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As someone who has been an entrepreneur for nearly four years and has a lot of experience spending money on things, I think I have the authority to write a post on gifts for entrepreneurs. ;)
To make this holiday gift guide, I went back over all the business purchases I made over the past year or so that have really helped my business. Then I threw in some other items just for fun that I know any creative entrepreneur or freelancer would love. Enjoy!
I know I mention this in many of my gift guides. Probably because this thing is attached to my hip. Again, I’ve had many laptops but nothing beats the performance and portability of the MacBook Air. I’ve edited photos, videos, and graphics on it using FinalCut, Photoshop, and Camtasia and never had any issues.
Because we entrepreneurs are always on our laptops, a lap desk is extremely helpful. My mom got one of these for my birthday, and I love it. It elevates the laptop a bit more so you’re not so hunched over. And this one gives you a place to rest your wrists.
I am always running out of space on my laptops. An external hard drive is crucial for backing up important data. This one is sleek and packs a whopping 4 TB!
Okay, this little folding laptop desk changed everything for me. Back in January I was suffering neck and back pains from all the sitting I was doing while working. I bought this to transform my workspace into a standing desk area. I just plopped this on top of a table in my kitchen corner and was able to stand while working on my laptop. The great news? My neck and back pains went away! The bad news? I developed knee pain from all my standing. The moral of this story is you need to exercise and constantly change positions. Too much work will harm you know matter what position you’re in. I started running again and took more breaks, and felt SO much better.
Ah, all the pains entrepreneurs suffer from. Again, because I’m always at my computer, my wrist was hurting. By elevating my laptop to eye level with the above folding desk I mentioned, and then placing this keyboard and mouse at an angle where my wrists were slightly below my levels, I was able to minimize my pain. It seriously made a huge difference.
Entrepreneurs have never-ending to do lists. I found that physically writing things down made a huge difference. I started doing a basic form of bullet journaling, so having a notebook was important. There is nothing so satisfying as physically crossing off an item on my to do list…
I actually just bought this exact set of notebooks at a stationery store here in Toronto. I love them because one, they have maps. And two, each has a different type of paper: Blank, ruled, and graph. I use the blank to scrawl poetry and creative ideas. I use the graph for bullet journaling. I think I’ll give the lined one away because I hate lined paper…(too limiting)
Back when I worked a desk job, one of the designers I worked with always took color-coded notes in these lovely Stabilo pens. I was obsessed with them and wanted a set to call my own. That was back in 2012…I never ended up buying any for myself! But if you’re looking to get ME a Christmas gift, well…hint hint nudge nudge.
I freaking love MOO. They have luxe cards that are thicker, higher-quality paper than others. These are the first business cards I bought when I started my freelance business. You can get a MOO gift card for your freelancer/entrepreneur friend and they can use it to design and order their business cards.
I recommend Udemy for low-cost online courses. They have a course on everything. Pick one that covers a topic your freelancer/entrepreneur friend has been wanting to learn more about. Maybe it’s online marketing, maybe it’s product design. Whatever it is, Udemy probably has a course on it. You can also peruse reviews to ensure the quality of the course.
If your friend is a blogger, they will probably be very interested in affiliate marketing, which is promoting products you love and getting commissions for it. It’s a great way for bloggers to monetize the hard work they put into their sites. I blew through Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing in about two days because I was eating up all the lessons. The online course was created by Michelle of MakingSenseofCents.com and I can highly recommend it. She shares all her tips for how she reached about $100K per MONTH in affiliate sales. The class also comes with a private Facebook group that is very useful. Michelle answers questions in it that she could definitely charge consulting fees for if she wanted. She also lets us promote our blog posts and help each other get the word out about our blogs.
Yes, all the appliances and accessories below all relate to coffee. That’s because when you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t get a lot of sleep and you rely heavily on caffeine. :)
I researched this obsessively before buying. The thing is, it’s not healthy to boil water in plastic components because it releases carcinogens. It is very difficult, however, to find an electric kettle without plastic parts. This Secura electric kettle was the best I found. It is plastic on the outside—but the inside is completely stainless steel. The ONLY part that may leech a tiny bit of plastic is there is a tiny hole at the top of the interior that allows steam to pass through to let the kettle know when to turn off. Through that hole there is plastic, so I suppose some steam could touch the plastic inside the handle and leech into the interior, but that’s a small amount. Anyway, I love this kettle and I used it to boil water for coffee and tea. I also used it to boil potatoes and such, since the element is completely covered by stainless steel. Highly recommend!
Simple and gets the job done. I used this to grind whole coffee beans just before brewing.
This is the best contraption for making coffee if you live alone. It makes a single cup at a time, AND you don’t need coffee filters. So simple. No waste (besides the used coffee beans of course, which, you are going to compost right??).
I am maybe just a little bit obsessed with this. This milk frother saved me so much money on those fancy lattes I was buying in San Francisco. Instead of an espresso machine with the milk steam wand attachment, I used:
- this electric kettle to boil water
- this coffee grinder to freshly grind whole beans
- this pour over coffee dripper to brew a cup
- and then this Brewberry milk frother to froth my milk.
I used almond milk at the time, and the key is to use almond milk that has some sort of gum in it (usually carrageenan) AND make sure it is VERY COLD. Otherwise, almond milk just does not froth well. If you use regular milk, you should have no problem frothing. Lattes are supposed to have a slight froth, but I went all out and had like six inches of foam. Haha. Not technically correct, but so much fun…
This is the book on validating a business idea in a cheap, quick way and starting a scrappy startup.
Written by Growth Hacker Extraordinaire Sujan Patel and Rob Wormley, this book gives case studies and tactics for growing your business fast. It’s available only as an eBook.
Tim Ferriss describes how he left his 9-t0-5 to start a business that allowed him to work less and travel more. He also includes case studies from people who have followed his advice and succeeded in starting lifestyle businesses.
I read this book and found it very helpful in giving actionable steps for growing a business.
Freelancers and entrepreneurs are some of the most stressed-out individuals. Think about it, the entire weight of our company rests on our shoulders. Most of us don’t have employees or outsource anything. If something needs to get done, it’s up to us to get it done.
Earlier this year, I was so stressed I was having digestive issues and developed twitches. I also had pretty bad anxiety. A doctor recommend I read this book, and I kept rolling my eyes at his suggestion. However, this book is based on neuroscience and provides actionable tips that seriously helped curb my stress levels. I think everyone should read it.
Gary Vaynerchuk is well-known in the internet marketing world. He’s definitely the authority on social media storytelling, and I had this book recommended to me by a fellow entrepreneur. I haven’t gotten around to buying it yet, but it’s definitely on my list…
This is also on my reading list. This would be a great gift for any freelancers or entrepreneurs who want to work remotely.
Other Useful Gifts
Most freelancers and entrepreneurs hate the legal aspect of their business. But it is essential that we have solid contracts in place to make sure we have our assets covered should anything go wrong. For bloggers, it’s also required we have privacy policies and terms & conditions in place on our site. I recommend Christina Scalera’s contract templates. Christina is an actual lawyer, and, according to her site, her contract templates were “written and peer-reviewed by graduates of top 20 law schools”! I have bought one from her and really like it. Just browse her contract template pages for your entrepreneur’s type of business. She has contracts made for photographers, designers, coaches, consultants, and more. If you have questions on which would apply to your friend, just email her and ask!
Every entrepreneur needs a website, and many of us have blogs. Either way, it is crucial in this day and age to protect your site and your data. I use iMark Interactive’s monthly WordPress Maintenance. I sleep well at night knowing that Grayson of iMark Interactive is ensuring my site is up and running and its data is consistently backed up.
Workfrom is an amazingly helpful app I use often. It maps out every coffee shop nearby with Wi-Fi you can work from. It leverages user-generated content, meaning the Workfrom community, like me, submits suggestions and edits. You can find out the exact addresses of coffee shops near you, see photos and what’s on their menu, and even see the Wi-Fi speed!
Workfrom is free to use, but buying a VIP membership grants you sweet upgrades like stickers and a membership kit, local deals and global discounts on products and services, an ad-free mobile experience, exclusive beta access to new features, AND it helps support this new startup. Definitely recommend buying this Workfrom membership gift card for your favorite freelancer!
Just for Fun
Okay, I love this shirt so much I’m ordering it for myself. Be sure to check out other designs from The Plaid Deer on Etsy. I think any wanderlusting creatives would love a gift from this shop, and you’ll support a small business owner in the process!