After a frenetic June, I finally found a few hours to sink into an armchair and give myself up to reading. And at hand was a new book about two things near and dear to me: women in business, and writing. I’ve been running a small business for about ten years now, and all the while I have been talking about writing a book—or perhaps several books.
But it isn’t going to happen unless several things change. And then I pick up this book by Julie Watson, relating not just her own experience transforming herself into a writer, but the experiences of women across this country as they forge their own way in the businesses of their choosing.
Julie’s own story is inspirational. At sixty, she is still pursuing her own dreams, and doing a remarkably good job of earning a living with her pen. Her writing style is as comfortable as an old shoe and you just know her advice and her suggestions don’t come off the top of her head but from hard-learned lessons in her own life. If it is true that really good writers integrate bits of themselves in everything they write, then Julie Watson is an exceptionally good scribe. She is open and frank about the obstacles she faces. No hiding behind a mask for her.
While Julie has always put family first, having a plan and following through on it has given her businesses focus and structure. Putting that plan in writing helps her visualize what she wants to accomplish, and underlines her commitment to her plan.
While Julie has written about women in businesses across Canada, I most enjoyed learning about Atlantic Canadian women who have found success “their way”. Rita McNeil is a household name, known for both her songs and her tearoom. Nancy Regan most of us know from her long stint with ATV, before venturing out on her own as an actor and professional speaker.
However, How Women Make Money includes women unknown to many of us. Sandra Fields is the nom-de-plume of a Harlequin Romance writer with over 50 books to her credit. Dina Shippley turns out delicious sugar pies and other goodies at the Moncton Farmers Market, through “Cuisine Dina”; and in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent, the Olivier Soapery, founded by Isabel P. Gagne, is a paramedical eco-skin care manufacturing company, selling products around the world.
“Working from the Home Front” is a chapter you won’t want to miss if you operate or are contemplating starting a home-based business. Watson has included a wealth of common-sense advice, and a few words of warning on such topics as taxing matters, contracting out and finding meeting space.
Initially, I would have appreciated a list, by province, of the women I met between these covers, to make checking my information just a bit easier. However, once I became more familiar with the names, I found the index sufficient. In addition, there is contact information for each woman, a list of other similar books we might enjoy reading, and a couple of pages of information sources, that would be of particular interest to anyone seeking advice on entrepreneurial pursuits.
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