Today we’re talking all about books that you should read for money and finances.
Hi, my name is Mei Pak and I help makers, artists, and designers make a living from selling their handmade products online.
I don't know about you, but my parents didn't talk to me a whole lot about money.
It was sort of this grownup thing that they took care of and it wasn't for the kids to know about. It wasn’t something that they taught us at school either.
When I built my businesses, I realized that while I had a lot to learn about running a business, I also had a lot to learn about money.
I’ve been running my own businesses for almost 15 years now and I can tell you that money is a factor at every point in your business and in your life as well.
When you're just starting out, you don't have a lot of money so you're scrapping things together and figuring it out. As your business grows, you will have all sorts of new money problems.
It’s taken me a long time to learn about money mindset and to get to where I am today. All of our businesses combined make us six figures in sales every month, including the new business we started.
While I would love to sit here and tell you that managing the money has gotten easier, that’s just not the reality. There’s always a new level of money challenges.
Your money problems never go away, they just grow right along with your business.
When you grow your business, you have to think about things like:
- Hiring Freelancers
- Keeping your websites taken care of
- Cash Flow
- Recurring Income
- Making investments to keep growing
- Continuing your education
I’ve been continuing my education recently by learning how to do new things like YouTube ads, and it’s been a significant investment.
Once you get to the point where you're making money and you have money in your savings account, you need to be managing your savings. On top of that, as a small business owner, you need to be in charge of your own retirement.
The issue of money never goes away. It's sort of at the core of everything we do as small business owners. That is why I've put together a few recommendations for books, not only about money in general, but also about managing your finances and growing your small business!
1. The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed by Joseph D'Agnese
This book is kind of old school, but it covers the basics that we all should have learned, but probably didn't!
How are you supposed to manage your money when you have an irregular income?
Maybe you had a big sales month last month, but then this month has been kind of slow. Your bills are still there even when you aren’t making as many sales.
This book lays out a money system in the very classic sense, but in a way that will actually work for handmade shop owners, like us!
It really helps you break out of the roller coaster cycle of feast or famine and start to take advantage of what we'd call “classic financial advice” for managing your home and business.
2. I Will teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi
The title sums it up pretty well, but the author puts a new spin on financial advice for the era that we're living in.
We've always been told you should set aside a certain amount of money for your retirement, you should own a home, and you should do it in this order. For us today, a lot of those ideas don't match up to the way that we're currently living.
For example, you might be setting aside a certain amount of money, an amount that you’ve been told is the right amount, but that money might not necessarily be enough. It may not successfully retire you given how expensive healthcare costs are becoming and how long most of us are living.
I Will Teach You To Be Rich is an incredibly practical system that teaches you how to manage your money for the longevity of your life.
I don't necessarily agree with every single piece of his advice. I personally think owning a home is a good financial investment, but he doesn't. So we can agree to disagree on a few things.
He has recommendations for every income level to set you up for financial success.
I absolutely love what I'm doing and I plan on doing it for decades and decades! But there's no question that eventually we may be too old to do it or something may happen and we may not be able to do it anymore.
Setting aside money and growing your money responsibly is a really important thing, we should all be focused on.
What I love about Ramit is he has a different perspective where he’s less about frugality and saving money, like on your morning Starbucks lattes. He believes we should be focusing on finding ways to make more money instead of cutting out those lattes to save a few dollars.
Life is short, and we’ve gotta live and enjoy the little things too!
3. You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
The author, Jen Sincero, is really funny! I think a lot of us can identify with this book because many of us grew up and were taught, explicitly or implicitly, that making a lot of money was somehow bad or greedy.
I coach and listen to creatives talk every day and most creative people have bad vibes around wanting to be really successful.
This book is about stopping bad financial habits and getting rid of those bad vibes. It really teaches you that it's okay to be really successful and it's okay to earn a lot of money. In fact, it's a good goal to set because it allows you to be able to do things that you want to do in life.
I have a lot to say about this money mindset but I think the media and Hollywood have a lot to do with influencing our negative relationship with money.
Have you noticed that most movie or TV show villains are usually super filthy rich?
I’ve learned that forming a more positive relationship with money, even though money is an inanimate object, is very important in your success with money.
If you want to make more money, you have to first be in love with money. You have to appreciate it, you have to be kind with it, you have to give it time and attention.
If you’re constantly finding yourself hating on or being allergic to the idea of having money, then it’s going to be challenging for you to figure out how to make money.
Jen is the author of a few other, “You are a Badass” books that I’ve really enjoyed. In general, all of her books are really upbeat and pretty inspirational, and I recommend them.
4. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz
I highly, highly recommend this book!
If you look at any of my pricing videos, I always emphasize the importance of building profit into your business because it's a mistake that I see over and over again.
People will make a product where the materials cost them $15 and they'll follow a very simple formula, like doubling it and selling it for $30, but they haven't taken into consideration the amount of time they spent on it. They haven't taken into consideration needing to make a profit that they can put back into their business or to pay themselves with.
They're simply not charging enough to run a successful, long term business. I say long term, because you can probably make something like this work for a couple of years. You’ll quickly find that you’re working so hard and not making enough money and it doesn’t feel like your business has grown. That’s why it’s so important to price correctly!
Profit First is an absolutely great read for any business owner! Your business will grow from the money that you invest into it and most of us don't start with a six-figure startup fund or venture capital. So the only place that we get this money to grow our business with is from the proceeds of our business.
I know it can feel unapproachable when your business is really small and you're only making a small number of sales, but that's where pricing your products at the right price point comes in.
This book shows you the exact system for how to make sure you’re setting money aside for paying yourself as well as to grow your business.
Having said that, I have learned that Profit First is a great book for maintaining a certain level of income, but if you’re interested in growth, say you’re already making $10k a month and you want to make $50k a month, then Profit First is actually not a good system at all for that.
5. Dollars and Sense: How we Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter by And Ariely and Jeff Kreisler
This book talks a lot more about the psychological attachments and processes behind spending money.
Sometimes we find spending money sort of painful. For example, if we're on vacation we'll very happily pay $5 for a coffee, but if we're at home we tend to see it as a bit ridiculous because you can make it at home. The same $5 is leaving our bank account either way. So the way we spend money is very emotional.
It doesn't get any less emotional when you're talking about spending money for your business. I find this is an issue I come across a lot when I'm coaching handmade business owners.
Take Shopify as an example. I recommend everyone be on Shopify! Yes, it's $30 a month, but in that, you get so much integration, so much time savings and so much more sales potential than any other platform. This will really drive your business forward.
I can almost guarantee that if you spend the $30 a month, you're going to save time and get that money back.
But there's this mental block about spending money and lots of people want to choose the cheaper alternative to Shopify.
So I find so many small business owners who are stuck in this position of not wanting to spend money, but being unable to grow with the tools and resources they currently have. These mental mindsets are doing the small business owners in because they can't move forward.
Since we're all business owners, it's a good book to read because our customers are also spending money just as emotionally as we are.
Going back to the coffee example: if you're a coffee shop owner, knowing this about people, that they’re hesitant to spend money in their daily lives, but they might be happy to do it on vacation. You could ask yourself, “how could my coffee shop be more of a spa-like vacation, or like a retreat?” as a way of encouraging people to spend that money based on the emotions involved in it. This one's a really good read!
I do have a couple of honorable mentions that didn't quite make my top 5, but I still want to share with you!
The One Hundred Dollar Startup by Chris Guillebeau
This is an oldie, but goodie, on how to start up your business with a hundred dollars!
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
This has been around for years and is an amazing story!
This book is about someone who grew up not very wealthy, but became so and learned a lot of great tips along the way. Like, why didn't they teach us money in school!
This is an ABSOLUTE must read.
Getting your head around money and finances is really important for your small business.
I hope you've enjoyed these book recommendations and find them helpful in growing your business.
If there’s a book you think I missed or if you’ve read any of these let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for more tips and inside secrets!