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STAK Marketing Book Club: Girl on Fire, by Cara Alwill Leyba

January 2022

Girl on Fire by Cara Alwill Leyba is a great girl power book that’s also a quick read, perfect for those busy female entrepreneurs. I think I read it within two days. Most of it isn’t groundbreaking information, but instead a great reminder of how to reframe your mind when it comes to growing your business.

You can order the book HERE.

Below are my 8 takeaways from reading Girl on Fire


For so long I wanted my Corporate America job to change. There were so many issues. So many times I would sit in a meeting with senior management about the “future” and how things will be different. And do you know what? Nothing changed. Finally, one day, it dawned on me that I’ve been waiting for years for others to make the change for me. Change has to come from within and taking it into your own hands. I had to make the change for myself. I no longer wanted to work for older men who were afraid of change and the women who didn’t root for me along the way. I finally took the plunge and left Corporate America, and although scary, it’s the happiest I’ve been in a long time.


“Rejection is a crash course in self-awareness”

I admit it. I take rejection very personally. It hurts and it stings. No one likes to hear what they are doing doesn’t work. How can we turn rejection into something you’re thankful for? If we truly learn to listen to the rejection we can learn from it and pivot. Cara reminds us to not shut down, wallow in pity, freak out or become defensive with rejection, but to instead face the rejection head on. Once faced with rejection, it's up to us to transform from it, allowing us to be better people with better businesses. Ignorance is bliss, but it also doesn’t get you anywhere.


“You can have it all. Just not all at once.” - Oprah Winfrey

Why is it so hard to root for yourself? If you don't speak confidently about your own business, why would anyone else? Cara reminds us to speak positively and confidently about our business. Additionally, Cara reminds us that execution and passion are what will make your business successful. People can tell when you’re putting your all into something, and that you truly believe in your business. If you don’t lead with confidence why would anyone buy what you are selling?


When you look at your business as so much more than just a profit center, people want to work with you. I care about each and everyone of my clients, and guess what? Caring is a FREE gift to give. All my clients are part of the STAK family. I want them to know that a marketing agency can have their back, root them on through hard times, and genuinely want to see them succeed. My goal is to always gain the trust of my clients. Generosity and empowerment are key in doing so.


“My personal brand is the most valuable asset.”

I flipping love this quote from Cara! If anything, it’s my number one takeaway from the book. It’s okay to say NO to things that don't align with who you are and what you want to put out in the world. In fact, you SHOULD say no more often! You don't have to appease everyone and not everything is worth the money. Stay true to your values and it will come back to you tenfold. There are so many marketing agencies out there, I know that. But, there is only one owned by yours truly. I’m not for everyone and that’s ok, but I am meant for some and that’s what’s great - those are the people I’m going to say YES to.


Social media can be a time suck. Is the time you’re spending on it of value? How much time are you spending on social media? Who are you comparing yourself to? What are you putting out there for others to know about you?

I own a marketing company and I’m on social media a lot less than you think. Instead, I'm creating content, managing clients, handling projects and brainstorming ideas for my own business. I’m always so surprised when someone has so much time to post personal things on instagram all day long, what are they doing for their business when their focus is on sharing the play by play of their life (unless, of course, that’s what their business is)? It’s also easy for me to get sucked into the comparison game. It feels good to take breaks from social media, experience life, take new trainings, network in person and spend time away from a screen.


“When people talk about industries being saturated, it’s only because everyone is out there trying to be a carbon copy of everyone else.”

Your industry might be saturated but there is only one you, your own personal flair and energy. Why would you want to be just like someone else? They already exist in this world and have cornered the market. I’ve been plagiarized before, it’s not fun. It made me every bit angry, sad, resentful, disheartened and violated. It took me some time, but I realized that that woman is never going to get anywhere doing this because I am already doing this. Once I had that realization, I was able to move on from it and take it as a compliment that someone wanted to do what I’m doing.


And I mean nothing. As someone who has experienced anxiety and depression throughout her whole life, I mean it when I say that. As your business gets busier and your time becomes more valuable, choose how you want to spend it. Fill it with things that make you happy and fill your cup. Boundaries are so important to keep your mental health in tact, it’s ok to set them. Additionally, if you have a few seconds, check in on those that you love. A simple “how are you doing?” can go along. way.

Have you read Girl on Fire, by Cara Alwill Leyba? If so, what were your favorite parts of the book? What were your takeaways?

Keep STAKing,

Michelle Johnson

Owner & Founder, STAK Marketing

Michelle Johnson is the owner, founder and Chief Marketing Guru at STAK Marketing. Our passion at STAK Marketing is to create beautiful STAKs of marketing strategies that help small and mid-sized businesses grow and reach their goals. STAK Marketing's expertise ranges from SEO to branding, e-mail marketing to website design, PR to advertising and much more - making STAK Marketing a one-stop-shop for all your small business marketing needs.

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