As an FBA seller, you’ve entered the entrepreneurial world. You’re embarking on a journey that takes grit, strategy and tenacity in order to succeed.
It takes a determined person to keep pursuing a business dream that many others will give up on. You’ve got to have compelling reasons to push you forward, otherwise, it’s tempting to drop everything when adversity hits…
… and it does at some point. Whether it’s the crushing disappointment of a product failure or simply being So. Tired. from constantly hustling to grow your business.
Besides having good people around you whom you can turn to from time to time, it can help if you’re a regular consumer of books, blogs or other resources which can generate ideas and generally inspire. There’s even science behind it:
Why you should read more
When was the last time you picked up a book to read? Not a blog, nor a magazine, but an actual book? If you’re a regular reader, this statistic might seem kind of horrifying, but Pew Research has found that 24% of American adults haven’t even read part of a book in the last year.
It can be hard to find the time to read books, but there are several benefits of doing so, according to research. These include impacts such as:
- Reading stories can actually alter the circuitry of your brain, helping to shape your life. Imagine then, what the impact of reading inspirational stories from successful people might have…
- Reading fiction has been linked with being more creative and flexible.
- Reading can improve your vocabulary, as well as your ability to understand and empathize with others.
- Reading can help to lower your stress levels.
There are other benefits that are explored in scientific research, but consider the impact of just these few on your overall health, well being and ability to run your business. It’s a simple exercise, but it just may lead you to your next big brainwave, or help to keep you engaged currently.
While it can be difficult to fit in, setting aside some time each day, even if it’s only a small amount for reading, can pay off. Sometimes, your brain just needs the change of pace too. You can find that, by switching to a different type of activity, you give yourself the space to come up with ideas to solve problems.
10 resources to inspire
#1. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
You know those biographies where the writer makes it sound as though they were always in possession of superior knowledge and destined for success in their business? This isn’t one of them.
In fact, it’s a bit of a relief that Phil Knight, founder of Nike, keeps things real in his book and quite honestly describes the terror of starting a new business. Knight describes moments of self-doubt and failures he experienced when launching his company, but in the end, talks about how he battled on to out-hustle competition.
#2. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
Entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau documents many of his journeys and insights online, where he has multiple ventures. In this book, he focuses on 50 intriguing case studies of individuals who have built businesses that earn them $50k or more, beginning with very modest investments.
This book is great inspiration for people who worry that they need a lot of resources to start a business and very much carries a theme of people being a force for change in their own lives. It’s a good read particularly for anyone who is in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journey.
Bonus: Check out Chris’ more recent book, Side Hustle, and the podcast of the same name. He takes people step-by-step through creating a business from idea to fruition, while the podcast interviews people who have done just that.
#3. Presence by Amy Cuddy
Harvard Business School professor, Amy Cuddy became well-known after a TED talk she gave in 2012. Presence has sprung from her research into an essential life skill that often gets overlooked – presence (of course!) Cuddy defines this as; “the state of feeling connected with our own thoughts, values, abilities, and emotions, so that we can better connect with the thoughts, values, abilities, and emotions of others.”
Being able to channel that skill can help you to improve your overall performance and interactions with others. You can reach a state of “self-assured enthusiasm” through practical tips and pointers from research which Cuddy outlines. It’s about focusing on the impression you’re making on yourself, rather than being overly focused on the impression you give to others.
#4. Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Resilience is a muscle that everyone can build, even in the face of crippling adversity. Many of the lessons in Option B can be applied to everyday situations where we might face struggles.
This book not only guides individuals through building resilience but outlines how readers can also help build resilience in others. Many FBA sellers have families or friends around them who they’d like to help through a crisis or understand how to deal with compassionately. Option B is an inspiring resource, exploring the capacity of the human spirit to persevere.
#5. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley
You might think that the signs someone is a millionaire would be obvious, right? Surely they’d drive a flashy car, live in a huge mansion and generally, live like “lifestyles of the rich and famous?”
Thomas Stanley’s book outlines through many interviews and a vast amount of data that this simply isn’t so. In fact, the person who really is a millionaire might be living next door in a modest house, driving a ten-year-old car and looking quite ordinary. That’s because those millionaires know that you make money by investing in appreciating assets and generally spending less, not by taking a “keeping up with the Joneses” attitude.
Most millionaires don’t live any differently from everyday citizens, nor do they feel the need to. Let this inspire you to invest your FBA earnings wisely!
#6. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
This book on branding and marketing is a few years old now but still stands the test of time. It’s about how it pays to stand out from the herd, something every seller on Amazon can relate to.
Purple cow describes something, phenomenal, exciting, or even unbelievable. In a world of noise where consumers are faced with multiple competing choices, that one purple cow will stand out from 100 other brown ones.
Godin makes the point that this is not something you can just slap onto a product, say through clever labeling or packaging, rather, it is inbuilt. This is definitely food for thought for Amazon sellers who need to get more attention on their products, both on Amazon and elsewhere.
#7. Hiding in the Bathroom by Morra Aarons-Mele
Morra Aarons-Mele is an entrepreneur who has boosted online strategy for several prominent organizations. The premise of her book is to guide people who are naturally more introverted through achieving their own definition of success. How many people prefer to work online because they’re introverted? Does this ring true for you?
Aarons-Mele debunks the notion that successful people must be on 24/7, tirelessly networking or deal-making. She is a self-proclaimed introvert herself and has a flourishing business. There is no particular “type” of successful entrepreneur, she argues, in fact, “hiding in the bathroom” is an antidote to the notion of the intense hustler with boundless grit.
Recommended read for anyone at the more introverted end of the spectrum who is frustrated by the “always on” idea of success.
#8. Profit from the Positive by Margaret H. Greenberg and Senia Maymin
This is a book for leaders, whether you have a small team of two or three or a much larger team. Successful Amazon sellers eventually end up with team members to help them manage the business, so doing so with the power of positive psychology, as outlined in this book, can be a huge benefit.
Greenberg and Maymin outline how companies can use evidence-based tools to increase productivity, collaboration and profitability. It contains several case studies to highlight the lessons, and, for the most part, the tips gleaned don’t cost anything to implement.
#9. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
This is not the typical “management” book, but a raw, real look at missteps Ben Horowitz made and lessons learned during his own business ventures. Now one of Silicon Valley’s most respected entrepreneurs, he gives practical advice for building and running a startup.
One thing that makes this book different from many others is that Horowitz isn’t afraid to tackle the realities of how difficult it can be to run a business. This is a guy who has had to fire his own friends!
Nothing is sugar-coated, but Horowitz does offer great tips for entrepreneurs and an angle that is often different from the standard advice.
#10. The One Thing by Gary Keller
If you need some inspiration around focus, willpower and goal-setting, this popular book is one of the best in the genre. It’s about simple, yet powerful concepts to focus on what really matters in both work and personal lives.
Gary Keller lays out the notion that, behind every successful person is their one thing – the thing that when focused on, delivers extraordinary results. It’s about fewer distractions, less on your plate and more productive work.
Bonus: Check out the podcast of the same name.
Reading can provide a needed boost of inspiration to any entrepreneur. As an Amazon seller, consider whether you might benefit from devoting some time to building yourself up; as the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”
We’ve listed just ten great books here, in the hopes there will be something to represent the interests of most Amazon sellers, but of course, there are hundreds more that are also well-worth your time.
Sometimes a great way to discover new books for your reading list is simply to ask others who have similar interests, “what are you reading?” We’d love to hear about what you’ve got going in the comments.