I picked up #GIRLBOSS before our trip to Costa Rica earlier this spring. I always take a new book with me on beachy vacations, but I don't usually finish them. This book was very different. Not only did I finish it, but I became so obsessed with it that Emma downloaded it on her Kindle and finished it too. We tried to keep our business conversations to a minimum, since we were on vacation, after all, but as soon as we started traveling home we were in an all-out business planning frenzy.
If you've read #GIRLBOSS you may have had a similar reaction. The most common comment I have been hearing about it is that people finished it in one day.
This is an easy read. It's very story heavy, funny, and full of personality. What I loved most about reading #GIRLBOSS was that in a chapter or two I felt like I was friends with Sophia. I related with so much of what she had to tell, and what I didn't relate with was fascinating in a weird way.
For anyone who hasn't read the book (by the way, you should probably read it and bookmark this discussion for later), Sophia Amoruso is the founder and CEO of NastyGal.com. In eight years she built it from a vintage store on eBay to a 100 million dollar company with 350 employees. This is what sold me on the book in the first place. I was like, "Huh? … How??" Her story is insane.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this month's book. You can use these discussion points (by number) or just leave your thoughts in the comments on this post. I'll be checking back all day to read your thoughts!
1. What was something you related with?
I didn't pick up the book assuming to have a lot in common with Sophia. I mean, she named her company "Nasty Gal" and I named mine "A Beautiful Mess." Ha! I guess I assumed she would be a scary cool girl. With that said, I related with her on so much throughout the book. I actually started to feel like we were friends by the end.
I loved that she was so open about quitting college and building her company with hard work first and a business plan second. My story is so similar to that. I have always shied away from talking much about quitting college because I am paranoid that teenagers will use me as an example and make the wrong choices for them. So I loved how she really went there. She really let you see how she took the long walk to get where she is. So much self-education. Lessons learned the hard way. Good choices made based on experience. I loved that she told her stories about getting fired from teenage jobs in the same candid, funny tone as her stories about taking on investors and hiring and firing employees. There was a level of formality that was just absent in her writing style, and I loved that.
I loved that her success story didn't have one single tipping point. I related with that. I thought it was cool that the business lessons Sophia learned while running an eBay store by herself seemed equally important as those she learned later on from her millionaire mentors and investors. She started off smart and hard-working, and she ended up smart and hard-working. There is no magic formula for success in Sophia's story, and I believe the same is true for most successful people. There's no secret back door to success. There's no one opportunity that builds a strong company. If you look closely, there are usually lots of little stories and tons of hard work spanning years and years.
I guess the last thing that I really loved and related with was how hands-on Sophia was in her company. In the beginning it was just her, so she did everything from photography, to shipping, to marketing and taxes. I loved that now in her 100 million dollar company she holds the role of creative director. It's super rare to see a CEO who is also a creative director. I liked how focused she was. 100%.
2. What was something you felt challenged by?
Throughout the book I was so impressed and challenged by Sophia's level of focus. From the beginning, she was laser focused on building her brand. Even though the story started out without a business plan, it didn't matter because she was constantly evaluating how to improve her small business. I have often struggled with staying focused on one thing and throughout my career have tried and failed at many side projects. I liked that she stayed focused on her retail business throughout the entire story. This is something I felt very challenged by.
Sophia's connection with her customers was inspiring to me as well. As our audience has grown to millions of readers, I have often struggled with feeling connected and being able to hear the larger voice of what our readers like, don't like, and want above the much smaller, but very loud voices of negative people who aren't really fans at all. There was a time where I didn't read any blog comments because I was scared to read something painful. I didn't realize how much I was missing, though. Sophia's story inspired me to push harder to really know our readers and to listen and learn. Since reading this book earlier this spring I've felt more in touch, more open to feedback, and more aware of our readers' (your) responses. I was very challenged and inspired by how in-touch she is with her customers.
3. What was something you learned and put into action?
Most of what I got out of #GIRLBOSS was more along the lines of listening to a pump-up-jam. I got excited, and that was more than enough. Sometimes it just feels good to get excited, you know.
There were a few actions that Emma and I took away from the book. On our way home from Costa Rica we spent a layover or two writing a mission statement for our company. It was for internal use and super simple. It has since helped us stay focused on what we believe is the mission behind everything we do. We shared it in a team meeting. It was fun and hilarious to us that we had never done this simple task before.
Dream bigger. Our biggest personal takeaway was that A Beautiful Mess has so much more potential. We started making plans and goals immediately. It's funny how sometimes seeing someone else doing it better is the best way to get inspired to up your game. We loved learning about Nasty Gal's success and felt challenged to work harder and smarter on ABM in the coming year.
It's your turn now! What were your favorite stories? (The sad bunny kinda takes it for me.) Favorite quotes? Something you realized about yourself or your business while reading #GIRLBOSS? xo. Elsie
Girl Boss is one of my favorite books as blogger, I read a lots of personal development books and I love how they helped me grow my mindset and see the world differently. I highly recommend
Thanks for sharing your review
Lamia from lamandtheglam.com
Thank you so much!
I love finding book suggestions that are not only recommended as entertaining but highly motivating/inspirational. I can’t wait to read this! Thank you for sharing!
The Fear of Failure! What can you do about that….. It draigs me down from time to time
Robin how awesome! you were the last comment before my reply so I took the liberty to read your letter. Such an inspiring story. Keep working hard and your time to shine will come. Good vibes to you!
This book was awesome!!! I was so inspired in so many ways. I related to her passionate attitude and her struggle with school. I have been trying to tackle the college things for waaaaaayyyyy too long. But it is definitely not for me. And I had kept trying because it is the “right” thing to do. But I have learned from her and people like Elsie on this blog that college is not necessarily for everyone. So this year I finally decided to sharpen my creative skills and give blogging a shot. The worst thing that can happen is that I don’t like it and then I will have to move on to the next thing (but so far I have enjoyed the process, especially since I am really taking my time to discover what I love to write about and my most passionate interests).
This book is so incredible in so many ways. It is inspiring, real, authentic and I totally loved her tone. It did not feel like a book at all. It felt more like a conversation with her. I found myself saying “exactly”, “you get me” so so many times.
I have just started reading along with you guys since last month and I am totally loving this one book a month challenge.
I also loved this book. So much so, I wrote a love #GIRLBOSS love letter. You can read it here https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0237/2263/files/girlboss.pdf?1153
The main thing I took away from this? I have the confidence to succeed and I should not apologize for that!
So excited to read this book! I skimmed it at a bookstore but I think it’s time I buy it! Also, where are the clear glasses in the cover picture from? I love them 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your thought on the book Elsie. I wasn’t really sure whether I should get it, seeing it all over the internet. But since I struggle a lot with my own business I know this will be a good fit for me as well.
I think I am going to buy I heard so much positive about this book.
I’m on vacation in US and was planning to download the book for my trip back home in aeroplane (8 hours to Italy). And now I can’t wait!!!
WEAR EAT LOVE
After reading it all the comments I know which book is on my top list: #girlboss it is! 🙂 tnx for suggestion. Xoxo
Elsie, I’d have to agree with your sentiment. When I started blogging, I didn’t realize how long it took to make one post. I’m a crafty girl like you, I’m also big into other things like the paranormal, photography, books, cars, makeup, decorating, animal care, and learning how to cook. Putting all the things I’m into in blog form was the hardest challenge ever!
It is not as easy as it looks! I’m a worrier, so trying to up may game, and get my artwork out to the masses has been my biggest hurdle – the fear of failure.
I can’t quite see what is fully written under Chapter 6’s title about Magic but it says “Do what thou wilt….” . If it does indeed say “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” then that’s mind boggling. That is a commandment of the Satanic bible and the Satanic church’s founder, pedophile Aleister Crowley, said that “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”……Disheartened.
I read the book in 2 days as well. I work full time and have a side Etsy Business,etsy.com/shop/SugarSkullIndustries, that I blog about and keep up a Facebook page to generate interest. The parts of Sophia’s story that resonated so deeply with me was the concept that boring, or bad jobs can be crucial to your business acumen, as long as you learn from them.
Also I love that Sophia still reads and is curious about learning more. Even as a CEO. Always being curious can help you stay ahead of the curve.
that’s so awesome that it gave you the courage to quit your job! you go!
i loved #girlboss. plain and simple. i read it a while ago and when i saw you were picking this for your book club, i read it again!
1. i actually found it pretty hard to relate to sophia. we don’t have a lot in common. i started to think that maybe in order to make it big like she did you have to come from a troubled past. maybe coming from nothing and struggling like she did makes for a better CEO. a better story, for sure. no one wants to hear about a girl growing up in suburbia, and then struggling when she gets to the real world. we’ve all heard that story. we want the cinderella story. which, is what #girlboss is. in sophia’s own twisty cool fun kick-ass way.
2. as a mama of a girl (and a boy) i started to think about what if my daughter was a girlboss. will she grow up to run a multi-million dollar company she started in her garage? probably not. but that would be amazing. just as amazing though, would be if she started her own coffee shop or became president of the united states. i’ve written a lot on my thoughts on raising a #girlboss. getting ready to publish it on my blog next week!
3. i was super inspired by her story and her hustle. after reading it the first time, i went out and got supplies to get ready to launch my services page. i’ve been planning and wanting to start it for a while now, and this book definitely gave me a kick in the butt i needed (ps if anyone needs help creating an awesome editorial calendar for their blog … i’m your girl 😉
basically, i want to be sophia. she’s a bad-ass and an awesome business lady and i wish i could be like her one day 😉 is it weird to say i want to be her when i grow up? cause i totally do!
I’m kinda with you Patricia. Sometimes I felt parts of her story were just plain mean as opposed to being a #girlboss. Like when she says, she’s gonna push over a girl whose wearing shoes that’s she’s not comfortable in. A bit much! I enjoyed a lot of it but sometimes she was a bit #meangirl than #girlboss
I read this book this past month, accidentally participating in the book club! I had heard so much about it and was curious about the hype. I’m glad that I wasn’t disappointed and in fact, it was even better than I thought. I loved that Sophia talked about where she started and the process of how she got to the top. I found it really inspiring and motivating. I don’t like how-to books or guides that don’t give that background. I like to know that other people have struggled to build their businesses — it makes me feel like I’m not so alone. I wrote a full review on my blog here. http://www.the-loudmouth.com/2014/07/loves-recent-reads-july.html
One last thing (not really about the book, moreso the comments): I think the thought that people in our generation don’t want to work hard is a misconception. I know plenty of people who are very hard workers, but the problem is that they are putting that time into the wrong things. I left my corporate job a few months ago where I was working 12-hour days, and I worked alongside people who had huge creative dreams but were just scared to start. I realized I could be putting those 12 hours a day into my own business, but a lot of people are afraid to take that leap. Also, since many of these creative industries are so new, it’s hard for people to figure out a step-by-step plan as to how to get to where they want to be. I think it’s up to people are are successful (like Sophia and yourselves at ABM) to teach others how to to achieve their goals. Saying stuff like “work hard” isn’t helpful if someone doesn’t know what to do!
Stepping off my soapbox now. 🙂
I read a review of this in The Guardian, and if that incredibly stupid title hadn’t already put me off it, that review sure would have (it’s actually pretty hilarious). Reading the comments here justifies my decision. It’s just not a book for me (but if it inspires some of you, then I’m happy for you!).