She Owns It’s Top Business Books of 2012 (A Reading List for Women Entrepreneurs)

by Melissa Stewart

Guess what boys and girls? It’s time to share our favorite business books of 2012! I love books. I love putting this post together. I love sharing my favorites with you! AND don’t forget to check out our list from last year -> She Owns It’s Top Ten Business Books of 2011

SO download the eBook to your Kindle or iPad, snag a copy of the audiobook for your iPod or smartphone, OR do it the old fashioned way and buy a copy to have and to hold! Here are our favorite business books of 2012:

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The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

by Chris Guillebeau

In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead of life of adventure, meaning and purpose – and earn a good living.

Still in his early thirties, Chris is on the verge of completing a tour of every country on earth – he’s already visited more than 175 nations – and yet he’s never held a “real job” or earned a regular paycheck.  Rather, he has a special genius for turning ideas into income, and he uses what he earns both to support his life of adventure and to give back.

There are many others like Chris – those who’ve found ways to opt out of traditional employment and create the time and income to pursue what they find meaningful.  Sometimes, achieving that perfect blend of passion and income doesn’t depend on shelving what you currently do.  You can start small with your venture, committing little time or money, and wait to take the real plunge when you’re sure it’s successful.

In preparing to write this book, Chris identified 1,500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less), and from that group he’s chosen to focus on the 50 most intriguing case studies.  In nearly all cases, people with no special skills discovered aspects of their personal passions that could be monetized, and were able to restructure their lives in ways that gave them greater freedom and fulfillment.

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Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business

The guide to creating engaging web content and building a loyal following, revised and updatedBlogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other platforms are giving everyone a “voice,” including organizations and their customers. So how do you create the stories, videos, and blog posts that cultivate fans, arouse passion for your products or services, and ignite your business? Content Rulesequips you for online success as a one-stop source on the art and science of developing content that people care about. This coverage is interwoven with case studies of companies successfully spreading their ideas online—and using them to establish credibility and build a loyal customer base.• Find an authentic “voice” and craft bold content that will resonate with prospects and buyers and encourage them to share it with others
• Leverage social media and social tools to get your content and ideas distributed as widely as possible
• Understand why you are generating content—getting to the meat of your message in practical, commonsense language, and defining the goals of your content strategy
• Write in a way that powerfully communicates your service, product, or message across various Web mediums
Boost your online presence and engage with customers and prospects like never before with Content Rules.
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Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities

by Sarah Robinson

A practical, put-it-to-work-now guide for understanding, building and fostering a Fiercely Loyal community of clients, customers and raving fans.

Building and sustaining a fiercely loyal community of clients, customers and raving fans is critical for success in today’s turbulent marketplace. Organizations, both corporate and non-profit, that are thriving have discovered a secret – the underlying DNA shared by all wildly successful communities. Fierce Loyalty unlocks this secret DNA and lays out a clear model that any organization of any size can follow. Business strategist Sarah Robinson helps you break down the process and gives you clear, specific steps for creating and maintaining a fiercely loyal, wildly successful community and put it squarely in the center of your business plan. Drawing on her own extensive experience as well as her research into the inner working of some of the most successful communities around, Sarah de-mystifies the process and gives you exactly what you need to make Fierce Loyalty happen in your organization.

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The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms

by Danielle LaPorte

The Fire Starter Sessions is an apathy-kicking, integrity-infusing guide to defining success on your own terms.

As the creator of DanielleLaPorte.com–deemed “the best place online for kick-ass spirituality,” Danielle LaPorte’s straight-talk life-and-livelihood sermons have been read by over one million people. Bold but empathetic, she reframes popular self-help and success concepts:

– Life balance is a myth, and the pursuit of it is causing us more stress then the craving for balance itself.
– Being well-rounded is over-rated. When you focus on developing your true strengths, you enter your mastery zone.
– Screw your principles (they might be holding you back).
– We have ambition backwards. Getting clear on how you want to feel in your life + work is more important than setting goals. It’s the most potent form of clarity that you can have, and it’s what leads to true fulfillment.

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The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?

“Anyone can write a blog post, but not everyone can get it liked thirty-five thousand times, and not everyone can get seventy-five thousand subscribers. But the reason we’ve done these things isn’t because we’re special. It’s because we tried and failed, the same way you learn to ride a bike. We tried again and again, and now we have an idea how to get from point A to point B faster because of it.”
Three short years ago, when Chris Brogan and Julien Smith wrote their bestseller, Trust Agents, being interesting and human on the Web was enough to build a significant audience. But now, everybody has a platform. The problem is that most of them are just making noise.
In The Impact Equation, Brogan and Smith show that to make people truly care about what you have to say, you need more than just a good idea, trust among your audience, or a certain number of fol­lowers. You need a potent mix of all of the above and more.

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LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day

A step-by-step guide for succeeding on the for ”business” social media networkLinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Dayhelps you create, customize, and optimize a presence on LinkedIn, the world’s largest social network for professionals. In this detailed, step-by-step book, LinkedIn expert Viveka von Rosen reveals how to use this powerful platform to ensure that you or your company get noticed by the right audience. Discover previously undocumented tips and tricks for community growth and management, including how to best use Groups, events, and other LinkedIn features and applications.
  • Offers a complete resource for anyone who wants to market and recruit on the world’s largest professional network
  • Features hands-on tutorials, case studies, examples, tips, and tactics
  • Reveals how to monitor and maintain a vibrant LinkedIn presence
  • Includes effective tactics for recruiters, job seekers, and entrepreneurs, as well as legal, real estate, and nonprofit professionals
  • Incorporates an exploration of the LinkedIn advertising platform, API, and mobile platform

This soup-to-nuts guidebook for tackling every stage of the LinkedIn process ensures your online presence will get noticed.

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Make Your Idea Matter: Stand out with a better story

by Bernadette Jiwa

The path to success is littered with great ideas poorly marketed. Don’t let yours be one of them.

“A little book with a very big message. Your idea is worth a great story, well told.”
SETH GODIN — Author of All Marketers Tell Stories

Make Your Idea Matter is a call to action for entrepreneurs, emerging brands and anyone with a great idea, who knows that to stand out in today’s noisy world they need to tell a better story.

It is full of bite-sized business and brand storytelling ideas originally sparked on Bernadette Jiwa’s award-winning business blog TheStoryofTelling.com.

Use this book as both inspiration and guide to help you tell the best stories you can tell about your business, your ideas and the work that matters to you.

You don’t have to start on page one and work your way through, or even read it from front to back. Each topic stands on its own so dip in and out. Reawaken a thought or an idea you’ve already had. Spark new ones. Discover different ways of thinking about your business, what you do and how you tell your story. Then go make your idea matter.

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Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

by Michael Hyatt

To be successful in the market today, you must possess two strategic assets: a compelling product and a meaningful platform. In this step-by-step guide, Michael Hyatt, former CEO and current Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, takes readers behind the scenes, into the new world of social media success. He shows you what best-selling authors, public speakers, entrepreneurs, musicians, and other creatives are doing differently to win customers in today’s crowded marketplace. Hyatt speaks from experience. He writes one of the top 800 blogs in the world and has more than 100,000 followers on Twitter. His large and growing platform serves as the foundation for his successful writing, speaking, and consulting practice.

In Platform, Hyatt will teach readers not only how to extend their influence, but also how to monetize it and build a sustainable career. The key? By building a platform. It has never been easier, less expensive, or more possible than right now. . .  The book includes:

  • proven strategies
  • easy-to-replicate formulas
  • practical tips

Social media technologies have changed everything. Now, for the first time in history, non-celebrities can get noticed—and win big!—in an increasingly noisy world.

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The Power of Unpopular: A Guide to Building Your Brand for the Audience Who Will Love You (and why no one else matters)

by Erika Napoletano

Every successful brand in history is inherently unpopular with a specific demographic. Somewhere along the way, people felt they had to be popular in order to be successful, when in fact, the opposite is true. The brands playing in the space you want to dominate have already figured out the inherent power of being unpopular. In The Power of Unpopular, you’ll discover the difference between flash-in-the-pan brand tactics and those designed to place you miles above the competition.

  • Brand Personality: What’s yours? Explore the importance of taking a stand and why brands become road kill without a distinct personality.
  • Community: It’s the number one thing that unpopular brands have figured out—learn how to build yours.
  • Brand Advocacy: It knows no scale and your fans don’t care how big you are. A guide for businesses on the proper care and feeding of their biggest asset.

Erika Napoletano’s irreverent yet never insincere tone takes readers on a colloquial and actionable journey, producing concepts that readers can immediately graft onto their existing business strategies. Complete with case studies of businesses from across the country, this is the book that couples theory with practice, creating pathways for business owners of any size and age. Change the way you do business and live your life—become unpopular.

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The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field

by Mike Michalowicz

Each year Americans start one million new businesses, nearly 80 percent of which fail within the first five years. Under such pressure to stay alive—let alone grow—it’s easy for entrepreneurs to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of “sell it—do it, sell it—do it” that leaves them exhausted, frustrated, and unable to get ahead no matter how hard they try.

This is the exact situation Mike Michalowicz found himself in when he was trying to grow his first company. Although it was making steady money, there was never very much left over and he was chasing customers left and right, putting in twenty-eight-hour days, eight days a week. The punishing grind never let up. His company was alive but stunted, and he was barely breathing. That’s when he discovered an unlikely source of inspiration—pumpkin farmers.
After reading an article about a local farmer who had dedicated his life to growing giant pump­kins, Michalowicz realized the same process could apply to growing a business. He tested the Pumpkin Plan on his own company and transformed it into a remarkable, multimillion-dollar industry leader. First he did it for himself. Then for others. And now you. So what is the Pumpkin Plan?
  • Plant the right seeds: Don’t waste time doing a bunch of different things just to please your customers. Instead, identify the thing you do better than anyone else and focus all of your attention, money, and time on figuring out how to grow your company doing it.
  • Weed out the losers: In a pumpkin patch small, rotten pumpkins stunt the growth of the robust, healthy ones. The same is true of customers. Figure out which customers add the most value and provide the best opportunities for sustained growth. Then ditch the worst of the worst.
  • Nurture the winners: Once you figure out who your best customers are, blow their minds with care. Discover their unfulfilled needs, innovate to make their wishes come true, and overdeliver on every single promise.
Full of stories of other successful entrepreneurs, The Pumpkin Plan guides you through unconven­tional strategies to help you build a truly profitable blue-ribbon company that is the best in its field.

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Renegades Write the Rules: How the Digital Royalty Use Social Media to Innovate

by Amy Jo Martin

Renegades Write the Rules reveals the innovative strategies behind the social media success of today’s top celebrities, brands, and sports icons, and how you can follow their lead.

Author Amy Jo Martin is the founder of Digital Royalty and the woman who pioneered how professional sports integrate social media. In this book she shows how to build a faithful following and beat the competition clamoring for people’s attention by continually delivering value – when, where, and how people want it. People want to be heard, to be involved, to be entertained, to be adventurous, to be informed.

  • Reveals the winning strategies for using social media to achieve dramatic results
  • Shows how to gain influence with social media that requires an unprecedented (and potentially uncomfortable) level of accessibility and ongoing affinity
  • Filled with illustrative examples of social media successes (including Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Nike) that show how humanizing a brand through social media leads to monetization
  • Explores how Amy Jo Martin and other successful entrepreneurs are becoming renegades by using social media to innovate their personal and professional lives

The book reveals one of the basic rules of digital media success: Humans connect with humans, not logos and creative taglines.

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She Takes on the World

by Natalie MacNeil

Be Your Own Boss. Work Happy. Live on Purpose. Join the movement that’s taking the world by storm!

From the Founder of SheTakesOnTheWorld.com (listed on Forbes’ Top 10 Entrepreneurial Sites for Women) comes a brand new book for one of the most powerful demographics on the planet -women entrepreneurs.

Packed with powerful business and life lessons, a savvy plan for success in our digital age, and the engaging real-life experiences of successful women entrepreneurs, She Takes on World: A Guide to Being Your Own Boss, Working Happy, and Living on Purpose is a business book like no other!

With sparkling clarity, honesty and humor, Natalie provides the perfect balance of inspiration and practical strategies to build your business, smartly tailored for the times.

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Social Media Commerce For Dummies

Capture customers and sales with social media commerceSocial media commerce is a booming industry. By using social networks in the context of e-commerce transactions, brands large and small are making their products more available and more convenient for customers. This one-of-a-kind guide introduces you to social media commerce and explains how you can use social media to provide better customer service, collect payments online, and build your customer base. Online marketing expert Marsha Collier helps you determine where you have the best opportunity to reach your market, which sites you should integrate with, and much more.
  • Your customers are communicating with each other via social media; making purchasing opportunities available on social media sites adds convenience for your customer and opens up new sales opportunities
  • This step-by-step guide explains social media commerce and shows what you can accomplish
  • Helps you determine the sites where your business should have a presence
  • Demonstrates how customers can help promote your brand as they recommend products and services to others on their social networks
  • Author Marsha Collier is the undisputed expert on eBay and a recognized authority on social media marketing

Social Media Commerce For Dummies helps you offer your customers better service while giving them the opportunity to share information about your product with their social media contacts.

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Spark & Hustle: Launch and Grow Your Small Business Now

YOUR PASSION.
YOUR PURPOSE.
YOUR PROFIT.
Some people are willing to spend their lives working for someone else. Not you. You’re ready to start your own business—or grow your existing business into something bigger. You’re ready to take control of your life, your finances, your future.
Tory Johnson helps you make it happen. Based on her phenomenally successful “Spark & Hustle” workshops, Tory breaks down the basics, and helps you create a plan for success, including
  • Exploring your motivations to profit from your passion
  • How to nail a one-page business plan to launch your idea with clarity and confidence
  • Finding the money to get going, perfecting your revenue and pricing
  • Making social media (and other free tools) profitable for you
  • Mastering sales without cringing at the thought of asking for money
  • Detailed strategies for every aspect of your start-up and tactics to hustle for ongoing small business success

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Worth Every Penny: Build a Business That Thrills Your Customers and Still Charge What You’re Worth

by Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck

A revelation for small business owners: creating a profitable business is possible without getting into a slash-and-burn price war with your competitors.

Many small business owners feel pressure to discount their products and services, especially when times are tough. After all, how else will they keep up with the low prices offered by their discounting competitors? What they don’t realize is that discounting is the last thing they should be doing if they want to win big. Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck are here to show you that there’s a radically different way to run a small business– one in which the owners focus on creating specialized offerings and an over-the-top customer experience, not on matching the prices of their competition. Worth Every Penny encourages you to explore and use this model, which is designed to maximize your advantages over the big-box stores and other discounting competitors.

You’ll learn how to:

–Build a brand that lays the foundation for you to charge what your offerings are worth.

–Create products, services and high-touch customer experiences to achieve healthy margins and an outspokenly happy and loyal client base.

–Understand how to use a pricing strategy that allows you to create demand and attract the right customers instead of discounting.

–Throw traditional advertising to the wind and implement a boutique way of marketing to excel in this competitive business environment.

–Learn the relationship-based sales skills needed to close every sale and have your clients clamoring for more.

The authors’ strategies are enhanced by real-life business experiences and vivid anecdotes from all types of business owners–restaurateurs to contractors to professional service providers and photographers. With the advice in Worth Every Penny, you will be inspired to live your passion and pass your enthusiasm on to your customers. The result: a profitable business that avoids succumbing to the pressure to discount.

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Melissa Stewart is a serial entrepreneur who has had a “home office” since age 5. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, addicted to coffee and eternally optimistic. Her latest project https://sheownsit.com// is a site committed to empowering women entrepreneurs by offering resources, support and inspiration. @melissaonline

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10 Replies to “She Owns It’s Top Business Books of 2012 (A Reading List for Women Entrepreneurs)”

  1. Jane Blaufus

    Hi Melissa, Thanks for this awesome list of books. I retweeted it and shared it on my Like page on Facebook. May I suggest a book that you might like to check out. It is actually my book, WITH THE [STROKE] OF PEN, Claim your life which you can find out more about on my website or Goodreads. Keep up the great work and I enjoy following you. Cheers Jane

    1. Melissa Stewart[ Post Author ]

      Thank you Jane. Headed over to Amazon to check it out now!

  2. Sarah Petty

    Melissa – Honored to be included in such a powerful list! I am such a book junkie that it warms my heart so see so many favorites on here! Happy New Year and keep up the great work:-) Joy, Sarah Petty

  3. Sarah Robinson

    So honored to be in such company Melissa – THANK YOU!!

  4. Natalie MacNeil

    Thanks so much for including She Takes on the World here in such great company Melissa. It’s so rewarding to see that the book has been so well-received after pouring a lot of love into it for two years. I recently finished $100 Startup, which was fantastic, and The Fire Starter Sessions was great too!

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  6. Bernadette Jiwa

    I’m honoured that ‘Make Your Idea Matter’ made your list Melissa.

    So many fantastic books and authors here!

    1. Melissa Stewart[ Post Author ]

      Great book Bernadette and I have to share the good stuff. Any chance there will be an audio version?

  7. C.C. Chapman

    Great list of awesome books. Very proud to see Content Rules among such great company.

    1. Melissa Stewart[ Post Author ]

      I got the audio version but had to buy the book so I could go back and re-read and bookmark parts!

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