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5 books by women entrepreneurs to give you a dose of inspiration

Sanjana Ray
10th Sep 2016
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Women have always been a formidable force. With the keenest minds and the quickest fingers – women really know how to tell a great story. Their story.

The world has been lucky to witness some of the greatest female talents finally take their rightful place in history – particularly in the world of business. These female business tycoons weren’t bought with golden spoons in their mouth – they had to build their independent dynasties from scratch.

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We thus present to you the inspiring stories of the rollercoaster journeys that some of the world’s greatest female entrepreneurs were subject to. Who knows, maybe a few years down the line- it could be you!

Let IT Go: The Memoirs of Dame Stephanie Shirley – Dame Stephanie Shirley

“We waste too much time being afraid, when what we should really fear is wasting time.”

Dame Stephanie Shirley may be a well-known philanthropist, but she is an entrepreneur first. Shirley made a legacy in business for womankind at a time when the world was still holding on to its sexist ideologies and women were pushed to the backlines. This pioneering tech entrepreneur, one of Britain’s favourites, founded an all-female software company that managed to hit the $3 billion mark. In this self-played autobiography, Shirley describes her journey from a refugee who fled Nazi Germany to one of the world’s leading tech entrepreneurs. At 18, she became an English citizen, changed her name and got employment. But her entrepreneurial journey began in 1962 when, with a capital of six pounds, she founded Freelance Programmers. From training a team of stay-at-home moms in her living room to growing a global company of a thousand employees, Shirley inspires future entrepreneurs not to stay true to their values and build a world around their passion. Following the loss of her only child, she donated most of her wealth into autism research. True to this spirit, she also emphasises the importance of giving back what you receive.

Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business – Barbara Corcoran

“Taking chances almost always makes for happy endings.”

One of the most successful entrepreneurs of our times, Barbara Corcoran is known for her fool-proof business policies. Her rags to riches story is an inspiration to many young, ambitious souls. Today, we may know Barbara as one of the main faces of ABC’s Shark Tank, where she has the power to make someone’s career and give them everything. But she was once a high-school back-bencher, a failure in twenty-two jobs and flat broke. Refusing to be cowed down by this bad fate she’d been dealt, she decided to do what it took to change her luck. Borrowing $1,000 from her boyfriend, she quit her job as a diner waitress and used some unconventional measures to open up a tiny real estate office in New York. With a superior business acumen, she gradually built this into a thriving $6 billion dollar business.

Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs – Kaira Rouda

“Real people give to others, share information freely and laugh out loud.”

This book is a must-read for all empowered women entrepreneurs. In this book, Kaira has spoken about the relationship that every entrepreneur has with her brand and how to endorse it to the maximum. She addresses the need to learn how to extend the brand message to your employees, and strategise and then execute it for your customers. The book includes case studies of real women entrepreneurs from a variety of industries, including manufacturing, retail, restaurants, real estate, publishing and more, to give readers an idea of the basic concepts of entrepreneurship in different sectors and industries.

The Accidental Entrepreneur: 50 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me about Starting Business – Susan Urquhart-Brown

You’d be surprised to know that some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs ended up in the industry by complete fluke! Susan Brown discusses her journey as an accidental entrepreneur who explores the entrepreneurial journey without knowing the first thing about the trade. All she had with her was her passion and her will to learn. She speaks about all the things she wishes she had learned before embarking on this difficult journey. Incidentally, she shares the same with all her readers, informing them of the basics of the trade so that they don’t get blind-sided. To this extent, she covers the most important parts – the eight questions everyone should ask up front, the top 10 traits of the successful entrepreneur, how to obtain a license and sellers permit, the best way to create a business plan, 10 simple ways to get referrals, the six secrets of marketing a business, smart tips for investing and finance, ways to avoid burnout and how to avoid the seven biggest pitfalls in business.

Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose – Lara Casey

“Over time the impossible standards we set for ourselves become the measuring stick for our worth.”

Lara Casey dedicates this book to all women leaders who are “perfectly imperfect”, who are constantly looking for the “perfect” moment, venture and strategy but who hold back in fear of diving into a risk that could go wrong. Lara speaks about how she, a working mother and wife decided to take a leap of faith and jump headlong into a series of new ventures. She inspires her readers to live a life not by accident, but rather with a greater purpose.

So which book is first on your new reading list? What other books would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.

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