Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm the biggest #BOSS that you've seen thus far

So I just wrapped up one of the bossiest books ever, #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of the multimillion dollar online clothing retailer, Nasty Gal, which she started by selling a stolen book on an eBay page she created back in 2006. Real boss move right? She had no start up money, no job, no degree, just a computer and a simple idea; which after just a few years, she managed to build an extremely profitable online business raking in over $100,000 in revenue per day. Did I mention that she has 1 million dollars in the bank? BOOM! 
Now in all honesty, I was not familiar with Nasty Gal prior to purchasing a copy of #GIRLBOSS (probably because I tend to do my shopping face-to-face in stores like Ross and Burlington Coat Factory every 6 months). I came across Amoruso's book on my Instagram page and believe it or not, it was the hash tag title that enticed me to buy it during a lunch break at work; and I am really glad that I did! It's definitely not your typical autobiography and Amoruso doesn't quite fit the pre-entrepreneur profile that is common with this level of success; (which probably just means that I need to read more autobiographies) and I think that's why I can appreciate this book so much. 

Amoruso is like that cool, big sister that you try to emulate but can't because she won't let you make the same stupid mistakes that she did. In #GIRLBOSS she walks us through her quirky, thrift store obsessed childhood and life as an immature, dead broke young adult who couldn't hold down a steady job. She shares details about the events leading up to how she started Nasty Gal, which are pretty interesting to say the least. Let's just say it involved checking IDs at San Francisco's Academy of Art University, a hernia, and a Starting an eBay Business for Dummies book. And for all you wondering minds, the name was inspired by American Funk singer, Betty Davis' Nasty Gal lyrics.

What I loved most about #GIRLBOSS is how down-to-earth and honest Amoruso is with her readers about what it's like to be a young adult who's totally clueless about what exactly you want to do with your life. Aside from sharing her laundry list of mistakes and shortcomings; she offers pretty sound career, financial, and business advice too. She even goes as as far as providing readers with a list of things NOT to do if they get fired from a job like not "...flipping the bird to the executive team on your way out". As an HR professional, I can tell you that this is really good advice. Throwing a verbal or non-verbal temper tantrum after getting fired (which I hope none of you ever have to go through) does not get you a pass just because you no longer work for the company. You never know if or when your next job might contact your old job to verify dates of employment and the "reason" for your termination.

Quite frankly, I think that all aspiring entrepreneurs: male or female could benefit from some of the lessons and wisdom that Amoruso shares in her autobiography. Other than being a real boss who happens to be a woman; Amoruso has made it her business to learn how to effectively run her business; hence, going from a one-man show to an 350-person strong workforce. That's admirable! Being an entrepreneur myself, I can totally relate to Amoruso during her very early stages of building Nasty Gal. The Jane-of-all-trades role that she played at that time is one that I currently occupy as the sole proprietor of Mustard Seed Career Professionals, an agency that I founded last year which provides career services to job seekers, students, and working professionals. I'm a one-man team and I am all too familiar with the late nights working on a client's order after leaving my 9-5, sending PayPal invoices, and keeping track of orders on an excel spreadsheet. Although owning a business is very rewarding, it can also be very exhausting and discouraging, especially if you're not growing as fast as you'd like. In spite of this, I've learned that if you have a true passion for what you're doing then YOU hold the key ingredient for your success. For example, MSCP has helped me realized how much I love writing, particularly freelance creative writing (hint: this blog), so who knows where this may take me...somewhere that leads to me getting a good foot massage I hope.

With that said, I'll end this post with a #GIRLBOSS message from Sophia Amoruso...
You create the world, blink by blink. It is entirely yours to discover and yours to create.
Should you Open or Close this book? Open it! You may not be able to relate to her on a personal level but we can all learn from her on the career, financial, and business level.
Would I read another book by this author? Yes, even though I can't see her writing another one anytime soon.
What will I read next? My Education by Susan Choi

To all aspiring girl and guy bosses reading this, what did you think of the book? Did you find Amoruso's advice helpful? For those of you that haven't read #GIRLBOSS, are you considering purchasing the book? If so, how do you think it can help you? 

Write your comments below. I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, June 27, 2014

No church in the wild, hmmm...maybe not; but there sure are writers out there!

I recently finished reading Cheryl Strayed's, Wild a memoir about her 1995 journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. For all of you that don't know what and where the PCT is (because let's be honest, how many of us actually remember what we learned in geography class even though I'm proud to say that I do remember what a plateau is), it's a hiking trail that stretches from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State. Although Cheryl has very little hiking experience to take on this type of trail, she makes up her mind to hike the PCT all by her 26-year old self following the split from her ex-husband. Wearing hiking boots that are a half-size too small and carrying a backpack the size of a mini refrigerator, Cheryl leads herself astray on the PCT tossing blackened toe nails in between hikes while drinking water diluted with iodine pills along the way. Sounds like a major struggle right? Yes! All for nothing? Not exactly.

Cheryl a.k.a. the hard-ass mother-[bleep] Amazonian Queen (her words not mine) has quite an enlightening experience on the PCT. She faced new fears, overcame old fears, found inner peace, and toned her body along the way (not a shabby deal if I might say so myself). Don't believe me, check out what this highlighter maven happen to snag while reading Wild:
Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.
I don't know about you; but I thought this was a pretty profound statement simply because it sheds light on something that we're all guilty of, magnifying our worries and allowing them to dictate the choices and decisions we make in our lives. I know that I've been guilty of doing this, which is why I make a conscious effort to be fearless in my decision making. For example, my 25-year old self recently ended a relationship with a man that I had gotten engaged to shortly after we met. Although I was a fiancé without an engagement ring and he lived in a different country, I accepted his marriage proposal via cellphone (yes, I really got engaged over the phone). It was the very first time that I had gotten into a relationship without going through a 2-month friends ONLY trial period beforehand, so as you can imagine it was all new to me and very shocking to my friends and family when I shared the big news with them (my mother is still in denial that the whole thing ever happened). But I was gung-ho about marrying him until one day I wasn't. One day turned into 2 days then 2 days turned into several weeks then before you know it, I was pretty darn sure that I didn't want to be his wife anymore, at least not yet anyway.

What I'm trying to say is that although he and I are both good people and I had already agreed to be his wife, that doesn't give me an excuse to succumb to my fears of what my friends and family might think about me for making one of the wildest decisions of my entire life then calling the whole thing off. I decided that this was the safest decision for me at this point in my life. I am strong enough to handle the blow back that I may receive because of my decision. I am brave enough to move on with my life. Nothing could vanquish me because God has my back.

For those of you that have read Wild, what did you think about it? For those of you that haven't, do you think this is something you might want to read? Either way, I am very interested in hearing what you have to say, so comment below.

Should you Open or Close this book? Open it! It's worth the read.
Would I read another book by this author? Yes
What will I read next? #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bookworms near & far, come read this wherever you are.

Hello! My name is Abbigail (yes, I am fully aware that I'm telling you what my name is even though it's on my profile and in the signature of this post; but the better question is, who's gonna check me?) Any who, I'm new to this whole blog writing thing that's if my over-sized, uploaded background photo, powerpuff girl color palate, and elementary school font hasn't already given that away. I'm an HR professional by trade; however, I am also a good ol' fashioned, crack open a book, highlighter maven, reading enthusiast! I love all kinds of books: non-fiction, fiction, self-help, memoirs, cry me a river stories; why men are mentally and emotionally draining stories (don't you dare give me the side eye! We all read these type of stories). With that said, I started the Open! Close! Book! blog to share my thoughts and opinions about books that a) I selected myself during an unplanned and often unbudgeted trip to Barnes & Nobles; b) was recommended to me by someone else; or c) just so happen to come across via social media a.k.a. a screenshot of some person's Instagram page that I saw it on, BOOM!). Long story short, I'm a bookworm and my hope is that bookworms from all over the world will gather under my posts daily to read and share their thoughts about the books that I read and recommend new books to me along the way. #bookwormsunite