Well over four years ago, Elsie and I wrote a course called Dream Job. We had started working together the year before and our small business (a local vintage store that sold some items online as well) was starting to grow. We began diversifying our business. We had made it through some tough times and we were excited to share the lessons we had learned. I loved writing that course because one of my biggest passions in life is small business. And as you can probably guess, we’ve learned SO much more since writing that first course. We’ve put all those experiences into our new course Start Small / Dream Big.7

Elsie and I are so excited to share how we approach business ideas and lots of the lessons we’ve learned over the years as we’ve watched our company grow. While our old course focused mainly on local and online retail, this course is all about helping you go from an idea to launching your own small business.

We’ve approached the format of this eCourse a little bit differently based on feedback we’ve received from students in our program. What’s different? Over two hours of videos! Each of the eight sessions in this course has a written lesson (as usual) but also a video lesson. The same information is covered and you also get more explanation, examples and candid (aka real) talk from me and Elsie. We recommend you read AND watch each session:1. Introduction & How to Use the Course2. How to Develop Your Big Idea3. Create a Vision & Business Plan4. Brand Your New Venture5. Launch Strategies & Marketing 1016. How to Evolve With Your Customers7. Keep Them Coming Back: Customer Service8. Scaling 101: What Can Scale & How toWhat ALL comes with the course?-Eight sessions plus an ever growing list of resources for entrepreneurs-Over two hours of lecture videos throughout the sessions-A sample business plan to help you create your own (from session 3)-Access to a Q&A board where you can ask me and Elsie questions and also read what other students are asking-Immediate access and a printable PDF of the entire course.

For a limited time, we’re going to be offering $15 off to all our newsletter subscribers! This afternoon you’ll receive an exclusive code that will allow you to get this discount in your email box. If you aren’t subscribed to our newsletter yet, you can still sign up using the big pink box in the right sidebar of our site. Don’t miss out on this awesome offer!

UPDATE: Our email subscribers already got the code, but we don’t want you to miss out and we’re feeling generous. 🙂 So just type in ACTFAST when you check out to get $15 off. Code will expire November 19th.

Confession: I love self-help and happiness-centered books. I really do! I am one of those people who strives to always be learning and growing, both in my career and personally. I certainly enjoy a good business book often, but lately I’ve been really loving a book that kind of goes beyond just work into all parts of your life. I hope I work to learn, grow, and change my entire life. It makes me feel excited and hopeful about the future.

Now I have to also confess that I rarely actually read these books. I tend to listen to them as audiobooks (on Audible), mainly when I am driving, working out, or completing tasks at home (like dishes or laundry). The weather has been great lately, so I’ve been taking daily morning walks and almost always have my latest audiobook in my ears. It’s a great habit that gets me ready to start my day.

I thought I would share some of my favorite books that fall in this category from over the years and I would LOVE to hear your suggestions in the comments of any books that have helped you as well!

The Success Principles

This is what I am currently listening to and I LOVE it. I had it recommended to me a few times but I had put off reading it because it’s pretty long. I am listening to the audio version, but after a while I decided to purchase the book as well because I can tell it’s one I’m going to read again (maybe not right away, but maybe). You could totally read this as a kind of daily devotional, if the size of the book scares you. It is so packed you won’t want to fly through this one too quickly anyway. I also love all the additional resources the book suggests, which can be found on its website.

The Power of Habit

I read this one a couple years ago and Trey is reading it now, so it’s been fun to get it explore some of the ideas again through conversations with him. As the name of the book suggests, it’s all about habits. How we form them, how to potentially influence or change them, and the motivation behind the human mind. Even if you’re not interested in learning to change or improve your own habits, I think this book has valuable lessons for anyone in business or marketing as well because it might help you better understand the habits of your customers.

The Compound Effect

The gist of this book is how small things can add up in a big way. I love this concept! There are so many days I feel like I’m doing enough or I don’t have space to add much more in my life, but this book showed me that’s not true at all because I can harness the power of little (tiny, really) actions and have a big impact in my life, my business, my relationships, and the lives of others.

Meaningful Work

This book is somewhat geared toward small business owners in that it shares the story of Shawn Askinosie’s career (which itself is super inspiring) and also encourages the reader to, well, seek meaningful work OR add more meaning to the work they may already do. There is a lot about facing the deeper fears in our lives, which is challenging work but super worthwhile. And I also love how the book focuses on meditation (and/or prayer) and creating a mission statement or big goal for your life and career. I would certainly recommend this to anyone, not just small business owners. But for those of you who do work for yourselves or are thinking about changing careers to something more independent, this is a MUST read.

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

This book may not be for everyone but I would certainly recommend it to anyone. Essentially, the author has a feminist awakening later in her life after being a part of the conservative church for many years. I related to Sue’s story a lot and I found a lot of peace and comfort from hearing her (so articulately) put into words many similar things to what I’ve experienced in my own life.

The Happiness Project

Loved this book from Gretchen Rubin and I believe she’s come out with a few others since this one first hit the shelves. I love how she approaches the idea of being happy in such an analytical and list-making, action-taking way. I understand the world more in this way myself, so I found this book really inspiring and helpful. (She also has a great podcast!)

Rising Strong

If you’re not familiar with Brene Brown yet, you should get familiar, friend, because she is awesome! I really loved and learned a lot from this book, which is all about getting back up from failures and setbacks. Raise your hand if you’ve ever failed. (You can’t see it but my hand is held HIGH.) Failing is part of success but it’s painful and I love Brene’s insight and research findings that she shares throughout this book. Also, if you listen to the audio version, she reads it and she’s from Texas so get ready for a little bit of an accent, ya’ll. 🙂

The Four Agreements

This is the next book on my list. So, technically I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s been recommended to me so many times and now the current book I’m reading has mentioned it, so I think it’s clear the universe is letting me know this one is next. Has anyone read it? What did you think?