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Books Every Solopreneur Should Read
Are you a solopreneur? A solo founder? A one man show? Or maybe a dreamer? This post might be for you
If you’re reading this, that means you’re either a solopreneur or an aspiring one. If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Although I believe that practice makes perfect, it is also true that books can be a great source of inspiration, ideas, or practical knowledge. So today, I’m bringing you a list of books that you should read on your path to solopreneurship.
What this list is not: a complete and perfect selection of books that will completely change your life. Different books will fit different people, depending on what stage of their journey they are at. It is also not in any specific order of importance.
What this list is: a guide for you to pick and choose. A source of possible inspiration if you feel that you are stuck. Or maybe a nice gift for that friend of yours that keeps talking about building something? Your pick.
Author Larry Keltto has assembled interviews with 42 successful solo entrepreneurs to discuss their experiences.
The information is given in a friendly, informative style that explores both the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship. It’s an easy and enjoyable read. Though you won’t find much in the way of theory or actionable plans, the book does discuss real-life tactics and strategies and provides valuable insight into what the life of solo entrepreneurship is truly about.
This self-help book by Timothy Ferriss was a worldwide bestseller that spent over 4 years on the NYT Bestseller List.
The author developed his ideas by dealing with his own workaholic outlook. Ferris emphasizes de-cluttering and “lifestyle design,” and advises taking mini-retirements rather than deferring vacations and life goals until late.
Ferris’s focus is on sales rather than production, and some of the online marketing advice is dated, but his “work smarter, not harder” message has inspired millions.
Author Eric Ries used his experience in failed software startups to develop the lean strategy described in this book.
His message is to work backwards from business goals and be willing to kill projects before they become a drain on energy and motivation. The book is narrowly focused on software creation, and its verbosity somewhat belies the title, but the perspective on targeting core issues is invaluable.
In this follow-up to his breakout book, “Art of Non-Conformity,” Chris Guillebeau condenses a series of blog posts into a motivational work meant to kickstart entrepreneurs into action.
The content uses success stories to show what is possible, although the message stays on the surface and doesn’t dive into detail. If you haven’t read many inspirational works about starting out on your own, this is a good example.
Pieter Levels' book MAKE is a great example of how Startups should be created. Made with passion, not with VC money, while keeping the cost as low level as possible.
MAKE is full of real-life examples, that show you how to start with a side project that solves your problems and turn them into a profitable company.
This 2004 book from the Harvard Business Essentials series provides an overview of building large businesses from an entrepreneurial perspective. The business principles espoused can be applied to smaller projects, though the book’s content isn’t innovative or new.
This book offers a general guide for individuals interested in gaining foundational knowledge about large-scale entrepreneurship and contains universal information that can be applied to any business size.
This popular 2012 book by Luke Johnson is a cheerleader’s pep talk for solo business owners.
The book’s message is that running your own business is much easier than you think, and to get started now—why are you waiting? Though short on actionable items or theory, it’s a good read for a jolt of entrepreneurial enthusiasm.
This popular book by Patrick McGinnis explains how to start a solo business venture while keeping your day job.
The message is told in a story-telling style that is friendly and clear while keeping a practical focus on how to take the first steps. It’s a good book for motivation if you feel stuck in a desk you don’t own, or just want advice on how to test the waters first.
Chris Guillebeau is a popular blogger turned author who targets solopreneurs with advice and resources. As far as solopreneur books go, Side Hustle is one of the best.
This book outlines ideas and plans for creating additional income as a “side hustle” while keeping your day job. It delivers a step-by-step, 27-day roadmap forward in a readable, conversational tone. The information is mostly basic and light, but the book is a good resource to check if you’re looking for concrete ways to start your solo business ventures.
Pofeldt, a small business expert, explains how to identify, launch, grow and reinvent a business, showing how a single individual can generate $1 million in revenue.
She draws on the stories and strategies of hundreds of interviews with successful solopreneurs to create a roadmap for achieving success. The best parts of the book are the appendices which include a brainstorming guide, tips and exercises to help you find the right business idea for you as well as loads of resources, tools and additional reading suggestions.
Ducker wrote this book for the "solopreneur on a bootstrap budget" which, essentially, is every solopreneur.
The book highlights a vital area for maximizing a single-owner operation: outsourcing. It helps the business owner understand how to identify why what and when to outsource, how to outsource well, and how to develop and nurture collaborative virtual assistance relationships.
Jarvis' thesis is that a "company of one is simply a business that questions growth." Growth is not always the most beneficial or viable move.
The book is a treasure trove of business tips, ideas and suggestions on how to start the business of your dreams by un-thinking the typical business model and reaching success by staying small.
In an industry rife with jargon and snake oil, Lucy demystifies the dark arts of PR and cuts to the chase showing founders everywhere how to get the word out faster, more authentically and without a massive price tag. This an essential read for anyone who wants to build a strong profile for their business or themselves.
This is a book about entrepreneurship and how to approach starting your own company. It will help you take a step back and look at your business with fresh eyes. It’s easy to get caught up in “I should be doing this or that”. This book helps you see the business as a business and how to run it without you doing all the work.
Vincent and his wife were making $30000/year as photojournalists at a newspaper. With their growing family, they knew they couldn’t keep up their lifestyle for long.
This book shares the story of how they created a side hustle photographing weddings on the weekends and paid off over $100 grand in debt in 3 years.
Now they’ve both left their jobs and they spend their time travelling with their 4 kids.
The subtitle says it all: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level. As freelancers, fears often get in the way of success.
This book is meant to help you overcome those fears so you can focus on doing the work you were meant to do, and earning the kind of income you want to make.
Daniel Pink explains the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and shows you what makes people tick.
“Human beings have an innate internal drive to be autonomous, self-determined and connected to each other. And when that drive is unleashed, people achieve more and live richer lives.”
Many solo businesses have tremendous potential to grow, but their owners don’t know exactly how to tap into the opportunities in front of them.
This book, a compilation of clear, streamlined advice from more than 20 experts in topics like copywriting, Facebook ads, SEO, public relations and networking, offers many practical ideas on how to get started that you can start to put to work for you today.
Start with Why is an A to Z on how leaders inspire people to take action. If you apply this book to your business, it can help you attract loyal customers. It can also help you create a company culture and have a greater impact on the world. Sinek does this by sharing his insights on discovering the deeper, underlying purpose of your business, brand & product.
Primarily focused on startups that are bringing a new product or service to market, The Mom Test helps you learn how to properly talk to customers and how you can learn more from them.
The book’s cover hook sums it up perfectly: “How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you.”
This book sets out a series of behaviours that will make you more effective. Covey takes an integrated approach to help entrepreneurs improve their personal and interpersonal development.
The book is designed in a way that each habit (when implemented in order) will prepare you for the next and strengthen the previous.
If you want some more hands-on guides, I have something for you. Check the links below with ideas for digital products, including how to build them and even monetize them:
Do you have any other recommendations? Leave a comment, would love to hear them!
I’ll keep updating this post whenever I find something new that fits the theme.
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Until next time - Guilherme
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