We’re big book fans. And when we find a good book, we like to share it. Like this list of 7 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read. That list is a couple of years old now, but everyone of those books is still great. Or check out this list of 5 Books that Will Change the Way You Think. Another great list.
But recently we’ve come across a few other books that are worth recommending. Unlike the books on the lists above, these books are focused on starting an online business and marketing to online customers.
If you’re looking for a quick, inspirational read (about starting a new business) to download to your kindle, iPad, or just to hold in your hand, these books are just about perfect. And they’re all available for less than $10. Check them out:
The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch by Dan Norris
I just downloaded and read this book after hearing about it on a podcast. If you’ve ever wanted to start an online business, this is the book to read. Dan Norris tells about how he started business after business, only to see each one fail. It’s when he has almost given up, down to his last few dollars, and ready to look for a “real” job that he finally finds success.
The irony isn’t that Norris has figured it all out, after so many failures. It’s his last shot. One last desperate attempt to succeed. He doesn’t take any time to think through the idea, to prove the concept with potential customers, or to get things right. He’s up and running in less than seven days. And for the first time in more than a decade, his business is a runaway success.
Norris walks you through the steps he took: coming up with the idea, evaluating it, choosing a business name, creating the website in one day (and for $100 or less), and more. Definitely check out this book if you are thinking of starting an online business. It’s just $3.99 for the Kindle version. Buy it here.
Start Small, Stay Small by Rob Walling
Like The 7 Day Startup, Rob Walling’s book is all about starting an online business. And Walling gets into the details in a big way. This is less about his personal experience (though he shares some examples from his first couple of businesses) and more about the how-to start an online business without venture funding, co-founders (or even employees), and without spending 70-80 hours a week working on your business.
The author is a programmer. But what’s unique about this book is his recommendations to start marketing before you spend any time programming or building your product. Follow his advice to learn how to come up with ideas for a business, how to validate your idea so you know customers will buy your product, and even how to name your product.
Walling is a serial entrepreneur who finds and idea, builds it, grows it, then as the business hits its stride, starts with a new idea. His advice is awesome. (You can here more from him in this excellent podcast: Startups for the Rest of Us). You can get his book at his site or at Amazon where the Kindle version is just $10. One caveat: the book hasn’t been updated for a couple of years. The information is still great, but there are a few dead links. Still worth every penny. Buy it here.
Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers by Gabriel Weinberg
Once you’ve read the two books above, you’ll want to start reading and underlining this book. Weinberg (who is the founder of the search engine Duck Duck Go) draws on more than a dozen interviews with successful founders to dig into the marketing tactics that helped them gain traction with customers.
Today its easy to build a product and put up a website—the two books above will show you how easy it is. The problems start when you have to market your idea. And that’s where this book comes in. You’ll learn how other successful businesses have used public relations, search engine optimization, email, content marketing, online advertising, affiliates, and more. There’s almost no way you’ll walk away from this book without a few ideas to try. When it comes to growing your business, this book will be the one you reach for again and again. Like the others, it’s available at Amazon (and of this writing, it’s just $3.99). Buy it here.
Do you have a favorite startup book? We’re always looking for more to read. Tell us about it in the comments.