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12 Books for Creative Business Owners

I am very cynical when it comes to books. I will read the first chapter and if the book is not entirely captivating, I give up. I have read the first chapter of hundreds, possibly thousands of books. Only a select few make it through to my brain. Below are my top twelve favourite books for creative business owners. From inspiring to habit forming, thought provoking and sanity saving. All these books have encouraged and inspired me, so I hope they do the same for you. They all have audiobook options too, because I love having company in the long car rides.

Passion. Purpose. Profit.

by Fiona Killackey

Written by an Aussie marketing guru, this workbook takes you through the ins and outs of creative small business marketing. I am currently slowly working my way through the book and completing each of the steps as I go. A wealth of knowledge and encouragement. Fiona also has a wonderful podcast called My Daily Business. Check out the book over here.

Atomic Habits

by James Clear

If you have not heard or seen this book floating around I'm sure you've been on an Antarctic Sea mission for the last five years. It's a best seller. It's in every book store you walk into. It pops up every time I open Audible. If this has been happening to you, this is your sign to read it. It is wonderful. Well researched, well written and very clear practical steps. It really breaks down huge changes into very small, daily tasks. A small amount of discipline to make some pretty major differences in your life. After reading this book I started meditating every work day for 10 minutes. The trigger is pulling up at the studio in my car, as I turn the engine off. I sit in my car and listen to The Daily Jay on Calm. My reward is being able to get stuck into work. Read this book.

We should all be millionaires

by Rachel Rodgers

I listened to this audiobook after my hair dresser recommended it to me. It was like having a loud, proud girlfriend following me around everyday cheering for me and giving me hot little tips to thrive. This book was so uplifting. It is primarily for African American women in the United States, but I felt like there were some good points for all women, and even men! After I read this book I hired a cleaner to clean my house. Game changer! No more rage vacuuming for me... 'whose been eating cookies in the spare room!!!!!' Anyways - this book, a wonderful cheerleader. Check it out over here.

Girls that invest

by Simran Kaur

A bit of an unusual one to throw in the mix you might think? Nope. If you're going to run a business, you need to know how to run your money. You should be getting excited about money - make it work for you. This book breaks down investing into really simple steps and has stories from real life people and their investments. One idea this book encouraged was to look at what you have now and how rich you already are. I had never done this. Sat down and looked at my Superannuation, my home, the cash in the bank, the actual cash that I have (yes, I actually have real cash) and the capital I have in the business. I'm doing alright guys! After I read this book I started investing money like a grown up. I even invest with confidence and now I get dividends! My book keeper manages the rest. I have started an investment account for my son and I plan on giving this book to my Niece as soon as she's old enough to care about it. I suggest you read it and tell everyone you know about it. It could seriously change people's lives. Check out the book here.

The Happiness Project

by Gretchen Rubin

I have had this book for a while now. I've read it a few times. I don't read it because I aspire to be happy. I don't think anyone can expect to live an entirely happy life. It is part of being human to live in a constant ebb and flow of emotion - happiness, sadness, joy, elation, numb. All the feelings. What I did like about this book is that the author identifies things that make her happy and she actively builds them into her life (albeit in extreme ways sometimes). I like the time and space she gives herself to care for herself by doing things that bring joy. I'll always accept more of this into my life. Not so much about business, but more about personal growth and happiness. Check out the book here.

Stolen Focus

by Johann Hari I wasn't too sure about this book. It didn't excite me when it was first recommended to me. I generally didn't think I got too distracted. I had an audiobook credit so I thought 'why not'. Great decision! It is well written, well researched and makes some great points while giving practical actions. Since listening to this book I have put a 15 minute social media daily time limit on my phone. Small. But it makes a difference. Check out the book over here.

Company of One

by Paul Jarvis

I love the theories in this book. I have nearly always worked by myself. Occasionally with an assistant. But it was good to see the ability to run a profitable, successful business just by yourself or with very few employees. I love the calm, practical nature of this book. A must read (or listen) if you're looking to keep your business small. Check out the book and other reviews here.

The 4-Hour Work Week

by Timothy Ferriss

I have had this book on my shelf forever. I don't even know where it came from. I started reading it a few years ago and it made the reject pile. After hearing entrepreneur after entrepreneur recommend this book I thought 'let's give it another go'. I downloaded the audiobook and loved it. One of those audiobooks that you look forward to your car rides because you get to listen to the book. I don't agree with all the theories, but I love the practical nature of the book. One big change I have made since reading the book is to not check my emails until midday. Wonder how I've been managing to get so much painting done? It's in those mornings before email interruptions! It works. If you're looking to cut down your work hours without slicing your profits, go check out the book here.

365 Days of Drawing by Lorna Scobie

When I burnt myself out earlier this year I realised I hadn't been giving myself creative freedom in any of my work. I hadn't been 'playing' in my practise. I wanted to use different paint, and draw different things, and scribble and make a mess. In my day-to-day work there was none of this. I picked up this book second hand at the Lifeline Bookfest a year or so ago and dug it out from the bookshelf when the urge to draw overcame me. A few of the activities had already been done, which I loved. Every night I spend about 20 minutes on the couch with my cat under one arm and my son propped up next to me working on one of the activities. It brings me so much job. I have since bought my brother 365 Days of Creativity and my Mum 365 Days of Art. I suggest you treat yourself to a new set of watercolours and this gorgeous book.

The Artists Way by Julia Cameron Yes. The cover of this book is ugly and unfortunately was one of the reasons I did not purchase this book for a long time (superficial I know). BUT, the book arrived in my lap at the right time - during a pretty epic burn out. I had completely lost my creativity and had utterly fried my poor little self. I slowly started listening to the audiobook and very quickly realised I needed a hard copy of the book too. This book has single handedly pulled me out of the burn out hole I was in. I can not recommend this book enough for those that feel creatively unbalanced in their life. Like you've not been listing to your soul when you create, or not been looking after yourself or your inner child. It's a little 'religious' but I just changed the word 'God' to 'Universe' and felt better about it. If you pick up any book on this list, make it this one.

Creative Business Development Workbook by Sarah Sculley Completely a shameless plug. I have no problem recommending this workbook though because I use it daily - to scribble down notes and ideas to tracking my content creation and social media plans. I use this workbook to plan my business goals and keep me on track throughout the year. I recommend the workbook to everyone, because it has helped me. I have honed the content of this workbook over 8 years of running my art business full time. It helps me. I believe it will help you too. Check out the workbook over here.

I'd Rather be in the Studio by Alyson B. Stanfield

This book was my Bible when I was preparing to jump-ship from my full time graphic design job into full time artist. I worked my way through the branding and marketing and planning so I knew that I was ready. The book now has scribbles and tabs and dog eared pages. It is a few years old and has some outdated techniques to build your small business, but there are some amazing ideas within. Check out the book over here.

What books have you read/listened to that have inspired you? NB. This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. However, I only recommend products or services that I genuinely like and trust.


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