. I love how Christy breaks a business into 4-tiers (yes, just like a cake): building a foundation, making it yours, getting the business up and running, and putting yourself out there. Christy isn’t afraid to discuss more difficult topics like taxes, business banking accounts, and marketing. I also like how she references Etsy frequently.

Money Making Mom by Crystal Paine. This book was full of so much wisdom. I love how Crystal shared mistakes that she made along the way, and explained that success isn’t overnight. It also stresses the importance of setting personal and financial goals, managing time well, and how to be more intentional with your actions. It also made me happy to see Crystal share teachable moments along her journey; ways that she failed along her journey to eventual success. Failure is inevitable when you’re learning, and I love that she didn’t mask it and make her career seem easy. I also really enjoyed how Crystal discusses working in your strengths, and finding something you truly love and care about to make your business focus. Because, as she warns, there will be bad days where all that will keep you going is the passion you have for that particular focus.

The $100 Start Up: Reinvent the Way you Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau – This book intrigued me as soon as I saw it as a recommended item on Amazon. Chris is in his 30’s (a little older than me) and he’s an ideas guy (also similar to me, so I recognize him as a kindred spirit). He has traveled all over the world basically sharing ideas and making money from it. Crazy, right? For this book, he analyzed 1,500 people who built successful businesses from a small investment (small being $100 or more). And it all stems from people doing things that they’re good at and love to do! Chris puts it in a simple how-to-guide, and there is a ton of practical advice in it. It’s definitely a good and motivating read.

Contagious: Why Things Catch on by Jonah Berger – Jonah Berger is a marketing professor that has spent a lot of time getting an answer to one question: What makes things popular? As you read this book, you can tell that Jonah did a ton of research for this book. He breaks down the science behind why things go viral, and how six principles guide what makes something popular (or not popular for that matter). If you are a small business owner trying to do marketing of any kind, design content, or are really trying to put a message out into the world, I definitely think this book is worth a read.

Entreleadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches by Dave Ramsey – Those of you who have been reading my blog know that I greatly admire Dave Ramsey.So this book was a no brainer for me. He talks about hiring, making decisions, writing a solid mission statement for your business, and so much more. I feel this was one of the best I read, and I intend to go back and read chapters as situations arise. Dave is so up front, honest, and to the point in every book he writes. Dave definitely does not beat around the bush and I love that about him. He made reading this book educational and fun.

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zissner -Full disclosure, I haven’t finished this one yet, I’m actually still reading it (review to come next week). However, I’m really enjoying it so far. The author breaks the process of writing into nice, manageable chunks. It’s also written in a memoir sort of style, which makes it much more personal. One thing that William wrote that really resonated with me and I feel sums up writing is that it’s a craft. It takes time and practice whether you’re a natural born writer or not, the only way you’ll get better at it is if you keep writing.

Phew! Are you tired? I’m tired. 😉 I hope you enjoyed this list, and I would love to hear what you think about these books. Happy reading!

Book Review: Business Boutique by Christy Wright

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Policy. All opinions here are strictly my own.

I have been waiting weeks for this book. Yes, I know it’s not as dramatic as saying I’ve waited months, but work with me here. 😉

I discovered it while visiting Dave Ramsey’s site; it was rather serendipitous, actually. I found it around the time I decided to finally open my Etsy Shop. Christy is a Ramsey Personality, and because of my great love for Dave Ramsey and Jon Acuff, I felt she was someone that I could trust. Dave is incredibly careful with who he brings into his business as a team member (you can read all about it in Entreleadership).  I immediately preordered on Amazon, and read a ridiculous amount of other books while I waited for its arrival. I am so, so happy to report that it did not disappoint.

Christy starts the book with sharing her life long love for horses. She ultimately paired passion with business in her 20’s when she rented a 40 acre farm and began boarding horses. She found that while conducting interviews for the book, women who owned their own businesses revealed they had always loved a particular hobby or activity that was now the center of their business. Crafters, bakers, gardeners…it all began with truly loving a topic or activity. She writes, “We love our craft or skill or idea – the business part is just a way to share our passion with others and make an income in the process.” This sentence is exactly when she sucked me in.  I also greatly appreciate the fact that it’s beautifully interwoven with scripture and speaks to women working in their God-given strengths.

The book covers four major tiers (just like a cake!) each with its own subtopics below it. The four major tiers she writes on include building a foundation, making it yours, getting the business up and running, and putting yourself out there. In truth, I wish this would have been out exactly when I decided to start my business. I feel like it could have saved me a lot of time and heartache. It breaks starting a business into much more manageable steps. Admittedly I’ve been feeling stressed the past few days, and reading Christy’s book has really helped me relax and refocus. She stresses taking things one step at a time, and as a go-getter, I am constantly forgetting that fact. And the most important piece to finishing this book: when you’re done, you will have all the pieces and parts you need for a cohesive business plan.

Christy’s voice comes through exceptionally clear, as if you’re speaking to a dear friend in the same room rather than just reading yet another business book. Many people (me included up until I started reading books of these sort) have a preconceived notion that business books are supposed to be cold and frumpy. Clearly, those people have not read this book. I simply could not put it down!

Additionally, to help you along the way, Christy offers some free resources as you’re working through the book. The Action Pages are the same as what’s at the end of each chapter. However, as a person who likes to keep their books “nice,” I greatly appreciate having it as a separate resource. Click here to get your Business Boutique action pages. On that same page, you can sign-up by email for the Quick Start Business Plan. Both of which I highly enjoyed and recommend.

If you’re a woman with a dream to start her own business or even if you already have a business of your own, I highly suggest you get a copy of this book.

For more awesome business book resources, check out my carefully curated Pinterest board here.

5 Ways to Support Small Businesses Online

5 Ways to Support Small Businesses OnlineDid you know that according to the Small Business Administration (or SBA):

  • There are 28.8 Million Small Businesses in the United States
  • 99.7% of US Businesses are small business, and
  • 48% of the employees working in the United States are employed by a Small Business

Those are some impressive stats! Nearly half of the people working in the United States are employed by a small business!

I personally shop small business because you receive attention and service that you just don’t get with a big retailer. I always feel really special when I order something on Etsy because most sellers include a special handwritten note of thanks and sometimes a free item. While Amazon has great customer service, they have never written me a note thanking me for buying their products (sorry, Amazon). Note: There is a caveat to that, and you’ll see that later in my post. I also know that I can find unique things that I won’t be able to find anywhere else. As an Etsy business owner myself, I want to support my community of makers, and often buy items for myself and others on Etsy.

I’m sure you’re aware of many Small Business options around you; maybe it’s a corner grocery story or a sewing shop. But what if they don’t have what you’re looking for, and you feel strongly about supporting a small business owner? That’s where the magic of the internet comes in.

5 Places You Can Support Small Businesses Online

  1. Etsy. There are so many hard working people on Etsy. And many are just one man operations. I’m not kidding when I say these are small businesses! I even have a small business on Etsy. Want to start your own shop on Etsy? Click here for 49 Free listings.
  2. Creative Market. There are so many wonderful people creating and selling digital goods on Creative Market. I’ve personally purchased some Photoshop brush files and graphics, and I was pleased at the price and quality. They also have free downloads each week!
  3. Facebook and Instagram. I’ve met several small business owners who prefer to use Facebook or Instagram as their platform rather than sites like Etsy. Sometimes they purchase Facebook feed ads, sometimes it’s word of mouth, either way, you kind find lots of great businesses at either site.
  4. eBay. Did you know that many people have businesses just finding cool stuff and reselling it on eBay? They do! Many people have made it their side or full time business.
  5. Handmade at Amazon. Amazon has ventured into the Handmade World! Isn’t that awesome? It’s very similar in feel to Etsy, and has a ton of really cute stuff available.

Have you found any online small business hot spots? I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

5 Ways to Get More Stuff Done Today

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. See my Disclosure Policy here.

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Between being a Wife, a Mom, a Full Time Employee at my day job, and a new Entrepreneur running a blog and a soon-to-be opening Etsy shop, I have to stay on top of my game.  Organization is key in doing this.

Here’s some things that I’ve found keep me on track and help me accomplish more:

1.) Putting Appointments and Important Reminders on my Calendar. I hate holding onto appointment cards and I especially hate forgetting to do things (which I have a tendency to do when things get hectic). For Mother’s Day a couple years ago, my husband bought me an Apple Watch – my appointments appear right on the face of my watch so I won’t forget. Which is perfect because I’m very visual. This even helps my husband because we share a family calendar, so he can see everything I add, too.

2.) To Do Lists. There’s something about checking an item off my to-do list that is satisfying and really gives me a sense of accomplishment. I find that when I put things down on a list and see them, I am much more likely to accomplish them. I’m a complete technology nerd, so I have To Do lists built right into my OneNote Notebook.

3.) Scrum Project Management. If you haven’t heard of Scrum, I am entirely too happy to introduce you! I highly recommend reading Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland. I have used Scrum for around 2-3 years now, and it’s still by far my favorite project management tool. I use it for both my day job and my Etsy Shop planning. The long story short is this: Create three columns on a chart, white board, Excel spreadsheet, whatever is easiest for you.  Title them To Do, Doing, and Done. Then, put tasks on a sticky note (or digital sticky note if you’re using Excel), place accordingly, and move when necessary. This will show you at a glance where everything stands and motivate you to get more done. If you don’t quite feel like making your own Scrum Board, Trello is a great management tool app and site.

4.) Don’t Be Afraid to Say No. When you’re overworked, overtasked, and reaching the end of your rope, there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying no. If saying no means you’re able to complete the other tasks on your plate in a more efficient manner, then you should by all means say no. Overextending yourself isn’t doing you any favors.

5.) Tackle the Hardest/Most Concentration Demanding Task of your Day FIRST. This summarizes the biggest takeaway from Brian Tracy’s book, Eat that Frog. I would also highly encourage that this time be completely uninterrupted. For example, on one of my days off,  I started my Adobe Illustrator Class in a Book, when I knew I wasn’t tired or pulled in many directions.

Bonus Tip: Cut Some Corners on Mundane Tasks Like Grocery Shopping. In effort to save money, we often do things that cost us more in the long run through time. One of these being grocery shopping. Check out Belinda’s post here on how she saves time grocery shopping.

So there you have it! That’s how I manage to juggle the many tasks I need to accomplish each day. But before you go, let me give you one bonus tip: give yourself grace. You can’t do it all at once, no matter how awesome you are. Be kind to yourself while you’re taking on the world.

Do you have any productivity tips? What’s your favorite?