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So you want to become a solopreneur?
To become one, you don’t have to waste money on a college education. There are literally hundreds of books that’ll teach you how.
In this article are reviews of nine books that’ll fuel your solopreneurial dreams. By reading them, you’ll get loads of inspiration, actionable advice, and real-world examples of solopreneurs like you who made it big.
If you want to be frugal (and I know you do), borrow them from your local library. Read them, and you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need.
Let the authors help you make your journey to starting your own business a successful one. Have an open mind, but at the same time, take everything with a grain of salt. Only adopt a strategy if it makes sense to you.
1. The Four-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
The Four-Hour Work Week spent over four years on the New York Times bestsellers’ list and has a ton of tips and enlightening case studies solopreneurs will find super useful. The author developed his own ideas by working through his workaholic beliefs and realizing how toxic they were.
If you’re a workaholic too, use this book to automate your work processes. When you do, you’ll experience the exquisite freedom of only working four hours each week. But perhaps “four hours” is really just a metaphor for the work/life balance that works best for you.
The point is, by working less, you can lead a more fulfilling life because you’re freeing up more time to do the things that truly matter to you. You’ll stop working harder and start working smarter!
Some people find the advice in this book to be a little sleazy or unethical. But if you can look past this, it contains many nuggets of gold that’ll help you craft a life imbued with purpose.
Tips to Fuel Your Solopreneurial Lifestyle
Tim advises you to take mini-retirements throughout your life. You don’t have to wait until you’re old and tired to retire!
You’ll learn all about being a lifestyle entrepreneur. A lifestyle entrepreneur is someone who creates a business not to make as much money as humanly possible but to complement a life full of meaning and purpose.
This book will make you more efficient, including the way you handle email.
There are great tips on how to hire virtual assistants to outsource those parts of your life you find tedious. You’ll also learn how being busy might be considered to be a form of laziness. That’s because lazy thinking leads to action that’s all over the place with no clearly defined purpose.
2. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
If you’re a solopreneur who can’t seem to get started, then The $100 Startup will light a fire under you. This book covers everything you need to know to launch your own microbusiness.
To write the book, Chris interviewed 1,500 individuals who started businesses that earned $50,000 or more. The criteria were that it had to be a unique business model with no more than $1,000 in startup costs.
Some of these people even started their businesses for $100 or less! The solopreneurs had also to have no specialized skills before they started their business.
They also had to disclose their income, and the business could not employ more than five people. Then, he put the 50 most intriguing case studies in the book.
Finance Your Dream on a Shoestring Budget
If you read this book, you too can learn how to ignite your passion and turn it into a thriving business on a shoestring budget. You’ll learn how to formulate a blueprint for a business offering a product or service people will be dying to pay you for.
If you’re looking to build a location-independent lifestyle full of meaning, purpose, and direction, then this is the book for you. The author has never held down a real job in his entire life. Yet, he makes tons of money traveling all over the planet.
He’s able to do this because he’s been incredibly successful at turning his ideas into cold, hard cash. And, he inspires others to break free of their cubicles and head out into the world to pursue their dreams.
In this book, Chris shows you that virtually any product or service is monetizable. Some people erroneously think it takes tens of thousands of dollars to start a business. The case studies in this book prove that simply isn’t true.
You Don’t Have to Quit Your Job
These are people who are learning how to monetize their passions in a way that gave them more creative fulfillment and satisfaction than they would get from traditional employment.
But sometimes, following your bliss doesn’t mean you have to quit your job. Minimize your risk by starting out small. This way, you can commit minimal time and money until you’re sure you can be successful.
3. Company of One by Paul Jarvis
Company of One wants you to know that the key to success in the next decade is becoming a small and sustainable company of one. Big and expensive startups will be passé, and the smarter solution will be to stay small.
By staying small, you’ll have the delicious freedom to pursue more meaningful pleasures and avoid the headaches that come with running a bigger business.
Paul Jarvis left the corporate world when he realized its myriad stresses weren’t for him. Instead, he now works for himself at his home on a lush and beautiful Vancouver Island. His days of working in a toxic corporate culture that voraciously demands increasingly higher levels of productivity and output are long over.
This book wants to inspire you to make your business better instead of bigger. And in the process, create a prosperous life instead of just focusing on making money. This is the only meaningful definition of “growth.”
Growth has been twisted to mean “more,” with an emphasis on quantity over quality. This book defines it much differently.
Growth can be about intellectual expansion and greater life satisfaction too. You’ll learn which growth makes sense, and what’s harmful.
4. The Barefoot Executive by Carrie Wilkerson
In The Barefoot Executive, Carrie has an exceedingly inspiring story to tell about how she escaped from her corporate cubicle to run a home-based business. If you too are considering the same kind of escape, this book can help you make that transition.
It’ll challenge the long-held assumptions you have about yourself. For example, you might not think you have what it takes to be a solopreneur. This book will put the lie to those thoughts.
Regardless of your talents or past history, you have it within you to create a successful home-based business. In this book, Carrie walks you through every step of the process.
You’ll find out where to find the support that’ll accelerate your success and how to stay focused on your goals. You’ll also find out how to avoid distractions, and what type of business best suits your talents.
Her advice is eminently practical with zero philosophical fluff.
Carrie has an incredibly passionate writing style that’s so inspiring. She doesn’t just tell stories—she shows you exactly how she built her businesses from the ground up.
She communicates one unmistakable message to you in the pages of her book: “If I can do it, so can you!” Let her show you how!
5. The Solopreneur Life by Larry Keltto
The Solopreneur Life consists of 42 interviews with solopreneurs from all over the world. Some are just starting out, and some have been in business for years.
The information is conveyed in a style that’s both friendly and informative. You’ll hear about the triumphs, challenges, and rewards of being a one-man (or woman) company.
It’s both easy to read and quite intriguing. You’ll pick the brains of these 42 men and women and receive valuable insights into the life of a solopreneur. There are a lot of details of the particular business strategies used by the interviewees which you can use to start your own business.
You’ll hear what they would it took for them to make their business successful and what they would do if their business failed. The solopreneurs also give you their best tips so you too can be successful.
This is the book to read if you want to decide if the solopreneur’s life is for you.
Larry Keltto is an esteemed authority on solopreneurship. He’s the founder and publisher of thesolopreneurlife.com, an online resource for solopreneurs.
He’s been a solopreneur since 1993 and specializes in providing coaching services to aspiring and new solopreneurs.
When you’re done, pass it along to others who dream of living the solopreneur life. They’ll thank you for it!
6. Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim
If you’re chained to a corporate routine and wish you could break free, then Escape From Cubicle Nation is the book for you. If you recently left a corporate job to start your own business, this is also the book for you.
In this book full of practical wisdom, Pamela Slim offers valuable advice on how to escape corporate drudgery once and for all. It guides you through the myriad details that go into starting a business.
It’s almost like Pamela’s holding your hand as she explains everything you need to know to make your own escape. From how to get insurance to getting clients to maximizing your profits, it’s all in here.
Pamela Slim made her own escape from cubicle life 12 years ago. She started a blog, Escape from Cubicle Nation, in 2005 to help others make the same jump. Even though people want to leave their boring jobs, it’s scary to give up the security of a weekly paycheck.
She offers up precise details of starting your own business as well as the emotions you might experience after quitting your job. If you too want to escape the prison of the corporate world, buy this book. It will help you to decide if you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur.
If you’re having difficulty taking action, there’s an excellent chapter on fear and mental blocks.
The author knows what she’s talking about when she describes the hellish corporate landscape of the majority of white-collar employees. This is essentially a best practices manual for starting a business, and as such, it’s indispensable.
7. #AskGaryVee by Gary Vaynerchuk
To his legion of fans, Gary’s high energy intensity is addictive.
#AskGaryVee showcases the most intriguing questions posed by viewers of his incredibly popular YouTube show of the same name. It contains valuable insights on the nature of entrepreneurship, but what really makes it worth the price of admission is how contagious Gary’s passion is.
It’s the distilled wisdom of thousands of questions Gary has masterfully answered over the years. The book elaborates on the answers in the YouTube show, and the audiobook version expands on things even more.
The format is simple. Somebody asks a question, and Gary gives you his answer. That’s it. But Gary has a way of really connecting with you. And, what he has to say is incredibly inspiring.
His generosity on his YouTube show is legendary. On it, he gives away every single nugget of wisdom he owns. He doesn’t try to sucker you into attending costly seminars or buying outrageously priced information products.
Here is this marketing genius who started all these fabulous companies and who has enough business knowledge to fill dozens of books. And he freely offers these dazzling gems of entrepreneurial insight like it was nothin’.
How impressive is that?
But I have to warn you. If you’ve never experienced Gary before, he loves to use language that’s salty to the extreme. If this isn’t a deal-breaker for you, you’re in for a treat.
He offers eminently pragmatic, actionable advice on everything from launching your small business to creating a compelling personal brand. If you can’t wait to start your own solo side hustle, read this book, and let Gary’s boundless enthusiasm wash over you.
No matter what business you’re in, Gary’s advice will make you exponentially better at it. He’ll help you figure out precisely who you are, and to summon up the courage to share your true self with everyone you come into contact with.
He tells you not to be afraid of working long hours if you’re doing something you’re good at, and something you love doing. He also admonishes you to surround yourself with a team of talented people who excel in areas you don’t to create a “de facto” dream team.
But he doesn’t offer up all the tired clichés that plague every other self-help book on the market. He helps you to succeed by helping you to become a better father, mother, sister, brother, citizen…and ultimately, a better human being.
For most marketing mavens, dispensing advice like that instead of outlining the top 10 ways to make a six-figure income by crushing your competition would be dangerous to their bottom line.
But not for Gary!
8. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
If you want to be successful as a solopreneur, you’re going to need to offer a Unique Value Proposition (UVP) to the world. This is a crystal clear statement of what you offer that not a single one of your competitors have.
To do this, you’ll need to be a champion of new ways of doing things that throw outdated traditions out the window. In Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, you’ll learn how to do precisely that.
Coming Up with New Ideas
You’ll also learn how to brainstorm an endless stream of ideas for entrepreneurial projects that’ll stand head and shoulder above your competition.
But if you want to have quality ideas, you’re going to have to churn them out in quantity.
Once you’re done generating ideas, the author tells you how to separate the ones that have the potential to make lots of money from the ones that lack that certain vital spark. He gives the example of the television executive who defied all conventional wisdom by putting Seinfeld on the air.
How did the executive know the show was going to be a runaway hit? Read the book to find out how!
Next, you’ll find out how to pitch your best concepts to others when you need to get funding.
Then, you’ll learn how to decide when it’s the right time to spring into action with your paradigm-busting plans and do it without incurring unnecessary risk. Studies have shown that most successful entrepreneurs aren’t hyper risk-takers. Rather, they slowly build their businesses over time instead of going for broke.
But to realize your solopreneurial dreams, you’re going to have to demolish the overwhelming fear, doubt, and despair that prevent that from happening. The book teaches you how to do that too.
You’ll find out when you should trust your intuition, and when you should only rely on logic to make decisions.
You’ll learn that true originality is the ability to champion ideas that society considers unconventional. And by doing this, makes the world a better place.
This benefits both your bottom line and society as a whole. The author encourages every one of his readers to defy the crippling restrictions that the status quo places on us by always looking for better ways to do things.
Every concept in this groundbreaking book is startling original. I guess the author practices what he preaches!
9. The 10x Rule by Grant Cardone
Grant Cardone is a bestselling author and a world-renowned speaker on leadership, real estate investing, entrepreneurship, and finance. His five companies have generated annual revenues exceeding $100 million.
In The 10X Rule, Grant tells you to take all your wimpy time management systems and throw them in the trash. You don’t need them anymore.
The Purpose and Style of the Book
Every word of this book has one purpose, and one purpose only: to get you to take massive action. Its message isn’t very subtle. So if you were expecting a nuanced discussion, find a different book.
The book is very straightforward, diving right into its actionable strategies right away without a lot of useless fluff to distract you from its primary message. It tells you that real success transcends the banality of mediocrity. And, it goes way beyond setting ordinary expectations.
Stop Being an Average Joe
Most people desperately crave success. But they don’t have a clue how to do what it takes to live a truly exceptional life. If you follow Grant’s tips, the days of you being an average joe with only modest accomplishments will be resigned to the dustbin of your personal history.
This book tells you how to summon forth the herculean amounts of efforts it’s going to take to live your wildest dreams. It will also help you make this level of intensity sustainable so that success isn’t fleeting.
Great Strategies and Tips
You’ll uncover strategies to use fear as fuel to quickly propel you towards a life you never imagined you could live.
Grant will help you to blow every excuse you have not to take action today right out of the water. Best of all, he’ll help you formulate a compelling mission for your life. Not having one is like trying to drive from Toledo to San Francisco with no gas in your car.
With his stirring call to action, Grant challenges you to separate yourself from the mindless hordes by doing the things that everyone else adamantly refuses to do. So stop trying to merely get by and start aiming for earth-shatteringly high levels of satisfaction in every area of your life!
When you do, you’ll be well on your way towards adopting the mindset that high achievers in every field of endeavor share. Grant helps you unleash latent abilities you never knew you had to achieve goals you never thought were possible.
He teaches you how to set goals in a way that practically guarantees their achievement.
With his inspiring advice, you’ll have the life you want without having to settle for a pale imitation. You’ll be one of those enviable disruptors who drive things forward, crushes your competition, and is a shining paragon of success that everyone else will look up to.
One of the things that the book hammers home is that success isn’t limited because somebody else is successful. There’s enough to go around for everybody! And success isn’t something that falls out of the sky. It happens because you’re committed to taking determined, concentrated effort.
Set Outrageous Goals for Yourself
What it really comes down to is redefining success as you know it and deploying a 10X mindset in the single-minded pursuit of that goal. Setting outrageously big goals for yourself helps you to avoid running out of steam.
Buy this book and start crushing your goals!
These nine books can be just the thing you need to jumpstart your own business. But to internalize the ideas, you’re going to have to take extensive notes. You’ll also have to review these notes regularly.
Otherwise, you’re just reading for pleasure, and the ideas won’t come alive for you.
Grab one of these books, dive in, and make the knowledge in them your own. Soon, you’ll have a solo business you can be proud of!