Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Barefoot Executive: A Rich Resource Review for Moms (and Others) Seeking Financial Freedom

Not long ago, I received an email from Living Your Moment asking if I’d like to review The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom by Carrie Wilkerson.  I was thrilled!  For although my current life commitments allow little time to apportion for personal reading, I knew that The Barefoot Executive was a book that I not only wanted to read, but also should read. 

Like many mommas who homeschool, work part-time, volunteer and try to balance a myriad of other duties, I do so on a shoestring.  I dream of a day when my family won’t have to adhere to a strict spending diet – when the words “financial freedom” will refer to more than a distant goal for us.  I pray, that if it be God’s will, my husband and I will be able to build a family business, which will alleviate some of our financial constraints, while also helping us to mentor our children better.

Thus it was that I dove into The Barefoot Executive, seeking to find both hope and concrete ideas.  I was not disappointed.

* * * * ½

First, let me be 100% honest.  I have not read every word of The Barefoot Executive.  This is not because the book is difficult to read, however.  It is not.  In fact, Carrie Wilkerson’s has a way of imparting gems of knowledge and experience in a conversational tone, which make me not want to put the book down.  The book made me long for the liberty to pull an all-nighter in order to read its 256 pages all in one go.  But, that would not have worked with three young children needing me first thing in the morning.  Plus, I honestly had to slow myself down ion reading the book so I would not overlook any of the useful ideas in it.

In truth, the real reason I have yet to read every page of the book is because I am currently caught up in exactly what Carrie Wilkerson aims to help people disentangle from – working on deadline for other people through some of my independent curriculum advising and tutoring work – and therefore, have not been able to give the book as much attention as I want to.  That said, when I have been able to read it, I have found that the recaps at the end of each chapter are just what a multi-tasking momma needs to keep key points in mind when reading between fulfilling life’s duties and feel strongly enough about what I have read so far that I want to share the book with others now, not when I finish reading it.

So often in person and online I hear other mothers (and others) talking about the need to find new employment or a way to help their family’s financial coffers through working from home.  The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom is a fantastic resource for doing so!  I have been finding it incredibly encouraging and enlightening and want to get others like me reading it as soon as possible, because we all should get one day closer to making dreams of economic autonomy a reality!

Plus, I love that the author is a mother of four herself and explains early on in the book she has  “a son with extensive special needs, and to be able to shop for therapies and treatments based on what is best rather than by price tag is—well, it’s priceless,” which are the kinds of choices she wants for the families of her readers.  That spoke straight to my heart (and I know will do the same for many who visit this blog) and made me recognize that this book is written not only a businesswoman who can guide me, but also by a parent who understands my circumstances and dreams and is writing to lift me up!  Yes!
A ¾  * for RELEVANCE:

Every time my husband and I pass the kids off at the door as he comes home from work and I head out to work, I think, This is not good, but it is not forever.  Each time a creative impulse makes me long to look into starting a business, but such thoughts are quickly squelched by a need to “be practical”, I wonder when I got so afraid to take calculated risks conservative.

The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom speaks to me about these things.  It lets me know that my husband and I don’t have to stay fenced in by our current employment situations and that we can not only be as daring as he’d like to be and I once was, but be that way with success. 

 I love that Carrie Wilkerson encourages right from the start of the book by saying, “I want you to be able to experience what we have experienced. I want you to feel the financial freedom to get out of debt, to not be in bondage to an employer, and to give generously and joyfully to causes you are passionate about,” but continues on to explain that “no matter what you’ve done in the past, no matter what your skill set has been, there is a way to take either what you’ve done in the past or what you are currently doing and translate that into part-time or full-time income…” which will fund your passion, which will lead the way to your financial freedom.  In doing so, Ms. Wilkerson speaks to both my heart and my head.  She lets me know that financial freedom can be a reality for my family, just as it has been for hers and for others whose case studies she shared within the book.  Better still, she offers plenty of “do now” tasks to move anyone along in their self-employment journey.

That being said, I would imagine that a good portion of the book might be considered a bit “fluffy” for readers further along in their self-employment journey than I am.  For where the author offers many convincing arguments as to why to start a home business and plenty of case studies about people who have, she does not necessarily get into enough concrete ideas for taking one’s working (but not yet thriving) entrepreneurial endeavors to the next level.  Yes, there are ideas there, but they are couched in more encouragement and conversation than someone further along in the self-employment process (or even me in several years) might need.  So, even though this book offers much pertinent information for me now at the beginning of my financial freedom journey, I am going to give it only ¾’s of star for relevance.


The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom  is chock full of practical suggestions or solutions for anyone seeking to discern what types of businesses might be best to start or what to do to grow an independent business you’ve already begun.   With sections that detail Myths, Mistakes, Methods, Models and the Marketplace, the book encourages readers to do exactly what its author suggests in her conclusion, “Take action…but also keep learning and growing.” And it does so by offering concrete tips, tasks and even workbook space to help readers live “your life. Your dreams. Your way.”

For me, what hit home the most was when Carrie Wilkerson reminded:

“You can’t pursue more than one new thing at the same time. You have to be able to focus on one to ‘ridiculous cash; and then focus on the others. Then, guess what?
• You’re profitable enough to breathe, which helps free your creative mind.
• This frees your bank account for some investment in education, like a home-study course, a mentor, or a mastermind group.
• You figure out which systems work for you—that you are comfortable with—and then you can duplicate those in other areas, thus making your next streams more profitable, more quickly.

So many gurus these days tell you to have multiple streams of income (as does this book’s author), but fail to remind you to build up only one of those streams at once (as this book’s author promotes).  I appreciate Carrie Wilkerson’s real and honest take and am now discerning, with The Barefoot Executive’s help, which of the many rabbit trails towards financial freedom which I could hop down that I actually will jump upon.  That feels good to this mama with many responsibilities and several different part-time jobs already.  I don’t need any further confusion and complication in life while trying to build a business.  Rather, I need mentoring from someone who has been there and succeeded.  This book provides the beginnings of such mentorship.

A  ¾  * for LONGEVITY

Carrie Wilkerson says in the Introduction of her book:

“I don’t really consider this a textbook or a ‘how-to’ guide in the traditional sense… this is a book…to keep handy and refer to again and again as you reach different points in your journey to self-employed freedom!”

I would agree.  For although I have read a good portion of the book in a short period of time, I have already found ideas that resonate with me where I am at right now, as well as ones I have noted to return to when I am further along on my journey to financial freedom. Indeed, I think that The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom has many gems I have yet to fully unearth simply because I cannot do so until I dig deeper into the layers of being truly self-employed.  (Work which will be that much easier with this book at the ready to guide me!)

Thus, for me, this book is one that I know I will return to in a year or two.  However, I wonder if I will after that.  Where there are definite ideas in the book to help anyone at any point in their financial freedom journey, I am not sure those ideas are ones that a person like me would not simply internalize after a year or two of using the book as a resource.  Thus, in fairness, I am only giving this book a 3/4 star for longevity.

A * for VALUE

I found there were far too many points in this book that I wanted to remember to simply copy into a notebook.  Indeed, it is a book that requires a highlighter or sticky notes as far as I am concerned.  Also, of note, there were links in the book to free online videos, which are great for auditory and visual learners.  So, at $24.99 (or less on sale at Amazon), it is priced at a rate that makes it a good buy.  I know tutoring goes for more than that an hour, and personal coaching a lot more. 

Through spending less than $25, readers can definitely glean practical ideas and edifying encouragement as they read The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial FreedomSo, if it is a topic of interest to you, I would suggest looking into it.  I know it’s a book I am glad I have read and will continue to turn back to for a while.

Want to read a bit more before making a decision to purchase? Go to to request a free chapter, or connect with the author on twitter @CarrieWilkerson or on FB.
Wondering what my criteria for earning stars is?

READABILITY: Is the book an easy read based on its style, formatting and the information it offers? It gets one star if I can read and digest it even while interacting with the kids as they explore playdough, build constructions or otherwise work “independently”.

RELEVANCE: Does the book provide information and ideas I can use right now, or in the relatively near future? It gets one star if I find myself thinking “Do now,” “Think about soon,” or “Ah-ha! That’s it!” while reading a portion of it.

PRACTICALITY: Does the book provide practical suggestions or solutions for challenges, activities, etc.? It one star if it pushes me to take an actual step on my parenting and homeschooling journey, rather than getting lost deeper in “Theory Jungle”.

LONGEVITY: Will the ideas in the book help me in a year, two or ten? The book gets another star if I spot something in it that I know I will want to revisit at a later point.

VALUE: Is the book one that would be worth tipping the budget to buy or will borrowing it from the library periodically suffice? If I think I will be taking the book out of the library for more weeks in a year than I leave it on the shelves, the book gets another star.

*For this review, I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.*


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