March 21, 2018

Any book recommendations for building your own indie business?

Hi all! Does anyone have books they would recommend in building an indie business? There are many books about "how to build a startup" but I'm wondering if there are books specifically for solo founders.


  1. 19

    Last year I started a collection of good books for Indie/Side Projects:

    https://books.makesideproject.com/

    1. 2

      Feature request: filter for "Audio Book Available"?

      1. 1

        Will see how easy that is to keep updated, but have seen increasing people listening to books, so nice feature to have.

    2. 2

      Sweet list. Thanks for sharing. Creativity, Inc is a favorite.

    3. 2

      Thanks for sharing that list!

      Does anybody know where to get the Kindle version of 'The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry'?

      Seems to be unavailable on Amazon.

  2. 10

    MAKE by Pieter Levels isn't a bad start :) He's been launching small revenue-generating projects since at least 2013 and pretty much wrote the book on indie hacking as a solo founder. If you're not sure about buying the book, this blog post is a good place to start.

    As well as that, Running Lean by Ash Maurya is a great dive into customer development. It helps you understand why the problem is more important than the solution and applies well to indie businesses (you want to perhaps reduce some of the customer development though, if it takes less time to ship the MVP/feature).

    1. 3

      Love his stuff, but am on the fence about buying the book. How much of the material in the book is unique and can't be found in his talks or blog?

      1. 2

        I would say the majority of it isn't unique. What the book does well is consolidate knowledge shared in various places in a clear and no BS format. Plus, most books tend to have a long tail and this is probably one of them. So there's value to be gained for years to come, provided you take action.

        If you're strapped for cash, try to make that money first and then buy the book (what I did) - so no loss ;)

    2. 1

      Is this really useful? I mean, if the content is not mostly common sense and it was curated just to sell something?

      1. 1

        How do you define common sense? I'd be careful about approaching it like that as what's considered good practice 5 years ago may no longer be the case today.

    1. 3

      Running Lean is excellent. If you've read the Lean Startup this book gives you a blueprint to follow.

    1. 4

      Second that, anything by Amy Hoy is worth reading.

      I would also add Authority by Nathan Barry.

  3. 3

    Not a book but a course, that will help you launch your product successfully is @amyhoy and @alexhillman's https://30x500.com/academy/.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the link! I'd like to add:

      Nobody has to start with the big ass course ;)

      Year of Hustle is a free course that has helped lots of folks launch! http://yearofhustle.com

      Just Fucking Ship, too - for a very reasonable sticker price ($19-39) http://justfuckingship.com

      1. 1

        Amy: long time fan, long time wantrepreneur, long time paralyzed-by-fear (that ole gag) ... I am having trouble downloading the Year of Hustle PDF. I click the button, however I reckon it's a broken link. Can you let me know if this is the case. Perhaps I broke the internet.

        1. 1

          Hey Ted! Can you walk me thru the steps to reproduce? I just signed up and got the link in the email that worked. Are you talking about the share-for-a-bonus link?

          In any event, here's the link to the cheat sheet directly!

          https://stackingthebricks.com/year-of-hustle/freebies/yearofhustle-cheatsheet.pdf

          1. 1

            Amy -- I rebooted that browser and it works! Sorry for wasting your time. Thanks for the link!

            1. 1

              No problem at all! If it was broken, I would REALLY want to know… and if it's a consistent browser bug, same thing!

  4. 3

    Checkout

    https://sidehustleschool.com/

    Is not startup centric, but it does focus on the whole idea of running lean and building a solo venture.

  5. 2

    My go-to suggestions are already mentioned but worth backing them again:

    Just Fucking Ship by Amy Hoy and Alex Hillman

    Start Small, Stay Small by Rob Walling

    Getting Real/Rework/Remote by 37Signals/Basecamp

    E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

    Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

    Plenty to be getting on with there anyway.

    I'm going to check out some of the other suggestions here too. Always useful threads in unearthing something I haven't read before.

      1. 1

        +1 for Getting real.

  6. 2

    I'm currently reading Hacking Growth (https://www.google.com/search?q=Hacking+Growth). It has been very insightful.

  7. 2

    Expert Secrets and Dotcom Secrets both by Russell Brunson

    Expert Secrets is about weaving story throughout your marketing to build authority and expertise.

    Dotcom Secrets is about different ways to design and structure funnels to have success growing a business.

    https://expertsecrets.com/freebook

    https://dotcomsecretsbook.com

    I've no formal or informal relationship just got a lot out of the books!

  8. 2

    I wish there was a permanent page on this subject :) Really nice readings!

  9. 1

    Hello Startup (https://www.hello-startup.net/) by Yevgeniy Brikman.

    Look at the rating of this book on e.g Amazon ;)

  10. 1

    I wrote a pretty comprehensive long read on building up to a side hustle: https://stackingthebricks.com/startup-escape-plan-free-up-time-energy-money-to-invest/

    And Alex and I did a webinar (sorry) on it as well! https://stackingthebricks.com/how-to-build-a-product-biz-while-consulting/

  11. 1

    I'm surprised no one mentionned **Start small, stay small" by Rob Walling ( https://www.amazon.com/Start-Small-Stay-Developers-Launching/dp/0615373968 ).

    It's a great book for developers that contains a lot of interesting key points.

  12. 1

    I'm kind of surprised nobody's mentioned Mike Taber's "The Single Founder Handbook" http://www.singlefounderhandbook.com/

  13. 1

    I'm a big reader so I really like this question. I'd recommend Deep Work for founders. Not business related, but productivity related. And for an off-color business suggestion, I'd offer Let My People Go Surfing by the founder of Patagonia. And as already mentioned, the 37Signals/Basecamp books.

  14. 1

    You may want to check out The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business: Make Great Money. Work the Way You Like. Have the Life You Want. by Elaine Pofeldt.

    This book is geared toward solopreneurs or solo-entrepreneurs.

  15. 1

    I'd recommend Startup Blueprint (http://www.contexthq.com/startupbp/). But then, I wrote it ;-)

  16. 1

    Also - always important to keep in mind that nothing will actually happen until you ship and sell your software. Something I tend to forget while I am lost in reading the next great motivating book.

  17. 1

    The E Myth Revisited

    Such a great book for the early days.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/81948.The_E_Myth_Revisited

  18. 1

    Oldie but goldie - Micro-ISV - From Vision to Reality

  19. 1

    Here are the best business books for startups and entrepreneurs:

    http://BestBusinessBooksever.com

  20. 1

    makebook.io by pieter levels and "Anything You Want" by Derek Sivers.

    The best thing I have got from reading about building is to just start small and build :-)

  21. 1

    Very good list here, some are less oriented towards actually starting a business, but there are a lot of good ones in here: https://sivers.org/book

  22. 1

    I was inspired by "7 day startup"

  23. 1

    REWORK and REMOTE are good reads https://basecamp.com/books

  24. 1

    The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau is also a good read.

    My to-read shelf also has "Zero to One" by Peter Thiel & "Lean Startup".

  25. 1

    This will sound funny, but I just read Angel by Jason Calacanis, and I find it helpful as an indie entrepreneur! It gives you a sense of what a venture backed business is all about, and therefore what constraints, and opportunities, you have by not living in that world.

  26. 1

    This comment was deleted 10 months ago.