**A Forbes Best Business Book of the Year, 2015**
**Winner of the 2015 800-CEO-READ Business Book Award in Entrepreneurship**
When columnist Paul Downs was approached by The New York Times to write for their “You’re the Boss” blog, he had been running his custom furniture business for twenty-four years strong. or mostly strong. Now, in his first book, Downs paints an honest portrait of a real business, with a real boss, a real set of employees, and the real challenges they face.
Fresh out of college in 1986, Downs opened his first business, a small company that builds custom furniture. In 1987, he hired his first employee. That’s when things got complicated. As his enterprise began to grow, he had to learn about management, cash flow, taxes, and so much more. But despite any obstacles, Downs always remained keenly aware that every small business, no matter the product it makes or the service it provides, starts with people. He writes with tremendous insight about hiring employees, providing motivation to get the best out of them, and the difficult decisions he’s made to let some of them go. Downs also looks outward, to his dealings with vendors and to providing each client with exemplary customer service from first sales pitch to final delivery. With honesty and conviction, he tells the true story behind building and sustaining a successful company in an ever-evolving economy, often airing his own failures and shortcomings to reveal the difficulties that arise from being a boss and a businessperson. Countless employees have told the story of their experience with managers—Boss Life tells the other side of that story.
About the Author
Paul Downs started making custom furniture in 1986, shortly after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in engineering. Downs has only one line on his résumé but he has a wide variety of skills gained in twenty-four years of running his business. His clients range from individuals and small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, all branches of the military, and foreign governments. Downs lives with his wife and three sons outside of Philadelphia.
"A memoir—not a manual—about life as a small business owner, complete with honest reflections on failures and shortcomings."—Forbes
“In this eye-opening debut…Downs drills down into the ins and outs of running a small business, focusing on sales, operations, money, and the personal demands of being a boss….this frank accounting will be a godsend to any small-company owners wondering if they’re the only ones constantly second-guessing themselves—or on the verge of going out of business. An honest look at a usually overlooked demographic.”—Publishers Weekly
“[A] large-hearted memoir… Refreshingly absent of bulleted lists and sidebars, this is a welcome addition to the literature of business ownership.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[A] day-to-day, minute-to-minute tour of the intricacies of running a business, from dealing with employees to negotiating with vendors, the roller-coaster ride of sales, and the headaches of customer service. This is an invaluable look into operational details for anyone considering starting a business or caught up in the struggle of owning and running one.”—Booklist
“This book is ostensibly about a year in the life of a small business owner, but it is actually a fascinating peek behind the scenes of a small Pennsylvania furniture factory….The combination of a humorous, self-deprecating, jargon-free writing style and content that mixes business fundamentals (cash flow, salesmanship, HR issues) with day-to-day events on the shop floor makes for a truly immersive narrative….A great read for those who wish to understand what running a small factory or business entails, as well as anyone interested in woodworking and craftsmanship.”—Library Journal
"My husband and I own a small book store in Memphis, TN. I read a review of your new book somewhere, thought it sounded intriguing, got a copy in and started it a few days ago. Before I even finish it I think I want to thank you for writing it. FINALLY someone being totally honest about running a small (tiny) business! I have felt so much better in the past few days knowing that someone else has experienced the same things we have—no cash, employee struggles, family life and business life merging into each other, cars breaking down, etc. I think we are all hesitant to talk about the struggles because we might be perceived as failures. I plan to recommend this book to all small business people. "—Cheryl Mesler, Burke's Book Store, Memphis TN