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Entrepreneurship

My First $10k Income Month

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When you become an entrepreneur, you get tons of questions. At least I did.

Many of the questions I received centered around people doubting the practicality of my decision and how I’d make any money.

Sometimes it’s my neighbor at a local church festival congratulating me on my books and then asking genuinely, “Are you making any money with that?” Other times it’s an uncle ignoring the positive possibility I shared about my business, and instead asking me if I’ll be able to afford health insurance at age 26 (I’m 23 by the way).  

The questions about my income, and truthfully the real question of do you know what you’re doing, come often.

So while everything wasn’t smooth and nothing in the future is guaranteed, this month I reaped the rewards of my labor more than ever before.

In December 2016, I made over $10,000 doing work that I love.

Use This Story As Inspiration

Before we get to the income timeline, I recognize that $10,000 in a month is nothing for a big time entrepreneur.

Many top performers make more than that in an hour. And their goal is $1 million a month or more. So compared to the whales out there, I’m still a minnow.

That’s why I’m not saying, “I made it. Look at me!” I’m saying this is what’s possible when you take a risk and do what you’re passionate about.

My sole purpose behind this post is to inspire you.

I want to inspire the kid who just started their own blog, YouTube channel, or podcast. The dropout who started their clothing business. And the young professional who daydreams about their goals while stuck in a cubicle.

Part of me didn’t want to post this. But then I figured it would be a disservice to the people with a successful mindset. I certainly would have appreciated reading a post like this as a new entrepreneur.

If you do what successful people do, you will look at this post as a sign of confidence that you too can chase your dreams and get paid for it.

You’ll look at the hard work and respect it. You’ll notice that I’m no different from you, and you’ll be encouraged and inspired to get yours.

If you have an unsuccessful (scarcity) mindset, then you’re going to hate reading this. I’m not sorry. Just know it’s never too late to join the winning side who are doing what they love and making a living. And what has hating on someone ever gotten you? Nothing.

Plus, if I get less questions about, “Are you making any money?,” because of this post, then I’ll take that.

Lastly, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I want to inspire myself to keep pushing and never stop. Because when I undoubtedly reach a difficult business season in the future, I can come back to this post as inspiration.

I will remember the struggle to go from only making $500 in March 2016 to more than $10,000 nine months later.

And I’ll know that I climbed that mountain, so why can’t I climb the mountain for a six or seven figure month down the road? I believe I can and I will.

Alright, below is the timeline of my entrepreneurial journey from beginning to now. As you’ll see, I slowly but surely built my income brick by brick.

Timeline To A Five Figure Month

Traffic Growth, Zero Monetization: Entrepreneurial Months 1 To 8

Date: January 2015 to August 2015

Total Income Streams: 2

1. Sales job

2. Dividends

In my senior year of college, I had the idea to start TakeYourSuccess.com. So for the first eight months after that, half as a student and half as an outside sales rep, I just focused on growing my website traffic and email subscribers.

This meant about three blog posts a week, an email out to the newsletter each week, social media marketing, and doing some interviews.

If I had it over again, I would have monetized earlier. Because I had the false perception that you can only monetize if you have a big email list, which isn’t true. A big email list helps, but if you have committed fans, then you can sell with only a few hundred subscribers.

And besides my outside sales paycheck starting in June during this time, a couple hundred dollars from stock dividends marked my only other income.

My only business expense was website hosting, which is like $60 for 12 months.

Became A Bestselling Author: Entrepreneurial Months 9 To 14

Date: September 2015 to February 2016

Total Income Streams: 3

1. Book sales

2. Affiliate earnings

3. Dividends

After growing a decent audience, I received tons of emails from subscribers looking for resume and job search strategies. So I decided to write a book on exactly that.

The-Golden-Resume-book

In late September 2015,  The Golden Resume became an Amazon bestseller. I felt extremely proud at that moment of my life (thanks to all of you who bought it, reviewed it, and spread the word). And these book sales immediately sent a sizable passive income to my bank account each month.

Also during this time, I realized that starting a blog forever changed my life.

Since I saw so much value in having a blog, I published a page on my site recommending other visitors to start their own blog. I set up an affiliate link with BlueHost, which pays me an affiliate commission when people sign up through it.

start-a-blog

I did have more business expenses during September. The book editor, book cover designer, and formatter all combined to cost around $500. After that, business expenses remained at zero, pretty much.

And I still had my outside sales job income during this stretch. However, after seeing progress and knowing for a 100% fact that I had the guts to do it, I resigned from my sales job to be a full-time entrepreneur in February 2016

Adding Income Streams: Entrepreneurial Months 15 To 23

Date: March 2016 to November 2016

Total Income Streams: 6

1. Book sales

2. Affiliate earnings

3. Media work

4. Blog and social media advertising

5. Coaching

6. Dividends

Freedom-Mindset-cover

Another factor that gave me the courage to resign is I knew that my second book Freedom Mindset would come out in March and be another moneymaker. This book also became an Amazon bestseller, and this time in the super competitive personal finance category (thank you readers!).

Although the books did great and brought in solid passive income, starting out in March I took a big pay cut to go from outside sales rep to entrepreneur. (I personally believe this big pay cut and a need for security is the reason many top performers at corporate jobs don’t leave to work for themselves and make more money down the road. It’s definitely difficult in the beginning to make way less than you’re worth.)

To get back to my monthly income from my sales job and beyond, I knew I needed to add more income streams. So I looked at what other skills or experiences I had, and social media marketing is what I came up with. I figured I grew my social media presence to a noticeable size, so I could repeat that recipe for others.

While talking to a small business owner and friend, I offered to do his Instagram and Twitter marketing. He accepted. That snowballed to working with another small business and startup on their social media.

Right around this time, I also discovered that many small business owners didn’t know how to build a website. So I added that service to my monthly income. And building websites for people then offering my social media service is a natural transition that people will pay for.

As the traffic on TakeYourSuccess.com grew to 10,000 to 15,000 views a month, and my social media accounts grew in the tens of thousands of followers, I started receiving advertising deals. When some sponsorships did happen, these made a big push in building my monthly income.

And although it’s technically a byproduct of The Golden Resume, a few college and medical school students paid me for resume coaching. That goes to show all the income streams available after writing a book.

how_to_college

Next, my book How To College came out at the end of August, 2016. This book also become an Amazon bestseller and sold well. I did some different marketing strategies with this one—including selling paperback books for $10 a piece, face to face at the NACAC National College Fair in Cincinnati. And here’s a funny story. When I tried to sell books at a high school college fair, they kicked me out for disturbing the event process—what a joke!

Lastly, my stock dividends kept pouring in this year and growing as I increased my contributions. Compounding interest is one of the most beautiful processes on the planet. Of any of these income streams below, investing in an S&P 500 index fund is by far the easiest and it’s guaranteed to pay dividends quarterly. (Learn more by ordering Freedom Mindset).

Five Figure December: Entrepreneurial Month 24

Date: December 2016

Total Income Streams: 6

1. Book sales

2. Affiliate earnings

3. Media work

4. Blog and social media advertising

5. Coaching

6. Dividends

Now it’s time for the $10,000 month recap.

I didn’t add any new income streams this month. I just doubled down on the current ones to put in more work, and receive more income.

Basically my book royalties, affiliate earnings, advertising, coaching, and dividends all stayed strong and steady in December.

What made the difference is I put in serious hustle in the media work income stream. By media work, this usually covers anything from social media marketing, website building, SEO service, and content writing for clients.

This month, the content writing paid off, literally. Because I worked with a software company to write the content for the apps they needed for a big client. This work didn’t just pay well, the material also educated me and I learned new skills. So I’m grateful for that contract and looking to do more work with the software company in the future.

And I met another entrepreneur who hired me for some extra content writing and SEO service. That also padded the monthly income for a five figure December.

Want to know the icing on the cake? I’m still living at my parent’s place and my business expenses are at $50 in December—which means I’m pocketing close to 100% of that money. (All you young adults who don’t hate your parents and still can, I encourage you to seriously consider living at home to build your nest egg for financial freedom. Or live at home and use that extra money, that would have gone to rent, on travel. I’ll move out soon, but right now I’m 23 and work almost all the time so there’s no need.)

There you have a unique look into my young entrepreneurial journey. You may be wondering, what’s next?

In January 2017, I’m going to announce and launch the online course I’ve been working on for four months. I have a good feeling it’s going to be epic!

Join Me On This Journey

I knew I could take the entrepreneurial jump and succeed all along.

I just had to prove it to myself. And now that I have, I want to you to know you can make a living doing what you love.

Work doesn’t have to be a drag. You don’t have to live for the weekend. You actually can—and should—find satisfaction, purpose, and value from your work.

Work is inherently a good thing. Humans were designed to use our brains and bodies to work. I want to spread this message like wildfire.

To the budding entrepreneurs and everyone else, I encourage you to invest in yourself. Choose the you economy. Don’t rely on a single job, economy, or government, to tell you what you’re worth and what you can do.

I encourage you to become self aware of what you’re passionate about doing. Search for and experiment with work that you would do without the money. When you put enough hard work and time into it, which will be easy when you enjoy it, the money will come.

Now it’s back to work for me. I can’t publish a post in the future named “My First $100K Income Month” and “My First $1 Million Income Month” if I don’t hustle.

Take your success!

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Entrepreneurship

What’s The Best Business Idea For Beginner Entrepreneurs?

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If you want to become an entrepreneur, the next immediate question has to be, “What’s the best business idea for me to make money?” I have the answer.

For those looking for a quick solution so they can skip any hard work, sorry in advance. This insight is not going to be what you want to hear.

But you’re going to save a ton of time doing it my way instead of the wrong path you might be tempted to go down.

Endurance and patience is always involved, but only fruitful if you’re headed in the right direction.

Let me explain.

Where Beginner Entrepreneurs Go Wrong

Beginner entrepreneurs often go wrong by trying to hit a home run on their first at bat when they have zero entrepreneurial skills, zero connections, zero capital, etc.

That app idea you have? It’s most likely garbage.

The software company you know is going to make you billions? Probably won’t make you a penny.

The new social network that’s better than anything out there? You’re crazy if you think you’re going to beat billion dollar companies in the market today.

And that’s why these beginner entrepreneurs set themselves up to fail.

Biting off more than you can chew is a recipe for disaster (or throwing up your food, gross).

I’m all for having big dreams. I mean the name of this site is Take Your Success, encouraging you to go out in this world and make your dream a reality.

But I’ve found that beginner entrepreneurs who aim too big, too high, too early, come up short and are forever discouraged.

They put their bucket down an empty well and are surprised they come out with no water although they’ve put a year or two into the project.

Think about this.

Jeff Bezos didn’t start his entrepreneurial career by aiming to build the biggest online shopping store in the world. If he did, odds are he would have failed.

He started with books and used what he learned to dominate that industry to expand Amazon.com to what it is today.

Mark Zuckerberg didn’t open Facebook and market it to everyone from the start. That would have slowed the growth tremendously.

His social network only accepted Harvard students, then it slowly expanded to other college students, and then they opened up to every age and went global.

Elon Musk didn’t graduate college and aim to build a rocket company. If he did, my money is it would have flopped in his face.

Instead he built a digital maps program and used what he learned there to build up to PayPal, Tesla, and now SpaceX.

Whether you have similar ambitions as those entrepreneurial giants or just want to quit your job and do what you love, the best business idea to do that is below.

Best Business Idea To Get Started

Maybe this isn’t as profound as you hoped, but I firmly believe people new to the entrepreneurial space will be far more successful and encouraged if they simply copy other successful entrepreneurs who are making a full-time income from their work.

Not billionaires, just millionaires or the average Joe who is making around $100,000 or more a year, for example, in an entrepreneurial pursuit.

Look at individual entrepreneurs who are making things happen on the Internet. Start following their steps to success.

Read their blog. Watch their videos. Sign up for their email list. Listen to their podcast. Understand how they serve an audience through a service or product, and how they monetize it.

You’ll struggle if you try to mimic the CEO of ESPN or Nike.

Because they’re on an entirely different planet with almost unlimited resources compared to your very limited capabilities. And you don’t have decades of experience to rely on like they do.

You can find success vlogging, reviewing products, doing social media marketing for businesses, podcasting, blogging, running an ecommerce shop, doing email marketing, other ideas like that.

I want this article to be timeless so I’m hesitant to recommend specific ideas.

The point is to do some research, consume content, and be self-aware to know your personality and skillset to determine how you’re going to serve the market and get paid for it.

Your primary goal at this stage is to start making money to supplement your income so you can eventually become a full-time entrepreneur. This is key since you can only create so much magic if 40 hours a week you’re tied to a 9 to 5 job.

Although you don’t have to be all in for the money to be an entrepreneur, your work does need to generate income or it’s just a little, cute hobby you do every week.

You don’t want cute. You want the real deal and that means getting paid for your contributions.

And one last reminder—because many young entrepreneurs go wrong here—it’s going to be impossible to try to mimic 13 different entrepreneurs who all are pushing you in different directions.

You’ll end up dazed and confused with no direction.

Find one or two people who you vibe with, and then work hard to take the steps they did to succeed.

Once you have a solid income from your small entrepreneurial pursuit, then you can build off of that foundation to grow your empire.

Build Going Forward

Now once you’ve learned some foundational tips of entrepreneurship, then it’s time to start building from there.

Because by this point you’ll have built a steady stream of monthly income and earned yourself some breathing room to explore grander (and more profitable) projects. Plus, you’ll gain valuable experience to bring with you in this next venture that will increase your odds of success.

Though improving your craft as an entrepreneur at every stage is fun in my opinion, this is where the real enjoyment starts to happen.

For me, this meant going from blogger to cofounding a digital marketing company. The stakes immediately became 100 times more real.

But in the midst of difficulty lies opportunity. And so far, this video proves I’ve taken this opportunity to serve local businesses and I’m making the most of it.

If you want it bad enough, you can become a professional entrepreneur who is in it for the long haul.

How bad do you want this?

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Entrepreneurship

How To Land Your First Social Media Client

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Are you a stud when it comes to growing social media accounts? It can be extremely profitable (and fun) for you to get your first clients under your belt.

Just imagine how your life would improve once you landed your first client.

If you have a 9 to 5 job, you’d generate a solid side hustle income or begin the process of transitioning to do this full time. If you’re a freelancer, this could develop into referrals and more leads for your other services. And if you’re a young entrepreneur, this could not only pay your bills but give you needed breathing room to continue working on your passion or building your business.

Extra money goes a long way regardless of the direction you take!

But I’m sure you know that step 1, getting the client, is easier said than done. Because you’re not the only one out there offering these services.

Working in the social media space is extremely competitive given the rich perks like:

  • Getting clients results becomes extremely profitable
  • Growing a following and engagement is a lot more fun than most types of jobs
  • It’s location-independent work, all you need is Internet
  • You get to express your creative side posting different text, images, and videos
  • There are essentially zero costs of being in business

So how do you get your first paying clients?

That’s a great question and one I solved in 2015 when I got an individual to pay me to grow his Instagram account. And now I run a digital marketing company where I’m routinely managing clients’ social media accounts.

Here are the 3 best tips I’ve learned from my experiences that I want to pass on to you to help you get your first signed contract.

Tips To Get Social Media Clients

social-media-clients

1) Believe in what you’re selling

This is the first building block you need to get right if you’re going to sell social media: believe in what you’re selling so you can be confident.

When you’re confident, it comes through in your communication (handshake, tone, smile, facial expressions, and body language) and leads them to believe you can generate leads from managing their social media account. That alone will push the needle from no deal to deal in many scenarios.

(Related: Is It Possible To Connect With Anyone)

And part of confidence comes with education. Be informed about why social media will produce these businesses more revenue, why social media is not going away, and how it protects their brand, etc.

However, when you, the seller, aren’t confident then that also comes out and returns the opposite effect—no sale.

For example, a business owner I met with for lunch last Friday told a story of how a family friend of his is going door to door selling new utilities packages. He made the joke that no one is actively looking for a new utilities service and he could see it on the guy’s face that he wasn’t all in about his offering. Needless to say, the utilities seller didn’t close the deal.

Why? Because he didn’t even believe in what he was selling so he can’t convince the consumer to believe.

Always remember that confidence is contagious. Use it in your favor when pitching potential new clients.

(Tip: If you don’t believe in the power of social media marketing, then you need to educate yourself with articles like this one, this one and this one.)

2) Aim for small commitments

With a confident approach, it’ll still be difficult to get business owners to open their checkbook and give their hard-earned money to you. Except you can make this process easier by first asking for small commitments.

The persuasion tactic behind pitching a small commitment is you’re showing that you’re confident in what you do, you’re patient, and you’re willing to build the relationship through trust before signing a monthly contract.

This goes a long way to any business owner, especially the social media advertising skeptics.

Small commitments look like: a 5 minute meeting, a 30 minute meeting, and then a small trial to show them what you can do.

They’d have to be silly to turn down a trial where they don’t have to pay for your work and only have to pay for the Facebook advertising spend.

Take a look at something you could say below.

Hey, I’ve been a big fan of this clothing store for years and love the product you guys put out. Reason I’m reaching out is I’m confident I can bring you more customers through social media marketing. Tell you what, if you can run a small trial with me for $100-$200, I won’t charge you. I believe in earning business, not asking for it. What do you think?

It doesn’t need to be said exactly like that, but the formula of compliment, make your claim, and then go for a small ask works extremely well.

You’ll get nearly 99% more conversations compared to asking for a big deal when they’ve never seen you before, “Hey, I do social media marketing for businesses. My rate is $1,000 a month. Do we have a deal?”

Good luck if that’s your opening pitch!

Once you get the trial, all that’s left to do is produce results and you’ll sign them right away. It will be the easiest pitch of your life after you show social media marketing works.

Of course, when business is booming then you don’t need to ask for small commitments if you don’t want to anymore. Your approach can be a bolder “take it or leave it” which actually could convert better sometimes given the context.

Though asking for small commitments is how you’re going to quickly sign new clients in the beginning days of your business.

3) Always be hungry

As I said back in the introduction, a lot of people would love to manage social media accounts. The appeal of getting paid to work on the beach in Australia, with a drink in their hands, and the sun shining is dream-like.

That means you need to cut through the competition to get your own clients or someone else will grab them eventually.

How do you rise to the top? Be hungry at all times.

In my mind at least, being hungry means focusing on the sole mission of getting a new client regardless of other distractions.

It’s getting rid of your feelings of insecurity, tiredness, shame, and embarrassment, to go sell like your life depends on it. For some of you, it actually might.

You could be told no 100 times from Monday to Thursday, but if you stay hungry you increase the odds of getting a yes at 4 PM on a Friday.

Sales is a numbers game. The more effort you put into pitching clients, the more rejections you’re going to get. But at the same time, you’re going to get more clients signed.

Don’t let the rejections get to you, realistically they’re just road signs you’re closer to getting your next yes.

And hungry people get the lion’s share of the clients and money. Not to mention the peace of mind that they worked extremely hard that day.

So whether you have 0, 1, 10, 50 or 100 clients, always be hungry for more! That’s assuming you want to do this full-time, like I do 😉

All It Takes Is One

Just like getting accepted in college, receiving your first after college job offer, and finding a spouse who loves you, all it takes is one client to pay you to manage their social media accounts.

That should encourage you big time!

This means you’re one conversation away from meeting the right person who will take a chance on you running Facebook ads, posting from their profiles, and offering creative content ideas.

Just one man or woman who is positive mindset that day open for new opportunities. Maybe since they’re not technologically savvy and know they need to be on social media, they hire you. Or they respect your hustle and see a younger version of themselves in you so they give you a shot to prove yourself.

The list of possibilities goes on and on, but only if you put yourself out there.

Think about every business owner who you have a personal relationship with and reach out to them. Tell your family and friends what you’re up to and ask if they know anyone who might be interested. Email your previous professors and do the same.

Plus, you’re going to have to do the dreaded cold calling over email, the phone, or in person. I prefer to get as many in-person meetings as possible since I’ve found that’s the best medium to convert a deal.

And once that initial person or company takes a chance on you, then you can get the ball rolling and build your portfolio over time to land other clients (if you so choose).

You’re in the worst of it right now and it’s only going to get better going forward if you stay committed.

This has less to do with natural talent or skill, and everything to do with working hard.

Now go out there and land your first client already.

You can do this. I believe in you!

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Entrepreneurship

15 Best Books Every Entrepreneur Needs To Read

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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:

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.

Order this book here.

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.)

Order this book here.

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.

Order this book here.

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.

Order this book here.

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.)

Order this book here.

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.

Order this book here.

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.

Order this book here.

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.

Order this book here.

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.

Order this book here.

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!

Order this book here.

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.

Order this book here.

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.

Order this book here.

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.

Order this book here.

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.

Order this book here.

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!

Order this book here.

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

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