Podcast Episode 20: The Top 10 Books that Helped Me Build a Full Time Etsy Business

etsy podcast Dec 23, 2021
The Top 10 Books that Helped Me Build a Full Time Etsy Business

Howdy my friends! I’m sooooo glad to be with you again this week! We are gearing up to celebrate Christmas over here in the Smiley household. We’ve got lots of family events planned and a little jaunt to the coast before New Years. (We live in South Texas and it’s often still pretty warm this time of year.)

I hope you are likewise enjoying the season—however it may look for you—and I’m sending you my love and hugs and peace this holiday season. You have fought the good fight this year and I just want you to know how proud I am to be here with you—looking back on all we’ve walked through.

For today’s podcast, I thought we would talk about BOOKS! Which is a topic I adore—as a personal growth junkie--- I could talk about this all the time!

I think one of the most important things you can do as a small business owner is to continue growing. Read books (or listen if you prefer audiobooks), take courses, study articles, become a student of the people who are several steps ahead of you. It will grow you first, and then your business, and then your influence, and then your legacy.

In my case--- books have built me—and then I in turn have built my business. And it’s a process that just continues on. There’s always something new to learn and somewhere in my that needs to grow.


For today I thought I’d tell you about the most impactful books that have helped to build the businesswoman and entrepreneur I am today. SO so fun.

But here’s the thing---- these books aren’t literally going to teach you about Etsy. They aren’t going to teach you SEO, or graphic design, or photography, or how to research what’s selling now. This isn’t where you’ll learn the exact skills you need to have success on the platform—if you’re looking for that—the BEST thing you can do is invest in a course. Check out mine or one of the other AMAZING Etsy coach’s out there today and you’ll get that specific to Etsy instruction.

Instead these books are going to teach you how to THINK. Which will be equally, if not MORE, important. They are going to form you into a person who can dream up, grow, and sustain a business without a boss telling you what to do. They are going to help you understand yourself and other people better--- so you can do a better job of serving both.

As one little sidenote up front--- some of the books in this selection are faith-based books. I don’t usually share a bunch about my personal faith on the podcast because I really want to keep this relatable and inviting to people of all backgrounds and beliefs—but every once in awhile it peeks out since it’s a big part of who I am personally. LOL!

I wanted to keep this list really authentic to the books that legitimately moved the needle for me in terms of my business growth and mindset—and these are IT! I’m just keeping it real for you guys—you deserve that from me.

SO as we go along, I’ll be transparent and tell you which ones have a Christian faith bent so you can decide what’s right for you. 😊

And with that—let’s dig in! Every single one of these books is SO SO special to me and I know they’ll benefit you too. They are each linked for you in the shownotes—so don’t worry about writing them down if you’re driving or working out or making products. I got you!


 1) The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen

Ok—so I read this book for the first time about 10 years and it totally expanded my horizons about what’s possible!


The overall theme is about the power of daily discipline but it’s the farthest thing from dry. It’s chalk full of wonderful stories that illustrate its points and they bring to life how much can be accomplished with little steps taken consistently over time.


I revisit this anytime I need encouragement because it feels like something is taking too long.


I totally recommend that you read The Slight Edge if your goals feel really overwhelming and far away.


The Slight Edge:


2) Fear is Not the Boss of You by Jennifer Allwood

Jennifer Allwood is my personal business coach—I’m a member of her Next Level Mastermind group. Her business is totally focused on helping the creative entrepreneur—so literally every single one of you could benefit from following her, listening to her podcast, or even joining her Inner Circle Membership. She’s the best coach I’ve ever found in our space, specifically providing content and resources for creative business owners.


Her book—Fear is Not the Boss of You-- is so so good if you struggle with any kind of fear relating to your business or achieving your dreams. I enjoyed her stories and advice so much—I’ve even gifted this book a number of times to women I know who had big business dreams and struggled with some fears.


As a sidenote--- her coaching is tailored even more specifically to the Christian woman—so we pray in her mastermind and she approaches things from a kingdom perspective. I still think you would benefit a ton from her if that’s not your jam—but you’ll enjoy her all the more if it is!


So grab Fear is Not the Boss of You if you struggle with indecision, fear, or you feel stuck



Fear is Not the Boss of You:


3) Boundaries by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr Townsend

As a recovering people pleaser LOL this book has been so instrumental in helping me developing healthier relationships both in my personal life and in business. I feel like it’s helped me build confidence as I put myself and my work out in the world, too.


I sucked at boundaries for so so long, you guys. I was seriously muddled about how to say no and when to say yes to people, invitations, obligations. All of it. The entire world’s problem was my problem until I mastered this.


So this is a book I began studying many years ago and revisit often. It’s taken a long time and several layers of inner healing, but I’m in a much better place than I used to be and it’s helped me become a more balanced and far more successful business woman.


This book is another faith-based read--- so be prepared that it’s helping you to establish biblical boundaries. I personally think it’s excellent—it has served me well!

So grab Boundaries if you struggle with them like I did—and I think you’ll find tons of value in it.




5) Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you’ve heard me mention this one to you before. Haha! It’s like my business mantra! I must whisper this to myself at least once a week.


This book will seriously fire you up and motivate you to grow to the next level. The whole concept is that whatever challenge you’re up against, you can figure it out. I feel super energized whenever I listen to it (yeah by the way, the audiobook version of this is PURE GOLD).


Marie is fiery, full of great ideas, and such an optimist. I love all of her stories and really admire all that she’s accomplished.


Grab Everything is Figureoutable if you feel stuck, overwhelmed, or need help kicking excuses to the curb.  


Everything is Figureoutable:


6) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This is an oldie but GOODIE, my friends. Odds are you may have read this before unless you are a Gen Z-er hahaha! But even if you have, this is another one I revisit and think you should too.


I think these old-fashioned niceties and people skills are incredibly relevant and worth revisiting in 2022. I think this book has really helped me soften some harsh edges I had and developed me into a more empathetic person who loves to focus on other people over self.


Ultimately, this book is all about developing people skills. Your customers want to buy from someone they know, like, and trust—and being in the digital age, the skill of genuinely conveying likeability through the interwebs is more critical than ever.


Grab How to Win Friends and Influence people to help you craft your brand message, learn how to delight your customers, and find tune the service you provide.


How to Win Friends and Influence People:


7) Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

Oh my gosh… this is another phrase that goes through my thoughts all the time as I’m planning my days!

Brian Tracy teaches time management in this book—but in such a memorable way! And I’m always looking to improve my time management.


His theory is that if you have to eat a big live bullfrog today, do it first thing. That way, nothing harder will happen to you all day! Hahaha!


Such a great illustration--- but basically—we tend to make out to-do list and knock out a bunch of easy stuff first so we can get quick wins. But then by the time the bigger, harder stuff comes up, we have less energy and time to do them. So Brian says--- do the hardest stuff first thing. Then the rest of your day will be gravy.


It’s good stuff. Grab Eat that Frog to fine tune if you tend to procrastinate and don’t manage your time well. You’ll enjoy it!


Eat that Frog:


 8) Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk

This book has completely revolutionized my life—from my marriage, to my parenting, my friendships, business relationships--- everything. It has probably affected my success far more than I even realize.


I just love the concept that no matter what is happening around me, no matter how a person is treating me—the only thing I can control is ME. I manage me. Period.

And by managing me--- I can keep my love on towards other people. I can bring hope and softness and realness to every situation and relationship.


This has made me a more powerful person—because I’m not reacting anymore. I don’t have to be responsible for someone else—just me. AND it has made me expect more from the people who are closest to me.


So heads up—this is another faith-based book. And of this whole list it’s probably affected my life and business the most. 😊


Keep Your Love On:


9) Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

This is an exceptional book for building new habits into your routine!


They say that:

“Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” – I don’t know who said that but they’re super smart!


Your success is likely just a few better habits away. And you know, I’ve heard that plenty of times over the years—but what BJ has done so well in his book is teach us exactly how to implement.


I really found his stories and illustrations of how to create new habits so so helpful!


You’ll definitely want to read Tiny Habits if you want to develop more discipline in your routine or if there are certain changes you’d like to make in your life and you’re just not sure how to implement them yet.  


Tiny Habits:


9) Soundtracks by Jon Acuff

This is one of the newest books on this list—I just read it in 2021 and it really made an impact for me! It’s all about the things we say to ourselves--- those soundtracks we play ourselves over an over again in our heads—and how they play a huge part in the life that we create.


All of Acuff’s books are excellent—but I think this is my favorite—and extremely relevant. We all have terrible, unhelpful things we say to ourselves all of the time—and this really brought it to light for me so I could start to change.


Read (or listen) to Soundtracks if you are an overthinker, worrier, self-hater, or just need to level up the messages you say to yourself.




 10) Destined to Win by Kris Vallotton

LAST ONE, guys! Thanks for hanging with me through all of these. I hope you’re enjoying it! Anytime someone I follow does one of these I’m so eager to hear what books they loved—but I realize I may be weird! Hahahahaha! In fact, I can guarantee that I am!


This is another faith-based one--- and it was so important to me because it helped me see success and my goals for my life through God’s eyes. That lens is really important to me and this helped break off some lies that the veryyyyy broken church taught me about what God wants for me.


So if you come from a religious background or maybe sense that you have some unhealthy or strange rules for yourself about what God says about business or your life or money or success--- I’d highly recommend this one.


Sometimes the limiting beliefs we have about God that date back to our early childhood can really do a number on how we see ourselves as adults and the success we allow ourselves to walk into and receive.


Destined to Win is for you if you’ve got some of those unhealthy patterns or beliefs about God whispering to you that need some healing-- or if you just need spiritual encouragement about the amazing purpose that is awaiting you on this planet.


Destined to Win:


And there we have it. Those were the 10 Business Books that have most formed who I am as a business person and empowered me to build a full time Etsy shop. Every single one has been an important piece of the puzzle and I hope you’ve discovered one or more titles that you’ll put on your reading list!

This actually felt like an unexpectedly vulnerable exercise --- and I’m so glad to welcome you in a little closer to who I am and how I became her. I always want this to be a place where you can be you, and I can be me—and we just share ideas and resources that have helped us grow.

I’m so FOR you and your vision for your shop and your life. I really believe you have so very much to offer. So thanks for spending this time with me. Have a very Merry Christmas if you celebrate or a very happy holidays if that’s more your thing. I’ll see you next week! Same time, same place!



Entrepreneurs are not born, they are made. It’s 95% about your mindset. Here are the business books that helped me develop myself into someone who could grow and maintain and full-time Etsy shop.

**“How to Sell Your Stuff on Etsy” is not affiliated with or endorsed by


The Slight Edge:

Fear is Not the Boss of You:


Everything is Figureoutable:

How to Win Friends and Influence People:

Eat that Frog:

Keep Your Love On:


Destined to Win:



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