Reading for Creative Entrepreneurs // Book Recommendations for Creatives
When you operate your own business, it’s so important to soak up every ounce of wisdom you can. You are the most important resource behind your business: your knowledge, your creativity, your unique perspective on the world around you.
It’s up to you to stay sharp. Inspired. Motivated.
Your mind is the most important tool you have! When you’re the only person running the show, it’s your responsibility to keep learning—to be a sponge.
Education is the best way to invest in yourself (and your business). Whether you join a course or work with a mentor, soaking up knowledge is the single best thing you can do for your brand.
And what better way to learn than to read?!
It’s engaging, inexpensive, low-risk… and enjoyable.
Plus, reading forces you to pause and step away from your computer. Put the screens away for half an hour and immerse yourself in an intellectual world. Engage in a bit of critical thinking. Sharpen your business savvy and restore your mind. (And there’s no better excuse to enjoy a cup of hot tea or a visit to your local coffee shop.)
Ready? I thought so!
Today I’m sharing my all-time favorite business reads—the really good stuff. The stuff I wish I would have known before I launched my business. The stuff I continue to re-read and bookmark and revisit with a highlighter in hand.
I would recommend these books to any creative entrepreneur who wants to expand their knowledge and explore new perspectives in their business. And I also challenge you to seek reading material outside your industry: if you’re a photographer, read a book about creative writing. If you’re an event planner, pick up a book about interior design. You never know what you might find—whether it’s creative inspiration, or a unique perspective you can apply to your own business.
I hope your Amazon cart is ready to be filled… because these reads are worth every penny!
On Building Your Business
- Essentialism / Greg McKeown. It’s a best-seller for a reason! I’m kind of a productivity tip junkie… and this book is one of the best explorations of productivity and focus. Learn how to prioritize important tasks, done the right way at the right time. This book will definitely shift your productivity mindset for the better!
- Building a Storybrand / Donald Miller. This is an incredible read if you’re looking to hone in on marketing strategy, brand voice, and targeted messaging. It’s all about positioning the client as the hero of your story: an impactful way to approach your brand. This was first recommended to me by my business coach—and I can’t believe I hadn’t read it before then!
- Profit First / Mike Michalowicz. Ready to get your finances in order? This book will walk you through a financial plan step by step. It’s based on the foundational idea that you should always pay yourself first. After all, we’re in this business to make money! I think some of the content is more robust than what a solopreneur really needs, but the general principles are spot-on for financial success in the creative industry.
- Jab Jab Right Hook / Gary Vaynerchuk. How to draw people in, hook them onto your brand, convert them into clients, and convince them to come back for more. Sounds like something we could all use, right?! Break the mold of the same instagram advice we hear over and over again in the creative industry. Read this book for a different approach to standing out on social media… you’ll be so glad you did!
- Start with Why / Simon Sinek. Find meaning in the why behind your business, and find out how to use that why to connect with your target audience. Such an important philosophy!
- It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be. An easy read with bite-sized chapters that basically offers a guide to success—in business, and honestly in life too.
On Marketing + Advertising
- Hey Whipple, Squeeze This / Luke Sullivan. One of my all-time top recommendations! I first read it for a college class and I revisit it often. Learn the art of authentic storytelling with a strategic approach. It’s definitely more advertising-focused but I think anyone could learn from it!
- Purple Cow, All Marketers Are Liars, or Permission Marketing / Seth Godin. There are sooo many nuggets of wisdom in Seth Godin’s books. Think about your brand from a strategic perspective, and use these books to implement any number of his genius marketing philosophies.
- In the Company of Women. One of my favorite places to find inspiration and creative motivation!
- The Art of Lettering. Anything with Jessica Hische‘s name attached is guaranteed to inspire (my design heroine!)
- Chasing Slow. A welcome reminder to slow down and savor your current season.
- Art Deco. My brother gave this coffee table book to me as a Christmas gift, and it’s one of my favorite books to flip through when I need a creative boost. The beautiful illustrations and patterns always give me a bit of inspiration when I need it most!
It’s not a book, but I think every creative business owner should watch this TED Talk by Chip Kidd, a graphic designer with a dramatic flair and a keen knack for clever communication. (He’s the designer behind the iconic Jurassic Park logo!)
There you have it! A complete reading list for the creative entrepreneur. Invest in yourself and your own creative education: add a few of these books to your cart and make time to dive into them this week. I hope you enjoy each of these reads as much as I did!
Do you have any favorite books lately? I’d love to hear your recommendations. I’m always seeking new resources, interesting reading material, and entertaining novels. Feel free to send me a message with your recent finds!
*Note: this post contains affiliate links. I promise to only share products that I truly believe in, with as much transparency as possible.