It’s difficult to be a successful entrepreneur if you only rely on your own knowledge. The best business owners are always reading new books to learn.
Don’t believe me? I’m not making this up.
You probably think it’s only some fringe-celebrity entrepreneurs who read while running a business. But no one notable. No one on Elon Musk’s level (lol, just wait).
Here’s the A Team of the world’s best entrepreneurs and their reading habits:
- Warren Buffett estimates that he spends around 80% of his day reading
- Bill Gates reads about 1 book a week
- Mark Cuban reads over 3 hours every day
- Elon Musk read every book in his local libraries when he was a kid
- Mark Zuckerberg decided to read a book every other week in 2015
Try to find a group of better entrepreneurs out there. I’m waiting. Still waiting.
In seriousness, the reading habits of these proficient businessmen show the importance of this activity more than any high school English teacher or public librarian could persuade you to read.
World-class winners are spending valuable time reading, why aren’t you?
Now it’d be foolish to say all of their achievements can be credited to reading, just as it’d be foolish to say what they read didn’t help them strategize, innovate, and persevere.
If you want an edge in the business world, put your head in a few books. And not just any books, but start off with the best books for entrepreneurs.
I know you’re going to love all of these if you have an entrepreneurial spirit.
15 Best Books For Entrepreneurs
1. The ONE Thing by Gary Keller
This is a common dilemma for young entrepreneurs: You set out to dominate in one area, but along the way as things get hard you’ll get distracted and lose focus on your main objective for less important tasks or projects. You’ll ultimately lose progress along the way on what you set out to do in the first place so you fail.
Gary Keller’s The ONE Thing (one of my favorite books) will teach you why it’s vital you have laser-like focus on your one thing, be obsessed with it, and dedicate almost all of your time to it. There’s no room for distractions if you’re going to take your dreams as far as your ambitions can dream about.
This book isn’t for you if you’re a diehard believer in work life balance. But most entrepreneurs aren’t in the work life balance group for reasons unsaid.
2. Napoleon by Vincent Cronin
How can a French military leader who conquered almost all of Europe in the 19th century teach you about becoming a better entrepreneur? Don’t underestimate the lessons of Napoleon and his rise to power.
He didn’t grow up with the deck stacked in his favor, but made the most of his opportunities to rule the world for a time. This book will inspire you that you can do unbelievable things with your life. That’s empowering in itself. (I found this book after hearing that Oracle’s Larry Ellison appreciated it, and I’m thankful I read it.)
3. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Business is stressful and slanderous rumors can be completely unfair. That’s just how it is when the competition is coming at your neck to beat you down.
But how can you expect to effectively manage your business, your customers, and yourself if your head’s not right? Exactly, you can’t. You’ll take out your frustration in the wrong manner and suffer business consequences because of it.
That’s assuming you don’t read Mediations and learn how to discipline your mind to work for your good. Marcus Aurelius is a genius philosopher who will train you to focus on mastering your thoughts. Your business (and personal mindset) will prosper from putting these teachings to use.
4. Zero To One by Peter Thiel
Thiel, founder of PayPal and one of the most successful entrepreneurs out of Silicon Valley, wrote a book following up his teaching an entrepreneurship class at Stanford. The information in here for running a startup is unbelievable. Many people consider this the number one business book out there, and if they’re wrong they’re not far off.
If you’re looking for insight on using technology to win market share, getting away from competition, sales advice, hiring practices, and so much more, look no further than Zero To One.
5. Business Adventures by John Brooks
You could start your entrepreneurial journey on your own experience and see how that works out for you, maybe it’s a massive success. But I have a good feeling you’ll do better if you take into consideration the lessons in Brooks’ Business Adventures.
This book dives into blockbuster case studies from the past and their clear business lessons on topics like rapid success, market research, revenge, and losing focus on the objective. (P.S. This is Bill Gates’ favorite book on business.)
6. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
Building a business is hard. And with all hard things, there’s no formula or recipe to go from starting point to success. You have to learn as you go and use your personal experiences to make the best choice, even when the future outcome is often unknown.
Any budding entrepreneur could use Horowitz’s insight and personal story to help them navigate their entrepreneurial journey. After all, the struggle of building a company is where greatness comes from.
7. How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Whatever kind of startup or freelance work you venture out on, somewhere you’re going to have to effectively deal with people if you’re going to win. Dale Carnegie’s masterpiece will show you the ropes on how to get the most out of your social interactions.
Dive deep into this book to practice handling people, getting people to like you, win over people to your ideas, and being an effective leader who gets the most out of others. Your business will prosper when people enjoy how you make them feel.
8. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Want a scientific approach to ensure your business’ success? The Lean Startup will walk you through the exact process ensuring you don’t bring a product or service to market that your customers don’t want or won’t pay for.
Keep your business lean and stay in business by following this model of operation. It’s truly a science that you can replicate over and over again to eliminate uncertainty. I know I’ve referenced this process multiple times to work smarter.
9. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
As an entrepreneur, your company is only as good as your thoughts. You’re only as good as your thoughts. Your employees are only as good as your thoughts. Get the idea?
James Allen’s short read has principles showing how your thoughts lead to your reality. If you’re not happy with where you’re at professionally, use this book to examine your thoughts and how you can improve them for a more prosperous future. The best entrepreneurs are practiced optimists.
10. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
While the title shouldn’t be taken literally, Tim Ferriss’ hit book provides a ton of great insight for moving from a 9 to 5 job to entrepreneurship. This is especially useful for lifestyle entrepreneurs who want to build a business that supports them and not a huge business that isn’t as easily optimized and automated.
If replacing self-doubt, focusing on only what’s important, earning autopilot cash flow, and having location-independent work is appealing to you, this book is a home run. You’re going to absolutely enjoy this entertaining read!
11. Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia
Think business is all about wringing every last ounce of profit out of the market, and nothing else matters? Mr. Mackey and Sisodia would tell you you’re wrong and that business is about a higher purpose than pure profits.
Read this book if you want to see how your business can both be successful while also making the world a better place in the process through conscious capitalism. You can both improve the standard of living around the world and make a killing, if you try. These authors would tell you to try.
12. The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
In my experience, you’ll run your business as well as you’re mentally prepared to. Meaning how you fundamentally see the world and your behaviors are going to directly influence the progress or recession of your work. Covey covers this and how to change your beliefs for the better.
For example, how you see your business plays a huge factor in your success. Do you see it in a proactive manner where you’re the master of your own fate or in a reactionary mindset where the world happens to you and it’s your job to adjust? Winning entrepreneurs are proactive and bend the world to their desires.
13. Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson
Ben Franklin wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He grew up in humble beginnings and became a printer, only to later invent the lightning rod and play a crucial role in international politics.
So how can this help you build a business? You can learn from Franklin, a true entrepreneur at the core, about how he navigated business to come out on top. He’s a great story of accomplishing the American dream through hard work. If he can do it, you can too.
14. Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Unleashing the power of your subconscious mind is a key principle in this book. It’s also something every entrepreneur can use to achieve unimaginable feats.
For example, there’s no way saying your company’s financial goal in the morning and at night is hurtful. If anything it’s going to frame your day in a way that inspires you to put in the work to achieve it.
And although making a boatload of cash often comes with the territory of achieving excellence, whether that’s your goal or not, you can learn tangible and intangible lessons to push your business forward from Napoleon Hill’s bestseller.
15. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
The last and my personal favorite: Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.
It takes crazy guts and personal willpower to not conform to the world who tells you to go to school and work a 9 to 5 job until you’re 65. This book follows the story of a man with iron will integrity, shining a light on how true freedom is earned by sticking to what you believe and not conforming.
Any entrepreneur who hopes to one day create something magical could learn about the perseverance it takes to keep going when the world is against you. Like I said, I’m a huge fan of this book!
Read 1 Book At A Time
I personally read a book every 1 to 2 weeks (depending how busy I am) since I want to be a top entrepreneur and I know that the average CEO reads 4 to 5 books a month.
But keep in mind, you don’t have to be like me or anyone else.
Be your own entrepreneur. Be your own person. Read at your own pace.
So if you’re not a natural reader, don’t try to read a book a week. That will only frustrate you and you won’t have time to implement anything.
Maybe read 1 book a month to build the habit. And although reading sometimes helps in the short-term, it’s truly a long-term play to learn from people who have succeeded before you and build mental muscle.
Just be patient and know you have time to consume this material.
Oh yeah, take it easy and don’t get pissed off about the book selection. These are my favorite books for entrepreneurs.
But it’s subjective. There’s no factual best book.
So relax. And knock off one of these books every month or until you read them all.
Related: 15 Best Books For College Students
Prediction: These Will Be The 5 Biggest Winners Of 2018
A new year means a new group of people are going to capitalize in 2018 by taking their life to a whole different level of success and happiness
Do you know who is going to come out on top in this new year? If you did, it’d be smart to join these groups so you can also have an amazing year.
Here’s where it pays off to read this blog: I’m going to tell you who is going to win before it ever happens. Then it’s up to you to join these groups so you can win big in 2018.
I’m not calling it a guarantee but I’m very confident in each one of these picks. Let’s start with number 1.
The 5 Biggest Winners Of 2018
1. Business owners and entrepreneurs
Honestly, I think business owners are always going to be a big winner of just about every year given all the benefits of running your own operation.
We get to build a business, make progress, challenge ourselves, compete in the toughest arena of global business, take off whenever we want, travel if we desire, receive tax advantages, etc. Read this if you want to learn more specific reasons to become an entrepreneur.
There’s just so much good when you own your own business, and all the bad doesn’t stack up.
Call me biased for this one making the list, but I wasn’t a business owner before and still felt this way so I became one.
What’s stopping you from owning your own thing, even if it’s smaller and you’re a solopreneur or freelancer? That still carries many of the same benefits so go do it already if you want to crush it this year.
2. Video creators
Blogs and podcasts are cool in all, but the vlog is where it’s at!
As I’ve said countless times, the best way to get to know someone is through seeing them, hearing their voice, and listening to what they say, aka what video does.
Other mediums like voice, images, or text just can’t deliver what video can for content creators and their audiences.
Not to mention all the statistics are lining up pretty for video creators. Take a look at these stats from this blog post on BrianRobben.com:
- About 92 percent of mobile video watchers will go on to share videos with other people
- Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined
- 95% of a message is retained when watched compared to 10% when read
- People spend 88% more time on a website with video according to Mist Media
- Video traffic will account for 80% of all Internet traffic in 2019
It’s safe to say that video is the way of the present and the future. Those that keep publishing it are going to dominate in the attention department, and when you win on attention you win on sales and making money.
3. People who go live on social media’s like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram
Video is one thing, but it’s a bonus to go live as you’ll get pushed higher in news feeds like Facebook and Instagram.
When you go live, your followers and friends will get notifications and it’s a nice way to break into new audiences who otherwise wouldn’t have watched your videos.
Here I am saying it’s going to be big but I haven’t done it yet. I plan to do this in 2018 and it’ll be a mistake if I don’t! This also means it will be a mistake for your brand if you don’t.
P.S. The way to win with the ever-changing social platforms is to do what they want to promote the most—live video is up there, if not their number one favorite type of content.
4. Cryptocurrency and stock market investors
Cryptocurrencies had a hell of a year last year as some, like Bitcoin, gained over 1,000% percent from the start to the end of 2017. It looks like they’re not done yet.
A managing director of a cryptocurrency trading firm—Octagon Strategy—Dave Chapman estimates that Bitcoin will go beyond $100,000 before 2018 ends. I also made the same prediction in this video.
Also, many analysts think cryptocurrencies are just in the 1st inning out of 9, so that’s a lot of game to be played and profits to be made if things continue to go up.
I’ll include the stock market in this because the stock market has reached all time highs and look promising in the future.
In the long haul, I believe investors are always going to win given the historical returns of major cryptocurrency coins and the stock market.
5. People who believe in themselves
You absolutely need to have faith in yourself that you can accomplish your new year’s resolutions if you’re actually going to get it done.
With no confidence, you’ll fail first and never have the courage to get back up and try again.
For a winning example, look at Kevin Hart. One of the world’s highest-paid comedians has a huge portrait on a wall in his house. His reasoning is that he needs to be his biggest fan because if he’s not then who else will be?
That’s the motto you need to have to go out there and do big things. It all starts with positive self-talk that you’re the man or woman, you’re enough, and you can get it done.
Positive thinkers will work harder and create more positive outcomes for themselves. Believe that!
2018’s Biggest Winners Wrap Up
If I had to bet, then I’m going with entrepreneurs, video creators, going live on social media, cryptocurrency investors, and people who believe in themselves will make the most out of 2018 and take the cake.
And if you’re not currently in any of those groups, there’s no better time to get started than today.
At the very least, you need to work on believing in yourself because like I said how can you accomplish a single new year’s resolution without that?
Go dominate 2018 will ya!?
Want to follow my entrepreneurial journey? Like my Facebook page and you’ll never miss a thing.
I Launched A New Website!
You guys have been with me from the beginning so I had to make a post sharing the big news with you first. I’m excited to announce the launch of BrianRobben.com!
This new site is going to be for my personal brand and the content will strictly focus on entrepreneurship and business.
That means the hot topics will be marketing, sales, social media, technology, investing, and then the classic traits of winning in business like being bold, working hard, and patiently playing for the long game.
Creating this new site was a no-brainer because I honestly have a blast sharing my unique business perspective, motivating other entrepreneurs, and documenting myself.
You’re also going to find more personal content revolving around the ups and downs of my entrepreneurial journey. Also, I see myself adding content that dives into the specifics of Illumen Media and how we’re trying to grow our company into a giant.
There’s definitely going to be crossover content between Take Your Success and my new website, except Take Your Success is less Brian-focused and its mission is 100% to provide personal development tips and motivation for you.
And just like TYS, BrianRobben.com will publish video and written blog post content.
Simply put, if you’re looking for specific news on me and to follow my journey then head over to BrianRobben.com.
If you love the content on Take Your Success then keep coming back because by no means am I going to stop publishing content here. This site will forever be my first-born entrepreneurial baby.
Or you can be a champ by checking out the new content on both websites every week so you won’t miss a thing.
Don’t forget to click around the new site at BrianRobben.com!
How To Start A Business With No Money
You can absolutely learn how to start a business with no money. I’ve done it, and I’m going to show you how.
I feel so strongly about this position that I had to make a video on it.
Because of shows like Shark Tank and the media being the media, young and old people out there think the only thing stopping them from starting a business is money.
Once they pay off their loans, they’ll start that business. Or once they receive an inheritance, they’ll follow their dreams.
I don’t get it!
Why put off something you know you want to do? And the truth is you don’t need any money to generate profits. There goes two excuses.
Just do what the video suggests and you’re going to be just alright—better than alright, you’ll be balling.
Invest Time To Grow Your Business
What you think is a money issue is truly a time issue. Check out what I mean below.
Goal: To start a profitable business.
Problem: You have no money.
Real problem: You’re not spending enough time to grow your business.
Solution: Spend time (or make time) to build a company that generates profits.
Once you recognize the only thing separating you from owning a profitable business is time in the morning before work, during lunch, after dinner, and on the weekends—all that’s left is to know where to invest that time.
Here are 5 steps you should take to put in time to grow an online business.
Step 1) Find a specific online business to pursue.
Don’t overthink this step. Combine a passion you have with a service or product people are willing to pay for, and then you have your business idea.
A caveat here is you want to make sure other people are making money in the niche you pursue so you don’t end up wasting your time.
For example, if you love the yoga lifestyle, then teach people yoga online or coach others on how to get the most out of their yoga routine. Since other people are making money doing this, you can move forward in confidence.
Here’s a helpful video that should take away some pressure of finding a business idea.
Step 2) Buy a domain and set up email offer.
Ok, this is the only step where you need to spend money and it comes out to like $4 a month. You’ll need to buy a domain and website hosting to set your business up.
Once you set up WordPress (free) and your email service (free if you use MailChimp), you’ll want to create a super simple, one-page website. It needs to clearly explain the benefits of your offering for visitors, and include with a place to enter their email to get updates on when this site is officially launching for business.
It’d be smart to offer an early bird discount rate or attractive incentive to encourage more visitors to submit their email. Ultimately your email list becomes your sales tool so don’t ignore it once you collect email addresses in MailChimp.
See the images below to see a Step 2 done right. (Admittedly it’s a little fancier with the video than you need, but it’s a nice one page website to shoot for.)
If you do Step 3 correct, you’ll have tens to hundreds of interested email leads ready to buy from you the moment you email them to pitch your paid service.
Step 3) Send as much traffic as possible to this website.
With your simple website and email capture set up, do everything in your power to flood that website with interested people.
Here are proven ideas to quickly send traffic to your new website:
- Share the link on all of your social media profiles, multiple times
- Email the link to your family, friends, and peers so they can learn about your business
- Write guest posts on other blogs and link back to your site
- Consider spending $50 to $100 in Facebook ads
- Go old school and call people to see what they think about your business
- Post your idea in forums and Facebook groups
The ideas are endless and you can find more in one Google search if you run out of them. The goal in this step is to get enough traffic over the next few months so you can complete Step 4.
Step 4) Analyze the results.
Like the scientific method, you need to analyze your business after a few months to see if it’s a good thing going or something you need to pull the plug on before it goes any further.
The way you can tell is by the human interactions around your business. Have people signed up for your email offer? Have they liked your Facebook ads and commented that they have been looking for this? What’s the feedback of your social media posts? How have your friends responded?
If you’re not sure about the results, you need to do more promotion or do a better job of putting your business idea out there to see what the market things.
Unfortunately if the results are terrible and you now know you can’t build a business off of this, you want to go back to Step 1 and restart this process. It’s better to restart now than 12 months down the road where you’ve lost all that time and still haven’t generated interest.
Step 5) Go all in to build the business.
Found a winning business idea? It’s time to expand your marketing channels.
I recommend you start blogging, recording videos, or doing a podcast to become a thought leader in your space and drive organic traffic to your website.
And don’t forget about adding more services or products based on the desires of your customers.
The beauty of business is the work is never done so you won’t get bored. And you’re going to enjoy the challenge of your life.
Go all in with the time you have to ensure you grow your business and you don’t regret procrastinating later on in life.
Your business will return as much profits as you invest time into it. That’s a positive because it means you’re in control.
Start A Business With Zero Cash
You now have the formula to start an online business without funding. It’s time to execute.
Follow those 5 steps, be patient until you’re successful, and keep hustling every day to make your dream a reality.
There are going to be bumps and bruises along the way. Sometimes you may feel lonely or doubt yourself, but promise yourself you’re going to stick with this until you accomplish what you set out to.
Running a profitable business comes down to your mindset and commitment more than anything else.
If earning passive income and quitting your 9 to 5 job is a strong desire, prove it to yourself by investing the time to grow your company.
You can do this!
Subscribe to Brian Robben on YouTube to watch more lessons on entrepreneurship and how to build your business.