Patient, concise and fully explained, Bianca Miller-Cole and Byron Cole have succeeded in producing a step-by-step guide that is not only useful and essential but is easy to read and simple to reference.
A product of both of their well-publicised careers and ambitions, the book is an encyclopaedia of insider tips that feel as if they are coming from a personal business mentor. Breaking down the processes of setting up, marketing, developing an online presence and even how best to categorise clients/customers has been laid bare in expressly simple terms. From business startup all the way to selling it off, nothing has been negated.
Including lists of the best websites for exposure and analytics, not to mention explicit pros and cons of sourcing external funding, this is a book that you’ll need more than one bookmark for, because if you are a corner-folder, like me, your copy is going to look very worn, very quickly.
You’ll reference this book often and what I liked about it is that it is not a beginning-to-end read. It’s an ‘open up to this page and get the answer you need’, which is written in an uncomplicated, yet non-patronising manner. This tone is on-brand for both Bianca and Byron, who I have had the pleasure of meeting personally and speaking with.
The book aptly reflects their personalities, which in this case is important because they have both genuinely built their respective businesses separately and with radically different approaches, so you have the opportunity, in each chapter, to get a different perspective.
In some areas, I did feel that the obvious was being stated. The explanation of how a website address and domain name should be created, for example, seemed a little obvious, however this was merely the authors not wanting to miss anything out.
I thought the section on social media growth, in particular, was vital. If you don’t work regularly with social media, it will open your eyes and give you a prescriptive process to follow in order to grow your footprint. If you think you know everything about this already, be prepared for a surprise.
This is not a motivational ‘hoo-raah’ like so many other business books, where the authors attempt to force their point of view onto you and because of this, at no point do you doubt your ideas or your ability to succeed. If anything, for me, reading Self Made brought to mind those exciting moments in my childhood where I discovered a cheat code for a difficult computer game; one of those hacks that made it possible to enter the final boss level with infinite health or ammunition.
Some lasting ideas that the book left me with?
- Always do your homework
- Remember your brand message
- Be flexible with good ideas
- Keep an eye on the details, but don’t sweat the small stuff.