Several months ago, I decided that I wanted to generate some income from my own projects. I originally started on a SaaS bootstrap library. A part of my development work for that library would need to be demos to prove the project and that I would try and sell each demo. Since doing that, I learned nothing about starting a business, so I began to read books on the subject. I read over 10 books during December alone. Here are my favourites for far and what I used to help me position my latest project Ootliers - An Ecommerce Sales Monitoring System.
The 1 Page Marketing Plan
I think overall, this book is what made the most things click for me. It made me realise how much marketing I would need to do. How much work in link building, content creation, etc. I would need to do. Mostly it made me realise something I kind of already knew since I decided to read all these books. It made me realise that just building a kickass product or an idea wasn’t enough. It taught me probably the most basic things for each area of marketing and when you know nothing that is amazing to find in one book.
How To Create A Perfect Landing Page
I knew my landing pages sucked, but I didn’t really know why. I asked in a founders chat for a review and people would say “It’s not actually that bad”. “THAT BAD” is the key thing, it’s bad, but why? This helped me realise the components of a landing page I needed. While I still think my landing pages need a lot more work and will be something I continuously work on and improve. I think the difference between Easio’s landing page and Ootliers' landing page is massive.
Value Propositon Design
When I created Easio, I literally just wanted to build a demo app that I could sell. I googled for ideas. And literally made the first one. Personally, I think the value that Easio provides is so small that even though it was initially designed to be something I could eventually use. I’ve realised my actual needs are so far removed from what it does as a CRM and what I need a CRM to do that I won’t even use it.
This book helped me find the way to create an application that delivers value and how to find out what that value is and who the value is for. The things learnt from this book helped with all the other things done on the landing page and marketing. Without this book, while I would have known I needed to find out the pains and gains, I would have spent a lot longer figuring them out. As it turned out, this was the first book I read so when it came to the others, I already had the information at hand.
Traction: How any startup can achieve explosive customer growth
So, I’ve figured out I need to do marketing, and I need to build something that delivers real value and how to figure out what the value is, and I’ve built my MVP. The next thing is I need users. This book, really helped expand my mind to the possibilities and that I should find a channel that works for me and just focus on that.
Not for me but good for others: Crushing it!
While I don’t think what this book teaches is best for me, I do think this book teaches some really valuable things. This book is really for those that want to build a business doing something they love and helping people. For example, for me it would be how to use social media to become a high paid software consultant. While that is a really good thing to teach, that isn’t really what I want to do. If you want to build a business selling coffee, photography, etc then this book is 100% for you. If you want to build products that deliver value, then this is not for you. This is more about how to build a brand for yourself.
Honourable Mention: Founders at Work
This book is on nearly every list for must-read books for startup founders. And honestly, for good reason. The reason it’s only an honourable mention here is, I was looking for books that would teach me something I need right now. This book doesn’t really teach anything. It is just stories of those who came before you, and sure you can learn from what they did and how they did it. A good lesson to come out of this book was to listen to what the users want and build that instead of doing whatever you want. But for me, this book mainly gave me perspective and allowed me to stop being so hard on myself and set realistic goals.
The reason for this post is I got fed up of seeing constant posts of to read book lists that are the same as other lists and seem to just be someone create lists based on other peoples' suggestions. While I’ve not stopped reading books, I’ve only listed the ones I read in December and early January, and I plan on making a new list at the end of the month of books I suggest reading that I’ve read late January and February. Hopefully, this can give some people who are looking to learn what they need to do but don’t know what to start with.
You can check out my current project an e-commerce Sales Montioring system - Ootliers