Monday, January 28, 2013

How I "Learn" Business

People love to ask questions about our business, and I’m always happy to speak to people about it – the more businesses there are out there, the better our economy.  And if they’re women business owners, even better ;)

Most of the questions I get seem to center around ‘How did you learn how to start [or build] a business’?  or ‘Did you go to school for this?’ or ‘How do you know what you are doing?’ 

I think most people are curious because whether well thought out or just a tiny inkling in their minds, they want to do their own thing, be their own boss or build something themselves.  They want to run their own businesses.  And their questions stem from the thoughts that they need to have some sort of insider knowledge or formal training to do it.  Well, I get it, and you don’t. 

I went to school for communications at Boston University (back then it didn’t cross my mind that I would ever be an entrepreneur), I learned to build businesses by trial and error and reading a LOT of Entrepreneur and Fast Company magazines and many, many books, some of which you can see in the photo above.     
I wanted to share a handful of my favorite business books – they’re ones that I can read over and over, because every time I read them I take something different from them every time, depending on where I am in life.  If you’re thinking about starting a business, continuing to grow your business, or are just looking for motivation to make a change in your life, I recommend these. 

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi:  The book teaches the reader step-by-step how to build a business through relationships and partnerships.  I love this book because, if there is one word to describe my business approach, its ‘partnerships’.  I often work with larger businesses or more experienced individuals to create partnerships that help build my businesses into something bigger, at an expedited speed.  In ‘Never Eat Alone’, Keith breaks it down very simply why these relationships are important, and how to establish these relationships from scratch.      

By Invitation Only:  How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop by Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson:  There really aren’t very many business books out there written by women, let alone women in charge of high-profile companies like Gilt Groupe, so of course when Karen (my sister) told me to read this one, I immediately downloaded it on my Kindle.  Not only is it inspirational, but it offers great insight into building a technology-driven company, which I believe every company needs to be embedded in, since the online space is where it’s at.  

4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss:  I read this book while taking a 4 month work-cation around southeast Asia (I traveled for personal enjoyment, but worked while I was out there), so it was ideal for where I was in life at the time, but as I've re-read it since then, there are many great approaches this book teaches you on how to build a 'lifestyle' business.  For those of us that don't want work to dictate how we live, but instead want to enjoy work just as much as we enjoy the rest of life, Tim teaches you how to make work more efficient yet meaningful.    

Happy reading –

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