At the beginning of 2018 I decided as part of my self-care, wellness and business development to start reading more. Using the hour I sit at the gym whilst Olive has gymnastics I now spend reading rather than scrolling through my phone kidding myself I’m *working*. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy reading and absorbing information. I have been sent and bought a lot of books this year so here is a run down on a few small business ones.
How to Prevent Burnout by Susan Scott : This book is not a pick up and put down kind of read, you need to fully immerse yourself in the content, fill out the charts, discover things about yourself and work out how to combat them. This book is filled with all the know-how to stop stress in its tracks and prevent you from burning out. I did however find this a little heavy going, the science behind burnout, it has a school textbook feel about it that I wasn’t keen on. There is some really interesting facts about sugar and what we eat, I found myself nodding a lot at the list of rocket fuel foods, that give you that initial kick but leave you later with a mid-afternoon slump. Grab the fruit and not the crisps. There’s some really great sleep tips too like having a pre-sleep brain dump. It’s really useful that you can fill this book in as you go along and there is an action plan at the end.
Business Zero to Superhero by Graham Jules LL.B (Hons) : Jules famously won a trade mark dispute with Superman creators Marvel and DC Entertainment. This book is really easy to read, the layout is clear and the headings mean it’s easy to see what the content is about, making it great for picking up as and when. There is lots of really useful practical advice embedded in Jules business experience. The comic strips interspersed highlighting certain facts and events carry on the superhero theme. I did feel like the graphics and large fonts made this book in places feel basic and aimed at a younger audience, although Daddy Moo liked this layout (which is odd as I’m the comic book superhero fan). You can easily get through this book in a hour or so and have taken away some useful tips. “At the start, money is tight so don’t try to be perfect. The trick is to create a veneer of professionalism for little or no cost.” (pg. 81) your basic fake it to you make it, I like that Jules doesn’t over complicate situations or use loads of words when he doesn’t need to. The section on applying and seeking investors was really interesting and Jules has some great feedback there’s also a list of investors included if you are looking.
You can literally get a subscription box for everything now and female entrepreneurs is no exception. Allow Focus is a monthly subscription box aimed at women in business or just starting out. Each month you receive a curated box of goodies delivered directly to your doorstep. Each box contains 4-7 full-sized items curated specifically for you, the busy female entrepreneur who is still juggling a day job. You can expect pretty desk accessories, office supplies, an inspirational book or journal, training manual and more. I was sent a Foundling Box in August which was filled with stationery and a great little folder which you can add too. I also liked the Productivity Planner which had been especially designed for Allow Focus, by Azalea Designs Co. it’s has a handy page per view productivity planner/tracker which enables you to prioritise and reward yourself as well as plan your week and goals. Most of the stationery I passed on to others as I am developing a bit of an out of control stationery stash.
She Means Business by Carrie Green : Was part of the Allow Focus Foundling Box. I literally devoured this from cover to cover on the drive to Snowdon in 2 hours. It’s a really easy read and filled with some super actionable tips. This for me is really important in a book, I want to put the book down and feel compelled to do something, take action. Each chapter ends with a “She Takes Action”, giving you clear direction, thinking about what you have learnt and having an action plan of what to do with this information. Through this book you are able to get clear on your business vision which can sometimes fall by the wayside. I’ve been self-employed now for 10 years and have been feeling overwhelmed by tasks I no longer want to do my business vision got off course at some point s these tips were most welcomed. The book is well laid out so you can easily come back to certain topics or skip over any that don’t relate to where you are currently at. Law of Attraction plays a big role within this book and much of what Green says does make sense, However if you aren’t one for positive affirmations and visualisation you might not enjoy this book. I really liked Green’s simplistic approach, she doesn’t over complicate things with business jargon etc. which so often can happen in business books. Although not many of us couldn’t afford to spend $7500 on a one day coaching session in Canada, but this is probably a great example of taking opportunities when they present themselves. (Also not sure why this book uses $ as Green is British)
Here are my 2 key points I took away :
- Not spreading yourself too thin over every single platform. Instead become an expert in one and work it. Green then goes on to look at how she built her business growth via Facebook advertising.
- In the early days when Green wanted to do something she became an expert through google and You Tube. Which reminded me of those early Charlie Moo’s days when I’d stay up late working out html, it gave me a boost I needed to get on with things, regain that passion and stop coasting.
Usborne Business For Beginners : I bought this for Megan for Christmas, being the child of two self-employed individuals she’s keen to be her own boss. Her future career choices at the moment include Ballerina, Author, Illustrator and Hotel Owner in Corfu! and knowing Megan she’ll probably do all of them! Although this is aimed at children, it’s actually really good and really informative. I love the way the pages are laid out they are bright colourful, real life examples are embedded between business jargon which is easy to understand and well explained. The book is split into 7 Chapters covering everything from How to Start a Business, to Keeping Track of Money and Growing the Business. The money chapter is really good, I think a few adults could benefit from reading. There’s even a section on Why Businesses Fail which looks at lack of market research, poor execution and competitors doing a better job then you. This book is exactly what is needed to nurture entrepreneurial streaks and make business something relevant to children today.
Is this it? by Ruth Kudzi : I literally devoured this book in 2 hours during the car journey to my parents and back this Easter Sunday, now if that’s, not a great way to multitask I don’t know what is! Which made me chuckle as Ruth suggests “I recommend you do something every day (including the weekend), even if it is only reading a book by someone you admire,” (pg. 101) #nailedit.
Chapter 7 looks solely at Time, this has to be one of the most inspiring chapters which really made me stop, think and give myself a grilling. How often do you find yourself saying “I don’t have time”? I put many of my time management and organisation, not staying on task or meeting deadlines down to the fact I don’t have time rather than I don’t use my time efficiently and this is pivotal. As Ruth says, “we have as many hours in the day as Beyonce.” this one statement is enough to reassess how we spend our time. There are some really handy resources that accompany this chapter including doing a time audit, assessing which tasks need to be done, delegated or discarded, if like me you work well visually there’s also a Day Scheduler PDF.
This book is well set out, each chapter is clearly defined and the subheading enables the reader to see what is happening. I found the book really easy to read, Ruth writes in a way which is familiar to the reader she avoids pompous jargon opting to keep the content real. This is highlighted by the use of real-life case studies to justify the points she has made. There is a little too much emphasis on coaching for my liking but the content is valid for non-coaching businesses too.
If you have any small business book suggestion feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll try read as many as I can.
This post complies with my Disclosure Policy, some books were sent to me to review, others I have bought. This post contains affiliate links.