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Spare Room Start Up coverSpare Room Start Up: How to Start a Business from Home is written by Emma Jones, the founder of Enterprise Nation, the UK’s largest website for people starting and growing a business from home. Emma also runs the Home Business Awards, produces the annual Home Business Report and advises Government on the topic of home-working, so has a fine pedigree to be writing a book on home-working.

My first impression of the book was that it would look just as good on your coffee table as it would on the bookshelf in your office. To me this book was more than just about starting a business from home – it was about making a lifestyle choice and this was illustrated beautifully by the informal photos of Emma with her family, friends and colleagues.

Like the Enterprise Nation website, the book is split into 3 categories – Business, Lifestyle and Technology. The Business section takes you step by step from getting an idea for your business and writing a business plan through to marketing your business and making that all important first sale. The Lifestyle section discusses setting up your home office, work life balance and taking care of yourself while the Technology section helps you choose the right equipment for your business, at home and when on the move, as well as a good website.

I particularly liked the Lifestyle section, which is something that doesn’t tend to be touched on by other start-up books. For a mum it is SO important to look after yourself, as you are the pivotal person in the family. So advice on eating healthily, exercising and balancing work and home are just as important as choosing the right printer or phone. I also loved the home office section. Working as I do on a laptop on my dining room table the idea of having a designated working space is heavenly to me and Emma was the first person to introduce me to the concept of ‘shed-working’, which has now become the working environment of my dreams!

Emma ends each chapter of the books with links to useful website resources. For a busy mum starting a new business it is so helpful to have someone do all the time-consuming internet research for you – and being a year down the road of my own home business I still picked up some really useful resources which I know will help me out in the future. In addition there are numerous pages of templates at the back of the book to help you write your business plan, marketing plan, press release etc…

Spare Room Start-up is a useful guide from someone who is clearly passionate about helping others achieve their home working dream. This passion is further accentuated by the numerous inspiring case studies of successful home business owners who have walked the walk and now wouldn’t dream of returning to the rat race. Other start-up books may go into finer detail about each individual topic but this may be the book you return to time and time again, as a friendly reminder that you CAN live the dream!

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Simple Approach coversContinuing our series of book reviews, we now turn to the Everywoman collection of Simple Approach pocket book business guides.

The Everywoman website offers ‘advice, tools and networking for business success’ including  practical tips, fact sheets and useful online tools to help you grow your business. Their handy set of 8 pocket books covers a whole range of areas which are all important for anyone with their own business. The ones that I chose to read first were those that related directly to my WAHM status; Work well from home, Manage your Time and Balance your life and work.

There were some interesting ‘questionnaire’ activities which forced me to be very honest about how I spend my time, and how effectively.  The overall  tone of the books is very straight forward and helpful, and there were occasions when I thought ‘Of course – that’s just common sense’  but it had been lost or missed by me because I was too involved with what I was doing.  The use of bullet points and headings gave a clarity which appealed to me and made it very easy to read rather than be faced with pages of close type.

The books are a  very handy size, both in page number (between 80 and 90) and in dimensions which was great as I was able to have one stashed in my handbag to read in 5 minute bursts whilst waiting for the children to come out of pre-school, running a bath etc. 

All the books have been contributed to by a panel of leading businesswomen who were chosen for their expertise to offer their ‘words of wisdom’. The books are very direct and clear. They offer step by step advice, common mistakes to avoid,  and a useful summary at the end of each chapter.

Other titles in the series include Assert yourself, Deal with Stress, Give Great Presentations, Interview others and Succeed as a new leader. For more information please visit the Everywoman website at http://www.everywoman.com/ResourcesAdvice/Books/

At Mum’s The Boss we are building up a library of business books to share with our members. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of authors and publishers who have donated books to our collection and so, for those of you who aren’t able to join our meetings and borrow the books in person, we will be reviewing the books here on our blog too.

So to kick off, here is Helen’s review on the book Inspiring Women, featuring the women entrepreneurs behind Fat Face, The White Company and Specsavers, to name but a few….. 

 

Inspiring Women – 25 Top Female Entrepreneurs Reveal How Real Women Succeed in Business

by Michelle Rosenberg.

Inspiring Women coverI chose to review Inspiring Women first because it had the most attractive cover, was the thinnest (so seemed more achievable to read in the short time I had) and finally (and probably most importantly) I was burning to know what these icons of women in business had to say.

Each of the 25 chapters is only a few pages long, but they are very well chosen words!  These women have been brutally honest and candid in their accounts of how they have achieved so much. They all talk about how their journey started, how their business grew, about the pitfalls and mistakes they made along the way. In addition to this, each chapter has ‘Advice to other entrepreneurs’, and an opportunity for the women to describe their own role models. It is a truly fascinating insight into the people behind the brands.

Nearly every eventuality is covered within this book; those who had a skill and used it, those who took a new path, those who had a good financial start to their business and those who had nothing, women with families, those without and those who gained them along the way. However there are some unifying strands which bind these women, and probably all women in business; it is hard, it can be messy, you can’t have it all, there will always been some sort of sacrifice, but mostly it is worth it!

The most striking, and inspirational part for me was the realisation that before their business was so successful they were ordinary women, and many of them mothers. They were like me, but because of passion, belief and drive they have all achieved so much.

It gave me hope that if they could do it, so could I!

 

A massve thank you to the lovely people  at Crimson Publishing who sent us a package with 4 business books to add to our collection. And if you would like to buy a copy of this book you can buy Inspiring Women from Amazon here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Inspiring-Women-Entrepreneurs-Succeed-Business/dp/1854584103


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