Adam Witty is an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in Charleston, South Carolina, and founder and CEO of Advantage | ForbesBooks, the authority marketing specialists in working with business professionals to elevate brands and grow businesses through publishing. Adam has built the company into one of the largest business book publishers in America, serving over 1,000 members in 40 US states and 13 countries. We asked Adam to share some of his favorite independence-inspired titles:
This week's Fourth of July holiday celebrates our country's Independence Day. Which makes me think: Aren't independence and its inherent freedoms the essence of entrepreneurship? Financial independence. Creative independence. Decision-making independence.
And the ultimate independence? The solopreneur--the proverbial chief cook and bottle washer, who starts the business, owns the business, runs the business and is responsible for the business' failure or success.
Solopreneurship has exploded in recent years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2020, about 65 million Americans will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors and solopreneurs, making up about 40 percent of the workforce. A growing number of Millennials and Gen Z'ers are becoming solopreneurs and up to 61 percent of Millennial independents plan to stay independent as solopreneurs.
Here are five books that I believe will help make your solopreneurial adventure more successful:
A good starter book for anyone who checks the "sole proprietor" box on their tax returns. Pofeldt, a small business expert, explains how to identify, launch, grow and reinvent a business, showing how a single individual can generate $1 million in revenue. She draws on the stories and strategies of hundreds of interviews with successful solopreneurs to create a roadmap for achieving success. The best parts of the book are the appendices which include a brainstorming guide, tips and exercises to help you find the right business idea for you as well as loads of resources, tools and additional reading suggestions. Don't let the seemingly impossible goal of generating a million dollars scare you off from this book. Pofeldt's ultimate goal is to get you to dream big.
Ducker wrote this book for the "solopreneur on a bootstrap budget" which, essentially, is every solopreneur. The book highlights a vital area for maximizing a single-owner operation: outsourcing. It helps the business owner understand how to identify why, what and when to outsource, how to outsource well, and how to develop and nurture collaborative virtual assistance relationships. The way Ducker breaks down the workflow of hiring, training and managing your virtual assistants is very useful. There is a bonus section--the Top 10 Virtual Team-Building Mistakes and How to Avoid Them--in the back of the book. You will find this indispensable.
3. Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis
Jarvis' thesis is that a "company of one is simply a business that questions growth." Growth is not always the most beneficial or viable move. The book is a treasure trove of business tips, ideas and suggestions on how to start the business of your dreams by un-thinking the typical business model and reaching success by staying small. Jarvis argues that the smaller your audience, the higher your chances of success. He suggests that rather than investing big upfront, focus first on making a small profit online to create a cash stream that will help you get your business rolling. One wise piece of advice: Don't quit your day job as you begin your journey--the best time to start a business is when you are on someone else's payroll. The book is perfect for those who have always wanted to strike out on their own but are daunted by the prospect.
4. Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau
Besides having written other bestselling books, including The $100 Startup, Guillebeau hosts the podcast Side Hustle School. His latest book is a step-by-step guide on how to go from idea to income, broken down into a very specific 27-day roadmap. His advice is practical and down-to-earth with direction like "launch before you think you're ready and adjust as you go." You can't let perfectionism hold you back if you want a side hustle to be a success. And don't worry if things don't work out the first time. Guillebeau gives you lots of tips on how to evaluate your launch and make changes for the next iteration. Further, the book is part workbook, where you fill in the blanks to get your mind humming on the best ideas. This is an excellent blueprint for approaching a side hustle in a logical and systematic way.
5. The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job by Patrick McGinnis
Full-time entrepreneurship is great, but it's not for everybody. Venture capitalist McGinnis proposes the "ten percenter"--the person who keeps a full-time job as a platform of stability, but dedicates at least 10 percent of their time and, if possible, 10 percent of their money, to invest in, advise and start new ventures. McGinnis identifies five different paths, from the Angel, investing capital in someone else's venture in exchange for equity, to the Founder, starting and managing your own company. McGinnis lays out a step-by-step plan that takes you from identifying your first entrepreneurial project to figuring out the smartest way to commit resources to it. If you've ever thought you wanted to do something more, but were afraid to because you were comfortable, or just didn't know where to even begin, you should be reading this book.