I love reading, and I especially love reading books. When I was in elementary school, I was the kid who would sneakily read my book after bedtime, hidden beneath the covers with a flashlight and my latest Babysitter’s Club book in hand (and would often get caught).
And don’t get me started on on a trip to a bookstore. I absolutely love going to to them, but for both my wallet’s and bookshelves’ sakes, I have been trying to get most of my books from the library. Thank goodness I live about a five-minute walk from my local library branch, which also handily was in the same building as my last job. Although I like to go there for my latest reading fix, whether it be a piece of breezy chick lit or a thoughtful memoir, I am also constantly there to pick up yet another book related to growing my small business. I was joking with one of the librarians the other day that I spend more time there now than when I worked at my old job. (Right now I’m averaging a visit a week.)
I crave books. The weight in my hands; the feel of the smooth, cool covers; the crinkly noise when you turn the page.
Especially now that I am a small business owner with zero background in business, I am constantly on the hunt for a good book to read to help me better understand how to run it.
For this week’s Friday Five, I present to you five books that I have found to be both interesting and unbelievably helpful in understanding my business and aiding it to grow. Some are about small business in general and can be applied to any industry. Others focus more specifically on having a creative business. Maybe one of them will be helpful to you too!
1. Pinfluence by Beth Hayden
|Image from Indiebound.org|
I was initially weary about opening a Pinterest account. I was starting to feel overwhlemed by social media; I felt like I was spending more time on it that making jewelry. But once I read this book I quickly changed my mind. Beth gives awesome tips on how to leverage Pinterest to grow your business and gain customers. I still have a bunch of Beth’s tips to follow up on, but it has been a great tool as I can see that it has brought people to my Etsy shop. I liked this book so much I even bought a copy of it for my Nook that I periodically reference. (By the way, I first heard about Beth Hayden and her book from listening to Blogcast FM, a really great podcast site for bloggers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs. Go check it out!)
This might not sound like the most interesting books, but it is actually a really easy and surprisingly enjoyable read, given the topic at hand. This book breaks down all major aspects aspects of running a small business, from the different legal entities and what’s right for your business to trademarking to record keeping. In my opinion it is a great reference book and helped me to put together a to-do list of things I needed to do for my business.
3. Home Business Tax Deductions: Keep What You Earn by Stephen Fishman, JD
Stephen Fishman writes a lot of books about small business, and like the previous one it makes a seemingly dull and complicated topic quite enjoyable and understandable to read. It breaks down all the little tax things that come with having a small business, from writing off your home office to how to know the difference between inventory and supplies (which is really important to know if you are in a business that sells physical items, like mine). He also gives some great scenarioes that better help you understand tax situations. (I should note that though this is a great start, I am also planning on meeting with an accountant.)
4. Craft, Inc: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business by Meg Mateo Ilasco
Ah, a book specifically about starting and owning a craft businesses. Each chapter includes an interview with a different successful craft business owner and then follows up with a specific topic covered in the interview, from legal entities to marketing. Not only is it a beautiful book to look through, but it gives a great baseline understanding of business topics, particularly those that apply to craft businesses.
5. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
Ever wonder what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is and how to use it? This is the book to start with. I have to be honest, I had checked this book out of the library at the same time that I had borrowed a bazillion other books, and I didn’t get to finish it before it was due (it’s a hot book and I couldn’t renew it boo!). But from what I did read, they made a technical topic pretty easy to understand and apply. And as a bonus, the authors co-founded Hubspot, which is based in Cambridge, MA just like me! (Which is obviously a huge draw for you all to read it.)
What books have you found to be helpful in starting or growing your small business?
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