“The next five years of your life will be determined by the people you meet and the books you read.” – Dave Ramsey

Most creative artists – photographers included – don’t have a natural business bone in their bodies. So instead of being artists first and businesspeople second, oftentimes they’re artists first and second – and businesspeople never – when, really, to be able to do what they love over a long period of time, we should all really be businesspeople first and creative artists second. The problem? That doesn’t come as naturally to us as we think it should. In reality, though, business is a learned behavior just like art. Sure, there’s an element of God-given talent involved, but that’s just part of it.

We tell photographers all the time that no one was born with “an eye” for photography. We were all born with two eyes that function exactly the time as everyone else’s. Our eyes have been trained over time to know what we want and like, and what we don’t. It’s a lot of trial and error – and trial by fire – but we persevere because we love it and we want to get better and better. No one came out of the womb knowing how to hold a camera and use it well, and no one was born with a better business brain than someone else. They worked for it, just like you did with we all do with our art.

But here’s the thing, as photographers, we only spend about 20% of our time shooting (if that). The other 80% is dedicated to either working in our business (the day-to-day running of things) or working on our business (growing it for the future). So that, of course, begs the question: if we’re spending 80% of our time on business, and our business is what lets us do what we love, why aren’t we spending more time learning about business?

Maybe we think that if our photos are good enough, the business will run itself. But it won’t. Maybe we’re scared. Maybe we feel inadequate. Maybe, just like money, nobody ever talked to us about business, and we think it’s too late. Well, friends, we’re here to tell you that it’s not too late! It’s just time to start. You can’t become a business guru overnight, but you can make a 15-minute commitment every day that’ll put you in the top few percent of businesspeople in the country.

We’ve heard that the average millionaire in America reads at least one business book per month, and at around 300 pages per book, we’d only have to read 10 pages per day to do what millionaires do. And, if we can just pull one idea from each book that’ll keep our business from falling forward and instead move it forward, that’s twelve improvements to our business that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. And, when you consider that only 2% of businesses survive ten years, at 120 new business ideas over the course of a decade, you’re probably a lot more likely to still be standing when everyone else has long since closed shop.

You might be thinking, That sounds good, but I don’t even know where to start! We can help with that, because we’ve already done some of the work by reading some of the best business books out there for you to choose from!

So, here’s your challenge for this week: choose one book from our recommended list and either buy it or get it from your local library. Then, read 10 pages every day for 30 days. Write your ideas down or find someone to share them with, and see at the end of the month if you feel weaker or more empowered, less confident or bolder, brimming with new ideas or the same as you were a month earlier. Our bet is that you’ll feel energized, pumped up, and ready to tackle another book that’ll give you the fuel you need to run the engine that keeps your art alive: your business.

Keep calm and read on, friends.

Our Business Book List

Here’s the list of 10 business books we recommended in Step 3 of our Making the Leap blog series and still love to this day:

Quitter, by Jon Acuff

This is the ultimate book for anyone on the fence between their day job and their dream job. It’ll change your outlook and help you make a smart transition from one to the other. Plus, the author’s really funny, so turning the pages is actually pretty fun.

START, by Jon Acuff

If you wanna get fired up about business and life, this is the book for you. You’ll wanna attack every day and chase your dream. Did we mention we love Jon Acuff?

Entreleadership, by Dave Ramsey

If you need a clear, straightforward business book to get you started, this one’s for you. Dave breaks down the playbook of how his business went from a card table in his living room to a multi-milion dollar company and one of Nashville’s best places to work.

Purple Cow, by Seth Godin

You’ll think differently after reading this book. You’ll always be thinking of ways to stand out from the crowd and cut through the marketing noise to reach your audience.

Good to Great, by Jim Collins

Seeing example after example of companies who were almost identical until one surged ahead is an incredible lesson in being better than average. If you only read this book for the boulder analogy (you’ll know it when you see it), it’ll be worth your time.

The E-Myth, by Michael Gerber

Don’t cry when you read this. We almost did. Okay, let’s be real, Amy totally cried. And that’s exactly what we needed, a reality check, a kick in the pants, and a challenge. Every good business needs systems in place so that things don’t fall through the cracks. Approach it from this angle: How does this apply to photography? You’ll be just fine and come out with such valuable wisdom that it’ll make the tears worth it.

Love is the Killer App, by Tim Sanders

If you want to get excited about loving and serving other people, this is the one to read. Powerful stuff.

The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss

Time management! We cut our cable and stopped reading the news for more than a few minutes per day after reading this book. The principles here will save you time at work and get you more time doing the things you love.

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

The oldest book on our list, and perhaps one of the most important! You’ll learn how to uplift people in this book by taking the focus off yourself and putting it on other people.

No More Mondays, by Dan Miller

If you’ve ever had a “case of the Mondays,” then pick this book up. It’ll help you see the light at the end of the tunnel and find vocational freedom.

Books We’re Reading Right Now

Business Brilliant, by Lewis Schiff

Jab, Jab, Right Hook, by Gary Vaynerchuk

Extreme Productivity, by Robert Pozen

Historic Estate Wedding Phoenix Arizona Photo_0101

Free Tips and Tricks 

Want FREE photography and business tips and tricks that you can’t find on our blog delivered straight to your inbox every week? We’ve gotcha covered! Click here to sign up for The Monday Minute, our exclusive email community, where we pack tons of valuable education into your email each week for free!

Wanna Shoot Like Amy and Jordan?

We’re so proud of our shooting and editing course students all across the world! They’re shooting better, editing faster and serving their clients better than ever before!

Looking for more resources?

Alisa

how-to-grow-your-business1

21 comments

    Melissa Tan

    I watched your video from your blog last night and ordered Quitter from amazon. Both you of you really helped me feel more motivated about my photography. I work a day job and ideally I would rather be photographing portraits and weddings. But as you advised, I will read the book and be thankful for my job that provides money to pay the bills and help me fund my passion of photography. I enjoy following your blog and posts! I hope to sometime meet you both one day. Do you ever do meet ups? If so, what would you charge? I am going to be in Phoenix in early October :) thank you for your time reading this message.

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Melissa! You're gonna LOVE "Quitter" so much! It's what helped turn us around when we were feeling negative about our day jobs. We totally do in-person and Skype coaching sessions and would be so happy to get together with you! Shoot us an email at info@amyandjordan.com with your dates and we'll see if we're in town! Either way, though, we can Skype, but in-person would be fun!

    Josiah Blizzard

    Challenge accepted! Thanks for all of your awesome blog content! Its super inspiring!

    Amy & Jordan

    You're so welcome, Josiah! Let us know what you read and what you get from it! Good luck, friend!

    Cinnamon Wolfe

    you should add "Contagious" by Berger to your list of "to read". I feel like it is right up your ally! Thanks for all the great suggestions. I love Jon Acuff but haven't read any of his books. And Good to Great is a game changer for anyone in business. Thanks guys!!

    Amy & Jordan

    We need to try that book! It sounds amazing! Sorry we're just now getting back to you, too! Hugs, friend!

    Steph Wahlig

    I'm so pumped and definitely going to try this!

    Amy & Jordan

    So awesome! Do it!

    Marvin Blue

    I love your blogs, I am continuously learning and evolving everyday.

    Amy & Jordan

    Wow! Thanks, Marvin! That means so much to us :-)

    Richard Bremer

    Great challenge, I'm going to do this! The first boom might be Purple Cow or Quitter. Do either books hold up for other markets besides the USA? I'm from The Netherlands and I've noticed that Dutch people require a different approach then an American audience.

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi, Richard! Love it! We can't say FOR CERTAIN that everything is 100% transferable to other markets, but we imagine the vast majority of it is, because there are so many universal truths in both of them about how people think and operate in general. Hope that helps!

    Elle

    I would so love an updated post to this one to hear about any new books you're reading! Hugs, Elle

    Amy & Jordan

    Hey Elle! We're currently loving Contagious by Jonah Berger, Do Over by Jon Acuff and The Art of Work by Jeff Goins :) Happy 2016!!

    Lisa Villella

    I just discovered you guys and I am in love! I am a part-time photographer, but I am doing my research so that I can officially start my business. I saw the two of you on the Turn It Up Conference and I have been hooked on you ever since. I find your stories to be super engaging and so relatable! Thank you!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw, thank you! We're so glad to have you along for the journey!

    Shelle Patrick

    Hello guys!
    You two are amazing and so inspiring! I learn and evolve everyday from your posts, and character. Thank you for following your dreams. I love this book list I am excited to read them all. Question: Do you guys buy kindle version, audio or rent from a library? Do you read together one book at a time? I have a dream to be a photographer would love to meet with you both. Do you ever drive down to Tucson AZ? If so I would love to buy you guys a coffee and Gilmore girls :) Thank you for your passion and heart!

    Susan Doverspike

    Am reading Good to Great now.

    Amy & Jordan

    Good!! It's awesome!!

    Vicky

    I have a few of Dave Ramsey's I haven't gone around reading Entreleadership but today is a great day to start. Thank you so much for all the tips you guys are awesome!!