The Boss of You – a glowing review based on the first two chapters

I have this vague plan. It’s a plan about making a small business out of selling prints, cards, softies and what-not to bring in some money so I can afford to spend the rest of my time making *art*. It’s a very nice plan. I’m sure there would be a few people reading this who have a similar plan. I feel like the idea itself has been bubbling away in the back of my mind ever since I embarked on selling christmas cards and soft cats all those years ago, and now seems the right time to start thinking about it again in earnest. But where to begin? I dipped my toe in the great big ocean of etsy and that was pretty fun. I learnt some lessons, made a couple of mistakes, thought about packaging, sold some things to nice people and it was all quite gentle, easy and even a little bit lucrative. And while it seemed crazy-ape-bonkers to start thinking about business plans and budgets, I knew I needed to start doing some kind of planning … but what? and how? I have been procrastinating, to say the least.

But in that wonderful, serendipitous kind of way — In the mail last week I received a copy of Emira Mears and Lauren Bacon’s new book The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business…. and when I opened the book to the introduction, the first thing I read was;

“So: You want to be the boss of you, right? We’re guessing that’s why you picked up this book. You’ve got an idea or a hobby that you absolutely love (or a skill you want to liberate from cubicle tyranny), and you’re pretty darn sure that with the right plan in place you could launch your own creative, independent venture; pay the bills; or maybe even make more than you’re making now.”

… and the back of the book promises that The Boss of You “…will walk you through each step in the process of finally turning your jewelry-making hobby or photography skills into the business you’ve always dreamed about”

Huh! How about that! So I got in to bed that night with my trusty hot water bottle and cup of tea and started reading (see above photo: I was tired of taking photos of books on my desk – very dull… so instead here is where my copy of the book is, in its natural environment). After a couple of pages of reading, I had to get out of bed again pretty quickly because I realised I needed a pen and a notebook as I actually felt inspired to do the exercises set out in the book. I have to tell you, that’s a pretty rare occurrence for me. Historically I would read a book like this and skip through the exercises, (and often the chapters) promising myself that I will go back to them one day and, of course, never do. But I sped through the first two chapters surprising myself with a) how exactly “me” the book seems to be and b) how my business idea wasn’t actually as vague as I thought. Going through sections such as Business Goals, Define Your Business’s Personality and Target Practice were incredibly useful and incredibly entertaining. Really! I was excited and inspired… I haven’t had this much fun reading a book, making lists and feeling positive since doing the Artist’s Way!

So now I am up to chapter three… and it’s a little daunting… “Financial Scenarios”. The money side of a business has never been my strong point, but I intend to push through (I have given myself until Sunday morning as a deadline) because I really feel like this book is so perfect for getting my head around the kind of business I want to create. I love that one of the earliest tasks was make a list of my own personal measures of success. I didn’t even think to put “Make big bucks” as one of the bullet points (although I think the words “dream house” might have made it in there), and the nice thing about what Lauren and Emira have done with this book is embrace the idea that success is different things to different people.

So far I am loving it … I can’t tell you much more as I am refusing to turn the pages until I have completed all the exercises thus far.
I’ll let you know how I progress.

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26 Responses

  1. Anna Laura says:

    I’m such a impulse buyer when people mention books on blogs, I just hop to and buy it. But from what you have said, it is the book that I think I need. Along with a kick up and bum. But my partner does that!

  2. heide says:

    Good luck!!! There’s also that book Craft Inc. that tons of people rave about, that includes all sorts of real-life case-studies from crafters who have gone pro. It’s probably worth checking out too. I just can’t find the book that tells you how to make money while sitting on your ass playing solitaire and watching Bravo reality shows…

  3. Gin says:

    Hmm, sounds like I might pick up a copy of that book. It’s exactly what I was looking for. Thanks Claire!!

  4. CurlyPops says:

    Wow, sounds extremely interesting! Wouldn’t it be great to make a living from something that you love doing?

  5. I always thought your digital illustrations would make great glicee prints

  6. leslie says:

    hi there. i’m leslie. and i stumbled upon your blog awhie ago. and am enjoy it. thanks for the book encouragement. i just ordered my copy. the boss of me. i am on my way. and so are you. whoohoo.

  7. Lauren Bacon says:

    Claire,I’m so thrilled you’re enjoying our book. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and for saying such lovely things.

    We couldn’t ask for higher praise than, “I actually felt inspired to do the exercises”! 🙂

  8. amy says:

    This book looks very interesting…as in I think I need to load the kids up and go to Barnes and Noble right now interesting. Thanks for the mini review…seems like it’s just what I need to get back on the horse!

  9. Nora says:

    Oooh. I’ve got that book “on hold” at the library (as soon as the five people who put a hold on it before me are done, it’s all mine), but I might just have to go out and buy me a copy. That sounds inspiring! (and I needs me some inspiration right about now).

  10. Thanks so much about posting about that book – it’s going on my “get” list the next time I place an order (sadly I just did a big order from Amazon) – I’m also looking to be the boss of myself and this book looks like it will help me with my learning curve 😀

  11. denice says:

    this sounds like a book i should read.

  12. Kirsty says:

    Three cheers for you Claire.

  13. Jan- It stays in Vegas! says:

    I came across your blog a while ago and have enjoyed your creativity (although it makes me a bit jealous!). I think you are very talented and I am sure that you would be a great boss of you! Jan

  14. Christie says:

    Sounds like a great read, I might put it on my mother’s day wishlist!

  15. Kari says:

    Sounds like a good one. I just read Craft Inc, too and that also is easy to read and has some good “success stories.”

  16. Iona says:

    How fabulous! It’s great when serendipity finds its way into your life. From little things big things grow….

  17. Carrie says:

    The book sounds inspiring. I’ll have to check it out of the library. Best of luck with your adventures into self-liberation!

  18. felicia says:

    I’ve always loved the stuff you made; prints, plushies, etc, (and always wondered why you haven’t started selling them more regularly, not like the limited prints you had recently.)Definitely think there’d be plenty of happy people if you decide to go with that idea. 🙂

  19. elissa says:

    Dear Claire,When I started reading Loobylu in 2002 I knew that you were the one who was going to actually turn this make-things-and-talk-about-making-things into a living. You have so much talent, the ability to stick with things long term and the extraordinary ability to make connections with your customers.I have met parents in parks in Sydney who have randomly commented: “I miss Loobylu and I wish she’d start blogging again” or “I just want to buy something from Loobylu” – that kind of committment from your audience translates into $$. Because people (like me and all your other fans) want to buy beautiful things that they feel connected to. And we feel connected to you.I drink out of my “when I was one I had just begun” mug every day and it still makes me happy three years later.I hope that you book exercises translate into a solid plan for making this your living because I can see that you are going to be great, and your business is going to go far.

  20. You have inspired me! Thank you for this post–Im going to AMAZON and getting the book TODAY!

  21. peggy says:

    wow, this book sounds excellent. I’m buying it right now.also claire, i’ve bought 2 sets of your christmas cards. I just cannot imagine you NOT being successful at your own small business. you’re talented and your blog is well known! good luck!

  22. oooooh, sounds interesting. Thanks for inspiring!

  23. tiel says:

    i’m surprised and impressed that you are so far into the book….I usually start reading in bed an I’ve fallen asleep after the first page..even the good ones.this does look like it is worth the inspiration.

  24. When I started Meringue in 1999, I had no idea what I was doing on the business side of things, so I did a course in small business management (Cert 5), which included writing a detailed business plan and doing a LOT of research. It did me the world of good and made me treat my business very differently.Sounds like this book does much the same.Now, as Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work”

  25. Grace says:

    Hello Claire,When you ordered from Amazon, were you charged import fees or anything? Stupid question, I know, but I’ve never ordered from Amazon before and I must have that book! :)Regards,G.

  26. It sounds like a great book, and I wish you every success.I am currently reading “Craft Inc. – Turn your Creative Hobby into a Business” by Meg Mateo Ilasco. It doesn’t have the exercises like the book you have, but it has some interesting info.

    I have run my own business before… but not a craft/art one. A computer business in fact… from one spectrum to the other.

    One of the things that concerns me, about turning what I love into a business… will it become a chore, and will I stop enjoying it.

    Again… every success to you. By the looks of things, you are successful at what you do, already.


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