One of the most challenging things about starting your own business revolves around your very own cold hard cash. When you're starting out, you may scratch your head over how much you should pull from your savings account and dump into backing your idea. You may even head on over to the bank to chat about getting a loan to help fuel your mighty business plan.
Once the money starts pouring in, the head scratches over your money become even more confusing at times. You'll start to wonder how you should do your business accounting, pay taxes correctly, and even attempt to figure out how much of a salary you should take for yourself every month.
The best places to look for some of those answers are right inside books written by other fierce and fearless female entrepreneurs. Here are four of the best financial advice books to pick up this month:
1. Get Your Advice from a Shark
Author: Barbara Corcoran
If you've ever tuned into ABC's Shark Tank, you'll know Barbara Corcoran for her poise, determination, and at times, ruthlessness. But, you may wonder how she became a major player in real estate and the owner of a $6 billion dollar business. Her book tells her real-life story of how at age 22, she borrowed $1,000 from her boyfriend, quit her job as a waitress and started a small real estate office in New York City. Through her stories, you're able to watch her journey unfold and see how she took a small amount of borrowed cash and created a well-known empire.
2. Build a Relationship With Your Cash
Author: Amanda Steinberg
Who better to take money advice from than the founder of a financial site for women, Dailyworth.com. Amanda Steinberg's book dives deep into the relationships that women have with self-worth and money. The book outlines the key financial information that women need to know, while also cracking down on why women feel stressed and anxious when it comes to their own finances. She allows readers to feel as though money can be a source of freedom and independence, and that alone is why the book is worthy of a read.
3. Become a Badass With Your Cash
Author: Jen Sincero
You may have already fallen in love with Jen Sincero after reading her first book, You are a Badass, a couple of years ago. But she's back and this time; she's here to spew money advice that you've never heard before. Jen explores her own money transformation through personal essays with bite-size concepts and digestible advice. She helps readers tap into their natural ability to become rich, relate to money in a new way, and uncover what's holding a person back from making money.
4. Learn How to Go Big Instead of Going Home
Author: Julia Pimsleur
If you're looking for a book that gives advice from a handful of women entrepreneurs, who have raised capital, created powerful networks, and built multimillion-dollar companies – from scratch – this book is the one you should check out. It gives you the tips you need to secure funding, scale up and make the right connections. Plus, you'll find exercises at the end so that you can start working on your own money plan and strategy before you flip to the final page of this book.
Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.
Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.
Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.
As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success in directly linked to women's' appearance, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.
Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.
So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.
Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.
For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."