So You Want to Start a Business? Books to Read, Podcasts to listen to, and Who to Follow — Resources For My Step-daughter

I met my step-daughter when she was nine years old. She loved animals. Still does.

She worked tirelessly through high-school, laser focused on getting good grades, so she could go on to become a veterinarian.

Even though she was just a teenager at the time, I looked up to her and her work ethic. She showed us all what determination looked like.

Everything was going well — award winning grades and a true passion for animals. There was no doubt in any of our minds that she would go on to reach her goal.

It was quite a shock to us, then, when she came home one day and told us she didn’t want to be a vet anymore.

Before entering university, she had the opportunity to do a field test and see what being a vet looked like… It turned out to be a tough, unforgettable lesson. Being a vet meant having to do some pretty upsetting, stomach-turning things sometimes.

We’re all very grateful for this experience. Much better to find out then, rather than after years of her life and tens of thousands of dollars invested in an education, that she may not have the stomach for it.

After much dismay and asking, “What do I do now?!”, she decided to work towards a pharmacy degree.

Being the intelligent person that she is, she not only began taking the required classes for her degree, but also got a job working in a pharmacy. This would give her the opportunity to see what a future in pharmacy might look like.

Turned out, three semesters and 18 months later, that her passion just wasn’t there. A pharmacy degree wouldn’t result in the happy future she deserves.

She still loves animals and wants to spend the rest of her life working with them, in one way or another. We’re not exactly sure what the looks like right now. But that’s ok.

She’s living at home — no kids, no mortgage, and none of the stress associated with those things — and has the time and freedom to figure out what she wants to do.

We’ve discussed potential options and paths she could take, and she’s become very interested in entrepreneurship.

I’m very proud of her for exploring this opportunity.

I believe this is the perfect time for her to start a business. Living at home, she is able to take some bigger risks. She can afford to fail, regroup, and keep playing what Seth Godin refers to as The Infinite Game.

Her work ethic, combined with her unmatched passion for animals, is a recipe for success. She just needs a bit of direction.

This morning she asked me where to start. And so I’m writing this for her.

This following is a list of books and resources that helped me get started in entrepreneurship, and I hope they can help her as well.

I spent an estimated 5–6 hours per day reading, listening, learning, and studying from resources like these for nearly three years before launching Conviction Fitness. In my eyes, that’s what it took to succeed.

Note: In an attempt to show my step-daughter how to diversify revenue streams, this article contains affiliate links. Please be aware that I may financially benefit from suggesting some of these resources, but I have only listed those that have truly helped me.


There is an endless list of business books you can, and probably will, read one day. But for now, I believe these seven are a great place to start.

Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream — James Altucher

In this book James shows you not only how to “Choose Yourself”, but also why your life may depend on it. James was at the top, crashed to the bottom, then worked his way back higher than before. This book outlines how he did it.

Creativity For Sale: How I Made $1,000,000 Wearing T-Shirts and How You Can Turn Your Passion Into Profit, Too — Jason SurfrApp

My biggest takeaway from this book is that the possibilities to help others, and make money in the process, are endless. Jason opened my eyes to all the opportunities I’ve overlooked in the past and showed me how to not miss them going forward. If you’re passionate about something, chances are other people are too. And if you can help others with something they care about, you’re in business.

Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion — Gary Vaynerchuk

While the exact tactics described in this book may be a bit outdated, I believe this book is still relevant. The message is as true now as it was when it was published in 2009.

Resumes are Worthless: How to Find the Work You Love and Succeed — Dale Callahan

I bought this book, used, for $0.50 at the library. It may be the best fifty cents I ever spent. It taught me that, no matter who we are or where we work, we’re all self-employed. And that the “dream” of getting a degree, working for 35 years, and retiring happy, just doesn’t work anymore.

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future — Chris Guillebeau

This book shows that businesses don’t need to be big and complicated to be successful. Chris introduces us to people from all over the world who are running very successful businesses, doing what they love. Businesses they started for about $100.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It — Michael E. Gerber

This is the best book I’ve ever come across that details the ins and outs of working on your business. It is the ultimate teacher on the skills required to turn something you’re good at into a successful business.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles — Steven Pressfield

I’ve written about this book many times. This book taught me more about myself than any other I’ve ever read. It made me realize why I put things off and why I sometimes struggle to do the things I’m passionate about. But more importantly, it taught me how to fight through and stop being my own worst enemy. The War of Art may be the most important book I’ll ever read.

Podcasts and Audio

You might enjoy some of these, you might not. But it’s important to listen to at least a few episodes.

Some of the stuff may go right over your head. It’s ok not to know what a balance sheet, MVP, or tribe are right now. Just surround yourself with this audio and you’ll benefit greatly.

Download them to your phone and listen while you drive. It’s the absolute easiest way to get a world class education.

1 Day Business Breakthrough

Each episode is a short coaching session where one entrepreneur sends in a problem they’re having with their business and the two hosts discuss potential solutions. It’s good to hear the kinds of problems you may encounter, and different ways to solve them.

Entrepreneur on Fire

I listened to this one a lot before getting started. I enjoyed hearing people’s stories — what their lives are like, their wins, their losses, and where they started from.

Seth Godin’s Startup School

Seth walks you through each step in deciding what you want your business to look like. There are several questions you need to ask yourself before starting a business. This series covers most of them. Listen to the 15 episodes in order. Then listen to them again, and again.

Smart Passive Income

This one is all about making passive income — that is, income you generate while sleeping. It’s about putting a lot of work in up front, and reaping rewards long after. For someone just getting started, I love this model as a way of testing different industries, subject matter, and products/services.


I loved Season 1 of Startup. This podcast takes you deeper than you could imagine into what it’s really like to start a new business.

People to Follow

These are people you should know of, follow, and learn from.

Surround yourself with their content. Read their blogs. Listen to their podcasts and interviews. Follow them on social media.

You will connect with some more than others, and that’s just fine. Give them each a shot and stick with the ones you can relate to.

James Altucher

Rick Finnie

Tim Ferriss

Seth Godin

Justin Jackson

Paul Jarvis

Ryan Lee

Jaime Masters

Ramit Sethi

Jen Sincero

Scott Stratten

Gary Vaynerchuck

Jason Zook

Then What…

There are countless other resources I can (and will) recommend once you’re ready. The above list, I believe, is a great place to start. It will bring you new ideas and concepts, and get you thinking in a way you haven’t before.

The hardest thing you will encounter on your journey is that, unlike school, there are no right or wrong answers. Some things will work, some won’t. Some will make you money, some will fail miserably.

But it’s all part of the process.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t about making a bunch of money or being your own boss. It’s about creating the ability to live your life on your own terms.

It’s about living your passion every day, and never “working” a day in your life.

Good luck.