Every year I like to give myself a creative refresh by diving into a few good self-help books – it gets my inspiration flowing and resets my brain for work, helping me to grab confidence by the gonads and own it. Or something like that.
I had some pretty good reads including the sequels to The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, but the one book that really got me thinking and excited for building my business was The Working Woman’s Handbook; I’d heard about it months ago after photographing a post for Anna, and then a dozen other people started raving about the book so I was more than ready to curl up with a cookie and roaring fire and get stuck in – I’ve also mentioned the book a lot since, but wanted to dedicate a post to it specially because this book rocks.
Honestly, it is probably the best self-help book aimed at creatives I’ve ever read – I like it when books get all deep and emotional, but I also like learning from them, like actual practical skills I can implement in daily life, and I can safely say The Working Woman’s Handbook has nailed it perfectly on the head, so here’s a few reasons why you need to read it immediately.
- It has flowcharts
I think this is reason enough to buy TWWH; I mean, flowcharts! When was the last time you did a flowchart? 2006? It was very fun and also really helpful, so that’s already a great book combo. I’ll admit I’m still between freelance and business but it makes you address all the individual factors including thinking practically about spending, to making a concrete business plan to follow and implement.
- It has practical exercises to complete and get you thinking
Just like the flowchart, there are lots of question and answer sections that are any questionnaire lover’s dream – give me a quiz or questionnaire any day, I like being told what I am – and it helps break down a lot of areas or problems you might be facing as a business owner or freelancer. For example, there is a section for breaking down your money and working out how you can maximise your income better, and then planning how you can reach your 1/3/5 year targets realistically. It also helps you focus on blocking out time and specific days to do certain jobs, so you’re at your highest productivity level with each area of your career day-to-day, whilst allowing some flexibility to get ahead.
- It has a wide range of interviews to inspire and see how tips can work IRL
I would typically skip over interviews in books so I can just absorb the author’s tips, but the ones in Working Woman’s handbook are refreshing and an amazing reference point for whatever type of creative career you have. Everything discussed and taught in this book is shown to work successfully with the women interviewed – what they did to get where they are, the strategy and visions they had for their career, plus tips on how to use what you uniquely have to make the most of that gap in the market.
- It makes you focus on your success
The best thing about being a creative? Constantly evolving and bettering yourself. The worst? Not really bathing in your success like it’s a Lush Bath Bomb bonanza on Friday night. We need to appreciate our work and achievements more, and shout about them to others so we get our work seen further and show appreciation for the opportunities we’ve had to build an empire. Plus there’s a great line about how 10,000 hours of skill practise means you’ve become high-level world-class in your field, so if you’re achieving and working hard to practise and improve and evolve, you best crack out that ice-cream and bath bomb collection my friend!
I’ve learnt some really valuable lessons from the book including how to pitch – I’m not always great at getting my ideas and skills across, I’m very flippant at times and get a bit anxious fighting my corner, but there is a whole section dedicated to perfecting your pitching and delegating skills. It’s also made me think and edit my ‘creative package’ pitch down to 30 seconds, which is great when approaching brands and selling myself for work!
Also, a very important section – asking for a pay rise. I’ve found navigating pay a bit of a tricky one and have since got a system down, but I know that at some point I’m going to want to raise my prices so having information on how to broach the topic to working out the best salary for your lifestyle and needs makes it all feel a lot easier to present to clients. The whole financial section is in-depth and informative, so if you’re a first year tax payer like me or are still struggling with balancing books 7 years in, this has a lot of easy-to-digest information.
Honestly, The Working Woman’s Handbook kicks ass and if you’re a painter, writer, blogger, working in a creative department, thinking about going freelance, transitioning into a registered business, or becoming a boss lady, you need to put this on your reading list. It’s given me the biggest refresh when approaching work, and has taught me skills and terminology that you’d potentially miss out on if you don’t study business or work in the traditional environment – now let’s take that new confident business attitude and get creating!