One of my goals for the year is professional growth; meaning how can I invest in myself so that I can better invest in my team? One of those ways is through books and another is attending live conferences. Joining masterminds and receiving high-quality coaching are two more ways I can invest in myself in the upcoming year.

I don’t know about you, but I am a reader. More specifically, I’m a nonfiction reader. I do love a great novel now and then, but I mostly pick up business books. In today’s episode, I’m sharing the best books for online entrepreneurs that I read in 2017.

Bookshelf full of books and text overlay "Must-Reads for Online Entrepreneurs".

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Best Books for Online Entrepreneurs: My Top Picks

To get a FULL list of books I’ve read or plan to read please visit my Amazon page to find more great reads.

Book #1 – The E-Myth Revisited

You may have heard me talk about The E-Myth Revisited before on the Work at Home Mom Gift Guide Podcast. Don’t let the title fool you. The “E” stands for entrepreneur, not for online.

This book covers three different types of business personalities: the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician. The author uses a personal story to show how he helped a business owner see that she was simultaneously executing ALL of roles  in her business when really, she just wanted to be the technician.

Why is this distinction so important? Several reasons:

  • When you execute the business that is most in alignment with your own strengths and business personality, you’ll be more satisfied with your business.
  • When hiring employees, you can hire people to fill the roles that don’t fit your personality.

The more you understand your own business personality and that of your team members, the more your business will run like clockwork. Isn’t that what we all want — A business that runs like a well-oiled machine? Reading this book helped me see that I needed to hire more people to take on the parts of this business that fall outside of my skill set.

Book #2 – Delivering Happiness

I kept hearing all these amazing things about Tony Hsieh and what he had built at Zappos. So when I heard about this book, I grabbed it.

Tony is big on the client experience. Delivering Happiness taught me ways to show my clients how much we appreciate them. Tony was able to get his entire team on board with his “client care” program and so I passed the book along to my client care specialist to read as well.

*Don’t listen to this one on audio; Tony’s voice is so soothing you may find yourself taking an unexpected nap if you choose to listen instead of reading the paper or electronic version.

Another thing I did after reading this book was start something with my team called “Wednesday Wins.” We gather in our Facebook group on Wednesdays and talk about any updates that came through, anything I want them to communicate to clients, and then I share my “wins” from the week and they share theirs.

We have also found ways to encourage each other by recognizing the account specialist who was the most active in that month’s “Wednesday Wins” and we give them a gift card. We also give a gift card to the Account Specialist of the Month, for the team member who has gone above and beyond in their work.

Book #3 – Extreme Ownership

I first heard about this book from Ruth Soukup of Living Well, Spending Less and Elite Blog Academy. I spoke at Ruth’s Activate conference the fall and heard her talk about this book in one of her sessions.

When I have a book from the library that I really want to highlight and mark up, I take pictures of pages with my phone so I can grab the quotes I want to keep. And let me tell you, I took a lot of pictures of this book.

The author of Extreme Ownership, a former Navy SEAL, talks a lot about making mistakes in business and how to recover from those mistakes. Looking at my own business, I can quickly recount mistakes I have made. The question is, have I learned anything from them? How do I “fail forward” and learn from those mistakes?

If you currently lead a team or are thinking about growing a team, this book would be a very helpful one for you to work through.

A book shelf filled with books.

Book #4 – Built to Sell

I read this book after several people recommended it to me, saying that I was already doing what it said. Built to Sell reads like fiction, so if you love fiction, you will likely enjoy this one. I read this one in two days (and I am not a fast reader).

It tells the story of a man who is drowning in his business and is mentored by an older man who has bought and sold several businesses. The younger man is aided by his mentor for two years, at which point he sells his company.

If you are thinking about building a company that can eventually be sold, the process this man uses is absolutely genius. While I have no intentions of selling Simple Pin, I still want to build a company that runs so seamlessly that anyone could step right in to my place. I want to be able to go on vacation and be available for family emergencies.

The way this has played out for me is in my coaching business. Because we have literally documented everything we have done here at Simple Pin, I can look back over the processes we have used in every situation, and I can teach anybody else how to grow a social media management business.

Book #5 – Never Split the Difference

True confession- I have checked this book out of the library twice. Not because I didn’t like it, but because I just didn’t get to finish it. Either time.

Never Split the Difference is about negotiating as if your life depended on it. That’s actually the subtitle of the book. Unlike what the title suggests, this book is not about just getting what you want out of other people.

Human connection is the first goal.

I couldn’t agree with that statement more. No matter what I am doing in my business, I’m always aware that there is a person on the other side of that conversation. I never want to forget the human aspect of my business.

Book #6 – Profit First

When I attended Biz Chix LIVE earlier this year, everybody was talking about the tactics in Profit First as a way to generate cash flow.

My husband and I are huge Dave Ramsey fans. We use cash for all purchases, we have no debt, and we live on a monthly budget. It’s just how we live. I’ve wished for a Dave Ramsey-type method for my business and I found it in this book.

The author tells you how to break down your profits vs. expenses, how to set up your financial accounts, and how to take a profit for yourself. He does challenge some traditional accounting methods by choosing to focus on cash flow instead of what’s on paper.

If you are struggling to get a handle on your expenses, or if you just have a large amount of cash flow, this book will show you what to do with that. You’ve worked hard in your business, so you should enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Out of the six best business books for online entrepreneurs I shared today, I would say that Built to Sell was the most fun. The E-Myth had the most profound effect on my mindset. It helped me to figure out how to grow Simple Pin. It changed my outlook on what I wanted for this business.

Which Books Will Make the List in 2018?

Looking ahead to 2018, I have already put The Big Leap on hold at the library. Otherwise, I am waiting to hear recommendations as I interact with people over the next few months.

If you have some great book recommendations, please leave them in the comments! I would love to hear which books transformed your business or helped you make some needed changes in your business.

Time Stamp
3:05 The E-Myth
7:00 Delivering Happiness
11:40 Extreme Ownership
17:30 Built to Sell
20:55 Never Split the Difference
24:00 Profit First
28:44 Books for 2018


  1. What a great list! The E-Myth was one of the first business books I ever read and so pleased I did – every entrepreneur should read it.

    Read Profit First about a month ago and implementing it in the first quarter of 2018 – again, a great recommendation. Also read Building a Storybrand and loved that around the same time – it changed the way some of my website pages are built.

    Haven’t heard of Extreme Ownership, so will try that out over the holiday break before we get into 2018. Thanks for such a great list.

    1. I second Building a Storybrand! I have been listening to Donald Miller’s podcast for a few years now and every episode is AMAZING.

  2. Most books for entrepreneurs speak from experience. It’s also good to read business books and online articles for entrepreneurial inspiration.

  3. Favorite book of the year for me was The Go-Giver by Bob Burg. It reads similar to Built to Sell, so makes it a super quick read, but so insightful!

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