Lessons from Spark & Hustle {Amanda’s Review}

Posted 13 March, 2013 by Amanda / 14 Comments

Lessons from Spark & Hustle {Amanda’s Review}Spark & Hustle by Tory Johnson
Genres: Business & Economics, Small Business
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted

YOUR PASSION. YOUR PURPOSE. YOUR PROFIT. Some people are willing to spend their lives working for someone else. Not you. You’re ready to start your own business—or grow your existing business into something bigger. You’re ready to take control of your life, your finances, your future.  Tory Johnson helps you make it happen. Based on her phenomenally successful “Spark & Hustle” workshops, Tory breaks down the basics, and helps you create a plan for success, including

  • Exploring your motivations to profit from your passion
  • How to nail a one-page business plan to launch your idea with clarity and confidence
  • Finding the money to get going, perfecting your revenue and pricing
  • Making social media (and other free tools) profitable for you
  • Mastering sales without cringing at the thought of asking for money
  • Detailed strategies for every aspect of your start-up and tactics to hustle for ongoing small business success

Perfect kick in the business pants.

My Takeaways from Spark and Hustle

I know this is likely a book not to appeal to many of my readers. It’s relevant to me however, and it’s something that I want to talk about. Rather than doing a typical review, I want to highlight the aspects of this book that resonated with me–and what may resonate with you, even if you’re not a small business owner.

There will never be a “right” time. Stop waiting and go for it.

This lesson actually led me to put the book down after two chapters so that I could work on filling out my marketing services. I’d been waiting to set them up for stupid reasons. No more.

How it applies to blogging: Stop waiting for approval. If you want to do something, do it. You’re never going to know if people are interested in doing something (a feature/meme/event, etc) until you start posting about it.

-Sell yourself first.

This was more of a confirmation of what I already knew rather than a new lesson. People are ultimately looking to connect. They can’t do that with your company or what you’re selling. They’re going to connect with YOU.

How it applies to blogging: People are going to connect with YOU first, not your blog or your posts. If people feel they can connect with you, they’ll be more interested in your blog and posts.

-Working for yourself means longer hours–but greater job satisfaction.

I think this is something that many people don’t realize. Sure, I can go to work in pajamas or take a walk in the middle of the afternoon, but I also often find myself working until 8pm (or later) and on the weekends. And I work on things that I don’t get paid for. (Marketing efforts, for example.) I work A LOT, but I also wake up every morning excited for what the day will bring me. (And I’m a workaholic anyway, so I like that my mind is occupied.)

How it applies to blogging: blogging is work. It’s time consuming and we don’t even get paid for it–but it’s also rewarding. (And if it’s not rewarding, it’s worth figuring out why. It should be.)

-Make your pitch relevant to your customer/client, not you.

People aren’t interested in you, they’re interested in what you can do for them. It’s not that I’m Amanda with wicked awesome language skills, it’s that I’m Amanda and I will whip your manuscript into shape and get it ready for readers’ eyes.

How it applies to blogging: give people a reason to read your posts. “Because I wrote it” isn’t reason enough.

-Social media is a must.

Social media is a fantastic way to increase your exposure–for free. It’s a good marketing tool to connect with people. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like using it–it’s about where your target market is. I avoided Pinterest for the longest time and finally gave in when I was working on my website design course. What I didn’t discover until a few months later was that I could use Pinterest to collect and display grammar advice, help, and humor. It is, to this date, my most active and popular Pinterest board. Bonus? I can sneak my own stuff in there.

How it applies to blogging: there are many people I’ve met through social media (Twitter especially) that I would have never met otherwise. Don’t underestimate the power of social media.

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking about starting a small business or you need a kick in the pants (like I did), this is a good place to start. Authors, don’t avoid this because you think you’re not a small business–you are, just in a different way. All the things Tory talks about in this book can be easily applied to being an author.

For being a non-fiction book, Tory makes this read more like one long discussion post. It’s accessible and useful, but never overwhelming. She presents the information in a way that says, “This is what worked for me or my clients” but urges you to decide what will work for you. This is usually how I approach things, so I really respect it coming from other people.



Filed under: ESR: 9, Non-Fiction, Review: Amanda,


14 Responses to “Lessons from Spark & Hustle {Amanda’s Review}”

  1. Great post! Very important, especially to authors. You have to market yourself. Many readers identify with the authors name, not the title of their books. Thanks for sharing.

    Paul R. Hewlett

    • That’s absolutely true, Paul. I think authors do a disservice to themselves if they only market their books. You also need to have the name recognition so that when you publish a book, you get “X author has a new book out? I MUST GET IT,” rather than, “Who’s that? What’s the book about?” I’m hoping that, over time, I can add some kind of author marketing service to my business so I can help authors brand themselves. :)

  2. I can see how this would apply to blogging or writing and, even though I’m not starting a small business, this sounds like it was an informative book. I especially like the “sell yourself first”, which definitely applies to our blogs!

    • I know! There’s a lot here that can be applied to many people, not just business owner. (And a lot of people actually compare blogging with running a business. For good reason, I think. There are a lot of similarities.)

  3. Fantastic ideas! I’m reading my way through so many business books right now as well, and they are definitely infiltrating my actual life. The theme of just get to it already is so applicable to so many things in life.

    • I know! It’s all about action. I’m working to overcome my perfectionist tendencies. It’s better to be done than perfect. (I think this may also be a lesson from the book… or Stacey has just told it to me so much that I’ve internalized it. lol.)

  4. Absolutely fabulous post Amanda! I’m definitely the type of person that sits back and waits to start new things, in fact, I’m doing it write now with my design business. I’ve told myself it’s going to be a “rebuilding” year in which I rearrange the way I do the business, but I’ve yet to work toward that goal. Instead, I’m letting myself get caught up in the same day to day stuff that’s been slowly draining my enthusiasm for the type of work I do and not putting my energy toward change. I know there will never be that elusive “right” moment where all the pieces fall into place and the business magically changes itself, so I completely relate to that part of what was said. I need to just go for it:)

    • Jenny! Do you do any online networking with other business people? I’ve started to get involved with Young Female Entrepreneurs (YFE) and it’s been GREAT as far as connecting with other women in the same boat. (I’ve also been able to pick up an editing job through people I’ve met.) There are some great resources out there too. Email me if you ever want to talk business. :D