Several weeks ago, I received in the mail Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business by Paul Downs in galley form. Tucked inside was a letter from a bookseller raving about how the book–even though it was about a furniture-making business–was a valuable tool for running a bookstore. I wish I could put my hands on that letter again to give the bookseller a proper shout-out. It was a great testimonial; it captured my attention and it made sense. Although booksellers have unique struggles, many small business struggles are universal.
Boss Life is actually a book-length essay which followed a writing stint Paul had with The New York Times. From April 2010 through December 2014, Paul wrote a weekly column for their “You’re the Boss” blog about the skills gained from running a small business for 24 years.
I visited with Paul on the phone a few weeks ago, and he graciously agreed to let me choose from the many (many) topics he has covered and expound on them weekly with independent booksellers in mind. The first in the 5-week series can be found here.