Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.
“Business Boutique” is aimed at those who are dreaming about the idea of starting a small business, monetizing a hobby or turning that side project into a real business. It takes you through the process of selecting a business idea and creating a short, realistic business plan. What are the pros and cons of the women’s business book?
The first chapters of “Business Boutique” are very good at taking someone from “I think I want to run my own business” or “maybe I can do this thing I like for a living” to a business plan you as an individual can understand and follow. How do you come up with a vision and mission statement that isn’t something generic or overly legalistic? How do you decide what your core business is? Then you can decide what is and isn’t part of your “core” business. This lets you avoid mission creep and the temptation to do too much until your online store looks like a garage sale instead of a focused, professional business.
Some of the exercises are useful. How do you identify your market and your customers? How do you find paying customers instead of just selling to your friends? How can you market yourself? Christy Wright’s book addresses these questions in ways that are applicable to pretty much everyone without trying to be everything to everyone.
I initially bought the book because I run a small business. The early sections on fleshing out your vision and picking a business idea to cultivate were irrelevant. The latter half of the book is better suited to those who already have a business but want to grow it. And that half was worth waiting for, well, wading through the first half for.
Chapter 13’s lessons on how to calculate profits and taxes should be required reading for anyone who wants to start a business. If you earn a lot of money and then spend it all, you just have a self-supporting hobby, not a business. Likewise, detailed steps for determining how much time you really spend on the business and making sure you’re making minimum wage is critical information for anyone trying to start a business or work as a freelancer.
“Business Boutique” suggests going to Ms. Wright’s website for a variety of resources, but the catch is that you need to pay to access resources aside from rather generic blog posts. The most useful checklists and business plan documents require you paying to play, though there is some overlap with content in the book.
I understand why Ms. Wright has a section telling women to support other women, but this is too often counter-productive. This mantra often drives women to ignore creating connections like potential male mentors or hanging around women's business events instead of networking with everyone; this hurts them in the long run. And that's aside from the exclusionary nature of saying X group needs to support X group.
Dave Ramsey’s book “Entreleadership” is a good follow up to Chapter 17. In fact, his book is a good resource for women who are already running businesses with several employees or subcontractors.
Is it ironic to say the book is balanced because it has a chapter on maintaining work-life balance?
If Suze Orman wrote book for women in small business, it would be a lot like “Business Boutique”.
I give “Business Boutique” book four stars. It is an excellent resource for those who just want to earn money on the side or figure out how to work for themselves. If you are already running a business, it has some value, but not as much.
© 2018 Tamara Wilhite
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 09, 2018:
I have not read this book but the sections you described that are included are key. Often, hobbyists who move to establishing a business forget the things that should be included in costs. Interesting but I agree with you that many people today, with free information overload, hesitate to pay for more info no matter how useful they are.