I’m about to ask you a tough question…
Do you love to read?
It’s no secret that most successful entrepreneurs read often. In fact, a recent study found that 86 percent of wealthy people love to read, and 88 percent of them read daily.
No, I don’t mean magazines and blog posts — although those are important, too! I am referring to books that focus on personal growth and development.
Now, compare those figures to the national average in the United States… 32 percent of American adults — nearly 1 in every 3 — admit to reading one or fewer books in the past 12 months.
Is that a coincidence?
I think not.
Today, we are going to be taking a look at 7 must-read titles for anyone building an online, service-based business.Here's a look at 7 must-read titles for anyone building an online, service-based business.Click To Tweet
What I wanted to assemble here is a well-rounded list of titles that cover different topics for freelancers, such as sales, finance, networking, and inspiration.
And then below in the comments, let’s get a conversation going on what other titles you would recommend for freelancers and other solopreneurs.
Thomas J. Stanley, PhD
William D. Danko, PhD
It might surprise you that I’m starting this list with a financial self-help book.
But it shouldn’t.
In fact, I’ve even referenced this tremendous resource in a previous blog post.
Being a self-employed freelancer means that you are entirely in charge of your own financial destiny. And one of the key principles discussed in this book — always live below your means — is an important lesson for any new businessperson to learn.
In your first year or two of business, your financial success may have less to do how much you earn and more to do with how smart you are with those earnings.
The Millionaire Next Door explores seven simple wealth-building ideas, regardless of how much you are earning.
(2) Crush It!
The author of this book — Gary Vaynerchuk — is a name a lot of you will recognize.
This book will be especially interesting for those of you looking to leverage the reach of the internet to build your business.
As Vaynerchuk often repeats in his videos, the opportunity we have today to cash in our dreams is unprecedented thanks to the power of the internet.
(3) Choose Yourself!
I’m not gonna lie.
I sometimes avoid turning on the news or checking my Google Now cards because, frankly, the world can be a scary place.
In financial news, once powerful markets are now in shambles. The middle class is disappearing before our eyes, and the gap between rich and poor has never been so pronounced.
Fortunately, it isn’t all bad news.
If you found yourself downsized or laid off, you just might discover that it was a blessing in disguise. This book — through interviews, studies, and other easily digestible material — explores how million dollar businesses are built every day by those who the system failed…
…people who may have otherwise been content to work a 9-to-5 job until retirement.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a solopreneur is the opportunity to become entirely self-sufficient — and that’s just how Altucher wants you to think.
If you’ve ever heard that it’s not what you know but who you know, this book is for you.
A master at building meaningful relationships, Godin explores the complete elimination of worldwide geographical barriers thanks to modern-day technology. Never before have we been able to connect with millions of people without moving an inch, and with that power comes great responsibility.
An ideal read for those seeking to build a community — perhaps around blogging, social media, or even network marketing.
Really, no matter what type of business you are building, there is always power in uniting groups — tribes — of human beings to achieve common goals.
(5) Big Magic
Corporate America has a funny way of crushing dreams. If you fancy yourself a creative type, you have probably felt your creativity stifled more than once in your professional career.
But the great thing about building an online business is that you have an opportunity to let your creative side flourish… to fearlessly put your creativity on display for the world to see. And maybe — just maybe — to make a huge difference while you do it.
Whether you are a new freelancer or looking to change your focus, Gilbert does an excellent job of removing the self-limiting beliefs that may be holding you back.
Also, it’s worth noting that this book is an easy read. It’s written conversationally, much like reading a blog post.
Really, I could have chosen any of Gitomer’s books for this list — they’re all excellent. For the most part, they’re short as well, largely to underscore one of the recurring messages in his books — most salespeople talk too much.
No matter what the focus of your business happens to be, learning to sell ourselves and our services tends to be a struggle for many new solopreneurs. But as Gitomer will quickly teach you, sales skills are life skills.
And whether you’re speaking to a sales prospect or your spouse, you are always selling.
The simplicity and brevity of each truth nugget Gitomer drops will be a breath of fresh air into your business development efforts.
This book almost needs no introduction.
In fact, if you’re thinking about building an online business as a freelancer or solopreneur, read this first. You’ve probably already given some thought to living what some call the laptop lifestyle.
You know… running a location-independent business from anywhere in the world?
The 4-Hour Workweek will challenge some of your fundamental beliefs about wealth and success… do hard work and long hours really lead to greater rewards?
For many, this book ends up being the catalyst for making major life decisions.
Learn how to build a business, scale your efforts, and enjoy the lifestyle you have always envisioned for yourself and your family.
What, You’re Not Excited to Get Started?
Despite the great titles on this list, I’ll be the first person to admit that I don’t love reading. I would much rather play fetch with my dogs, go for a bike ride, catch a Pokémon, play video games, or watch a movie.
And if you’re anything like me, there’s nothing wrong with that.
But just because we may not be passionate about reading does not give us an excuse to skip it. Exercising our minds is like exercising our bodies — even if we don’t love going to the gym, we know it’s good for us.Just because we may not be passionate about reading does not give us an excuse to skip it.Click To Tweet
Even if we only have time to work out for an hour once or twice each week.
Every now and then, you will hear of an outlier — a man or woman that built a successful business and either didn’t read or simply couldn’t. But remember that those individuals are the exception, not the rule.
If we are serious about growing our businesses, we must first remember to grow ourselves.
“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.”
— Jim Rohn
If you aren’t in the habit of reading regularly, start by committing to read even for just 30 minutes each day, five or six days a week.If you aren't in the habit of reading regularly, start by committing to read even for just 30 minutes each day.Click To Tweet
To give you an idea, the average adult reads at 300 words per minute, and the average book is 75,000 words or so… for the typical reader, that’s one new book finished every two weeks or so. And even if that doesn’t sound like a lot, a couple of books per month is better than none!
Plus, even if you only take one idea away from each book you read, that would result in dozens of great ideas to implement in your freelancing business over the next year.
Because, let’s face it… as solopreneurs, we are in business — largely — by and for ourselves. And that means fewer opportunities to learn from potential mentors and leaders compared to some of our friends in the corporate world.
It also means that the we are responsible for our own learning and development.
So please, I urge you to take that responsibility seriously.
Pick a book off this list, and let me know in the comments which it will be.