As the year comes to a close, we start to evaluate our successes and failures in the year and look forward to the future. If you’re thinking of starting your own business in the new year or have some time on your hands and are simply looking for some inspiration, here are 10 must read books we think every aspiring entrepreneur should read:

make your mark notebook by kasia gospos

1. Make Your Mark

This one is a no brainer for the Leaders in Heels team! The Make Your Mark notebook was the result of lots of hard work by our founder Kasia Gospos and would make the perfect gift for a friend or family member who needs a bit of a push in the right direction. Filled with positive quotes, thoughts and assignments for the everyday woman (or man!) these are interactive books aimed to stimulate a new way of thinking and develop positive traits in your life and business.

daring and disruptive lisa messenger

2. Daring and Disruptive – Unleashing the Entrepreneur

There’s no doubt Lisa Messenger is a risk taker. Engaging and raw, this book is filled with stories of Lisa’s real experiences running her businesses – including a successful publishing company and the Renegade Collective magazine – while living life to the fullest. Filled with the fun and the failures, Daring and Disruptive is not just another feel good book blending Lisa’s personal stories with the important business lessons she has learned along the way – you won’t be able to put it down!

Me Time Front-Cover3. Me Time – The Professional Woman’s Guide to finding 30 guilt-free hours a month

Everyone has the same amount of hours in the day, but imagine if you had an extra 30 hours a month to do whatever you please. Oh the things you would do! This is what author and entrepreneur Kate Christie tries to give you in her simple and practical 5 step guide to finding those elusive extra hours. Solution focused and with interviews from successful Australian women, including Natasha Stott Despoja, this is book will have you seeking out those hours across all aspects of your life!

lean-startup_book-cover4. The Lean Startup

Perfect for those wanting to start their own business, this book gives a scientific approach to creating and managing start ups from the very beginning and being flexible to the beast that is a new product or service. Author Ries tries to instil the ‘work smarter, not harder’ approach to new business and gives great tips for people to think about before they start their journey.

wired for life

5. Wired for Life: Retrain your brain and thrive

Written by 2 female entrepreneurs, this book has helped many people create the business and life they want. Drawing on their own personal experiences with corporate and private clients, the authors reveals the 5 fears that will hold you back and how to overcome them through a three-step process for harnessing the power of your mind and creating the life you want. By understanding why you behave the way you do and the reasons behind your decisions, you will gain insight into how you can change your mind (and life) for the better.

thrive-book-cover6. Thrive

Thinking about influential entrepreneurs, we could not forget this one on the list.  Thrive is an honest account of  Huffington’s  journey to the top whilst juggling life, her family and beyond and describes her personal “wake up call” that a successful life is about more than just money and reputation. Learn what priorities you should be focussing on and get inspired.

losing m virginity richard branson cover

7. Losing my Virginity

Another one at the top of the entrepreneur’s list is Richard Branson’s autobiography. Described as “a portrait of a productive, sane, balanced life, filled with rich and colorful stories” this book will reveal how Branson first began and how he manages to stay on top of his competition. A true risk taker in every sense  – this book is an inspirational memoir that belongs on every entrepreneur’s bookshelves.

the 4 hour work week

8. 4-Hour Work Week

This book is all about escaping the 9-to-5 lifestyle and freeing up your time while making money. #1 New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss will teach you how he is able to work a four hour week  to make $40,000 a month. There is no need to wait until retirement anymore and Ferriss will show you how it’s all possible!

the_100_startup9. The $100 Startup

Another example of how you can take an idea and turn it into a reality on the cheap, Guillebeau presents 50 case studies of successful entrepreneurs who have built their businesses from a modest $100 (or in some cases less!) and how they did it to live the life they really wanted. Highlighting that often you don’t need that university education or investor behind the scenes, this book will teach you the most valuable lessons learned from those who’ve already done it.

Design-Your-Life-by-Vince-Frost-Cover

10. Design Your Life

“This book is more than words, more than images. It’s about inspiring ideas to life. It’s about proving the impossible possible,’ – Vince Frost”.

All about inspiring others using design principles, it’s a bit different to the usual but the messages and principles Frost presents are relevant to any person looking for guidance. Littered with motivational quotes, informative interviews with other successful people and personal anecdotes, Frost will have you looking at your life a little differently, and that’s a good thing.

Do you have a favourite book that inspires you? Tell us the title in the comments below and how it has helped you!

Sian Edwards Leaders in Heels Business EditorSiân Edwards is a Sydney-based communications professional with experience working in public relations, media and marketing roles in both the private and public sector. With an endless thirst for knowledge, particularly in the areas of digital marketing and social media, Sian is a true believer of ‘lifelong learning’. When she’s not working in the corporate world, she is out and about exploring Sydney and beyond for her popular food and travel blog and building on her skills as a freelance writer and editor.

Photo credit: azrasta


Most of you probably have that proud, self-proclaimed geek in your life. A child, niece or nephew, maybe your significant other. Here are five geeky gift ideas that will make that special geek very, very happy come Christmas.

Gaming console (PS4, XBox One)

ps4 xbox one
photo credit: tandemsystemsltd

Both Sony and Microsoft released their latest generation gaming consoles, the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One respectively, in November last year. Fast-forward one year, and both consoles have finally had their worst bugs ironed out, and a slew of great games released. If your special geek has gaming inclinations but neither of the new consoles, perhaps now is the time to start considering a very special gift under the tree this Christmas!

Premium subscriptions

 psn plus
photo credit: NewGameNetwork

Sony and Microsoft offer premium subscriptions to their online gaming networks – PlayStation Plus for the Playstation line, and Xbox Live Gold for the Xbox line. They’re a necessity for multiplayer gaming on the latest generation consoles, but even those with the older generation will benefit. Both offer a selection of different free games every month and discounts on selected games for their members, for example. A free, ever-changing library of games is a gift that won’t be forgotten.

Incredibly lifelike figurines

joker

Hot Toys is a company that creates amazingly detailed, lifelike figurines targeting the pop culture market. Batman, the Joker, Iron Man, Han Solo (to get ready for the new Star Wars movies, of course!), to name some of the more popular characters. If you can find your special geek’s favourite franchises, there will probably be a Hot Toys model they’ll fall in love with.

Artbooks

hyrule historia

photo credit: Frandji

Artbooks are becoming increasingly popular these days, especially for video games. There are many beautifully bound and presented books to choose from, depending on your special geek’s interest. Do they love the Zelda games? Hyrule Historia. Assassin’s Creed fan? There are artbooks for most of the later games in the series, including the latest, Assassin’s Creed Unity. There’s also the amazingly evocative The Last of Us. Did they fall in love with the surprisingly emotional Journey? There’s an artbook for that, too. You can generally find an artbook for most recently released games, if you just look. Your video gaming geek will thank you for it.

Home automation goodness

belkin

These days there’s everything from app-controlled light switches and power switches, to smart locks that let you use your smartphone as your key and assign temporary keys to others. Practical? Perhaps, if you want to set up a light show remotely or let friends into your house while you’re away. Cool? To a geek, very much so.

featured image: Bukowsky18

Do you have any other gift ideas, or gifts that have gone over well in previous years? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!


It’s the week before Christmas, and all through the office, people were wailing “I’M TOO STRESSED TO TALK….I’VE GOT TO SHOP IN MY LUNCHBREAK….I’VE STILL GOT THINGS TO DOOOOO”.

That’s how the poem goes, doesn’t it?

Like some (most) of us, you are probably beginning to panic about preparing gifts, lunches, family events, incomplete work tasks, the office secret Santa and annual leave. Unfortunately, I can’t help you with the gifts, lunches or family reunions (although I do maintain that any dessert covered in brandy custard constitutes a Christmas pudding). I can however share my top five office de-stressors that may help you to manage any pre-holiday melt-down that you’re thinking of having this week.

1. Prioritise

Explore what tasks need to be completed immediately, what can be completed in the short term, and what tasks can be classified as long term. Be fair in your assessment – don’t set yourself up for failure by prioritising ALL outstanding work tasks as immediate needs if they really aren’t. On the flip side, don’t leave ALL tasks to be completed on your return after holidays.

2. To-Do List

Now, while some of you may now be thinking “but I get more stressed out if I don’t complete things on my to-do list” hear me out. I’m a big fan of the to-do list, not necessarily for marking things off, but as a strategy to keep us on track. If you change your ideals on what a to-do list is, then you can create a tool that will help you set and achieve small goals. For your pre-holiday to-do list, you should be listing those tasks only that you prioritised as either immediately needed or needed in the short-term. Any long-term work tasks should not be included in this to-do list as it will quickly appear overwhelming and the usefulness of the tool will diminish.

By doing what you can ahead of time, you will be minimising stress in those last days or hours before you leave for holidays, as well as ensuring that any important details aren’t accidentally left out.

3. Timetable

Similar to the to-do list, a timetable can become a tool of direction and guidance. Remember back to your schooling days when you used a timetable to help you ensure that you were spending enough time studying each subject? A timetable in the lead up to a holiday from the office can be useful in the same way. While I don’t recommend such strict timetabling as to account for every minute of every day, I do stress that it is important to structure what limited time you have so you can get the most out of it.

4. Create any handover documents ahead of time

If you are working in a job where you will need to handover any work tasks, clients or customer files while you are away, DO NOT LEAVE IT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. This task is often prioritised incorrectly, and completed as a last event before you go on leave. By doing what you can ahead of time, you will be minimising stress in those last days or hours before you leave for holidays, as well as ensuring that any important details aren’t accidently left out. Obviously, not everything will be able to be added to a handover document a long way in advance; however, it is generally possible to add any last minute details to an existing document as they arise. By doing it in a controlled manner, you will likely find that the quality of details is better, and you will not experience the dreaded feeling of oppression that comes with having to do last minute handover documents.

And finally –

5. Have another rum ball!

Well – it IS the silly season …..

Featured photo credit: Mr.TinDC via photopin cc

Lauren Maxwell Lauren Kremer

Lauren is a Rehabilitation Counsellor and Career Development Consultant, with close to 15 years of experience across the two fields. She is the founder of Headstrong Women, a specialist women’s career development service, and thrives on innovation and creativity to empower women to reach their potential. Find out more at www.headstrongwomen.com.au or on Facebook.