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Most of us as new entrepreneurs or small business owners have no idea what we’re doing when we first start out. There’s a lot to learn, so many resources to choose from and a coach for everything… literally.

So I thought in the spirit of practicality for people who don’t have time to waste here are four practical hands on books to read when you want to become your own boss.

The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster

by Darren Hardy

This book is first on the list because there are some gruesome and delightful details about starting your own business and becoming your own boss that people don’t tend to share or forget about altogether. It’s a must-read if you’re just getting started because it will prepare you a little bit for some of the ups and downs, give you some insight into where your focus needs to be starting out, and lastly, this book will give you some things to think about when planning, pursing and getting started. It was written in response to a request for advice when beginning a new entrepreneurial adventure. I found it helpful, full of small things I hadn’t thought about, and things I needed to think about. 

You can find this read everywhere from Ebay to Indie Books from $5 to $35 new and used.

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The One Page Marketing Plan

By Allan Dib

You can find this title on eBay for around $7 or less.

This book is aimed at those of us who aren’t marketing magicians or natural-born salesmen. When you begin to market or plan to, it can become pretty daunting pretty fast. There are a billion ways to do it, and most of them aren’t cheap so you don’t want to dance around this for too long or it could cost you a good chunk of wasted money. This read adds some clarity to the planning process, helps to differentiate strategy from modes of advertising, and helps you build a simple strategy to get started. 

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By Nir Eyal with Ryan Hoover

Digging deeper into the land of marketing is Hooked. This book might make you cringe a little bit if you have a strong personal moral and ethical code, and it does emphasize the need for ethics along the way. Hooked is about getting inside your customer's heads, finding what they need, as well as getting them Hooked on what you have to offer… literally. It lays out common examples that we’re all familiar with what that looks like from blogs, to social media and other high-profile marketing tactics. 

On a side note, this is also a read I recommend to anyone in their first five years of working in addiction and recovery centers. it’s astounding how much the marketing industry knows about human behavior, and in some areas a little scary. 

Hooked can be a little tougher to find at a good price except for on eBay at $3

Definitely worth your time to read. 

Accounting for the Numberphobic

By Dawn Fotopulos

Okay by now you should be pretty familiar with the fact that most small businesses don’t make it past the five-year mark. There are many reasons all which can be addressed in the first three books in this list, but the main reason is right here in number 4. Most small businesses don’t get their accounting right, they don’t save what they should (6 months of operating capital is the average recommendation) and most small businesses don’t make decisions from a goal to plan to an action method. Although impulsivity, nerve, and a few other great qualities are needed to run your own business you still want to aim at being equally or more so informed than your accountant when it comes to your own business financials. 

This title is a little easier to find. On eBay it runs for about $10

Accounting for the Numberphobic is a book written for those of us who haven’t gone to business or marketing school. Most other books have a lot of industry-specific terminology in them and it tends to tune people out a little or make the process more difficult to learn in the beginning. This book I love because not only does she explain the concepts, she shows you how to practically apply them with examples and gives you a bit of humor during the process. A great read for getting started. Highly recommend it!

A few other books about mindset and strategic planning that I think are worth your while to take a peek at also include Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, The popular Good to Great by Jim C. Collins and Built to Last and another Jim Collins read Co-Authored by Jerry I. Porras. 

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