I’m the kind of person that’s going to tell you to just do it - stop reading and do it right now, whatever IT is!
I prefer action over analysis (for better or for worse, but hey it’s worked for me so far). That being said I’ve read a few books that really helped me get my thoughts together before actually launching an online business.
I’ll give you the quick and dirty version of why you should read these 4 books before starting your endeavor into entrepreneurship.
I read these books over the course of 2 months (with the exception of one that came out more recently) and subsequently launched a business based on my existing blog with greatly unexpected, surprising success.
I read a ton of books before I decided to go all in, but these were the ones that actually helped get me into action mode.
The $100 Startup:
Chris Guillebeau has tons of good advice for starting your own business, whether it’s location independence or creatively selling your art online. I especially loved the case studies and examples in the book and found them to be the most valuable.
Chris contributes the methods and techniques for pricing, consulting, and finding your market, while the case studies provide real examples of what he’s talking about at work.
I also love that his book is for the bootstrappers (like me) and he knows you don’t have to spend much money to get something good going. So if you’re trying to figure out just how to build a business with nothing but hard work, an idea, and a shit ton of passion, read this. I got plenty of good ideas from reading this book, and I recommend it to other creatives all the time.
(PSST - all of my notes and big take-aways from reading this awesome book are included in the FREE Business Book Notes download).
The 4 Hour Work Week:
Do I like this book or do I hate it? A little bit of both but it’s on this list so there must be something in it worth reading!
Good things about this book: It really does change the way you think about how you can operate a business. I realized how much time I was spending on bullshit busy work that seemed “business-y”. And although I didn’t go so far as to hire a virtual assistant, I did cut down on administrative tasks so that I could focus solely on actions that directly correlated to making money.
I also learned a lot about the potential of e-products like eBooks, online classes, and video tutorials. Passive Income was a new term to me, but now it’s an important part of my business model. Some of the examples were pretty helpful. And the 80/20 rule really helped me get things done fast.
On the flip side, I hate the gimmicky nature of this book. It’s just dumb. I hate the millionaire feel of it. It doesn’t make me trust it. It makes it sound like a bad infomercial.
That being said, I did learn a lot of valuable things from reading it. I took away what applied to me and my own vision for business. For better or for worse, I know this book influenced the way I planned and executed my business, so it deserves this spot on here.
(PSST - you can find all of my secret notes about this book in the FREE download, my Business Book Notes).
How To Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul):
If you think that blogging is going to be a part of your business (or that it will be your business) then you should read this book right now. It’s really quick but so full of information. Ruth Soukup details how to make your blog professional and step it up, something I desperately needed help with when I read this.
The main takeaways for me were: Be awesome and write pillar or evergreen content (a novel concept to me at the time - I had an actual “aha” moment when I read this). She also goes into how to use Pinterest like a pro. I started doing both and my blog changed for the better almost immediately.
The case studies with other bloggers are good too, they give you a sense of how different blogging as a business is for each person. If anything the case studies really show you that there is no “one” way to make money blogging (ads, affiliates, books, your own shop etc) and that you really need to put in the work to figure out what will work for your specific blog.
#GIRLBOSS gets a mention on here because it’s a quick read that packs a lot of inspiration and “get off your ass!” into a little pink package.
If you don’t walk away feeling the NEED to do some creative work for yourself, you're probably not ready to take the leap to entrepreneurship. This book is equal parts life and business - and all the life lessons apply to business as well.
If you’re even considering getting into fashion or selling vintage you should definitely read this (and watch all other Sophia Amoruso interviews on YouTube, like I have done) because she really figured out how to scale up a business starting from scratch.
I liked this book because Sophia and I come from freakishly similar backgrounds (like living in a closet in a punk house for $50/month - yeah I’ve done that. And living on dumpster-dived baked goods - yeah I’ve done that too.)
It’s like looking at someone a lot like you, who is just 4 years ahead of you and feeling really excited to be there. I’m in her middle phase of selling vintage successfully online, and it’s awesome to see where I could take that venture.
If you’re a young lady and you need someone to tell you to just do it (and you don’t believe me!) then read this book and go forth my loves. Be amazing and show them who’s boss.
People recommend all sorts of business and finance books when you start talking about entrepreneurship, and I’m sure that many of them are very good.
But there comes a time when your minutes and hours are precious because you are trying to build a business, and you need to get the information and inspiration as quickly and succinctly as possible because you’ve got real work to do.
You don’t need to read all of the business books to make your first sale or find your first client - less talk, more rock, right? Don’t stall starting because you aren’t sure if you’ve read enough about it.
These few books will help you visualize and plan (and execute, though you’ll need to take the reins on that one) your online business so you can get to the stuff that’s really important - making money doing what you love.
Have you read some of these? Which is your favorite? What’s your favorite business book? Let me know in the comments!