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Resourceful Designer podcast: Offering tips, tricks and advice for starting and growing your graphic or web design business.

There are a lot of great graphic design books on the market that you should have as part of your library. Books you could read to boost your creativity, improve your design skills, learn design tools and just get inspiration from. But have you ever considered what non-graphic design books you could be reading that would also help you in your design business? Every graphic designer who wants to run their own graphic design business needs to understand that there’s more to being an entrepreneur than just having a nice portfolio. You need skills in leadership, communication, marketing and so many other areas that are not taught in graphic design school. It’s up to us to acquire these business skills elsewhere. And what better, and inexpensive, source is there than reading what the experts themselves have to say. I want to share with you, in no particular order, 20 of the best non-graphic design books to help you succeed in starting and running your own graphic design business.

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These Non Graphic Design Books Should Be On Your Shelf.

Selling The Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing – by Harry Beckwith Author Harry Beckwith offers a succinct and often entertaining look at the unique characteristics of selling services and how to turn more prospects into clients, and keep them. SELLING THE INVISIBLE covers service marketing from start to finish. Filled with wonderful insights and written in a roll-up-your-sleeves, jargon-free, accessible style.
The War Of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles – by Steven Pressfield and Shawn Coyen Are you looking to overcome your inner naysayer? Look no further than The War Of Art and learn how to avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavour. The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline.
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future – by Chris Guillebeau In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead of life of adventure, meaning and purpose – and earn a good living. Here, finally, distilled into one easy-to-use guide, are the most valuable lessons from those who’ve learned how to turn what they do into a gateway to self-fulfillment.  It’s all about finding the intersection between your “expertise” – even if you don’t consider it such — and what other people will pay for.  All you need is a product or service that springs from what you love to do anyway, people willing to pay, and a way to get paid.
Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World – by Bob Goff Bob Goff has become something of a legend, and his friends consider him the world’s best-kept secret. Those same friends have long insisted he write a book. Now a New York Times Bestseller, Love Does follows the paradigm shifts, musings, and stories from one of the world’s most delightfully engaging and winsome people. Light and fun, unique and profound, the lessons drawn from Bob’s life and attitude just might inspire you to be secretly incredible, too.
The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business – by Patrick M. Lencioni New York Times best-selling author, Patrick Lencioni, argues that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre ones has little to do with what they know and how smart they are and more to do with how healthy they are. Healthy organizations outperform their counterparts, are free of politics and confusion and provide an environment where star performers never want to leave.
Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job – by Jon Acuff Quitter is a book about how it’s possible not only to survive but actually thrive in the tension between a day job and a daydream. With the wit and insight gained in a dozen years of cubicle living, Acuff shows us all why we don’t have to become the “I’m, but” generation.  If you’ve ever sat in a cubicle and thought, I don’t want to do this job for the rest of my life, this book is for you.
How to Win Friends & Influence People – by Dale Carnegie For more than sixty years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. It’s a must read for any business owner. For the rare person who may not know what this book is about, here’s a succinct description: Dale Carnegie explains that by appealing to the other person’s highest ideals, remembering the other person’s name, letting the other person do most of the talking, speaking in terms of the other person’s interests, allowing the other to save face, by “throwing down a challenge,” etc., you can make a friend out of just about anyone.
Crush It!: Why NOW is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion – by Gary Vaynerchuk Do you have a hobby you wish you could do all day? An obsession that keeps you up at night? Now is the perfect time to take those passions and make a living doing what you love. In CRUSH IT! Gary Vaynerchuk shows you how to use the power of the Internet to turn your real interests into real businesses. By the end of this book, any reader will have learned how to harness the power of the Internet to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Step by step, CRUSH IT! is the ultimate driver′s manual for modern business.
The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field – by Mike Michalowicz Nearly 80 percent of new businesses fail within the first five years. Under such pressure to stay alive—let alone grow—it’s easy for entrepreneurs to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of “sell it—do it, sell it—do it” that leaves them exhausted, frustrated, and unable to get ahead no matter how hard they try. Full of stories of other successful entrepreneurs, The Pumpkin Plan guides you through unconven­tional strategies to help you build a truly profitable company that is the best in its field.
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan One of the Top 5 Business Books of 2013 by Hudson’s Booksellers. People are using this simple, powerful concept to focus on what matters most in their personal and work lives. By focusing their energy on one thing at a time people are living more rewarding lives by building their careers, strengthening their finances, losing weight and getting in shape, and nurturing stronger marriages and personal relationships.
The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs – by Kevin D. Johnson To achieve unimaginable business success and financial wealth—to reach the upper echelons of entrepreneurs, you have to change the way you think. In other words, you must develop the Entrepreneur Mind, a way of thinking that comes from learning the vital lessons of the best entrepreneurs. In this riveting book Johnson identifies one hundred key lessons that every entrepreneur must learn in seven areas: Strategy, Education, People, Finance, Marketing and Sales, Leadership, and Motivation.

Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal  – by Oren Klaff

Whether you’re pitching a client for new business, or even presenting your designs, Pitch Anything will transform the way you position your ideas. According to Klaff, creating and presenting a great pitch isn’t an art–it’s a simple science. Applying the latest findings in the field of neuroeconomics, while sharing eye-opening stories of his method in action, Klaff describes how the brain makes decisions and responds to pitches. With this information, you’ll remain in complete control of every stage of the pitch process.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It  – by Machael E. Gerber

This book sidles the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read The E-Myth Revisited, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.

Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated:  And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time – by Keith Ferrazzi & Tahl Raz

What distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships—so that everyone wins. In Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi lays out the specific steps—and inner mindset—he uses to reach out to connect with the thousands of colleagues, friends, and associates on his contacts list, people he has helped and who have helped him. And in the time since Never Eat Alone was published in 2005, the rise of social media and new, collaborative management styles have only made Ferrazzi’s advice more essential for anyone hoping to get ahead in business.

The Big Leap:  Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level – by Gay Hendricks PhD

In The Big Leap, Hendricks demonstrates how to eliminate the barriers to success by overcoming false fears and beliefs. Fans of Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, and The Secret will find useful, effective tips for breaking down the walls to a better life in The Big Leap.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook:  How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World – by Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk shares hard-won advice on how to connect with customers and beat the competition. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is a blueprint to social media marketing strategies that really works. Vaynerchuk shows that while communication is still key, context matters more than ever. It’s not just about developing high-quality content, but developing high-quality content perfectly adapted to specific social media platforms

Guerrilla Marketing:  Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business – by Jay Levinson 

Jay Levinson revolutionized marketing strategies for the small-business owner with his take-no-prisoners approach to finding clients. Based on hundreds of solid ideas that really work, Levinson’s philosophy has given birth to a new way of learning about market share and how to gain it. Levinson offers an arsenal of weaponry for small-business success. Guerrilla Marketing is the entrepreneur’s marketing bible — and the book every small-business owner should have on his or her shelf.

The Art of Innovation:  Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm – by Tom Kelley & Jonathan Littman 

There isn’t a business in America that doesn’t want to be more creative in its thinking, products, and processes. At many companies, being first with a concept and first to market are critical just to survive. In The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley, general manager of the Silicon Valley based design firm IDEO, takes readers behind the scenes of this wildly imaginative and energized company to reveal the strategies and secrets it uses to turn out hit after hit.

Mind Capture:  How to Stand Out in the Age of Advertising Overload – by Tony Rubleski 

The average American is hit with over 1,500 marketing messages each day. Few, if any, of these messages are noticed! In each generation a bold, unique, disruptor emerges to shake up the scene and status quo with a unique perspective on business. If you’re looking to positively impact your sales, market, and industry, you’ve found the perfect book.

Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money -Pat Flynn

Stop rushing into businesses born from half-baked ideas, misguided theories, and other forms of self-delusion. A lack of proper validation kills more businesses than anything else. As Joel Barker says, ‘Speed is only useful if you re running in the right direction.’ Will It Fly? will help you make sure you are clear for takeoff.

Did I miss your favourite book? Leave a comment below.

Full disclosure. The Amazon links on this page are affiliate links. I do earn a small fee should you click on these links and make a purchase. However, I would not be listing these books if I didn’t think they would provide value to your graphic design business.