Running a small creative business requires dedication to craft as well as accounting, marketing, and the hard work of believing in yourself enough to keep showing up and taking risks. We asked FELIZ vendors from over the years to tell us what has helped them in the many arenas of running their businesses. From writing a business plan to fostering your creativity, we hope these books will help you get started or keep going!
I love the book You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. Its a self-help book but it's got some really good stuff in there about taking leaps of faith for what you want! - Samantha Heligman of Settle Ceramics
Ari Weinzweig's A Lapsed Anarchist's Approach to Building a Great Business and Bo Burlingham's Small Giant's have been formative in how I operate my business and plan for growth. Other than that, I just make sure to take care of my staff and maintain a healthy degree of balance– the eternal entrepreneur’s struggle. - Brent Fogerty of Cold Ones Pops
Stacy Malkan's Not Just a Pretty Face: the Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry taught me a lot about the health hazards associated with doing nails. Beauty school doesn't teach you about the risks associated with dibutyl phthalates. Until not too terribly long ago, cosmetologists used formaldahyde tablets to sterilize their tools; today we know that formaldahyde vapors are highly carcinogenic. Obviously I want to provide the healthiest, cleanest environment for my clients but also for myself; nobody wants to huff toxic chemicals for two hours, let alone ten hours a day. - Meghann Rosales of Nails Y'all
The Entrepreneur's Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing by Kathleen Fasanella - I bought this a long time ago and it was really handy! - Pamela Torres of Classic Childhood
Interior Design Magazine and Italian Elle Decor Magazine are must reads and I also love cruising European design blogs because I think the design overseas is so inspiring! - Lilianne Steckle Interior Design
This may be unconventional but Small Giants by Bo Burlingham or Outliers by Malcom Gladwell.
The One Page Business Plan for Entrepreneurs is also a helpful workbook for putting a basic business plan together. - Kathrine Zeren
BossBabes has been a very significant resource for me- every panel, meet up, and talk I've been to has been empowering and practical. I received a hard copy of a small business resource manual from one of their panel discussions that has been super helpful in getting my business off the ground. Plus it truly feels like a community of women lifting each other up- what's a better resource than that? - Hallie Shafer of SHE Ceramics
I suggest that any person looking to start with out to the local Small Business Development Center. I was able to get templates for our business plan and also help financial planning. - Leslie Hernandez of ARO
The E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. This book is a map for the lifecycle of a business, demystifying some of the frustrating growing pains stages and helping entrepreneurs create a sustainable business model that continues to operate without them there at every moment - super important for artist business owners that feel so personally connected to their work and their position as the visionary! - Sarah Sauer of Guten Co
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero - This is a self help book that aims to provide its readers with an emotional pep talk/kick in the pants to help you shed your self-inflicted obstacles thrown in the path to your success and happiness. It has helped me personally cultivate the confidence to make some big decisions and take some important blind leaps of faith. I do not recommend it, however, if you are a person who is turned off by terms like "tapping in to source energy" and the concepts of The Secret, because you will probably just spend your time wanting to argue with the book, and who enjoys that? - Vanessa from Realm
In The Company of Women by Grace Bonney - I keep this book in my studio to rifle through and read from when I am feeling particularly isolated or alone. Freelance and self-employment is not an easy road. It involves almost zero water cooler talk, no inherent daily community of peers (you have to seek that stuff out and create opportunities for face-to-face time) and can feel compass-less at times. Flipping through this book and reading about the experiences of other women who set out to do something creative on their own immediately reminds me that I am not actually alone. Additionally, reading through the selection of questions about success and process allows you to feel mentored by the women's responses to questions about their work. Its not exactly a deep dive but it can provide the kind of momentary pick me up you sometimes need when you're in your studio spinning your wheels. - Vanessa from Realm
The book Just Kids by Patti Smith was a guide for me - not to help me learn business skills but to remind me that first and foremost I am an artist and to stay true to that. In this books she writes about being a young artist living in New York city and being so broke that eating a grilled cheese sandwich in a diner is a rare luxury. She is a model for someone who achieved her dreams by staying honest to herself, obsessively working to create and explore ideas, and feeding off of the energy of the artist's and city that surrounded her. - Lindsey Wohlgemuth from ERA Ceramics
My resource for small business is more of a motivating one. It's the podcast "How I Built This". It's full of helpful ideas on starting a business, growth, over coming problems, and long term planning. I listen to them while I work in my studio. - Sarah Murphy of Hey Murphy
Have a book to recommend? We'd love to hear about it- shoot us an email. Felizsale@gmail.com