Five Books That Pushed Me to Start My Business

 My career has taken me from earning a bachelor's degree in environmental science, to doing construction and rebuilding houses post-Hurricane Katrina, to being a high school math teacher for 6 years. While in the classroom, I loved the work I was doing, but I always longed to be professionally creative. The biggest question I get is "What made you switch gears?" Today I want to share with you 5 books that gave me the push to get myself going. 


1. You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

“What other people think about you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.” 
― Jen Sincero

This book got me out of a cycle of self doubt. For years, I have been told "you could make money doing that" when referring to my painting, knitting, costumes, and photography. I never believed people because I never thought I was good enough. This book pushed me out of that cycle. Seriously, I read this book and got paying clients within 2 months. 


2.)You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero

“RICH: Able to afford all the things and experiences required to fully experience your most authentic life.” 
― Jen Sincero

Yep! Same author! I have definitely had the mindset that wanting to make money is sleezy and slimy. This book helped me see that we all need money and when we have it we become more ourselves and are able to give back. Reading Sincero's words made me start confidently telling my clients my costs and stop losing money on photo shoots. I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can confidently up my monthly donations to my favorite non-profits.  It's coming soon! 


3.) When to Jump by Mike Lewis

"If you get comfortable knowing that regardless of the outcome you’re gonna be satisfied because the journey is worth it, then I think that’s the time to jump."  — Mike Lewis

When to Jump follows the stories of individuals who decided to listen to their "little voice" and change their lives. Some of the most inspirational included a nurse who, at age 50, became a doctor and, the woman who sued the New York Fire Department to become the first woman hired by the NYFD. I was captivated by the diversity of stories and people profiled in this book. In the audio book, each story is read by the person who wrote it. I loved having this book as a morning pep-talk while walking my pup. My biggest take away was that my "little voice" telling me I needed to be a professional photographer was not going away. I needed to make a move and make it happen. 

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4.) Playing Big by Tara Mohr

“Feedback doesn’t tell you about yourself. It tells you about the person giving the feedback. In other words, if someone says your work is gorgeous, that just tells you about *their* taste." - Tara Mohr

This book sets itself aside from many other "pep talk" books as it gives concrete actions to take when faced with a variety of difficulties. Chapter 4 is focused on "Unhooking from Praise and Criticism" hit home for me as I began to see praise and criticism as people sharing information with me about their taste. This was HUGE for me. I have always struggled with not feeling "good enough" or not "talented enough." This fear of not being enough is why I spent the first decade of my professional life doing work that I didn't love as much as photography. Tara's words and insights (and practical concrete actions) helped me name my fear and work past it.


5.) Emotional Agility by Susan David

“Research now shows that the radical acceptance of all of our emotions, even the messy, difficult ones, is the cornerstone to resilience, thriving, and true, authentic happiness.” — Susan David

Out of all of these books, this was the first one I read. It's pages are full of information that is also covered by Sincero, Mohr and Lewis. The difference with this book is that it comes at "pep talks" from a scientific perspective. In years pasts, I have read entrepreneur and self-improvement books and thought, "Wow that is great and would never work for me." This book gave the scientific foundation and opened me up to trusting the other books. Immediately after I read this, I read You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, and I was way more receptive to the content after having a bit of the science background. 


Now I need your help.

I listen to about 100,000,000,000 audio books a year. Comment below and tell me about you favorite book relating to business, self improvement, or anything interesting! Once every 10 or so books I do rotate in a novel or two so don't hesitate to leave that below as well!




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