8 Books That Changed My Online Business For the Better
I swear, I've been writing this blog post in my head over the course of the last year. Clearly, it needed to find its way onto my blog.
I've always been a bookworm. Some of my earliest childhood memories consist of Saturday morning reading sessions (or, back then, flipping through the pages to look at photos).
My life is heavily influenced by literature, which is why you’ll see a list of 8 books I hold near and dear below.
Each has held different lessons, some that knocked me down so I could pick myself back up and others that embraced me from page one.
All are equally important to me.
If I could only keep a small library of books, these would make the "keep" pile...
Simply Tuesday by Emily P Freeman
You know when a book finds you at the perfect time? This was one of those books. Its subtitle is Small-Moment Living in a Fast Moving World, which could not have been more applicable to my previous 24/7 hustle life.
This book was not only good for business but for all other areas of my life including my faith, friendships, family, and communities. It’s a healthy blend of scripture and authentic storytelling which aims to reverse our reliance on the “I’m busy” excuse.
Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“But Tuesday teaches me that part of living well in ordinary time is letting this day be good. Letting this day be a gift. Letting this day be filled with plenty. And if it all goes wrong and my work turns to dust? This is my kind reminder that outcomes are beyond the scope of my job description.”
Doesn’t that make you want to rush to the library to check it out? I SO highly recommend this book for entrepreneurs who find themselves in a perpetual state of “busy”.
The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna
We let the “shoulds” in our life win far too often. We “should” get a stable job, even if we loathe it, to pay for a lifestyle we “should” want in order to impress people we “should” connect with. #blech
I’ve chosen the path of “should” many times before, especially when I first started my online business.
I thought I “should” ditch words for sexier medium of video marketing, create a podcast with weekly episodes I couldn’t sustain as a one-woman-show, and spend time creating digital products that didn’t fit my bigger vision.
But my “must” of helping clients tell their true stories always came back. It wasn’t until I leaned into my “must” that I found my direction in copywriting and content creation.
This book is fantastic for all entrepreneurs whether you’re in pre-launch or have been in business for a while. It’s also illustrated beautifully so it’s nice to look at. Love!
Brave Little Bones by Kayla Hollatz (that’s me!)
Okay, this probably seems like a very odd addition, especially since Brave Little Bones is my memoir poetry collection, but there’s SO much I learned about myself during the process of writing this book.
It’s been just over a year since I published my first poetry collection but as I flip through the pages, I feel as though a different person wrote it.
It’s a snapshot, a moment in time, the anthem of my childhood put down on paper so I could heal, cry, and embrace others who have experienced similar things.
Poetry has made me the writer I am today. I attribute it to my success on Twitter (my knack for haikus comes in handy when I only have 140 characters!), my personal growth through blogging, and my easy vulnerability in all forms of online writing.
Sweet friend, if you are considering writing a book, even one outside of your industry that doesn’t totally fit “your brand”, do it. Start with an outline, grow the plot, dig into the characters, and go anywhere with it. It’s one of the best things I indirectly did for my career.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book is meant to make every person wear the title of “creative” proudly. While I never saw myself as an artist growing up, this book changed how I view art and where those limiting beliefs came from.
Elizabeth Gilbert shares many personal tales of her own relationship with creativity and packs the perfect amount of magic and whimsy into its pages. The hype is grand, but the book is even better.
I mean, just look at the cover. The beauty doesn’t stop there! I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to write their own permission slips and get back to creating work that matters.
Rising Strong by Brene Brown
Just like Elizabeth Gilbert, everyone seems to know (and love) Brene Brown, and for good reason.
While I enjoy her speaking most, I’ve read nearly all of her books and find Rising Strong to be my favorite. As a writer who loves storytelling, it’s probably not surprising since Rising Strong is basically putting Daring Greatly’s principles into action.
I deeply connect with the Theodore Roosevelt quote Brene bases her research on, so much so that I’ll paste it here so you can see what I mean:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt
That’s goooooood, right? Ah, I love it dearly. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to own their vulnerability, create something beautiful that’s within them, and put their work out into the world.
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
I am the worst at asking for help. I constantly worry about being a secret burden to someone I care about or just hearing the word “no”, a painful rejection after building the confidence to ask in the first place.
I’ve always been like this too, not raising my hand in class and trying to figure out the answer on my own instead of simply asking someone who could save me minutes to hours of time.
It’s something I’m working on, especially as a community leader because I know intuitively that a community cannot reach sustainable growth and consistently pour into its people if you do it alone. It takes a village!
This beautiful memoir from Amanda Palmer, a street performer and statue turned most crowdfunded Kickstarter musician in history, was exactly what I needed to hear. Not only does she talk about our need to ask for help but also how she’s put it into action.
I first listened to Amanda Palmer’s TEDTalk on this subject and after hearing she wrote a book, I knew I needed to pick up a copy. It did not disappoint.
Manage Your Day-to-Day by 99u Contributors
Whenever I see this book title, I always shake my head because I remember how warped my mentality was around routines before reading this book. Here’s what I mean...
I’ve never considered myself a morning person or someone who does well under rigid routines. My creative process has always been somewhat scattered, a skill I’ve learned to sharpen over time.
While I may not have thought my personality type was bred for routines, this book whipped me into shape.
After hearing short stories from all kinds of successful writers, authors, and bloggers, I realized that while everyone’s routine may look a bit different, there is a common thread: the need to consistently show up and do the work.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with making room to do what they love AND what they need to get done too.
The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte
Let’s end with the mother of all books. You know I’m talking about The Desire Map. It’s pretty much impossible to be active in online communities without someone mentioning this book one (or fifteen) times.
While there’s a lot to love in this book, the best takeaway is the importance of figuring out FIRST how you want to feel, and then setting your goals around those emotions. We often set our goals the opposite way but Danielle urges us to reinvent our goal setting process.
She calls these central emotions our Core Desired Feelings, or CDFs for short. Mine are Encouraged, Light, Rhythm, and Ease. These CDFs then drive what opportunities I say a big YES to and which ones earn a “not right now.”
This book is half storytelling and half workbook so it’s a great one to dive into during a long weekend of soul searching.
What books have changed YOUR business? Which of these books are you dying to read? Let me know in the comment section below!