This featured business book review is for Find Your Extraordinary: Dream Bigger, Live Happier, and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms by Jessica Dilullo Herrin. Herrin is the founder of TheWeddingChannel.com and Stella and Dot. Find Your Extraordinary, her first book, is part memoir and part how-to guide that speak specifically to female entrepreneurs.

Although Herrin acknowledges that it has taken hard work to become a self-professed serial entrepreneur, her story starts to change at that moment. Unlike many entrepreneurs or business leaders that seek success in an attempt to find happiness, Herrin recommends a different path. She encourages her readers to create a world and a business that incorporate the pieces in their lives already important to them. Put happiness first, she says. Success will follow.

Herrin left the first company she started in Silicon Valley to move to Texas when she wanted to focus more on her family, and her husband got a job there too. Her subsequent company, Stella and Dot, came as a result of trying to solve the equation of allowing mothers to spend time with their families while also making a decent income in their spare time with a flexible schedule. Stella and Dot — which has grown to include several brands — uses an independent business model. With a relatively small investment, “Independent Stylists” are able to create their own businesses selling Stella and Dot jewelry and accessories within their social circles and then earning commissions on their sales. 

Herrin says she has watched many of the people who sell Stella and Dot become successful in a variety of creative ways that were entirely on their own terms. She describes many of these independent business people as “side-preneurs” or “flexible entrepreneurs,” people who run their Stella and Dot business part time while also caring for a family or working another job. In the 10 years since she began Stella and Dot, Herrin reports that “over 50,000 independent business owners have earned more than $300 million in commissions from selling over $1 billion in products.”

The whole point of Herrin’s book is that it’s possible for anyone to be successful, but the first step is to define your own version of success instead of subscribing to the definition of success someone else has created.

“An ordinary definition of success is making money, moving up the ladder, and being well regarded by others,” Herrin writes. “Extraordinary success, however, includes doing well at something you love and being well regarded by those who matter most to you, especially yourself. It’s about learning what you want, developing the confidence to admit it, and having the grit to go out there and get it.”

Although Herrin admits she has had more luck than others — she has a degree from Stanford and started her first company in the midst of a booming economy — she maintains that anyone can become successful with hard work and tenacity. She points out that these characteristics are essential pieces of having an entrepreneurial spirit, as is the ability to continue on after stumbling or failing. “If you’re living a life that reflects your own values and integrity,” she says, “you are much more likely to succeed.”

While Herrin’s book is aimed at female entrepreneurs, she stresses that her book is not a story about how she fought “the man” to get where she is. “I have never thought I can do anything a man can do.” Herrin writes. “I have just always thought I can do anything.”

 

Find Your Extraordinary is available in hardcover or ebook format from Crown Publishing.

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