Our Retailer Mastermind’s Book Club Book Roundup with Guest Millie Blackwell | Episode 180

Creative Shop Talk Podcast Episode 180 |  Our Retailer Mastermind’s Business Book Club Book Roundup with Guest Millie Blackwell

Creative Shop Talk Podcast Episode 180 | Our Retailer Mastermind's Book Club Book Roundup with guest Millie Blackwell | with Retail Coach Wendy Batten
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With Retail Coach Wendy Batten

Listen on:  Apple Podcasts |Spotify | Radio Republic | YouTube | PlayerFM | Stitcher | iHeartRadio

Show Notes:

Did you know we have an active book club in my Level Up Mastermind? It’s true – we do! One of our amazing members – Millie Blackwell of Mrs. Blackwell’s Village Bookshop – curates an incredible list of books for our Mastermind members and leads our business book club each month. Today, Millie and I are having a fun time reviewing the books we read so far this year!

Don’t miss the first episode Millie and I recorded together. Bonus points for whoever knows which of the books we review today Millie called out as a favorite in Episode 132. It’s linked below!

A quick reminder – before you shop the big guys for you reading and listening think local retail first. 

How to support your local booksellers:

  1. Shop in store! This is the very best way for your local booksellers to help you find exactly what you are looking for – and maybe even a little more!
  2. Shop your local bookstore’s website or through bookshop.org . Bookshop.org is an amazing alternative to shopping on Amazon. You can choose which shop you want your purchase to support. Use bookshop.org if your favorite local bookstore doesn’t have their own website.
  3. Purchase audiobooks through Libro.fm. Libro.fm is an alternative to Audible.

New Zealand followers, you can shop directly with Millie HERE

The Books:

Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr (2014)

Our thoughts/themes/takeaways: To us, this book was all about overcoming your inner critic and self doubt.

Millie shared this quote:

“Feedback can only tell you something about the person giving you the feedback.  It can’t tell you anything essential about yourself.” – Tara Mohr

I loved this one:

“I wrote this book because I’m tired of meeting women who have important messages to share but whose self-doubt is keeping them quiet. I’m tired of encountering woman after woman diluted by the myth that she needs to be MORE of something: more qualified, more prepared… than she already is in order to share her ideas.” – Tara Mohr 

Millie & Wendy’s Star Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars – We both loved the book but the themes have been exhausted over the past 9 years. Therefore, it didn’t hit home as it would have had the book been read when it was written.

Get Different: Marketing That Can’t Be Ignored by Mike Michalowicz (2021)

Our thoughts/themes/takeaways: Following your industry’s “best practice” marketing creates white noise. If everyone else is doing it, your business won’t stand out. We have to differentiate our marketing to stand out from the competition.

Millie and Wendy’s Star Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars – Millie loved this one so much that she listened to the audio and then bought the book to highlight and refer back. We both liked that this book had practical, actionable marketing ideas for small business owners.

I’ll Be Back: How to Get Customers to Come Back Again and Again by Shep Hyken (2021)

Our thoughts/themes/takeaways: Customer loyalty is not about a lifetime, it’s about the next time every time. Hyken talks about marketing for loyalty vs. loyalty programs. We need our customers to want to choose us. We need to have our team on board with knowing why we can’t just be mediocre.

Millie & Wendy’s Star Rating – 4 / 5 stars: Shep knows his audience (busy shop owners) and caters to them: this business book is easy to read and has great chapter summaries.

I interviewed Shep Hyken back in Episode 118.

Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work That Lasts by Ryan Holiday (2017)

Our thoughts/themes/takeaways: We need to always be looking outside of our own industry for inspiration. Another takeaway that got us thinking was Holiday’s idea of relationships as a platform that needs to be nurtured. 

Millie & Wendy’s Star Rating – 4.5 / 5 stars: Lots of the ideas in this business book were new ones that we hadn’t heard before. 

4000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman (2021)

Our thoughts/themes/takeaways: If you live to the age of 80, you will live for 4000 weeks which, according to Millie is “terrifyingly and insultingly short.” This “time reminder” (not time management) book is all about embracing that limit and realizing we will never get everything done in our lives that we want to get done. We need to be intentional about what is important to us including rest and recovery.

Millie’s Star Rating – 5 / 5 stars: Millie reminds US readers to not judge this book by its cover.

Wendy’s Star Rating – 4.75 / 5 stars: I would give the audiobook 5 / 5, but found the paperback harder to pick up.

How to Grow Your Small Business by Donald Miller (2023)

Our thoughts/themes/takeaways: This one is textbook-like, specific, all-action. It is a great how-to guide for someone who wants to start a small business. Miller uses an airplane analogy to break a business down into 6 parts which when we discussed in the mastermind, many had strong feelings.

Millie and Wendy’s Star Rating: 4 / 5 – Neither of us were in the space of needing a book like this at the time we read it, but it is great if it is the type of business book you are looking for.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (2014)

Our thoughts/themes/takeaways: Millie loved the chapter on sleep and buffering: creating buffers in our lives to relieve stress. My big takeaway was the reminder that there are trade-offs with every decision and you have to be disciplined with decision making.

“Simplify, eliminate, reduce. Do less but better.” – Greg McKeown

Creative Shop Talk Podcast Episode 180 | Our Retailer Mastermind's Book Club Book Roundup with guest Millie Blackwell | with Retail Coach Wendy Batten
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About Millie and Mrs. Blackwell’s Village Bookshop:

Mrs. Blackwell is a specialist in non-fiction categories and stationery. She grew up on an apricot orchard in Central Otago but never really cared for the taste of the fruit. Mrs. Blackwell’s Village Bookshop is an independent bookshop for inquisitive minds and romantic souls in Greytown, New Zealand.

Website | Instagram

Related podcasts we think you’d like:

Episode 132: Retailer Success Series: Community Marketing Strategies with Millie Blackwell

Episode 118: How to Create Loyalty and Amazing Customer Experiences with Guest Expert & Author Shep Hyken

Episode 98: My Top Business Books for Retailers (the giveaway in this episode is closed!)

About Your Host, Wendy Batten:

In case we haven’t met yet, I’m Wendy, a small business coach and founder of The Retailer’s Inner Circle, where I help other independent shop owners learn how to gain the right business skillsets to see more profits, paychecks, and joy as they navigate running their retail business. 

Through online classes, business coaching programs, speaking, and a top-ranked podcast, I’ve helped hundreds of retailers around the globe reclaim their dream and see the success they want from their beautiful shops. My signature private coaching community, The Retailer’s Inner Circle, has helped retailers around the world build their retail business skill sets and confidence. 

I am proud to have been featured in several major publications, including my own business column in What Women Create magazine. I have been privileged to be a guest on top-ranked podcasts and sought-after as a guest speaker and teacher for several brands, associations, and communities that are passionate about the success of independent retailers.

When I’m not coaching, you will find me either DIYing and renovating my very imperfect old crooked cottage by the sea in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Lunenburg, NS, or blogging about our travel and RVing adventures and the weird fun things we get up to in our coastal village. I’d love to invite you to check out one of my free resources for real retailers at https://wendybatten.com/free-resources/

For more support from Wendy:

Retailer’s Inner Circle – Join Wendy inside the best retailer’s community

Wendy’s FREE Resources for shop owners 

Hang out and connect with Wendy on IG 

All of Wendy’s programs and services for shop owners can be found HERE.

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Hi there! I'm Wendy Batten, and I'm obsessed with helping independent shop owners like you achieve success. With over 20 years of experience as a small business owner, I've owned several retail businesses along the way including a cafe, two retail shops, and a studio (and even a tae kwon do studio), learning first-hand the art of juggling all the balls.

I now dedicate my time to coaching hundred of retailers all around the world, sharing my expertise to help them organize their businesses and maximize profits, paychecks, and JOY in their day-to-day lives.

I created the support, programs, and community that I wish I'd had.

Whether you've been in business for years or are just starting out with your brick-and-mortar venture, you've come to the right place. If you're serious about your business and ready to stop winging it, I'm here to inspire and guide you toward success.

I'm so happy you're here, and I can't wait to support you on your journey to thriving in the world of retail!



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