When I decided to make the leap to full-time craft business-lady, I knew I had a lot to learn. So naturally I started reading - everything and anything about running a small business, running a craft business, marketing, etc. I’ve come across some great resources, and some others hardly worth the $0.25 library late fee. To save you some time (and library late fees) and help narrow down your own reading list, I’m going to share my thoughts in a regular book review series. First up is a surprising favorite...
To start off, let me say I am not a Martha fan. Yes, she makes a mean homemade lemon poppy seed cake, her DIY Thanksgiving centerpieces are adorable and she produces a drool-worthy line of craft supplies, but I’ve heard too many rumors about her less than cheery off-camera personality to jump onto the Martha bandwagon (plus there’s that whole comparing her own jail term to Nelson Mandela’s thing...seriously Martha?). Coming in with that attitude, I’m still not really sure why I picked The Martha Rules off of the library shelf. Maybe it was calling to me. If so, I’m glad it did.
The book is organized into ten chapters, each describing one of Martha’s ten business rules. Though many of her business rules seem like common sense, the way the rules are phrased elevates a piece of easily overlooked advice to something that will stick in your mind long after closing the book. For instance, the common place ‘connect with your customers’ becomes Rule #4 Teach So You Can Learn: By sharing your knowledge about your product with your customers, you create a deep connection that will help you learn how best to build and manage your business.
Supporting Martha’s rules are anecdotes from both her own past experiences and those of other entrepreneurs who have crossed her path over the years. These anecdotes, particularly those from outside the world of Martha, reinforce these rules and save the book from being too self-congratulatory (though on occasion it does get a little too close to the edge for my taste). I enjoyed it so much I even photo-copied each of the rules before returning the book for easy reference. My favorite takeaways? Rule #4 - above - and Rule #8 So The Pie Isn’t Perfect? Cut It Into Wedges: When faced with a business challenge, evaluate or assess the situation, gather the good things in sight, abandon the bad, clear your mind and move on. Focus on the positive. Stay in control, and never panic.
My Verdict? Recommended Reading
The Martha Rules by Martha Stewart
205 pp., 2005, Rodale Books