There are many blogs and magazines, including this one, which you can read as an indie maker to get ahead of the game. But books are still an incredibly powerful to get access to some of the greatest minds in the indie entrepreneurship scene. They’ve been there, they’ve done that. And in a 300-page book, they can tell you much more about the strategies they used to build a successful business. Here are five books every indie maker should read.
Company of One — This was the first giveaway we did at Maker Mag, and Paul Jarvis was the first maker we interviewed for the Trouble Makers podcast. It’s all about the idea that staying small and avoiding growth can be more durable and even more enjoyable than business as usual. Instead of creating and scaling something into a massive corporation, Paul invites entrepreneurs to build something for themselves, determine their own hours, and become a profitable and sustainable company of one.
Own Your Weird — This book is just out, and will probably become a classic in the community. Written by Jason Zook, the book urges you to stop trying to fit in. Instead of following some else’s blueprint for success, you should double down on what makes you unique. This can be applied to business, life, finances, relationships, and more.
Shape Up — It’s totally free to read this one online. While it’s mainly written for technical teams, there’s lots of wisdom in there than can be applied to solo entrepreneurs. In this book, the Basecamp team distill fifteen years of honing their internal processes to do more without losing their sanity. As with all Basecamp books, it’s well worth a read.
The $100 Startup — Many people think that you need lots of capital to get started with a startup or a side hustle. In this book, Chris Guillebeau explains why you should quit the rat race and start up on your own. While the book lacks his step-by-step approach to building a business with little to no capital, it offers plenty of great stories for inspiration that are a welcome change from the VC-backed startups narrative we usually see in the press.
Make — I was super lucky to get a free copy of the book by Pieter Levels through a giveaway he organised with Women Make. This is a no-BS take on what it takes to build a solo business, with all the steps from ideation to launch and growth. It’s short but packed with useful tips. Plus, it’s written by someone who’s actually applied all of it.
And of course, don’t stop at business books. There are many fiction and non-fiction books outside of the entrepreneurship genre that can be wonderful sources of inspiration.