This month’s Day in the Life feature takes us outside of the traditional office and brings the ‘outdoors in’ by following the footsteps of two very busy ladies who run their own Landscape Design business called Sticks & Stones (catchy huh?!).

Here’s Julie and Fiona’s take on the life of a Landscape Designer:

Name: Julia Thomas & Fiona Ericsson
Position title: Business Owners/Landscape Designers
Organisation: Sticks & Stones Landscape Design Pty Ltd

Tell us about your business – what does it do?

We are primarily a Landscape Design company. We have found ourselves diversifying as opportunities have come to us. As well as design, we also project manage, offer seasonal garden maintenance, drafting services and horticultural advice.

Why did you start it?

To have a flexible business that worked for us.

What was the biggest challenge in your startup phase?

Building a strong client base.

Tell us about a typical working day for you: What time do you wake up?

Julia: It changes every day. Sometimes we have to be on site at 7am, so will be up at 5:30am. Other days we are just working from home, so whenever, but I like to keep structure and routine, (Julia,) so I get up at 8:30am regardless.

Fiona: Around 6am.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?

Julia: Turn on the coffee machine, I can’t function well without my fix.

Fiona: Let the dog out and wake the children up!

How do you have your breakfast: on the go, work brunch, meal with the family first etc?

Julia: Fi and I have very different mornings. She has a family to attend to in the morning. I get up to no one being home, (unless one of my housemates called in sick.) I either have oats at home or big lunch later if I don’t get time to eat before a site meeting. I always make up for it with and extra coffee.

Fiona: Every day is different. As the business has got busier I have been less structured. Usually breakfast is on the go now.

How do you get to work, how long does it take?

Julia: I don’t have to commute anywhere. My office is in my apartment, fantastically convenient! Fi has an office space in an architectural firm. This allows her to have a clear divide between work and the family.

Fiona: Car. When we are on site it can take up to 45mins, if I’m at my hot desk about 5 mins or I work from home.

We are constantly provided with exciting opportunities, i.e. writing blogs, photographing, public speaking, designing cafes, the opportunities to grow are endless

What time is lunch?

Julia: Generally working from home I just have leftovers at my desk. Or if I am out working all in meetings and so forth, Fi and I will go for lunch together in some sort of café.

Fiona: On the go or at home.

What are the typical things you do every day?

Julia: Exercise, drink coffee, make lists and tick things off

Fiona: Design work, client liaising, planning jobs and talking with suppliers.

What decisions do you make and what is their impact?

Julia: Decide on materials, plants, how to use a space.

Fiona – Julia and I consult on all decisions. This ensures we are both across every aspect of each job

What do you love most about your job?

Julia: The diversity, flexibility and the opportunity to work outdoors, with plants and with people, creating beautiful spaces, and the potential to keep evolving. We are constantly provided with exciting opportunities, i.e. writing blogs, photographing, public speaking, designing cafes, the opportunities to grow are endless!

Fiona: Being creative, working outside, flexibility and the people in the industry are really cool.

How do manage all the tasks you need to do?

Julia: Being extremely organised and efficient. Writing a list is extremely important, and so is sticking to it! Even if I have to add things to the list, I at least can refer back to it.

Fiona: Julia has incredible organisational skills and she has set up Basecamp to monitor tasks. In addition to the design work, generally, Julia looks after all IT and I do accounts.

When is home time?

Julia: There isn’t really a specific “home time”. Sometimes we work until 12am after starting at 6am. Sometimes we finish at 3pm. It just depends on what job we have on and how busy we are at that time. Running your own business, you don’t ever really turn off.

Fiona: This is tricky when you have your own business. We work to the job so sometimes we don’t switch off until very late in the night.

How do you relax when you do get home?

Julia: Watching TV, reading a book, exercising, socialising with friends and having a few drinks at the end of the week, or day, depending on how long it was!

Fiona: I enjoy a glass of wine once the children are in bed and the house is quiet!

How do you manage the balance between work and personal life?

Julia: This can be very difficult. It’s just a matter of understanding that sometimes your workload will out-balance your personal life, and then sometimes your personal life will out-balance your workload, so in turn it all balances out.

Fiona: Not very well at the moment!. As we are a new business it’s mostly all work. Although, we are getting better with time management and realising the importance of achieving a balance.

How has the work environment/business changed from when you first began?

Julia: Hugely! When we first started, I was working full time at another 9-5 job and squeezing in the drafting/site visits and so forth on the way to work, after work and before work. Now we have built up our business enough to sustain the both of us.

Fiona: It’s much busier. The structures that Julia put in place have been fantastic so we are super organised now. The bottom line in the bank account is looking better too.

Who and/or what inspires you?

Julia: Seeing a yard or space transform from what it was before, to the final product is inspiring, along with the clients reaction.

Fiona: Working Mums who seem to have found the balance of work, life and family. New York and Thomas Church.

Why do you do what you do?

Julia: I love working with plants and people and in a creative field. The opportunity to express yourself through plants and design is something very special.

Fiona: It makes me happy.

Sometimes your workload will out-balance your personal life, and then sometimes your personal life will out-balance your workload

What are your tips for other landscape designers?

Julia: Pay attention to the client’s needs and apply them through the design. Spend more time marketing and networking as this is extremely crucial in a field that relies on a product that is a luxury, not a necessity.

Fiona: Join the AILDM (Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers) and get networking.

How do you define success?

Julia: A success is measured in many different ways. It can be meeting your own goals that you set for yourself, or overcoming a challenging issue on site or with a client.

Fiona: By referrals.

What challenges have you faced and how do you overcome them?

Julia: I have faced public speaking on many occasions, something I didn’t think I would ever have to do when I entered this industry. Showing your design for the first time is extremely intimidating, but once you get over the first few presentations, you become more confident. Networking has been very challenging, but the more I do it, the easier it becomes, just like anything.

Fiona: We plan for the quiet time when we are busy. Having a clear business plan has been really helpful. The business partnership has been a great experience; challenging, inspiring and motivating. We have lots of discussions to work out the best approach.


Sian Edwards Leaders in Heels Business EditorSiân Edwards
Siân Edwards is a Sydney-based communications professional with experience working in public relations, media and marketing roles in both the private and public sector. She holds a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) and is passionate about writing and sharing information through different mediums. With an endless thirst for knowledge, particularly in the areas of digital marketing and social media, Sian is a true believer of ‘lifelong learning’. When she’s not working in the corporate world, she is out and about exploring Sydney and beyond for her popular food and travel blog and building on her skills as a freelance writer and editor.

Trying to decide what to wear to the office this winter? As the mercury drops and we automatically start to pile on the layers, we’ve asked Sydney-based Australian fashion brand Blooms Design what we should be looking for to add to our work winter wardrobe to stay stylish in the cooler climate.

Supporting executive women for over 20 years, every garment and accessory has been created and chosen by the Blooms team with a genuine love for modern sophistication and fashion.

Here are five top trends to incorporate into your work attire this Winter season:

1. Cobalt Blue – the colour of the season


This season’s stand out colour is Cobalt. A bold and elegant shade of blue, adding a splash of cobalt to your wardrobe (whether through a scarf, dress, cardi or accessory) will not only keep you on trend but have you projecting natural peace and calm, perfect when working in a busy or stressful office. It also suggests stability, great for locking in that deal with a new client.

2. Winter warmer favourites


Are you more of a neutral person? Soft greys, browns and burnt oranges remain a popular staple this Winter taking inspiration from the natural Australian colour palette. Team soft greys with black, charcoal or brown with pops of burnt orange or copper colours to bring more warmth into the office. Also works well with soft, natural fibres – cosy!

3. Monochrome graphics


Monochrome is always a winner for the work wardrobe, but this winter print placement monochrome is the way to go, adding edgy graphic elements to your outfit. Try a jacket or dress which incorporates monochrome graphics like geometric shapes over bolder block colours to take your outfit to the next level.

4. Stripes


Thick horizontal stripes this season are designed to make a statement. These stripes are great in a jersey dress or top, connecting comfort with high fashion trends to give you movement and flexibility. Anything geometric will work, especially if they are larger.

5. Winter coat


Keep warm while you travel to and from work this winter while looking great by adding a long collarless jacket to finish your look! Use simple monochrome techniques matching your colours and pieces to create a timeless look that can take you from day to night in the cooler months.

This article was written in collaboration with Blooms Design.

Blooms Design has been celebrating the style of Australian women in ready to wear apparel for over 20 years. Beginning with the original founders of the Blooms Design label, the team has evolved and grown with each generation of customer, adding a fresh contemporary interpretation to every original Blooms creation.

Visit to check out more Australian designer trends.

Are you a lover of fashion? Ever wanted to run your own clothing line or fashion store? For our final Day in the Life interview series, we have moved away from the corporate sectors to look at a typical day in the life of a fashion retailer. Brisbane business owner, Eleni Zaphir, sells on trend affordable fashion for women through her retail store and online fashion boutique called V I G A R I . Here is her story:

1. What time do you wake up?

I wake up at 5am most days. Yes, it’s a ridiculous time I know. Weekends…… maybe 5:30­ or 6am, I struggle to sleep in.

2. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?

Waking up so early allows me to have “me time”. This means while everyone is still asleep for an hour and a half longer, I can get to the gym while it’s still quiet. I’ll train twice a week with my personal trainer and now it’s 2015, I’ve decided to try boxing and bikrim yoga other mornings.

3. Breakfast?

Breakfast on the go is such a great convenience for the kids and I. We have invested in an amazing juicer. Our popular morning kick-start juice is spinach (lots of) with pear, banana, and some oats. Some mornings I may also make poached eggs (sounds all fancy but so easy to make!) with sourdough toast and spinach and salmon or ham. But I did say ‘some days’, meaning once a weekday.

4. How do you get to work and how long does it take?

We generally leave home by 8am. We live close to my son’s school and my daughters Dental clinic where she works. It’s only 2 minute drive from my store, V I G A R I, so it pretty much just takes us 15 minutes to do our morning drop off.

5. Lunch?

I will generally pack healthy chicken wraps for our lunches, nuts or a banana to snack on, or hard boiled eggs as it’s rare I get a moment to stop and eat at work as it’s always go, go, go. I also have the convenience of an amazing cafe next to my shop, so most days the staff just pop their heads in and ask what I’d like for lunch while I manage the shop.

6. What are the typical things you do every day?

Each day is hectic, there is never a dull moment. As I direct all and every aspect involved in my business it’s important my team and I work really well. Monday mornings are photo shoots. Soon after I’m back at the shop where I will prep the week ahead. I’ll schedule my “showings” which involve viewing new ranges for the seasons ahead (there is so much to see). I also meet with my social media guru and plan our posts for the week(s) ahead and any special or big events coming up.

By Tuesday, all edited work comes from my photographer and is uploaded to the website. I also write fashion blogs for a couple of magazines plus there’s all the other exciting things one does every week running her own business like paper work (boring!).

But my most favourite part of each day is seeing new faces and greeting my long term loyal amazing customers who I truly do this for. Everyday I have a few regulars I see and we catch up over a tea have a little chit chat as we ladies do, I’ll show them the latest styles and they’ll be off with their new pieces.

7. What do you love most about your job?

I generally enjoy everything I do in my business. It’s become a lifestyle for me. But seeing a regular customer each day is amazing, they truly have become dear friends and keep me in business.

8. How do manage all the tasks you need to do?

I schedule my daily tasks, you have to. I use to suffer from anxiety quite bad, and it wasn’t until I researched further more into it, I become aware that, yes, I have a lot on my plate but I wasn’t giving everything 100%. I use to do half arsed jobs, and think I was doing so much, but I wasn’t completing work as I should of. I realised that it was ok to start one job, complete it 100%, be content and then continue onto another.

So I now “schedule” everything that needs to be addressed, I give it a time limit that I can work on it should I wish to apply more things that day.

9. When is hometime?

Home time is roughly 6pm. The kids are home before I am and we have a roster in place for weekdays of who is cooking on what day. We have nominated “Fat Fridays”. We go out or take in on junk food. C’mon who doesn’t love a burger and fries and wash it down with a soft drink? We when follow it with ice cream. Gotta love Fat Fridays!

10. How do you relax when you do get home?

Once I am home, I obviously greet the kids, I’ll shower and chill with them, which is cool. We chat about their day and school. We never have the idiot box (TV) on. Family time is our time to talk about anything, oh and we always have music on, so whomever is cooking, it’s their night of tunes.

11. How do you manage the balance between work and personal life?

It’s important to balance both work and personal life. I have so many amazing people surrounding me and I adore them all. So catching up with friends for a cheeky wine or few is necessary.

12. How has the business changed from when you first began?

I have gained so much more knowledge and confidence running my business over the years. So much has changed in retail but i am always up for the challenge.

13. Who and/or what inspires you?

My inspirations are my kids, cliché as it may sound, but being a young mother I was determined to conquer the best in order to provide for my kids. It was a hard slog, but it was all worth it.

14. Why do you do what you do?

I own a fashion boutique because I love fashion; I love educating woman on how to dress to their personality and shape. It’s rare to find exceptional customer service, especially these days, and we deliver every time. Women come back for the whole experience. And I love that.

15. Tips for other business owners?

Ladies and gentlemen, it is so vital to have systems in place within your business. And schedule your daily tasks – yes I use this word often, but its so easy to get caught up with the day to day tasks that involve running a business and not completing them properly.

So always schedule, and always have staff meetings. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Be sure all staff add value to your brand and business also.

16. How do you define success?

Where I am today, after running a business for 8 years as I have. Success to me is not just getting through a retail economic downturn but conquering more. I have provided a lifestyle that I only wished of 19yrs ago when I had my daughter as a teenager. I have gained a sincere support from my customers, that as mentioned, who most have now become long term friends. And the kids and I have an amazing friendship and life. This is success to me.

17. What challenges have you faced as a business owner and how do you overcome them?

Retail is up and down sometimes. One of the hardship moments was the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), that was scary. But what I learnt was to have 2 ears and 1 mouth – that is, listen to your consumers, they are your free access to what is going on out there in ‘retail land’. At one point my store V I G A R I only had high end designer brands in store. However, soon after the GFC, I realised that no one was spending, not on the higher price pointed garments anyhow. I lost a lot of coin, but quickly discovered brands with quality and design that women wanted. I learnt to run my business as a directer and remove my emotional attachments I had with it. And it works.

Do you run your own retail business? How did you get through the GFC? Tell us in the comments below!

Wanting to leave the rat race and start your own business without the shackles of the traditional 9-to-5? Here’s our second Day in the Life article profiling another Australian business owner who took charge of her life and decided to work the way she wants.

Sydney-sider Heather Marano launched her freelance consulting business from home in mid 2014 and tells us about a typical day in the life of a freelance communications consultant in PR, social media and content creation:

1. What time do you wake up?

Usually around 7.30am, unless I’m exercising in the morning.

2. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?

Have a coffee! I’ll have my coffee while watching the news and catch up on any emails that came through overnight. I’ll also use this time to review my to do list for the day.

3. Breakfast – yea or nay?

I’ll usually have breakfast at home while I’m working.

4. How do you get to work, how long does it take?

Given I work from home, it takes no time at all! This is one of the great benefits of working from home.

5. Lunch?

I’ll usually eat at home, but I occasionally schedule working lunches with clients or new business prospects.

6. What are the typical things you do every day?

Every day is different but usually involves liaising with clients, client strategy and planning, posting to social media channels, copywriting, distributing media releases, pitching to journalists, sending newsletters, and drafting content calendars. Most days I’ll have at least one client meeting, either in person or over the phone, Skype or a Google Hangout.

I’ll also spend some time every day on my bookkeeping whether that be invoicing, chatting to my bookkeeper or adding my bills and expenses to Xero.

7. What decisions do you make and what is their impact?

Most of the decisions I make day-to-day for my clients involve strategy or suggestions on tactics. Underlying this are decisions about return on investment for the client. I also spend a lot of time thinking about return on investment for my business, especially when considering new business opportunities or whether to subcontract work. I also spend a lot of time making decisions on how to best manage my time and prioritise tasks.

8. What do you love most about your job?

I love having influence over every aspect of the business. The sense of ownership is motivating and gives me a sense of purpose.

9. How do you manage all the tasks you need to do?

Having a really good to-do-list is crucial. I know it sounds almost too simple, but it’s true. I obsessively update my to-do-list. My list will cover the following week (at a minimum) with tasks allocated across each day from the outset. I use a word document; I find it so much easier to shift things around if needed and I gain the satisfaction of deleting items once completed.

Another strategy I use is to immediately complete tasks that I know will take five minutes now, but will take longer later. So, say I receive an idea for a social media post for next week from a client. Rather than put it on the backburner for when I plan on completing their social media content calendar later in the week, I’ll quickly create the template and drop the post in then and there. I find that when it’s top of mind and fresh, I can do the work much more quickly than when I return to something later and have to re-familiarise myself with it. I think about it as giving my future self the gift of time.

10. When is hometime?

I’ll usually pause work just before dinner, but will then be back on the laptop afterwards to tackle the last few things on my to-do-list. If I’m lucky I might finish up by 8pm or so, but I often find myself working until 10pm or 11pm. The thing about working from home is it can be challenging to separate free time from work time. I find I have to fight the urge to fill every spare moment with work. Of course there’s a simple solution to this – to know your limits and be comfortable saying no to work so that you don’t have too much on your plate. This is something I still need to work on!

11. How do you relax when you do get home?

Again, this is an area I have to work on, but I do take time out during the day. I find just walking up to the shops, going for a run or listening to music can help me relax and de-stress.

12. How do you manage the balance between work and personal life?

Because my job is flexible, it is fairly easy to balance hobbies, exercise, social engagements and work. I make an effort to socialise mid week to make sure I’m getting away from the laptop. However, as I mentioned, I do still find it difficult to put work aside if I find myself with nothing (important) to do.

13. How has the work environment/business changed from when you first began?

I launched my business in May 2014. Since that time I’ve obviously become much busier as I’ve landed more clients. I’ve also become more confident in areas I was less familiar with from the outset, such as bookkeeping. In terms of the business environment, I’ve definitely noticed a strong demand for freelancers which continues to grow.

14. Who and/or what inspires you?

Sometimes it will be the smallest things that inspire me. I’ll hear something obscure on the radio or I’ll read about something seemingly unrelated and I’ll realise it has application for what I do or solves a problem I’m facing. It’s like flicking a switch and things suddenly becoming clear. More often than not ideas come to me at odd times, like when I’m in the shower or just about to fall asleep.

15. Why do you do what you do?

I decided to start my own business as I wanted greater control over my work and more flexibility. I had never been that great at taking direction (a seemingly common trait for many entrepreneurs!) and doing what I do happens to turn that weakness into a strength. I enjoy the challenge of pitching for business and get a thrill out of landing a new client. Knowing I could lose a client at any time also motivates me to do the best job possible.

16. Tips for aspiring freelancers?

Two main things:

  • Be super organised. The most important skill is to manage your time efficiently. Even as a one-man-band it is important you always think of your operation as a fully-fledged business. So, get your accounting in order, make sure you have insurance, be active on social media.
  • Keep good records. Don’t keep everything in your head. This will ensure you always present professionally, will help you make better business decisions and attract new business, and will allow you to scale your business should you choose to do so.

17. How do you define success?

Success is finding purpose and meaning in your work every day. I think it’s a myth that we should aspire to love what we do (the reality is that those who genuinely love what they do, don’t love it every day) but we do have to feel driven to do it – not just by money or by power – but by a sense of ownership, accomplishment or the feeling that we are making an impact in some way.

18. What challenges have you faced in the freelance business and how do you overcome them?

The biggest challenge is time – not having enough it, using it as efficiently as possible and putting some time aside for yourself. As a sole trader, it is challenging to take time off. Soon I will take my first holiday since I launched the business. To take three weeks off has involved months of meticulous planning to ensure that all work is subcontracted out and clients are comfortable and feel supported in my absence.

Do you want to go freelance? Tell us why or what is stopping you in the comments below!

Image credit: Nomadic Lass

With the new year upon us, now is the time to really focus on what you want to achieve. Perhaps it’s finishing that study course, chasing your dream job or making that business idea come to life?

This month, Leaders in Heels is running a ‘Day in the Life’ series to give you an idea of what other small business owners and entrepreneurs get up to on a daily basis and perhaps inspire you to chase your own business dreams.

Kicking off with our ex-Editor in Chief, Rashida Tayabali, who moved on to run her own businesses as a freelance writer and founder of Project Mum, a project matching service for other skilled mothers and growing businesses needing expertise for various projects. See what a typical Day in the Life of a Work At Home Mum (WAHM) is like:

1. What time do you wake up?

I’m usually up by 9am as I’m not a morning person. Early mornings make me cranky.

2. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?

I make myself a cup of tea and sit for a few minutes in silence.

3. Breakfast – yay or nay?

I have breakfast with my three-year-old who I look after full-time while also running my two businesses as a freelance writer and founder of Project Mum.

4. How do you get to work and how long does it take?

I work from home so no commuting. I definitely don’t miss the commute!

5. What are the typical things you do every day?

Project Mum is a project matching service for growing businesses that need a specific skill or expertise to complete a short or long term project. Skilled mums on our database are matched to project requirements or expertise so I check email and social media after breakfast, answer any urgent emails and then it’s activities with my son. I start working after 2pm most days.

6. What decisions do you make and what is the impact?

I make all the decisions for my business and this affects the results I get and where I put in my time.

I pride myself on managing to find solutions to the most difficult of problems and inspiring other stay at home mums to build a business they love around their children.

Flexible work is definitely the future and mums should never have to choose between their work and family as I did. I believe it’s possible to do both and do it well. Stay at home mums offer tremendous potential in terms of skills for businesses and that’s what I want to action.

7. What do you love most about your job?

I get to work for myself and I love the flexibility and autonomy this gives me compared to when I was working in the corporate world.

8. How do manage all the tasks you need to do?

By making a weekly list and prioritising tasks. Limiting myself to between 3-5 things per week ensures I don’t get overwhelmed with managing a preschooler in the house full-time too.

9. How do you manage the balance between work and personal life?

I’m a little bad at this as I tend to be consumed with work when I’m really in the zone. I try not to work on the weekends unless I have a deadline and limit the number of apps on my phone to avoid wasting time.

10. How has the work environment changed from when you first began?

I’m a lot further along than I was when I first started in both my businesses and the amount of work I’m doing has also increased.

11. Who and/or what inspires you?

A challenge inspires me – I’m always looking to learn new things and achieve more.

12. Why do you do what you do?

Because I need to have certain achievements as an individual and as a woman separate to what I do as a mum. I’m fiercely independent and always have sought to do my own thing.

My aim is for Project Mum to develop into a place where mums can rediscover themselves by using those hard earned skills and knowledge they acquired before bubs to do work they really enjoy. A place where small business owners can get access to help, tips, and inspiration in running their own businesses.

13. Tips for other WAHM?

Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Nothing is more demoralising than this and it’s a complete waste of time. Believe in yourself and hang on during the bad times.

14. How do you define success?

It needs to be personal and is different for everyone, and you need to be committed to that definition.

15. What challenges have you faced as a WAHM and how have you overcome them?

Looking after my son full time means I don’t have the luxury to work as many hours as I can. I work around him rather than expect him to fit into my schedule. When I need help I ask for it. I don’t try and be everything to everyone and when I need time out I take it.

Are you a Work At Home Mum, tell us how do you manage your business and family in the comments below?

As the year comes to a close, we start to evaluate our successes and failures in the year and look forward to the future. If you’re thinking of starting your own business in the new year or have some time on your hands and are simply looking for some inspiration, here are 10 must read books we think every aspiring entrepreneur should read:

make your mark notebook by kasia gospos

1. Make Your Mark

This one is a no brainer for the Leaders in Heels team! The Make Your Mark notebook was the result of lots of hard work by our founder Kasia Gospos and would make the perfect gift for a friend or family member who needs a bit of a push in the right direction. Filled with positive quotes, thoughts and assignments for the everyday woman (or man!) these are interactive books aimed to stimulate a new way of thinking and develop positive traits in your life and business.

daring and disruptive lisa messenger

2. Daring and Disruptive – Unleashing the Entrepreneur

There’s no doubt Lisa Messenger is a risk taker. Engaging and raw, this book is filled with stories of Lisa’s real experiences running her businesses – including a successful publishing company and the Renegade Collective magazine – while living life to the fullest. Filled with the fun and the failures, Daring and Disruptive is not just another feel good book blending Lisa’s personal stories with the important business lessons she has learned along the way – you won’t be able to put it down!

Me Time Front-Cover3. Me Time – The Professional Woman’s Guide to finding 30 guilt-free hours a month

Everyone has the same amount of hours in the day, but imagine if you had an extra 30 hours a month to do whatever you please. Oh the things you would do! This is what author and entrepreneur Kate Christie tries to give you in her simple and practical 5 step guide to finding those elusive extra hours. Solution focused and with interviews from successful Australian women, including Natasha Stott Despoja, this is book will have you seeking out those hours across all aspects of your life!

lean-startup_book-cover4. The Lean Startup

Perfect for those wanting to start their own business, this book gives a scientific approach to creating and managing start ups from the very beginning and being flexible to the beast that is a new product or service. Author Ries tries to instil the ‘work smarter, not harder’ approach to new business and gives great tips for people to think about before they start their journey.

wired for life

5. Wired for Life: Retrain your brain and thrive

Written by 2 female entrepreneurs, this book has helped many people create the business and life they want. Drawing on their own personal experiences with corporate and private clients, the authors reveals the 5 fears that will hold you back and how to overcome them through a three-step process for harnessing the power of your mind and creating the life you want. By understanding why you behave the way you do and the reasons behind your decisions, you will gain insight into how you can change your mind (and life) for the better.

thrive-book-cover6. Thrive

Thinking about influential entrepreneurs, we could not forget this one on the list. Thrive is an honest account of Huffington’s journey to the top whilst juggling life, her family and beyond and describes her personal “wake up call” that a successful life is about more than just money and reputation. Learn what priorities you should be focussing on and get inspired.

losing m virginity richard branson cover

7. Losing my Virginity

Another one at the top of the entrepreneur’s list is Richard Branson’s autobiography. Described as “a portrait of a productive, sane, balanced life, filled with rich and colorful stories” this book will reveal how Branson first began and how he manages to stay on top of his competition. A true risk taker in every sense – this book is an inspirational memoir that belongs on every entrepreneur’s bookshelves.

the 4 hour work week

8. 4-Hour Work Week

This book is all about escaping the 9-to-5 lifestyle and freeing up your time while making money. #1 New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss will teach you how he is able to work a four hour week to make $40,000 a month. There is no need to wait until retirement anymore and Ferriss will show you how it’s all possible!

the_100_startup9. The $100 Startup

Another example of how you can take an idea and turn it into a reality on the cheap, Guillebeau presents 50 case studies of successful entrepreneurs who have built their businesses from a modest $100 (or in some cases less!) and how they did it to live the life they really wanted. Highlighting that often you don’t need that university education or investor behind the scenes, this book will teach you the most valuable lessons learned from those who’ve already done it.


10. Design Your Life

“This book is more than words, more than images. It’s about inspiring ideas to life. It’s about proving the impossible possible,’ – Vince Frost”.

All about inspiring others using design principles, it’s a bit different to the usual but the messages and principles Frost presents are relevant to any person looking for guidance. Littered with motivational quotes, informative interviews with other successful people and personal anecdotes, Frost will have you looking at your life a little differently, and that’s a good thing.

Do you have a favourite book that inspires you? Tell us the title in the comments below and how it has helped you!

Sian Edwards Leaders in Heels Business EditorSiân Edwards is a Sydney-based communications professional with experience working in public relations, media and marketing roles in both the private and public sector. With an endless thirst for knowledge, particularly in the areas of digital marketing and social media, Sian is a true believer of ‘lifelong learning’. When she’s not working in the corporate world, she is out and about exploring Sydney and beyond for her popular food and travel blog and building on her skills as a freelance writer and editor.

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