I have been reading Carrie Wilkerson’s blog for a few years now. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review her book “The Barefoot Executive.”  This book not only inspires and motivates those with an entrepreneurial spirit; it also gives practical tips and guidance on how to turn your passion into profit.

Carrie’s straight forward, nitty gritty approach in this book is refreshing. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything or come across as a motivational speaker just trying to pump up your emotions. She shares her own personal story and perspective. There is so much insight to gain from this book. Below I have listed just 5 key points that resonated with me.

1.       Being an entrepreneur is hard work, but worth every bit of it.

The truth is that being an entrepreneur is tough. It’s stressful. Most folks act as if “working for yourself” is the ultimate vacation. But you’re responsible for everything. While employees get paid for showing up and doing what they’re told, entrepreneurs get paid for taking risks and even then income is not guaranteed. I wish someone had said, “This is the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life. It will be worth it, but put away the magic beans.” – Paul Evans

I think this is something every small business owner (bloggers and direct sellers especially) need to understand from the beginning. Owning your own business, whether it is brick and mortar or an online business, is hard work. It takes time, networking, marketing, and sweat and sometimes tears to grow your business. You need to understand this and realize your return on investment may not be all monetary and may not happen right away. The rewards of being your own boss will far outweigh the sacrifices though.

2.       Don’t let the negative nelly’s knock you down or keep you from reaching your dreams.

Whether this is your first business or your one-hundredth business, your community, the parents of the kids that your kids hang out with, the people in your church, your family, the people at reunions and holidays will not understand you and—let me go ahead and let you off the hook—it is not your job to educate them all. You cannot make them understand. Some of them never will; and some of them simply are comfortable the way they are, and any growth or change in you makes them uncomfortable, so what’s a body to do? What you do is consciously choose whom you surround yourself with. – Carrie Wilkerson

One of the most difficult obstacles a self-employed person will encounter will be the fears, doubts and negativity from other people.  Entrepreneurs are a unique breed. We like to go against the flow and work on our own schedules and terms.  It took my family several years to really support my dreams and goals. Even today, 6 years later and after all the success I have had, I still hear comments of them wishing I would have a regular, steady job with insurance and benefits. The truth is I had a job like that and I lost that job. I believe the only job security out there is what we create for ourselves.  It can be difficult when your own family and friends do not support your excitement, ideas and goals.  It is important to surround yourself with like-minded and positive people.  As you become more confident in your dreams and start achieving success, your family and friends will start to understand and hopefully be more supportive.

3.       It’s about building relationships not just getting clients, making money or reaching sales goals.

“Focus on serving your customers with world class service and place a higher emphasis on client retention instead of client acquisition.” – Jim Palmer 

While we may be “self”-employed, every small business is really about the client or customer.  We should be sure we are “investing time and money into learning new skills, studying with mentors and becoming a mastermind at what we do.”  Be the best that you can be and give your clients and customers over the top service. Whether you treat your customer’s right or wrong, they will tell others. That word of mouth referral can make or break your business. . Focus on building lasting relationships and connecting with your customers.

4.       Chasing too many rabbits in too many directions may cause you to lose income, energy and sanity.

You may be able to find success and make a little money in a lot of businesses or activities. However you will not make a massive income until you learn to focus on one or two businesses or areas within your business.  It is very important to utilize your best strengths and abilities rather than trying to do it all.  Most entrepreneurs have a hard time delegating or giving up control of any areas in their business but hiring a virtual assistant or bringing on new team members will give you more time to pursue what you really love and enjoy the most. I have learned that when I focus on the aspects of the business I truly enjoy and am good at that my success and income increases.

5.       Stop making excuses and get to work turning your ideas into reality and profit.

“If you are going to succeed in business, you need to get off your “but” and find solutions instead of excuses.” Carrie Wilkerson

One way to help hold yourself accountable is to write down your goals and create action plans to reach them. If a problem or obstacle arises, find a way to overcome it instead of worrying about all the negative things that might happen. You can make excuses or you can get to work.

“ The people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder. ” Malcolm Gladwell

I definitely recommend that every small business owner, direct seller and blogger takes the time to read The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom. This book really inspired me to get back to all the basics and key business building activities that I know will make my business more successful. Be sure to visit Carrie’s website and sign up for email updates for continued tips and insight.

Disclaimer: I received this book as compensation for the review. All thoughts, words and opinions are 100% my own. This review was written in 2012

  • This sounds like an excellent book for people thinking to start their own business. I wanted to that but i’m scared with all that its at stake. I feel that it is easier to work for someone else i’m not ready for all the responsibilities yet. thanks for sharing this book.

    • Thanks for the comment Cynthia! Being self employed is a lot of work. I would suggest starting out with a direct sales business that offers a product that you love and fulfills a need. When you join a direct sales business, look for a supportive upline and local team so you can attend meetings, training and have someone there to help mentor you as you work your business. The other thing that is great about direct sales is that it is flexible, you can work it part time and around your other work / family responsibilities. It is a great way to get your feet wet with being an entrepreneur. Plus the support, encouragement, friendships and prizes are wonderful!

  • I’ve reached a crossroad in my life, and I think I know what I need to do! This book sounds like just the book for where I’m at right now. I was listening to the Book Report radio show yesterday, where it was one of the books in the line up. They played a piece from the audio book and it grabbed my attention immediately. Have been looking at other reviews and everywhere I read, I seem to be coming across fantastic reviews of this book. Thank you for the great feedback.
    I believe there was a reason for me stumbling onto this and if there are others in the same boat, but unsure of if it’s for you, perhaps you should listen to the show (radio stations and schedules can be found at bookreportradio(dot)com) and see if you get as excited as I did! There are a couple of great reads highlighted, but this one really stood out to me.

    • Thank you for the comment, I am glad my review helped you! I only wish I had read this book much sooner! There are many lessons I had already learned the hard way. 🙂

  • Thanks for the review. I will check out this book. But the link to “Carrie’s Website” didn’t work for me. Does she no longer have a website?

    • Hi Melissa! You are welcome. Thanks for letting me know about the link. It looks like she changed her website to carriewilkerson.com since I wrote this article (which was over a year ago.) I will update the link in the post. 🙂

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