Trying to find the best books for solopreneurs is no easy task. I have been working for myself for over three years now, creating online brands and niche websites, one of them being this one you are reading here today!
Working on your own can be a lonely place, the mind wanders into some dark holes and learning to focus your attention on work that matters can at times be tricky.
To help myself, and learn how to control the traits a solopreneur needs to be successful I have read lots of books over the last five years, and many of them have change my life for good.
So, I have put together this list of my personal favourite books that have helped me become a successful solopreneur. I struggle with focus, I have many months of demotivation which I talk about on my YouTube channel and sometimes I struggle with not having anyone to talk to about my journey.
So I hope these books help you succeed in whatever mission you are on. I almost guarantee you will find something here that will help you, because I have read and reviewed every single books on this list.
Review process: Each book in this article has been reviewed by Brandon Saltalamacchia and each one has been read fully to give genuine professional opinions on this topic.
1. Company Of One
Company Of One by Paul Jarvis is by far one of the best books for Solopreneurs who needs inspiration to work on something on their own.
As of writing this I am building a media company known as Click Hill, and this book helped me realise that I do not need to scale fast, or with more employees, in fact, it’s actually more reliable to go at it alone. Your outgoings are smaller and you are more agile to make quick decisions and recover from mistakes.
That’s exactly what this book taught me to do. It teaches solopreneurs to go at it alone, and instead of trying to grow profits, Paul suggest growing a better “more rich” lifestyle.
As a solopreneur we know that lifestyle is far more rewarding that money. Admittedly we need both in order to do and get the things we want, but by building a company of one you are trying to focus on lifestyle, all while building a business you love with little risk.
This is at the top of the list for a reason, and as you can see from my image above, I bookmarked a lot of pages because it’s just that good. I highly recommend snagging a copy.
Superfans by Pat Flynn is a great book for those of you that are creating content, or trying to build a community. I have been building Retro Dodo as one of my projects, it has over 300,000 followers and one of the books that helped me grow this community to such scale is this book here.
Pat Flynn discusses how important a community can be and more specifically how valuable superfans can be to your business and content.
Many of us think that the more followers you have the more money you earn. In most cases that is fair to say, but its not easy to get to that kind of size, but that said you can earn great revenue from a small amount of “superfans”.
Pat Flynn goes onto explain that superfans are worth far more than a typical follower. A superfan will buy your next music album on day one, they’ll request behind the scenes access on Patreon, they’ll share your content to everyone they know. These superfans are your biggest asset.
He also mentions if you have just 200 superfans who buy your next art piece, or your next online course for $20, that means you can make $4,000, which is a lot of money!
You don’t need lots of followers to make money, you just need a small amount of superfans that believe in everything you do.
3. Happy Sexy Millionaire
If you’re familiar with the British TV show known as “Dragon’s Den”, then you may know Steven Bartlett, as he is the latest Dragon and comes from running an incredibly successful media company worth over $300m at the young age of 25.
Making millions so quickly, and being deemed as one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the UK he had it all, and experienced it all, this is his booked Happy Sexy Millionaire.
Now, he seems to be more anchored and understands the value life brings. In this book he explains why money doesn’t actually make you happy, and in fact it all comes down to balance and how you run your business for you, not the other way around.
He talks about growing up lonely, insecure, and bankrupt to then be in the mist of a crazy media company pulling in millions.
When reading it felt as if it was an honest approach to the reality of growing so fast and getting money, but that reality isn’t fun, comes with problems and takes you away from the things that matter in life.
If you’re thinking of building a media company, or a large business with lots of employees, I recommend reading this before you do so.
4. That Little Voice In Your Head
This is one of the most recent books I have finished, by an incredible individual known as Mo Gawdat. I came across Mo many years ago, and I think he is one of the most spiritually intellectual people of our time, and his life has forced him to understand the emotions of the human brain to extreme detail.
That Little Voice In Your Head goes on to discuss the power of emotions, how to understand them, how to ignore them, and how to live with them.
In 2019 I myself suffered from sever anxiety, to a point of such chaos where one morning I just didn’t want to wake up to the suffering. It was a life changing experience, and even though it was the worst time of my life, it has change my perspective of mental health and how you need to understand it to live it.
This was one of the many books that made me realise that you don’t have to react to emotions, in fact the human brain will constantly throw thoughts at you, but to learn to ignore them is the greatest superpower of them all.
For those of us that run our own businesses, have very little people to talk to and feel as if the mountain may be too big to climb, this is a great book to help understand the mind, and why we have “that little voice” in our heads.
Mo has gone through much trauma, but still comes out with happiness at the forefront of his brain and goes onto discuss how he gets through it, and how you can too.
5. Show Your Work!
Austin Kleon produces a handful of really insightful, and compact books for solopreneurs in the creative industry. Austin is an artist of words, and throughout his career he has produced a wide number of great pieces, one being Show Your Work!
Show Your Work! is a small book, designed for you to skip through when you’re feeling a little demotivated, or need a spark of inspiration.
This one shows you ways to share your creativity and get discovered and it was one of the biggest motivators to share my work on Twitter and create in public, so to speak.
In this book Austin describes the best way to share your strategies, show the world what you are working on and why doing so comes with so many benefits both personally, mentally and financially.
Sharing your work quite simply opens up opportunities and Austin describes this as increasing your odds of good luck, by working and sharing your work to the world.
You’ll start to meet more people in your field, you’ll give newcomers advice that could come back to help you further down the line, and it inspires others to do the same which will eventually will come back to reward you, a little like karma.
I don’t want to spoil much as it a short book, but i keep going back to it when i need inspiration to create a new video, write a blog post or create a Twitter thread.
6. Tools of Titans
If you’re a big fan of business books then it’s likely you have come across Tim Ferris, another one of his books feature further down on the list for good reason, but this is one of his books which i really enjoy going back to.
This book is called Tools of Titans, and even though majority of it isn’t written by Tim Ferris and is instead interviews from famous celebrities and successful entrepreneurs, it still keeps to Tim’s ways of simplifying success in any shape or form.
Tools of Titans goes through routines, tactics, habits, rules, guides and more of the world’s most successful people. From celebrities, to artists, to business owners to travellers, to solopreneurs.
Just like Austin Kleon’s book, this isn’t designed to be read naturally, instead it’s designed for you to find a name that you admire, skip to the page and understand what makes them tick.
Not only that, you find new names that inspire you, that work like you do and you learn ways to copy their motivation and habits to help your own lifestyle.]
I will mention it’s a very large book, it almost feels like a doorstopper, so it’s not one I typically take with me when I travel, it’s one I have close to my desk for when I want to read.
7. The Second Mountain
I’ll admit as of writing this I am only 75% of the way through it, but I had to add it to the list because it’s really grounding me. This book is called The Second Mountain by David Brooks.
This book explains the second mountain, a huge goal and challenge that to try to conquer that builds you up, not down. The first mountain is typically materialistic, or goals that you want to achieve for yourself, and David says this typically doesn’t light up ones soul, or cause great amounts of happiness.
This first mountain usually doesn’t last. The second mountain comes into sight when you want to create a happy, moral life, and that second mountain is about giving back.
One quote that sticks by me in this book is the following:
If the first mountain is about acquisition, the second mountain is about contribution.David Brooks – The Second Mountain Page XIV (Introduction)
That quote should give you an idea about the book. He explains that pure happiness comes from giving, so if you’re making a business that you enjoy and gives back, it could be a very powerful tool to craft a lifestyle that you enjoy for a lifetime.
Sometimes I feel like the work I do here, and on my other projects doesn’t matter. So this book somewhat grounds me and gives me motivation to building something that contributes to others, and society.
I am not saying that this article will do that, but i do hope it helps at least one person, and if I succeed, my time is well spent and I can rest easy at night.
This is a book for those of you that need some moral compass, some advice for the “long game”.
8. How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big
How to fail at almost everything and still win big by Scott Adams is a light hearted take on failure. I loved this book because it describe my younger self when I use to attempt to start businesses.
I have failed countless times over the last 10 years, I have tried starting subscription boxes, I have tried starting well over 10 different YouTube channel, I have tried starting a wide number of niche websites and 90% of them has failed.
But, the 10% that has succeeded has quite literally changed my life. For example, this blog you are reading here was started in July of 2022, and this is the sixth post on the site. Could this website be another failure? It’s over 80% likely, yes.
But if you are reading this, then it’s likely it has succeeded because Google has placed this high in the search engine. Scott Adams has this mindset of trying until you fail, constantly failing is the quickest way to learn and I couldn’t agree more.
School has taught us to fear failure, but the most successful people on this planet have learned to love failure.
The more times you fail, the more times you will succeed. This sentence describes the book whole heartedly, and it is produced by someone who has failed thousands of times, and is now one of the world’s most popular cartoonists.
9. The 4-Hour Work Week
It’s not going to be a list about the best books for solopreneurs without Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Work Week.
This was one of the first business books i ever read, I was backpacking around Australia and decided to pick it up on my travels to spark some motivation.
I have always been quite creative but this book here taught me how to create a semi-passive income that gives me more time to work on the things I want to, that could be seeing friend, travelling more, or starting another business. Now, many years on, I run a business that many would state is somewhat “passive”.
Tim goes on to explain how you should be building a business that promotes a lifestyle you want. If you want to travel lots, then having a passive income would help with that. If you want more time with family, then a passive income will help with that.
In more detail he goes on about starting these passive incomes, it could be courses, books, creating content and so on. Focusing on these passive incomes is a great way of free-ing up your time will being paid.
To become rich, you must start by earning money while you sleep.
This is a book for those that want to build something that eventually gives them free time. Yes, it will take lots of work and lots of time initially, but the business will compound and eventually free up your time while the machine works for itself.
10. Scary Smart
Another book by Mo Gawdat that I really enjoy is called Scary Smart. This might not really be targeting solopreneurs, but I think you will really enjoy it if you like to keep updated with modern technology and a world that is slowly becoming consumer by artificial intelligence.
Mo Gawdat was head of Google X for many years, he managed Google’s new upcoming projects, and he specifically talks about his time at Google creating AI that helps the world.
Mo mentions that it is possible that AI could cause chaos around the world, and is likely if we don’t understand it or treat it right. We should be treating AI like a child that is learning, it thinks for itself and its pure aim is not to die, should we threaten that, and the AI will likely move to fend for itself.
The best way to help our future, and the future of AI is by being kind to it now, and showing these robots that humans spread love, not way and hate.
It opened by eyes to the next fifty years and how AI will likely change the world we live in, the jobs we do and the way we think, but for the better, only if we learn how to talk and communicate with it for the greater good.
So there is a look at the best books for solopreneurs in my personal opinion. I will update this article with more books, should I come across ones that I feel will fit in this article. Thank you for reading.