There is a lot to be learned when you are starting your freelancing business, but your income often does not cover getting expensive training at that stage. Books are one of the most affordable ways of getting professional advice, so it is no wonder that many entrepreneurs, myself included, go into reading mode.
The benefits of reading are so remarkable that many entrepreneurs continue with the habit for years. For example, Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is famous for reading 50 books per year, and he also shares his recommendations in his personal blog.
So the question is not whether you should read but rather WHAT to read. The number of lists out there can be overwhelming, and it is not always easy to find the ones that benefit you the most, especially if you are a sucker for practical books (yep, that's me). So to make your choice a bit easier, here is a list of the three books that have helped me in practice while launching my freelancing business:
The Side Hustle – From idea to income in 27 days by Chris Guillebeau
The Side Hustle is a practical step-by-step guide on how to start a business from scratch even when working full-time elsewhere, and on how to do it in less than a month in a sustainable way. On top of giving practical advice on the topic, Chris also shares stories from other entrepreneurs, which makes this book both encouraging and helpful.
Key lessons: In order to create a sustainable side hustle (or full-time hustle), you need to have a business idea that does not require a tremendous amount of time but brings you money, preferably in a passive way. Continuous development and evaluation are needed to make this equation work.
"If your side hustle does not bring you money, it's a hobby, not a business!"
Being Boss – Take control of your work & live life on your own terms by Kathleen Shannon & Emily Thompson
If you have ever listened to the Being Boss podcast, you also know what to expect from this book: practical guidance and coaching for both your business and life. Kathleen and Emily go deeper than just focusing on building up a business; they help the reader to build the mindset and habits of being one's own boss. Furthermore, they give great tips on how to sell your work and build up your finances. And the best part? They even have an additional appendix of spreadsheets and exercises that come with the book.
Key lessons: You can find your voice by using it, so embrace your skills and passion. There is no right way to live your life and do business; you have to find your own way of doing things.
"Get up and do the work."
Crushing it!: How great entrepreneurs build their business and influence – and how you can, too by Gary Vaynerchuk
If you only want to read one book about branding in social media, read this one. Gary Vee's newest book is full of practical and up-to-date tips about how to use the different social media platforms to build your personal and business brand. Since it is an updated version of the already classic Crush it! from 10 years ago, the book also offers fascinating stories of entrepreneurs who are successfully crushing it on social media, thanks to the original book. I warmly recommend getting this one on audiobook since Gary updates it continuously along with the changes on the social media channels.
Key lessons: Do your research. Get to know your audience. Create valuable content. Collaborate with others. Evaluate your efforts continuously. Play the long game. Repeat.
“You just have to make the choice to actually do it. I am so tired of excuses. Why not try something new? Be optimistic, exhibit patience, shut your mouth, and execute.”
Each of these books has a different approach to business, but they all have a common message: Just start doing whatever you want to be doing. Start selling, start putting yourself out there. That is the only way to see if your business will take off.
Thankfully, these are not the only good books on the market. If you want to find more book suggestions for starting entrepreneurs, check out these lists from Hubspot, Business Insider and Forbes. I added several books to my personal reading list thanks to these expert recommendations.
Now it's your turn. Have you recently read a business book that you think every starting entrepreneur should read? Write your recommendation in the comment field below! I love getting tips about books to read and sharing them with others.