The Girl Boss Diaries: “Big Ideas for Small Businesses” by John Lamerton – Book Review

At some point in the book, John Lamerton said that you don’t need to like a person to take their advice. That was indeed good advice, as for 90% of the book I have found him to be not a very likeable person, but “Big Ideas for Small Businesses” has a number of very good pieces of advice.
With a subtitle like “Simple, Practical Tools and Tactics to Help Your Small Business Grow” it does what it says on the tin: the book is full of easy, actionable practical advice. John Lamerton doesn’t hold back when opening up about his past, and making it clear that he’s just an average bloke, and so nothing is beyond our reach. He wears his mistakes as a badge of honour and a warning so that we can grow our businesses learning from his mistakes and not through making the same ones.

The biggest take-away from the book for me was to sit down and re-evaluated why I started a business 1 year and a half ago (more or less). He runs what he calls and “ambitious lifestyle business”, and takes a ridiculous amount of issues with the kind of business owner/investor that treats lifestyle businesses as “lesser than”. On reading that, I knew that I was reading something written by someone on the same wavelength as me. The stress of being on my own to deal with everything that pertains the running of a business was, for me, first and foremost to allow myself to work around my health, and be able to also pursue my dream of an academic career and, as it happens, be a candidate in a local election. The business was never meant to be the end all be all of my life. At times, it can feel like that. I’ve finished reading the book on one of a number of sick days I had to take recently, which have still been fewer than my body likely needed but feel like a luxury I can’t afford myself.

As we approach the end of the year, this book has come at a really good time to make sure I start 2018 with the right mindset and the right plan. Some things I have already started to implement, like extending my intervals on BeFocused, the Pomodoro technique app I have mentioned here as being a bit of a waste of time.     Others will take some time, planning and work to put into action. One important lesson was that, no matter how guilty I feel about it, self-care is the most important thing I can do for my business to be a success. It also gave me the confidence to quit the things that don’t work, which I had already started doing but kept beating myself up about, and an extra injection of confidence in exploring things that I had been thinking of doing but didn’t have the courage to take action about.

Ever since I was a child, I have been operating on a scarcity mentality. That’s the way in which my family operates, and something I have been battling with ever since becoming a Christian. Always having to evaluate what’s in it for me before choosing to do something is a tiring exercise, and it may have closed doors that came with bigger long term results that the things I chose to pursue for whatever limited but immediate gain.
It takes a lot of faith to be generous: with your money, with your time, with your expertise, whatever…(Did I mention I am now an ambassador for Grit&Virtue?). In 2018, I want to do more things without counting the loss, both in my personal and in my professional life. That isn’t to say that I’m going to sell my value short, a lesson that I have learnt this year, but that I will look at the bigger picture in the way I determine the value. If it’s a job then the value is obviously monetary, but I have often let my blog go quiet for several days to chase paid work, only to regret it when paid opportunities came along and my DA isn’t sufficient, and my traffic inconsistent.

It’s difficult to give an idea of how valuable some of the advice is without giving so much away it becomes pointless to buy the book, but as I’m always honest in my reviews I hope that even without so many details from the book itself you feel like this is a valuable resource if you are a new business owner that is stuck, or a prospective one.

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