• Emily Lessig

Books & Podcasts for Creative Entrepreneurs

Hey ya’ll, this is Emily (Joan’s virtual assistant) filling in while she’s traveling & visiting friends and family in Wisconsin this week! You’ll hear from me from time to time – it’ll be a surprise to you (and sometimes to Joan too!). In addition to working with Joan, I’m a creative entrepreneur too, so I’ll be sharing my own experiences and knowledge with you.

So, a little about me… I’ve been a bookworm since I was old enough to read and I still love reading. The library is one of my favorite places in the world – you’re literally surrounded by knowledge and possibility. And now, podcasts are becoming incredibly popular and I’m loving them too! It’s like reading a book while I work on something else (usually sewing) – win-win, right?

Every once in a while a book or a podcast comes along that really inspires me. Not only do I get a real sense of motivation from the success stories and people, but I’m constantly learning. Whether it’s something practical like how to use Instagram hashtags or a personal thing like learning to rest and not burn myself out, the takeaway is always valuable.

So here are my top 5 book and 5 podcast recommendations for creative entrepreneurs:


  • The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online by Kari Chapin. This book covers all your basics from branding your business and finding clients to using social media and tracking your finances. It’s written with crafters in mind, but the principles and practices can be applied to all kinds of creative markets. You will want to take notes on this one!

  • Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. This one isn’t an obvious pick and if you’ve read it you might be scratching your head wondering why it’s on this list. I’ll tell you why – because so many of us struggle with mental well-being. Trying to run a business and feel sane at the same time can feel impossible. Jenny’s stories and tone make you feel like you’ve known her forever. You will relate in ways you never thought possible and you won’t feel so crazy or alone anymore. If Jenny can do it, so can we!

  • Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen by Steve Sims. Again, not an obvious choice, but this book was so inspiring and actually applicable in so many ways that it made the list. Steve Sims is a real guy whose real job is to make awesome stuff happen for people. Like the stuff of dreams – we’re talking dinner ate the Louvre while Andrea Bocelli serenades you kind of stuff. Crazy, right? Well this book is Steve’s way of sharing how he gets that crazy awesome stuff done. And it’s all about mindset. He writes in a way that’s so easy to understand that I often thought to myself “how did I not realize this before?” while reading.

  • Handmade to Sell by Kelly Rand. In the same genre as the first book on this list, Handmade to Sell is chock full of tips, strategies, and advice on how to launch your creative business and keep it growing. Topics I found especially helpful include diversifying your income and how to take good pictures of your products. Again, you’ll want to take notes on this one.

  • BONUS: Wreck this Journal by Keri Smith. I’m listing this as a sixth, bonus because it’s not technically a book in the sense that you can’t read it. It’s more a workbook in my mind. The whole point of Wreck this Journal is literally to alter, deface, and destroy the book. While this can definitely be used just for fun or as a cathartic experience, I’ve been using mine as a way to force myself outside of my comfort zone, outside of my box, and outside of what I’d normally do. It’s helping me push my creativity to new places, giving me new ideas, and honestly, it’s a little freeing to scribble in, rip and tear, and throw that book around. I highly recommend it.


I’m going to be honest – I have not listened to every episode of every show on this list. I skip around depending on what topics I feel like hearing about that day. And some of these include so many episodes and so many topics, they’re hard to sum up. Just check them out, browse the episodes, and try a few out.

Did any of your favorites make the list? Drop a comment below and let us know what you’re listening to or reading. What are your all time favorites?

P.S. if you’re interested in more awesomeness, join our Facebook group! Joan teaches a new topic every week and the whole community is pretty fab!

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