I get lots of emails from aspiring small business owners and, while I do my best to respond to each email personally, I thought it would be helpful to condense my favorite resources into one post! Below you’ll find a few of the things I’ve found most helpful over the past year of running Design Darling. I am by no means an expert on the ins and outs of launching a small business so instead I’ll refer you to some people who know a lot more than I do 😉

Having a business mentor has been the single greatest thing I have done for my business. SCORE partners you with a retired executive with expertise in your desired field. I meet with my mentor once a month to analyze sales, discuss marketing, do financial forecasting, etc. Find your local chapter and schedule a meeting to get the ball rolling — I cannot recommend this organization highly enough!

2. You Can Do It by Thomas Greenbaum
Speaking of SCORE, my very own mentor just published an entire book full of his advice for getting your business off the ground. My copy is already full of dogeared pages and scribbled notes in the margins. Tom, who has counseled hundreds of small business owners through SCORE, breaks down often complex topics like business plans, legal structures, and financial operations in a way that makes sense to creative types like me. I have the utmost respect for him and owe much of my success to his invaluable advice!

I read this book before deciding to open an online boutique and was so motivated by Poppy’s tale of building a cosmetics empire with relatively little business know-how. Her writing style is funny and relatable and she asks all the right questions about defining your brand and finding your niche.

4. By Invitation Only by Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson
Written by the two female founders of Gilt Groupe, this book recaps the growth of a company we all now know and love. Their advice on recognizing a gap in the market and surrounding yourself with the right people at the right time particularly struck a chord with me. This is a super quick read — I think I finished it in two or three nights!

If you have a question, you can bet this column has the answer. With literally years of archived posts full of advice on everything from pricing your work to quarterly estimated taxes, Biz Ladies is an encouraging resource for business owners at every stage. 

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  1. I loved By Invitation Only – def marked up and highlighted like the entire book! 🙂 I’ll have to check out the rest of these tho, since they’re all new to me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ooh this is so helpful!! I eventually want to have my own boutique, but I didn’t really know where to start…I’ll check out all of this info!!

    Thanks Mackenzie!

  3. These are some great reads to add to my list! Although I am not sure that I will ever launch my own business, having the business savvy mindset can help in current career situations as well! Thank you for advocating great stuff to your readers!