In the years I’ve covered million-dollar, one-person businesses, I’ve hoped that some of the entrepreneurs I profiled would write their own books, specific to their niches and industries. At a certain point, someone who is serious about getting started needs to learn directly from entrepreneurs who are running the type of business they plan to launch.
Three founders of million-dollar, one-person businesses have now made that easier, authoring books detailing their methods for successful growth. If you’re an entrepreneur—or hope to start a business someday soon—here are some books to add to your airplane or nightstand reading.
Navigating B2B by Steve Ferreira
Regular readers of this column are familiar with Ferreira’s story of building Ocean Audit, his specialized auditing company, to nearly $2 million in revenue with no employees. The business spots errors on shipping bills sent to giant retailers and other B2B clients, and collects a 50% commission when it recoups the overcharges—found money for these customers—on their behalf.
In Navigating B2B: Mastering Your Industry, Your Business and Yourself, Ferreira shows how, as he puts it, “the most underutilized asset in your professional arsenal is not your network—it’s your creativity.” He covers topics like understanding how bringing theatricality to your business can be an asset, how to get in front of the right decision-makers, ways to prove your value upfront to avoid hearing a “No,” and if rejection does come, how to handle it with resilience.
Leave the Grind Behind: A Startup Guide for the Emerging Virtual Assistant by Kathy Goughenour
Kathy Goughenour started her virtual assistant business after a 1990s-era boss led her to believe she could get promoted if she got an MBA and then, when she earned it, heard that the “real reason” she wasn’t promoted was that she laughed and smiled too much. She left a job that she feared would destroy her health and started her own business. First, she worked as a virtual assistant; now she teaches others to run virtual assistant (VA) practices successfully through several programs offered by her million-dollar, one-person business.
In Leave the Grind Behind, Goughenour offers practical strategies VAs can use to position themselves for the highest possible earnings while leading a balanced life. Contrary to what many people believe, not all VAs do entry-level administrative assistant work. Many are involved in marketing, technology, strategy and other areas of their clients’ business where the pay is much higher. Although the book targets VAs, it offers many business tips that will help any freelancer.
Quit Repeating Yourself: How Today’s Leaders Are Using Systems and Processes to Grow Their Business the Right Way by Jaime Jay
Jaime Jay turned his virtual assistant business, Bottleneck Distant Assistants, into a million-dollar, one-person business and then grew it into an employer firm by nailing the systems and processes that would allow him to run things more efficiently. If you’re looking to set up your business in a way that lets you free up more time for the rest of your life, Jay is a very helpful guide. (Here’s an interview where he discusses some of the ideas in the book).
One of the biggest lessons of the book is how to hand off tasks that are bogging you down by committing them to paper or video. By taking administrivia off your plate, you’ll be amazed at how much more time you have for strategy, innovation—and fun.